Fireside 2.1 (https://fireside.fm) FigCast Blog https://footballindexguidepodcast.fireside.fm/articles Fri, 23 Apr 2021 10:30:00 -0400 FigCast Blog en-gb Further Updates From Me https://footballindexguidepodcast.fireside.fm/articles/update Fri, 23 Apr 2021 10:30:00 -0400 Pet@duxmedia.co.uk cef943f9-0edb-4511-aa93-61f7bda05882 A quick update on me and what I'm doing The last piece of communication from me was really tough to write. It was even tougher doing a spoken word version on the podcast, as you may have noticed from the jitters in my words and my voice breaking more than a 12 year old boy.

Since that piece we’ve seen a load of development in the Football Index situation. A combination of FI Action, Matt Zarb-Cousin and former FI users have shown how easy it is to create momentum in something important when you combine intelligence, passion, meticulousness and hard work - something that we never really saw from Football Index as a company unfortunately. I hope all of those responsible for what has happened are held to account and that includes regulatory bodies who have overseen what has already been described as the biggest failure in gambling history. Although I’m not a ‘direct’ member of FI Action they’ve had my unreserved support and I’ve helped wherever I can. I will continue to do so wherever I can and use FIG as a conduit of information for my followers for the foreseeable future. The podcast with LD, Matt & ASP I hope helped answer some questions but also showed you that the work that is being done by these parties is to try and help those impacted as much as possible.

FIG has been a huge part of my professional life since October 2017. Something that started out as a thing I hoped to one day point at in my resume during an interview quickly gained a life of its own. Honestly this was something that some of my friends at uni laughed at when I started, so to see it get this far is something I’m very proud of. I mean, some of my friends on twitter and in real life still laugh - but that’s beside the point. In May 2020 I decided to make FIG a focal point of my time, taking up around 60-80% of my day to day alongside other projects and some consultancy work. Therefore you can imagine how devastating both personally and professionally the last 6-8 weeks have been. Whether it be monetarily, emotionally or otherwise it's been a very difficult couple of months.

Since the unraveling of FI I’ve had a lot of people reach out in a variety of sectors to see if there’s opportunities to work together. That’s only possible because of the amazing support I’ve had from all of you over the years. I can’t really put into words how grateful I am for that...so I won’t try! Considering FIG was built primarily around my voice and (formerly) my face, I think I have a responsibility to be totally honest and transparent with what I’m doing next so that it’s not a surprise when you hear ‘wel-cum back’ somewhere else!

At the beginning of 2021 after about 7 months of renegotiating my affiliate deal with Football Index, I felt that I was not being appropriately valued or appreciated. I decided that it would be best for me to reduce the time I was spending on FIG as a result, to about 30-40% of my day to day. This was a really big decision for me, but there’s a bottom line for everything and I felt like I just couldn’t let more opportunities pass me up whilst simultaneously being undervalued by the platform I was making content about. For example, in the past - I’d rejected serious job offers from industry competitors, basically because I believed in Football Index more and felt FIG had a big future as long term companion content. Some of these opportunities have come around at the start of the year, some of them have come out since FI has gone into administration. All of them have come about due to the success of FIG which I attribute solely to the support you’ve all shown me over the years.

Sorare

Firstly, I want to clear up for anyone that would have seen some tweets floating around on twitter regarding my involvement or relationship with Sorare. I recognise that in the past platform loyalty was a big thing in our world and that for some, the idea of me working unannounced with what was perceived by some as a competitor to FI may not have felt right.

I’ve actually known about Sorare since 2019. I had a speaking engagement on podcasts at a VC’s startup campus who were invested in the product, and they sent me their way to have a look at them. It was peak Crypto bear winter and it only had a few leagues incorporated so I wasn’t sure whether this project would make the leap it clearly has done today. In early 2021 however I was put in touch by the same contact and quickly built a rapport with the folks at Sorare. It really excited me - Crypto and football. I became a user in Jan 2021 and those conversations with Sorare continued. Many of you will know through mentions on the show that I formerly produced one of the biggest blockchain/crypto podcasts in the world, so it’s an area I have great passion for.

Simultaneously a few good friends of mine were loving the product. So much so that they were keen to start creating content about the platform. Parallel to this, it was clear from my initial discussions with Sorare that there was mutual enthusiasm for me to create content.

Many of you will know the friends I mentioned above - Dunwell, Chef and K Brown - all of whom you will know started the SorareHub Brand. They asked me if I wanted to be part of it and that my skill set would be a great asset to the team and to be honest with you, I said yes pretty emphatically. This was something that I wouldn’t have even thought about this time last year, but my professional situation with FI was not progressing - and it felt remiss of me to continue leaving my personal and professional development in their hands. So as much as I’ve been in the background helping with certain things, I’ll have a much more hands on approach with the project going forward. They’re a great group to work with and it’s about something very exciting, in an incredibly exciting space. This is something I wanted to be transparent and honest with my followers about several weeks back, but I didn’t feel the timing was right considering the situation we all lived through from November 2020 to present.

With all that in mind I will also be starting a Sorare Guide brand. This brand will be the 4th quarter of Sorare Hub and I’m really excited to be getting my teeth stuck into creating content again. I’ll try my best to use the expertise I have in crypto to help people on their journeys and hopefully produce some great content on Sorare Guide and Sorare Hub. I want to make it clear that these are existing/new brands, and that FIG will remain as it is. I’m a relatively new user on Sorare so I will not proclaim to be an expert, but I’m hoping the skills I’ve developed in explaining complex things in a simple manner will help as many users as possible.

I’m not the only one who’s been severely impacted professionally by this however. Since the administration phase of Football Index I’ve had several conversations with those who have had businesses that were dedicated to the product. We were incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing ecosystem around us. IndexGain, Edge, FIT, Insights to name just a few - and that’s not even going into the twittersphere with the likes of Slasher McGurk, K Brown, Fresh Milk and so many more. I’ve been lucky enough to know many of those behind these as people and they’re all great folks. Dan and DCA from Index Gain are the two people I’ve built a long lasting professional relationship with that has definitely transcended FI in the past and will continue to do so. They have recently agreed to work with us at Sorare Hub to specialise in creating data tools for Sorare users. Working with them is something I’m amazingly excited about.

Fresh Arsenal

Many of you will have seen a recent announcement on my personal twitter about joining the Fresh Arsenal team. As you all well know I’m unfortunately a gooner. A passionate one at that and it pains me to see the way Arsenal are going right now. That being said, through Football Index I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Fresh Arsenal. Once again without FIG this would not have been possible, so it’s something I’m very grateful for. I’ll be helping them grow their podcast as a contributor, as well as helping them with reactive live stream content via twitter. It’s something I’m very excited about and something I’m already loving. For those of you who are gooners and would like to follow my journey there, please do so but know that I have an irrational hatred for Hector Bellerin.

Great British MiniFootball

Another opportunity that I’m very grateful to have come forth recently comes in the form of the Great British MiniFootball Union. This is basically the national team for 6 aside football. It’s pretty crazy that this is actually a thing, but look how seriously it’s taken in some countries.

I’ll be joining the union as ‘Director of Football’ or something like that, which sounds quite fancy but the reality of my role will be to market and commercialise the entity which we hope is going to be a resounding success in the UK. They have world cups, euros, u23s, etc. all for 6-aside with stadiums that fit thousands, which is pretty cool.

Pet&Pandacast

In my previous update on this subject I wrote:

“Over the past year, it’s been my absolute pleasure, honour and privilege to share the airwaves with Panda. It soon became my favourite thing to do on a weekly basis. In 2021 however, we really did struggle to put something out every Thursday as the chat became more about cats than it did about Football Index. On Sunday we did our last phone in show with ASP, and the reception to that was unbelievable. That will officially be the last FigCastExtra, even though it was published technically as a FigCast.

Panda and I have been touched by the amount of messages we’ve received regarding how the show has helped people over lockdown. I know more than anyone how intimate podcasts are. We are in your ears every week, and we’ve built a relationship with our listeners that transcends audio. For that alone, we are exploring the idea of creating a spin-off sports/talkshow/comedy(?) podcast that would be a similar format to what we’ve had with the FigCastExtra.

One of the tough things for me however is that it will be extremely difficult for us to do this without a sponsor, or without this being behind a paywall. I’ll be working hard to find something that works, but I want to set expectations and be honest - this may be a paid for weekly podcast down the line if there is enough demand._

If you folks have any feedback for us on how we can make this work, we’d love that. Any support is welcome and I’d personally love to continue sharing the airwaves with Panda if it’s feasible.

From the bottom of my heart, reading some of your messages regarding this show in particular have really got to me emotionally. I’ve tried to be strong in times of trouble, but hearing how much this show has helped people compartmentalise difficulties they’re having with real life has really touched me. I’m not a big crier, but writing this now and thinking about the messages I’ve received does make me feel like doing so. I understand that it’s an escape from real life, for some jovial nonsense (especially from Panda). For that alone I will do everything I humanly can to make this work in the near/distant future.”

All of the above is still true, especially the gratitude that we both have for your support over the last year. This is something we both would love to do but it’s not something that will happen immediately. The honest truth is that we both want to take some time out to concentrate on other things. Whether that be other projects, family, the pub - we hope that a break will mean we can come back stronger when we eventually hit the airwaves together once more. So watch this space.

Other

On top of all this, I’ll likely be doing some consultancy and advisory work for companies in the near future so keep your eyes out.

I just want to reiterate my gratitude to everyone who has been part of this journey with me. It’s been an absolute pleasure being in your ears every week and helping many with video content. Here’s hoping that there is some semblance of a good ending due to all the great work that FI Action are doing and I hope that we get to speak again soon.

If you’d like to follow my personal account on twitter, it is @petberisha - I mostly tweet about football, Arsenal, Crypto and sometimes memes. FIG will most definitely still be there to react to and discuss important ongoings regarding Football Index, but I will be spending less time there.

Best,
Pet

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Interviews: EJ: How Football Index Conquer Sports Betting https://footballindexguidepodcast.fireside.fm/articles/howfootballindexconquersportsbetting Thu, 17 Oct 2019 02:00:00 -0400 Pet@duxmedia.co.uk ad1178e0-ab93-4980-b0c4-3b6b805d62da EJ is one of the biggest investors on Football Index, and we did a blog post together 9 months ago. I was curious to hear his thoughts on Football Index since then, and he didn't dissapoint. Absolutely excellent blog, that I urge everyone to read! What’s your Football Index Journey been like so far?

It has been fantastic most of the time and deeply frustrating some of the time. The rewards and enjoyment from FI are second to none for me, it is the perfect mixture of the sport I love, gambling, investing and intellectually stimulating – there is normally always something happening. The frustration comes with the company not making the most of what they have as quickly/efficiently as I would like them to. They always learn from their mistakes eventually, but so many of the mistakes made are avoidable and it annoys me that they have to learn the hard way all too often. Overall it’s phenomenal though, it’s just many of us traders have such high expectations and we tend to forget the good parts of FI very quickly when we feel aggrieved at a particular issue.

Why did you decide to go big?

I saw the true potential of FI during the World Cup of 2018. I imagine most traders start small, see how it goes for a few months. Put a bit more in and then evaluate where they are after 12 months or so. It took me a while before I felt ready to put in big money, but watching the ticker and seeing all the positivity about FI during that summer convinced me that I needed to make my move. Seeing other big portfolios on Twitter and FIG’s podcast were also factors in convincing me.

Hotspur Index

If FI don't increase dividends significantly in next 6 months, will you leave?

I won’t leave if they don’t increase dividends significantly, but I will certainly evaluate my position and possibly downsize my investment if it’s a nominal increase as it tells me they are not thinking the way I hope they are. One of my frustrations with FI is that they are always playing catch up with what the market is telling them. I understand why this is, but FI really need to get ahead of the market now. Every time they have to react they lose clients and confidence, so I really hope that FI take this chance to put in place a dividend structure that means the market has to catch up to them. If they are sensible and really make a statement here then it will enable them to attract bigger fish, lock in existing traders and see growth rocket leading up to order books. If they penny pinch then it will be papering over obvious cracks and sends completely the wrong message at a crucial time. Ticking over is fine once you have done your growing, but this product is primed for a growth spurt now.

Rich

The dividend announcement today came on the heels of a noticeable market correction over the past couple of days. Do you think FI were reacting in anyway or at the very least brought the announcement forward to help adjust the markets course…

Yes they were reacting I have no doubt about it. They are almost always reacting and whilst there is nothing technically wrong with reacting, the key is how long it takes and how big the issue becomes until they react. I get the feeling that some traders know more about the market and can read the market more than FI themselves can at times. This isn’t surprising because FI are looking at things from a macro level so it takes time to build a picture. We traders as a collective identify weakness very quickly because we care about our personal investment much more than FI care about our personal investments, we spot opportunities and act because our money is on the line. They can’t trade, so they have to read the market to know what is wrong or what problems are close to emerging and it seems that it’s nobody’s job to do this at FI from a trader’s perspective.

FI can do all the marketing, customer service, key client management, tech support etc in the world but having somebody in a traders shoes at FI is a must, they need to live and breathe the product through the eyes of a trader. If they already have somebody responsible for this then I’m afraid they are not doing a good enough job. Many of the negative periods we encounter are avoidable. I’m not talking little drops on the FOOTIE specifically, but more about traders talking down the product for days on end. The best marketing for FI is word of mouth without a doubt, so they need to keep us happy as a collective to encourage one another and newcomers. When forums and social media are toxic, that is a recipe for disaster and there is absolutely no reason why we should have these frequent negative periods and counterproductive interactions.

FI are getting bigger and as they get bigger it means more staff with tighter job roles and therefore smaller windows to see through. The market is getting more complex and sophisticated as well, so FI really need to think about how quickly they nip issues in the bud. I want them to fulfil their potential as it means all of us should make more money. Haemorrhaging customers whilst they procrastinate is the opposite to this and is totally unnecessary. They have gotten away with it so far because of a lack of competition and a trader base that have largely made great money and had a good time doing it, they have earned a mistake or two but patience wears thin.

However, now competitors are emerging on the periphery, not all traders are making money and because of the nature of the way the Index works, a small ripple of discontent can turn into a tsunami very quickly. The fact that most of us have made good money relative to our investment is also a double edged sword, we have become used to it. More and more seasoned traders are heading to that promised land of ‘playing with profits’ and it doesn’t take much to scare other traders into thinking, ‘it’s been a nice ride but I’ll take my profits now’. Traders can get off the train whenever they like, but I think there is a long way to go yet, FI just need to be more persuasive in their argument to convince traders their money is safe and will grow longer term.

Personally I have been increasing my investment rather than taking profits, simply because I think there is so much more room for FI to grow and I may as well have my money working for me. A lot of people however are looking for excuses to cash in their chips, FI needs to convince them not to.

D.N.A

As a big campaigner for increased dividends, in your opinion, how much should IPD/MB/PB increase to, in order to attract the big money investors?

Stamford

Now that FI have committed to a dividend review, how would you restructure the dividend offerings?

There’s been discussion about how FI should deal with dividends in the future. What’s your opinion? Should they say that there is going to be a review every certain date? Should it be in line with the Footie? There seems to be no right answer….and I think it’s a real tough one for FI to deal with.

Does the precedent of FI increasing IPDs most worry you?

I’ll tackle this all in one go.

There needs to be a substantial increase in dividends for several reasons:

  • Competitors are starting to emerge, not a direct competitor, but ones that will nibble on the edges of the cake that FI has made for themselves. Those competitors have the benefit of being nimble and learning from the mistakes FI make. Mike Bohan talked recently about FI being able to move quickly, they can, but not as quickly as start-ups. Killing the USP of these potential competitors with a significant dividend increase (and a new addition that I will go into later) will be a smart move in my view. Don’t give potential competitors any oxygen is my advice.

  • The share split worked wonders and it needed to be followed by a dividend increase a few months later. I think they were too slow with the share split but they got away with it and then gave a modest increase to PB at the same time (mainly for rounding purposes). If anybody had said the FOOTIE would double in value but the top players would decrease during that time, you would think they were mad. At the time of writing this the FOOTIE is just over 125,000. If you told most knowledgeable traders this 6 months ago and asked them to say what the top of the market would look like, they wouldn’t say six (yes just 6) players would be over £5 in value. I’m sure most would expect £10+ to be the ceiling, not as it currently sits at just over £7 for Neymar. The rewards on offer for PB are simply too small for the difficulty in winning them and the price of the most likely winners is too high for the poor reward on offer. It’s obvious that dividends need to rise to extend the market. MB changing has further hindered the top of the market, as well as IPOs galore spreading capital and increasing the difficulty in winning. I’m a fan of Internationals being PB applicable, but again this has hurt the top of the market as treble MB days are reduced.

  • Too many traders are being convinced that the way to make money is by short term flipping – which is proving to be accurate currently. It becomes self-fulfilling because as people see their expensive holds drop in price and cheaper players rise relatively vast amounts, why would you not want a piece of that? It’s taking away the structure of the market and turning things into more of a lottery, fastest finger first and first to blink wins – that’s fine if you are in this short term, but terrible if you want FI to fulfil its potential and ultimately make more for all of us.

  • You can win PB and your player can actually decrease in value, it’s frankly impossible trying to explain that to a new trader or a potentially interested party (experienced traders understand why this happens, but so what, it is still counter intuitive?!). Your player could score high and just miss out to some freak score from a random Italian player and drop like a stone in price as a result. It’s not helpful to the long term future of things seeing this happen. Naturally if premium players drop and cheaper players catch up, the market will eventually spot value and the cycle should turn, but that isn’t happening right now because the dividends are not driving things directly, they are an afterthought to too many traders. I see debates on social media about whether you are dividends or capital appreciation focussed – it’s ludicrous that this is happening as everything is based around dividends (or should be) as they are the only thing that bring any value to our holds. It makes no sense that a player playing week in week out is cheaper than a player that hasn’t yet and may never kick a ball in a PB league, but it happens all the time because a large percentage of traders are now relying on the greater fool theory and ignoring the thing that should be driving the market. FI need to snap traders out of this quickly otherwise it will turn into pure gambling and serious investors will not be interested. A market needs to make sense for it to work, the feeling of late is that ‘sense’ is for losers and wild speculation is where the party is at!

  • The market needs more long term traders to provide structure, 20-30% a year return on investment is incredible really and everybody can get that by just riding the growth and picking up dividends with a diverse portfolio. No skill required aside from a bit of patience and lack of greed. When I say it’s ‘incredible’, it is compared to ISAs, Bonds, managed funds etc, the risks are different though and getting riskier so that has to be factored in.

If FI make the dividends appealing enough then bigger fish will join, existing traders will potentially deposit more as well. The market has moved too quickly into a pure trading platform based on speculation rather than sound reasoning (in most cases, not all). At this point there shouldn’t be any losers – it’s too early in FI’s lifecycle. There will always be people that flip players, pump players and simply convince people to buy so they can sell, but the time for that in FI’s development is not now. Eventually it will be a dog eat dog trading environment, once FI has reached a peak and dividends don’t rise any further, we are a long way from that (or should be).

  • I don’t blame traders for doing what they do short term wise and looking to find creative ways to make money, but the more that do this the scarier the market is for people with big money to invest (or invested). FI need to correct this by making it appealing for people to think slightly longer term than they are at the moment. The amount of people using Instant Sell (IS) after one game, or a substitution is simply phenomenal. I’m not going to harp on about a 3 year bet as FI need people to sell, but it needs to make sense to outsiders and insiders. The lunatics will fund dividend rises and help FI grow, but if we have too many lunatics they will take over the asylum very quickly. So a significant dividend increase is needed to help provide a bit more logic to things, at least until larger investors come in to solidify the spine of things – one will lead to the other.

  • FI’s niche is PB, they need to build everything around PB. I’d introduce a new mechanism to reward players that score high PB scores but may not necessarily win the overall lottery of being the top player in that position for the day in question. MB is a must have for none game days and to help add value to the most well-known footballers, despite its obvious issues. Newcomers to FI need to see the best known players at the top of the market, otherwise it makes no sense to them and they will likely not dedicate the time needed to understand the nuances of the platform and leave.

  • There are many more reasons but I hopefully have made my point that FI need to dramatically increase the prizes on offer and it’s at a tipping point. I would restructure dividends as follows:

  • 4 categories of game day for PB, there are simply too many games played on some days for it to be attractive sticking with the current system; it’s far too hard to win.

