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How to Express Yourself with Caleb Silver

George Grombacher August 30, 2023

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How to Express Yourself with Caleb Silver

LifeBlood’s 2,000th episode: We talked about how to express yourself, the value of creativity, how to nurture and bring out yours, how tech and AI is impacting blogging and journalism, and what the future holds for media, with Caleb Silver, Editor in Chief and SVP of Content with Investopedia.   

Listen to learn how Investopedia is working to bring financial literacy to everyone!

You can learn more about Caleb at, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Caleb Silver

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Love for this George G and the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful. Caleb Silva. Caleb, you’re ready to do this.

Caleb Silver 0:10
I am ready. So good to be with you as always my friend.

george grombacher 0:12
Yeah, let’s go. And welcome of course, maybe not, of course to our 2000 episode, Caleb joins us every 500 episodes or so. He was kind enough to be here for the 500 that that the 1000 the 1500. And now the 2000. So thank you again, Caleb.

Caleb Silver 0:28
My pleasure. I’m like a locust I come back every 500 episodes,

george grombacher 0:31
right? Yeah, that’s exactly right. So Caleb is see Caleb, I have done 2000 episodes, and I said the opening different, and I totally kind of screwed it up and lost my train of thought. But Caleb is, of course, the editor in chief, and SVP of content with Investopedia. They are the leading source for learning, being empowered and getting in control of your financial future. So Caleb, tell us a little about your personal lives more about your work and why you do what you do.

Caleb Silver 1:02
Yeah, I’m fortunate I have one of the coolest jobs in the world where I get to be a the editor in chief of Investopedia. We’ve been around since 1999. And as you know, in internet years, that’s like 200 years. So we are internet one point No, but still here still strong. And our mission is the same as it’s always been. But even more intense right now, which is trying to drive financial literacy, education, and help people understand money so they can have control of it in their lives and build the future that they want to we’re just leaning further and further into that my job is to be the editor in chief doesn’t mean I edit every single thing on the site, we have an amazing talented editorial team. But my job is really also to be the sort of the, you know, the the front of the train, telling people what’s going on investor sentiment explainer in chief helping people understand what’s happening in the economy, the markets, with policy with their money. And that’s a really cool place to be. And I also get to have my finger on the pulse of what 20 million unique visitors a month are thinking about, and concerned about and searching for. So we have that first touch sentiment that we get with our readers, and I get to go talk about it with you and talk about it on TV and on other podcasts. And on my own podcast, the Investopedia Express. So that’s a pretty cool place to be for somebody who started out in the restaurant business in Santa Fe, New Mexico a long time ago.

george grombacher 2:24
Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. 20 million unique visitors come in every month to learn something new to explore Money and Finance, be more confident all those things. And how many articles do y’all have? Roughly?

Caleb Silver 2:38
We got about 38,040 1000 different articles, terms, FAQs, definitions. We also have a very popular stock simulator, a free paper trading simulator, where people learn how to invest in trade and how markets actually work. So that’s pretty popular as well. But this site, as I said, is it’s coming on 23 years old. And we’ve been adding content nearly every year we’ve been around. I’ve been here almost seven and a half years.

george grombacher 3:06
Yeah, I know that whenever I have a question myself, I’m Investopedia is the first place I go. And even if it wasn’t, it would be the number one result if I were to search it, so. And it’s a super powerful tool, those the stock simulator, the trading simulator, I know that if you were just to go and get a brokerage account, it’d be super confusing. So to be able to go and practice and sort of get a feel for it is a super valuable thing. So and you are Caleb and accomplished chef, Last episode, we talked about some of your favorite dishes to make. And I was hoping we could talk a little bit about self expression and creativity because it takes so many different forms. You can do that through song, you know writing cooking. So how do you how do you think about creativity? How do you think about expression? And I guess expressing yourself?

