2018 was like this…

It’s that time of year again. Retrospective. Introspective. Generally thinking about where we are and what we’ve done, and could/should we have done more.

Here are some of my thoughts, offered for what they’re worth (and mindful that their worth may be less than zero).


Let’s start with the shop. It’s not as impersonal a beginning as might be perceived because, as any business owner will tell you, such endeavours invariably take up more time than they ought to be entitled; and the entity at the centre can generally better be compared to a family member (regardless of the relationship with that family member) than some detached third party.

Geegeez was my first born to all intents and purposes, August 2018 representing a decade since its arrival, bleary-eyed and brushy-tailed, into the digital ether. Those of you who have been along for the ride since the early days will know how much things have changed, hopefully mostly for the better.

The Data Project

We’re now more than five years into the ‘data project’, which is to say the racecards, form tools and reports which comprise Geegeez Gold. Registered site members number more than 14,000, a figure which is not entirely a vanity metric inasmuch as I regularly cull inactive accounts.

From a business perspective, it is paying subscribers that count: those (lovely) people who derive sufficient value from our content to justify contributing monthly/annually to the site’s upkeep and, more than that, to its further development. Thank you to all of you for your support. It is obvious that without you I/we can’t do this project.

Without getting into fine detail, the total of paying subscribers (be you annual or monthly or those very luck early adopters who helped support the initial development of the embryonic Gold provision by signing up on a Lifetime ticket) is now sustainably into four figures.

For a little mom and pop business competing against a raft of media monoliths, this is both gratifying and humbling. It happens, I think, because we care: we have one to one conversations with our customers do Chris and I. We are customer support. And we each wear other ‘content provision’ hats as well.

It also happens because there is no conflict of interest at geegeez.co.uk. This is important. Almost all other intermediate to major racing form sites are in large part monetized by bookmaker revenues from losing bettors.

We are not. Indeed, in our last business year, such revenues made up less than 3% of our turnover, and that came almost exclusively from pool betting deals (i.e. where our reward is independent of whether customers win or lose, because the operator simply provides the marketplace).

Personally, I think it’s somewhere between not at all good and not at all sustainable how many of the large media entities have chosen to nick a chunk of punters’ losses rather than focus on educating them with better and easier to consume data.

Of course, therein lies geegeez.co.uk’s opportunity, and so I have to marry up our place in the racing form cosmos with those less-than-well-intended commercial strategies of the ‘big boys’.

In the last twelve months, we added the following to Gold:

  • Report Angles, allowing users to define parameters for any/all of our reports and receive notifications on the racecards (and in a bespoke report) when runners satisfy one of more report angles
  • A new A-Z report
  • Hcap/All filter options to both DRAW and PACE tabs
  • A range of user configuration to Instant Expert, to allow for contextual analysis of a field’s full form history
  • Contextual draw chart lines, to show how all runners fared compared with the chosen race-specific subset
  • ‘Hover over’ information for tracked items, so you can see in the racecard why a certain horse/trainer/jockey is on your tracker list
  • Incorporated historical data into reports, so you can see where the winners came from, and what prices
  • csv export to our reports
  • Racecourse information links on our cards menu page for UK racecourses
  • Query Tool Angles, whereby a user’s saved ‘system’ qualifiers are flagged both in a report and on the racecard
  • A facility for users to hide the odds, so as not to be influenced by the market
  • Class Move report, and indicators on the racecard
  • A facility for users to show/hide more than a dozen racecard elements to avoid the clutter of items not used
  • Trainer/Jockey Combo one year form to jockey inline form
  • Overhauled Full Form to include both draw and run style information
  • A number of new variables, including Pace Score, to Query Tool

And we’re currently working on a significant upgrade of the code engine which sits behind the website. It’s invisible (or should be!) to users, but it will facilitate a swathe of cool and exciting upgrades after the first quarter 2019.

More ratings, more QT options, more data elements, more reports, more user generated content. More power for you.


Meanwhile, on the editorial side of things, I took the decision – not entirely of my own accord due to Nigel Keeling’s departure from the team in order to focus on other things which were important to him (and fair enough) – not to replace the regular ‘news’ items.

That was mainly on the basis that news is increasingly transient: we’ve read a story on a website before the daily papers have been printed, and we may have seen the story break on social media before we read it on a website.

Trying to compete in that sort of ‘scoop’ arena is impossible with our resources, so instead we have taken a step back and focused more on ‘big reads’.

From the likes of Tony Keenan, myself and, more recently, Jon Shenton and Dave Renham, we’ve been able to craft long-form data-driven eye-openers that the big boys, in the main, are not especially fussed for.

Again, this is to do with readership: geegeez.co.uk has cultivated a considered collective. You are open-minded, you have a thirst for knowledge, you know that there is more to know than the majority of providers want to share. And you are all very, very welcome members of our community!

We are compiling a database with more (and better) data than most, and we have analysts and wordsmiths better able to squeeze the database lemon and deliver a zesty thought-provoking cocktail from the juice. If you see what I mean.

Given the resources at my/our disposal, this is no mean feat, and it is one of which I am personally very proud.

This year, Jon Shenton has taken his first tentative steps into racing writing. He’s a keen eye for data and a nice turn of phrase, too. We’ve also tempted Dave Renham out of self-imposed semi-retirement. Dave is not afraid to do the ‘hard yards’ with the form book in order to unearth a punting nugget or three. I’ve been thrilled to publish their work.

And we’ve had further contributions, largely related to Irish racing, from Tony Keenan. Tony is a perceptive writer and a fine tipster, the latter point not lost on Attheraces who have recently snapped him up to replace the departing Gary O’Brien on their site.

Happily, that is Betfair’s loss and not ours, as Tony will continue to write his thought pieces on geegeez, though possibly on a slightly less regular basis than is currently the case. Congratulations to Tony on his new gig: win, lose or draw he’ll be a compelling read.


Stat of the Day (SotD) is geegeez.co.uk’s flagship tipping piece. In fact, it’s our only tipping piece. We’ve been publishing it since November 2011 – seven years and counting – and in that time we’ve accumulated just about 500 points profit. From one pick a day, Monday to Saturday, one point level stakes.

If that’s the impressive history, it’s fair to say that 2018 was deeply disappointing in terms of results. We’ll record a profit, as we have done in every year since SotD began; but it will be little more than token after a protracted, and overdue, correction which lasted for much of nine months.

We don’t make excuses at geegeez.co.uk. We do what we do to the best of our abilities, we use data to support all of our content, and we trust our subscribers and readers to take that information in the spirit with which it is offered and do with it as they wish.

In other words, we treat our readers/subscribers as grown ups, and we in turn expect them to behave like grown ups. It is an enormous source of satisfaction to myself, Chris, and all of the team that even in the teeth of a downturn, the vast majority of followers have been supportive. They/you know that nothing in our modus operandi has changed, and that, excuse me, variance is a bastard.

Although nobody can say for sure, it would come as at least a mild surprise if 2019 didn’t see a reversion to the norm, and something like 50-70 points in the bank.

Syndicate Horses

It’s been a fairly quiet year for the syndicate horses, particularly the second half of the year. This is because we mainly have National Hunt horses, and because they are mainly young, untried stock.

That said, the weather, breathing operations, and a bug in the Honeyball yard have all contrived to set us back further in what can best be described as a staccato first half of the 2018/19 NH season.

Compare and contrast with the second half of the 2017/18 NH season the highlight of which was a runner at the Cheltenham Festival. Oxford Blu was sent off at just 14/1 in that race, though he never landed a blow after being very badly hampered by a faller in the early skirmishes.

We have plenty to look forward to: the aforementioned ‘Obie’ is dropping to a very workable mark and may have a dance on New Year’s Day; and Swaffham Bulbeck, our other Olly Murphy inmate, ought to be competitive in a maiden hurdle next time given his level of ability and relatively unexposed profile – wet ground will suit him well.