-1-5 games = 3p top player in each position and then 1p* man.
-6-15 games = 5p and 2p*
-16-25 games = 7p and 3p*
-26+ games = 9p and 4p*

This is a good increase and makes the 26+ day well worth winning (argument says that if there is a big game day on a Saturday then Sunday will be much less than normal). It also gives FI back a game or two on the single & double days, so it’s slightly harder for us traders to win, but more beneficial if we do.

Most importantly I’d add a new in-play dividend for high scoring PB players. I’d make it for the first 30 days of purchase only, so as not to damage FI long term with a huge liability. If a player scores 200+ points it feels wrong to me that they can not only miss out on dividends, but also likely drop in price because they got close to winning but not close enough. So I’d do as follows:

-200+ points = 2p
-300+ points = 3p
-400+ points = 4p

With this in place it makes me want to buy players now that compete for dividends and get rewarded for near misses. It’s not quite tiered PB (1st,2nd 3rd place pay-outs per category), but it’s good enough for now and is only open for 30 days. The great thing from FI’s perspective is that it will encourage a shed load more trading all over the market. Currently, come 2pm the top of the market barely moves, it actually drops come Saturday night until Monday afternoon in most cases. Nobody is interested in buying or recycling their shares at the middle or top end for IPDs. However with this new metric I would certainly think about recycling my Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar shares every month or so if a nice run of fixtures emerge. It provides substantial liquidity to all of the market, rather than just cheap goal scorers, or freak cheap player PB scores, like we have at the moment. Traders would inevitably use the ‘market sell’ function rather than IS much more often if they know that their hold they want to sell is only one good (not necessarily PB winning) performance away from being purchased. Shares spend too long on the sell queue, this solves that problem and brings FI a lot of commission and trader satisfaction as they can reinvest elsewhere quicker – the whole platform would be livelier and therefore profitable for FI at the same time allowing traders to exit and reinvest quicker without using IS.

A key point here is that if the market is booming then dividends will likely get reinvested, the winnings stay within FI – it’s a win-win. I would trial this to see if it works how I think it would from FI’s perspective, but I think everyone’s a winner with this idea. No matter what part of the market you operate in as a trader this gives all players more chances of winning you some dividends and keeps the focus on PB scoring, which is the thing that makes FI what it is. Liquidity is key to FI and a new concept like this being added strikes me as a win-win. New traders will also not see their player that performed great drop like a stone, which must put so many newcomers off.

Another huge benefit is that it will likely nullify any competition that wants to take that part of the market. One competitor I read about is focusing on match betting on PB scores in some way or another. This potentially kills that competitor’s USP, it certainly makes it much harder for them to gain traction as the 30 day version of this comes with all the added extra ways of winning with huge capital appreciation on the side (if FI grows as it should).

MB is a tricky one. It’s boring, but it’s necessary for 365 days interest. It’s also a key part of the value derived from the top of the market, (or was), they need to increase this to account for both the natural growth of FI and the opening of the squad with more and more IPOs. I’m not as passionate about the increase here as I am for PB and the new 30day PB score idea, but if affordable and dividends do get reinvested as I suspect, then this is what I would do:

-MB – 3p/2p/1p on match days
-MB – 5p/4p/3p/2p/1p on non-match days

Possibly too generous but remember FI need to grow quickly and MB provides reasonable stability to big investors which is vital, it’s also much more random now than it was with the squad being introduced, but still easier than PB to win. I wouldn’t mind if the pay-out on non-match days is 3p/2p/1p, as it currently is, but it doesn’t get the juices flowing and the premium holds drag the rest of the market with them. The point is they need to go up to make more sense of the market and to reward holders of premium assets (traders taking the biggest risk with their money) – which will in turn stretch the market and pull everything up with it.

If they do this then the market should grow rapidly and will attract and retain traders like nothing we have seen previously. It may be expensive on paper, but FI need to remember what makes this market work. There is no point spending millions on advertising, technology, staff, new offices etc, if there is a slowdown in growth. FI need to constantly increase the ceiling, be ahead of what the market is about to do and constantly evaluate dividends. FI need to take hold of this market and move it how they want, the time will come when traders can take over, but it’s too soon now.

  • I’m in favour of further increases being in line with the FOOTIE value or some other transparent metric, but I think it needs to be made clear when reviews will happen if not. We can’t constantly be waiting for FI to step in and as traders we can’t always be living in fear/expectation. FI need to get in now, sort it out and then step back, no more deposit bonuses unless absolutely necessary as well. I’d make a statement when they do this dividend review on 29th October and say that there will be no more scheduled deposit bonuses on our birthday etc. The market needs to run without too much interference and the only way they can do that is by providing substantial leg room now with a big dividend increase.

  • I am not too worried about IPD’s getting the most love last time, as I think it was more to do with rounding. When you are dealing with 1p/2p then it’s obviously a huge increase percentage wise. I do worry that maybe too much attention is being paid to board members that come from a pure gambling background. Ultimately FI is a new idea, so sourcing advice from similar sectors/products and wise leaders from those sectors is great, but FI have to remember they are unique and what attracts most of us to FI is that they are not a bookies and our bet has longevity but constant interest. The best advisers to FI right now are the traders that live and breathe their product 24/7, not the people that attend a board meeting once a month (guessing here) and don’t think about FI again until the next meeting. I don’t know these people and I may be paying them a disservice, but many of us that think about FI most of our waking hours, we identified the recent issues months ago – why are FI not ahead of these things? I think it may have a lot to do with them heading into unchartered territory but using out of date maps as a guide!

  • FI has started to change because they have not read the market correctly and not paid enough attention to PB/MB dividends. I don’t think FI want to become a short term trading platform yet, that has no longevity as a business because the users of that business are fickle and will move to the next thing very quickly typically. They need to build trust and long term confidence, traders that will set-aside a percentage of their pay packet to top up their portfolio each month. They shouldn’t want a platform full of people looking to scalp one another, using instant sell as their sole method of selling, and doing so with the only reason behind it being ‘I have to get out before the rest do’. The market is turning into a very reactionary place right now. That needs to change, and I don’t mean going to the other extreme as that is boring and makes FI no money. But the see-saw has tilted too far and that needs correcting quickly – it’s making a lot of people very nervous the way the market is functioning right now.

FI must know that this dividend review or restructure probably carries them through to Order books. Does this mean we might see the most sizeable change since doubling of dividends in 2017?

I would like to think so. If I were FI right now I would want to make a statement of intent, I’d want to shut up the doom-mongers, and focus all my energy on making the platform fit for purpose. If they dramatically increase dividends, us traders will give them a lot more rope, we can be happy doing what we do best and FI can busy themselves with NASDAQ, Website, Marketing etc, rather than constantly having to put out fires and handle trader dissatisfaction. The market will grow rapidly and the word of mouth marketing will do much of the hard work in terms of client retention and attraction. This is a golden opportunity to turn this into something incredible, but they have to put their hand in their pocket. As I’m not privy to the finances I don’t know what is or isn’t possible, but I think an increase will pay for itself in no time and most will reinvest dividends if the market is growing.

How are you, as one of the largest investors on FI feeling about Order books?

I like the idea, but it’s too soon. The market is too small at the moment in my view and there are not enough buyers to fill the void if a player is tanking. If FI implement the dividend increase I am hoping for, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Footie at 200,000 by next March. Hopefully they should have everything in place by then to launch order books ready for the Euros. I really don’t know enough information about trading volumes and how many big traders there are out there, but I know there should be more and order books will help attract them. The key is having enough big fish in place before they launch order books though, they will only come in large numbers with a structured market that rewards properly (dividend wise) and makes sense at first glance. If order books launched tomorrow I think it would be a disaster, so a lot of work needs to be done. It’s easy on paper, but again it means putting enough dividends out there to get traders buying and lots more of us to do that buying.

What do you make of FI’s marketing in the past 9 months. We had massive success in early 2019, but it’s never really seemed to have hit the heights of user acquisition since then….

I like the guys at FI from the few bits of communication I’ve had with them and I think on the whole they are doing their best and have done a brilliant job. Marketing has been very good in particular, they have been let down by the technology and that’s always frustrating. I said previously that there is no point in throwing millions of pounds into flashy ad campaigns if the user experience is poor, or the actual prizes on offer (dividends) aren’t attractive. I would love to know the user retention numbers, but I imagine for every 5 people that join they lose 2 or 3. The tech side of things takes time but to make up for that they need to make the product as fun and rewarding as possible. FI is certainly fun, it makes game days so much better. I love nothing more than waking up on a Saturday, having the football on the TV, with my laptop open showing FI, Sofascore and IndexGain/Slack. The community aspect of FI is fantastic, slack is brilliant on a match day talking football as it relates to FI and then getting goal scorers through quicker than any website. Anybody that takes the time to understand FI will find a multitude of services and enhancements to their trading experience just a click away. So it’s an easy thing to market, I just think a combination of things has meant we haven’t seen it kick on as much as it potentially could.

I was expecting big rises with all the money being thrown at sponsorship and advertising, but it seems they only come with FI announcements. I honestly believe that every penny they are currently spending on marketing could do 10X more for FI if it went into dividends. Let happy traders market the product and once you have done that go back to advertising etc.

I also think most people that are into football will have at least heard of FI now in some capacity, if they haven’t joined yet it’s likely they need a bit more convincing than an advert can provide. If traders are happy and very confident about the future direction of FI, it will be much easier for us to get these ‘potential’ new traders over the line. Adverts are great and will spark conversations, but the complexity of FI and the negative connotation surrounding gambling make it a harder sell than a typical product. You need ‘people’ to convince ‘people’ that this isn’t typical gambling and isn’t an all or nothing game, you need people to say ‘I’m a trader on that, it’s been great fun and I’ve won X amount of money’. It can be a steep learning curve, so I would wager that the majority of new traders that stick with FI have a friend using the product or are active on social media. The best marketing FI can do in my opinion is have the hundreds of thousands of existing traders singing from the hill tops about how great their product is. A large dividend increase will ensure that happens.

How have you felt about their communication in 2019 thus far? It’s improved overall as a company since the beginning - but it seems like there’s a way to go….

Communication is a problem for any company, they are getting better, but as they grow it will be harder to police it. Ultimately when there is money involved and an out of date tech system there are going to be issues. I think they struggle to put themselves in the shoes of traders at times (especially customer service with their random suspensions of accounts for checks), it comes across to me that they forget some of us have a lot of money in this. Its fine them calling the shots, but nobody likes to feel taken for granted. OPTA-Gate (players changing positions for random reasons) was a real frustration for me, I seriously considered leaving over it to be honest. The excuse given didn’t make sense to me in that OPTA use a different database for International matches, considering some of the players that changed played in the same position for club and country and some hadn’t even played for country recently. Then they changed back in some cases before a ball was kicked and then changed again. I got burned badly. FI said traders over reacted, but I had the same issue the previous summer with Thorgan Hazard changing positions Forward-Midfield-Forward in the space of 4 days. It cost me a lot of money and I was assured this wouldn’t happen again! It did and it annoyed me and cost me a lot more money. I know many traders felt the same way.

I don’t want to harp on about negative war stories like this as bad things happen. But they need to be learned from and traders certainly didn’t over react as was suggested in the explanation from FI. If a value of a bet changes then you need to react quickly or you get burned, in this case if you reacted quickly you got punished, so it severely damaged my trust. My first major issue was the G&A introduction this time last year, which crippled my defenders (FI hadn’t considered the impact this would have which annoyed my more than the idea itself). Then OPTA-Gate happened and I started to go to bed worrying about my investment. I love the product and the money I’m making – but I have to be confident that my money is respected and the people holding it are fully aware of all the nuances of the platform they run. They deserve the benefit of the doubt but it has to be give and take when mistakes like this are made. They do a great job on the whole, any company growing this quickly will have issues to deal with, hiring new staff and training them is always difficult when it’s a fast moving business – traders sometimes need to remember that we aren’t dealing with a FTSE 100 company yet – there are going to be bad hires, under trained staff and mistakes that need to be learned from – so long as the same mistakes don’t get repeated and common sense is applied it is all we can ask for at this stage of development.

What have you made of their Tech in the past 12 months. It seems to be more, and more of a glaring issue - which has heaped a lot of pressure on the NASDAQ partnership. How much does the NASDAQ Partnership excite you?

It has been obvious for a long time (if not since it started) that the tech side of things hasn’t been fit for purpose. As more traders join and more action takes place those issues become even more apparent. I’d be more concerned if FI had been burying their head in the sand, but it seems their primary focus is to get everything working properly. Like most things it is taking too long, it seems like forever since a ‘new’ website has been in the works. The mistakes with dividend payments or PB turning off during matches is very frustrating for us traders, but I’m sure it’s even more annoying for FI (and expensive). I’ll give them a break here, only because the growth has been immense and when you are working with finite budgets you have to scale up in a logical way and timing user acquisition with tech is an imperfect science.

The NASDAQ thing is great, but again this relies on there being enough traders to make the assumed expense worthwhile. I like that FI are thinking big, but talk is cheap, the product needs to be robust and for traders to join and stay the prizes on offer need to be appealing. At the moment the tech is bad and the risk/reward ratio for our bets is off (in key areas of the market) as I’ve gone into ad nauseam above regarding dividends.

A partnership with NASDAQ is a statement of intent and it should add a lot of credibility to the platform with traders on traditional markets and Joe average traders/gamblers/football fans as well. Equipping existing traders with as many sales tools as possible to convert our friends, family and work colleagues is vital for FI, so this has the potential to be a deal closer for us as we try to convert the sceptics. Naturally we need to see what this all means in practice though before we try and covert the masses.

Out of 10, how confident are you feeling about Football Index right now? How does this rating compare to how you felt last time we did a blog post together - in December 2018, almost 12 months ago.

I’m a strong 8 out of 10. Last time I was probably a 7. The growth has been superb, but the drawback has been some of the steps FI have made (or haven’t):

I’d like to have seen much more progress on the tech side; we should have data products in place now (I think a partnership with Index Gain leaps out at me as an obvious bridge or joint venture), correct and timely dividend payments, trades being processed rather than freezing during big announcements. Obvious things which I think they will address soon if what they say is accurate.

Intention to flood IPOs into the market – I believe that FI needs to have all the players that qualify for PB games available to purchase it makes total sense. I also think they need to be ahead of the game with youngsters or overseas players that could join a PB league/team very soon. This is great for traders that research and brilliant for FI’s bottom line as more players equal less chance of traders winning. The obvious problem is that existing bets get damaged, it’s harder for our existing holds to win and money often leaves them to get onto the IPO’d players. This is another HUGE reason why dividends need to go up significantly. Traders that have ploughed their money into FI should not simply have to endure the full price of this necessary expansion. It’s a stealth tax on existing traders and the only winner as it currently stands is those waiting on the side-lines to snap up deals and FI. The loyal client with their money fully invested gets penalised for being a good customer. This needs to stop, if FI want to expand the player pool they need to expand the prize pool dramatically.

As mentioned I’d like to have seen dividends rise sooner with more emphasis on what makes FI work – PB.

Less predictable deposit bonuses, which cause artificial drops pre-announcement. The rises are great and the drop off after is never as bad as the rise is good (if you have a diverse portfolio), so they help make money for us traders on the whole, but send out the wrong message if too frequent or easily telegraphed. I hope FI are proactive here as I already fear for our portfolios next September if they aren’t.

The opening up of MB felt wrong in the way it was done. The argument is there was an MB dividend increase at the time of the share split. But that was needed anyway at the time. The last dividend increase was to catch up with the growth the market had derived pre-share split for me. We were due an increase even without the share split so trying to package the two together and saying ‘we just had a big rise’ is a bit crafty. It’s like being underpaid for years by your boss, he then gives you a pay-rise to make up for it. But then throws a load of extra work your way saying you should be happy doing this extra work because you just had a pay rise! The next dividend increase needs to account for the growth since the share split AND the hoped for growth leading well into the future.

Angering traders with nonsensical explanations. I think FI need to think very carefully before they announce anything or provide an excuse for something that has gone wrong. They tend to cherry pick details and ignore other salient points with their explanations (7% Squad players winning MB is a blatant case of this in my view, but I’ll leave that there).

Another is talking about risk teams scrutinising spreads, clearly this is either not done properly or the people doing it have no idea what they are doing. I don’t specifically care about spreads as I don’t use IS very often and frankly I want FI to try and prevent people using it as much as possible unless in an emergency scenario. However it makes little sense why they would be so vast on some players and not on others, they also increase them or leave them in moments of chaos in bizarre ways that defy logic.

For example - I got caught on Douglas Costa recently, he pulled his hamstring and the spread stayed the same for an eternity, despite IS trades going through like wild abandon on the ticker. His price got absolutely obliterated because there was a nominal spread on him, where were the risk team, toilet break perhaps? A different player would get a large spread placed on them instantly and the price would be protected, it’s totally random and that means we as traders are in the dark as to what may or may not happen to our holds in moments of crisis – so traders err on the side of caution and offload as quickly as possible. It’s also ridiculous that a pulled hamstring or an early substitution can cause such huge fluctuations in price, the reason for this (in many cases) is because people don’t want to be left holding the bag because they have no idea when FI will increase the spread. The slightest bit of bad news for a player now is treated disproportionately by a lot of traders, mainly because they are trading based on other traders assumed reaction rather than common sense. The IS craze to any bad news is fuelled by FI’s unpredictability and it needs to be curtailed.

Angering some traders with perceived weakness or lack of thinking behind key decisions. I’ve mentioned before that FI tend to get it right in the end, they just tend to go through maximum pain before sorting it out. This leads to them often looking like they bow to trader pressure, to be clear I don’t think this is the case. I think they just eventually realise there may be some merit behind what traders have been screaming at them via social media and the problem won’t go away until they act – so they do sort out the problem and it can look weak.

There are some very intelligent people at FI and there are some very intelligent traders out there. There are also a lot of short sighted traders who only see as far as their own short term profits – FI have to make sure that when they listen they listen to those whose interests are aligned with FI’s long term success. Some traders only play the game in a certain way, they flip, they trade cheap, they trade premium only. Some buy and hold for years on end. The traders FI should be listening to most carefully are those who apply a mixed approach to their trading strategy; otherwise the advice gleaned is biased towards a particular niche strategy. For example somebody could buy players solely for capital appreciation, their plan may be to talk down premium players (MB/PB dividend focused typically), as they realise any money coming out of the expensive players will likely find its way into the players they hold at the cheaper end of the market, short term win for them. They will typically be against MB/PB dividend increases, deposit bonuses or anything which adds value to the top of the market at the expense of the lower end. Likewise traders on a ‘buy and hold’ long term strategy with premium players will only want things which help their holds and will be against anything bringing value to cheaper players (IPD’s/IPOs for example) as it means money leaves their holds for alternative players.

I see the merits in all types of strategies and I’m not critical of any trader for doing what they think is best for them, (aside from pumping and dumping, or blatant lying). If FI indeed do listen to social media, then I hope they apply the appropriate filters. That isn’t to say that somebody having a niche strategy can’t provide great advice, on the contrary they will be experts in their area of the market. Their input could be invaluable to FI, but the people assessing this feedback at FI HQ need to understand the rationale behind it, they need to know their market inside and out from a traders perspective. I have no idea how deep their thinking goes, but it’s a truly complex beast now with many agendas and nuances to consider – it’s certainly no longer back of a fag packet policy changes and I get the impression that FI now understand this given the breathing space they give themselves between key announcements.

I have heard that they have introduced a trader panel now. Something I was suggesting in my last blog. I hope they have a good range of traders involved, but more importantly the people listening to this feedback are capable of truly grasping the nuances of it. Social media is full of short term traders at the moment, pumping their holds and convincing other traders that this is the future – it makes sense because a short term trader has a need to machine gun the timeline with their strategy/ideas, it’s constantly moving and they need to get in and out of players quickly to keep making money this way. There will be a silent majority who operate a more patient approach, but the impression one gets from reading ‘twitter’ at the moment is that the only way to make good money on FI is to flip players quickly and often. Anybody that holds long term that posts seems to have a consortium of short term traders shout them down as being a poor trader because they could have made X amount more if they were more active like they are. So it feeds a short term culture – I just hope FI see through this and as mentioned before I have nothing against traders playing the short game, unfortunately it just means that naïve newcomers get sucked into that mind-set and will often lose out to ‘experts’ at the short game and likely leave before they get to understand all the ways to play the game. FI can help with this by making dividends the obvious driver of things.