Caleb Silver 3:56
Well, I think you’re asking the right guy. And I would say I’m a great cook, not a great chef. I think there’s a big difference there a different level, but I can cook a lot of different things. And I’m very efficient in the kitchen. But I’m an art major too. I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and in the restaurant business. But I was surrounded by a lot of art. I’ve always been into filmmaking and documentary making. Visual Art was always my jam. And I did that in college. And then I became a documentary filmmaker and then a journalist. Because I really liked storytelling storytelling through picture storytelling through words. So that’s always been really core to me. I get to do that in different ways. Now we don’t go out and do a lot of video a lot of video features. But I did start my own, restarted my own production company a few years back so I could produce films and I’ve worked on a couple of good short films that are on the festival circuit right now a couple of them have done very, very well, with a filmmaker, very talented filmmaker in New Mexico is a good friend of mine. So I’m able to keep making art, even though I spend a lot of my time in journalism, but then I try to take my creativity to what I do. Well, so I talk a lot on TV. I talk a lot on podcasts. But I also have my own podcast. And for better for worse, and I don’t know why I have to freestyle intro every single one of my podcasts and some rap version, because I’m a hip hop head. And I just can’t stop thinking that way. So I tried to get my creativity out wherever I can, wherever it makes sense. And unfortunately for for those listeners, they get to hear that every single week for me on Monday mornings on the Express, but that’s one way I get to do it. I also do it in the kitchen. I also do it by trying to fund and promote filmmakers and other artists who are doing really cool work that I want to be attached to, because I want to keep that part of me active. I have the journalism part, I have the filmmaking part. I have what goes on in the kitchen, and then I have whatever is going on between my two ears.

george grombacher 5:49
You are an art major. How did your parents feel about that? Does that even matter? Was it always what you were going to do?

Caleb Silver 5:58
My parents, and especially my mom is an avid art collector. So it wasn’t that much of a surprise to them. I went to did a semester abroad in Florence when I was in, in college. And they knew I was super into Renaissance art and Italian filmmaking. So none of that was too much of a surprise to them. And there was never any push my dad’s an investment banker. So I grew up around finance, I understood the terminology. To a certain extent I understood the way businesses work and how money is raised. So I was I always had my sort of eye on that even my grandfather sold mutual funds in the hills of Tennessee, in the Appalachians in the 60s in the 50s and 60s. So there was always a little bit of that going on in my family. But I was attracted to art and artists and grew up around it and grew up around a lot of talented people. So never surprised them. But what they knew about me, and this has always been the case is that I’m a hustler. You know, I started working when I was 12 years old, I always wanted to control my own money. I always wanted to make it myself, I always wanted to try to get next level. And they watched me do that throughout my, you know, my teenage years and into college and through college and then into what I do today.

george grombacher 7:05
I love it. Do you think that? Do you think everybody’s creative?

Caleb Silver 7:14
I think everybody has it in him. I think some people are just better at letting them out my daughter, both my daughters are super creative. One is really into fashion and design. And a great singer, the other is a singer songwriter. And, you know, she’ll disappear for a couple of days into a room and come out with six songs, beautifully written songs with you know, the music to go with it. And so that comes out of her naturally, it’s what she has to do. I let it out of me. And some people never let that window open. But I think it’s an all of us to a certain extent. And I know I think we know it when we feel it. Just some people are better at getting it out there. And some people have created good platforms where that’s what they do. And if you know, great artists, like I know great authors, even the ones we don’t know, it’s not that they feel like doing it, it’s not that they have to do it. Right. It’s a part of who they are. And that’s their way of expressing themselves. And I envy people who can just let it rip.

george grombacher 8:06
What is the value of creativity for you?

Caleb Silver 8:12
Yeah, it’s, it’s getting those neurons firing inside my brain that are there and they want to dance. But they don’t always get to do that, following the markets and doing what I do in you know, my normal job. So it’s getting, it’s letting them out a little bit. And you never know what happens when that happens. And the best results I’ve ever had on my career when I’m mixing sort of my business mind with my creative mind. You know, I was at CNN for years, I ran CNN Money video for a while that was about creating programming, creating online video program that was this combination of things that I do well like understanding the business of media and business of, of online video and then being able to create shows around it and even here, with all the things the all the temples that we create here, there’s that mix of art and science that I’m fascinated with my favorite artists are the Renaissance artists, especially Leonardo and Caravaggio, and those guys, but Leonardo, what was he he was mixing art and science and art imitating life. And I love that I’m obsessed with that. And if anytime I can find the opportunity to do that, that’s when I feel like I’m at my best. So that’s the value. It’s sort of like, bring the things into your personal gumbo that tastes the best that mix the best together, and you’re gonna get the best out of yourself. Yeah,

