The first quarter of 2024 ends this weekend, and we are already on track for this to be one of the craziest years in a long time -- stock market at all-time highs, housing at record levels, rampant speculation (NVIDIA, Crypto, AI, etc). What a time to be alive; I hope you're all making money.

To keep you ahead of trends and above all the noise, I put together a list of what's been trending so far this year in online finance chatter (aka FinTwit). Below I'll highlight some of the biggest trending stories and some predictions for what's ahead.

To start, here's a cascading timeline of the top 30 most-mentioned finance topics online so far this year:

Trending Finance Topics, Q1 2024

First, where'd this data come from?

Without getting too technical, we aggregated a bunch of finance-related Tweets, used some machine learning to find the 30 most-mentioned topics, then plugged each one into Google Trends to visualize the conversation volume over time and make this glorious graph. (reply to this email for a more detailed description). Now let's unpack

Top FinTwit Trends So Far...

Based on our calculations, here are the top 10 topics trending on FinTwit so far this year based on estimated total mention volume:

  1. Donald Trump (49K mentions)
  2. Elon Musk (42K)
  3. Bitcoin (36K)
  4. Tech Layoffs (33K)
  5. NVIDIA (23K)
  6. OpenAI / ChatGPT (21K)
  7. Las Vegas Sphere (21K)
  8. Boeing (20K)
  9. Rivian (20K)
  10. Anthropic / Claude (19K)

Now, take a second to really look deeply at that chart. Like really breath it in. What do you notice? For me, a few things stand out.

Fear and Greed Leads: first, the top 10 most mentioned 'finance-related' topics all fall into a handful of buckets: a mix of controversial major personalities (Donald, Elon), speculative topics (NVIDIA, Bitcoin, AI, LLMs) and debacles (Rivian, Boeing, tech layoffs). It's a microcosm of the entire internet; fear and greed leads. People aren't talking en masse about boring, legacy public companies that churn out solid quarterly dividend. They talk about the controversial. The speculative. The failures.

Public Attention is Fleeting: second, look at the spikiness of the chart over time. Ahhhh how quickly the public's attention shifts. It seems like the average front-page news event lasts about 2-4 days before the next one comes along and washes it away with the tide. There seem to be a few exceptions here: Donald trump, Elon Musk, Ozempic. These guys seem to live above the crowd as mainstays of the public zeitgeist. You could write an entire Harvard Business Review case study on how they've managed to do that.

Trends & Predictions for 2024

Let's focus in on a few of these topics and make a few predictions based on the data:


Bitcoin will hit $100K this year

Bitcoin eclipsed $70K for the first time ever this month, and has climbed more than 50% already this year. Unlike previous Bitcoin hype cycles, the conversation volume doesn't seem to be going any way.

Prediction: After living and dying through the past 2 or 3 Bitcoin hype cycles, this one feels different. The big talking heads seem to be taking it more seriously, world government are taking positions, and my grandma has already known about it for at least 3 years. I think we could reasonably see $100K before the end of this year, and would be surprised if it ever touches below $45K again.

claude openai

Anthropic's Claude LLMs is king (for now)

Anthropic released its Claude 3 chatbot in early March (a direct competitor to OpenAI's ChatGPT) and immediately took the market by storm. After release, you can see a clear phase shift in search volume over the past month in the chart above.

Prediction: This is probably one of the best examples I've seen of achieving the 'tipping point' of staying power. How did Anthropic manage this? Short answer: Claude 3 is simply better than ChatGPT 4 (its not even close). That said, look how sharply the other models have come and gone in the zeitgeist above (OpenAI, Gemini, etc.). To me it seems we are still very early in battle for the chatbot landscape, and I'd expect a newer model (GPT-5, Gemini, Facebooks stuff, or whatever tf Apple is doing) to claim the top spots from Claude before the end of the year.


Mainstream AR/VR is still years away

On the other end of staying power: Apple released its Vision Pro AR/VR headset on February 2nd (Apple Vision Pro mentions visualized above). It was easily the most-talked about topic on the internet for about a week. Youtubers reacted, Twitter analyst postulated it would sell like the iPhone. Then as quickly as it captured public attention, it vanished like Avatar the Last Airbender.

Prediction: We are clearly still too early for AR/VR to go mainstream. Form factor is still too bulky, not enough life-changing applications, hasn't reached the tipping point of use cases yet. And quite frankly, smartphones are already so damn good, why would we need anything better? Probably will take at least 2-3 more years

Trump biden

Trump is President in 2025

Obviously there are many things that affect the result of a presidential election. But judging solely on conversation volume so far this year, Trump is talked about far far more often than Biden. Some would argue this is because Trump is more controversial but, but to me it seems both are controversial in their own rights nowadays, and TBH I don't have a strong opinion of either.

Prediction: If conversation and search volume is any indication of having an edge in the Presidential election, then Trump seems to have the upper hand on Biden by a wide margin. It'd be interesting to incorporate some sentiment scoring into this analysis to see how positively or negatively about either of them. LMK if that would be interesting maybe we try that next quarter.