Thursday, 21 February 2013

My first crowdfunding campaign! Help me start a school for financial activism

I've taken a leap into the world of crowdfunding this week as I launch my first Indiegogo campaign. I'm aiming to raise seed funding for a London-based School of Financial Activism. Please do click on the link to take a look at the campaign, and if you feel inspired, I'd love for you to contribute to it!

As I've already mentioned in a previous post, I've got a book on the financial system coming out called The Heretic's Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money. I want to launch the School of Financial Activism as a way to build on themes I've developed in the book, and to help everyday people grapple with and challenge the financial sector. As a reward for contributing, I'm offering four uber-cool limited edition series of the book, as follows:
  • The Junior Trader series: 100 softcovers, signed and delivered
  • The Hardass Cityboys: 25 hardcovers, one for each of the 25 wards of the City of London, along with a discount voucher for the school of financial activism
  • The Hedge Fund Gamblers: 5 hardcovers, with a special gift, and a voucher for the future courses at the school
  • The Three Hackers: 3 hardcovers with bespoke covers, and a voucher for the future courses at the school
Of course, if you contribute you also get the pleasure of knowing that you've helped me start an awesome educational initiative. If you're hard up for cash, no worries - you can also help out by simply spreading the campaign around on Twitter, Facebook and Email. You can use the following link

I'll keep you posted on how the campaign goes. Please help me make it a success! Please do post suggestions for both the crowdfunding campaign, and the course, in the comments section below. Cheers

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Tools for financial education: Stockmarket Pearltrees

I've been experimenting with Pearltrees as a tool for financial education. If you've never used Pearltrees before, it's a cool technology for arranging information, sites and other media into organisational trees. I used it in my last post on Goldman Sachs to show how the company is arranged, and this week I've been experimenting with it as a tool to visually represent the FTSE 100 index. The FTSE 100 is an index of the 100 largest publicly-listed companies in the UK, constituting a major chunk of the UK economy. You can explore the Pearltree in the box below, but for greater functionality, go direct to it here.

FTSE 100 and Food Producers / Support Services / Mining in Mega-Indices / (suitpossum)

Click on the various pearls to explore the diagram. Clicking on an individual company launches a pop-up window with information. As you can see, it's a pretty simple and intuitive way to present an otherwise abstract list of companies, allowing you to hone in on the various industry sectors (note how dominant finance and mining companies are in the FTSE), and to get easy access to company wikipedia pages and websites.

Forthcoming attractions
I'm going to create more Pearltrees for other major global stockmarket indices. It takes a bit of time to create each one, so I've drawn up a list below of the indices that I want to target, and then as I create the Pearltrees I'll fill the links in.

1) The Dow Jones Industrial: Almost complete here
2) The Hang Seng Index (Hong Kong)
3) The CAC 40 (French)
4) The Dax (German)
5) Sensex 30 (Indian)
6) The IBEX 35 (Spanish)
7) The Nikkei 225 (Japanese)
8) The S&P / TSX 60 (Canadian)
9) Bolsa IPC (Mexican)
10) FTSE/JSE Top40 (South African)
11) CSI 300 (Chinese)
12) Bovespa (Brazilian)

On the other hand, it is possible that I will grow bored of creating Pearltrees out of the world's most powerful companies. Maybe I'll get an intern to do the rest, or a kindly team of volunteers. If you know of any other cool ways of visualising massive stock indices please let me know - Pearltrees has its limitations and I'm interested to find other tools. Hope you find this useful.