george grombacher 9:24
I, I grew up and as a kid, I think I was pretty artistic. I really liked writing. And then I just stopped doing it. I got into the financial services industry and in the corporate sort of box I was in I just being expressive and creating new ideas and publishing them was a huge red flag. There’s no way you could do that. And so it took me till about 35 And then I started to just express and create content and I can speak from just for me what a huge difference that is made. It’s like once I start actually using my brain and writing things down, you’ve talked about neurons firing, just new things started popping and more of it wanted to come out. And I just, I have to think that that’s probably true for a lot of people. And we’d probably be a lot happier. And I guess more contented, and maybe even less angry. I don’t know, if we were to tap into that a little bit and open one of those windows as he talked about.

Caleb Silver 10:26
Yeah, and you know, you do it through your great program here as well, you, you’ve taken that to audio. This is a form of art in and of itself, the art of conversation in the art of audio journalism. So that’s one way of doing it as well. But isn’t it funny, George, how? When do you start it up again? You Scott that going and it fired those neurons. And it’s almost like dopamine, where it’s like, you feel weird, if you’re not doing it, right. It’s wrong. Like, for me, when I stop, and I tried to take a few days, or I do something else for a week, or I travel, I feel weird when I’m not on that cycle. Because I get used to that feeling of those creative juices flowing again, and you miss it. Just kind of like going to the gym, you know, it hurts for the first few days, but then you cannot imagine not doing it.

george grombacher 11:09
You have a lot on your plate, obviously. And you have desires to do the things that we’ve been talking about to make films to do that do a little bit of hip hop, when you’re opening your podcast, and just so much. Do you just carve out time? Do you look for opportunities, and then take advantage of them as as they pop up?

Caleb Silver 11:33
To be creative? Yeah. Yeah, I mean, whenever they pop up, but also, you know, I push myself into doing things outside of my normal job. And just so I am forced into those environments, whether it’s going to see some art, you know, just taking a Saturday dash into the met with my wife coming home, coming up time, we just jump in for an hour, just to mix it up a little bit. Yeah, you definitely want to do that. But also, you know, I try to be around people who don’t do what I do all the time. So, you know, it’s easy to get in the echo chamber, or fin twit and financial services, I have such good friends and a great network there that I’ve built over the last 28 years or so. But I make sure that I am hanging out with the filmmakers hanging out with the musicians going to hear some weird, Afro fusion jazz up in Harlem, you know, doing something really different, that shakes it up for me a little bit, or even like going to the opera took my wife and my in laws to the opera the other day, it was fantastic. You know, I do that maybe once every 10 years, but what yourself in the New York opera, you know, at the Metropolitan Opera with the best in the world, that really gets you going. So try to make yourself do the things that you just sometimes don’t feel like you feel like doing. But you know, you’re going to be better for doing, I put myself in those positions. And I always appreciate it.

george grombacher 12:49
Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. For any kind of growth to happen, obviously, it’s obvious once, once these words leave my mouth to everybody who’s listening, that in order to grow and improve, you need to put a little stress on yourself and a little strain. And so that can be around putting yourself in situations that are different or uncomfortable because it’s new people or whatever the case might be just different than what you’re accustomed to, that will allow you to grow. change gears a bit. How do you feel about all this new AI stuff that’s happening? Regardless of the platform, people are posting these AI generated pictures of themselves? Obviously not sounds like you can write a term paper in 10 seconds. And I’m sure blog posts can happen fast. What are your thoughts on on AI?

