It’s an emotional day at FT Alphaville Towers. Our beloved editor, Izabella Kaminska, is leaving after a 13-year session at the blog. After joining as a junior reporter in 2008 after working for Big Oil (yes, that’s right conspiracy theorists), Reuters and CNBC, Izzy rose through the ranks to finally be made chief honcho in 2017, which Paul Murphy, founder of FTAV, succeeded.
She will be greatly missed by all of us, and many of you.
Readers will agree that there is no one like Izzy in financial media. Her aptitude for spotting trends and problems long before the rest of us, and her ability to combine esoteric references to the point – from the power structures of classical Rome to Soviet-era state planning and Tom Cruise movies – with a deep knowledge of finance has long made her work a must-read when it comes to everything from payments to crypto to the gig economy.
So to celebrate Izzy’s time at FT Alphaville, here are some stories, and a video, of her over the years.
Amazon (sub) Prime? (2019)
The article that launched a thousand angry PR emails. In the first half of this two-part email, Izzy explores whether “Fulfilled by Amazon” runs the risk of being overwhelmed by counterfeit goods because of its merger policy.
Defense of the Romans (2012)
Did currency destruction lead to the collapse of the Roman Empire? Back in 2011, Izzy investigated the question of whether the helicopter Ben Bernanke was a contemporary Diocletian.
Izzy suggested that Uber’s business model does not look sustainable. Since then, the company has recorded $ 26 billion in operating losses.
Izzy, always curious about cults and conspiracies, but never happy to simply dismiss those who got into things like stupid or disturbed, produced a fantastic mini-film about QAnon right before the infamous 2020 election and the Q- inspired aftermath of 6 January. It’s really a must-see – if you’ve not watched it yet, do. As so often with Izzy’s work, it brings a perspective you will not find anywhere else in the media.
Gideon is pictured next to a Bitcoin ATM. Give more than 2,000 words about how the Roman Empire handled the pirate threat to its grain supplies.
Bitcoin: identity crisis (2016)
Who’s Satoshi Nakamoto? Back in 2016, a certain Craig Wright came forward to claim the crown of king of bitcoin. But things were not quite so simple (it never is, as Izzy will tell us).
A history of bitcoin. From 2013. Do we need to say more?
Izzy had a chance to work for Deliveroo. It’s less fun (for her) than you would imagine, but a lot of fun for us.
Ignore the formatting of this post, which went a little awry, and revel in Izzy explaining how a commodity trade works via Joseph’s biblical story. Spoilage: it’s more entertaining than Thomas Mann’s book on the same subject.
Do you have no idea what real-time gross settlement systems are? Time to talk about the technology that supports the financial system as we know it – and love it -.
Solar panel prices collapsed. The best story to explain this remarkable journey up the cost curve is improved productivity. But the truth may be slightly less convenient for ethical investors.
Izzy was often so far ahead of the news that it’s easy to forget she was the first to write about an issue. There is no better example than this post about the problem with DAOs from. . . six years ago. History seems to be repeating itself, at least in cryptocurrency.
Of course, it would be negligent of us not to mention maybe Izzy’s crow performance during her time at FT Alphaville: Vaudeville.
Held at London’s oldest venue, Wilton’s Music Hall, Vaudeville, live music, Crypto, comedy, a talking computer, Wirecard, performing arts, Adam Curtis and Cambridge Analytica combined into one evening of entertainment and made it work somehow. The Fyre-inspired promo video (see above) features Alphaville favorites Pamela Anderson and Island Sark (what more could you ask for). It was a resounding success, and would not have been the crazy opportunity it was without Izzy’s ingenious vision (it actually would never have happened).
So long Izzy, and thanks for the memories. We wish you all the best with your next effort.