- In HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR KNOWLEDGE, I show you how to improve your business and financial markets knowledge and how I managed to develop mine when I first started in the City
- In HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF WATSON’S DAILY, I give you an idea about how you can best use Watson’s Daily and all the resources within (because there are a lot of things available in your subscription!)
- In CURRENT & UPCOMING EVENTS, I give you details of current and future events for Watson’s Daily
- In WATSON’S DAILY UPDATES FOR 2022, I give you a heads-up on how Watson’s Daily will develop next year, plus details on price rises…
- AND FINALLY, I leave you with something to end the year on!
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Here’s what I think you need to do to improve your business and financial markets news knowledge…
A BIT OF BACKGROUND FIRST…Picture in your mind, a shy and timid (really?) Peter Watson climbing up the steps of Bank station blinking in the morning light and staring momentarily at the glory that is the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England (they are quite a sight and I’ve always loved this part of London). This was quite a few years ago now and I was making my way to what was then called Cazenove & Co (a stockbroker which is now owned by JP Morgan) on 12 Tokenhouse Yard. As I later learned, you were only allowed to use this entrance if you were a partner or a client (or were accompanying a client) as mere minions such as myself had to use the “tradesman’s entrance” on the other side of a tiny passage! However, as this was my first day, I was allowed to use the front door. Hurrah!
With each step I took down Tokenhouse Yard, the feeling of dread increased. I was going to be a trainee stockbroker at one of the best known stockbrokers in the country – and I didn’t know ANYTHING about the stock market!!! I was taken on in order to advise Japanese institutional clients (pension funds, insurance firms and other financial institutions) but had zero knowledge of how markets worked. Indeed, the team in the Japan department (nice guys, but they weren’t going to be my team – I was going to work on the main dealing floor with the UK and European brokers) very kindly invited me to their Christmas do ahead of me joining. I recall that, during this sit-down dinner (or rather I should say “supper”, as I later learned 😂!) the guy who would become my immediate boss said something like “I remember when I started, I didn’t even know the difference between a stock and a bond!”, laughs all round. I laughed nervously, whilst simultaneously thinking “I don’t even know what either of those are!”. Fortunately, help was at hand, as I was to find out.
HOW DID I GET MY KNOWLEDGE? When I joined Caz (that’s what we all called it), I spent the first few weeks having meetings with all of the research analysts in the research department. A few of us had joined at roughly the same time, so we all joined each other’s meetings. The research department was divided into all the different sectors of the economy (and some subsectors) and we had meetings with each analyst where they told us how the industry was structured, the main companies to watch and what the drivers of the sector were. We also had sessions with the economists (who told us useful things like why everyone keeps going on about interest rates), the economic strategist (whose job it was to recommend which sectors to buy and sell, rather than the individual stocks) and then, finally, all the marketmakers, sales-traders and dealers. The dealing floor was a boisterous place with never-ending banter being punctuated by massive deals and client orders. It was an exciting place to be! However, I also learned a huge amount directly from top management of some of the biggest companies in the world who used to brief us on their plans and strategies. In addition to this, I learned an enormous amount from my clients, who I would debate with on a daily basis – and they would ask me a lot of questions which I had to find the answer to by asking the analysts and traders! Over the course of my career I covered UK, European and Japanese stock markets and every time I moved company, the process of learning was pretty much the same (although the learning curve got less steep the more experience I got). In essence, my knowledge has come from the heat of battle – I was constantly in competition with my colleagues and all the other major brokers like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Nomura etc. regarding the quality of information I provided. It was a lot of fun, though!
HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE YOUR KNOWLEDGE? Clearly, I learned a lot in a very short space of time because I had to – I would have been sacked very quickly had this not been the case. I was learning and talking all day every day about markets, company news and investment ideas. This is not
necessarily going to be the case for a lot of the readers of Watson’s Daily. Having learnt with the feeling of fear of losing my job fuelling my thirst for knowledge, here is what I recommend for you:
Be methodical – do not kid yourself that reading once a week, once a month, or the night before a meeting/interview is enough. It isn’t and you will be found out. You might as well not bother at all! The best advice I can give is that you should think about the time that you CAN devote to learning and then go with that. If that’s 10 minutes a day, 30 minutes, an hour, more etc. then that’s fine – but just be consistent and don’t miss it. Even when I’m not writing Watson’s Daily (like now, for instance), I still read the newspapers to make sure I’m not missing anything!
- In 10 minutes per day – you can read Watson’s Daily. The fact that the information is taken from reputable sources, condensed and then infused with opinion that highlights the important parts – and why they are important – means that you get a lot of bang for your buck time-wise.
