My name is Izabella Kaminska. You may know me as the former editor of the FT’s finance and markets blog FT Alphaville. Or simply as Izzy.
I’ve loved my time at the Financial Times. It was truly an honour to learn my craft at such an illustrious organisation. But after 13 years, it’s time for a change. Forces beyond the control of any single editor, journalist or even publication are constraining the capacity of large — often mainstream — organisations to think critically or creatively about storytelling. Innovation is being stifled by strange centralising forces that dare not question consensus. That’s no good in markets or finance. Asset prices don’t care about taboos, feelings or sensitivities. They care about how perceptions square up against reality.
Today I’m launching The Blind Spot, a financial media service that aims to shine a light on stories being missed by the wider journalistic pack. I’ve thought about this a lot, for a long time. It’s a scary and financially precarious undertaking. But, journalistically, it actually makes sense. For one thing, it will help me better understand the pressure founders and business leaders are under. How and why good intentions in business get corrupted. How frequently pitfalls accompany successes. This in turn will make me a better and more responsible financial journalist. It will also make for a very good story.
If things shape up as planned, The Blind Spot will be part-one of a stupidly ambitious two-part mega plan aimed at reconfiguring how information is organised on the internet so that trust can start to be rebuilt online. If things don’t shape up as planned, at least I can say I tried.
Okay, but how is this different?
In the first instance I want The Blind Spot to be more than just another solo journalistic venture. With your backing and support I hope to grow the offering to become an indispensable daily service that includes a small team of top grade consensus-challenging writers who are serious about finance and media, but also know how to have a laugh.
The truly innovative thing about The Blind Spot will be the fact that we can and hopefully will build it together.
With the backing of an energetic community of participants, I believe we can cultivate a unique and creative digital service that will not only offer valuable insight about markets, finance and media — and anything else that’s relevant to the investor community — but also forge an engaged community that can work together to get ahead of the mainstream press.
The beauty of building this organically is that we can create the media organisation we all deserve, with readers as key participants and beneficiaries of the process.
I have a small armada of top-quality collaborators, journalistic names, developers, as well as fresh talent, waiting in the wings to join me.
Many of these names can’t make the leap to independent writing until they can be sure the demand for their content is there. But I know if I build it they will come.
Some might call this a Web3 evolution. Others might call it drawing on the power of communities. Whatever it is, it is different. The Blind Spot will allow us to iterate and evolve the product together so that we can serve our readers, not talk down to them. It will also help us experiment with new monetisation systems, templates and formats. I’m starting on WordPress but that doesn’t have to be our home forever.
I’ve put my name, reputation and livelihood on the line to do this because I believe that strongly that a new ‘values-centred’ journalistic model is needed to help fix not just journalism but sense-making in the digital age. Unlike some other media names venturing into pastures entrepreneurial, I’m doing this without “funding secured” from any mysterious deep-pocketed backers. For now this is an entirely independent and self funded project.
I’ve never done business before so in the early days I ask for your patience. I also shamelessly ask for your support. It’s a big ask, I know. But hey, it wasn’t me who normalised the concept of the pre-sale.
A subscription at this point should be considered more of a preview of what’s to come than anything resembling the finished product. Getting to where I want to end up will require investment. In the interim, you will still benefit from rough-cut previews to all my top scoops and analysis, but with the added bonus of ‘dyslexic mind’ generated typos thrown in for free (at least until I can afford an editor).
Okay, but what can I really expect at launch?
A largely individually-crafted offering anchored by clear-cut editorial values, among which transparency will be key. That’s why I’m telling you now the early days will lack the professionalism of a scaled up editorial service. Scaling matters. We don’t have it. But hopefully we will do soon. In the interim our newsletter email will be posted on an “as it happens” basis. You can sign up at the bottom of the landing page.
What can you expect when The Blind Spot reaches Pareto efficiency?
A small, nimble team of reporters made up of already established names, others less so, but all immensely talented and handpicked by me. Robust admin and developer support; and, most important, a more substantial legal cover arrangement.
Yeah, but what about the content?
Hopefully it’s gonna look like this:
A daily blog which will offer opinion-led news coverage of financial, business and media affairs — pivoting into other sectors as and when global developments demand it. It will be responsive, it will be thoughtful, it will be analytical. It will scrutinize and take a position — while hopefully remaining fair, accurate and insightful. [It’s free if you don’t mind ads.]