In saying all this, I am very optimistic because these issues are small fry compared to the growth expected. If FI do what they need to with dividends, implement a new website and support technology to ensure the trader journey is fun and winning/losing is based on their own decisions not FI’s mistakes or changes of direction, then it can only go one way. I’d like to see FI step out of the way as soon as possible in terms of product changes, less interference with things. The advertising, sponsorship, radio slots, podcasts, TV comms etc is all getting better. They nailed the new PB matrix despite my fears they wouldn’t get the balance right, so that is another feather in their cap. I think the signs look very good now they have announced this dividend review. Just fix the tech, make the product appealing to more people and bigger fish, stay ahead of the market, don’t take existing traders for granted and the sky is the limit.

How has your strategy evolved since we last spoke?

My strategy has remained pretty constant in that I apply a mixed approach with more emphasis on buying rather than selling. I like watching a match and seeing how the players score relative to how I think they performed. If I see a player that has scored high, but hasn’t played as well as I think they can then I will often buy them if other things are in their favour as well. FI will get a load of commission from me eventually and sometimes I am prone to go on a cull of some of my players that haven’t worked out as I had hoped, which gives some back to the company. I have 266 players in my port currently, so I cover the market, I have my punts for transfers, premium PB & MB players, some young prospects, cheap IPD players, players I believe are close to capturing form or have been unlucky not to be a higher price. I also have the better players for decent teams that may not be prolific for PB, but on single/double game days have a decent chance of bringing home dividends with a bit of luck.

I also repurchased some players that I sold much cheaper a while ago, ones that were not very good for the old PB matrix, but with FI’s growth and the new system could be good long term acquisitions despite being pricey. I like to hold the best players in the best teams so that I can potentially win PB each game day. I hate seeing a game day appear and not have any players viable for the dividends on offer, I see it as a wasted opportunity. I will buy players for a month or two that I don’t especially rate for PB, but I can see the market is keen to get onto them for other reasons. I miss some obvious cases because I have been burned on a player in the past. I often get the most rewards from buying and waiting. The market was growing rapidly so whilst there is a lot of money to be made by being very active in the buying/selling side of things, I tend to mainly buy broadly and ride the natural growth of FI – but there will always be strong logic behind why I purchase a player. I won’t just buy because others are, or because they score a freak goal that gives them a great score one week.

There are many successful strategies but everyone is different, we all have different amounts invested, time to dedicate, knowledge of the game and tolerance for risk/gambling. I found myself watching the last 5 minutes of France the other night hoping Griezmann would pass the ball 2 more times to ensure he won PB, sad, but this is how FI has me thinking now. I find myself watching teams I had never heard of until FI came along. FI dominates my thinking when watching football or even whilst waiting on a bench as my wife takes a look at ‘just one more shop’, it’s more than just a gambling product, it’s a key part of my life now because it is lucrative, but mostly because it’s fun. That’s why I want FI to succeed so badly, not purely the money, but because I think weekends and other match days would never be the same again without it.

Robbo

Small ports and big ones must act differently yes? If so how should they for maximum or safest profit

Not necessarily, we should all work in percentages, so whether you hold 10,000 of a player or 100 the dividends being paid or capital appreciation being paid is the same relative to your investment. However if I had a small portfolio I would not adopt the approach I do now, because winning pennies in dividends is irrelevant to me. I would be 100% focused on what are classed as capital appreciation trades, cheap players that could one day be great, with a couple of premiums to reinvest dividends. The trouble is so many traders are doing that now and not just those with small amounts of money committed. Not everybody has the same risk profile as me though, so some traders with say £5k committed could easily be happy to buy Neymar/Pogba/Messi and just sit back and collect the dividends, it’s not a life changing amount of money and it’s stress free for the most part – but it brings in a better return than most other investments. I’d find that boring with a small budget as I like to watch matches with my players playing. So my advice to people that think similarly to me is to spread the money around good PB players that qualify for EL/CL football and ideally their European National team – that gives you maximum games to qualify for dividends and IPD’s, it also gives you more of a chance of them taking off in price if they perform well for a series of games. I’d probably be more active, taking little wins and wouldn’t be as patient with holds that experience a downturn. This is why FI needs a lot more larger investors to aid the structure of the market and to not chase a short term strategy.

To be clear though, I don’t advocate pumping players to then sell them to the people you are pitching them to. I also am strongly against those traders that look for loopholes and try to exploit FI and their fellow traders in other ways. It makes me sick when I see FI announce a deposit bonus and the amount of traders that immediately think and ask ‘how can I abuse this in the best possible way, have FI made a mistake so that I can get more from what they are offering?’ If everybody operated that way then FI would go out of business and we would all lose. If everybody focused on scalping traders there would be more traders who would give up and likely tell their friends it’s a con of some kind and growth would stall for us all.

We need to be as helpful as possible to new traders, we need to not make social forums a toxic place. I 100% believe in holding FI to account for mistakes and calling out traders that are a potential cancer to FI’s long term success, but if people have small portfolios it is very easy to sell those portfolios and walk away – we need to bear that in mind with our actions. For example when G&A was introduced it hammered my portfolio, I had done nothing wrong – FI moved the goal posts. If I had a much smaller portfolio I would have gone that day, IS’d the lot and never looked back, I was angry and probably would have over reacted, but I know some people did just that. The only thing that stopped me was that I had a big portfolio, it would take a while to sell (even if I used IS) so thankfully I slept on it. With OPTA-Gate I did sell a hell of a lot in frustration. A few months later I came back in with even more as I re-evaluated. My point here is that the only thing stopping me from walking on both occasions was the size of my investment. There won’t be too many traders that couldn’t IS their portfolio in 5 minutes and withdraw, never to return – so we need to be careful that traders only lose because of their poor decisions, not any other traders bad advice or FI’s action/inaction.

I’m not telling people how to act as it isn’t my place to do so, but a small trader can be next year’s big trader, or they could introduce a big trader. We all make money the more people that get involved and the more confidence we have in the product the more we will commit ourselves. I saw big traders showing off their portfolios and it was a key component in my deciding to go in big, so people showing off should be praised as it benefits all of us. There is jealousy everywhere but I would suggest that some people take a step back from time to time and appreciate that if somebody is proud of their 100% trade, let them enjoy it – it may spur on others to do the same and yes sometimes it can look pretentious and maybe it was lucky, but so what – if people are making money it means they will want to carry on investing.

There seems to be a lot more angst in the FI community these days. It feels like people are on edge a lot, possibly due to portfolios becoming larger, and people having more skin in the game. As someone who has the most skin in the game, what are some tips for people to remain calm and stay stress free with regards to FI?

More traders will always equal more clashes. The more money involved the more emotional things will get. I also think it’s easy to form alliances now and traders will work in syndicates both trading wise and via social media unfortunately. My tips are simple really, but I often have to take a step back and think about them myself:

Remember why you invested in the first place; don’t get suckered into the idea that you are a poor trader if you are not making 100% a year etc. If you are having fun and making money then that should be good enough. Even if you are breaking even, so what as long as it’s fun. Think of what other hobbies and interests cost you financially, to actually make money from a hobby is a dream, so try and remember that.

If you are a big investor and maybe have more in that you can afford to lose, then constantly be assessing and try not to get caught up in the emotions of it all. Don’t put pressure on yourself with arbitrary targets.

Be patient – if a player gets injured, dropped etc, then remember the fact you have 3 years. If you happen to be onto the news quick and you think your money can work better for you elsewhere (even with the 2% commission and spread) then do what needs to be done, but always remember FI is growing organically. I personally find it very difficult to buy back a player I have sold previously, it not only says I may have made a mistake selling (ego), but it’s costing me money to correct that mistake. I did buy that player for a reason, getting a red card and missing a couple of games shouldn’t typically matter that much, it means the reason you purchased wasn’t that solid in the first place (unless day trading or 30 day IPD trading).

Don’t follow the crowd all the time. I have made some right howlers, but the majority of the time they come good or I escape with a minor wound. One great example is Otamendi, I took him on last summer because he did well the previous season. He dropped constantly last season, so I topped up hoping things would turn around. I was losing money hand over fist. Most traders would have IS’d him and used that money elsewhere, it was probably the sensible thing to do. I waited thinking if I break even I will sell some, then City have their defensive problems last month and Otamendi is now starting every game, his price is at break even for me. I sold some, yes I missed out on that money working for me elsewhere last season and I was a bit stubborn and a gambler keeping him when everything suggested he was finished at City and getting old. But I was fortunate, I’m now holding far less shares but still hoping he does well over the coming months – I escaped by being patient and lucky.

Ask traders for advice, it’s relatively easy to know which traders speak with forked tongues and which ones are decent people. Don’t follow advice blindly but canvas opinion, always be thinking that there could be an agenda behind any advice given. However, there are many traders like me who have a lot of money invested, spread across the whole range of the market that frankly couldn’t care less if somebody sells 100-5000 shares in X player. Likewise we couldn’t care less if you acquired shares in a particular player because we have no intention of selling anytime soon or for an extra penny per share. There will be traders that buy/sell a player 10X over before I sell that same player, so short term drops/increases shouldn’t be looked at too closely. Some traders out there are bottom feeders, they would sell their mother to get somebody to increase the price of a player by a few pence so they can get out at a profit, so just be careful who you ask for guidance.

Tippers – Nothing wrong with tippers so long as you don’t trust them, make the decision to buy yourself, they can trigger ideas and you can’t know everything about every player. However always ask yourself, ‘Why is that guy tipping a player, surely if they were such a bargain they would want to keep his price as low as possible so he can top up when he has the money to do so?”

The only time I would tip a player is if I wanted to sell them (I don’t operate that way, I’m not a bastard, I’ll sometimes say who I’ve purchased if asked, but I rarely buy a player to sell them short term). Unless somebody is never going to spend another penny on FI or unless they are being paid for advice – why would they tip a bargain, surely they are giving you (a stranger) money they could make themselves!

If the market is going through a down period scroll out. Look at what the prices of your players were a couple of months earlier, most of them will be up overall. I can see my portfolio rise by 10% in a month and then drop 2% in a week and I will forget about that 10% quickly, it’s doom and gloom but very short-sighted. Try not to act rashly. I often see people moaning about drops and in the same breath they say they have had to IS their port of some players because of it! That just compounds the issue. One random guy clearing out his portfolio shouldn’t lead to mass drops all over the place with people over-reacting and following like sheep. You have worked hard for your money and planned your investment, just because some people think it’s time to sell you don’t know their circumstances, so just selling because others do, helps the negative chain reaction.

One last thing – if you opt to sell a hold, in my view you shouldn’t then slam that hold after selling them. Other people have just purchased that hold off of you and others still hold him, they have done you a favour so don’t call them stupid for doing it. Ultimately if you don’t hold a player then it looks wrong to assassinate that player’s value. I’m not saying don’t have an opinion, and I’m never going to change this, but if possible try to have some empathy for the poor sucker (in your eyes) that maybe has just put their months disposable income into that player – maybe it’s somebody’s first trade and you just publicly humiliated them, it might turn out to be their last trade as a result!

Football Index Trends

EJ, what were the hardest challenges you faced during the early stages of your portfolio’s rise to where it is now? Did you set yourself continuous targets and what’s the biggest tip you can give to someone who takes a low player, high futures approach

Hardest challenge was to be patient, when you just start out you will be prone to over-thinking, a week on FI feels like 6 months. It’s easy to over trade and to make rash decisions based on a few red days, or even if you make a few pence on a player to cash in too early. When I first joined the market was a lot different to the way it is today, but I can put myself in a new traders shoes today easy enough. Let’s say you put in £5k, realistically after 6 months (the time it takes roughly to understand the market properly imo), if you are up just 10% that is fine, you have learnt something new, had fun and made a bit of money for a bit of risk. Don’t judge yourself on other traders, everybody is different. The chances are if you are patient, spread your money around the various categories of player that you should make 20-30% from capital appreciation alone (I have no idea if this will hold firm of course). If you over trade or pile into a small number of players you massively increase the risk and you also don’t learn as much.

I have targets for my players but they are pointless to be honest, FI has been constantly changing things so it makes any target moot. The product itself has grown far quicker than I thought it would, which again makes any target moot for me. If you are trading short term then yes it makes more sense to say ‘I will sell at X price’, but if that player scores a hatrick from the bench, gets picked for his national team, then has a big club transfer rumour period what does that do to your target? You’d be foolish to sell because that player reached an arbitrary figure you placed on him some time ago when his situation was different. I did it with Tammy Abram recently, he scored against Norwich at the end of August, I purchased 2000 shares on that first goal. I lacked a Chelsea forward in my portfolio, could see he had put that poor Utd display earlier in the month behind him and I thought if I can make 20p on him per share that’s a nice bit of profit for a player I don’t think is that good for PB. He scored again after half time, his price had already reached my target – so I changed my mind and thought I’d hold for the 30 day IPD wins and maybe some media if he does well and maybe gets England action, £1+ later I sold up. I would have missed out on close to £2k if I had stuck to my arbitrary target at the point of buying – but a month later I’ve done well. Possibly sold too soon (time will tell), but it’s not an exact science and I’m very happy with that trade and the fact I ignored my original target.

If you are taking a low player high volume of shares approach then my only advice is to think very carefully about why you are buying. I have some players I am in very heavy on, Dybala is a good example. I took him on in the summer of 2018, I had been topping up leading into the winter transfer window as I had my suspicions that Ronaldo would mean he would move on. I also suspected Man Utd would be a likely destination. For those reasons alone it would be ludicrous to go in heavy, I may as well put a bet on at the bookies for the transfer to happen. So I had my dream ticket idea, but then if that didn’t happen I had to think of what else could, I looked at age, suitability to PB, chances of winning dividends in the interim, media appeal, other likely clubs. I held a lot of shares of him going into the summer of 2019 and then the strong rumours started with Utd. Things couldn’t have been any worse for him at Juventus last season, so I knew the worst case scenario with his price (without FI’s growth taken into consideration). I believed that if he went to Utd he would be a £6-£7 player, so I held firm despite him rising to £4. My average buy price is £2.77 (I took on some more recently). So I was looking at a juicy profit if I cashed in, but I wanted the deal to happen and believed it would. Some people may think I was being greedy, but this was a well thought out trade with a lot of money. I suspected that if the worst happened and he stayed at Juventus then that would mean he either started to play more for Juventus (he has) or he would be sold in January or next Summer (he still might be). This is where the 3 year bet thing comes in. He is scoring well at Juventus now PB wise, I’m a little concerned the transfer may not happen at all now, but Ronaldo is older and within my 3 years it’s likely he will go or Dybala will take centre stage if he stays. Basically I could have sold for a nice profit at £4 and repurchased if the deal didn’t happen once the inevitable drop took place (if only), I gambled, lost out that profit, but I believed the upside was better than the downside. I had that rollercoaster and I am no better off, but no worse off opportunity cost aside, but the dividends accrued in that time have been adequate compensation for the risk.

So in a nutshell, if you go big on a particular player try and make sure that there is a plan A/B/C behind the trade and know exactly why you are buying that player. If the situation changes be prepared to change. A lot of traders don’t realise that when you hold thousands of a player it is hard work selling them, especially if you time it wrong. IS will kill you with a big expensive hold, so patience and thick skin is vital in my opinion – this is gambling at the end of the day but I have some gambles and some investments as far as I’m concerned, they aren’t mutually exclusive either. I’m getting 10X more enjoyment value from my investment in FI than I am any other kind of investment I have, so you always have to put a valuation on that ‘enjoyment’ aspect as well when considering your portfolio value and trading decisions.

Closing Note

I hope this has been helpful and that we all make good money, enjoy our experience and we encourage FI to make the right decisions for all of us and them. I urge FI to be as generous as possible with their forthcoming dividend review and to consider the wider issues of competition, client retention/attraction and long term ambitions being realised as quickly as possible. But this must be financially possible, the last thing anybody should want is FI to take risks with the platform’s future. If they can’t afford it then hopefully they can make cuts to advertising/sponsorship to fund what is needed, because a bird in hand is worth more than two in the bush. My advice to FI is to look after your existing clients, they are your best sales tool, so give us the confidence to sell FI to our friends/family/colleagues – don’t underestimate word of mouth and don’t take us for granted – give dividends a big rise and introduce something to reward great performances that just miss out PB dividends because there are thousands of players now competing for too few or low value prizes!

@EJ_Footy_Index - this is my Twitter handle.

[Fig]
Hope you all enjoyed that! A shame I couldn't convince EJ to come on the podcast but this blog was amazing!

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Interviews: FI Trader: Is FOMO a Legitimate Strategy? https://footballindexguidepodcast.fireside.fm/articles/is-fomo-a-legitimate-strategy Thu, 28 Feb 2019 13:00:00 -0500 Pet@duxmedia.co.uk 5d27dcb8-8a7d-448c-8adf-239fead8bebf FI trader is someone who's been a really prominent member of the Football Index community for a while now, but didn't want to come on the FigCast! So here is a Q&A interview with him. For this one, I was joined by blogger FI Trader to talk all things Football Index

What is your strategy?

Online poker players will recognise my strategy as “Tight Aggressive” or TAG for short. Some form of TAG play is employed by most good poker players, at least until you get to the elite level where things get more varied.

A TAG player in poker will generally only play and bet big when he is sure (85%+) that he has a very high likelihood of winning. He never bets the 50/50’s and never bets for emotional reasons like an ego fight with someone he wants to take down.

This can be applied on FI to great effect. I do a lot of research. I have access to professional stats scouting tools that 99.9% of people don’t have. And I put way more hours into it than most. Having better information gives me an edge. So when I find a player that fits the trends, is performance suitable and at the right price that is my equivalent of a poker player who has been dealt a very strong hand.

Like the TAG poker player, I am then very aggressive. I don’t spread too thin over 40+ or more players. I put all my money on the bets that offer the highest reward for the lowest risk.

Typically, for the last year, this has meant finding low priced stars like Thorgan Hazard, Joao Felix and Kai Havertz when they are down near £2, buying heavily, and then waiting for the market to learn that they are good players and catch up with me. Next year, the most profitable path might mean something different and you have to keep adapting.

New traders might do better sticking to a strategy rigidly. But I do flex my strategy depending on time of year and the market conditions. If the market is gunning ahead after a bonus and any player who can run onto the pitch without falling over is rising, I might temporarily slacken my requirements for quality for example.

The TAG strategy takes a lot of time for research and quite a lot of experience to pull off too. I would not recommend it for everyone, particularly for beginners. You have to be very confident in the targets, understand the trends and the way the market moves.

But, and this is very important to me, the time can be put in wherever I want and I can fit it around my life. Short trading where you have to watch the breaking news every hour is not my bag.

Overall, my view on strategy is that there are many effective ones and the right one depends on your lifestyle, your skills and your personality. The important thing is that you are executing your chosen strategy well.

Talk us through your FI journey

I have always loved things like Football Manager and Fantasy Football. And I’ve invested in stocks and followed other markets for years. But I’ve never been a big gambler.

Football Index seemed to fill a perfect gap for me and I was really excited when I first saw it. And then… disappointed! I had assumed it would be performance based and when I looked at the Media thing I was sceptical. I put in some money but not a lot on the basis that I believed it could be something that took off and developed. People love football, gambling and games like fantasy football in the UK, I thought it looked like a slam dunk success if it was developed right.

Well, it really has and I still think it is looking good to become a mainstream product over the coming years. It feels like a more intellectually satisfying form of gambling where your skill and ability is rewarded and it is not just luck.

When performance was introduced things really clicked for me and I became a “serious” trader. It’s still got some kinks to work out sure but overall it’s a satisfying product that I think will grow. I think the performance side needs pushing to the foreground more as time goes on as it is this that has really catapulted the product forward.

Media has a place for sure, chiefly to tide us over when there isn’t any games. But it’s not very satisfying for me because it is so easy to predict.

Why did you start the blog?

I was getting a bit lazy with my trading in early 2018. Work was busy, I had other life stuff to do. The market was rising slowly so you could get gains without doing much for weeks at a time and I was resting on my laurels a bit. But I knew I could be doing more and improving my ROI. I’m sure many people have felt the same at one time or another!

So it was an accountability thing. I’ve always enjoyed writing anyway. And if I could get a few followers and discipline myself to write every day I figured it would make me keep on top of things.

As I started, I noticed that not only was I more aware of the market movements, the additional time I put in every day was making me better and better. Fast forward a year and thousands of hours of effort from the research and writing for an article almost every day and it has pushed my trading and analysis methods to a whole other level.

In a year the blog has grown from dozens of pageviews at first to 7000-8000 most weeks now which is way more than I expected! And it is increasing every week. But it became a huge amount of work to maintain!

A month ago, I introduced a paid Members Area to the site. The income from this means I can now do 6-8 hours of work every day on research and writing to produce original content which could not exist without the subscriptions. And web hosting and the scouting tools I subscribe to all costs money that needs to be covered too.

