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