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Mining for Millennials - How resource companies can use technology to attract young investors

Technology’s role in attracting investors

In a world where investors are seemingly flocking to Cannabis and Cryptocurrency, it’s hard to make sense of it all. But it doesn’t have to make sense.

According to @ScottAdamsSays, we live in a world where facts don’t matter, and I agree with him. While Mr. Adams gets a lot of (often maligned) flak for his political opinions on Trump (interestingly he actually describes himself as being far left of Bernie Sanders) , I am not using this particular example to make a political argument, but rather to explain “hype” stocks.

In a nutshell, we live in a hyper-connected world with always-on instant delivery of information. Using our smartphones, we can connect from almost anywhere in the world and see all the latest news, videos and blogs on a whim. You don’t even need to enter it in the search box because the latest trends are almost always waiting for you when you open your smartphone browser or Twitter / Facebook apps.

This in turn creates a certain “hivemind” effect (also known as a cognitive bias) where we’re inclined to automatically agree with whatever we see in the news. So when half the world is reading about how “Bitcoin is the next big thing” and “Marijuana is the greatest investment since Ford started making cars”, and considering a large percentage of those people are amateur investors, well, you can probably see where I’m going with this.

The modern day gold rush

In a world where facts – and therefore balance sheets – don’t matter, how can traditional companies (particularly those in the resource sector, since precious metals seem to be “competing” with bitcoin as a hedge) show that there is value for those who choose to purchase their stocks?

Since I run a technology consulting company, and cryptocurrency is in and of itself a form of technology, I like to think I’ve got a pretty good grip on what’s driving the hype. I’m also very bullish on copper (and other metals), so I’ve been following both industries for some time.

It all goes back to the ages old desire of being wealthy. It’s no secret that people want to get rich quick – and cognitive bias fuelled by social media hype and stories of people winning big in the Crypto lottery is tricking them into believing it’s not only possible, but also easy to do. It’s no different than the schemes during the 1930’s dust bowl period, but the problem is worse now thanks to the way technology allows for rapid dissemination of information. One need only look at the recent false nuclear alert sent to Hawaii to understand how this works!

Now bear in mind I’m not saying you can’t get rich on crypto – many lucky investors have, but that’s just it – as Mark Douglas’ book of wisdom will tell you, one cannot predict the future, and that’s exactly what the rest of the crowd is trying to do right now.

But with all that said, technology isn’t inherently bad – in fact, it’s mostly good when used correctly!

Cryptocurrency has created a modern day gold rush - without the gold

Using technology to connect the dots

Since I’ve already spent a good amount of time explaining the hows and whys of technology, bitcoin + hype stocks, I’m not going to go into great detail here. Instead I’ll go with a “top 10” format so you can quickly understand how to use technology to connect with young investors. Without further ado:

  1. Don’t use the term “millennial” – yup, I totally just contradicted myself! It may be tempting but it’s an overused label and it comes across as condescending. So moving forward, let’s call them “young investors”. But hey, you’re reading this article, so it worked right? That brings me to my next point:

  2. Look for emerging trends – Check the news frequently and use #popular #hashtags that are catchy, relevant or #trending (see what I did there?)

  3. Demonstrate responsibility – Actions speak louder than words. Fund environmental studies, wildlife + stream protection / rehabilitation. Get involved with community events and show it in a tangible way – whether you’re volunteering, sponsoring kids sports teams, good causes, etc. Sponsor education for geology + mining careers and hold geo-themed science fairs – and don’t forget to post photos / videos of all the fun on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter!

Giving something back isn’t required, but it sure goes a long way towards public perception (especially when combined with technology)

  1. Hire kind, qualified people – to explain what you’re selling as well as operate your social media accounts. Have them hold investor Q&A’s over live YouTube/ Periscope streaming. On that note, when I was visiting the Vancouver Resource Investor’s Conference 2018 last weekend, Diane Nicolson of Amarc Resources ($AHR.V) was simply a delightful person to talk to. She took the time to patiently explain the assay results and science behind some of the geology in a way that showed great passion for her work, and was neither condescending nor difficult to understand (Disclaimer: I am long AMARC Resources, and my advice should not be taken as professional investing advice. Buy at your own risk)

  2. Get involved with social media conversations – Twitter and Facebook are often the source of a great many discussions surrounding the environment, political and social issues. Engage people – DON’T argue / push back! Instead, let activists know you appreciate their concerns and you’ll take them into consideration. Show them what you’re doing to reduce impact. But whatever you do, don’t ever feed the trolls.

  1. Show interest in technology – Bitcoin isn’t just thriving because it’s near-completely unregulated – it’s also a sign of the times. To be more like Bitcoin, showcase how your company is using technology: hire a professional to help you create interesting YouTube videos showing how the mining industry uses things like transient electromagnetics, big data analytics, custom software development, etc – all of these are topics of interest that make geology sound way cooler than a boring old whitepaper. Think “Bill Nye” style, not “How it’s Made” style!

  2. Show Authenticity – mining may have a reputation as a cutthroat industry but the world is changing and the audience is more sensitive to social and political issues. This article isn’t intended to be a political one – so what I will say is that if you don’t appear to be genuinely concerned about the impact your company is having on the world, then connecting with a younger audience is going to be difficult! One way to be authentic as a CEO to engage directly on social media when dealing with PR issues – but if you’re not sure how to make your opinions digestible for a wider ranging audience, I do recommend you run it by your PR team first.

Be a part of the conversation – engage with people on social media!

  1. Don’t just be a market leader – be an employment leader as well. Work life balance is important for young people and is worth the extra cost. Consider adopting a results-driven system and allowing administrative staff to work remotely, which is very possible using modern computer technology. In my opinion, attracting younger workers means attracting a younger audience of investors.

  2. Consider grooming / mentoring a young person to be the face of your company – Not only are young people generally more tech-savvy right out of the gate, but this also creates a perception that your company is ahead of the game and oriented towards future generations. It can also make your talent pool appear more diverse, which can dramatically impact how people perceive what you say and do.

  3. Embrace Technology – last but not least, companies that stay ahead of the game are not only less prone to crippling business outages, but they are also more competitive. Technology can make your company more efficient, resilient and actually save you money!

Consider making a young person the face of your company

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Joel DeTeves

Joel DeTeves

Technology Pro, Investor, Founder @ Perfect Leap™. Opinions expressed are my own.

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Mining for Millennials - How resource companies can use technology to attract young investors
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