It’s what I call The Great Reshuffle: skillsets designed for the physical world are moving in to the digital world…..time, space and geography are collapsing
Jim O’Shaughnessey, Chairman & CIO of O’Shaughnessey Asset Management
Scriber - the new infrastructure of investment information
We have just launched the operational version of Scriber - https://scriber.to/ - which has been in open beta since the end of March. Before launch Scriber has attracted 500 writers who are already delivering their own unique insights to circa 150,000 of their own subscribers via Scriber’s tech. From today they and any new user will not just be able to create professional emails, web-presence and a structured way to share insights through social channels, but also introduce a paywall and get paid for their work.
Scriber gives experts the ability to set up and grow their own subscription businesses, giving anyone who needs it access to their expertise for a fee. Financial information and insight is no longer trapped in the opaque world of traditional finance or on systems that most people have never heard of and do not have access to. By the same token even the investment professionals who do have access to those systems are increasingly separated from new markets and have less access to research than they used to: a combination of changing market dynamics, regulation and costs has meant that there is less research and analysis available at a time when the investment universe is in fact expanding: fintech, biotech, crypto and DeFi, deep dives on companies and the complex of opportunities and risks in sustainability, climate and ESG.
That is the gap that Scriber will close. It dramatically lowers the access point to high-end expertise for the new class of semi-professional and retail investor and gives greater range and diversity of analysis to investment professionals, everywhere.
The Power of Ideas
Humans are good with ideas. We use concepts that are entirely fictional to create reality and drive civilization and our lives: money, ownership, contracts, qualifications, jobs, pensions, insurance and laws - the components that hold together society - are all human fictions. So powerful are these concepts that they start to feel very real to us all: a friend challenged me on this point, and I reminded her that there are plenty of places in the world now - and of course in the past - where humans abound but none of these concepts exist (at least not in a way that most of us would recognize).
Humans used to transmit ideas and information with speech, stories, songs, drawing and writing. Each step in technology increases the potency of ideas: the creation of the mechanical printing press by Gutenberg in 1450 (movable type printing had be pioneered in China long before that), revolutionized the transmission of ideas and information and paved the way for the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution: because the printed word does not just facilitate the transmission of ideas and information through space, and the words of the author through time, it also allows the rapid, mass multiplication of ideas and duplication of information. The revolution in ideas preceded the revolution in industry.
However, the means of creating publications was expensive and controlled by companies and institutions, who charge for access to information and decide what to pay the writers and experts. In the new digital era, we can not just separate ourselves from the shackles of physical paper, or closed tech systems, we can liberate expertise and insights from people outside a big franchise platform - former and aspiring professionals and subject matter experts: no one to edit you out, not select you for a role, or tell you what to write. We can all be judged on what we do, and the value we create with greater transparency than every before. That is what Scriber is for.
Turning Thoughts in to Dollars
The digital revolution of the 21st Century means that anyone, anywhere with expertise and ideas can be accessed by anyone else, anywhere else, at any time who is searching for information or ideas. I am writing this on a machine no bigger than a medium sized book, sitting at the kitchen table of a cottage in the rural UK - the sun is shining, sheep are bleating in the field next door and a dog is asleep at my feet - and you, dear reader, are reading it on email, the web or via social media, wherever you are. Technology has truly collapsed the time, space and geography gap between us.
As the erudite and eclectic Jim O’Shaughnessey pointed out “Bill Gates figured out a way to turn his thoughts in to billions and billions of dollars”. Scriber now let’s anyone, anywhere perform the same alchemy.