Frequently Asked Questions

When and why did you start this website?

By early 2004 I was completely convinced that San Diego was experiencing a substantial housing bubble--a conclusion that compelled many people to think I was a raving madman. But I had proof, or so I felt, in the form of my beloved graphs and data. In June of that year I created a website to share my findings and my thoughts on the matter with friends and family.

To my surprise, readership of the site soon started to spread well beyond my group of friends. As readership grew, I became more and more interested in figuring out what was going on with the market. It spiraled out of control from there...

Who is Professor Piggington, and what's with the old-timey look?

Economic commentary is not exactly gripping. So when I created the site for my friends, I decided to punch it up by incorporating a Victorian-era science theme, as described by the following excerpt from the original site:

Professor Piggington is an amateur practicioner of the Dismal Science who has constructed a vast difference engine in order to aid in his analysis of real estate market cycles. Day and night he toils amidst the thrashing gears and noisome coal smoke of his beloved San Diego Real Estate Chrono-Collapsometer.


The Professor’s only joys in life are his Chrono-Collapsometer
and the occasional tincture of opium.

Mr. R____, the Professor’s put-upon assistant and scribe, is responsible for the publishing of the Econo-Almanac. Because he is a coarse and disgracious member of the Working Class, you will find that he has abandoned the faux-Victorian theme in the day-to-day entries. All correspondence to the Professor should be sent care of R____ via electronic-post.


Mr. R____ laboriously transcribes one of
the Professor’s lengthy diatribes.

The maintenance of the Chrono-Collapsometer is exhausting and dangerous work. For this purpose the Professor employs a team of child-laborers and passes the savings along to you.


The Collapsometer support staff takes
an ill-deserved break
.

It certainly enabled me to amuse myself. But as the subject matter (and I along with it) came to be taken more seriously, and as I began to show up in media articles as an "expert," people got awfully confused when they came to the site and read a post about, for instance, drinking laudanum. So for better or for worse, the Professor became a little less prominent over time. But his memory lives on.

Is the root word of "Piggington" some sort of comment on speculative greed?

No.

What's the connection with Voice of San Diego?

VoiceofSanDiego.org is an excellent local news publication for which I write a guest blog called A Nerd's Eye View. There's quite a bit of subject matter overlap, so I typically link over to any Nerd's Eye View posts that I think will be of interest to Econo-Almanac readers.

What's your "real" job?

I am a financial advisor with Pacific Capital Associates, where my primary role is to help individuals and businesses manage their investments. (Investment advisory services and securities offered through Girard Securities, Inc., member SIPC/FINRA).

Why don't you participate in discussions about investing?

Due to my affiliation with the securities industry and the heavy regulation thereof, I need to get all investment-related content I write write rubber-stamped by the compliance folks to make sure I am not breaking any rules (not that I ever do... but that's the process). The overhead involved makes it unfeasible for me go back and forth in the comments, so I keep my thoughts on finance and investing confined to the articles at the PCA website.

Why are there no articles from 2004?

At some point I updated the content management software (from a clunky system I'd written myself to a powerful CMS called Drupal) and for the most part I didn't bother porting over the old articles. Some of the Bubble Primer articles are adapted from that early content.

Don't you know that everyone wants to live here? Or that there is a housing shortage? Or that real estate always goes up? Etc?

Questions like these are probably addressed in the Bubble Primer. If not, they are probably addressed in one of the other articles or forum topics. A search function is available for your convenience.