Captain’s Blog: August 7th 2012


Given Aleppo is looking a bit dangerous these days I have been forced to conduct my annual off-site reporting expedition from the world’s other BIG story. Although the BBC would like us to believe London 2012 is THE story and it is truly a great story, I have been forced to visit the beaches of southern Spain.

As always, the weather is fabulous and the tempo is chilled. Perfect environment to reflect on all things worldly. It’s not easy in start-up mode to relax but I have taken the opportunity to take a few days away from the screens and let the developers make a few changes to the website. We hope you find it adds to the user experience.

More positive developments on the data front(finally some seriously high quality partners)  and really excited about what we can deliver there. As an additional bonus we are fielding almost daily calls from financial services platforms seeking advice/consultation on how to enrich their content and upgrade their digital platforms. When you see the likes of Silicon Valley Bank, and hitting the consumer experience like asteroids of positivity it is no exaggeration to suggest the incumbent dinosaurs are beginning to feel a life more chilly ahead.

Even where existing financial services have boasted of huge consumer advances in technology there have been worrying events in the last week to suggest that bankers are as accident prone in technology as they are in lending. The near collapse of Knight Capital might not capture headlines as a headline banking name but this franchise accounted for almost 15% of all trading in the US. One algorithmic glitch and 45 minutes later it’s sitting on a $440m loss!  Why it took 45 minutes to stop the carnage should worry all market participants. Tokyo’s exchange suffered a ‘glitch’ in the last 24 hours and Spain’s main IBEX exchange was closed for 4-5 hours yesterday.  Not very reassuring and while we are on the subject of Spain…

I miss my local newsagent here…. one of many businesses in Andalucia which hasn’t survived 2012. A jellyfish invasion of the coast line is not helping the local economy  either but the biggest eye-opener for me has been the shocking quality of wi-fi and internet infrastructure generally. A venkman article recently flagged the telco giant Telefonica cutting its dividend and one can’t help feeling it is staring down the barrel of massive infrastructure spend to keep pace with the mobile data revolution….

No newsletters this week but will be writing every day. My interests have moved on from sailing to boxing now and I have been swimming multiple lengths of local pool in the vain hope my vino/cerveza midriff will morph into a Phelpsian thing of beauty to impress my racier Twitter followers :)

I am delusional I know. However, I have a long way to catch up with the Quinn family. Absolutely astonishing to see kid gloves applied to an insurance debacle which will cost the state and all Irish policy holders €1.5 billion or 2-3% per annum into perpetuity. For “plain and simple” people can I make it absolutely clear that if you take people’s money in exchange for a guarantee(payout/claim) then it is incumbent on the provider to make realistic efforts to reserve/support that guarantee. If there is very little evidence to support that effort(and at the moment Quinn is about €1.5 billion shy) can we draw a plain and simple Ponzi conclusion?


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