2021 in review with BizNews founder Alec Hogg
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2021 in review with BizNews founder Alec Hogg

BizNews founder Alec Hogg speaks frankly about the year that is almost behind us. Significant events, lessons learned, holiday reading recommendations and more insightful topics are discussed. Click below to watch the interview.

Alec Hogg on the most exciting developments at BizNews in 2021

I think the conference. We have had two BizNews Investment Conferences. The first one was in March and the second one in September. It’s a fantastic way of bringing the BizNews community together. It’s getting bigger; we have our next one in March 2022 and already have 40% more bookings than we were allowed to take at the September conference. We have also made three new appointments for 2022, so we’re looking forward to expanding our team. It’s been a year of growth and fun.

Another highlight, in BizNews Premium, is that we’ve become the southern African partner for The Financial Times of London. We’ve got The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times of London who are our partners. You could not ask for more respected titles than those two.

On what the BizNews community can expect in 2022

We are great believers that we put our community members at the centre of our universe. We’re not here to make ourselves look good or to follow and support any vested interests. We are here to serve our community. It’s very simple: it gives you a wonderful ‘northstar’ to work from, because if you’re relying on advertisers, sometimes there’s an inclination not to offend them. 

On the BizNews Share Portfolio

It has done incredibly well. We started it in 2014 as a partnership with Standard Bank Webtrader. At the time, they were looking to get their platform – a very unique product which opens up international investing markets to clients. Effectively, they had pretty much every single stock market in the world, from the US. 

But through to Australia, the UK, Canada – wherever you want to invest money, you can do it through Webtrader. The idea, back in 2014, was how are we going to get South Africans to start seeing there is a big world outside of the JSE? It was a leap of faith we took; we cancelled our data fee that we paid the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and instead focused our attention on the world, where 99.5% of investable assets actually reside.

Every month, since then, we have had a webinar and we’ve engaged. The idea was quite simple. We felt the South African rand would be a weak currency, so if you just invested offshore and you did nothing – you just had your money in dollars – your portfolio is likely to appreciate. 

On Apple

For me, this year, the real winner was Apple. The world started getting what Steve Jobs was putting in place; his whole idea of Apple was to have an ecosystem. The ecosystem is based on buying one part of Apple and then you’ll get another part. But, of course, it doesn’t help you if you’re going to have an iPhone and a really crummy desktop and tablet. 

You need to have all of your products to be absolute top quality. Apple has done that. They’ve managed to not just produce these incredibly good products – which all talk to each other – but the company has also shown they’re putting the consumer at the centre of their universe.

On Netflix

Suddenly, people are getting the Netflix idea. Reed Hastings has been a hero of mine for a while. He’s now a hero to everyone in the world, it seems. They can see he’s really got something. It’s a wonderful model that we’ve learnt a lot from at BizNews, with Netflix starting off as an aggregator. They were using other people’s content.

As they’ve gone forward, they’ve started building their own. Much higher risk, more expensive – but much more sustainable in the long-term. Now, they’ve taken it to a new level, where they are creating content all around the world, exposing content to people all over the world.

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