Last Updated on January 12, 2021
When most people think of the New York stock exchange, they call to mind very specific images of hectic on-the-floor transactions, men in business attire yelling into phones and gesturing emphatically into the air.
Very rarely does the average person look more deeply into what that work entails and what motivates the people who work in that environment.
While we can’t do a sweeping survey of Wall Street Traders, we did take the time to talk with one Trader in particular, Marco Novelli, and when it comes to his career motivations, they just might surprise you.
Novelli is a Trader and Investment Banker who works on Wall Street during the day and supports early-stage companies on his own time.
He has worked with some of the biggest investment banks in the world, including Deutsche Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch while also gaining years of experience in consultancy and distressed investments.
Having achieved a great deal of success in finance, Novelli has always questioned what that success really means and how he can use it to generate positive effects for others.
In fact, during our discussion with Novelli, he explained that he finds the typical motivations for success (i.e. material wealth and luxury) very empty in comparison to philanthropic efforts and supporting young businesses that can stand to improve the lives of others.
In this article, we will go through Novelli’s motivations and inspirations to get a sense of what may be a new trend in the world of finance.
A city of inspiration
While talking to Novelli, we learned that he has many different sources of inspiration, including some that may come as a surprise, but we’ll be getting to those ones later.
For now, we’d like to talk about one of Novelli’s strongest and most consistent means of feeling inspired, and that’s living in New York City.
“Living in New York has really focused a lot of sources of inspiration for me. This city, with or without Covid, is a magnet for special and highly ambitious people. Simply being surrounded by them gives me the right fuel for my ambitions and helps me grow up as a professional, but also as a human being.”
For Novelli, and for many others as well, New York itself acts as a kind of nexus for passion and motivation, and that’s because it has become a hub for so many industries, not just finance.
New York has long been a center for the arts, for literature, and certainly for business and finance.
It makes sense, then, that so many people who live in the city have specifically come to get better at what they do and to share it with the world.
The idea of a city that never sleeps holds true in the amount of sheer energy you’ll find if you spend any amount of time in New York.
This environment has been especially exciting for Novelli as he enjoys searching for and discovering innovative and original business ideas and individuals willing to make their ideas a reality.
Passion and success
Let’s take a moment to talk a bit more about seeking out those individuals with a real vision. For professional investors, there are always going to be lots and lots of investment opportunities, both good and not so good.
Once people are aware that you are willing and able to invest in new business ideas, they’re going to start seeking you out so that they can try to pitch their idea to you.
But Novelli knows very well that not every single business idea has a decent shot at being successful.
This has certainly been a factor in his investment decisions in the past, but there’s another factor that Novelli considers to be even more important, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the business idea itself: passion.
“I don’t waste time collaborating with people who do not put everything they have into what they do. In all my investments, the key decision-makers were extremely passionate. Nobody should invest in leaders without passion and strong devotion to what they do. There is no success without those ingredients.”
If Novelli feels that an individual doesn’t have a great deal of passion for their idea, then he just won’t bother trying to work with them.
So what happens when you prioritize passion? Well, for one, the investment opportunities you encounter are much more likely to have a sense of drive and purpose, two qualities that are often lacking in more cynically-motivated endeavors.
You also start to weed out the individuals who haven’t put as much thought or time into their idea. Someone who’s very passionate about starting a business or service will most likely also take the time to work out how much funding it will require and what the business’s roadmap should be.
No, not every business idea with a passionate founder is going to be wildly successful, but there’s no denying it’s an important consideration for investors today.
The impact of LoopedLive
In that same thread, we talked to Novelli about one investment in particular that has both passion and impact on its side.
LoopedLive is a platform that offers the opportunity for fans to interact with some of their favorite musical artists, broadway performers, comedians, and even athletes.
It’s an intelligent extension of livestreaming culture, which in the past has been most popular within the world of gaming and social media influencers.
Even prior to the pandemic, Looped was offering a unique service, but in the midst of COVID, it has only become more relevant and vital, especially for young fans, as Novelli explained.
“Since day one, I knew LoopedLive would be able to create substantial improvements in the lives of fans who were previously unable to interact directly with their role models. All this became even more relevant due to COVID. Giving teenagers the ability to interact on a direct level with their role models is creating more ‘right path behaviors’ in the younger generation.”
In this regard, Looped has the major advantage of accessibility. Obviously, during a time of enforced social distancing, online video streaming is largely the only way for most people to interact with others, but even under more typical conditions, a platform like this one gives many people chances to interact with role models they may never encounter in real life.
Overall, LoopedLive is a great example of what Novelli looks for when sorting through investment opportunities. Not only is there clear passion in the project but the service the project provides to its users has a very clear positive impact, even if just in some small way.
Finding motivation during COVID
There’s no doubt that COVID has had a major effect on any number of professional industries. For example, the hospitality industry, restaurants especially, have struggled to meet basic financial goals in a time when people can’t just walk in off the street.
Meanwhile, many other professionals have been forced to figure out how they can continue their normal activities, more or less, while working from home, and aside from the practical requirements of each job, workers have also had to find ways to stay motivated while working under very strange social and political conditions.
With that in mind, we were curious to hear what Novelli had to say on the subject, especially when it came to the issue of motivation.
According to Novelli, while COVID did indeed affect his work in significant ways, his motivation actually saw a burst of energy.
“I did not let COVID influence my enthusiasm and willingness to put my best foot forward in my professional and personal life. Therefore, my drive to be surrounded by highly inspirational people, albeit via video, did not change at all. If anything, I have been spending even more time finding investment opportunities.”
This is not a brand new narrative, of course. There have been many stories about people using their newfound downtime or scheduling flexibility to learn a new skill or finish a major project.
On Novelli’s end, the very strange year of 2020 just helped to reaffirm his enthusiasm for his work and the many opportunities that are always out there, even when it seems like businesses and individuals are taking a break and retreating in one way or another.
Novelli, like many others, has simply found new ways to pour his energy into what he loves. Keeping in line with that guiding concept of passion, we can also guess that the business and investment landscape will be very interesting on the other side of the pandemic.
For many, this time of quarantine has been an opportunity to reflect on big goals and ideas, and you can bet that there are going to be many, many people coming out of the pandemic eager to share their ideas with investors.
Until then, Novelli and other new wave investors just like him are going to continue to keep their eyes open for passion, originality, and innovation.