Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alfidi Capital Is All About Analysis

I socialize extensively in the San Francisco Bay Area.  In the last couple of years I've had a hard time explaining myself when people walk up to me in person and ask me what I'm all about.  I often default to saying "I'm a blogger," but I've realized lately that's a suboptimal answer.

I blog a lot but that's not all that I do.  My two blogs are a means for communicating my original thinking.  I publish longer research pieces, most of which are pretty darn hilarious.  Most bloggers shy away from longer reports, so "blogging" can't be my only professional function.

I hesitate to call myself a "writer" because that begs a categorization that may not be appropriate.  Writing is the main thing that I do, and I'd like to make it the only thing I do at some point.  I just need to get away from people more often once networking ceases to be useful to me.

I do not believe I can call myself a "journalist" because that profession is supposed to be objective.  Journalists aren't normally supposed to take sides or inject their personal opinions, but I do that all the time. Journalists also don't publish graphics, presentations, or spreadsheets.  I publish those tools to illustrate my thinking about serious subjects.  I approach my work from an academic perspective because I like developing new theoretical approaches.  Journalists typically don't publish frameworks for experiments.

I am definitely an "investor" but saying that as an introduction sometimes prompts people to ask me whether I work with other investors.  I then have to reiterate the things I disclose in my FAQ and legal disclaimers.  I don't work with anyone, except when I invest my own money and time in a private company.  I don't take on outside investments from clients.  I don't arrange deals or take pieces of transactions.  I don't make any recommendations.  Once I convince people that I invest only for myself, some hustler will usually try to sell me something.  That kind of irritation is why I want to do less networking and more writing.

One more intriguing description I could adopt is "content curator," but I think that's premature.  This new profession applies to people who curate content for other organizations that become their clients.  Large enterprises employ content curators along with their webmasters to ensure their brand story is consistent across multiple product lines and geographies.  I only curate content that I generate myself.  I retain complete ownership of everything I create.  My storage needs are limited; my branding is straightforward.  Content curation gets the Alfidi Capital message out but I cannot and will not perform that role for anyone else.  I have a strict no-client business model.  I will never curate someone else's content.

I think the best description for what I do is "analyst."  That word encompasses blogging, writing, journalistic editorializing, investing, and content curation.  I do some aspects of all of those things and mix them up as I please.  Identifying as an analyst also does not preclude public speaking engagements.  I like being on stage in front of a crowd and more professional events are asking me to speak than ever before.

Analysts who work for enterprises that sell regulated financial products must hold securities registrations.  My analytical work does not sell any securities products at all.  Any representations on behalf of Alfidi Capital are my own thinking about where my own money belongs in the world.  Other investors' situations are of no interest to me because no one can invest with me.  The great thing about proprietary analytical work is that it doesn't have to be useful to anyone but myself.  The public cannot regard my analytical work as financial advice because I don't sell securities or maintain fiduciary relationships.   Others may find my work intriguing, and thanks to the First Amendment they are free to read it.

My Twitter header now leads with "analyst" instead of "blogger" and I'll make more such changes to my social media presence as I see fit.  I liked getting straight A's in school and I succeeded at that much of the time.  Just call me triple-A . . . Anthony "Analyst" Alfidi.  I'll try that line out at cocktail parties to see if people grok it faster than the other terms I mentioned above.