When thinking about the Members Area, I thought if I was a busy person, or someone new to FI, how great would it be to have someone doing the heavy lifting on research for me and to take the strain off? I could focus on looking into the players that fit my strategy. No more guilt that I hadn’t done as much research as I should! And the benefit of regular strategy articles and analysis of the market and players as the trends shift and conditions change too to help me stay on top of things.

So that’s what I made. It’s something new to FI that has not been done before. I don’t do anyone’s trading for them, but I try to provide quality information that helps people follow their own strategy and makes life easier for them.

I was bowled over by the number of people who have tried it in the first month. And the feedback has been superb, the vast majority rating it 5 stars out of 5 with some 4 and just 1 (unexplained!) 3 star. And some wonderful comments and suggestions for improvements too like trend tracking, guide pricing and transfer rumour monitoring too which I am already implementing.

Anyone interested can find out more about it here.

Has FOMO become a legitimate strategy lately?

To an extent, I think it always has been provided you know what you are doing. You need to be deliberately playing this game in full knowledge that the player is probably overpriced or not that great. You can’t be the guy who actually has FOMO and win. To go back to poker again, there is a saying that if you don’t know who the worst player at the table is, it’s probably you.

This is also known in trading as “greater fool theory”. You buy weak assets that people with poor judgement or the gambling mentality will likely follow you into. And then you dump on them. The sub £1 market on the “trending” list is the classic ground for this but so are the hyper inflated youth players.

Is it immoral? Well, probably. But there is literally no point in even thinking about this. It’s trading and this happens in every form of it. It is our responsibility as traders to educate ourselves and control our emotions so we do not get caught by it.

If you started on FI today, what would be the first thing you did before even depositing?

Oof. A lot. You are going to need good information sources and guidance to help you but picking out the reputable sources from the weak or even deliberately misleading is not easy for new traders.

I am not saying this just because he is hosting the interview, FIG genuinely does have some of the best guides for new traders out there and you know it’s true because he would not have lasted so long and maintained a good reputation otherwise. To someone like him or me who is here for the long haul, a good reputation is the most important thing and it’s really easy to lose it if you are pumping out nonsense.

So look for credible high quality content creators that have been around for a while. And beware the “1000% ROI!” claims from people because people tend to be shall we say generous when calculating it. Also, the market landscape has been so favourable as FI gets started that you could have been running the strategy of a madman or picking your players by throwing darts at the top 200 and you’d still have made money.That’s not going to be the case going forward and it will toughen up as the platform matures. Now is the time to be forming good trading habits based in rational thought and self discipline.

And avoid the mistake of going for popular players, players you like, players that were good in Fantasy Football or on Football Manager. It’s NOT the same game. A player that is good in reality is often not very good on FI and you’ve got to learn which players suit the scoring system and which don’t.

Once you’ve read or watched a few guides, watch the market for yourself on big match days and see how it reacts to various events. You could use play money in a spreadsheet to see how you would have done, or just deposit a token amount for you (better yet, use the Risk Free offer from FI).

Don’t feel too pressured to plow in before you are ready, there are always opportunities to pick up good players at reasonable prices if you know where to find them.

Are the yields too low for serious investors?

Around 4-5 months ago I said on the blog that dividends were in a good spot and we did not need any bonuses or dividend increases - the market needs to develop on its own.

I think that has now changed. Prices have gone up and up now and yes, when I looked at dividend yields for an article in my Members Area last week, the dividends for most players, particularly if they are well known good players, are now pitiful.

So, I am happy for FI to get a bit of wool on their back and take some profits. We need them to be financially sustainable and good work deserves a reward. But I think before next season we now need a dividend increase.

There is a hint of one with the share split, which I await with interest. I think that might be a relatively modest one, though.

You've been vocal on the following, can you outline your thoughts on each:

Spreads

I have a different view to many (like FIG!) on this and I don’t have an issue with the way spreads currently apply. Many hate them, many want more consistency and I understand the reasons.

But if you come from other trading, then the idea of having an Instant Sell that lets you sell for a relatively small hit at all is an absolute godsend. That probably explains my relaxed stance.

It is an essential thing for FI to provide because without it, confidence would be nowhere near what it is and the market would not have got going in the same way.

Compared to say a cash out on a bad bet, it’s incredibly generous. And, we do have to take responsibility on our trades. If we make a trade that we want to get out of, it has to come with a penalty.

Without a significant penalty, the market would be chaos. People could sell at a whim and prices would be more volatile. It is only that sizable spread that stops a premium player absolutely tanking when they get injured or similar. We are all quietly grateful for it then!

And on consistency, I don’t think FI have an obligation to provide that. They have the method they have to determine risk in a player and we will never know what it is. If they told us, we would game the system.

They have to find a balance between protecting themselves financially and supporting market confidence and I think by and large, with a few head scratching exceptions, they get that about right. They certainly pay far more than a purely rational person would to buy back unwanted players.

FI comms

Tough one because I do like the personal updates from the staff but sometimes recently some absolute clangers have been dropped (lock your phones away during Friday night beers guys!).

I think inevitably, as FI matures it will have to take on a more corporate image and be a bit more professional when it comes to releasing market sensitive information. But it can still keep a friendly face. Paddy Power’s often entertaining Twitter account is an example of how it can be done.

Share Split

This will be a big moment on the calendar but my overriding sense is that the expectation and hype far outstrips the reality.

It’s a psychological marketing trick. It has no real impact on values. Over time, I think it will have a beneficial effect on the market. But I would be wary of any advice which says “this player is a must have for the Share Split!”.

Being a cynic, I am fully expecting people to be flipping these outrageously high expectations around the share split and we may see those “essential” players getting dumped very quickly.

The more important thing that will have a real impact is the accompanying dividend changes/increase which have been hinted at and that is the thing to watch.

Other Questions

What do you think of the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre?

Have to be honest, I'm dead against it. Unlike Big Yellow Taxi, I'd rather they paved paradise to put up a parking lot. Which would actually alleviate traffic congestion on the outskirts of paradise. Something which the song singularly fails to point out, perhaps because it doesn’t quite fit in with the artist’s blinkered view of the world.

If you had to scare a donkey into falling into a river; how would you do it, and where?

Trick question donkeys can't be scared into running they freeze when startled. But if I did it would
be at the lagoons near Longstanton Spice Museum. Afterwards, I’d find a nice country pub and have a big fat shot of Director's afterwards.

Will there ever be a boy born that can swim faster than a shark?

Yes. Next question.

If historical monarchs could drive a modern car, which one would they choose? And, assuming a good answer to question 1 - Do you ever go in the Woods End pub in Surlingham?

Genghis Khan. Lexus SC430. Black. Retractable top. And yes, fancy a pint? No? Me neither.

What’s your max bench, squat and deadlift?

Probably pretty average for a 90kg guy! Bench 100kg, Squat 140kg, Dead 160kg.

Hope you all enjoyed that! A shame FI trader couldn't join the podcast but this post was, as usual by his high standards-awesome!

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Interviews: GG Index: Licking my Lips at Injuries https://footballindexguidepodcast.fireside.fm/articles/interviews-gg-index-formerly-golfing-grandad-licking-my-lips-at-injuries Mon, 28 Jan 2019 14:00:00 -0500 Pet@duxmedia.co.uk 84e8aa66-fee5-4ef5-a3c2-5229f709b073 Golfing Grandad has been someone I've tried to wrangle down and get on the FigCast for a while now.....alas, he's chosen the interview long form read as an alternative! First of all, I’d like to say that I’ve been looking forward to writing this blog and answering the questions that came in, and after the superb reaction following EJ’s blog, I do feel a little like David Moyes walking into the Man United job! So, maybe don’t expect the same standard of insight as EJ gave, but I hope you find my views interesting enough.


What would you recommend as a starting strategy for a new trader with £500, bearing in mind injured players can be lucrative long term, but maybe not appealing for a new traders enjoyment as they get to grips with FI?**

To this question, I would give two answers.

‘Lucky Punt’
When I first started, I found the index on a matched betting forum, which was a great place for identifying value and thinking of tactics to maximise it, so I was keen to give it a go as a risk-free shot at money. When I signed up, there was an offer of up to £500 refunded if you’re down after the first week and want to walk away…with an offer such as this, there is a solid argument for trying to get lucky and lump it all on one or two players and hope to see a 20-30% increase in one, or both, of them within a week (in the silly season of transfers, then that is quite achievable with a bit of good fortune).

Effectively it’s a risk-free punt as if it goes wrong, then you can be refunded and you’ve lost nothing. It’s akin to getting a free go on the roulette wheel…if it comes off you’ve won handsomely but if not, you’ve lost nothing for an attempt to win big early on. If you do win well, then you’ve got a healthy profit to walk away with, or, which I would recommend, reinvest back into the Index and let it grow even more for you.

I understand this might not be a popular view with traders already on the Index, as it’s a platform based on organic growth, rather than people attempting a ‘smash and grab’ style, which would increase volatility in the market (if this approach was taken by a lot of new traders) but, hand on heart, it is what I would do to try and quickly maximise my profits if someone else was taking on all my risk.

‘5-10 Players’
The longer term alternative I have on this, and exactly what I did, would be to spread it around maybe 5-10 players maximum, so you don’t spread yourself too thin, but still get your portfolio diversified enough.

Before I started on the index, I’d read about it months earlier, asked a few guys some questions on it, and looked at the market from afar without holding an account. I noted down what sort of players were moving up and down, and tried to figure out the reasons why. I also searched for Football Index content, which led me to the FIG Youtube videos, and then I watched a few of those videos (importantly the one outlining the rules, and then the first bank-builder series).

I hadn’t seen/heard a TV/radio advert and then opened an account/deposited, and then wondered what the hell was going on and who I should buy - as advertising was fairly minimum when I joined the index.

This is important to contextualise my thought process when I entered the market as a new user, as although I was a new user, I had still experienced the market as a note-taking onlooker.
I cerated some categories for players and bought one or two players for each of the following:

  • Current big media draw (x2)
  • World Cup (x1)
  • Transfer target (x2)
  • Youngster (x2)
  • Under-rated player (x1)
  • Injured (x1)

So across 9 players, I had covered 6 categories (some players were relevant to more than one category too which also helped achieve the target of diversification).

I would recommend a similar strategy for any new user now as I believe that a reasonably small, but diversified portfolio, covering different aspects of the football world is the key when starting. At this stage of your Index experience, you won’t be quick to know exactly what events create market reactions and how big those market reactions will be, so you don’t want to extend your portfolio too wide, as you need to channel your focus until you can judge the situations much better.

Also, as the index moves in trends, you’d cover a few bases, and be more likely to see some growth in at least one element of your portfolio rather than the current trend pass you by.

Ultimately, a mixture of the two above options could work very well. If you always have the intention of going with option B anyway as you want to be on the index in the long term, then note down a few players who you would want to form the early part of your portfolio. Once you have done that, then there is no harm in trying to quickly gain a bit of extra capital at the start, using option A, when your risk is completely nullified with the new offer. Once you’ve made some quick money, or been refunded your losses, then you can move to option B anyway and go about your business understanding market reactions whilst being a little diversified.

As someone who’s been open and transparent about selling too early, what have you learnt that could help newer traders identity when the right time to sell is?

Like every trader on the index, I have sold players far too early, and ultimately miss out on further profits. I say every trader has done this, as only one trader can ever sell at the very top, so we’ve obviously all been guilty of this. I think primarily, what you have to do, is KNOW EXACTLY WHY YOU’VE BOUGHT THE PLAYER in the first place and then execute that plan accordingly.

I take my experience with a very highly rated prospect as an example, and an embarrassing one at that. I bought him for £1.20, and believe me, if I stated which player he was, you’d be thinking… ‘I wish I could have bought such a bright talent like him at £1.20!’

The thing is, I had read on the forum that he was a bright talent and wanted another young player to form the ‘young prospects’ part of my portfolio. Within a week, the player had dropped to £1.13, as he had missed a game or two, and traders moved focus to other players. At this point, I panicked…my thought process as follows:

’This young kid has dropped. Bought him last week. Now he’s down. Don’t know much about him. What if he drops further? I best just cut my losses now. Everyone has bad trades that end as a loss. I guess this is mine. I’m gonna sell him. In fact, I want to get my money back from him now. I’ll instant sell him.’

Obviously this is a horrendous error with both hindsight and experience. Not only did I sell him at £1.13 for a 7p loss, but I instant sold him too as I panicked. This is down to one reason, and one reason only…I had little idea who he was (knew he was a young player but didn’t do my research) and therefore had even less idea of when I thought I should sell him. I entered into a trade and then every moment after that, I was uncertain of my position with him. Even if he had risen 10p in a week, I would probably have got out of the trade and taken profit because I didn’t know what I wanted from the trade. Fundamentally, you have to know why you’re buying the player in the first place, otherwise you have no way of knowing when they have reached the point where you think the end is coming. If they go down even slightly, you panic because they might be a dud, yet if they go up you don’t know when to sell as you don’t know when they’ve reached their potential.

‘I should have put more on’ vs ‘I can’t believe I backed that'

A lot of people when gambling often find it difficult to find the positives in it. I’ve had mates who’ve won £300 off a £2 acca who then later bemoaned not upping their stake to £5. They’ve just won a 150/1 acca, yet are annoyed they didn’t back it bigger. When they've lost, they can’t believe they’ve backed it at all.

The point I’m making with this, is that selling too early can often feel like this. You’ve bought a player for £2 and sold him at £3 (a great 50% rise which traders in other markets would be very happy with). That player then goes on to peak at £4.

‘Should have held him to £4…can’t believe I sold him…’

It’s almost the same as my mate who has been upset about not backing a big winner with more cash, completely forgetting that if he’d upped his stakes for the previous 20 losing accas, then he’d have had no money left to put on the winning bet. Yes, it’s obviously better if you held to £4 and sold then (and you would feel like a star trader no doubt) but life does not work that way and we often have to reflect with a more realistic outlook.

The flip side of holding the player to £4 is that you still might not sell at the right time, as timing the exit is the hardest part of the trade, and then continuing to hold him as he slides back down to £3 (I’ve had a similar experience)…you’ve now got him at the same price as you previously were happy to sell, but the hold is now tinged with regret/anger/feeling of missed opportunity etc.

Selling on a rise is worry free, you can lock in your profits through a ‘sell-to-market’ and don’t need to worry about trying to offload a falling asset, which is more expensive if you need to instant sell and pay the spread. If this is the case, I find myself constantly checking how that hold is getting on, which breeds anxiety. Selling on the rise relieves you of that anxiety and then you can take that money forward to enter another trade that you’re excited about entering into as opposed to worrying about what you already have.

Basically what I’m saying is…we all do it, on almost every trade…so accept it’s going to happen, and look at the positive aspects of it rather than dwelling on the negatives.

Have you learnt from your mistakes, or do you find that an addiction to success leads you down the same dark avenues repeatedly?

Whilst everybody wants to maximise the opportunity on the index, I think learning from mistakes and not repeating them is an essential part of your evolution as a trader, and ultimately what leads to success.

I’ve been guilty of holding players for too long thinking that with market growth they’ll just rise regardless of their performances or not really knowing why I was holding them, and then being unable to let someone heavily green in my portfolio go. I’m all too aware now that players just continuously rising with the market is definitely not the case, and players have different value at different points in the season. Therefore I am probably quite likely to cash in on players a little earlier than I previously would, and sometimes ‘sell early’, but I’m happier doing that, especially if I’ve identified a different target to put the next batch of money into.

I find one way to stop these mistakes is to categorise trades - e.g. young, high profile transfer, PB hold, MB hold, non-Pb to PB transfer, injured…I recently did this myself when I was stuck in a bit of a rut, and once I outlined these categories, if a player didn't fit into a couple of these categories, or at least be a shining light in one of them, then they were sold irrespective of how they were doing in my portfolio, as I wanted to have a specific plan in place for each player, so I knew roughly when I could sell or top up ahead of it being their time to shine.

I felt this clarity surrounding each hold would enable me to stop falling into similar patterns that I’d previously been in, and it has definitely been a positive and maturing thing to realise and correct those mistakes.

It’s one hour after the share split. What are you seeing? A mad scramble for perceived better value players with majority of the Index rising, or some big sell offs of the average player you now have 800 futures of? This is assuming a 4x share split.

I think it all depends on whether the dividends are split in line with the shares or increased in some way…so I’ll look at both of the possibilities.

‘The dividends are split equally’

There’s a simple line of thought amongst the majority of traders with regards to the share split, which is that the big boys are going to soar in price when it happens. The most expensive players (from £12-£20) are currently unattainable for the vast majority, and especially new users who are trying out the platform with anything up to £500. If the split is by 4, then they suddenly become £3-£5 which is what people are currently paying for prospects and decent players at big teams, some of whom are currently experiencing enormous rises of their own, so the money is clearly there to buy in bulk at this price range.

For me, the theory of the big boys rocketing is reliant on those new users buying them. I say this as existing users have already built their positions in the premium players - I doubt many who are already relatively experienced users who want to buy these players haven't done so already.

Now the question is whether the newer users see the share split, see the new prices and then immediately dump their existing holds to transfer over to the premium players. To get into the mind of a new user, I’ll try and think back to when I started. I’d scoured the market for what I thought was the best value out there at the time (in hindsight I was often very wrong) and then once I’d made my choices, I wanted to see how they would do in the forthcoming weeks and months. I’m not so sure that I would have been entirely happy to effectively IS my portfolio to then switch to a new strategy as the worry/anxiety of having to do that would have been one of the key things in my mind. Added to that, I was often reading thoughts of respected traders advising ‘not to panic’ and ‘if you believe in your players and nothing has changed to them, then stand firm and good things will eventually come.’

I find loss aversion is quite a big thing when you first start out and are finding your feet in the market, and paying the spread on 4x the amount of shares you had the day before would be tough for many people to do. They’re watching their portfolios almost every 2 minutes to see if there’s been a rise/fall and I think that having to create the initial loss themselves may be a difficult hurdle for many to overcome.

On the flip side, some traders will definitely be unable to resist the premium players at their new lower price, but if the dividends have been split to 1.25p/MB and single game day 1p/PB win, then I’m not entirely sure that people will be trading to look for dividends. Dividend returns, or potential dividend returns should be the foundation for trading in and out of players, but as we’ve seen of late, it’s not always the case, and I don’t think the lure of a 1.25p MB win will be enough to make a lot of newer users IS their portfolios to be able to buy the bigger named players.

b) ‘The dividends are increased’

If the dividends are increased, by rounding up, then all hell is going to break loose at the top end of the index. And I mean in an enormous way…I would predict that it will comfortably be the biggest increase in the FOOTIE in it’s history. It could end up being a week of growth in one day at the top end.

Imagine 5p/MB is split to 1.25p/MB, then rounded up to 1.5p/MB…this doesn’t sound like much…but it’s in fact a 20% increase on the most predictable dividend there is. I don’t see the guys at FI towers rounding it up any less, as people tend to like things calculated in whole numbers or 0.5s at least.

Take a current premium MB player for example, trading roughly around £20…if he is deemed good value as things currently stand, then the main dividend he wins being increased by 20% means he’s going to still be good value at £24.

5p/MB win at £20 is 0.25%
6p/MB win at £24 is 0.25% (this is equivalent to 1.5p/MB win at £6 post-split)

The volume of money that it would take for that player to rise that much is incredible, and I don’t think that traders have that lying around down the back of the sofa, so they need to get it from somewhere else. That leads me to think there will be a bloodbath lower down the market to free up enough funds for people to get in on the rise at the top end. My prediction would be that a lot of the newly bought prospects would fall foul of this, and their values would tank heavily at the start, before then looking so cheap that they would start to make a small recovery, but only small in comparison to their drop.

I think the middle range, moderate dividend returners will probably be the least affected in the immediate aftermath (money sourced from zero dividend returners cashed in to buy the premium players) and then, like any other previous surge of Index investment, they’ll then start to look cheap a few hours or a day after the announcement, and a bit of money from the top end will then start to filter down (presumably those who've built a position in the top end ahead of the announcement selling some shares to market and finding a bit of value lower down).

The volume of chaos in the market would leave a lot of newer traders confused and wondering what was happening, so if this happens, there needs to be some warning to people.

There lies a great responsibility with the more experienced traders to help the newer traders out in this scenario and tell them what to expect and how to act quickly to avoid getting annihilated in the early part of the madness. Whilst it is every trader for themselves on the Index, and as market cap is closer to being reached (some way off yet), I could understand it being a little more hostile, but in a time of enormous growth, to sustain that growth and not turn people away from the platform, I think it would do immense good for the long-term if experienced traders helped newer traders out when something this big hits the market.

