If you’ve even glanced at a financial-news site during the past month, you’ll be well aware that Game of Thrones, HBO’s turbo-sadistic version of Downton Abbey, is back on our screens – every episode generates a startling amount of internet coverage.
And that’s not all: these stories are flanked by sidebar and footer links with titles like ‘Claiming PPI compensation? Find out how this makes you just like a character from Game of Thrones!’ or ‘Why you – and everyone in Game of Thrones – needs life insurance’ (because you – and they – will be dead soon, presumably).
Now, I like Game of Thrones a lot. But I don’t need to read about it on financial sites. Every broadsheet newspaper’s website already has a story or a quiz about it. The most tenuous connection is enough to generate click-throughs, it would seem.
So as much as I’d like to write a spuriously clickbait-y ‘Reasons why investment writing is like Game of Thrones’ piece, I can’t. Because investment writing is nothing like Game of Thrones. Here are some reasons why:
- An environment of constant murder
Rarely, if ever, do gatherings of Copylab’s investment writers descend into internecine slaughter. Nor has a team lunch resulted in anyone getting a bit stabby over pizza and crudités (yet). Quarter-ends are always a killer, though.
And while we’ve added quite a few members to the Copylab cast, we haven’t had a massive cull (yet). Admittedly, Ross, our CEO, could send someone in to assassinate any of us during a quarterly meeting. It’d certainly keep us on our toes…
- Dress code
Our head office may be north of the Wall, but we don’t dress in furs. Now, I’m not saying certain Copylab employees wouldn’t want to stalk about the office in armour decorated with the flayed skins of their enemies. Let’s face it: it’d be amazing. Until they had to go down to the shops, that is, and teens on the street started mocking and throwing chips at them.
- Keep it simple, Ser
JRR Tolkien was a big fan of inventing internally consistent languages and doing all sorts of etymological heavy lifting. Fairly or not, critics of George RR Martin’s books have said that they don’t get the same sense of thorough research – that it’s more like flowery language for the sake of it, just because that’s how people speak in fantasy medieval pseudo-historic dragonland. (The slightly off spelling of ‘Ser’ is one example.) None of which would go down particularly well with our clients, who want things to be explained clearly and with minimum embellishment. I can’t see them responding well to this sort of thing:
“Ser Peregrine Lads-Weekend, the cavalier swordsman, fought bravely to defend your returns. However, his skills on the battlefield did not translate to active stock-picking. Your fund lost 30% of its value.”
We help our clients with all manner of communications, including social media. But we actively discourage them from relying on ravens.
We base our commentaries on hard data, not visions in flames. We don’t do much burning at the stake, either.
- Distinguishing between UK and US English
At Copylab, we write in regional versions of English for different clients. So we know that American idioms used in British English can grate, and vice versa. For example, in Game of Thrones (episode 27), one onscreen character asked another, who was penning a letter, “Who are you writing?”
To British audiences, who expected to hear “Who are you writing to?” – if not the fussy “To whom are you writing?” – it jarred. But US viewers are unlikely to have been troubled. This sort of incongruity is an inevitable by-product of dialogue written in the US but spoken in sort-of-English accents. And the series choosing the US idiom in cases like this makes sense from the showrunners’ perspective – let’s not forget that the cast speaking in a variety of Brit accents doesn’t actually make the show British. Also: it’s not real.
Fortunately, back in reality, our team not only has native speakers of UK and US English, but it’s also part of our skill set to know the variations inside and out.
Gold is a stable, ‘safe haven’ investment. Nobody in this industry would melt it and then pour it onto someone else’s head.
- Forced marriages to consolidate power bases
- Attacks by skeleton men
Not really. But our abilities and patience are tested in different ways. Here’s a picture of fellow scribe Justin and me the last time somebody mentioned the words “motivational”, “teambuilding” and “event” in the same sentence:
I have already apologised about that. It was a freak accident. Otherwise, no.
Ultimately, I’m delighted that the world of investment writing bears no relation to a clockwork universe permanently geared towards cruelty. An hour spent among unsympathetic psychopaths is a nice break, but it’d be too much from nine to five. I’d rather be sitting in front of a computer than being murdered. Or tortured. Or on fire.
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