Home 2022-02-06 Stuff

2022-02-06 Stuff

This week has a theme: Looking at the beast. It follows how to do journalism in 2022, what asset manager capitalism is, and how you scrape twitter.

Kaminska off-balance sheet

Izabella Kaminska left the Financial Times and now runs her own media venture »The Blindspot«. With her own enterprise she aims twofold: First, figure out how media works by having your own media outlet. And second, being able to push the limits of group think.

In the journalistic field, being innovative means figuring out what uncomfortable realities should warrant investigations and which should not. It also means standing up to consensus and pushing ahead on stories that the evidence implies there is something to, even if doing so is unpopular. Other times it just means finding more compelling media or mechanisms to bring the stories to market.

She also went to do a Reddit AMA, apparently also to simply advertise her new outlet. On it, I enjoyed to read her arguments of »always going against the wind, to be opinionally countercyclical«.

With regards to journalism, I found her take on being fresh and new quite enlightening.

If I publish something and it is clearly proven to be wrong or lacking the consideration of a key point, it’s important to be transparent, admit the mistake, correct it and move wrong.

We are all human so mistakes will happen. I think your readers are forgiving providing you are transparent.

This is often the case with new topics that you are only beginning to cover. But it’s also important to be a journalistic newbie in my opinion. Having a fresh perspective is important. There is a fine balance between expertise and freshness. Expert journal can go native in the sectors they cover. Their sources become their friends. They fear upsetting people or burning bridges. So you need a continuous shake up and moving into news sectors you know less about is usually quite good for that, but you can make early mistakes as you familiarise yourself with the markets.

Blyth on Braun

Mark Blyth gave a 20 minute lecture on Ben Braun’s work asset manager capitalism (AMC). His introduction on how Ben’s work brings the intellectual shift in political science and sociology after 2008 to a new hight very much resonated. Three points to take away: 1) AMC holds societies hostage over the climate crisis, bringing an unjust future, 2) AMC displays a shift of power to the top 1% because of asset proliferation and risk diffusion to the public, and 3) AMC signals solely wealth preservation and I cannot stop thinking of the Hunger Games.

  1. Blackrock’s Larry Fink’s short squeeze, expecting the public balance sheet to take on all risks; So as Blyth says: »Economic transition but you can forget about all the just part.«
  2. US households as shareholders may be the owners of companies. But looking at the numbers it is precisely the top 1% who own at least 50% of all the shares and the asset managers are their agents. And through ever more ETF issuance on the same underlying collateral, they create more assets for this class »at the cost of creating systemic risk for everybody else.« This is the rise of passive investment takes away the “big pocket investors” (Mehrling), nobody provides an outside spread, but the state/central bank.
  3. For Blyth the biggest takeaway is, that the entrepeneurial function of capitalism is gone. The new paradigma is wealth preservation because shares are assets to generate fees (for asset managers).

Twitter download w/o API

HN brought to my attention the possibility to mine twitter data without the use of APIs. Someone linked their GUI Tweetfeast. Others suggested to use the Python option Twit, but I’ve got to admit I don’t know if my pip is actually up and running or not. I’m just glad to have sorted out my Ruby this week.

This site

Managed to get this page up and running on https://nullnein.onrender.com/. Happy to share the config soon. Still some stuff to do but learning the whole jekyll game.

Artists’ self-preoccupation

Die chinesische haute couture Designerin Guo Pei sagt im Zeit Magazin Nr. 6, 3.2.2022:

Haben Sie sich in den vergangenen Jahren viel mit anderen Couturiers in Paris ausgetauscht?

Nicht wirklich. […] Am letzten Abend der Fashion week gibt es ein Dinner, das die Couuture-Kammer veranstaltet. Da sagt man sich kurz Hallo.

Nicht mehr?

Nein. Jeder von uns hat als Künstler bereits seine eigene Welt geschaffen, die so reich ist, dass man sie nicht mehr verlassen will. Wenn du jung bist, stehst du noch in einem leeren Raum, den du mit Dingen von außen füllen willst. Unsere Welt quillt dagegen schon über, der eine Designer hat seine Ideen, ich habe meine, weder ist er auf meine neugierig noch ich auf seine. Mehr als ein Hallo ist nicht nötig.

Im engen Kontrast lese ich Heimo Schlinks Hesse Biographie und von Hesses Obsession und kleinteiliger Korrespondenz mit seiner Leserschaft, seinem Austausch mit Hugo Ball, Mann, seinen Briefwechseln mit Frauen und Freunden. Und dennoch scheint auch Hesse mit dieser Einzigartigkeit seines Seins zu spielen, diese geradezu zur Kunstform zu erheben. All sein Schreiben ist doch Auseinandersetzung mit seiner Person und Schlink schließt sogar, dass Hesses Leiden selbstgewählt ist, um dieses Schreiben erst zu ermöglichen.