Down at Anthony Honeyball’s Dorset yard, we have four, all of them yet to run for us! Mystical Knight has plenty of form for his previous owner, a Mr J P McManus, and has trained well; while each of Aminutetomidnight, Windswept Girl (both three-year-olds for a few more days) and the two-year-old Coquelicot will be making their debuts at some point in 2019, hopefully sooner rather than later with the exception of the last named.

Up in County Durham, Wilf Storey prepares both Nearly There and Somewhat Sisyphean for us. NT is well named, having finished 3rd, 3rd, 2nd in his last three starts. If that suggests a one pacer, the reality is that he might have won the first of them, and ran very well in defeat in the other two given the funereal gallops were all against him. He met a very well-handicapped rival last time, too, and his turn is very close we feel. We further expect him to improve with age.

Likewise, Somewhat Sisyphean is a project. We owned his half-brother and his half-sister, both multiple winners, and we know this lad will come into his own most likely in 2020 and beyond. He’s a massive unit who will take time to fill his frame. When he does, he could have some engine. We’d obviously be looking for him to step forward on his next run, but time is very much on his side.

That’s eight horses syndicated and, to be honest, it’s more than enough. I have no plans to go again at this stage, particularly with so much untried stock. It’s likely to be a ‘one in one out’ policy for the foreseeable as they all take a degree of administration which aggregates to a chunk of administration.

Horseracing Bettors Forum

My ‘bit on the side’ is the Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF), a group set up with the help of the BHA to represent the perceived needs of the British horseracing betting public.

Since its inception it has achieved a solid amount, both in terms of industry traction and in actual deliverables. I wrote this post in early March, a week or so after I took the Chair, to outline HBF’s journey to that point.

Since then, we have continued to lobby in a number of areas, from slow pictures affecting in-running betting, to poor/piecemeal data from racecourses about rail movements and going, to Minimum Bet Liability (MBL) provision, to sectional timing, to the possible shape of a potential replacement for starting price.

This is voluntary work, and I estimate it takes about a day per week on average of my time. I have been on the Forum since it began, something that – with the recent ‘retirement’ of the excellent Simon Rowlands – leaves just myself and the brilliant Steve Tilley as founder members.

Happily, we are supported by a group of more recently nominated HBF’ers who share both our desire to improve the lot of British racing punters and our preparedness to put in the time to make things happen.

In 2018, the headline ‘delivery’ has been working with bookmakers to agree some form of guaranteed liability: that is, to get them to agree to standing a bet to lose a certain amount, in most cases at least £500.

As I write, BetVictor, Betfair, Skybet, William Hill, Coral and Ladbrokes all offer some form of MBL. I have personally had conversations to this end with the first three named and I’ve found them to be genuinely interested in having a better relationship with their customers, not just in terms of MBL, but also around problem gambling, communications, and fairness of terms and conditions.

Victor were pioneers in the MBL space, their brave and – at the time – unilateral online offering causing them some obvious challenges. They had to review the offering but are staunchly behind continuing to provide a ‘Guaranteed Bet’. At this time, there are some pricing disparities between this market and their main racing markets which we hope/expect will be reduced/removed next year.

They deserve a huge amount of appreciation for being ‘go ahead’ enough to get the ball rolling, and it is not a stretch of the imagination to say that BV’s bold moves have been both a facilitator and an impetus for others to ask what they can do in the space.

Betfair’s recent enhancement of their MBL provision is probably the most well-aligned with their main book, although theirs has no each way offering and is (obviously) non-BOG.

We continue to work with operators who are prepared to listen to us – sadly, and somewhat strangely in my opinion (what is there to lose?), some still refuse to acknowledge our existence – and I’m somewhere between hopeful and guardedly optimistic that we’ll see further progress in this space in the coming twelve months.

We’re lobbying on many more fronts, which you can read about here if you’re that way inclined.

2019 will be my last with HBF, though almost certainly not until approximately this time next year. By then, we’ll have chosen a new Chair, and recruited at least two new Forum members. If you feel you could help, do check out the HBF website and see what we’ve been up to, and what we’re about.

2019 promises to be a challenging time for all main stakeholders: BHA and racecourses face funding issues with the reduced revenues from media rights payments as high street bookmakers close shops only made viable from FOBT revenues; bookmakers will continue to come under close scrutiny for the fulfilment of their social obligations; and punters will be trying to get a better deal in the face of belt-tightening caused by the above.

That is all in the context of a sport and an industry not immune to the implications of Brexit, both on the macro economy and in racing’s microcosm. Things will be interesting, to put it mildly.

Closer to home…

My main job these days, however, is dad. More of you will be able to relate to that than business owner or charity/pressure group member, I’m sure.

Being dad brings me more joy, more fulfilment, and more hope for the future than the things about which I’ve blustered herein hitherto. And please understand that they also bring me joy, fulfilment and hope!

The best of many great things about running geegeez.co.uk is that I get to do it from home. I’ve had offices in the past and, to some degree, I needed/wanted them when Leon was younger and noisier and less self-sufficient.

Given that he’s now six, he’s clearly still young, noisy and not self-sufficient; but his development is a daily pleasure. 2018 has seen him learn to read, and to a reasonable level; he is his class councillor, and a very popular little boy in his school. His mum and dad are very proud parents.

What I think both Carole and I have cemented this year is the balance between work and home, something which is surprisingly difficult when you both have home as your work base.

I am lucky enough to have time freedom inasmuch as most of my work can be done when I don’t need (or want) to be doing other stuff. So I can take Leon to school, pick him up, give him breakfast or dinner, and do bath and bed time.

Not having to go to another location to work, and not having to be there at someone else’s behest when it doesn’t suit me has always been the greatest pleasure and freedom of doing what I do.

I earn less money – a good bit less – than when I was an overpaid IT contractor. But I’m fortunate enough to have enough – plenty actually – in spite of essentially taking a 50% pay cut.

I never did this for the money. I did it for the quality of life, and – wanky as this will sound (like what has come before doesn’t sound wanky enough!) – to try to make a small positive difference to a few like-minded racing obsessives.

2018 is the first year for a decade that I’ve looked back and been reasonably content in that context. That we’ve been healthy throughout the year is the major blessing, and nothing much can be done to prepare for unwelcome surprises on that score. If we get through 2019 with our health intact, it will have been another good year.


It’s not all been gravy. The important things have been, and that’s basically everything. But a few less important things haven’t gone to plan.

The cryptocurr-crash

Let’s talk about cryptocurrency for a second. I spent some time and energy blogging on this site about the crypto opportunity. However, 2018 has been largely a cryptocurr-crash.

The disappointing thing hasn’t been the price correction: that was expected to some degree.

No, the disappointment comes from a market I expected to mature, through regulation and wider awareness, but which has instead shown its immaturity through trade manipulation and technical in-fighting.

Regulation will help, and 2018 has shown how necessary it is. For now, it remains a fascinating – if highly volatile and unpredictable – market in which to dabble.

The underlying principles of blockchain, and of decentralized ledgers, and of a trustless currency outside of the usual ownership, remain very sexy; but more needs to be done to control the gluttony at the margins.

I continue to hold (or hodl in the parlance) my positions, partly because I wasn’t sufficiently invested to do otherwise and partly because I retain belief in the long-term viability of the concept, but I’m not minded to get further involved unless or until we see some more robust regulation in the space: the very advantages of decentralization and trustlessness are fundamentally eroded without a core ruleset against which all actors are accountable.

My punting

It’s been a pretty poor year punting wise for me, too. I’ve previously alluded to the other calls on my time which have meant I’ve not had the energy to focus on my betting. That’s something which I intend reclaiming in 2019.

I haven’t yet run the numbers for 2018, but I suspect it’s a losing year, though not drastically. I’ll probably post something on geegeez when I’ve had a chance to go through the nuts and bolts. My punting is never even remotely a matter of life or death, though on any given day it can appear that way when things have gone for/against me.

I’ve still not managed that nirvana state of dispassionate acceptance of fate’s role in my wagering outcomes. In fairness, it would probably detract from the value of the pursuit, though I do still attempt to reduce the support and resistance range of my betting emotions.

