Ep. 555: Denise Shull Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Denise Shull
Denise Shull

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Denise Shull is a performance and decision coach to traders and athletes. She is well known for her effectiveness in assessing performance under high pressure situations. Denise began her Wall Street career in 1994 as trader and desk manager on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. She was always fascinated by the psychology side of trading from the outset of her trading career. In 2015 she offered critical insight on how to put together one of the main characters of the hit show “Billions” on Showtime.

Denise has counseled an extremely wide variety of traders with all kinds of personalities and trading styles. However, at the end of the day everyone is human and all traders have common psychological threads which she points out. When Denise analyzes a client she tries to understand a sequence of feelings that person is making and what the patterns of their feelings are. At first it is just about her figuring out how a clients brain works, and then she helps them see the patterns.

What was the trigger for Denise to go down the path of studying the mind and human behavior? Starting from a young age she enjoyed observing and counseling friends. In her mid to late 20’s she started looking at her friends relationships and seeing that the people were all different but the scenarios were the same. A teacher helped point out a theory of Freud’s. Freud believed there is a critical period for attachment and self image when you are a child. Denise gives examples of how human reactions stem from a template made in the first 2-3 years of life.

Michael and Denise finish up talking fractals, psycho analytics, efficient market theory and compare notes on Nobel Prize winner Harry Markowitz.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Bio-psychology
  • Attachment theory
  • Neurosciences
  • Conviction as data
  • Fractal emotions
  • Efficient market theory
  • Self blame as a positive

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Ep. 551: Jack Schwager Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Jack Schwager
Jack Schwager

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Jack Schwager is author of the Market Wizards series and just completed his second edition of A Complete Guide to the Futures Markets: Fundamental Analysis, Technical Analysis, Trading, Spreads, and Options. Jack has gone into great detail updating his 1984 original edition with over 600 pages of educational insights.

At the beginning of his trading career technical analysis never made much sense. However, as he worked in markets over the years, he came to see that those who used charts and technical analysis tended to make more money. He also saw that fundamental analysis almost goes against the idea of money management. He found that the same went for risk management: How does risk management work with a truly fundamental perspective? It doesn’t for most.

The basics of futures trading for most is fuzzy. Jack gives a short summation of the basics: 1. Futures are very liquid. 2. They trade for every type of instrument you could think of. 3. You can go short or long just as easy. 4. Futures are truly a zero sum game. 5. They are real markets and have real fundamentals pushing trends. 6. Basic trends do have some sort of rational behind them in futures markets and the skilled fundamental players will beat the unskilled players if they are good at assessing probabilities. Michael and Jack finish talking about trading as an art vs. science, whipsaws, failure to exploit major trends, drawdowns and the efficient market hypothesis.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Fundamentals vs. Technical analysis
  • Risk management
  • Contrarian view on fundamentals
  • Charting
  • Science vs. art in trading
  • Whipsaws
  • Exploiting trends
  • Sharpe ratio
  • Efficient market hypothesis

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Ep. 549: Scott Hartley with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Scott Hartley
Scott Hartley

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Scott Hartley is a venture capitalist and startup advisor. He has served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the White House, a partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, and a venture partner at Metamorphic Ventures. Prior to venture capital, Hartley worked at Google, Facebook, and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He is a contributing author to the MIT Press book Shopping for Good, and has written for publications such as the Financial Times, Inc., Foreign Policy, Forbes, and the Boston Review. Hartley speaks on global entrepreneurship with MIT, the World Bank, Google, and the U.S. State Department. He holds an MBA and an MA from Columbia University, and a BA from Stanford University. He is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Hartley is the author of “The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World.” Scott brings a wealth of knowledge from across Silicon Valley and beyond to the subject. He gives a perspective: What kind of background do most techie’s start with? The term “fuzzy” relates to liberal arts and “techie” to computer science and electrical engineering.

Michael and Scott also discuss Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg is a curious skeptic. He challenges norms, is deeply curious about science fiction, and has many interests outside of the technical world. How do we know where this curiosity came from? Where did Zuckerberg and other successful techies cultivate their curiosity? Michael and Scott give insight into these questions and finish up the podcast discussing the ethical and moral implications of technology.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Ethical side of technology
  • Addictions on top of addiction
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Curiosity and skepticism
  • Frontier markets
  • Liberal arts in the technical world
  • Myth busting the standard path to a tech career

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Ep. 547: Erik Wahl Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Erik Wahl
Erik Wahl

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Erik Wahl is author of “The Spark and The Grind,” “Unthink,” and “Unchain the Elephant.” Starting from an early age Erik was never encouraged in the arts but rather encouraged in his reading, writing and athletics. He believed that if he got straight A’s he would be successful later on in life. Things generally worked out for him–until the Dot-com bubble hit. He was devastated and realized he needed to figure out a new way to live.

Erik started meeting artists rather than business types. He came to find that mainstream society does not understand artists and because of this, many of these people would become, for lack of a better term, “tortured artists.” The love of art is what launched him into work as a professional artist. Art was not about producing a product but rather about a new way of thinking. He began processing information in a whole new way, not just linear.

