The Brandeis Reporter, Volume 17, Number 5

February 8
p. 8

What's ticking on Wall Street?
Ask Adam Menzel, '01

By Steve Anable

It is a Web site that can banish the stock market pages of your newspaper to your recycling bin and renders obsolete advice from your broker and it has already garnered a feature in the New York Times. It is the product of a partnership between Adam Menzel, '01, of Port Washington, New York, and his childhood friend, Ben Nobel, that is run out of their respective college dormitory rooms.

The Web lets users customize their own stock tickers to reflect their portfolios or areas of interest. It features stock quotes, an IPO section, Securities and Exchange Commission filings, company profiles, information on insider trades, and Reuters news.

Not sure of a company's stock market symbol? Look it up easily on the Web site. Want to see a company's Wall Street performance in easy-to-read graphs? It's just few clicks of your mouse away.

Says Menzel, "We are filtering information and brining it to people in a manner that lets them see what they want to see quickly so that they don't have to jump from site to site."

Menzel emphasizes that the Web site is just one product of their company, "something we offer for free to create brand awareness. We're looking to create a company with really topnotch products for businesses on the Web."

Menzel is enthusiastic about the pair's new products in the pipeline, including a piece of software that "guarantees higher click-throughs" (viewers reading all the screens) on banner adds.

"Banner advertising is not performing the way it should," Menzel says. "The click-through rate is dropping exponentially. We've come up with a product that benefits the Web site and the advertisers running the ads."

Another product in development will let any client turn a database into a ticker for a Web site, displaying whatever a client wishes in cyberspace-sports statistics, special events announcements, real estate listings--in a continuously updated format.

You can trace the evolution of American technology through Menzel's bloodline. As a small child, he amused himself by dissecting then re-assembling scrapped radios from his grandfather's repair shop. Later, when his computer consultant father brought home hardware and software, the young Adam investigated these. "My dad came home with a laptop when I was 6 or 7. That thing must have weighed more than this table," he says, tapping a piece of furniture in the common room of Ziv, "but I thought it was so neat that you could take it along with you."

Menzel's interests are not restricted to cyberspace: business is his real love. (He was buying mutual savings banks stocks in high school.) Majoring in economics at Brandeis, he is also completing the international business program. With all his online commitments, he is taking five classes this semester-four in economics, and one in Italian. Menzel sees the Internet as eventually taking "what's tedious" out of life.

But haven't some of technology's golden promises turned out to be tin-remember all the "leisure time" we were supposed to have by now? And might the Internet's advantages come with an insidious, subtle price, like those of television? Menzel doesn't think so.

"TV desensitizes you to the world," he says. "The Internet facilitates thinking; it's designed to work at the speed of your mind. Using the Internet, you can think about a topic, then, instantaneously, find information about it on the Web. You can think about something else, then gather information about that just as quickly. The Internet does more than put something in front of you, like television. There's a lot of commercialism on the Web and not much sense of organization, but it's still a great source of information."

"Our business model of has really changed over time," Menzel says.

"Originally, we wanted to create a site that was graphically pleasant and easy to use, with lots of financial information condensed into one site. I think we did that; our users tell us our site presents information in a nice way." Menzel and Nobel ran banner ads on the site, but removed them after a week because of negative feedback. Their revenues now derive from leasing their stock ticker to other Web sites.

Menzel talks with his partner at Middlebury College "at least once a day." He says, "Ben handles the technical end of the business; I handle the operations end. We're planning on raising venture capital during the next few months; we really want to grow this business. So any Brandeis 'angels' should feel free to give us a call!"

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