Public Opinion Polls, Media & Market Manipulation

“Behind the scenes, a small group of people had a secret—and billions of dollars were at stake. Hedge funds aiming to win big from trades that day had hired YouGov and at least five other polling companies, including Farage’s favorite pollster. Their services, on the day and in the days leading up to the vote, varied, but pollsters sold hedge funds critical, advance information, including data that would have been illegal for them to give the public. Some hedge funds gained confidence, through private exit polls, that most Britons had voted to leave the EU, or that the vote was far closer than the public believed—knowledge pollsters provided while voting was still underway and hours ahead of official tallies. These hedge funds were in the perfect position to earn fortunes by short selling the British pound. Others learned the likely outcome of public, potentially market-moving polls before they were published, offering surefire trades.”

—Cam Simpson, et al. “The Brexit Short: How Hedge Funds Used Private Polls to Make Millions.” Bloomberg. June 24, 2018.

Seed & Spark

Seed & Spark is a Kickstarter for film projects. You can support an individual campaign, such as The Long Goodbye, and it works like Kickstarter, offering different incentives based on contribution level.

The advantage for film makers is that 75% of projects get funded, which is twice the rate of Kickstarter. Seed & Spark also charges lower fees, partly because they also serve as the distribution channel. Further, they distribute funds when it hits 80%, rather than requiring full funding.

As a distribution channel, it has an interesting model. You can sign-up for a subscription for $6.99/month. For this fee, you both get to watch the content created using the platform, and some of your subscription money is used to fund new projects. Every month, you get to pick one project you’d like to support for that month.

I think it’s an interesting model for distributed decision making for financing  independent film and has the potential to open up the medium to new voices and perspectives and supporting emerging talent when it matters most, at the beginning of their careers.