Do you have an exit strategy? Indexit?

I’m going to take this question as meaning an exit strategy on the whole of the index, not just as a rule for each trade (otherwise that strategy is sell at peak!). I find it’s a tricky one as this is the first market I’ve ever traded in, so I’m not the best at forecasting how much further the index has to grow. For me, it is a revolutionary product that will potentially change the face of the gambling industry on its own, so it has some way to go to fulfil its potential.

In the near future, possibly once I know what is happening with the share split, I’ll be looking to start the process of de-risking and taking some money back so I’m effectively playing solely with profits, so if the worst was to happen (which I don’t think it will) then I wouldn’t have lost any of my own initial investment. The golden rule is that of ‘don’t risk more money than you can afford to lose’, and I need to start that process of de-risking fairly promptly, so not to break that rule, but it’s very difficult to make withdrawals when the market is booming like it has been of late as you feel that this is the best place to have your money working for you at the moment.

How will your strategy and portfolio change when FI branches out to more countries - specifically where the other top leagues are?

Much like the answer regarding the potential outcomes of the share-split, it all depends on how these territory expansions are reflected in the dividend earning mechanics.

If there is no change to the reward system, and the dividend earning potential of each player remains as it is, then I don’t think my strategy will change a whole lot, if at all. You could say that doing more research on the upcoming talents from each new territory would be beneficial as those traders are more likely to favour youngsters from their own league, but I guess that is where it would stop, as I think the wealth of knowledge on the Index, alongside some extremely informative research tools, allows us to view the current performers in the foreign leagues very well as it is. I know there are still plenty of hidden gems around that many traders don’t know of (hence why they’re ‘hidden’) but value in these will be quickly hoovered up by traders from those territories.

If there was a change in the reward system however - e.g. each PB league had its own PB winner each day, or each country had its own MB rankings, then I think I would play it a little safer than some others would, and once again, not change too many things. I’d just observe and see how those changes affect the dividend earning potential of each player. Rather than gamble on ‘player x’ being the top MB earner in the German media, and potentially lose out when it turns out it is in fact ‘player y,’ I would rather wait a little longer and pay a slightly added premium for something I know I am getting.

What I mean by this - there’s a scenario where ‘player x’ and ‘player y’ are both £4 and you don’t really know how the new dividend metric will affect their dividend earning potential…you could try and jump the gun and invest a fair amount in ‘player x’ being the best dividend earner at £4…if it turns out it is ‘player y’, then you’ve not done very well. I think I would rather wait to know who has the best dividend earning potential and pay even £6 for ‘player y’ knowing I will get returns. Yes, I’d have lost £2 of capital appreciation, but at least I know I’m on to a winner longer term.

Effectively, I’d rather pay a lot for something than pay something for nothing.

But in the case of different rules for different territories coming into play, then I think it is still quite a long way off.

I love your appetite in buying injured players, a strategy I have adopted myself in recent times. How did this strategy come about for you? And state your most successful trade.

It’s always been something that I thought of from the very first day that I was on the Index. It just seemed such an obvious point that a player will naturally rise in price once they become a fixture of the team again, so why not get in early and play the waiting game. I’d class myself as a fairly patient trader, so I was happy to sit on players for what I thought would be as close to a sure-thing as you could get on the Index.

So from thinking about it early on in my Index journey, it was a strategy that I greatly increased my investment/time/research on when I was unhappy with how Football Index were handling things in October 2018. I had built a portfolio with a certain strategy in mind, and profit was ticking along nicely until the G&A announcement. This hit my portfolio particularly hard, and I was very much at a cross-roads of what to do. My confidence was greatly shaken, as I have a lot of money/time/energy invested in my portfolio, and I didn’t like how the rules could suddenly change at any point. It may sound a little dramatic, but I felt like they had disrespected the users in a way by implementing rules which benefited some over others without any prior warning.

During this time, I decided I needed a place to put the money that felt a little safer than usual, a place almost immune from these harsh market trends. I still believed in the growth of the platform on the whole as it’s such a different sort of product to anything else, so even with my confidence shaken, the underlying notion of the platform’s massive potential still kept the funds around. Having read a quote from a stocks trader that 20% was a great return over the course of a year, I thought that if I could just put my money into an injured player, look maybe 4 months later and they've gone up 20% then I’d still be making a decent return compared to other fields. Added benefits are that it’s a stress-free way to trade, some traders hold top premium players for dividend returns that tick along over the course of the year and for me this is similar without the risk of a premium player actually getting injured, and also if you're confident that you've got a safe returner, then it allows you to make some more speculative trades too without fear of your profits sinking.

Other than a current trade which I won’t mention by name as I don’t want to sound biased, I think Benjamin Mendy would be my best injury trade, as he rose from 27.5% without having to kick a ball. Traders would class that dividend return as phenomenal over the course of a season, so 27.5% in the space of 2 months could be seen as quite a lucrative return.

What are your long terms aspirations from FI? And where do you think the index will go in the next year?

My long term aspirations are very simple - to secure a better standard of living for my family, and any money made on the platform could help to achieve that.

With regards to where I think Football Index will go in the next year - I think it will almost double in size over the course of 2019. It may sound like a bold claim, but in my view starting a new venture and attracting initial users is the hardest part of it all. Once more and more people start to use the platform, and revenues increase to escalate the level of advertising and word-of-mouth spreads far and wide, I think the rate of growth will rapidly increase. I saw someone tweet earlier this month that more users has a snowball effect, and I agree completely. When I started I think the FOOTIE was below 15,000 - at the time of writing it has recently gone past 55,000…an enormous rate of growth, all in under a year.

Order books will be a key part of the platform going forward, and if these are successfully implemented, with a strong emphasis on making sure users know what they are doing with them, then it will be a great addition. It’s very important that there are easy to follow guides for users who have never used them before, as it would be highly detrimental to make it too complicated and turn users away to start losing money at the bookies again. The transparency on liquidity will also provide users with more confidence (as we all know how much we hate not knowing what position in the queue we actually are) and I think that as plenty of people have used Betfair in the past, then a similar sort of look would allow that transition to be a little more seamless.

What is the ‘driver’ behind your FI interest? If you could ‘iron’ out anything about FI, what would it be? Do you find yourself stick in extra ‘wedge’ when a player goes off on a stretcher?

First of all, very clever!

What is the ‘driver’ behind your FI interest?
The ‘driver’ behind my interest in FI was that it was an interesting way to make money and expand my knowledge of football. Having previously done a bit of matched betting, I knew that fellow matched bettors had come across it, and their previous record of spotting value was really good, so I thought I’d try it. Matched betting only has a limited shelf life too, as if you win and take a lot of value from a bookmaker, they just suspend accounts etc, so I needed somewhere that felt a little more long term, but ultimately with the same goal of being able to spot value and take advantage.

If you could ‘iron’ out anything about FI, what would it be?
Prior to Mike’s TalkSPORT appearances in the studio, I would have ‘ironed’ out the messages in the advertising, as I felt the TV/radio campaigns didn't quite do the platform as much justice as they could have done (although I recognise it is a complex model to explain in 30 seconds). But Mike has done an excellent job so far on a show with a massive reach, so he must take a lot of credit. He took a lot of criticism when it didn't go so well in October, so if he's to be criticised when things go wrong, he should also be given plenty of credit when they go well, and with each appearance on TalkSPORT he’s more confident and delivering his content very well.

Other than that, it’s very simple - the IOS app. It’s been mentioned time and time again, so I apologise that I haven’t added anything new in this answer.
The crashing is very annoying, as we all know, but it’s the fact that the Android app now shows historical dividend returns on each player whereas the IOS app doesn’t. For the whole Football Index experience to feel a bit more reliable and the company to be more respectable (as a place where people are investing huge amounts of their money), then there needs to be parity between different apps. The marketing messages were criticised for not being entirely consistent, and thankfully this has been corrected. I’d like to put the inconsistency between the different apps on a similar level, and hope they become identical in the near future.

Do you find yourself stick in extra ‘wedge’ when a player goes off on a stretcher?
As mentioned above, I’m actually going to be de-risking at some point in the near future (I’m still trying to think of the best way to execute that plan without disrupting my portfolio too much), so if I see an injured player, I don’t put in an extra wedge in at all.
It’s a case of player sales, and then I assign a portion of the funds raised from recent player sales into the injured players and then, if it’s a reasonably long injury (5 weeks+), accumulate slowly over the next few days and weeks.
One thing I have learnt for the future is that there is definitely no need to invest heavily on an injured player at the start - a slow topping up will provide the same outcome, yet you're not tying up more funds in a fairly stagnant hold for a long time.

I hope you enjoyed reading this - good or bad, I look forward to your feedback/alternative views on the points that have been raised.

[Fig]
Hope you all enjoyed that! A shame GG couldn't join the podcast but this post was excellent!

-Please subscribe to the podcast and leave a review!
-Check out my YouTube Channel
-Check out the Football Index Blog which features FI trader & Liam

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Football Index 2019 Predictions https://footballindexguidepodcast.fireside.fm/articles/football-index-2019-predictions Mon, 31 Dec 2018 06:00:00 -0500 Pet@duxmedia.co.uk 32ce5ad4-553c-428a-9461-ade2638aeb76 I thought it'd be great to get a few members of the community to submit their 2019 predictions! I was reading through my blog post from about 6 months back called 'The Future of Football Index' and I thought it'd be a great to garner some 2019 predictions from the community. As it was last minute, I asked people that I know and have interacted with in the community for a while! I'm also going to give you guys some of mine whilst we're here!

Community Predictions

  • EJ: Simple Prediction - If FI continue to box clever and follow the same formula, probably with a dividend rise, I'd expect the FOOTIE to be over 100,000 by this time next year.

  • Index Profit Hunter : Mason Greenwood to reach a higher price than Romelu Lukaku at some point in 2019.

  • Buzzing Paul: At some point this year IPD will replace G&A within the #FICommunity vernacular. This will coincide with a market realisation that GKs win IPD dividends too and GKs prices will return closer to fair value. Don't expect this to happen before next season though.

  • Football Index Trader: I see a big year ahead for FI and think we will see strong market growth yet again. I think as the year roles on we will start to see dividends and savvy trading becoming increasingly important to our profits, as huge capital growth becomes harder to come by as the platform matures.

  • Ryan Freeland: 500k users by the end of 2019! I see the Share split encouraging new money, which then allows FI to increase spending in London and Ireland from a marketing standpoint. I also see FI using some of the money to then open up in new territories.

  • Oli Price-Bates: I think 2019 will be a big year for the Index. Kicking off with another share split and potentially order books later in the year, these moves will appeal to both recreational users and big investors - as a refined app and website rolls out, and new territories are added- I expect a large amount of money to move into the market and a 50% increase in users by the end of the year. Onwards and upwards!

  • Stamford: I think there will be 5 players who will break £20 in today’s money by the end of 2019. Why? Three reasons, the share split will attract new investment and make top players affordable to more users leading to a greater share ownership, secondly the order book will sharpen the focus on players who can and can’t return dividends. Lastly, I fully expect the data site to support the growth of dividend yielding players

  • Footy Index King: Before I get stuck in to my 2019 outlook let’s get some facts out there:

  1. I am an investor in FI through Seedrs.
  2. I am a trader and have a 5 figure portfolio.
  3. I am not an expert.
  4. I say it as I see it.

My opinion is aggressive and my outlook is one of caution for 2019.

Millions have been spent on marketing and the company is fully in scale up mode. Unique user numbers show that there is substantial amount of growth in terms of new users still to come.

MB and PB dividends drive the market and there is a huge weight of money in the top end players mostly following news of a second share split for Q1 2019.

For me, this rise at the top comes from existing users wallets and the shift of money from bottom end and unpopular players (defenders) in anticipation of a share split, not new sign ups and an injection of new money. How many reading this now have deposited ring fenced ISA money because the market will inevitably, obviously, surely grow? It has grown, I’m not sure it has peaked, but in 2019, I firmly believe the market will again stagnate.

How many are planning on withdrawing that additional money you promised yourself you wouldn’t deposit, seeing it as a cheeky bonus? Multiply that for every trader. I do not believe this platform can grow organically, without further share splits, without increased dividends, without deposit bonuses 4 times a year. Are FI actually making much money?

That green on your screen is not profit - the money you withdraw and bank is profit. Every time a trader sells players and withdraws it has a negative effect on the market. What is your end game? Everything has a means to an end and if you don’t have one you need an end game and a withdrawal strategy (cough recent blog). House deposit, new car, providing for your family, luxury holidays, beer? Out of all the traders who is actually realising profits? What happens if traders start doing this at the same time as each other?

So, my outlook is one of caution for 2019. Enjoy the growth that I do think will happen and want to be a part of, but I do think stagnation and in turn trader panic will occur in 2019 I’m very interested to see how FI counteract this.

I hope my opinion has made you think. Have you banked any profit or is all your money at risk? Bank some profit, enjoy life, and don’t bet (it is not investing) what you can’t afford. Have a prosperous and more importantly happy and healthy 2019, these are merely my thoughts.

  • IndexGain: FI to simplify/ improve onboarding so as to make the product more accessible/appealing to a much wider audience and in the process make Football fans as aware of FI as FPL.

  • Golfing Grandad: ‘(Using current dividend figures) At least 2 players will return over £1.30 in MB alone during the summer transfer window.’

As the domestic season finishes on the 12th May and 19/20 season will begin maybe 10th August, with only a couple of European finals and Nations League matches in the interim, there will be roughly 90 days of triple MB.

90 days of 8p = £7.20
90 days of 5p = £4.50
90 days of 2p = £1.80

With some potential mega transfers coming up in the summer, and there’s normally one or two drawn-out sagas, they would need to average 5p on 26 days of the 90.

As some players go through patches of being the media’s focus, and with little else to write about, this could quite easily happen.

FIG Predictions

On to my predictions, and I'd take these with a pinch of salt.....I have no insider info, and if you want proof- you can look at how wrong some of the ones I predicted back in July were! (in the 'future of Football Index' Blog).

Football Index to realise spammy affiliate marketing doesn't work anymore

Marketing in the modern day is really tough. Organic marketing is hard, whilst paid advertising is getting less effective and more expensive. Football Index's strength is having a massively sticky userbase, and word of mouth is the best way for this product to grow- after they've gotten the name out there via Sky, TalkSport etc. etc. One thing they have tried to leverage is people with large followings- some more effectively than others. Oli PB for example, has a large following- but in my opinion has gone about it the right way. He's an avid trader & advocate of the product, interacts with the twitter and IndexGain slack community, has appeared on the Pod and regularly writes for the FI blog. It's time for FI in 2019 to move away from the machine gun approach, and really target people who can properly represent their product. I've explained before that the way FI's business model works, is that everyone feels like a stakeholder. If you have someone who has say £1000 in FI, but stands to gain more through shoving their affiliate link down people's throats- there's a distinct change in tone. Whilst this may still get people signed up, at a decent rate- it's not the 'Football Index' way in my opinion. So in short, this prediction is also a plea- that FI get smarter with their marketing and really reward those who have contributed heavily to the reputation of the product.

Football Index announce a decimal system to come in for next season or 2020

I think this will be the last share split we'll see, and I think it makes sense that it is. A decimal system would ensure that, even if you can't afford a whole Neymar- you can own a part of him as a new user. I think this will be a good step in making FI accessible seemingly forever, without having to split again. There's been a few who have put forward the notion that we should split, and rise dividends forever but I don't really see that as a long term solution personally.

IPOs start again at rapid rates, and the IPO system is revamped

There's lots of players playing right now that haven't been released into the market. It's an issue, and the longer it goes on the bigger it becomes in my opinion. Some of these football clubs have massive followings, so having players on FI even if they aren't PB eligible makes sense (likes of Leeds, Villa, Birmingham etc.). In fact, it makes a lot of sense for FI. They are issuing bets that they don't have to pay out on for a while or potentially ever- and fans are willing to hold their favourite players in case of promotion/a big transfer. It could be a turn off for example if I support one of these teams, and join FI- then can't find my favourite....small things like that can turn people away from the platform!

Maybe they've slowed down because they want to first revamp how the system works, then release lots of players.

A Football Index trader 'committee' to be created

I think FI really felt the flip side of having a massively sticky user base with their mess up on the G&A annoucment. I think a few things were done wrong here in my opinion:

  1. The execution of the comms was done badly
  2. There was no statement from FI that this is in line with their mantra that 'your bet isn't over at the final whistle'
  3. FI should have done a better job of explaining how G&A is still a way for long term traders to gain value

If there was a group of traders that were chosen by the FI community to represent them- a union of some sorts, that FI could bounce ideas off I think it could be beneficial for everyone.

Territories

I think in 2019, we'll finally see a territory (most likely Ireland) become a real part of the market cap. We haven't really seen the impact of new territories from a market cap standpoint, and I think in 2019 we'll finally see some real money flow from other territories. I'm also going to take a wild guess and say the likes of Germany and Spain will be on the agenda in 2019!

Users

Between 350k-400k users by this time next year. I think with another marketing push in the UK, as well as the beginnings of marketing spend in other territories we'll see those user numbers fly!

Hope you enjoyed the blog and your Christmas! Thanks to everyone who's supported my content throughout 2018, and there are even better things to come next year. Happy new year everyone, I hope you have a prosperous 2019 on and off Football Index!

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Interviews: EJ: Believing in Football Index https://footballindexguidepodcast.fireside.fm/articles/interviews-ej-believing-in-football-index Fri, 28 Dec 2018 10:00:00 -0500 Pet@duxmedia.co.uk bae3aad6-7a55-4037-9c1f-b89379138f20 He wasn't keen on the FigCast, but I managed to convince EJ to do a written version. His answers were punchy, insightful and polarising. His opinions are strong ones, and it was a pleasure to get his voice amplified in some manner out into the FI community! Firstly I’d like to apologise to FIG and all those taking the time to read this for not making it easier by going on the Podcast. The reason I prefer this route is simply because I value my privacy and I see little upside from potentially being identified by friends/family etc, should they listen to a Podcast. It’s my experience that people change when money is involved, (often those with it and more starkly those around you without it).

To be totally clear I think it’s very important that people highlight their successes on FI. It can be seen as bragging and it often is, the whole point of FI is for us to win money from our football knowledge so talking about successes and failures is natural. This helps build confidence in what others can achieve and if ‘big money’ is being made it means other people will be upbeat about what their money can do for them, however much they have invested. FI has the ability to improve people’s lives in a meaningful way, so seeing those nice wins on twitter is fantastic for everyone in my opinion. It certainly helped me seeing big portfolios and success stories when deciding to invest a relatively large amount into FI. I joined Twitter specifically to talk about FI and hopefully help other traders on their FI journey; this is why I also agreed to this Q&A with FIG.

So with that out of the way, I’ll crack on with answering the questions some of you submitted.


When did you really believe in the index, and how did you hear about it in the first place?

"I was watching the first games of the World Cup and I could see the ticker moving like crazy and it clicked that this was about to take off big time."

I really believed in the index during the World Cup. I started out in the spring of 2016, with a relatively small amount. I read about FI on an investment platform called ‘Seedrs’ and I liked the idea. I must admit that I did grow bored very quickly though as it was just ‘Media’ focused back then and the money moving around was quite small, the market wasn’t very liquid. I dabbled with trading despite this, every time I made 30p-50p on a player I’d sell, but it wasn't very exciting. I would occasionally top up but the novelty wore off quickly.

Around this time last year I started to see my portfolio rise in value and noticed that PB was introduced. So, I put a bit more in and watched my portfolio value increase further. I started to watch more football, and found I was enjoying games a lot more knowing I had X player involved and if they did well I could win some dividends.

Then at the end of 17/18 season I realised I had doubled my money, from not doing anything special at all. Like most of us I wish I had focused on FI a lot sooner. I was watching the first games of the World Cup and I could see the ticker moving like crazy and it clicked that this was about to take off big time. I realised FI must be making money hand-over-fist and it gave me confidence that my money would be reasonably safe for a relatively large, long term investment.

Before I went in big I read a lot, I read FIT’s daily newsletter going back to the beginning, I listened to FIG’s Podcasts, I lurked on Twitter, I read a lot of the FI Forum. I basically decided to take it more seriously. I had made money but nowhere near what I could have made, so I was determined to do it properly if I was going to make a substantial deposit. So this was the point I decided to believe in the Index and commit to it.