Caleb Silver 13:36
Yeah, well, you can imagine for a business like ours that depends on giving people great results on the internet, when they usually come to us through a search engine. This could either be the worst thing that ever happened to us, or the best thing that ever happened to us, or just another thing that happened to us that we adapted to, and I’m going to take that road because I don’t want despair of oh my god, Chechi PT and AI are taking over, you know, the the, the work of, you know, online education and educating people about money. I think that’s super dangerous. And as you know, you’re in this industry, the personal touch is everything. The relationship is everything a computer could tell me how to allocate, but having a conversation with you about my needs, wants goals, nuances of my life, it’s very personal to me. So I think that there’s a world in which we grow into this AI world into that into that space, as Investopedia, which has been around for 23 years, as I say, I see another 25 years of us finding our footing there and being a super valuable presence to people, because people trust us and that’s awesome. That’s everything on the internet. And we work really hard on trying to provide the best information and if there’s a way to do that, that’s enhanced through AI, but still gives people that sense of trust. And that sense of I’ve really learned something so I can make a better decision. That’s our future too. So I’m gonna go with the not the best, not the worst, we’re gonna find a path through this. I don’t know if every other business will be able to do that. But I do believe in finance, and in health, two very, very important things that we search for on the internet a lot and their core to the way we exist, I think that there will always have a place where the human touch and the professional editors touch and experts. And that’s, that’s where we’re coming from.

george grombacher 15:17
Yeah, I think that is a very, very wise way to look at it. And a great way to frame that it’s not the best thing and not the worst thing. It is just the next thing. And certainly not going anywhere from my estimation, so fascinating. In terms of, and I feel like I probably asked you this every time that you’re kind enough to come on the show, as you’re looking at the way that that journalism is, is being done and how people pay for it. There are new subscription models, and there’s Patreon. And there’s the ads generated and commercials on TV and this that the other thing is their best to worst just kind of is what are your thinking on that? How do you try and evaluate the future?

Caleb Silver 16:07
Yeah, that that is tricky, because almost everybody can be a broadcaster of some sort, or a narrow caster of some sort, depending on what platform you’re using. But it’s also the more extreme getting the more people that are able to do it, the more important it is for the trusted voices to rise to the top. And I know that sounds a little pollyannish. But, you know, great journalism is necessary, you know, for us to, to have a civil society. And some of the best journalism I’ve seen has come out in the last few years. And even though it seems like nobody’s listening, because there’s so many other things going on, we need it to be able to make good choices. So I always think that there’s going to be a place for it. And those trusted voices that prove over and over again, that they’re really trying to get to the truth that matters more than anything, but everybody can do it. And I I admire a lot of people that are out there that are not, quote unquote, journalists who are doing it, there’s a lot of influencers out there, there’s a lot of activists out there, there’s a lot of educators out there that don’t come from J school like I did, right, that didn’t work for the Bloomberg and the CNN, but they’re super effective at what they do. So we, we can’t say no, this is a gated community and only those with a capital J are allowed in. Because I also believe that journalism, like cooking, is one of those crafts, right? You can be you can go to culinary school and become a chef. Or you can go cook your butt off for 10 years, in a really intense kitchen and become a chef. It’s the tools that ultimately get you there and the time and then the you know, rinse and repeat of doing this over and over again, that makes you really good at what you do. And you don’t have to have that degree necessarily. You just have to be transparent and helpful to people. And I think that kind of journalism, the New Journalism, so to speak, is is really important. And that we just have to accept that that’s what that’s the way it’s going to be.

george grombacher 17:56
Yeah, I appreciate that. You know, it’s a, as the next five years will be in the next 10 years, it will be a very, very dynamic time. And we’re trying to all muddle our way through the use of social media, and now artificial intelligence. And I think that I’m really interested in just learning what is true and knowing what is true. And then I can make my own mind up about certain things. And to your point that people will always have a need to go to trusted sources to say, okay, you know, what, I’m confident that what I’m getting is the facts. And, and this is a place that I can trust,

Caleb Silver 18:36
I’m optimistic, I have teenage girls, and they’re on, you know, social media all day long. But they’re pretty savvy. And they know what’s what they know what’s not real. They know what’s a deep fake, they know how to look to see what the source of the source is. Now Now I’m a journalist, and I’ve kind of imbued that in them as well. But I’m around their friends as well. They’re smarter than a lot of us think. But that’s the crew that I’m around. It’s a big country. It’s a big world. But I do think that younger people are a little smarter than we give them credit for. They’re just exposed to a lot more than you and I everywhere.

george grombacher 19:05
Yeah. Love it. Oh, Caleb, you are you’re working in videos, and you’re obviously a journalist and you are cooking, you are making films, you are doing all of these things. What else? What what what? What what are some of the things that are bubbling around in your head that maybe haven’t come out yet that that you’re hoping to be able to spend more time on and in the future?

