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Steve's ITK: New year, same old game


Steve's ITK

January 13 · Issue #49 · View online

Steve's In The Know: Thoughts from a European tech insider.

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Opening thought: Line 'em up, knock 'em down.
In the past, after successfully scooping a story, I’d sometimes feel slightly anxious. Once the high of hitting publish had begun to wear off, I’d ask myself questions such as: Where will the next scoop come from? Have my sources dried up? Did I just raise expectations a little too much and it would only be downhill from here?
This feeling was further compounded when an ex-editor of mine once congratulated me on a major scoop and within the same sentence made it abundantly clear they now expected more of the same.
The problem is that scoops are never really within a journalist’s control. The seeds of the next scoop are often entirely in the hands of your sources, existing or new ones. If they dry up, it’s pretty much game over.
All a journalist can really do is lay the groundwork by talking to the right people as often as possible and following up on any and every possible lead, always with an open mind. It’s a cliche but in journalism the old adage of 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration, mostly holds true. There’s a fair bit of luck involved, too.
That’s why my first week back from the holidays was so satisfying. And relatively stress-free.
On day one, I managed to hit it out of the park with a scoop on Monzo, based wholly on original reporting and my multiple sources. The challenger bank has begun to work on its plans for a U.S. launch, much earlier than many (myself included) had thought. The fintech unicorn is planning to launch a “lite” version of Monzo across the pond, similar to the prepaid card that kicked off Monzo here in the UK a few years ago. The timeline for the U.S. is still in flux, but a small team has been assembled and it is happening.
On my second day back, I practically wrote the same story in the opposite direction: this time by scooping news that Robinhood, the U.S.-based “zero-fee” stock-trading app and cryptocurrency exchange, is stealthily recruiting for a new London office ahead of plans to eventually launch here in the UK.
Both scoops were mostly sourced and lined up before I went on leave. All I really had left to do was some final fact checking and to contact the parties involved to offer a right to reply, which I gladly did.
I’m also happy to report that afterwards I only suffered a little post-publish anxiety. Clearly, old habits die hard!
Bonus: Which newly-backed London health tech startup is rumoured to have lost one its co-founders already? How careless.
Things I wrote
Revolut hires Freetrade co-founder and former CTO as head of Wealth & Trading Product
TransferWise applying for Brussels license in bid to navigate a ‘no deal’ Brexit
Scape Technologies raises $8M to let machines visually understand their surroundings
Pouch, the browser extension that surfaces discount codes, has been acquired by Global Savings Group
A further £18M funding lands on Gousto’s plate
Trading app Robinhood is stealthily recruiting ahead of planned UK launch
Challenger bank Monzo has quietly begun working on a U.S. launch
Closing thought: Where should Steve's ITK go next?
As long time readers will have sensed, during the second half of last year I struggled to regularly write this newsletter. I’m not sure if I got tired of the format or simply didn’t want to spend any more time than necessary working on the weekends. I also started to feel that the format of ITK had become a bit uninspiring, and considered canning the whole thing.
However, with now over 1,000 loyal subscribers and still growing, I’m going to give it another push, and this is where you come in.
  1. Let’s try and double that subscriber number. Please consider forwarding this newsletter to just 1 person who might also enjoy my take on tech news and what’s behind the curtain.
  2. Let me know what topics you would like me to touch on more here in ITK?
  3. How can we make this newsletter two-way? I’d love to share more of your voices within what is a small but pretty unique community.
  4. I don’t think I’m going to ever offer a premium paid-for newsletter, but should I set up a Patreon account or similar? How would you like to support ITK and help it become more regular and enable me to add further value in return.
As ever, I’m open to all or any suggestions or feedback.
Get in touch
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Till next time,
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