If time permits – and it probably won’t – my grand personal project in 2019 will be to start work on a rating. The very word terrifies me in truth, because a simple time or form figure will never be able to accurately convey the myriad components of both the past (horse/trainer/jockey/sire form) and the present (today’s race conditions).

Still, I have a lot of ideas and, crucially, I have access to data and people who can make clever things happen with data. That means there’s a chance of at least getting to first base. If the project gets that far – certainly not a given – it may not get any further. But it’s a thing I’ve long wanted to work on, and I might just get the time next year (or the year after) to indulge that long-held ambition.

Little things that make me smile

So much for the macro, the big stuff which generally needs to happen.

If I may be so presumptuous – and you’ll genuinely be forgiven for declining – I’d like to share a few things which have improved my life in 2018. They are little things to me, but I know they make a difference to others.

  • I religiously say thank you to bus drivers when I alight. (If you live outside of London, you probably do as well. In Smokey, it remains the exception not the norm)
  • I say hello to the road sweeper down our road – whose name I now know is Simon – and share occasional small talk with him (again, this might be a London/not London thing)
  • When I remember (which is not often enough, I’m afraid), I buy a basket of shopping and put it in the food bank box at our local tesco
  • I give a few quid to people on the street (and, more than that, I don’t try to judge or guess what they’ll spend it on: it’s none of my business, and I know they’ll make the right choice for them in that moment, no matter what I think of it from my comfy seat on life)

Only the first two of those make me smile. What makes me grin is seeing the response Leon gets when he’s cajoled by me into following suit. He’ll invariably get a thumbs up from the bus driver and a high five from the dude making our place cleaner in which to live. And he’ll get the meaning of simple everyday gratitude sooner than most.

The other two. Excuse my French, but f’ck me, I don’t know where to start. I will say this, though: if you think the issues are political, you’re wrong, at least in part. In my opinion.

The issues are societal. It is too easy for us, those of us who are comfortable in life at least, to turn away or to blame some higher function. But it is the responsibility of all of us to look after those in our community who need help. And not just at f’cking Christmas!

Please, if you’re able, give a quid or two any time you can to the guy or girl asking for it – and don’t judge them if they buy something you wouldn’t with it.

And if you’re in the supermarket and you can, put some own brand tins or pasta in the basket/trolley. If you’re anything like me, it won’t make you feel better, it’ll make you feel worse; but it will help someone else a little bit, and that’s a little bit better than making it someone else’s job to do that.

Life these days, it seems to me, especially when viewed through the fractured prism of social media, is about being a super-hero and projecting our best self: a perpetual, and logically unsustainable, game of narcissism which cannot be won.

I’m as guilty as anyone, more so than many, of falling foul of that. And I’m going to get better. It catches us unawares and makes us feel bad about ourselves, even when there is nothing (or nothing much) about which to feel bad. What’s the point in that?

Lucky as I am to have the big project – geegeez.co.uk – and the ‘public calling’ – HBF – and someone at home who still needs me as well as loves me, the little things are there for all of us. Actually, some of those big ones are, too.

We don’t need to be superheroes, we just need to be a little more human. To judge people a little less, and to judge ourselves a little less critically – and, on occasion (we know when those occasions are), a little more critically!

The above words can be seen as the sanctimonious spittle of a self-satisfied specimen, which to a large degree they almost certainly are. But please read them as well intended, and from the heart, whether or not you much care for my tuppence’ worth, still less agree with it.

I’ll make no apology for reflecting on how lucky I am and, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been a factor at some point in my good fortune this year. Sincerely, thank you.

I wish you and all those for whom you care the very best of health over Christmas and into the New Year. And, who knows, maybe we’ll have a decent winner before the year is out…


Digitex 2nd chance? No way!

In this short post, I just want to make it very clear why I will be going nowhere near the ‘second chance’ auction of Digitex Futures this week.

In the ICO a few weeks back, tokens were sold for $0.01 (one cent). Somehow, apparently, one large investor was able to secure around 22% of the tokens for around $1.2million.

The guy behind this (who, I have to be honest, I feel less confident in the more I watch his videos) has bought back that large investor’s tokens, and is now offering them in a reverse auction.

The thing with a reverse auction is that the price starts high and, over time, gets lower.

The Digitex boys have doubtless done this because their initial offering sold out in 17 minutes, and they doubtless feel they could have made more money. A lot more money.

Their ICO raised around five million dollars – it would have been seven million but for the ETH price dropping back.

If there’s a feeding frenzy this time, and the tokens sell out within an hour, they will cost 25c each. Which is 25x what they cost a few weeks ago. Which is patently ridiculous.

There’s a good chance that when these tokens become available on the exchanges that they will go to five or six cents. If you bought at a cent, you’re in clover. If you buy at a quarter, you’re in shit.

The first ICO brought in five million; the Digitex boys have a good chance of bringing in $25 million from this reverse auction. But they shouldn’t be doing this. In my opinion. It stinks. In my opinion.

Here’s the video which explains how the reverse auction works:


The one proviso to this is if the reverse auction is still running 24 hours after it starts, when tokens will be available for one cent again.

I believe there are enough mugs around who will buy these tokens at a huge multiple of even the most ambitious early valuation for the thing to sell out in a couple or three hours at most. They were great value when first offered in the ICO. They are likely to be desperate value in this week’s reverse auction.

Don’t be one of the mugs. As soon as the tokens are available on an exchange, you’ll be able to buy them at a few cents.

It WILL be interesting to see what happens with this. But it WILL NOT be something to get involved in unless there are still tokens available 24 hours after launch (which is on 15th February).


Eye. See. Oh.

Weird Shit!

So that was pretty weird, right?

If you’ve been reading my thoughts on here recently, you might have been tempted to follow me in on the Digitex Futures ICO this past Monday.

If you were, then the chances are you – like me – were disappointed to discover that it was sold out very quickly. Like. Very. Quickly.

The thing went live on the hour, and was full up by seventeen-past. Seventeen minutes.

My own ‘speedy’ attempt to take a stake was lodged at 1.22pm, five minutes after Ethereum’s smart contracts functionality had boarded and shuttered the doors and windows on the Digitex ICO.

It looked an appealing proposition, and so it proved. But why did that happen? After all, most ICO’s run for a week – or even a month – and not necessarily because the offering is dogpile.

Before I answer that, let me outline what an ICO is…

ICO stands for initial coin offering, and it is the unregulated digital/blockchain equivalent of what is known in the stock market as an IPO (Initial Public Offering).

Essentially, a startup – generally but not exclusively – seeks further funding to move beyond proof of concept and into full production of whatever service their business provides.

Coins, or tokens, are the units which power the services and they also represent equity stakes in them. A bit like shares.

But there is a big important difference…

ICO’s are, currently but probably not for too much longer, unregulated. This is a good and a bad thing.

It is a good thing because it means anyone can get involved without being a high net worth individual or an investment company.

And it is a bad thing because it means anyone can get involved without being a high net worth individual or an investment company.

In other words, the nanny state has let its guard slip – for now – in this area, so anyone who takes more than a passing interest in brave new worlds, and does a bit of digging (due diligence it’s called in the finance world, but I think I prefer due diggingligence), can stick a couple of quid – or more, or less – into an ICO they like the look of.

But… if you’re reckless or feckless you can also easily wind up potless.

There are scams in these waters. Not as many as one might imagine, but certainly enough for caution aforethought.

ICO’s are the first offering to market – Initial Coin Offering, the clue is in the name, right? – so they entice the would-be investor with the most attractive upside potential.

That comes with a commensurate clear and obvious risk on the downside. If you’re uncomfortable with potentially doing the lot, ICO’s are not for you.

I’ll say that again, because it’s really important. You could invest thousands, tens of thousands even, and lose every penny of it. That would be distressing, but it should never be a total shock.

If you’re inexperienced as an investor, I suggest you tread very carefully. Your appetite for risk is probably not the same as mine. Your investment tank may not have earned a portion for speculative status already, as mine has.

Please tread carefully.