Caleb Silver 19:32
Yeah, well, I love the filmmaking frenzy that we’re on right now. I’m really enjoying that. I love being a part of that because it is so different from what I do on the daily and I love being a participant in that. So that’s been fun. But I think you know, we have found and I have found a mission, really the North Star for Investopedia and certainly for me as the editor in chief which is we are really good at giving people information on what they’re Looking for, but those are the people that are already looking for that information. We’re not reaching enough of the communities that aren’t, don’t have access to financial education, don’t have access to financial information, don’t really have that foundation to help them either to get out of debt and start building wealth and living the life that they want to live. So we are on a mission to provide free financial literacy curriculum, lessons, teacher training resources, to public schools around the country, for kids in first grade all the way through senior year and into college to make sure that they understand the basics. Now, there’s a lot of good material out there. And there’s a lot of good school districts doing amazing things. But there’s a lot of schools out there that aren’t getting any of this. There’s a lot of communities that never see this. So as you and I know, the Financial Services Committee has been talking to me and you for quite a long time. Guess what, we’re fine. We’re doing okay. Right. But we’re having been talking to everybody, and we need to start doing that. So we’ve been developing curriculum, working with schools around the country to give them curriculum to help support the other curriculum that they have, especially on the investing and wealth building side to make that stronger and stronger, we’re doing it for free. And we want to be out there as a company mission to make sure we’re providing we’re providing financial literacy for everyone that needs it. And that has a big statement. But we’re a big site, we believe that we have the, you know, the, the the editorial chops to do it and the reputation and it’s the challenge that we need to step into as Investopedia. So when I look at the next 25 years for us, or so I see that, that that’s what we need to be doing. We’re great at what we do. We’re a really good online platform for education, but I just want to make sure that we’re open and accessible to everybody. And we’re getting into the places that need it. So that’s what’s got me going right now.

george grombacher 21:45
That’s awesome. Well, congratulations on that. And good luck. And what a huge opportunity and y’all the right people to do it. So, Caleb, thank you so much for coming on again and celebrating our 2000 episode with us. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage,

Caleb Silver 22:04
I am pretty easy to find. We are at Investopedia on all social platforms. I’m at Caleb silver on most all social platforms as well. But coming to Look at the about us page you’ll see not just me, but our entire great team of editors and staff that really helped keep Investopedia going. And we’re doing all kinds of cool stuff on learning short lessons on tick tock and on Instagram, of course you can follow all that. But if you’re interested in learning more about the financial literacy curriculum, if you are an educator, if you are involved in a school system, and are looking for resources, reach out to me I’m really easy to find Caleb dot Silva at Investopedia. I’d like to help you out in any way in any way we can. And again, I’m just grateful for you for sharing your platform, not just with me, but for all the guests, you you have created a space where people just like to be themselves and talk about the good things that are going on in their life. And I think that’s why you’re on your 2,000th episode.

george grombacher 22:57
Thank you, brother. You’re doing as much as I did. Okay, live your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas, check out the Investopedia Express where you listen to your podcast, find Investopedia all over social media at Investopedia. Find Caleb on social media at Caleb silver, and then go to and check out all the wonderful resources that they’ve worked so hard to curate and create and all of those things and if you are associated or working with volunteering, teaching at a school of any kind, and you’re interested in bringing some great financial literacy curriculum at no cost. Caleb is your guide. Please do reach out and get in touch. Thanks again. Caleb.

Caleb Silver 23:40
Thank you. Always good to be here.

george grombacher 23:42
Till next time, remember, do your part doing your best

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