And so it came to pass that ten years ago today (well, yesterday but who’s counting?) the lang cat was born. Sightless, pitiful and mewling (that’s what happens when you sample the bottles from the back of the cupboard), this funny little company came into the world, and here we are.
No-one likes self-congratulatory nostalgia, so I’ll spare you all that. But it’s hard not to reflect on building from being a one-man band in a windowless basement office, to what we have now, which is a team of nearly 20 insanely talented – or at least insane – individuals. Although I’m still in a basement office but with a very small window; that’s progress of a sort I suppose.
Along the way we’ve produced over 60 papers on platforms, regulation, investments, pensions and have deployed approximately 527,000 cat jokes. Still plenty left to find. We now have three distinct practices – our core insight business, a PR, content and communications agency, and the newest bit which is Platform Analyser, which I’m determined is going to blast a hole in the comparison sector.
I think we’ve done good work along the way, and hopefully we’ve done some good from time to time. They can’t all be hits, but I’ve been looking at the body of work that’s behind us and it makes me very proud. Businesses like the lang cat don’t have right to exist; we have no equivalent of sticky 1% of AUM type charges, and so – much like policing – we exist by consent.
So a big thanks to everyone who’s given their consent for us to exist; those who’ve read our stuff, all our clients past and present, and all those who were encouraging in those weird early years. Thanks to the detractors too; I remember particularly one well-kent individual telling a mutual client when discussing the first ever pricing paper we put out “Mark? Fine if you like that sort of thing, but it’s just a bloke with an Excel spreadsheet.” Little did that person know that I’m crap with Excel and I’d used a calculator, a load of Post-it notes and half a bottle of Dalwhinnie.
On balance I’m not sure I should have told you that.
A special last word to the felines I’m so proud to work with – as you all know I’m not exactly Mr Gushy, but whatever good things the lang cat has become as a business are down to all of you. The less good bits are all down to me. Thank you for all your hard work – especially this year – your trust and for being daft enough to leave proper jobs to come and work at the lang cat. Some day soon we’ll celebrate properly.
2030 ain’t far away.
- We can’t do a birthday party as we planned. So instead, Steve is going to take the rip out of me relentlessly on a special birthday HomeGames this week. It will be deeply uncomfortable for me, which I suspect will make good viewing for you. Come join us here.
- Our other big news this week is that we’re launching the 2020 wave of our annual mega-survey of the advice sector, which we call State of the Adviser Nation or SOTAN for short. Please do come and read about it here, and if you can spare the time to take the survey we will make it worth your while.
- I mentioned Platform Analyser above – we’re running a free demo for anyone interested tomorrow at 11am. All welcome. Come join the demo here.
- Proper news – you need to read the FCA’s Call for Input on the retail investment market, and think about how (not if) you should respond. We can help you if you want.
- And your music choice this week has to be from the man who gave the lang cat its name. Eventually I’ll run out of James Yorkston songs to include, but not yet. Please enjoy the luminous Woozy With Cider.
Thanks for an amazing ten years.