- In 30 minutes per day – you can read Watson’s Daily and listen to the podcast. I originally started the podcast to give people an idea as to what a “commercial awareness” conversation might sound like – because it’s not always easy to imagine. It has since grown in popularity and I’m very proud to say that it reached #1 in GB for Business News on Apple Podcasts quite recently. OK, so the position changes from day to day, but I’m always top #10, often top #5 and sometimes in the top three – not bad for a very very basic podcast that is, incidentally, a lot of fun to make!
- In one hour per day – you can read Watson’s Daily, listen to the podcast and follow up by reading at least some of the full articles I mention. Obviously, you will need a subscription (apart from the articles I mention from The Guardian) for most of them, but I urge you to do this. It will really help you! Newspapers are brilliant!
Be engaged – If you want to do more, show up to the Thursday night Zoom sessions (available to silver subscribers and above) and comment on our forums (you can see the forums if you are a subscriber but can only engage if you are silver or above).
Be vocal – Discussing this knowledge is absolutely key to you remembering it! You will learn so much faster if you do this – and it will also give you more confidence as well! Please come along to the Thursday night sessions! Ask questions!
There are some cold hard truths as well:
- You will never know everything – so calm down and keep going. You will accumulate knowledge. Test yourself, though, otherwise you won’t know what you don’t know.
- There are no shortcuts – you have to do the work. You will not learn by osmosis. Being in close proximity to a newspaper or an edition of Watson’s Daily won’t make you an expert, unfortunately! You have to read and engage with the content. I do my utmost in every edition of Watson’s Daily to save you time. Every article is there for a reason – so please read the whole edition to get the most out of it! All I ask of you is to spend 10 minutes a day reading it! You will be amazed at how much knowledge you accumulate.
- It is constant – you just can’t take your foot off the gas if you truly want to be “good” at this. You could be the expert on something or be really knowledgeable about markets – but if you miss even a week, you are going to have a hole in your knowledge that you just won’t be aware of.
On the plus side, if you stick with it, getting this knowledge will help you choose the right career, make you more informed, confident and effective in your current career and it can even help you to change the course of your career should you so want to.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF WATSON'S DAILY
Yep, I thought it was time I wrote a Watson’s Daily about Watson’s Daily…
There are a lot of resources on Watson’s Daily. Everything is specifically designed to help you understand, remember and use the knowledge that you get. However, here are a few pointers as to how to get the most out of what is available:
- Try to read it every day. It really doesn’t take long at all.
- Try to read all of it. I read five major newspapers every day (the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and The Times) and cull, on average, about 150 articles that I round down to about 30 before including around 15 in Watson’s Daily itself. It takes a long time to put every edition of Watson’s Daily together – but the vast majority of that goes into thinking about which order makes the most logical sense (so that you can remember it easily) and how to explain it in such a way that it makes sense to everyone. In order to enhance your knowledge, you need a breadth of content. Don’t kid yourself that you only need to read, say, tech news. Everything is interconnected these days and it is important that you have broad knowledge so that you know where everything fits in. This will give you the most benefit. I take the time to cut this information down to size so that you don’t have to – so don’t feel that you have to reinvent the wheel! I’m trying to save you tons of time!
- Try to think about what you are reading. Do you agree/disagree with what I say? Why? What do you think?
- Regarding some of the other resources that are available on Watson’s Daily, you should definitely try to read Watson’s Weekly. This shows you how stories develop over the week and groups them together in a logical way. When I was stockbroking, I found that looking at things in this way really helped me to remember and better understand what was going on. It also made recall much easier and faster when I was talking to clients. Whenever I called them, I knew what I was planning to say – but the conversation could go in any direction (and you will find this as well). This meant that I had to know what was going on across the spectrum. Knowing the progression of a theme, story and/or development in a specific company really helped to solidify my understanding – and it also helped me not to get mixed up with what I was saying. If you don’t currently read Watson’s Weekly, you are missing out – it will really help you (and it also doesn’t take long to read!). If you’ve missed any stories from the week, they are all hyper-linked to the corresponding sections. It also means that if you’ve missed out on quite a lot (or if you’ve just joined us and want to
catch up), you can get up to speed really quickly. You could try to read back editions of The Economist, for example, but that would take you forever…
Many of you will be aware that I made a number of major upgrades a few months back. Part of this is the Calendar (you get here by going to My Account at the top right tab on the website when you are logged in, and then selecting Calendar. For quickness, here is the link). When you are logged in, the website picks up what you are reading and puts a little stamp in your calendar. This means that you can keep track of what you read and what you’ve missed. In addition to getting a little stamp, you earn points for everything you access – and these points accumulate to get you different levels. When I was talking about this with the developers, I had to come up with a system to “rank” users – so, given that I am a black belt at judo (and used to coach quite a long time ago!), I thought it would be fun for people to aim towards getting a black belt! Who wouldn’t want to be a black belt at commercial awareness, I thought?!? I didn’t want to thrust this in everyone’s faces because keeping track like this might stress people out – but I thought that the option is there in the background if you want it! You keep your belt and when you access the Forum, everyone can see what level you are at!
