We're regular, everyday investors who are sick of the level of information on the major finance portals. An investment is more than the sum of its ratios. So, we set out to create an investment website that explains the deeper story behind a company, giving investors the context they need to understand what they are betting on when they purchase a particular stock or invest in a specific sector.
Just as Wikipedia revolutionized the encyclopedia by attracting a worldwide community of individual subject-matter experts who have created an online reference that at times rivals the accuracy of encyclopedia Britannica while dwarfing it in scope, we need your help to create the world’s largest investment research portal.
Here are a few underlying principles that have shaped our vision for how Wikinvest hopes to simplify investing.
Most investing websites force people to think in the language of ticker symbols. Wikinvest lets individuals start with concepts, which can be things like themes, ideas, trends, products, and industries. At Wikinvest, investors can type a company name, but they can also start with an idea like the rising price of oil, the crisis in subprime lending, the impact of internet advertising, the success of the iPhone, and the rise of ecommerce – not XOM, C, GOOG, AAPL, and AMZN. And so Wikinvest has created an intuitive way to browse investing content by concept articles, which then explain which companies are impacted and why. For example:
One frustration we have with traditional finance portals is that most of them throw up a boatload of data and statistics on the page, but little of it is meaningful and it's hard for most people to figure out what’s important and what it means about a company. Wikinvest articles boil down the important nuggets about a company or concept instead of inundating you with the smorgasbord of P/E ratios, earnings estimates, dividend yield, and run of the mill balance sheet data that you usually find.
One great example of this philosophy in action is our WikiChart. Typical stock charts plot a line that moves up and down – but most people want to know why the stock price is moving. So we built WikiCharts that allow people to annotate and explain what’s happening. Investors have already created over a thousand annotations explaining the stock price movements of hundreds of companies -- so don't be shy, jump in on the action and add an annotation!
An investing wiki fixes the depressing level of discourse on investing discussions boards, where the content sometimes amounts to little more than name-calling with poor grammar. On discussion boards, posts rapidly fall off the bottom of the page and there is little incentive to post meaningful content. A wiki is different. Good content is retained, bad content (including spam) is removed, and the level of discourse is much higher as a result – complete paragraphs, narrative structure, and meaningful content.
Speaking of spam, that's one of the ways a wiki is more powerful than a discussion board. When spammers post to discusion boards, there's no way for the community to delete the spam. But the openess and transparency of a Wiki's is its greatest strength -- anyone can remove something that's inaccurate on our site.
Trends impact companies, companies compete and collaborate with other companies, products drive trends, news and events impact almost everything. Wikis are a great tool that highlight those relationships because articles are linked to each other, creating an immersive experience where you can seamlessly jump from one article to the next.
Sometimes in the office, we play Six Degrees of Exxon Mobil -- a little game we made up in which we try to guess the shortest way to link any company to Exxon Mobil. The other day we were talking about Coca-cola: From Coca Cola (KO), click through to Corn Prices, which is connected to Ethanol, which is connected to Oil Prices, which is connected to Exxon Mobil (XOM).