Skim, Dip, & Dive: Bloomberg Did It First

One of the world’s most innovative social networks has been running strong since 1982.

It’s not an app you check multiple times a day, and it doesn’t have a sleek, minimalist interface; it’s the Bloomberg Terminal, the platinum standard for financial research, trade execution, communication & messaging. While the service is known mostly for its electronic trading platform, it deserves credit for pioneering the way we communicate and process information. Bloomberg had advanced chat capabilities and a modern “newsfeed,” years before Twitter ever dreamed of it. For the next big thing in social networking, Silicon Valley might want to take a peek at the Bloomberg Terminal.

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Can’t make it to work? Bloomberg Anywhere works across devices.

Even though a Bloomberg subscription costs $20,000 a year, financial services firms can’t seem to cut the cord. Much of the information it provides can be found elsewhere for much cheaper. However, there are powerful network effects from its most popular feature and the world financial community’s favorite chat tool: Instant Bloomberg. Last week, we wrote about how China’s WeChat is more advanced than its American counterparts, but with a hefty suite of features, Bloomberg is already running circles around WeChat, Facebook, and Twitter.

From the Bloomberg terminal, the opportunities to collaborate with the 325,000 other professional subscribers generate powerful network effects. Beyond chat, these features extend out of the office. Without leaving the interface, Bloomberg subscribers can:

  • access restaurant & hotel reviews
  • book a table, book a room, book a flight
  • share live charts, trade ideas, analyses, lists, and news with colleagues
  • collaborate across companies & countries
  • access cultural and event calendars
  • buy & sell merchandise

In addition to messaging, Bloomberg was first to the playing field with the “News Feed,” now ubiquitious on popular social networks. By pulling real-time news from over 90,000 sources around the world, Bloomberg makes sure their subscribers can get the big picture, check for more details when they need, and stay on top of market-moving news. Need to search by company, topic, region? You could do it on Bloomberg before the #hashtag even existed. Bloomberg has been refining the feed and the “skim-dip-dive” paradigm since 1981, and judging by the financial results, others should take note of their strategy.

The Bloomberg Terminal is not a household name, and unless you work on Wall Street, you’ve probably never even seen one in person. However, in the investing world, a small addressable population can still carry a huge financial opportunity. The revenue speaks for itself. Today, the Bloomberg Terminal generates an estimated $7.8 Billion annually, enough to support and develop Bloomberg’s behemoth media presence.

While Bloomberg tackles a niche market, it is clearly full of product secrets that can tell you what works, what makes money, and what the future holds for the general population. If you’re looking to stay relevant in the quickly evolving tech sector, you might want to take a closer look at the Bloomberg Terminal.

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