There are also resources available on Watson’s Daily that are still developing. Given how things have changed over this year and my workload has increased, Watson’s Directory, Watson’s Monthly and Watson’s Yearly have fallen short – and this is on me. This is going to change shortly as I re-jig things and make sure that I have a more systematic approach to these resources. As I am currently writing Watson’s Yearly, I will be updating all of the Watson’s Monthly editions as I go and one of my New Year’s Resolutions will be to update Watson’s Directory (which explains terms, acronyms, concepts and companies etc.) daily! One thing that I am very excited about for this coming year is Watson’s Yearly because it is going to be a comprehensive document that will be unlike any annual report I have ever seen in that it will update constantly throughout the year. Yearly reports that I have seen in the past are great for about 4-6 weeks and then they go out of date. Watson’s Yearly will constantly update and I will be helped this year, for the first time, by my team of Watson’s Daily Ambassadors, who will make updating much easier and faster!
FINALLY, in terms of resources, we have the Forum. This is now available on your phone (it wasn’t until about a few days ago!) and if you can’t see it in your app, just log out and log in again. This is your portal to me and the Watson’s Daily team where you can discuss/ask questions and we will endeavour to help you! Silver members and above will be able to fully interact with us and it is intended that this is another channel where we can try to help you in terms of commercial awareness and/or careers-related questions. Please try us out! You can have a look HERE.
CURRENT & UPCOMING EVENTS
We’ve got a lot going on and there’s more stuff to come as well…
So here’s what we’ve got going on right now:
Click HERE to try our Christmas Quiz! The cut-off is midnight on Thursday December 23rd – so not long now! You could win a one-off mug and other goodies – so why not have a go??
Follow Watson’s Daily on Instagram to get details for the writing competition! Winners will be immortalised by being published on Watson’s Daily Quick Bites and have the chance to join me on the podcast (if you want to! I won’t force you – don’t worry 😊!).
Click HERE if you are interested in joining our team and becoming a Watson’s Daily Ambassador. This is not a paid role, but I will help you improve your commercial awareness, your career prospects and you can play a real part in helping this start-up to grow! My Ambassadors have been tremendous and help me to do more to help more people. Ambassadors past and present have gone on to do great things – so if you can help me, I will do my utmost to help you! You’d also be joining a brilliant team of great people 👍
There’s more to come in January!
I will be launching the Watson’s Yearly on Thursday January 13th at 5pm with a 2021 review/2022 preview webinar with Jake Schogger from the Commercial Law Academy. You will have to sign up to attend this event and you can do so HERE. This will really help you to prepare for the year ahead and I’m only going to do this presentation ONCE.
I will be holding a separate “Themes for 2022” webinar and then revert back to the usual Monthly roundup with Jake Schogger on Monday January 31st where I do the business and financial markets news roundup and Jake gives you legal perspective on all this. More details to come…
WATSON'S DAILY UPDATES FOR 2022
What’s coming in 2022 for Watson’s Daily??
In addition to the cranking up of content next year, you will be seeing more events like our Watson’s Whackdown on Instagram Live as well as new discussions on hot topics. There will also be more competitions to test out your knowledge and there are further resources that will become available as the year progresses. My whole mission is to help as many of you get the knowledge you need – and in as fun a way as possible! At the end of the day, all this stuff is about real life and it affects all of us ultimately – so you might as well understand it!
As a result of all this, and all of the increased functionality, I am going to be increasing prices at some point in January. Those of you who are already subscribed, however, will NOT see a price increase from your current level as long as you stay members. If you cancel your membership and, say, re-start after the cut-off date, you will pay the new higher price. So if you are, for instance, a bronze member now and want to upgrade to silver while it is still £4.99, you would be advised to do so soon before prices go up. For that extra £1 a month you get so much more (and you will also feel pretty smug about it when you see the price of silver go up and you get it at the lower price!). I do, however, want to make sure that membership is as accessible as possible and so the BRONZE price will stay at £3.99 and access to what you already get will not change. A lot of work and expertise goes into Watson’s Daily, so I hope that you understand.
…in other news…
I would like to reiterate how grateful I am to all subscribers of Watson’s Daily. I have been writing it (or a version of it) now for over 7 years and it has only really become an “overnight success” in the last 15 months! Until then, it has been a hard slog whilst being a dad to a young family and doing a full-time job for the most part as my wife changed career. I am constantly thinking about ways to try to help subscribers improve their knowledge because it is so immensely motivating to hear how Watson’s Daily has helped people. I never tire of hearing these stories and never take it for granted – and it is a constant source of motivation for me when I make all those 4am starts to write it! Let’s do this journey together and have a bit of fun along the way! Thank you so so much for your support thus far. You are all LEGENDS!!!