Introduction to Taboo: A ‘New’ Source of Financial Education & Analysis
10 min read
Taboo – you work hard for your money, why waste it?
“Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.” - Teddy Roosevelt
This is not going to be a series about sex or death, religion or politics. The focus is finance – simply, money. You pay money to go to school, to get a job… to earn money. You then work every day, presumably (at least in part), to earn money to pay for things you need and want. Why is it so difficult to discuss the thing you spend your life working so hard for? Why is it so difficult to confront the industry and people who ‘manage’ your hard-earned money? You don’t exist to serve them; the industry only exists because of you. The topic is under-discussed, the news is self-serving, and the industry is purposefully opaque.
Money helps enable freedom of decisions (where to work, live, etc.). Our mission is to help educate and demystify an overly complex topic and industry – to ultimately enable you to make better, more informed decisions about your money.
We will ‘explore’ an array of topics – from personal/educational (how interest rates work; how to evaluate a student loan) to corporate (why companies do buybacks; how executives are paid) to macro (how business cycles work; how stock markets function). We’ll dive into investment processes, asset allocation frameworks, and business models. And tie in current events, emerging technologies, and behavioral psychology – weaving in stories and analogies to help illuminate historically ‘dry’ subjects. All the while highlighting conflicts of interest, misaligned incentives, and outright corruption.
Facts will be facts. Any opinion will be called out as such. Biases will be ‘neutralized’ (but may creep through). If you see something, say something. The scope is focused, but not limited – and we are always open to input.
This won’t just be about stocks (we know how much the ‘talking heads’ love to opine), but rather full cycle investing across asset classes – real estate to equities, commodities to bonds.
Our sister blog will hit on advancements in natural language processing (NLP) and the building blockchain ecosystem. Expect collaboration.
Our ‘Ideas’ forum provides an outlet to discuss specific stocks with the community – feel free to inquire (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Another topic for another day, but we believe in the ultimate convergence of finance, blockchain, and technology (notably, NLP) – the combination of which provides the foundation for a ‘new’ financial system (which we’ll need when Central Bankers blow this one up).
Attention spans have shrunk. I’m a culprit as well (and I tend to ramble). So we are self-imposing structure. Posts will be concise and consistent. Resources provided for those who wish to delve further. Most importantly, community discussion is encouraged – we are here to start the conversation.
We’ll use graphics, cartoons, images, and eventually videos to help paint a clearer picture. And we’ll incorporate cool, leading-edge tech (NLP algos that can write themselves) to help enhance the posts and better incorporate the community.
Our focus is not on perfect grammar. Don’t expect eloquent prose. Or confusing lingo to explain unnecessarily complicated topics. Our goal: simplify the complex. Make the unapproachable, approachable for everyone – from electricians to consultants, hedge fund analysts to doctors, retirees to college students, blue collar to white collar.
The World today is riddled with uncertainty and mistrust. Short-termism pervades more than just the stock market. Reinforced by constant connectivity, we all now live in the ‘notification economy’ – try reading this post without checking your Instagram or Messages.
After witnessing the dot-com bubble as kids, the financial crisis as teens, and now the ongoing corporate debt (and likely pension) crisis as young adults, millennials are skeptical of authority – from corporate executives to government officials. Seemingly for good reason (we’ll go through the winners/losers of each crisis in a future post). Broader point being – demographics play a larger underlying role than many imagine, and we believe we are nearing an inflection point (another future post).
Not surprising to see the rise in anxiety or the explosion of mindfulness apps (do love Stephen’s soothing ">lavender story). We aren’t here to be doomsayers or to solve many of the world’s ills. We’re here to help separate fact from fiction. Point out what IS and lay out processes for analyzing WHY, to ultimately help you make better informed decisions.
The incentive structure for media companies is backwards, or maybe upside down (future topic on the ‘missing key building block of the Internet’). News is sensationalist because crazy headlines make consumers click. When you click, companies get paid (clickbait). If you don’t, they get nothing – pretty simple. Algorithms surface the most ‘popular’ (clicked on) stories, which then leads to more clicks, and on goes the convoluted cycle. Simply, the whole system is f’ed – which sucks, because it reinforces distrust and perpetuates ‘fake’ news (is that copyrighted?).
Linear TV is no better: When is the last time the ‘talking heads’ admitted a loss? Why can’t you see all of the CNBC crew’s trade recommendations and their relative performance?
Conflicts of interest. Narrative construction. Abuse of authority. ‘If you can’t convince, then confuse.’
Most blogs and media simply complain (posing issues with no solution), pontificate, and handwave. There is no accountability. No transparency. Media is broken. And financial media can be dangerous.
We have no hidden agenda. We’re here to address key issues, offer perspective, and hopefully provide educational insight. More importantly, we’re here to create a platform to harness the power and knowledge of the crowd. Maybe we’ll make money down the road if you find the content helpful – but you’ll know it.
Our incentives for starting this:
Sick of the corrupt system taking advantage of people
We aren’t experts on all the fields we discuss. Like our community, we like to read a lot, keep open minds, and, most importantly, actively listen. Sharing knowledge across fields is critical to driving societal improvements and creating value. We are here to help connect the dots, and at least start the conversation.
We aren’t curing diseases, building homes, stocking shelves, etc. – we acknowledge what we are and are not upfront. But we want to help educate and protect and help grow the money of those unassuming individuals.
We see many issues in the world today. We’re out to address two: 1.) Limited trustworthy, accountable, and transparent financial news & education sources; 2.) No forum for open and honest discussion for said subjects. We’ve complained for a while; this is our first step in helping to build a solution.
Question to Community
We’ll pose a question to you (the community), and use discussion to learn + feedback to improve
We’ll throw in key resources we use – for the post, and more importantly everyday ‘financial’ life
Crazy, Related Stats