OK, back to Digitex…

The thing with this particular ICO is that it was a small one, underpinned by some good marketing.

The lads behind it were only looking to raise seven million dollars which, in ICO terms, is not a lot.

And they put some cute content in place to help people visualize what the product is, and how there is a demand for it.

I recommended this because I fully intended to get involved myself. And I’m pissed off that I didn’t.

But there are plenty more fish in the sea.

There is not only one successful bookmaker. There is not only one successful stock. There is not only one rising cryptocurrency. And there is not only one successful – or investable – ICO.

There are tens of ICO’s a week. Which presents a problem.

How do we know which ICO’s are worth our attention?

I make no apology for showing you more caveats than an illiterate tie-seller (geddit?) because it’s your dough and I want you to do the right thing for you and yours with it. I certainly don’t want you to do what I do in the vain hope that it’ll come up smelling of rose petals.

With my dough, I set aside a bit to muck about in a vaguely scientific manner with things I understand more than the average bloke but not even remotely to expert level.

As I’ve said before, there has been a rising tide lifting all boats to this point, and that may continue through 2018.

And it may not. This year or next, the crypto space will start to sort its shit out. We will start to see winners and losers. The losers will go to zero. Their ICO funds will run dry and they’ll fail to secure further funding.

That’s showbiz. It’s why this is wild west territory.

But it’s also why it’s so exciting picking between the runners in each ‘sector’ field.

I cannot tell you which ICO’s are worth your attention. But these are things I look for when I’m considering an investment:

  1. What are they actually trying to do?

Sounds obvious, right? But quite a few ICO’s are not trying to do anything more than ‘be the new money’.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I reckon that one or more – probably more – of the coins has a shot at being ‘new money’. I like bitcoin cash still, but perhaps not as much as I did four months ago. I still have about a third of my investment there. But that’s for another post.

The point is search for utility in an ICO: we want a genuine problem with a ground-breaking solution.

For example, how about storj, who do cloud storage (think Dropbox, Amazon AWS, or Google Drive, but without the big profiteering middle man).

Or loopring, who will integrate and homogenize the world’s crypto trading exchanges, creating essentially a single market for crypto trading.

Or, and I can’t remember the name of them just now – will post another day – the blockchain company who have an innovative solution to a growing problem for digital publishers.

The problem is ad blindness and, increasingly, ad blockers. The value of ad space on websites – even high traffic news sites – is reducing all the time, because we’re a) immune to ads and, b) taking steps to ensure we don’t see the feckers.

Anyway, these guys have come up with an idea whereby, rather than display ads as a way of paying journalists etc, publishers can siphon a tiny bit of processing power from the site visitor and put that to use mining cryptocurrency (or some other task of greater value to the publisher than its latent unused no-value to the visitor).

I don’t (yet) know the technical why’s and wherefore’s of that one. I don’t (yet) know the team behind it. Heck, I can’t even remember what it’s called! But I sure will be taking a deeper dive into their white paper. And in this paragraph, I’ve hinted at two other things I do when scouting an ICO.

2. Who’s on the team?

There’s a game of footy. Two teams line up. One of them has fancy tracksuits, slick mugshots and polished bios. The other has players I know; players I know can play.

I want to be with the latter. That’s not to say that the former, the fancy bios, cannot be a success – win the game in this analogy – but from an investment perspective if you know your team has experience, skin in the game, and a proven track record, you have a chance.

Ideally, we’re looking for a serially successful blockchain entrepreneur as an advisor at least. And we want hard core tech capability. Let’s take loopring as an example again.

Their tech top table has ex-Google, PayPal and Bank Of China senior staffers. And they are priveleged to have Da Hongfei (founder of the NEO blockchain), as well as VP’s and Chief Technical/Information/Executive Officers from some of the world’s largest companies, on their advisory panel.

That’s a big tick in the box of what remains a monumentally ambitious project.

3. Paper. White Paper.

It gets difficult here. There’s technical stuff to (sort of) understand.

All ICO’s publish a so-called White Paper: a document outlining who they are, what they do, how they’ll do it, and what purpose the coin/token serves.

If you’re planning to invest – and please excuse my frankness here – read the f’cking white paper!

At the very least it will help you understand some of the potential pitfalls of investing.

For instance, a good friend of mine who is rather good at this sort of stuff, Steve Brown, wrote about an ICO for Bankera on his blog. I trust his judgement so I took a look.

Product is crypto-based banking. There’s definitely a need for that.

Team looks well-rounded, if lacking in Premier League superstars (to my untutored eye).

White paper was a good read but did highlight what I consider to be the two biggest challenges – a. getting a full banking license (they already have an associate banking license) from the EU, and b. liquidity (getting enough deposits to make enough loans to operate as a successful bank for their token-holders).

There was enough in the combination of Steve’s recommendation and the established element of Bankera’s business – under the auspices of a related company called SpectroCoin – to justify a small punt.

This is the sort of company that probably won’t go to zero. It could be a big deal IF they can source that banking license – but their roadmap says that won’t happen until 2019, so it’s a wait and see play, regardless.

More likely, it’ll chip away off the back of its existing business model. Here, the downside appears to be limited – to some degree at least – whereas the upside has some fairly major hurdles still to overcome.

That’s the balance one needs to weigh up when looking at an ICO.

4. The Roadmap

Many ICO’s are barely out of the garage, let alone in the middle lane of the motorway of their development roadmap.

They all publish a roadmap – by this date, we’ll have done this; by that date, we’ll have x million users, etc – and some of them are a touch ambitious, shall we say.

Roadmaps are little more than timelines, and they need to be considered in conjunction with the team, the company capitalization (i.e. how much they’re trying to raise and what they propose to do with it) and, of course, demand for the product/service.

5. Capitalization

Digitex was ‘only’ trying to raise seven million bucks. Bankera has already raised 70 million euro (about 85 million USD) in an ICO scheduled to finish end of February, or when all the tokens are sold.

The former is a software platform where users will fund their trading with platform tokens; and some tokens have been held back for liquidity purposes.

The latter wants to be a bank, lending money. That means they have to satisfy international banking capital rules – i.e. they must physically have at least 20% of what they lend. Obviously, they need more capital.

But if a company starts off as a $100,000,000 ICO, how much expansion potential has it got? Can it be a billion dollar enterprise? If so, that’s 10x. Could it make five billion, 50x?

There are twelve crypto technologies with a market capitalization of five billion or more as I write. It would have been more last week, of course, and it may well be more next week.

There are 75 with a market capitalization of $100,000,000 or more. Out of the 1500 coins listed on coinmarketcap.com.

Put another way, does bankera have what it takes to be a top 75 coin… and break even? Probably, yes, because it has an existing user base of 400,000 and is opening 1800+ new accounts daily. It also has those ambitious expansion plans.

But to break into the top dozen it has a lot of work to do. Of course.

And the reality is that if the coin value doubles, that would represent a phenomenal return on investment in ‘old money’ terms. The additional risk of these new frontiers however means many players are engaging with an aspiration of a greater multiple.

Summing Up Time

How it ends, who knows?

But I do know this. I want me some ICO action.

Small pieces of a few, with one good winner paying for plenty of losers.

It’s how I bet racehorses, with a degree of success; and, while I obviously don’t consider myself to have the depth of awareness in this market that I do with the nags, I feel I’m asking the right questions to stand a chance.

My portfolio bottom line currently supports that perception. Currently.

Back to Digitex…

Now then, if you loaded some ethereum into a wallet ready for the big Digitex bonanza… and it didn’t happen… don’t worry.

And, if you fretted about the ‘crash’ this week with your money tied up, don’t fret (unduly). These are extremely choppy waters, where the waves rise and crash 35-40% four, five, six times a year.

If you’ve got the raw nerve to buy in a crash, you’ve made 25% in two days. And good luck to you. For the rest of us, there’s a very high likelihood we’ll ride this dip out and move into the next upward surge.

The evidence of Monday with Digitex, and the rest of the week in the crypto markets generally, is that the hunger for digital assets remains as strong as ever.

