Welcome, willkommen, bienvenue to the middle of your week; we’ve been expecting you. It’s a funny old week this week – not ha ha funny, you understand, more crippling existential angst funny – what with those of you in That England having a bank holiday and also a fiery celestial omen giving off unnatural heat. These may be end times. You may wish to perform a dance or rite to appease whatever deity you favour.

With all that in mind, it’s something a bit different this week, not least because I’m writing this late on Tuesday night (a little sneaky-peeky behind the curtain, there, hope it didn’t spoil the magic) and can’t do any more in the morning because it’s jab #2 time and I intend to put my new powers to the test once done, so will be leaping buildings in a single bound. Small ones to start.

So I thought we might have a little think about content, and whether our content is making us content (you see? Clever bit of postmodern homonymic duality right there, with an added call-back to the title of the email. You can’t put a price on that sort of thing). The reason for this is twofold. First, I know lots of firms are getting back to face-to-face meetings now, and so it’s a good time to think whether the increased amount of remote communication many have put in place should carry on, and secondly I read a thing this week which blew me away and I thought I’d put it in front of you.

(There is next to no financial services content in this week’s Update, by the way).

I’ll come back to the first point last, but the thing I read is produced by a French guy called Fred (if that’s your REAL name) who runs a restaurant in Edinburgh called L’Escargot Bleu. It’s a bistro type thing, it’s nice without being wildly spendy and they’ve been doing really lovely at-home meals while they couldn’t be open. Try the boudin noir; it will give you thrills in all those special secret places.

Anyway, Fred’s done a weekly newsletter all through the pandemic, punting the meals but also talking about making the food, getting suppliers to chip in a few words sometimes, and being open about the challenges of the year that’s been. It’s absolutely wonderful writing, it may well make you suddenly aware that your room is dustier than you thought it was, and you can find an archive of his newsletters here.

Why’s this worth your three minutes today? Because Fred reminds me very much of many adviser firms. He’s working all the hours – this is a guy who grows a lot of what he cooks, a guy who makes his boudin noir from scratch and takes the time to buy from small local suppliers rather than big national ones. He stitches together his own world with little or no support and he does it because it’s what he loves and it’s just what he does when he gets up in the morning. I am, you may glean, a little bit in love with Fred. This may have something to do with the boudin noir.

On top of all this, Fred finds time once a week to write his newsletter. I think my point is that if you’re moved to do it, you can create your own stuff without recycling stuffy economic content, without using fancy-dan agencies (hi!) and without worrying if everything’s perfect in it. All you have to do is make sure it’s authentic and that it has blood going to it. Any blood left over can be used to make black pudding. You can just put yourself out there, and people will respond.

Fred’s going to keep doing the at-home meals because he’s found that people really love them if it’s hard for them to get to the restaurant because of childcare, or transport, or not being ready to venture out again yet. And he’s going to keep writing because it turns out people love that connection. I just wonder if some of your clients might like that sort of thing too.


  • We’re hiring! We want three of you, and you can find out moar about all that here. Come play with us.
  • If you’ve ever wondered how Noel Butwell, CEO of Adviser Platforms at Standard Life Aberdeen, feels about boudin noir, then tune in at 12.30pm for HomeGames. We actually might not do boudin noir, but we will do lots of other interesting things. Up later on the YouTube
  • Would you mibbe give us the benefit of your expertise on where platforms really fit in your business? It’s for a thing. 10 minute job, chance to win £ for a charity of your choice. Take part here and thank you very much.
  • If you haven’t looked at Platform Analyser for a while you should drop in. Been lots of good stuff getting added. Check it out here.
  • And your music choice this week is from one of my new favourite records. It’s a collaboration between Welsh singer Lowri Evans and perpetual miserabilist Tom McRae, and it’s great. Here’s Careful, and I encourage you listen to the whole record which is called Only Skin. It’s also got the best Christmas song since Fairytale of New York on it, and that’s a #langcatfact.

See you next week, variants permitting