Information is Currency: The Secret to Building Financial Confidence and Making Money
The energy of our generation seems to be represented in a number of ways: an evolving and diverse culture, groundbreaking advancements in science and technology, social involvement in the face of political disenchantment, and the internet of things.
We have never been busier and more productive than today—we have also never been more anxious. What is it with the future that makes us reach for the highest of ambitions while compelling us to confront our deepest vulnerabilities?
Case in point: we have finally been able to make a landing on Mars, courtesy of NASA’s Curiosity Rover worth $2.5 billion. We have the capabilities to explore what’s beyond our reach, and magnificently so. Yet the same desire to discover what’s out there has become a double-edged sword, as this decade has seen us conquer not just space but regressively, other countries. This is evidenced by ongoing wars and deliberate choices made by governments to solve conflicts using tactical weapons of mass destruction.
Case in point: we are connected with one another through social media that has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. We have improved and opened further arenas for discussion, enabling people to cultivate meaningful relationships, and allowing companies to have a human face. Nevertheless, our eagerness to share something of ourselves has also encouraged larger, nefarious entities to gain access to our privacy, turning the personal into byproducts of intrusion.
It is but a fact to say that the moment we live in now is fraught with the tension of the opposites. A hat tip to Charles Dickens, because what he wrote in A Tale of Two Cities more than a century ago still holds true: we have nothing and everything before us. Yes, it is the worst of times, and yes, it is the best of times.
Finding success in a world that’s constantly being redefined
But let’s get down to business: how does one achieve something remarkable given the current financial and political climate? Whether you’re a multi-national brand or an entrepreneur, how do you get ahead in the game where everybody can be a player these days? After all, this is an era where anyone can turn a concept into reality simply by asking for other people’s money through online platforms such as Kickstarter. Is there room for the Next Big Thing, in a landscape already rife with Big Ideas?
The answer is, of course, a resounding yes.
Consider Oculus VR, who first raised money on its own before it was eventually bought by Facebook for $2 billion, according to Bloomberg Business. At the onset, a simple Kickstarter campaign featuring a virtual reality headset seemed like the best approach in raising awareness about it.
However, in hindsight, rewards-based crowdfunding is not necessarily the right fit for some startups—especially for promising hardware that would eventually turn into a very viable business. If anything, it only serves as a gateway to prove that a product is marketable. It is a way to sell an idea to the public, with venture capital and angel investing still as the main goal, particularly when consumer demand rises.
Upon learning of Oculus’ technological feats, Mark Zuckerberg wasted no time in acquiring the company: “Oculus’ mission is to enable you to experience the impossible…Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together.”
A similar scenario is true for personal wealth and finance: choosing the right tools and keeping abreast with the latest in your industry of interest is crucial. Knowledge is, indeed, power and information is a currency that must perpetually be replenished.
Weighing the opportunity cost
As we get wind of new ways to learn about things that are important to us, we slowly come to realize our own limitations in absorbing details. We are but vessels helmed by time and circumstance, and chances are we won’t be able to appreciate it all. As Linda Holmes wrote in NPR: “The sad, beautiful fact [is] that we’re all going to miss almost everything.”
She continues: “You can hit the highlights, and you can specialize enough to become knowledgeable in some things, but most of what’s out there, you’ll have to ignore…You used to have a limited number of reasonably practical choices presented to you…Now, everything gets dropped into our laps, and there are really only two responses if you want to feel like you’re well-read, or well-versed in music, or whatever the case may be: culling and surrender.”
It’s sound advice: by having a clear focus on what we want to obtain, we would be in a better position to actually receive them. Hence, someone who has a stake in numismatics might read CoinWeek while also keeping an eye out for news about precious metals. He or she might not be subscribed to, say, updates from CNN. But that is the opportunity cost of culling—you choose one over the other and align it with similar topics to feed the mind.
In praise of financial content curation
The innovative power of digital delivery networks has paved the way for us to customize the content that we want to consume on a daily basis. We started with RSS feed readers, where we can subscribe to websites and blogs we want to follow. Eventually, the practice crossed over to different kinds of media—we use iTunes playlists for music, YouTube playlists for videos, Pinterest for saving images we find curious, Tumblr for reblogging posts, and Pocket for long-form articles, among others.
Too, social consumption has become more widespread with the emergence of smart devices. Content scarcity is a thing of the past. Content curation, on the other hand, is fast becoming the norm. And it’s not just an exercise that’s exclusive to any critic or expert of a certain field—users also have the power to become their own tastemakers. Put enough people together to talk about the same issue at a given time, and it will lead to newsworthiness, perhaps even become a trending topic.
Michael Rosenblum, a video producer and journalist, spoke about the role of technology at the recent Mobile Journalism Conference in Dublin. He said that curation is at the core of reporting, and that “the old model of the media, ‘we make it, you watch it’ needs to change to allow for more participation.”
One company at the forefront of financial journalism, and is currently seeking to provide information that matters, is Born2Invest. Unleashing information out into the world is only half the story: the next step is reaching the right audience, and the London-based marketing firm aims to be that bridge.
More readers are turning to the internet for fiscal or economic insights—whether it’s to improve their credit, learn how to budget, or get to know a company before buying shares. There is an opportunity to capture that niche, and what perfect time than now? Investors, CEOs, impresarios, and just about anyone interested in making money are always on the lookout for updates from the financial market. With the Born2Invest mobile app, users can access trusted and relevant business news right at their fingertips.
In a sea of financial entropy, almost everything is noise. This is why the team of journalists working behind the app actively winnow generally insignificant data in order for the essential to be front and center. All articles included and curated are interesting and helpful, and span numerous industries, such as mining, biotech, and alternative investing, to name a few.
Naturally, one size does not fit all—but much effort was put into getting the best financial content sources, such as Business Insider and Reuters. There are also in-app editorial pieces not found anywhere
Available on Apple AppStore and Google Play Store, the Born2invest app is free—with more in-depth customization available to the users by letting them browse and choose what content they would like to see via a minimal design interface. Part of the company’s vision is to deliver multilingual articles in the succeeding months, taking into account the communities that make up the global financial market.
What’s next for personal finance and investment
Just as there are apps to manage information and content, there are other tools, too, that aim to make everyday a little easier. Some givens: payment systems such as Google Wallet, Apple’s Passbook, PayPal, and Square Wallet, which have been instrumental in the way people do their business. The future is becoming increasingly mobile—small screen versions of our errands have undeniably become necessities instead of just afterthoughts.
You can trade in your bedroom, or follow equity quotes on the go, thanks to real-time updates and location-based notifications. Tracking your expenses, as well as sending billing invoices to clients can also be done on your phone, while simulating the stock market or organizing your portfolio is simply a matter of a few finger taps.
In Dickens’ David Copperfield, the infamous Mr. Micawber stands by his idea of what, possibly, the economics of life is: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds naught and six, result misery.” That is, spend less than you earn, and it will guarantee you some measure of prosperity.
A simple principle, and yet, as evidenced by Mr. Micawber himself, there prove to be some challenges in living by this rule. Situations are not often ideal, nor comfortable. But the here and now is a good time as any to try. Making money, landing funding, or simply having enough financial confidence to move forward is exceptionally attainable, given the possibilities that surround us today. One must simply know where to look—better yet, one must know how to be in the presence of potential, and grab the opportunity once it has introduced itself.