And there’ll be another Eye See Oh worth a second glance any time now…


Commission Free Speculation?

As you’ll know if you read my last post, I’ve been getting into the whole crypto thing quite a bit recently.

I was introduced to it by a couple of mates who are slightly less risk averse, and slightly more accustomed to non-sporting speculative punts, than me.

And I’m glad I was. When I wrote that last blog, 9th September 2017, bitcoin was about £3,000. Now, bang on four months later, it’s four times that price. Likewise, Bitcoin Cash. Others have increased in the interim by more significant multiples than even those.

Of course, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and in the new frontiers of cryptocurrency investment that makes most people dangerous to listen to. Including me. Perhaps especially me.

For what it’s worth then, here’s what I know:

– Digital payment is not new. Many of us transact daily without using hard (i.e. physical) currency. I’m friendly with the boss of my local coffee shop, and when he started four years ago he took cash payments only. He told me this week that 75% of his business is now cashless. Seventy-five percent.

– Alternatives to sterling are not new. Anyone who has bought more than a handful of items online will probably have paid in at least US dollars for something. There is a conversion charge associated with that, which is normally expensive. Someone in the middle is getting some.

– Alternatives to fiat (i.e. government/bank-issued) currency are not new. People have been putting their cash into gold, wine, art, oil, orange juice and pork bellies for as long as anyone wanted to avoid the economic policy whims of one nation or the global macro-economy.

– One cannot spend a bar of gold or a bottle of wine or an oil painting or a barrel of crude of a pig’s carcass any more easily than one can spend a bitcoin. And nobody has a problem with liquidating those commodities.

So there is nothing new in the world of cryptocurrency, per se.

But are the crypto markets over-hyped? Is there value to be had? Any halfway decent racing punter will be able to articulate the crucial relationship between price and value. As will any halfway decent market trader, or stock or currency or commodities trader.

The principles are precisely the same; the subject matter the only differentiator.

What is difficult, in any of these arenas, is accurately identifying value.

To use the sports betting analogy, bookies used to be the only option, tote aside. So, when Betfair came along, with their very-tight-to-100% markets, the wagering world swooned. And coughed the 5% commission. Because they were still generally betting around 106% on a race where the bookmakers were maybe 115%.

Bookmakers had to get more competitive, and they did. Concessions, the price economies afforded by operating remotely (i.e. no high street shops or cashiers), and managing liability against the exchanges have pretty much evaporated the value chasm.

That nominal 9% difference is now almost non-existent, with punters who can get on with bookmakers generally electing to do that. Best Odds Guaranteed, rick-laden early markets, and a glut of competition have made it easier than ever for the unrestricted punter to get close to breaking even, at least.

But most punters who apply these opportunities get restricted, their stakes – even when minimal to begin with – are limited to pennies. Thus, the exchange becomes the last vestige of the volume bettor. And here, ‘volume’ could be twenty quid, or even a tenner.

The exchanges are marketplaces. They are a liquidity game, swiping their 5%, or 2% or somewhere in between, from all matched transactions. Their job is to keep the wheels turning and to keep the liquidity rolling. To keep turning over the turnover.

For providing the marketplace they charge a commission.

That’s also what currency exchanges do. And share trading platforms. And crypto platforms.

But the margins are getting smaller.

Meanwhile, demand for crypto is higher than ever. A very frothy market in which direction nobody knows it is going. Is it over-heated? Probably. Will it continue to rise in the short term? Very likely.

The market is made up of bitcoin, and the rest. Bitcoin is, for me, a commodity, like gold. It has value because people say it has value.

More than that, it has demonstrable value because people will exchange chunks of fiat currency (pounds, dollars, euros, rupees) for slices of bitcoin.

The cost of transactions on the bitcoin blockchain – again, see this post for a few words on blockchain technology – are very high. Like, unfeasibly high for small ‘coffee shop’ transactions. And they take ages to get settled.

But plenty of wealthy, and not so wealthy, people are ‘buying and holding’ bitcoin as an asset. As a commodity. Like gold.

There is plenty of demand, for now at least, and a limited supply ongoing.

But what of ‘the rest’? Every other cryptocurrency has been ‘minted’ with utility in mind.

(Sidebar: Bitcoin also had that aforethought at the outset, but outgrew its utility because of technical constraints. It also didn’t need to evolve directly because of its ‘new asset class’ status. Bitcoin Cash spawned from the code base to serve the original utility of bitcoin: payments).

The other crypto’s are tokens which can be used to affect some utility or other. In plain English, they can be used to buy a service and/or, ultimately, physical goods.

We’re in the very early days of blockchain technology. The likelihood is that, as with the early dotcom years, there will be many more losers than winners, but the winners will go on to become behemoths of their sector.

Think FriendsReunited and facebook; mom-and-pop-eshop and Amazon.

Thus getting involved away from the top handful – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple (?!), and Bitcoin Cash – is a very risky business. It also offers the potential for greater reward.

I have the vast majority of my (smallish) portfolio in Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin, and Zcash. But I also have a few ‘penny share punts’: speculative plays that possibly won’t pay off but which were interesting to me at the time of investment and enhance my ‘skin in the game’ engagement.

I have small holdings in such as espers, ATBcoin, and siacoin. They are interesting to follow, and if any of them ‘break out’ the return will pay for the losers and some.

And that’s the main reason for this post: I’m getting involved with a new ICO (initial coin offering) next week. It was recommended to me by a friend who has been both lucky and good with his non-sporting speculations, and who likes the setup here.

The tokens from this ICO will be used to trade bitcoin futures – the most ‘now’ of now trading propositions. But here’s the kicker: this platform will enable traders to operate commission-free.

They will buy their tokens, trade in their tokens, and sell their tokens, all without commission. How is this achieved? By the platform operator minting some of the tokens for themselves of course – more like a share offering where the management team retain equity.

And, like an IPO, the management team have a vested interest in the ongoing success of the platform because it directly impacts the value of their own investment.

This platform aims to be the bitcoin futures trading equivalent of Betfair, but with two major differences:

  1. Betfair charges between two and five percent per transaction; Digitex will charge zero percent. Zero.
  2. Betting exchange trading volumes are quite small (in the millions per day); bitcoin trading volume in the last 24 hours was $17,704,000,000
    (£13 BILLION). In a day. Every day.

Demand for tokens – the only unit of currency acceptable on this commission-free bitcoin futures platform – is expected to be high, which could push the value of each token upwards.

Now obviously, at this point, please do take time to perform your own due diligence and get your head around the general context (i.e. crypto investing) and this  particular ICO.

There are other commission-free trading platforms emerging, in the same way that there are multiple betting operators and online retailers and banks and, well, everything really… some will survive and others will fail.

Things I am drawn to in terms of taking a punt on Digitex Futures are:


It’s being built by a team led by the UK-based developer behind Bet Trader, exchange trading software; and supported by established Ethereum/ blockchain developers. This already gives the project a leg up on plenty of ICO’s out there.


Most ICO’s are in some way incentivised and this one is no different. For those investing in the first week of the offering – which begins on Monday 15th January – there is a 20% bonus.

So, for every five tokens you buy, you’ll get a sixth as a bonus. Of course, six times nothing is worth exactly the same as five times nothing, and that could be the outcome here. Caveat emptor. Natch.


The ICO will provide for further development of the project and some of the initial liquidity on the trading platform. You can read more about it here.

Trading on the exchange is projected to begin in the middle of this year, though my own expectation is that towards the end of the year is more likely (just based on how development almost always takes longer than planned). So, while any investment is not tied up for that long necessarily, the action in terms of token price will align to the action in terms of exchange trading. That is what will drive demand for the tokens. Or not.

Before then, Digitex has to complete its build, run rigorous testing, get the tokens listed on crypto exchanges (which again drives demand), and then start marketing the platform to build ‘real’ liquidity (as opposed to the planned-for seeded markets, to keep spreads tight).


Here’s a video demo of the platform. The interface will look somewhat familiar to Betfair traders.


