Lying for money

The heatwave means that recently I haven’t been sitting in front of a computer much. Instead I’ve just finished reading Dan Davies delightful book “Lying for Money”.   Dan and I used to be competitors, so I know him to chat to over coffee and biscuits before (mostly dull) company presentations. I’ve been toying with the idea of publishing a...
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Technology and zero sum games

Music Festivals. The World Cup. Beach volleyball. Bike rides. Beer gardens. I’ve been taking time to enjoy the summer. Not spending much time in front of a computer analysing financial language and stories. I’ve not been entirely idle though. I have also been contemplating what success might look like: maybe in ten years no human will read financial information –...
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Surprising and inevitable stories

Like me, a couple of people at the Bank of England have also been messing around with text mining and machine learning. In a Working Paper called “Sending firm messages: text mining letters from PRA supervisors to banks and building societies they regulate”  They look at linguistic patterns in financial language. In their case the corpus they are analysing is...
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Wood from the Trees

So large technology companies look at what we reveal about ourselves and use it for their gain?  I’m trying the opposite, looking at what companies reveal about themselves…and trying to use it for my own gain.  Analysing the text of company financial statements, maybe there are patterns and relationships, not obvious at first glance – but valuable signals that text...
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Those who fear a loss

But those who speak know nothing And find out to their cost Like those who curse their luck in too many places And those who fear a loss – Sting, Shape of my Heart   Most people can accept that quantum physics is uncertain.  But I’ve been trying to explain finance to someone who is an electronics engineer.  He doesn’t...
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Seasonal thoughts on Goodwill

Tis the season of goodwill.  As it happens I am reading a book on Goodwill – not the goodwill of everyday usage, but accounting and economic Goodwill.  Capitalism without Capital by Jonathan Haskel  ,‎ Stian Westlake   I have found Goodwill fascinating ever since I read Buffett’s 1983 essay on Goodwill and balance sheet accounting.  It’s a little bit of a departure from my attempts...
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