Currency Thoughts Passes Fifth Anniversary
April 8, 2013
The first two postings on this blog, My Background and Analytical Philosophy, were screened on April 8, 2008. The site now has 4,307 articles and over 2.279 million words, which is large enough to envelope four copies of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The inspiration for the blog came from a phone call several weeks beforehand informing me that the Treasury market and foreign exchange advisory service for which I had worked nineteen years was closing down all international content as a cost-saving move. Reverting to a U.S. domestic market service didn’t succeed, and the corporation that had acquired Ried Thunberg in 2004 eventually closed down the whole operation.
Be that as it may, the United States by April 2008 and many other developed economies were in a recession that would snowball rapidly a few months later. It was obvious that long-term unemployment would become a problem on a scale not seen in my lifetime, and I launched Currency Thoughts to get a portfolio of my work into the public domain showcasing my knowledge of financial market behavior, central bank policymaking, macroeconomic trends, foreign exchange market history, and all relevant institutional factors affecting the pricing of currencies and interest rates. Currency Thoughts was a natural and portable vehicle for exhibiting my work. It was for sale if the right bid came along.
A colleague from my graduate school days at Columbia, who at an earlier age made the transition from employee to self-employed consultant and back again to employee warned me that this shift was very difficult for a macro-economist and gave me the following piece of advice. If after five years, one isn’t covering costs, making a suitable profit, and leaving oneself sufficient time away from the computer screen, it would be time to call it quits.
The first five years of Currency Thoughts have yielded a few important lessons. Here are five.
- All the information I need is freely available on the Internet. Paying Reuters or Bloomberg a bunch of money as my former employer had each month was an enormous waste. This revelation was a two-edged sword, however. While I could get all the input I needed for free, potential buyers of Currency Thoughts also have a wide range of other places to get currency market guidance at no cost.
- This kind of niche service doesn’t pay. Currency Thoughts isn’t selling trading suggestions. It’s a reference for macro-economic and political information upon which trades are based, but that’s not a readily marketable product. A loyal readership exists, but daily traffic is not great enough to generate meaningful ad income.
- I get many propositions for arrangements promising more traffic and thereby income from on-line currency trading schools and platforms, search engine optimizers, site aggregators that want to carry my articles, and other writers wanting to post articles they’ve written on my site. What all these proposals have in common is a lack of cash compensation in return for whatever the solicitor wants from Currency Thoughts.
- Most of the comments left on Currency Thoughts are planted ads for some other web site. Such comments have nothing to do with the theme of the article on which they are left.
- Currency Thoughts has offered me an incredible yet frightening insight into the labor market problems afflicting developed economies. The education doesn’t exist at any price that can prepare a whole population for gainful employment 10, 20, 30 or 40 years after the last class is taken, and not enough people are endowed with the intellect that it will take to fill available job openings. Barring a population-shrinking catastrophe, long-term unemployment and under-employment are not going to be reabsorbed, not in the next generation at least.
The Currency Thoughts experiment has a happy ending, nonetheless. Foreign exchange market analysis is in my blood, and I do enjoy the always-changing challenges that are presented. If I needed my old income, I would heed my friend’s advice, and this would be the final post of this blog. However, five years have also disciplined me to make adjustments as a consumer, and I’ve learned that the classic work-for-pay concept is more discretionary than generally realized, and it lessens as one moves beyond parenthood.
So the band will play on for those who’ve enjoyed the song selection. Currency Thoughts is no longer for sale in an arrangement that would lock me into delivering a steady stream of content. However, the copyrighted material embedded publicly now in my archives are for sale to a private buyer should the offered price be right. As time goes by, I expect the flow of new content on Currency Thoughts to become more erratic. There will be more times when this store is closed for lunch, and the breadth of coverage — e.g., the weekly foreign exchange insights essay and the number of central banks whose policy meetings get reviewed — will be modified from time to time. I’ll be more open than before to assessing the blog. When Currency Thoughts is no longer fun, I’ll say enough is enough and sign off.
To those who’ve been repeat visitors, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. There’s a lot of ways to spend one’s time and a lot of competing financial market blogs. Your loyalty to Currency Thoughts is greatly appreciated.
Copyright 2013, Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. No secondary distribution without express permission.