I would say there’s an 80% chance (number plucked out of my, erm, back pocket, but ballpark sufficiency) of this project going tits up, and any investment in it going to zero.

But 4/1 is a price I play every day when I think the upside is notably higher. Bitcoin futures trading is going to be a big thing. It’s more accessible than actually buying/holding bitcoin, and appeals to the gambler in everyone from stocks and commodities traders to hedge fund investors to the man or woman in the street.

Commission-free trading, or negligible commission trading, will eventually establish itself as the norm, because that’s how efficient markets work.

Whether this platform will be a/the winner, I don’t know. Whether it has to be an outright winner when the market is this big, I don’t know either. It probably doesn’t need to be the 800lb gorilla to yield a hefty return.

So, for me, there is a large amount of upside potential which mitigates the ‘shit or bust’ risk that almost all such ICO’s bring with them.

And thus, come Monday, I’ll be in for a few quid. Enough for me to be upset if it goes to zero, but not so much that any other portfolio plate has to stop spinning. A sensible sum in the context of the offering.

You can read more about it here, including how to register your interest.


p.s. If you decide to register your interest in this offering, I will get some tokens for referring you. I obviously wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t think there was merit in the ICO. Nor would I be putting my own cash in the pot.

I know you know that, but I want to be absolutely up front and above board about it. If you’d rather I didn’t get a ‘ta muchly’ from Digitex if you decide to sign up, that’s absolutely fine. Here’s a ‘naked link’. Go take a look.

p.p.s. If you think it’s fair enough, then here’s my special link 🙂

p.p.p.s. I’m going to be using this blog much more in 2018 to share my own thoughts on the wider world, and stuff in it. I appreciate that won’t be for everyone, and I’m more than happy to try to respond to any questions where they’re a) reasonable and b) can’t easily be answered by a three word google search (!)

Time to join the chain gang?


I was pissed. I normally am at the vendors’ get-togethers. Masquerading as networking events, they are more an excuse for a bunch of blokes (it is exclusively blokes, sadly) in the horsey/betting online business space to exchange ideas and rounds of grog. Mostly rounds of grog.

But not all chat is horse and football, nor is it product launches or how’s the little one(s)…

A couple in the group, who you may know, are into broader ‘make money’ concepts. Forex trading and the like. John and Graham, mainly.

Graham is always getting his mobile out and showing me the latest trading gizmo he’s using to plunder a few extra quids – you can never have too many quids, apparently; while John is the sort to be less interested in little tactical projects, more inclined towards the macro: the game changer.

So there we were boozing and blustering the night away when the subject of bitcoin came up. Bitcoin, in case you’ve had your head under the pillow for the last five years, is a new sort of money.

You can buy stuff with it, and exchange it for other currencies, but you can’t get it in the bank. That was the bit I struggled with. Especially after a few of those Lagunitas IPA’s (fierce tasty, even fiercer alcoholic).

You see, I’m a bit old skool. In spite of running a tinterwebs business and betting on horses most days, I’m actually risk averse. Calculated risks around things which I broadly understand are what check my boxes.

I’d heard of bitcoin but I didn’t understand it. Still don’t fully understand it.


Join the Club?

Anyway, Graham and John were evangelising about something called Bit Club Network (BCN hereafter), and so too, separately but as a result of convo’s with this pair, was another mate in the trade – absent this night – Steve.

BCN is a ‘mining club’. Mining is important because it is how bitcoin – and other so-called crypto-currencies – manifest themselves. Instead of sooty blokes with lamps on hard hats and pick axes, though, bitcoin and its ilk are unearthed by computer algorithm.

The human resource of sweat and toil is supplanted by electricity and processing power which, as it turns out, is almost as expensive.

In a nutshell, bitcoins are liberated when computers solve complex mathematical conundrums. The solution is verified by the community (i.e. other bods in the same game) on something called the blockchain.


Welcome to the chain gang

The blockchain could be the single most important piece of computer technology ever devised: even more so than the internet itself. Why? Because it can be used as a settlement engine or market place for just about anything. And there are already prototypical replications of established business systems springing up, ready to challenge the old world order.

Betting exchange? Try augur. Bank settlement? Ripple. Ecommerce? Loads of ’em. What about intellectual property rights and/or business contracts? Ethereum has this cornered currently with something called smart contracts.

In each of those marketplaces, you trade tokens (coins, units of monetary value) with other users.

With. Other. Users.

Not with banks. Not with lawyers. Not with Amazon or Betfair or any other middleman creaming off a hefty percentage.

With other users.

There are three key benefits to this: price, trust and availability/accessibility.

Without going into detail, transaction costs are lower (think 0.25% to exchange currency instead of the 8% or whatever for Western Union to wire funds back home).

The ‘distributed ledger’ nature of the blockchain means that trust is engineered into the system and verified by individuals, not institutions.

And you don’t need a bank account to do this. A mobile phone will do. Many millions of people in the world don’t have a bank account, but they will be able to pay for stuff – even small stuff – using bitcoin and their phone, in the very near future.

This is not science fiction. This is happening right now. You can already buy stuff with bitcoin. Graham has a Mastercard loaded with bitcoin. (I’m guessing it’s not cost effective yet, because of the fact Mastercard are associated with it; but as soon as the payment system is locked into the blockchain, there will be no need for Mastercard, Visa, or banks… and it will be the sensible way to buy stuff).

Get in the game…

So how do you get in the game?

Unless you want to mine the coin from your computer (good luck with that if you’re using a standard bit of kit!), you need to convert a ‘fiat currency’, i.e. pounds, euros, dollars, etc, into a crypto-currency in the first instance.

This article in the Telegraph a couple of months ago shows how to do it; and, implicitly, tips the wink to how mainstream this is becoming.

Getting in the game can seem complicated. It certainly did when I awoke, hungover to hell, the morning after the vendors’ lash up.

But when I sat down to do it, it was a breeze.

1. Get a wallet. That’s where you store your online cash. Just like any other online account you might have: bookmaker, bank, email, etc.

2. Buy some bitcoin. Trickier, and you’ll probably have to demonstrate you are who you say you are first time around (sensible, eh?), but I was able to get this done in 15 minutes or so.

The bod from whom you buy the bitcoin will send it to your unique wallet address that you’ll get in step 1.

3. Transfer the bitcoin from your wallet to wherever you want it. Or don’t. I moved all mine into BCN initially and, as that has generated more bitcoin, I’ve re-invested it on an exchange. But you can just have it sit there building value.

Why am I telling you this?

So why am I telling you this? Well, I haven’t got anything to sell, so that’s the first thing.

I could promote Bit Club Network – in fact here’s my introducer’s link – but, to be honest, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have done better just investing the coins I bought to join the BCN mine myself.

Still, BCN are worth a look if you want to understand more about how bitcoin mining works. And there are some good elements to it, such as the chance ot invest in other altcoin mining (like ethereum, zcash, and others), and some interesting opportunities in the space (including CoinPay, a kind of Bitcoin visa card, which sounds really interesting).

But the main reason I’m mentioning this is that, if you’re an investor at any level, then you should be thinking about diversifying your portfolio into cryptocurrency/altcoin.

I’m not saying they’re the way, the truth, and the light; but, with a global market capitalization (i.e. if everyone sold right now) of $163 Billion they’re not going away.

Regardless of whether there may be a bubble forming in the short term (there may well be), it’s an exciting – and fast moving – space to be in.

My Portfolio

I really hope it’s obvious from what I’ve said already, but let me be clear.


Caveat emptor.

I’ve written it because I want to write about something other than racing from time to time, even though I still love writing about racing.

And, more than that, because it’s something Graham and John and Steve, have got me in to. (I really should go boozing more often! 😉 )

My current portfolio consists almost solely of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, mostly the latter. Why? Because it has scalability to process larger numbers of small transactions which is an important function currently missing from the legacy Bitcoin. (SEGWIT and the Bitcoin scalability problem are discussed in more detail here, if you’re interested).

Is this the right move? Who knows. I’m not an expert by any manner of means. Far from it. And I’ve invested in a manner commensurate with my level of awareness, i.e. not much.

