Mar 26, 2016


My friend Pandora runs a blog on which she assiduously posts every Sunday.  Once upon a time I had this level of discipline - okay, I didn't, but I did post every week - but I possess it no longer. However I do enjoy her Sunday meme posts, most of which come from Sunday Stealing.  Sunday Stealing posts are a good way to keep a blog up to date instead of letting it languish a month or more between posts - as I am wont to do lately.

So, this week I am going to try my hand at a meme post, this one called 'The Currently Meme', courtesy of Sunday Stealing.

Currently, I am...

Bazaar of Bad Dreams, by Stephen King
Fool Me Once, by Harlan Coben - the latest in the ever-growing genre of 'well-off wife finds she can't trust her seemingly perfect husband and her life has been a lie'
Chasing the Scream: the First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, by Johann Hari. I thought we should legalise drugs before, now I'm doubly convinced

Project plans; blog posts; a short story that is going nowhere

Fetch and tug of war with the dog every morning

Better Call Saul
Politics in Australia, with trepidation
The Trump Show in America, with horror

To keep up

A roast dinner every Saturday. I have just decided that this week. I did a chicken roast last Saturday which the kids loved and I quite enjoyed it myself.
But not this Saturday as I'm planning a family lunch for tomorrow.

Pinot Grigio 
Coke Zero
Lots of water to make up for the rest

The shots, when I can.

Hairstyles. Dream on, frizzy-haired me.

#Fairfax #fintech

Nothing. I have zero interest and less talent.

Too much and not enough. The modern existential dilemma.

On holiday to a little rental beach house on the Peninsula in two weeks - can't wait.

The free trams in Melbourne CBD.

Knee-jerk politics.

Season 1 of Fargo on Stan. I forgot how good it was. Every actor in it is fantastic.

Silly YouTube videos: The Community Channel, Everything Wrong With, and Brent Rivera.
Perfect weather in Melbourne last week, and a mild (late) start to autumn this week.

How to marry agile cloud-based small-vendor project management with big-client requirements. 
The implications of the current tech bubble (If even I spent 20 minutes this week considering building a service app then trust me, we're in a bubble).

Optimistic - despite the bubble, despite Trump.

Blog reading. Have to find time.

The Americans don't elect Trump - but also that they don't elect someone who turns out to be awful just to avoid electing Trump.

Clever :)

Too much Radio Nova thanks to the kids. Why was everyone doing covers of Justin Bieber's Love Yourself which is a terrible song? I don't get it. Thankfully some new songs hit this week. 

The fact we can afford to go on a little family holiday for the first time in two years.

Mould in the crockery cupboard again - time for a clean and those way-too-expensive damp-soaker thingies.

The state government for awarding the paramedics a pay rise. Everyone working in emergency services and health should get a big pay rise.

What the hell to get my husband for his birthday. He's impossible.

To relax after spending the day cleaning and preparing lunch and an easter egg hunt for all my family on Easter Sunday.

Mar 21, 2016

What Journalism Has In Common With Stockbroking

I'll dispense with the preamble. What journalism has in common with stockbroking is this:

An old model which was well established and profitable is transitioning with a lot of pain to a new model, which everyone is still trying to figure out.  

The old model was comfortable and cushy (for those at the top). The new model is a major change, culturally, psychologically and commercially, and it is not yet - but one day will be - profitable.

Sira Anamwong/


Another month in Australia, another horrible rupture for Fairfax. If I was a journalist I would probably write "the embattled Fairfax". After already pruning itself back in 2012 and again in 2013, this week the company announced it will cut the equivalent of 120 full-time jobs from its newsrooms.

That's a lot of journalists. It's hard to imagine the company even has that many jobs left to spare. (And according to staff, they don't).

And I really feel for Fairfax. Not only because I love The Age and am a subscriber who reads it every day, but because I think in very difficult circumstances they have been forging an evolution towards an online model quite well.  

New media is great. But blogs and tweets and news fragments do not fill the gap left by traditional newspapers. New media still needs journalists to write the stories, and "citizen journalists" just aren't as good.

Of course, we will get used to it. Just as we have got used to the passing of great puns in headlines (largely gone in favour of SEO), and elementary grammatical and syntax errors in broadsheet news (now that sub-editing, like everything else, is outsourced to cheap workers overseas). We got used to those things, and the world didn't collapse.

So, there is no choice - citizen journalists it shall be, and the real journalists will find work somewhere, somehow, in this new cacophony. Not all the ones being let go now, unfortunately, but future ones will.

Somehow I don't think either the paid subscription model used by most newspapers and journals online now, or the Buzzfeed model, will be the lasting profitable solution.

I wonder what it will be?


Stockbroking has always been a world of boom and bust, but ever since the 2008 crash and the Great Recession that followed (or still follows), it's been all bust. The stockbroking model as it was before then has truly broken and is never coming back. That's probably even a good thing.

Since 2008, it's been impossible to squeeze money out of traditional stockbroking. The margins are too thin; no one wants to pay for brokerage and research when they can get what they need online.

In Australia the ASX has piled more and more compliance obligations on brokers, and ever-higher liquid capital requirements to guard against insolvency collapses. In classic Law of Unintended Consequences style, the result has been an explosion of "shadow brokers" - small and nimble dealing and advisory businesses that range from serious, ethical companies with management and due process, to guys operating out of their loungerooms with, let's just say, less than that.

In the last decade that I worked in broking operations, I watched these companies come and go, the same people moving from license to license and company to company in a never-ending scramble to find some way to make money. Most of these people are straight up, love broking and just want to make money for their clients and themselves - but the landscape is unforgiving.

So now everyone knows the future is "online". The future is "robo-advice" (less risk of non-compliant customer management or advice), and "fintech".

But what is the best kind of company to run? What's the best service to offer: advice to customers, or services to dealers? How do you innovate and create a solution, and not be copied by a thousand imitators with the same access to the cloud that you have?

Time will tell.

I'd love to step 5 years into the future and see what's happening in both journalism and financial services. My guess is both will be profitable, but not exactly in ways people are building them now. The future will come up with something else.

Disclaimer: I work in FinTech and love it.   :)


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