- One millennial began reading Wall Street Bets its comedic value, but would never use the advice.
- Instead, he started an online shop featuring knick knacks and T-shirts with now-famous Wall Street Bets slogans.
- A GameStonk shirt and another with a kid on the moon with a rocket ship are among his top sellers.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Twenty-five-year-old Alan Walker started reading Reddit’s Wall Street Bets just for laughs when he was a teenager.
“It’s like watching a drunk guy walk down the street. It’s fun to watch, but you don’t want to be that guy,” he said.
Walker, who lives in Las Vegas, said he enjoys gambling, and that mindset is what drew him to Wall Street Bets – he sees discussions on the forum “not as investing but more as gambling.”
A self-proclaimed “nerd,” Walker said he developed a serious interest in the stock market when he began regularly reading leftover issues of the Wall Street Journal at his friend’s house growing up.
As for Wall Street Bets, he said, “I found interest in the community because of the gambling aspect, because it was 18-year-olds making a million dollars or people losing a hundred thousand.”
He was so interested in the Reddit thread, that in 2018 he started an online store where Redditors could buy knick knacks and T-shirts with common Wall Street Bets lingo. He bought a web domain name “wallstreetbets.shop,” and used Shopify to host the site. Walker requested his name be changed for the purposes of this story to safeguard his business.
At the time he started the store, Wall Street Bets hadn’t even reached a million followers.
The thread has since ballooned to more than 10 million users following the GameStop saga that squeezed short sellers earlier this year and popularized the trend of investing in “meme stocks.”
The episode drove more traffic to his store, he said, but overall, it has been more of a “pet project” for him. He said he brings in about $500 per month from it without any Google or Facebook advertising.
A shirt that reads “GameStonk” has been one of his top sellers, along with one that reads “buy the fkn dip,” and another with the Wall Street Bets kid sitting on the moon with a rocket ship.
“With the amount of content that comes through Wall Street Bets, the amount of memes, the evolution of different terms, there’s just so many things – stickers, pins, hats – that can be made,” he said.
Since skyrocketing in popularity, the Wall Street Bets thread has changed, he said.
“It wasn’t such a hive mind,” when he started reading it.
He noted that memes used to not be part of the page, and now they are a majority of the content. The thread is also getting much younger.
Walker said he, like most others on the subreddit are simply “silent observers.” The way many Redditors play the market – going all in on one stock, or “YOLOing” as many call it – is not an investment practice he’d ever make.
“It’s great that this generation is getting interested in the stock market,” he said. “The bad thing about it is that it’s gambling. You’re interested in the stock market, but you’re using it for wrong purpose.”
A study from BMO’s F&C Investment Trust found one in 10 Gen-Zers in the UK started investing because of the GameStop frenzy, and most funneled money directly into meme stocks, like AMC and BlackBerry.
The saga “heralded a new generation of enthusiastic and engaged investors,” Ross Duncton, managing director, head of direct at BMO, told Insider previously. But he added that investing shouldn’t be a get rick quick scheme.