But enough to benefit from the rising tide currently lifting all altcoin boats, and to be able to trade into and out of a few of the less fashionable, more speculative, currencies.

I also had ripple, which I sold at a loss; and espers and siacoin, in which I’ve probably done most of my money. They were penny share punts and look to be going the way of such things.

And I made a few quid trading in and out of the volatility of viacoin.

Bitcoin was £300 a coin in April last year, when I got involved. I felt at the time that it was too high (based on nothing, I might add).

Bitcoin is now £3,500 – having been £3,750 a couple of days ago. Demand, from China as much as anywhere, outstrips supply in this most global of currencies.

Where will Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and the rest be in six months or a year’s time? Your guess is as good as mine, but the consensus seems to think Bitcoin – a safer bet, relatively – may go up another 30% before correcting back by year end.

Bitcoin Cash is seen as having more explosive short-term growth potential. Some predictions have suggested as much as 4x its current value. Whilst that is probably ambitious, there’s no doubt it has more upside than its older brother. It also has considerably more downside!

Closing Thoughts

My awareness of cryptocurrency has come a fair way since that drunken discourse eighteen months or so ago. And so has the value, maturity and demand for the sector.

It is still an emerging market, and will face challenges from the ‘old world’, including from financial institutions and, almost certainly, governments. (China recently banned initial coin offerings – the crypto equivalent of IPO’s – in their country; others, including perhaps USA, may follow).

But, five years from now, it is likely that most large offline businesses and just about all online businesses will have the facility to process Bitcoin transactions. As soon as it is financially viable – i.e. when I don’t need to pay PayPal, or Mastercard, or a bank, for the privilege – I will accept Bitcoin on geegeez.

Until then, I’d encourage you to get drunk and talk rubbish about the world with your friends. Oh, and maybe bag a bit of Bitcoin. You don’t have to buy a whole one!

– Matt

I’m thinking about writing a book…

Leon, building.

Jeez, unbelievably, it’s been almost four years since I’ve written on my own blog.

Four years.

The last time I wrote on here, my son, Leonardo (Leon to everyone) was preparing for his first birthday. Now, he’s finished nursery and will be headed to ‘big school’ in September.

The last I penned here, Leon was barely walking or talking. Now he’s riding a bike, doing martial arts, swimming, forming surprisingly interesting sentences, learning to spell, and doing basic adding and subtracting.

Oh, and his party piece: he can recite the planets, in order from the sun, and tell you a couple of characteristics of each.

Finally, he’s a Lego master builder, who can build kits for eight year olds pretty much from memory once he’s followed the instructions once. And yes, he builds from the instructions on his own. Good lad!

Anyway, enough of the proud parent blurb.

The other thing which has happened in those four years is that geegeez.co.uk has gone from being a little affiliate site to a credible computer form book, with over 11,000 registered users and many hundreds of paying subscribers. (Thank you!)

With the support of a passionate army of readers and subscribers, we’ve built something that the major publishers – Racing Post, ATR, Racing UK, Timeform, Sporting Life and on – are very much aware of. Sadly, because of the nature of budgets – we have hardly any, they all have bundles – it is nigh on impossible to compete in business terms with those legacy behemoths, who are supported by decades of print publication and/or their own television channels.

The flip side of that is we are a small team, and therefore more agile. And, importantly, I own the company. That’s a very grandiose statement relevant only because it means I haven’t got shareholders or venture capitalists demanding I maximize their ‘dollar return’.

So we don’t really do bookie stuff. Sure, there are links on the site, more for convenience than anything else (most of the geegeez affiliate accounts are in negative equity – meaning punters are winning – which is something I’m weirdly proud of – a great businessman, me).

I’d like to do more tote promotion, mainly because there I can will Gold subscribers to win and get a small percentage of their turnover. Win win, if you like.

In fact, regular readers will know I love tote betting. So much so that I started another side project – totepooldomination.com – before I got side-tracked by son and site.

No, we don’t really do bookie stuff – and in terms of bespoke promotions it’s only ever when the deal is a ‘no brainer’, and usually for existing customers as well as new signups.

Geegeez’ income is from Gold subscriptions, the vast majority of which is reinvested into the product. Your product. (Thank you again!)

And now, more than four years into the ‘data project’, we’re getting to a level of maturity: there isn’t a huge amount more we can do that has mainstream appeal. Of course, there is always more we can – and will – do to enhance this bell or that whistle; but we’re into marginal gains territory in terms of broad appeal.

That, along with increasing the team size ever so slightly to help with a growing level of support overhead, and most importantly with Leon about to start school, means for the first time in five years I have the prospect of a bit of time on my hands.

It’s been a hard slog these last five years. Fantastic, and the best five years of my life on both a personal and professional level. But f’cking hard all the same.

I’m about ready for a little rest, or at least a change of routine, and I’m going to get it. It won’t be fun for the first few weeks when Leon is not around the office to provide regular and welcome interruptions, just as it took time to get used to handing over the ‘first and second level support’ to Chris and Steve.

The support help – they do much more on the content side, as fans of Stat of the Day and Race of the Day well know – has facilitated most of the development work on the form tools and racecards and, most recently, the fledgling Query Tool (a sort of system builder).

So I’ve been thinking about what to do with these extra few hours I’ll have each day. I could just goof off and drink coffee, or go racing… actually I’m pretty sure I will do that a fair bit!

But I also want to try to start – and finish – a project which has been on my bucket list for a decade.

I want to write a book.

It’s vain, I know, but hopefully in amongst the narcissism of being ‘a published author’ I will be able to corral something of what I’ve acquired about racing, form study and betting to create a readable informative text.

I know nothing about writing a book. I don’t even read that many (v-e-r-y s-l-o-w r-e-a-d-e-r y-o-u s-e-e…).

But I’ve written a fair bit in my time – approximately two and a half million words, some of them vaguely sensible – so I’m unlikely to struggle with writer’s block. Structure, however, and, well, just plain enjoyment factor, we’ll have to see on those scores.

I have an idea of the layout in content terms, which is nothing new. Where I hope to add novelty, and food for thought for all levels of punter (serious pro’s aside – there’s no point writing for people who already know it all (or think they do! 😉 )), is in the strategies and tactics I deploy, and how I use data to support all of my horse racing betting decisions.

It’s going to cover a fair amount of ground, but I don’t expect it to be overly long. That said, I have a chequered past when it comes to brevity… ahem.

How long will it take to write? Good question. In terms of pen hours, probably not that many. I have much of the content framework ‘upstairs’ and it is a matter of downloading it from brain to digital manuscript. I also know most of the reference texts I need to trawl back over – something I’m really looking forward to; I absolutely love reading racing books and haven’t had the time for years.

So, I reckon I’ll be able to cover each of the subject areas in two to three days, sometimes more, sometimes less. There are just shy of twenty of them, meaning a first draft in sixty-odd pen days.

Factoring in holidays, and ‘day job’ obligations on geegeez.co.uk and elsewhere, I’d hope to get a rough cut available by the end of November. How ambitious that is, we’ll see.

The book ought not to be overly long; I don’t want to go into nth degree detail. I reckon about 30,000-35,000 words (roughly 100-120 pages before images, charts and tables, of which there will be numerous).

If that sounds like a lot to you, consider that I’ve written almost 1500 words in this post without really saying anything! And I’ve written way more than 30,000 words on a single Cheltenham Festival race-by-race preview in the past.

I’m more interested in quality than quantity, and I intend for statistical imagery – the aforementioned chart/table output – to speak without in-depth translation.

There will, naturally, be references to Geegeez Gold in the book. Gold has been built to underpin the way I bet, and it’s supported the enhanced enjoyment and bottom line of hundreds of others, bringing many of them into profit for the very first time.

But it is fundamental that the book offers much insight regardless of the tools you use. Gold is, more than anything, an arsenal of shortcuts. It cuts to the quick of the form, be it pace, trainer patterns, or good old individual horse form. It enables punters to know more about a race, and to make better betting decisions, in less time.