A premium deep-dive service focused on specific news developments. Spotlights will shine a serialised light on stories, geographies, sectors or mega trends that are not yet resonating more widely but should be. They will be the best way to get caught up on the blind spots you didn’t even know you had. [It’s free if you don’t mind a delay. Or in real-time if any specific themes attract a dedicated non-value-compromising sponsor.]
Themed aggregation delivered via group chats. We love keeping a tab on what the rest of the world is thinking and reporting but managing and curating linkfests can be a time-intensive exercise. If you join our curated messenger chats, we’ll keep them tidy and well disciplined. And on point. We’re interested in hearing feedback on where these should be hosted. Telegram, Discord or perhaps somewhere else? If you’re interested or have opinions please email me on [email protected] or pop over to the pre-existing Blind Spot development chat on Telegram. [It’s free.]
The Daily Blind Spot
Snippets of everything that’s happened in the past 24 hours on The Blind Spot emailed to your inbox. Sign up here to start receiving a skeleton service now. [It’s free.]
The Blind Spot Podcast
Just like Mulder and Scully, one host is a believer and the other is a sceptic. They don’t always agree but they sure as hell have fun probing stories or interviewing guests that even Joe Rogan and Russell Brand won’t touch because they don’t understand how eurodollar-funded repo markets are connected to everything. My mystery co-host will be revealed shortly. [It’s free, sign up to our YouTube channel here.]
Spot Market Super Chat
We’re teaming up with former traders and finance pros who know what’s what to get you live commentary about the markets during market time or high interest events (think central bank announcements, earnings, briefings and speeches). Think of this like a vetted discord channel or live reaction video. They won’t be trading anything but their reputations – so there’s no conflict. But they will be marking their fantasy positions to market routinely just to keep themselves on their toes. Expect banter. Expect redacted transcripts. [We’re going to experiment with the most brutally capitalistic digital model out there – The YouTube Super $$ Chat. Sign up to our YouTube channel to help us meet the 1,000 subscriber threshold to get going.]
In today’s media structure, no single journalist or news desk has the capacity to screen all relevant info that sits in the public domain. This is why stories like the lab leak theory go unreported for longer than they should. The crowd has scale and reach journalists alone will never have.
Even so, depending too much on crowds comes with its own problems. Things don’t get verified. Too many assumptions are made. The accused or impacted don’t get to explain their side of the story. At The Blind Spot we believe the only way to stay ahead on major investigations will be to marry the wisdom of curated crowds with the high-touch quality control of honourable and experienced journalists.
Open Spot will draw on the power of slimly vetted communities to flag and elevate information that is already “out there”, but whose importance hasn’t yet been properly processed by the market. By tying the crowd’s ability to screen large amounts of publicly available data with journalists’ proven track record to properly confirm or deny leads, we will be able to create a new type of scaled-up journalism that has the capacity to push investigations to the next level. To achieve this we will be forging an interactive members zone. More on this shortly.
The Blind Side
As one long-time mentor put it to me, every now and then my writing style goes a little Carrie Bradshaw. Not everyone’s a fan of these more reflective and whimsical takes (even if the substance remains grounded in finance, economics or history) so I’ve decided to park them, whether they come from me or other writers, in a dedicated ‘speculation zone’ with opt out potential.
And that, dear readers, is the long and short of it for now.
We will be launching our subscription plans shortly. These will include monthly and yearly plans for premium content, as well as a one-off payment for a perpetual life-long subscription for those who fancy giving us a bit of support or taking a punt on the long-term sustainability of our model. The latter will be fully transferable for a small fee. But no, we won’t be putting the contracts on the blockchain. (Though if you really insist we can strike them as founder member NFTs just for the giggles.)
All sub packages will go live on Monday, February 7.
For more about Part Two of our master plan stay tuned.
In the meantime do support our YouTube channel (so that we can achieve the 1000 subscriber threshold to get the market super chats going). New content is on its way. In the meantime, first one to spot the purposefully placed subliminal in this Blind Spot production wins the actual crampons I got given by the WEF when I was somehow accidentally invited to the meeting in 2016.
(A Blind Spot production)
See you on the other side. Expect more updates (and a bunch of stories) imminently. And if you’re keen to help or get involved, email me directly. And, of course, do spread the word. In these early days, we could do with the clicks and the sign-ups.