A Lesson in Evolution from the Grateful Dead

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A Lesson in Evolution from the Grateful Dead

Michael Vodicka

Greetings Friends,

In 1970, five years after forming, the Grateful Dead was already considered to be a pretty good band. They were playing shows in front of crowds of 30,000 people. They had a record contract and had released four albums. And lead guitarist-singer Jerry Garcia had already earned a reputation as one of the most brilliant and versatile musicians around.

Flash forward 25 years later to 1995, and the Grateful Dead were no longer a pretty good band — they were legends — one of the greatest bands in the history of rock and on the cusp of being inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. Take a look below at the Grateful Dead.

So what was it about the Grateful Dead that catapulted them from being pretty good to legends?  It was evolution.

The Dead never stopped evolving and innovating. The band already sounded great in 1970, but by 1972, they sounded even better. Their sound in 1973 was even better. And by the time 1977 rolled around, the band was absolutely ridiculous. Many fans consider 1977 to be the Dead’s finest year— 12 years, more than a decade after they started in 1965.

Now, I’m not talking about the Grateful Dead simply because I am obsessed with their music and lead guitar player (miss you Jerry). I am also talking about the evolution of the Grateful Dead because this is exactly how I view my business.

This is the 6th year I’ve been in business (incorporated in October 2008) and the 4th year I’ve been managing money. And even though me an my clients have shared some awesome victories, I am constantly searching for ways to innovate the client-portfolio management process. And because my business has grown quite a bit, I have a bigger budget to work with than ever.

That’s why I am really excited to announce the deployment of a new client web portal — an online client-portfolio management system developed by Morningstar, one of the financial industry’s most respected companies. The name of the new system is Morningstar Office, and its one of the best online client-portfolio management systems in the industry.

Make no doubt about it, we are moving up in the world. This new tool is going to be awesome. I like to think of it as luxury class. These are the kinds of tool and resources usually only available to billion-dollar hedge funds and million-dollar clients. But the collective force of the Vodicka Group client base was enough to kick down the door and move us into the club. Here’s what asset management clients needs to know about the new online client-portfolio management system.

Why is this System so Great?

Morningstar Office is a system that creates an online platform for the client-portfolio management process. It takes the conversation-dialogue between me and my clients and puts the whole thing online.

Web Portal: asset management clients will have access to online web portal through my website that will be the platform for the communication and reporting process.

The online web portal contains detailed, interactive portfolio data and metrics that gives users a ton of insight into the composite of all their Vodicka Group accounts or individual Vodicka Group accounts. That includes:

  • Account Values
  • Top 15 holdings
  • Asset Allocation
  • Transactions
  • Regions of the World
  • Quarterly performance reports
  • Annual performance reports
  • Annual portfolio re balancing

The online web portal also enables me to run customized performance reports that I can upload to each clients portal for client access and viewing. This helps me automate the reporting process and will enable me to deliver detailed quarterly and annual performance reports to client portals and inboxes. As my client base grows, creating automated reporting systems is imperative.

I can also upload other important client docs to each clients file through the web portal, including service contracts, compliency docs and investment plans. Clients will also have the ability to upload docs to the client web portal to share with me.

Take a look below at a screen shot of what to expect from the client web portal:

I will be contacting clients in the next few weeks to get everyone set up on the portal and assign user names and passwords.

Evolution is the difference between good and great. It’s what got the Grateful Dead into the rock and roll hall of fame and Jerry Garcia on Rolling Stone’s list of greatest guitarists of all time.

My business is evolving. I am really excited to share a new tool with my clients. The benefit is that my clients will have more transparency and insight into their accounts that will help us drive the portfolio management and reporting process.

Beyond the new system, 2nd quarter is almost over. I’ll be back with a recap on Q2 next week.

Your Investment Partner,


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