So, yes, I will reference Gold, and show how I use it to understand various aspects of a day’s racing. I’ll also try to highlight free sources that achieve the same or similar ends, albeit with more grind involved.

That, at least, is the plan. It’s one that excites me if nobody else (!), and I hope by sharing it on here, that I might actually make it happen. Right now, I’m not sure whether I’ll publish chapter drafts on a blog – be that here or on geegeez.co.uk – but I might.

Anyway, feels good to end the four year hiatus on mattbisogno.com (I’ve still been paying the domain renewal fees!!), and thank you both for reading. 😉

Updates as I go.

Nanu Nanu


What, How, Who, When?!

In today’s video, I want to introduce you to the specifics of this excellent and proven opportunity. This is not for dreamers or for those who won’t take action. But for those who genuinely want to make a real change in their lives, and are excited about the possibility of starting a business, then I guarantee you’ll succeed.


This offer goes live at MIDDAY tomorrow, Thursday, 12th September.


I’d encourage you to watch the entire video, but if there’s something specific you want to know, there’s a breakdown of what is where beneath it. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this, then please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.



00:30 – What is the Platinum Programme?
01:30 – Why I started doing this…
02:34 – Three key ‘Freedoms’
03:57 – What’s in the Platinum Programme 2013?
14:40 – How I Will PERSONALLY Help You to Succeed
16:12 – £2,500 for sending an email?!
17:39 – Training Breakdown: Strategy
18:26 – Training Breakdown: Tactics (live ‘over my shoulder’)
21:57 – Summary of the Platinum Programme
22:54 – Your investment is…
24:36 – Two ‘No Brainer’ Bonuses
24:58 – My ‘Better than Money Back’ Guarantee to you
25:38 – Availability

Prove it!

In my first video in this series, I told you a bit about my background, and how I had no special advantages when I started. Far from it, in fact.


Today, I’d like to show you some of my successes online, and also tell you about a few of the students I’ve mentored to achieve their own successes.


In a few days time, I’ll be opening a programme for a handful of people who want to make a positive change in their lives. Please keep an eye on your inbox if that might be you…


In the meantime, here’s the video. I’d encourage you to watch the entire video, but if there’s something specific you want to know, there’s a breakdown beneath it. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this, then please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.


[oo:oo] – Recap
[00:39] – In today’s video… and who it’s aimed at.
[02:40] – Some of my results
[03:06] – Why £20k invested in training is less than I should have spent
[03:35] – The value of that training investment
[04:23] – Past student stories: Gavin and David
[05:40] – Past student stories: Kieran Ward
[15:06] – A slightly different tack to the training
[15:40] – Past student stories: Nick and John
[16:25] – Last year, the BEST year yet! e.g. Nicky and Lester


How I got started online, and why…

I want to share a little of my background with you today. I’m not special, and I didn’t have blinding computer or marketing skills when I started. In fact, I didn’t have any of either of those things when I started.

Watch the video below to find out how and why I got started online. And do leave a comment or question underneath if you’d like.


If you like it, or have any questions, do leave a comment.



An Online Business in 2012: Part 2, Your First Website

Online Business in 2012, Part 2: Introduction

Don't fear the techie bits
Don't fear the techie bits!

Following on from my last video / blog post about mindset, and that all-important research, it’s now time to put our research into practice and take our first baby steps online.


Before we go into that, though, if you haven’t seen the first video post, you can take a look at that here: The Mindset for Online Business.


Assuming you’ve done your research as per that post, and you’ve decided upon an area – or niche – in which you can get some traction and where you know there is a hungry market, you’re ready to move to part 2.


Part 2 is all about getting your first website up and running. Now before you think that’s going to be tricky, I want to say two things:

1. It isn’t

2. Even if it was, you don’t need to do everything yourself as there are lots of people who can – and will – help if needs be, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee generally (especially if you tend to buy coffee from Starbucks or another of those ‘pricey but nicey’ outlets).


The video and accompanying pdf document at the end of this post show how to set up your first site, using either the WordPress-hosted web space or your own self-hosted web space. [If that means nothing, don’t worry, it’s all covered in the video. In fact, if any of the terms I use in this post don’t mean anything, you’ll find they’re covered in the video. If not, ask a question by leaving a comment and I’ll get back to you.]


Hosting Your First Website

I would strongly suggest that you get your own hosting if you’re even remotely serious about starting an online business. There are at least two very good reasons for this:

1. It looks MUCH more professional

2. It gives you MUCH more freedom in terms of what you can do


You will need two things in order to ‘host’ your first website. Firstly, you’ll need a hosting package. I use TSO Host, and have done for a number of years, and for over a dozen of my sites. I highly recommend them, on grounds of price, support and uptime availability, and you can check them out here. I recommend TSO Host. [Transparency: that link has an affiliate code in it, which means I will be able to buy roughly 1.46 cups of the aforementioned fancy coffee per year if you use it to purchase your hosting, which costs £15 per year, or £1.25 a month]


There are of course countless other hosting service providers, so feel free to use one of those if you’d prefer.


Now, before you get to the videos, I want to touch on something that isn’t really outlined in detail within them, and which is important for the ‘bigger picture’. And that is choosing your domain name.


Your Domain Name

Whilst I don’t want to confuse anyone by talking about Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short) at this stage, I will say that there is value in your domain name – the name of your website, for instance, mattbisogno.com – containing something as closely resembling your market area as possible.


SEO is simply the means by which websites can be tweaked to tell Google and the other search engines where is the best place for them to appear when people are looking for stuff on that particular site.


Targeted Domain Name
Targeted Domain Name example

For instance, if you started a company in Hackney, and the company name was Apple Puff Personal Training, you might want to have a domain name of personaltrainerhackney.co.uk if it was available, rather than applepuffpersonaltraining.co.uk.


The reason for using the words people might use to search for you (‘personal trainer Hackney’), rather than your brand name (‘Apple Puff personal training’), is because you are far more likely to be found with the more generic term… to begin with at least.


[My main horse-y site, geegeez.co.uk, now receives over 2,000 searches a month for the term ‘geegeez’, which of course means nothing except that it is a known brand after being online for a number of years. It was a terrible choice for a domain name! If I knew then what I know now…]


Incidentally, the example above is for Mrs Matt’s website, although she tends to use her other one, personaltrainer-london.co.uk


OK, let’s recap. What I’m saying is try to choose a domain name that might contain the words that your target audience would type in when searching for a site like yours… ideally, your site!


As an example, if you’ve decided to focus on synchronised swimming tips, then www.synchronisedswimmingtips.co.uk would be a GREAT domain name, assuming it’s available. You can check the availability of domain names at TSO Host (and other hosting sites).


Take your time over this, if necessary, to find the right domain name. Because here’s the thing: almost everything can be changed later. But your domain name cannot easily.


So yes, take your time. But do not procrastinate!!! If you’ve taken more than a few hours to research and then another day to ponder your available options, you’re wasting time. Move on. 🙂


Getting Your Site Up

OK, splendid. We’ve got a niche, and we’ve found a pretty good (ideally, an amazing) domain name. Now it’s time to build the site. The video and pdf below were created a little while ago now, but the content remains relevant.


Whilst some of the ‘look and feel’ elements of what you’ll see have changed slightly, you will still be able to follow these to get your first site online.


Enough from me. Here’s the video:


And here’s a link to the pdf document which supports the video:


How to Get a Web Address (Domain Name) and Set Up Your Blog




By the end of this session then, you should have chosen a domain name for your new website, got yourself some ‘hosting’, and installed your very own blog onto your domain name. Awesome!!


If you have any problems, leave a comment below, and I’ll try to answer if I can. The reason to comment below is because others might be having the same issue and this way, I can help them as well as you. Make sense? Great! 😀


Well done if you’ve got this far. I hope you’ll be excited about what comes next…


Now might be a pretty good time for me to tell you about that then!


In the next installment, we’ll work on making our site look a bit more presentable, both to human visitors and to our friends, the search engines.


Until then, you’ve got work to do..!