The fifth anniversary of Naked Capitalism’s first post is due on 19th December. According to WordPress, another 8,361 posts have gone up since 2006. 7,453 of them are posted by Yves, who thus averages four posts per day, week in, week out, for all that time: unnerving. For all the generosity of Yves’s tributes to other contributors, it’s pretty obvious where the lion’s share of the engagement is coming from, though I would have to single out Ed Harrison as the most wonderful near-full-time helper when Yves is having one of those bandwidth-challenged annual “holidays”.
From direct observation, and deduction, the average Yves Smith working day, which is to say, the average Yves Smith day, splits up something like this:
- Wash hair, and then fool about noisily with it: 1 hour.
- Scan blogs and read posts: 2-4 hours.
- Read emails and answer emails: 2-4 hours.
- Write posts: 3-4 hours.
- Check posts for goofs, typos and broken links: 0 hours.
- Assemble links and antidote: 2 hours.
- Burble on phone: 0-1 hour.
- Wrangle furiously with with hostile blog commenters, agonize over who to ban: 0-2 hours.
- Gym, bar, media appointment or occasional minor tech/troll panic: 0-3 hours. Media appointments include 0.5 hours of makeup application, for that evidently compulsory “harlot” look.
- Concurrently with the above, guzzle tea, coffee, plain yoghurt, fruit, and miscellaneous substances made from grains; chomp away at hideously perfumed gum.
I make that a minimum of 10 hours, and a maximum of 20; that seems about right. Such is the glamorous business of financial blogging. Somewhere, there was also time for:
- Writing ECONned, which was, if I remember correctly, 3 months full time drafting, 3 months full time correcting (and rererewriting one particularly recalcitrant chapter), 3 months proofing & galleys.
- Full time involvement on episodic client projects.
- Occasional puzzled complaints about feeling ‘burned out’.
And what’s it all for? A quick cherrypick of posts might help explain my take on why this evidently insane and compulsive activity actually matters.
Consider NC’s coverage of the US financial crisis:
- March 13th 2007: An early sighting of subprime CDOs
- July 30th 2007: CDO models
- August 20th, 2007: Monolines
- August 24th, 2007: Market based funding
- August 30th 2007: Ratings agencies
- September 28th, 2007: Money Market funds
- November 10th 2007: CDOs
Now, I am not claiming that Yves spotted every single unexploded bomb in the financial system at the first attempt, nor was the exact mechanism by which they were to be detonated necessarily clearly identified. But as a rough sketch map of the trouble spots, scribbled down on the fly, a year in advance of the final convulsions of the first phase of the crisis, that’s really quite a good job. You’d be pushed to find that kind of coverage all in one place in print or on TV. If you have time, look at the sober and thoughtful comments by insiders: a really prominent feature back then, still in evidence now, quite often. Most of all, the disjunction between the grim forebodings at NC and the trad media happy talk is striking. It was all useful perspective: for instance, briefed by NC, it was pretty easy to see through Lehman’s PR, ring-led by the hapless Charlie Gasparino.
When the final smashup came, it all made a grim kind of sense, not accessible to consumers of TV and newspaper news. If you weren’t enduringly sceptical of official stories as the start of that period, you were by the end.
Those stories were the prototypes for any number of other debunkings post crisis. For instance:
- Change you can’t believe in was formally announced on February 9th, 2009.
- The foreclosure fraud/robosigning/MERS/LPS saga, in high gear from from mid-2010 onwards, still ongoing…
- Coverage of the 50 AG foreclosure settlement and its long calvary started on October 30th 2010, and continues…
- A quite incredible number of fights with other finbloggers and media outlets; some, very well chosen indeed, others, in my quaveringly expressed opinion, more an expression of the abundance of pugnacity that is the engine behind all this voluminous dissent.
And on we go.
Finally: I see vlade has been commenting here since November 2007; that must be somewhere close to the endurance record. Rival veterans are encouraged to make their claims (in the comments, natch).
A salute to the raucous or polite or batshit or witty commenters, then; named and nameless alike, some of whom have led the blog to great big stories, and all of whom help to give the place its um, atmosphere.