How much prep/learning did you do and how has your strategy changed since day 1?

Day 1 my strategy was to just buy some good on-field players and hope they got in the news, nothing special. During 2017 my little deposits went into more of the same and more foreign players of high profile. Last summer when I decided to invest in a big way my strategy was more considered but straightforward. I looked at the top scorers in each league, I looked at the teams that had qualified for CL & EL and also teams that I felt would be competing for European competition this season, so their value increases this year and rapidly once they qualify for Europe next season. I then acquired a mix of players from each league that would qualify for each positional PB. So a good balance which would provide me with as much opportunity as possible to win dividends on each match day for each position. That was the plan anyway.

I underestimated how flippant the market will be, the trader crush on young players, the fact that amazingly a lot of traders seem to completely ignore dividends. There are certain players I owned that I sold because I could see they needed ridiculous luck to ever win PB, players like Mbappe, Lukaku, Diego Costa – I held them and felt that despite being of some value in real life (arguable in some cases) their style is not suited to the PB scoring system, so moved out quickly. This worked to a level but with Mbappe in particular I made a huge error in judgement. Seeing his incredible rise, I did buy some younger players for the future as I had been depositing regularly up until the day after the first G&A announcement. Whilst dividends should drive the market it is still very young and growing, people want exciting players like Mbappe, so this further highlights the need for a share split. It reminds me of trading stickers as a kid seeing these players rise, but it has led to me speculating on potential with some of my more recent acquisitions. I just think there should be more value placed on the actual dividends, but each to their own and I’d be foolish to fight the tide.

Mbappe pays out hardly any dividends currently, so imagine if his price was reduced to £3 with a split, FI will be making money galore and traders will be able to fill their crazy desire to hold as many of him as possible. It’s a win-win and as mentioned even if Mbappe suddenly turns into a dividend machine, most people will re-invest those dividends if the trajectory is good.

Can you tell us more about your background in betting/investment?

I like to bet on the football most weekends. Betting has always been a fun thing for me, it would make matches more interesting, and I like the idea of my understanding of football paying off in a meaningful way.

When FI came along and introduced the PB mechanic, it ticked all my boxes. I know a lot about football, I understand how football works, I now understand how FI works and it was a great marriage. The key for me is making money from something I love to do.

Another great perk for me is waking up in the morning earning X amount in dividends, and knowing that same player could win me money every day for the next 1000+ days without spending another penny on him. Plus I can probably sell him back at any time for a significant profit, especially if I wait long enough.

Investment wise, I have done a lot of different things-I’ll list a few of them:

  • I looked at Peer-Peer lending, I was earning between 5-12% for a few years – but I sensed that increased competition was leading to risk taking by the P2P platforms and they were starting to recklessly gamble with my money to gain an edge – so I have left most of these. Their quest for growth was starting to hurt the clients they had already signed up as loans were not being considered as carefully as before – (this is something FI need to be very mindful of and I’ve explained why at the bottom of this blog post.)
  • I have dabbled with trading certain commodities, I read everything I could about Sugar, Coffee, Cotton etc, but it was riddled with contradictions left right and centre – it was just roulette. I have also held investment funds and have seen them do well, but I think we are in for a rough ride over the coming years so I withdrew a lot from those funds to invest into FI. Where I think my money will both be safer and work much harder for me, not to mention 10X more fun.
  • I have also traded stocks. I read everything I could about the companies I was looking to invest in, I’d read expert reviews like with commodities. But again, one supposed expert would say the opposite to another supposed expert, so without inside knowledge or actually doing this job as a full time profession I just saw it as a casino. Incidentally, I often see Tweets from people saying “X player has just scored, played great and yet his price has dropped, it makes no sense to me”. I can explain that easily enough I think, but trying to explain the rationale behind the stock market moves is something I struggle with, there seems to be little common sense with the markets at the moment! There is too much shenanigans going on with capital markets for my liking, too much relying on other people’s knowledge/actions – so again I have downsized my stock portfolio.

The best unique selling point FI has is that everything is very clear, how players score points for PB, how dividends are awarded, how the trading works on price. Stocks and most other investments are not as clear, they can cut dividends, the company can get taken over, there are millions of things outside of your control that can affect your investment. With FI there are lots of small things, injuries, transfers, form, media issues etc, but most of these are somewhat predictable and if it goes wrong it can often recover quickly with minimal damage. I see each of my players as a company I have invested in – I know a million times more about a footballers qualities related to FI than I do about one FTSE 100 mining company compared with a mining company listed on the Australian stock exchange for example. With stocks we are only told what the company can get away with and there is often a lot of waffle, where as we can see our product in the flesh every single week with FI.

FI should appeal to anybody that knows about football and plays the markets. I’d advise FI to make more of an effort to convince investors that their product is the same side of the coin as investing in stocks, just ten times more fun, more transparent and probably much more lucrative. I think the move into G&A damaged a bit of my confidence though because it came from nowhere and I had invested a lot of money based on the values of the game being played at the time. I hope we don’t see FI interfering too much with things like this, which hinder one part of the market for another’s benefit.

For those interested in why I believe a player sometimes does well on a match day then drops in value, it is simply due to the scale of the market. It’s not hard to move the market at the moment, so if somebody with a few thousand shares changes direction that can mean a significant drop, it can also spook others which can compound the issue. Basically you may have picked right but a holder may have to exit for some other reason and that is one of the unfortunate aspects of FI whilst it grows. This time next year I imagine the index will better reflect player performance and somebody needing to withdraw to pay for a wedding, mortgage etc will not cause big short term damage to a particular hold. Throwing in G&A has just compounded this issue. The market needs to grow rapidly to reach its potential, but it was too soon for G&A in my view.

Do you have a current strategy?

My strategy is hold tight. I have tried playing the ‘flipping game’ and I’m not very good at it. I have a relatively large portfolio. Most of my holds are 1000-3000 of a particular player and I have 200+ players right now. It is hard to get out of a player efficiently and quickly without killing your profits with the spread if you instant sell. There are exceptions but if a player does well, why would you want to sell if you are in this long term? Almost every time I have traded out of a player I have ended up regretting it not long after. I really regret every trade I made back in 2016/17 for peanuts in capital growth. I don’t want to be saying the same thing about players I sell during 18/19 in a couple of year’s time.

Despite the Footie on a rise at the moment, the money in the index has never been spread as wide (because of G&A and IPO’s), so even with my 200+ players I have been experiencing a loss in portfolio value over recent months – this should not be the case at this stage in FI’s development in my view. I fully understand that if you are quick, lucky, buy/sell small quantities, or very well researched there is a lot of money to be made at the low end of the market. I believe this is mainly (not solely) because newcomers are operating at this end and there are a lot of sharks in those waters. Undoubtedly there is skill involved as well, not everyone making money at the bottom end is being crafty of course. There is a nice feeling associated with finding a sub £1 player and watching them rise to £3+. A lot of people think like this currently because the prices at the top end are too high, so it’s forcing newcomers to become experts in ‘Mickey Mouse’ footballers in the hope they find a superstar. This is why we see wild swings at that end of the market and why some experienced traders love operating down there, it’s cheaper to trade and easier to move markets. It’s just not for me and I think it’s ultimately harmful long term for FI’s ability to retain new traders, but sometimes people need to learn the hard way – it’s just important they come back for more and don’t run off.

My focus is on buying players for dividends, because eventually the market will move in that direction more than it is currently.

Are you thinking of investing more? If so, before or after SS?

No. I’m not thinking of investing more at this time, I have as much as I feel comfortable with in the Index for the time being.

I have been advocating a share split for what feels like a very long time. Despite some traders throwing out accusations that this is self serving for a rise in the players I already own, it is much more complicated than that. We are all on FI to make money and hopefully the majority of traders are enjoying football matches more than they did and enjoying engaging with fellow traders as a bonus. There are some traders on FI with significant amounts of money invested. Every trader is important, but fundamentally that large investor is crucial to FI at this stage in its development and I feel they have been neglected a little recently which gave me some concern back in October.

"Most of us have enjoyed wonderful growth periods, but taking big risks in start-ups ought to be rewarded otherwise nobody would have made the money they have, small or big investor."

A share split was needed in September in my view and I have been very frustrated with FI and traders opposing a share split because ‘the market was working just fine’ according to them. I am a proactive person rather than reactive and it was clear as day to me that the rises during July/August could and should have been the rule. There is always a lag after moments of euphoria and deposit bonuses papered over the obvious cracks in regards to player pricing stalling at the top. My over-riding complaint was ‘what’s the point in spending millions in advertising if only a select few people can afford to buy a meaningful number of shares in the players they actually want?’

Maintaining the wonderful growth was easy to accomplish by ensuring the top players are priced at a level that appeals to the thousands of new eyeballs that are on the platform, instead existing traders saw the huge profits they were making and decided to spend more of their money topping up, further increasing the prices. Newcomers were stuck, deposit an uncomfortable amount of money to buy the best players (that were increasing in price because of the buoyant feeling from existing traders), or spend the £500 risk free amount and buy a bunch of riff-raff. Chances of winning PB for most top players is very hard, but for cheap players it’s a pure lottery. So inevitably they would not win PB with their small portfolio of players, likely if they hold one or two shares in the big boys they may win MB, but they only get a few pennies for their trouble – hardly worth the time/hassle of learning something new and risking that sort of money on such little returns.

G&A adds even more complexity to this as players drop for playing well and scoring now, the opposite of what should be happening, so it will severely damage confidence of newcomers! It will also not help long term traders as many have no idea where to put their money as everything is so erratic at the moment. (Clearly the trend now is to buy certain players for the share-split, so many other great long term assets are being sacrificed to catch that train). Before G&A my portfolio was 90% green, now it’s 50% green /50% red and I have a broad portfolio. Too many traders are needlessly seeing that horrible red throughout their profiles at the moment unfortunately.

Furthermore as mentioned above, it was obvious to me that sharks would operate in the ‘newcomer’ territory £50p-£2 level, we have the pump/dump schemes that highlight this and kill the confidence of new traders. We also have the issue that a new trader is buying dross for short term G&A, or speculating for long term youth prospects in the main, which will not pay dividends for quite some time or see meaningful cap growth for several months/years in some cases. Whilst experienced traders understand this, newcomers are used to instant gratification as FI are attempting to migrate them across from the bookies. It doesn’t matter if you win £10 in dividends if your portfolio value has dropped by £11 – you walk away a loser despite winning the game, it’s not healthy.

Gamblers are the least patient people on earth because they often crave a rush and instant gratification. There is minimal rush to be found at the cheap end of the market. G&A was introduced to help with this, but FI totally neglected their existing user base with this move. It was unintentional I have no doubt about that, but they damaged anybody with defensive players and a large portfolio built around the old PB framework. Cheaper players became more desirable, so money left the top/middle market to fund this lust for quick wins and newcomers were encouraged to buy poor long term holds for instant gratification. The focus should be trying to convert gamblers into investors, it adds stability, loyalty and a great deal more money being deposited. It doesn’t mean so much in commission short term, but long term it’s better for FI as trader retention will be much higher.

So a share split would have seen the market rise rapidly without the need for Deposit Bonuses. Existing traders would not have needed to be hurt by G&A’s introduction, newcomers would have the opportunity to own a meaningful amount of shares in the players they want rather than being limited to the amount they can afford with their initial deposit. I doubt many join FI and deposit thousands, most start small, learn the ropes, get a feeling for what works for them and then if they like it they build up their investment levels. Dividends are important for some but most traders are focused on capital growth in my view, especially newcomers as the dividends are tiny unless you have a large portfolio and see FI as an investment. More focus needs to be placed on dividends by FI and they need to take a more long term view with their decision making.

The relatively poor overall performance over the past couple of months is purely down to the failure of FI to introduce a share split riding the wave of happiness and fantastic word of mouth being generated during the summer. The introduction of G&A was ill timed in my opinion as the market was too small and it was obvious to me that confidence would be damaged across the board at a delicate time. All the blame has been put onto G&A for the dips of late, but the failure to split the shares earlier is the real issue here, I have absolutely no doubt about it. For the avoidance of doubt I know the Footie is growing, but it could be far higher by now if they had been proactive and made a share-split sooner. Word of Mouth alone has cost them thousands of new traders during this period.

So whilst I am delighted a share split will occur during Q1, it is annoyingly from a position of relative weakness rather than strength compared to where they could be. They have missed out on immense growth opportunities during the past 4 months. Many people will have looked at FI and walked away during this time, I’m confident everyone who likes gambling and football will have heard about FI by now. FI have done an incredible job marketing the brand, top notch stuff – so that wave of new traders was unfortunately missed as it’s hard to get somebody to look twice once they have dismissed something.

An argument I often come across for a share split not being necessary, is the issue with dividends reducing and that being less appealing to old and new traders. It’s true but capital growth is where FI is at for many people at this time unfortunately, it will be for a few years yet. Once natural growth has reached a certain level, that is when dividend investing really kicks in – this is when the market is mature and FI changes into a ‘proper’ trading platform for me.

I also think dividends are due a rise, so maybe the share split ratio will not mirror the dividend splits. I would certainly expect dividends to be lifted shortly after the split if not at the same time. The market has expanded a great amount without a dividend increase, the G&A layout from FI’s perspective is something I would have avoided as mentioned and that money would have been far better served aiding the PB dividends, or having an extra winner for each category on big match days. With this share split and dividend reduction they must not show any priority to G&A over PB or MB, if even more edge is given to G&A trading then this platform is not what I invested in – that’s what I go to the bookies for!

The focus should be - Share/Split-Dividend Increase, Share/Split-Dividend increase. This pattern can be repeated forever or certainly until user take-up is maxed out. It’s essential, a shares-split and dividend increase should happen regularly in order to keep the top players at a price that is realistic and appealing for new traders and the growth trajectory can continue. This is the only way FI can open in new territories and be appealing long term, it is the only way new users can fall in love with the platform and it’s the only way existing traders will feel emboldened to deposit more and continue to praise FI to all that will listen. The majority of traders will re-invest their dividends if the product continues to flourish, the extra costs are non-existent to FI for doing this – but the rewards for all are immense.

At least FI are acting now and the lost time can be recovered easily. My views should not be interpreted as a lack of confidence in FI long term, as I wouldn’t have the money invested that I have if I was overly worried, so I’m not in this for the potential quick bump that a share split should bring. I see FI as a core component of my investment portfolio for the long term, but I need to see them be more proactive and to think more critically about the decisions they make and the impact it can have on people’s hard earned money. I’m critical at times because I want FI to fulfil its potential. I think they have done incredibly well so far and I am delighted with my investment to date, but it could and should be a lot better.

If you were in charge of FI, what would be the top 3 things on your “to do” list?

I've gone for 6, as I thought 3 was too few!

It's tricky to answer because I don’t know enough about their finances, quality of staff, short/medium/long term objectives. Some of my ideas may not be feasible, they may have been considered and rejected for reasons I don’t know about, or they may be brand new concepts that maybe start conversations at FI HQ. It’s easy for me to provide a critique from my armchair, like most of us do watching the football. However FI can take this product in many new directions and there are only so many hours in the day. They have accomplished a great deal already. But making assumptions from my limited outside perspective, I would do the following:

Immediately I would set-up a trader consulting panel. FI are a young company with a relatively small team. They have done exceptionally well to get it to this point and have shown great intelligence and innovation. However they have also shown recently that they lack an element of critical thinking when it comes to the effect of their decisions on us traders who face the ramifications. This may be down to the fact that FI employees can’t trade and I agree with this rule. There are a lot of traders in FI with money they cannot afford to lose, irrespective of the ‘warnings’. People want to risk money to make money. So FI need to be 100% clear about the respect they have for the money people have invested. The way G&A was handled showed little respect for the money people had already committed to the platform – it was not even considered. The quest was clearly for new money and increased trading, fair enough but you should always be considerate to those that have backed you earlier and are playing to the existing rules.

The G&A decision was made with a closed group of people ‘need to know’. Quite simply more people needed to know because they completely ignored the issues their decision would make on the wider market. They believed this would be a fantastic initiative embraced by all traders, new and old. If they had a panel of trusted traders to consult, the flaws in their idea would have been pointed out instantly. They have made steps to do something with an account manager for certain traders. I like the idea of aggregating feedback, but this is often post an announcement – it needs to be before implementation. They also corrected some of the more blatant errors with their update to G&A in November, but it’s still causing unnecessary issues with valuations and scaring old/new traders.

I also like how FI interact on Twitter with polls etc, but this shouldn’t be a democracy and the words of some traders need to be listened to more than others. Somebody with £500 invested (or nothing and just a twitter account) currently has the same voice as somebody with £500k invested. It doesn’t mean one is more intelligent or even correct over the other; it does mean one should have more consideration to the long term direction of FI than the other. It’s easy to pull out £500, not very easy to pull out £500k without causing mayhem and losing a fortune. Now the twitter polls are not that serious, but Adam Cole did use one to justify a decision recently at the Dublin Trader meet (I may be mistaken here), so clearly those polls are being used to aggregate ‘trader opinion’, its corrupt data in my opinion and shouldn’t be used for any decision making as far as I’m concerned. No business decisions should be made sourcing random feedback. There are a lot of idiots around that can’t think further than their own nose, so it’s important FI treat much of this polling and twitter feedback as an indicator but nothing more than that.

I understand there may be issues with foreknowledge/insider trading with having a trader panel – but that is a small price to pay for FI and there are obvious steps that can be taken to avoid this drawback. Those traders with significant amounts of money invested have a much larger interest in FI being successful than even the employees of FI, let alone a trader with a few hundred pounds committed. If FI fails, then employees may lose their jobs ‘eventually’ and move into something new as they have all done very well to get FI to where it is today, it’s brilliant for the CV. However, those traders with a lot of money locked up will take many months, years or even decades to earn again and in some cases due to age or life situations it may be impossible to ever recoup that money lost. More than that it can harm relationships and ruin lives. So I strongly believe engaging with a panel of traders before big changes are implemented is vital to avoid unnecessary mistakes and quite possibly improve upon the idea being planned. Money shouldn’t be the only criteria, but those with a lot of money committed have to care about FI’s long term success as much as their own personal trading. Larger traders in the main will not be exploiting newcomers for a quick buck as they know a small trader today could be a big trader tomorrow, or that new trader could introduce 10 more traders if their experience is positive.

We are all trusting FI to do the right thing with our money, but there are a lot of very intelligent and experienced, (dare I say benevolent) traders using FI, they should be engaged with to make FI as great as it can be. It’s an untapped resource and most would do this for free on account of having so much money/time invested in this product.

Engage with IFA’s – Financial Advisers like to have innovative ideas to pass on to their clients; it is a much easier sell for an IFA who is being paid to provide advice than a random trader down the pub selling the virtues of FI to anybody who will listen. The fact FI is tax free is a huge USP. Yes the word ‘gambling’ can be scary, but the stock market is gambling as well, any investment is gambling (even holding more than £85k in a bank account is gambling). I would have a team of sales staff roaming the country with a detailed prospectus highlighting the growth of FI, player yields, testimonials from traders, example strategies etc. I’d then have a PDF version which each IFA can have and can pass to their clients that like a little bit of risk and are interested in football (not essential). I’d also set-up a series of simple funds for the passive investor to get into at FI HQ, Dividend Fund, Youth Fund, High Profile Fund, French Fund, Italian Fund, High Frequency Flipper Fund (haha) – basically making it as easy as possible for people to park money and let somebody else manage it for them. There is no reason I can think of why this wouldn’t be immense for FI as it would enable people who have no understanding of football to invest, because most people are invested in funds blind anyway, they just look at the annual returns, risk and fees. I believe there is a bear market on the horizon globally, people are starting to withdraw from the markets. The banks are offering nominal rates, it’s a great time to attract some loose money at the moment. So FI should be engaging with accountants, IFA’s, HNWI networks, etc, and making it easy for their clients to allocate their money into a range of funds for a range of purposes. There may be regulatory issues to overcome, but that’s what good lawyers are for!

Share split January 1st and increase dividends shortly after (if not the same time). Every day they delay is a day wasted, they are spending millions on advertising and those eyeballs need to turn from window shoppers into long term buyers. If there is money in the kitty I’d hike the dividends in order to attract as many customers as possible as quickly as possible and to encourage more people to deposit their savings into FI rather than other places. The next 6 months are a crucial period, interest rates are low, new financial year in April (compete for that ISA money), have as many people trading as possible and good news stories everywhere drowning out the few moaners. Once you get used to winning dividends most days because you have a large portfolio it is very hard to walk away from that – so getting traders to deposit in a meaningful way is crucial as they are a captive then. It’s difficult to sell up quickly, so once you are in you are in barring any serious miss-steps from FI.