Everyone has creative ideas. What sets people apart is how they chose to leverage and use it. When Erik does any presentation he starts off creating a painting on stage to rock music in 3 minutes. He is disrupting thinking by showing the audience rather than telling them. Unless you know how to use agility and mental dexterity you will be left behind. Erik teaches how to tap into creativity and adapt to the increasing rate of change happening in the world.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Dot-com bubble
  • 2008 crisis
  • Routine and structure
  • Misconceptions of overnight success
  • Embracing the grind
  • Mental agility

“I was very content with my trading success but it really had nothing to do with my knowledge, with my insight, with my acumen at reading markets. It had to do with everything was going north at that point until it went south, and it crushed me.” – Erik Wahl

“Structure creates freedom.” – Erik Wahl

“Growth and comfort cannot co-exist.” – Erik Wahl

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Ep. 545: Mark Weatherford Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Mark Weatherford
Mark Weatherford

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Mark Weatherford is an American cyber security professional who has held extremely high positions in both the public and private sector. He was appointed the first deputy under secretary for cyber security at the US Department of Homeland Security from 2011-2013. Mark brings a wealth of experience and insight into a subject that all of us should be worried about in this day and age. He gives examples of how things are unfolding in regards to the cybersecurity and steps we can take to try and mitigate risk.

The basic infrastructure of the internet is essentially the same as it was back in the 90’s. A lot of physical infrastructure hasn’t really changed for most things since they were designed, however there has been layers of technology added. Michael uses the Hoover Dam as an example of old infrastructure with new technology layered on and asks, “Is it possible for the dam’s security to be hacked?” Mark says he always works from the viewpoint that absolutely everything can be broken into.

Michael moves on to ask about Hillary Clinton’s home server and what the scandal entailed. “Puzzling” is the word that Mark uses to describe the situation. She hired a company to build an email server and essentially put it physically in her basement but managed it remotely. None of this made sense or seemed well thought out. There are plenty of things you can do to protect infrastructure and it didn’t seem that they put any of those measures in place.

Michael and Mark end on discussing the idea that intelligence is all about deception. This is one of the biggest challenges in working in cyber security — figuring out what is true and what is false.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Cyber hacking
  • Hillary Clinton server scandal
  • Podesta hacking
  • Cyber security
  • “Model what you admire”
  • Partisanship in cyber security
  • Game theory

“We are very rapidly virtualizing the technology… This virtualization, these clouds, can actually be a catalyst for better security.” – Mark Weatherford

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Ep. 541: Vanessa Van Edwards Interview with Michael Covel

Vanessa Van Edwards
Vanessa Van Edwards

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My guest today is Vanessa Van Edwards, author of Captivate. Vanessa jokes that she is a recovering awkward person and learned in college that she could apply systems thinking to people skills. Once she started making formulas around communicating with others, she found there was more people like her.

“Treat others how you would want to be treated” is the golden rule. However, that rule should be changed to, “Treat others how they would want to be treated.” We think we know how others feel but we actually have very different ways of viewing the world and how we respond. Most are far better at intuition and snap judgment if they let their bodies do the work. Vanessa gives examples of our bodies sensing intuitively that something is wrong, exciting, etc. Our heart starts to pound, our palms start to sweat, and you may start blushing when your nervous. Your body also sweats differently when you are nervous or fearful rather than sweating from a workout.

What does it mean to “Work a room?” Being a social butterfly at events meant nothing to her because she was not the most outgoing person to begin with. She ended up engaging in countless meaningless conversations that went nowhere. This prompted her to do a study on what it actually meant to work a room and what the best people do to connect and network. She found most make their first impression before they even open their mouth and that we can spark dopamine with good conversation. How do you leave typical social conversation scripts (i.e. “What do you do?” “How are you doing?” “Where are you from?”) and have meaningful talks? This is how she came up with the idea of “conversational sparks.”

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Bringing the unconscious to the conscious
  • Confidence and lack of confidence
  • Introverts, extroverts and ambiverts
  • First impressions
  • Conversational spark
  • What makes a great presentation

“Expecting greatness creates greatness.” – Vanessa Van Edwards

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Ep. 539: Susan Peirce Thompson Interview with Michael Covel

Susan Peirce Thompson
Susan Peirce Thompson

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Susan Peirce Thompson is author of “Bright Line Eating.” This is a podcast all about “aha” moments. Most have no understanding of how their bodies take in, and absorb food. Susan’s BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) is to make sure that all those who want to put forth the effort of losing weight and keeping it off have a road map.

Susan had trouble losing weight starting at age 12. She found early on that the only thing that worked for her was using drugs, specifically crystal meth. During her 20’s she was able to get off the hard drugs, but then became addicted to nicotine, sex, flour, and sugar. The turning point for her was when she decided to do a bikini body 12 week challenge with her husband. They were suppose to work out 6 days a week and eat 6 times a day. Her husband did great on the program, Susan did not. She wasn’t able to keep with the eating schedule.

She ended up running into an old friend that told her about a different way of eating. Her friend gave her the cliff notes version of a no flour or sugar diet—combined with weighing your food. Susan ended up quitting the bikini challenge and started down this new path of eating. She began losing weight instantly. This lead to her going back and reverse engineering why the program worked. She started Bright line eating in 2014 and started doing a scientific study on the results of the participants.

80% of food sold in the super market has added sugar. 60% of one year olds are fed sugar every day. Susan explains why it is so hard to have the brain let go of the need for sugar. The dopamine release in sugar is the same type of dopamine release that occurs when using drugs or having sex. Doughnuts and pornography give a dopamine release that is larger than the body is trained for. What happens over time is your need for stimulation rises. There is a need to keep it sustained.

What is the solution? You need to automate your eating just like brushing your teeth is automated. There is no impulse control, just automatic. There needs to be no choosing involved. 80% execution of this program is so much harder than going 100% all in. It’s a system.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • BHAG
  • Sugar is an addiction
  • How to handle withdrawal from sugar
  • Drinking calories vs. eating calories
  • The radish study
  • Willpower is a finite resource
  • Regulating task performance

“Hunger is not satisfied by eating.” – Susan Peirce Thompson

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