If you have a portfolio of 10-20 players you could have all your players play on a Saturday and nothing on a Sunday, so enable people to buy more players which means they use the website more and will spot more opportunities. Personally my investment levels increased the more I was on the website, as I would see opportunities everywhere and couldn’t get my money in quick enough. Most people don’t want to watch some random French football match because they have some no-mark full back playing as that was all they could afford. They want to have players competing in CL matches, the top matches in the 5 domestic leagues – the more people watch their players and watch the website the more they will deposit – but the price for those players HAS to be realistic for a new user at all times. I see no way of keeping prices practical for continued new trader appeal other than continued share splits and dividend increases.

I’d introduce tiered PB next season. The Sunday sell off is depressing and worrying, granted FI make money but they make enough with standard trading as they said people hold for 3 days on average I believe. Just watch the ticker for 10 minutes during matches and you see how much money is flying into the FI coffers. With the amount of PB players now applicable it is difficult to predict who will win, you get a few outliers but on the whole it’s a bit of a lottery. MB is more predictable so don’t change that. But PB needs to have more winners on a busy weekend, there are far too many losing bets on a weekend and as a result people whip out their money Sunday/Monday – this recovers later in the week, but how much of that is money lost forever out of the market and how much is existing traders topping up? Let’s say 100 people leave FI every week and they gain 120. That growth of 20 users is tiny compared to what it could and should be. The time for FI to make real money is 2-3 years from now and it will be 10X more lucrative for them if they sacrifice short term profits now to build a massive user base that are all positive and talking up FI – it will spread rapidly into new territories and will really break the barriers they need to break. I don’t know the financial situation of FI, but I strongly believe that they could afford to do this if they are sensible and use financing/cash flow appropriately. Debt is fine for a growing company with a monopoly and provable profitable business model. Traders should not walk away from FI and I know several that have unfortunately.

Basically I would double down on the growth and build the product into something quickly, destroying any chance of emerging competition and cementing the loyalty of traders.

I would stop all talk about ‘other indexes’. We don’t care about other indexes, (or shouldn’t if we are serious about making money on FI), it distracts; it puts fear into people like me that resources will be needlessly spread. FI will lose traders to the new indexes to capitalise on start-up growth assuming it follows a similar path to FI – but anything else isn’t football. They have a perfect idea, globally loved sport, provable concept and yet it’s still so far from where it could be – any spare money should be spent on improving FI. Any time needs to be spent on improving FI. So I’d shelve these new index plans until FI has matured and is taking care of itself. If they run before they walk they will fail.

I appreciate they may want to get started on other sports to avoid competition – but let competition make the mistakes and learn from them if that is your worry – there is nothing that comes close to football and a bit of competition is healthy if it’s a new market, it keeps you on your toes. There is 10X more money to be made with football than anything else so I’d ban all talk and thinking about new indexes for the foreseeable future. If you turn FI into what it should be then you can snap up any competition in due course, as they will be minnows compared to the whale of FI and will have done all the donkey work for you. Talking about new indexes makes me nervous and if I saw this on the near horizon I would be ripping my money out of FI, I imagine many serious traders would.

One final one I promise – as made clear I have confidence in FI and believe they have a fantastic business model but I think the closed nature of their finances is handicapping them. I imagine they are well financed and solid as a business. Therefore I think it would help ease concerns some traders may have if they are more transparent. I have put my money where my mouth is, but undoubtedly there is money in people’s accounts that they would love to invest in FI but are worried about the financial stability of the company. Serious investors need to trust where they put their money. When you start talking 6/7/8 figure amounts you need to know that this money is relatively safe and potential losses are on playing the game and not anything to do with FI suddenly going out of business.

I often see posts saying doing XYZ would cripple FI. Nobody knows if this is true or not, but the fact people are making assumptions like this tells me FI need to be more transparent with their financial position if they want to maximise growth and appeal to a different type of investor rather than the gamblers that they mainly appeal to now. I have a belief that FI are in a very strong position, but they should try and take away that unnecessary but maybe fair worry some people may have.

What’s your withdrawal strategy?

I don’t have one, I see FI being around for many years to come if they make the right decisions. For the first time recently I was going to bed worrying about FI and what my portfolio might look like in the morning. I know this feeling is shared amongst other people, not fear, just a niggle that wasn’t there before. FI have earned our trust, but they haven’t earned our uncompromising loyalty – so if they keep making steps in the direction of G&A which I perceive to be ill thought through or counter my personal risk appetite, I will downsize. If they do what I think they are capable of then I will increase – for the time being the jury is out for me, so I’m waiting. FI are going to make miss-steps here and there, it’s how they react and adjust that matters, they did very well recently following the G&A debacle and it should give us all a bit more confidence that they want to do the right thing and listen.

Trading strategy wise, how are you going to approach the winter breaks across the multiple PB leagues?

Again I’m doing nothing, I have a couple of transfer punts that I will watch and act if necessary – but I can hold for 3 years so a few weeks off is no worry to me and I don’t like selling a percentage of my shares in a particular player. I like to be all or nothing, otherwise I kick myself if that player does well after selling some and kick myself if he does poor and I haven’t sold them all. So whilst it’s good to hedge, I feel I have enough hedge with a 200+ player portfolio.

Almost every time I have sold a player he has risen not long after, obviously because the market is still growing overall. I may be able to sell my winter break players now and buy back cheaper in a couple of weeks, but it will take time to sell those players and most traders operating in the £3+ market are a bit more long term so I don’t think there will be much to be made if you factor in the spread for instant sell and commission. There are exceptions and I have no doubt that there will be traders that are a bit more nimble than I, they will likely clean up during the winter break. I am primarily using FI for my enjoyment of football and ability to make money from my hobby – if I turn it into a job then that fun aspect starts to diminish. I have no doubt that if I subscribed to the data-sites and researched stats like crazy, I could make a lot more money – but I simply don’t want to do that yet as I’m content with my portfolio tracking the natural growth of FI. Until G&A was introduced, if the Footie was up I was up, down and I was down, now the Footie has nothing to do with my portfolio unfortunately, it’s a shame but I expect the natural cycle of things to revert back to this being the case eventually.

What has been the reaction from friends you've discussed it with?

Excited initially, but then very quickly sheepishly admitting it wasn’t for them. The main reason being the price movements are irrational and erratic and it’s too expensive to buy the players they would like. For the past 6 weeks I have won dividends nearly every day but my portfolio value has declined by more. I understand why and know this trend will be bucked, but newcomers do not and will simply see their player playing well and often losing value! A couple of people I really worked on loved the idea but couldn’t justify spending a large sum to buy a meaningful amount of a top player to win X amount in potential dividends because the capital growth is practically non-existent at the top level (or was until the S-S announcement). A couple have been spooked because of the way G&A was introduced and how in an instant a third of the markets value just plummeted and poor buys were artificially increased in value which knocks on to the premium players – friends were astonished that FI acted in this way and couldn’t believe I entrusted so much of my money into a business that could operate in that way. I had no argument against this as it was truly awful in my view. Thankfully FI apologised and provided a deposits bonus to compensate. But these bonuses are now a problem in themselves because the market slows down straight after and most people are reluctant to deposit without a bonus.

I understand the ROI is still very good on the whole even if playing for dividends, but for the risks involved for newcomers there has to be both dividend potential and solid capital growth prospects. It is a hard slog pitching to friends and associates, it should be the easiest thing in the world. FI have a 25,000+ sales force willing to work for free, this needs to be embraced, we need the tools to sell it though. I was telling everyone who would listen to get involved with FI during the summer, not so much now. Most of the 20-30 players I acquired in recent months are all at a loss so I can’t in good conscience convince people to spend their money with so much uncertainty. I have long term confidence as mentioned, but I can do without friends/associates contacting me every week asking why they are losing money despite buying what were good players until G&A was introduced (even the G&A ones are losing money in most cases). When the market gets back to where it was I will be back on the sales campaign.

One thing that helps attract newcomers is a deposit bonus, but I’m not a huge fan despite making a lot of money from them. A couple of us traders were talking about this on twitter recently, following that conversation, I hope the next time FI launch a deposit bonus that it is:

  • Uncapped (why not allow people to deposit £100k and benefit if they want to, it can only help and is just like 10 people depositing £10k?)
  • Has a play through requirement to avoid the ‘chancers’ that just take the 10% and run, it will make things more stable and only people that are serious will take part
  • It is made clear that there will be no bonus for X amount of time at least and that number is stuck to! This will ensure the market continues to function with fresh investments post a deposit bonus, at the moment too many traders are withholding deposits for a bonus which may never come. 10% is peanuts if it means you miss out on 6 months growth.

How much focus do you give Potential PB compared to Proven PB winners?

A bit like the above, I have predominantly focussed on current PB that is proven or looks like being very soon. There are some cheap players I watched carefully that always seemed to score high but missed out on the dividends that I punted on, but that has continued so I have moved out of them. There are some like Dybala, SMS, James Rodriguez, Bale, Eriksen & Isco that I have stuck with for both PB hope & mainly chance of a transfer. I’ve punted on a few youngsters but recently exited Sancho & Nelson – probably a mistake?!

How do you decide when (if) you’ve missed the boat and it’s too late to buy into somebody?

I don’t think any boats have been missed yet, granted I could have gotten a better seat on the boat if I’d acted quicker but the market is probably less than 10% its potential size if the correct decisions are made by FI. I do find it very difficult to buy back a player that I have sold relatively recently, it’s a weakness I have and I think many people have it. You can’t look at that player the same way once they have been cut loose, especially if to buy back you have to pay much more than you sold them for. Pride comes before a fall, but certain players like Mbappe I can’t stomach buying now simply as I have missed out on close to 100% growth in such a short space of time and the fact I am waiting for people to finally realise that dividends drive the market I don’t want to miss the 100% rise and then get stung on the decline if it ever happens.

I don’t trade much at all day-day. I tend to go in spurts when I do, I’ll cull a player completely if I have no hope of selling to market and will tolerate the spread using IS at times - I hate throwing money away using IS but sometimes it’s best to take the hit and move on.

What is your opinion about Kylian Mbappe? His price rise all the time non stop , do you think will be the new Messi or Ronaldo ?

I like watching Mbappe play but he isn’t involved too much. I think he will never quite make the level of Messi or Ronaldo in real life. He is powerful, rapid and technically fantastic, but he lacks that X factor, he is a much better version of Rashford, it’s something about the way he carries himself, the raw hunger doesn’t seem to be there and his game is mostly pace. I imagine his career will go a bit like Rooney’s, drop off when the years of wear and tear catch up with him. I reckon by his late 20’s, we will be saying ‘that Mbappe was some player a few years ago’ – he does look great though and probably the closest thing to Messi or Ronaldo out there, just not sure he has that magic ingredient to be one of the best ever.

For the Index I have no idea what will happen, he shouldn’t be the price he is because we have seen so much of him now and he plays for a team that dominates – yet his scores aren’t that great. Granted he is up against Neymar, but so what? If he moves to another elite club there will be other ‘playmaker’ type players that the ball is given to more often. He is a finisher, somebody that creates something out of nothing, but he isn’t a playmaker. The ball doesn’t gravitate to him and if there was no Neymar teams would be able to double up on him quite effectively I think.

I like to think I have common-sense but the market is not making too much sense to me at times, obviously I understand the potential, the hype and that is appealing to many people on FI. But he never looks like being a prolific MB or PB scorer for me, so when the market becomes more sophisticated I expect his price to reflect his FI value, at the moment it reflects his real life value. I’m disappointed in myself for not letting Mbappe just ride in my portfolio, but I gave traders too much credit, assuming they would be able to differentiate between real life and FI rules, many traders simply don’t yet. Now watch Mbappe post 3 games of 200+ points on the spin. I suppose that’s what makes FI so much fun, anything can happen!

Summary

I’d just like to close by saying that I value all the work FIG, FI and the other traders do to promote and discuss the nuances of the platform. It’s been a fun experience getting more involved with Twitter. It's great engaging with people from all walks of life with a range of levels of money invested and opinions. I have great respect for all traders committing to FI and what their money means to them – we all need one another to make FI what it should become and to each benefit financially from the journey we are on. There will be decisions that we don’t all agree with, but fundamentally we all want what is best for ourselves and FI. It’s vitally important that new traders can join easily and are not exploited as they learn the ropes, existing traders will deposit more and FI will make money as a result. I hope FI starts reaching its potential even quicker during 2019. I also hope my views have been helpful for those interested in them and my passion for FI has come across as intended. It is not a perfect beast by any means, but it can be and should be.

If anybody from FI is reading this then I will leave you with one piece of important advice. There will be many directions you can take this product, there will be lots of fantastic and innovative ideas that are dreamt up to help that growth. However the number one box that needs to be ticked before any of these ideas are implemented is that any existing trader must not be adversely affected by any amendment to the framework you have pinned your colours to. You can not change horses mid-race, it will be tempting as when you start a business you can’t possibly see all the angles, but many great businesses have perished because they have taken their existing clients for granted in the quest for new clients. If any trader stands to lose because of a new idea then you have to let it go, no matter how good it could be for profits, new users, etc. One eye always needs to be on the clients you have worked hard to gain and that have invested on the back of the rules you have set-out. You are too far down the track now and whilst safeguarding old traders is not as exciting as attracting new ones, it’s how you guarantee success. Trust is a hard thing to earn, but it can be gone in a second, so always value the bird in hand more than the two in the bush. Any new idea has to benefit every singly existing trader, if you stick to this mantra and game it out, thinking two, three, four steps ahead then you will not go far wrong. Thanks for the work you have done so far.

I’m sure every one of us is delighted FI came into our lives and with the right tools at our disposal I am sure we will all do our bit to help build this into something truly special, that benefits all of us including the company.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!

@EJ_Footy_Index - this is my Twitter handle.

P.S. I’ve noticed traders using ‘EJ’ as their trader name lately, so be aware as it will almost certainly be somebody trying to profit from passing off. Not that it should mean much but maybe knowing I tend to buy large blocks and tend to keep long term, it could be the exact opposite situation afoot. When money is involved it attracts all sorts of crafty individuals unfortunately, so be mindful.

[Fig]
Hope you all enjoyed that! A shame we couldn't have EJ on the podcast but this blog was just as exciting in my opinion!

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The Future of Football Index https://footballindexguidepodcast.fireside.fm/articles/the-future-of-football-index Wed, 06 Jun 2018 14:00:00 -0400 Pet@duxmedia.co.uk cdc44aea-e0fb-4b94-bc7b-1ca9e8f5bc86 Many of you will have listened to Ep. 33. of the Football Index Podcast with FI CEO Adam Cole and Head of Marketing Mike Bohan, and in this blog post I'll try and dissect each theme or point made during the podcast! I'm also going to offer my opinion on the future of the platform. At long last, I was able to pin down Adam Cole the Football Index CEO and their Marketing Magician Mike Bohan to record a podcast where we discussed a plethora of things index related. From life at a start up to the future of the platform, Mike, Adam and I spoke for an hour on what an amazing journey the last 3 years have been for them as a company and for traders alike!

If you haven't already, you can listen to the podcast here:

Now for my thoughts...

Site Revamp

The current platform is constantly critiqued when it comes to how practical the app is to use. Whilst incrimental improvements have been made quite regularly, index traders have been crying out for wholesale changes, more personalisation and a generally easy-to-use app. Now from the outside in it's easy to criticise the lack of huge improvements, but when Mike Bohan (Head of marking at Football Index) explains that the solution is not to build on the current platform- but start it from the ground up, it starts to make more sense. Indeed during the podcast he uses a great analogy:

"Rather than redecorate the house, we want to build a new one"

Now when you look at this from a tech standpoint this makes total sense (I don't have any tech background so bare with me on this dodgy as **** analogy). Imagine you're building a jenga tower, but the foundations are weak and wobbly. You need to keep building it higher, but the more jenga blocks you load on top the more unstable the tower becomes. So instead of continuing to build the tower upwards, making it more and more unstable and more prone to damage, you start again- making that foundation far more solid at the start. This is similar to what Football Index plan to do- they want to add lots of new features onto their current tech stack, but the more features they build (and these new features would have to be interoperable with existing features) the more likely bugs are to occur. What does this mean for the future? Short term, we're going to have to deal with the really irritating bugs but long term, it may mean all of our quieries and dillemas are answered and solved all at once!

Importantly, maintaining that personalisation and creating added customisability will most certainly reinforce Football Index as this leading challenger brand to the archaic and non-customer centric online gambling world. In banking, Monzo, Starling and Revolut have all built challenger brands by creating a loyal customer base, by alligning their company incentives with that of said customers. It's so important that with a site revamp, or whatever features are added don't take away from the novelty of the product, if anything- it should reinforce the notion that this platform is the alternative to traditional online gambling. Successful digital services and platforms build on the trust they have from consumers. So far, Football Index have luckily gained a following and customer base that absolutely love the product. They have stayed with it thick and thin, now it's time to improve the app and website to really push the platform on.

Dividend Cut off & Future Add ons

Now something that maybe didn't get as much reaction on twitter via the podcast was the subject of dividend cut offs. Mike and Adam both talk about how they started growing dissapointed with the volume of trades over the weekend, and so it was decided to move the cut off point from 11:59pm the previous night, to 2pm. At first glance it doesn't seem like that big a deal but it's a 14 hour swing and by the sounds of it, it clearly upped their trading volume, particularly on the weekends siginifcantly. Mike indeed states that "inplay betting has surpassed pre game betting in terms of volume" and by the sounds of it Football Index could look quench the thirst traders have for that in play euphoria. Neymar winning you media dividends is great, but the excitement and hype behind a PB winning performance from a player you bought only 5 hours ago is arguably way more exhilirating, but also, and maybe more importantly, it's more attractive from the outside in as a product- thus widening their aquisition pool.

Spreads

Now, this has polarised opinions to a great degree. Should FI risk more of a liability for larger trading volumes and therefore more comission? Or should they protect themseleves buy limiting liability, but also putting trading frequency at risk due to the large spreads. My opinion is that they should be circumstantial. If there is 0 demand for a player (Mo Salah injury) then yeh, why should FI buy the player off you? But if he's risen say 20p in a day, and there's clearly demand for the player, why should the spread stay large? It's a point I understand when there's massive injury- you're just unfortunately out of luck and to quote Adam Cole "you've lost your bet". Now that's always an opinion I've held, and I actually feel they're still experimenting with spreads. I would love them to make them smaller, particularly at the top end to see the effect it has on the market. The narrative that spreads are there to 'protect portfolios' really confuses me. If a player is injured, massively off form, then they're going to fall anyways, so why should those traders be protected by making a bad investment? If the 'lost your bet' narratvie that was pushed, a more transparent (dare I say truthful) one, then I believe traders would come round to it and say "well, if I'm not buying an injured Mo Salah, why should Football Index?".

Order Books

The most talked about thing since the podcast; order books. Now before I go on, I want to remind every reader that every big decision Football Index have made in terms of changing the platform has improved the product. IPO's, Performance buzz, Squad players, Triple Media, Dividend Cut-off time change-some of these were much maligned, but all made the index far better on the whole. Now on to the order book. We don't know exactly how it will be implemented, so I'm hesitant in making assumptions. The basics are as follows; you can place buy and sell orders at whatever price you like, so that if a player reaches said price, that sell/buy order is then executed. Sounds simple enough right? I think this change would actually be really positive for the top end of the market...the lower priced bracket players I'm not so sure on. I've had sub £1 in the queue for a while, knowing that when I bought those cheap players, the risk was usually minimal as I could sell back to Football Index for a very small loss. Now without instant sell, those cheap players are far more comparable to penny stocks or startups in company terms, high risk- but potentially high reward. Now Adam Cole did mention "liquidity providers" so whether or not IS, or some version of it is here to stay still remains to be seen, but I believe, and I'm only guessing here, that FI will create some sort of environment to maintain liquidity in the lower reaches of the platform. Remember, even with a share split Neymar's price may look daunting, so it's imperative (in my opinion) that some of those lower bracket players are still tradeable and see good action, for customer aquistion and accessibility reasons. There also remains the topic of issuance. I believe that if no one is selling a player, i.e the supply is too small for the current demand-FI will issue new shares to the next buyer. It's certainly exciting me currently more than concerning me, but I do empathise with those who are worried. I'd like to use hingsight here in order to allay fears; I used this platform only 2 years ago when there was no instant sell, no PB and a very small trader community. How far it's come so far is remarkable, so I can only hope that this next intervention by FI is going to greatly improve the product. To conclude on this section, I think it still remains to be seen how this will play out. I'm eager to ask 1000 questions to the FI staff at the next trader meet in London!

Share Split

For me, I don't really see the reasoning behind it. I'm yet to be convinced by anyone that the Share Split is a 'good idea'. Now that's not to say it's a bad idea, but I don't really see any argument for it. For anyone that's screaming at their phone/laptop/tablet saying "But FIG, it'll make it more accessible for new users?!" well yeh maybe, for 3-6 months perhaps...I actually see this benefitting existing users far more than anyone who could possibly join the platform in those 3-6 months, so the argument that "yeh actually FIG, everyone who already has a portfolio will make a **** ton" is perhaps the (weirdly) more logical argument. To those who want a share split, what happens when players exceed prices that traders are willing to pay for them with respect to dividend returns? What happens when Neymar (inevitably) rises back to a daunting price post share split? Now these questions, I haven't heard a good rebuttal to. The only solution would be to increase dividends, which would then create this cyclic situation that would actually have people questioning the longeivity of the product. Now Adam mentioned the "Bitcoin" model where you can buy fractions of a player, and whilst I'm not sure whether or not that's the right answer, I do think a creative solution needs to be found where the need for consistent share splits + dividend increases is mitigated. On the other hand, as you all know I like to play devil's advocate (on the occasion even to myself), a share split may help reduce the spread that is created when the order book comes into the frame. For users, the difference between £13.50 and £13.25 is big, but the difference between £1.00 and £0.95 seems far more appealing.

My Future Predictions

  • Share split will happen prior to order book implementation (disclaimer, I don't know whether or not a share split will actually happen)
  • Football Index will shift to more PB heavy system in the future. Whether or not people like Media Buzz or not, I think that a natural progression toward more PB may be in everyone's interest. Whether it be the addition of competitive internationals or cup games, I feel that it would actually add value to those fringe players people often criticise traders for holding. On the index's side of things, it simply increases trade volume which then increases comission. I'm not saying this is a good things for traders with existing holds in MB players but I certainly think it will be something that FI look into. Indeed Mike on the podcast notes that many belittled the product for being solely media oriented. Remember FI want to expand their user aquistion radius as far as possible, and perhaps added PB incentives could be an incremental improvement.
  • The order book implementation will probably happen around about the turn of the year. Now again, I don't have any information on this but I think Football Index will want to get this right. They'll take their time- this could be the biggest change to the platform since it's existence. I think it will increase liquidity in the top players, but I do think there needs to be a liquidity provider for those cheaper players which may have less demand.
  • Football Index will look to implement an add-on in order to create a new stream of revenue. I've spoken about this quite frequently on the podcast and on twitter. Indeed I pitched the idea of a fantasy football add-on to the platform to both the guys at FI (at a trader meet) and my followers on twitter. It got a mixed response, and I'm not entirely sure that it's the answer, but surely it makes sense for a business to have more than one stream of revenue. Users will point to the money the index make from deposit money which gains interest, but let's be honest- that's a smidge over an inflation and pretty much negligible. So then we have comission, which I believe will one day be in excess of dividends paid out (I don't believe they're currently there yet) which will probably be a weight off their shoulders. However, to expand you need capital and I think Football Index may need more than just excess comission money to develop the business substantially enough to make it a proper challenger to existing gambling brands.
  • 200,000 users by Christmas I think this one is quite easily achievable. With the World Cup, and extended, expansive advertising Football Index should have done more than enough to aquire an extra 50,000 users by then. This is a cautious estimate I think!
  • The PB scoring matrix will probably change(at some point). Yes I know a lot of people don't want it to, but I think Football Index will make a change to the scoring matrix. Maybe not before the next season starts but I don't think it's as far away as people think. (again disclaimer I have no idea if this will happen, just my opinion.)To quote ASP on my podcast: it's easier to turn around a fishing boat than an oil tanker so it makes sense that changes are implemented before mass adoption of the product.
  • We'll start to hear people on the street talk about FI, and see people scrolling through the app in public Between my second year at uni, to the end of my 3rd year nobody really knew what Football Index was. However literally in my last week of studying, I overheard a bunch of lads speaking about it and I found it really strange. It'd taken that long for me to hear someone that I didn't immediately know, speak about FI. Now with so many bus ads, I've been walking on the street with colleugues and friends and they've pointed it out to me uttering something along the lines of "oh yeh, that's that thing you're involved in right? The thing you mentioned a while back?" I think we're going to see more and more people join the platform just because of the network effect, and therefore more and more money pumped into Football Index.
  • Other sports might not be that far off? I think Football Index will probably venture into other sports. Why not right? After they improve the current product- why not create other index's for other sports? NBA, NFL and other big sports were mentioned in the podcast so I don't think it's too unrealistic to believe we'll see some of these sports implimented in the next couple of years.
  • I think we're in for a period of volatility at the beginning of the 2018/19 season Considering a lot of money has gone into 'Next season's PB players' I think we'll see a big period of volatility at the beginning of next season, perhaps in the first 5-15 games. The only reason I say this is because many variables will have changed from last year, which makes certain players more or less valuable. Now, the reason why I think there'll be volatility is because we don't know if it makes them more or less valuable. Who would have guessed that Alexis Sanchez would perform so poorly at Manchester United? Conversely who would have guessed that Mo Salah would take the league by storm? How will a change in manager for Arsenal and most probably Chelsea impact their PB scoring? There's so many variables at hand, that can and will change that it's impossible to say whether a player will replicate/impove/worsen last season's PB scores. There's the obvious exceptions in Ronaldo and Messi who have done it over the course of 10 years, but a majority of players will become less or more valuable with regards to PB next season. I wouldn't be afraid of this period however. This may be an amazing opportunity to pick up someone like Salah, who does 1000% returns over the course of the season! Look forward to it, don't be scared!
  • Many World cup players are already over inflated....but that won't stop FOMO I've spoken about how many World Cup players are already overpriced (In comparison to the rest of the market, not dividend returns) but I do still think we'll see big trading volumes due to FOMO. Whether it be a breakout star, or a tournament favourite (Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo, Muller, James) performing exceptionally, I think we'll still see large price spikes and crashes during the World cup, even in those aformentioned highly priced players.

Conclusion

To conclude, I think I'm certainly more excited than concerned for the future of the platform. With extensive advertisment, innovative changes to the product and improvements to the usability and practicality of the platform, Football Index will in my opinion, go from strenght to strength. Who knows where we'll be in a years time!

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Reacting to Adam Cole's November Market Update https://footballindexguidepodcast.fireside.fm/articles/reacting-to-adam-cole-s-november-market-update Sun, 03 Dec 2017 13:30:00 -0500 Pet@duxmedia.co.uk cc4b4c81-62c9-4d5a-9ea9-deb10e3022bf A quick blog post, reacting to the insight we were given via Adam Cole's latest market update. Many have been bullish on Football Index's long term prospects (myself included), however the lack of communication from the Football Index management recently was frustrating even to the most experienced traders in this community. That's why the latest market update from Football Index CEO Adam Cole was received so well and personally speaking- it gave us some great information. In this blog post I'm going to offer my personal thoughts and reactions to this- in the main discussing the short and long term implications from both a market and marketing/branding perspective.

Advertising- Getting the word out in November & Decemeber

Key points:

  • 100,000 users (to put this into perspective I was the 2404th user in January 2016..That's a 40 fold increase since then! DNA, a recent guest on the podcast was something silly like the 700th user, so It's crazy to think how much the platform has grown since then.
  • New two month deal with Talksport to advertise Football Index with a fresh advert. The reason I've highlighted fresh is because I think from a marketing perspective it's quite clever- it makes Football Index seem less spammy, which is something really important in my opinion. Too many spammy referral links, constant monotonous advertising is off-putting, so I believe a fresh approach is great. The demographic targeted is obviously the correct one, football fans who listen to TalkSport may be tempted to try their hand.
  • Sticking with advertisement, they've also decided to advertise on WhoScored. I think this is very clever, again targeting the correct demographic of gambling football fan. Most punters use WhoScored, Soccerway, Livescore etc, so here we are seeing the online gambling community targeted.
  • Football Index are partnering with a large UK football podcast, probably my favourite gem from the November market update. If I had to guess this will be some sort of sponsorship, Football Index paying a large podcast to give an introduction or some sort of shout-out to the platform. I never truly understood the power of the podcast until I started my own. Episodes 8 & 9 have both hit 500+ downloads which is a figure I was absolutely astonished by. God knows how many downloads a generic football podcast gets, but if it's in the 10's of thousands I think this is a great form of advertisement by Football Index, brilliant work by them.
  • Their high visibility London Underground campaign will continue, attempting to entice a banking/investment fund audience into using the platform. For branding purposes I think this is good, it gets the name out there- I've personally read and digested advertisements on my commute that I'm not interested in at all. I'm sure that people who have traded in alternate markets, or have any football/betting interest will take great notice of this.

This latest advertising push Is coming. A lot of existing users signed up in January 2016 or June 2016, both of these time-frames included mass advertisement pushes mainly on social media, but nonetheless it got the name out there. I hope that this next push will drive more users toward Football Index, which would mean that the market grows and more.

IPO’s and fresh blood on the INDEX

Key points:

  • Approximately 1,000 players have been IPO'd
  • No IPO's on the 5th and 11th of December, and last 2017 IPO date is on the 22nd of December (Resumes January 2nd)
  • IPO's reduced from 50 per day to 10 per day starting from December

Now that Football Index has IPO'd 1000 players, we can most probably- as a community say that overall it's been a successful period in the index. Traders have seen new opportunities with the squad players, and the profits realised on those players via dividends or capital appreciation have sometimes found themselves into the top players, meaning money is circulating well and all traders should be happy with this. Reducing the amount of IPO's per day is great in my opinion. It means Football Index can concentrate on solving certain issues such as missing articles in media buzz, and players missing completely in PB rankings. It'll also mitigate fears of devaluing original trader holds as players will be leaked into the index at a slower rate.

The Footie hits 10,000

Key points:

  • Footie has hit the 10,000 mark
  • Footie is actually a direct correlation of Buys and Sells so as the market grows (more buys than sells) the number increases.

The first point is great, just what we want to see. Continued growth. But what is the Footie? In fact, Adam Cole's explanation above only heightened the confusion. On Footballindex.zendesk.com, one of the FAQ's states that _"Footie" Index is the index number that represents the 'market cap' of all 200 footballers in 1st Team List at a point of time - being the sum of the current price of each footballer. "_Totally different to the Buy/Sell ratio that Adam Cole has pointed out. So on this note, I think this is the weakest part of the update- perhaps some more technical clarification can be subsequently presented by Football Index? I don't want to speculate too much about this particular section, but I can only hope clarifying the Footie properly is something on Football Index's agenda.

One in a Million

Key points:

  • Over one million pounds worth of dividends has been paid out my Football Index.

A truly stunning figure, actually emphasising just how big this platform is, and just how much room it has left to run. I still think traders quickly forget that only 6 months ago Dividend payouts were limited to Media only, and were at a paltry 5p in comparison to some of the dividends now available.

World Cup Matchday Dividends

  • There will be Performance Buzz at the World Cup!

Predictable perhaps, but nonetheless very exciting. This will make Football Index enthralling during the World Cup period, and perhaps stop some drops in those PB only players. Last summer we saw drops in the likes of Kane, Gabriel Jesus and Pogba largely due to their irrelevance in the transfer window- as well as the sheer amount of capital that shifted focus. Large sums of money went into Griezmann, Neymar and Perisic for example as traders went into a transfer frenzy. I'd expect something similar to happen, but perhaps traders will be more reluctant to sell some of those players to raise capital- as they could easily return large sums via match day dividends. Especially those players in teams who could go a long way. A Neymar, Messi or Greizmann could easily see themselves to the Semi-Finals, that's 6 games potentially (assuming that they will be paying triple Dividends each match day) 72p up for grabs. It would actually be interesting if some of the analytical Football Index twitter accounts were to go through Euro 2016 and Copa America, highlighting what players would have returned the most dividends- and maybe most importantly how different their statistics are in comparison to their club form.

Conclusion

So it seems the Football Index team is hard at work, pursuing various avenues of advertising but with a fresh outlook. It's a really exciting platform to be a part of as a user, in hindsight- the growth so far has been truly remarkable. I hope that this blog post has given you a valuable insight into the announcement, and whilst I have no idea where the platform will take us- I believe Adam Cole's trusted expression onwards and upwards is safe to use.

Thanks for reading, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBRKBjc-H8EvC15eejJc6GQ/videos?view_as=subscriber

and also make sure to check out my Podcast, subscribe and leave a review!:
https://t.co/pFba702v0d

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Football Index's IPO Conundrum https://footballindexguidepodcast.fireside.fm/articles/football-index-s-ipo-conundrum Sun, 12 Nov 2017 13:00:00 -0500 Pet@duxmedia.co.uk 3e217977-25d0-4a84-92db-7fcde76fd7ae I've had dozen's ask me about the influx of squad IPO's on Twitter, so I decided to write a quick blog post about the following: How Football Index were to an extent in a lose-lose situation before the influx of squad players How I think the issue of players dropping below IPO price could be rectified These are my views and my views only. I do not work for Football Index, I am just a content creator and trader trying to offer an insight, So first and foremost I will try and address the question on everyone's lips, the debate at the centre of every Football Index group chat-the phrase every man, woman, child, dog and cat has heard uttered in the last week: "why are IPO prices so damn high?"

Well, there's no definitive answer to this, but I'm of the opinion that Football Index should have conducted more thorough research on player stats, using this season's statistics as an indicator rather than last years to some extent. Look at James Milner for example: last year he would have been classed as a midfielder playing at LB, on penalties and rampaging forward at every opportunity. £2.30 would have been steep, but far more justifiable last season than 2017/18, where he's had a bit part role at Liverpool at best. Secondly, the situation that Football Index were unfortunately faced with can be summarised rather simply: should they price players too cheaply it would more or less force the hand of many traders, as they slowly sell off their portfolios to raise capital for particular IPO's. Imagine if you could have bought Malcom for anything between £0.25-£1.20, a rise to £2.09 (current price) from £0.25 would have required (under the assumption that purchasing 100 futures causes an increase of 1p) over £21,000 in capital to take him to that price. People aren't constantly depositing, many drip-feeding money in when they're paid at the end of the month- so where would this money have come from? If you imagine there's maybe 3/4 Malcom type calibre players per 100 released, that's still 100's of players that would have seen an influx of this level of cash (Otamendi, Sokratis, Ghoulam) which would have resulted in a mass sell-off in my opinion. Don't tell me you'd be keeping hold of your dear Sanchez, Coutinho or Messi if you could use that capital to potentially double, triple (being conservative might I add) your money? What would you be keeping for? A hat-full of 8p's down the line? Weigh that up against buying 400 Malcom at 50p and literally quadrupling your capital- this is the thought process that I believe led Football Index to increase those IPO prices until they were somewhat vastly overpriced.

This directly leads onto my second point. Now that James Milner is £2.30, how do Football index as a market-maker create a market for that player? i.e How on earth do they get someone to buy James Milner at £2.30? The answer is: it's as likely as Jack Wilshere playing a full season of football injury-free i.e highly improbable, won't happen, impossible etc.

So from here on in I'll discuss, very briefly how I think Football index could go get around this issue. You won't agree with some of the proposals, if any- but keep this in mind: if the players can't go below IPO price, then that means people could genuinely purchase player X for £y, knowing that he cannot fall below that IPO price. What would Football Index gain from that? That's basically to some extent free money being given away, along with the fact it would encourage holding and subsequently decrease volatility which decreases the amount of commission that they as a company take. Remember that this wonderfully unique business model is fuelled by commission, its at the centre of the platform. Another really prevalent issue is that those players who have previously IPO'd at £0.25p before the squad IPO's, have more futures in circulation than some of the upcoming squad players, who may be trading at £1.25 but only actually have 500 futures in circulation.

So how do they solve these rather difficult to solve issues? I've thought about it for a long period of time and the following is what I've come up with to try and solve the following issues:

  1. Players falling below IPO price
  2. Matching the supply/circulation of players that have IPO'd for more than £0.25 to those who have IPO'd at £0.25

Manual Adjustment

This would be probably the easiest method to implement, but would also cause mass trader dissatisfaction from the discussions I've had with both vastly experienced users and relative newcomers. The idea here is that Football Index would manually reduce the prices of players bit by bit, until there is some demand for said player (creating a market for this player). Now this wouldn't be a problem for players that have had no price action whatsoever, i.e no one actually owns any of the player. The problem becomes more prevalent when implementing this method to players that have only one owner. If I bought Milner at £2.30 and that's the price he IPO'd at, and furthermore I am the only owner of said player- why should I wake up one day to find out he's been manually reduced to a paltry 60p? The outrage would be gargantuan and would in my opinion cause those unfortunately affected to most probably leave the index. Now Football Index could feasibly notify these users, and potentially buy those players back from the traders in order to mitigate this issue as well as the second one(future circulation), but that becomes far more difficult with someone like Thauvin who has 1400 futures in circulation (again standing by the assumption that 100 futures = an increase of 1p) where they would have to buy all those futures back. To conclude, this is an option that Football Index undertake, but it would leave a sour taste in the mouth of those who are the sole owners of a player.

Algorithm Adjustment

Now this was actually suggested by FootballindexRC in conversation once, so I won't take credit for the idea. The premise is that Football Index would adjust the algorithm of squad IPO's who have come in above £0.25, so that more than 100 futures would be required to take them up £0.01. This would basically increase the amount of futures that are bought from Football Index, thus increasing the circulation of said player which therefore eventually balance that "circulation issue" that I keep mentioning. Great idea and with some clever coding I'm sure the folks at Football index could implement this easily, however this doesn't solve the inherent issue at hand for players with 0 demand. If no one buys the player at all over the 3 year period, then how does the algorithm change solve the underlying issue? A question I'm sure Football Index could probably brainstorm and offer a solution to but personally speaking this idea would have to be coupled with a solution that creates a market for players with 0 demand. Whether this is manual adjustment or another one of the solutions I propose I'm not sure, but the solution mentioned here would certainly be a piece, if not half of this quite complex puzzle. On the other hand, would users be happy with players who increase in price less often or slower than existing players? Perhaps. But there are those who would then conclude that their money is better kept in existing players who basically require less demand to increase in price, and thus require less demand for you make money.

Just Leave it as it is....?

Strange one I know, but could Football Index actually plan on leaving things be? It would be the easiest thing to do of course- and this "solution" would be based on the assumption that as existing players increase in price, the demand for IPO'd players increases gradually. I guess this is what they currently have in mind (I don't know this by the way, this is simply an assumption), but wouldn't this to some extent stagnate the market? They could implement the "algorithm adjustment" proposal when there is demand for players however this whole process would take an absolute age. If you think this is a viable solution, which it could very well be- consider the following question "How long away are we from the idea that buying James Milner at £2.30 becomes a good idea with the potential to profit?". If you answered any longer than 6 months, and I would concur, then this is not a viable solution. Why? The stagnation between and now and when Milner is actually worth £2.30 would in my opinion hurt the market as well as decrease the amount of commission received by Football index. Detrimental to both the platform and its users! Now if you answered less than 6 months or so, you're expecting some serious, serious money to come into the market and I admire your optimism, but I think we can safely say no sane person would purchase Milner at that price anywhere between now and mid may.

Blind Bidding

Again this solution would have to be coupled with something similar to the "algorithm adjustment" solution to match circulations across players. In addition to this, a solution would have to be offered to those players with some but not great demand at their prices i.e. Thauvin. The idea here is that users bid what they would pay for an IPO'd player, and the highest bidder is granted the first 100 futures. Now this would offer traders a chance to bid what they actually think the player is worth, mitigating the issue of paying over the odds for someone you really want. However- could there be some nutters out there who outlandishly bid and overprice these players? Potentially yes, but it would most probably create demand for more players on the market than what we are witnessing.

Now I know I've not offered a definitive solution, which is why I personally think Football Index are still refining a strategy that can effectively counter both issues. I do think however that players must be able to decrease below IPO prices to create a fair environment where people aren't effectively given free bets by buying at high IPO price. The reason I've written this blog post is due to the significant amount of people that have asked me about these two issues and the truth is I don't have the answer. I can only speculate, and give what I think are potential solutions to the problems at hand. This being said, once these quite minor issues in a broader perspective are rectified I think Football Index will continue to go from strength to strength, chipping away at the market share existing gambling companies currently have.

Regards,
Football Index Guide

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