Ep. 694: Ken Kocienda Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Ken Kocienda
Ken Kocienda

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Ken Kocienda was a software engineer/designer at Apple for over fifteen years and is now the author of “Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs.” After being introduced to the internet in 1994 he taught himself computer programming and made his way through a succession of dot-com-era startups, before landing a job at Apple in 2001. He worked on software teams responsible for creating the Safari web browser, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

Ken entered college with the mindset of becoming a history professor or even a photographer. He had various interests in college, however none of them were in the technology sphere. He moved to Japan after college for a few years and upon moving back to the United States, he was introduced to the internet for the first time and instantly intrigued by it.

Ken interviewed for Apple in spring of 2001 before the iPod had been released–Apple was still relying on the Mac as their main revenue stream at the time. Ken had loved Apple products since he saw his first Mac in 1984 so when he was hired on at Apple it was surreal. His first job was to make Apple a web browser of its own – what we all know as Safari today. Later, in 2004, he joined the team to make the software for the iPhone’s touchscreen operating system, among other products.

Inspiration, collaboration, craft, diligence, decisiveness, taste and empathy are seven attributes Ken uses to describe how Apple became the success story they are today. Steve Jobs and Apple chased perfection and demanded nothing short of it.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Pyramid of demos
  • Steve Jobs thought process
  • Apple company philosophy
  • Completely present in the moment
  • Reality distortion field
  • Creative selection
  • Green Bay Packers and Vince Lombardi

Mentions & Resources:

Ep. 693: Terence Tse Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Terence Tse
Terence Tse

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Terence C.M. Tse is an educator, speaker, advisor and commentator. He is a co-founder of Nexus FrontierTech and co-author of “Understanding How the Future Unfolds: Using Drive to Harness the Power of Today’s Mega Trends.” His mantra is “You can’t predict the future, but you can be ready with a plan.”

Terence’s book focuses on a term he calls “Presentcasting.” He does not promote forecasting but rather teaches people to look at what’s in front of them and see how things are unfolding in current time. He has created the acronym DRIVE – defining 5 interrelated mega trends: demographic and social changes, resource scarcity, inequalities, volatility, complexity and scale and enterprising dynamics. These are the five directions Terence points clients in when they start thinking about improving their lives.

What is one way to step outside the box and get a better look at trends unfolding? Travel. Traveling is crucial to seeing the speed in development and change happening around the world. Desire to climb the economic ladder is not exclusive to one culture or another. Everyone is looking for the same economic wealth. Most cultures promote the desire to get a college degree, however this leaves young adults lacking the ability to take risks. The education system trains students to study, take exams well and work in certain defined jobs. However, in today’s world learning how to deal with uncertainty, have an entrepreneurship mindset, and take a little risk are the skills that will help young adults get ahead an prosper.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Preparing of uncertainty
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Economics abroad
  • New technology
  • Rise of the internet
  • Disappearance of white collar jobs
  • Student loans

Mentions & Resources:

“[Ed Seykota] said that the trend following mindset can change your life. I totally agree…”

Do people really buy that many books? Yes!
Do people really buy that many books? Yes!

Feedback in:


Been listening to you for maybe 5 years now, sorry I don’t review more, I’ll try. I’m a financial advisor and a solid believer in trend following. After reading TurtleTrader I traded personally using options, that was June 2014, profited well on short oil. Lucked out starting then. So my investment in you and your work has returned handsomely.

In December 2015 I bought [product] and was determined to learn futures, six months later I started a simulated account, traded it for a year and a half. Went live this year. Things have gone well.

I know you like to get to the point. I guess because your work has helped me achieve my goals, I wanted to say thank you. In a recent podcast I think in an interview with Ed Seykota he said that the trend following mindset can change your life. I totally agree.

Applying the principals with/for my client portfolios is a challenge. In general, clients just think too short term. It’s not their fault, they have the TV telling them how to think, online access to their accounts daily, monthly statements, quarterly reports to a benchmark. We spaz them out because that is what everyone else would do.

Look forward to your future work!



George Mason Economists on Michael Covel’s Podcast


I have done my best to have some of George Mason University’s finest on my podcast:

Walter Williams: Episode 244 and Wikipedia

Tyler Cohen: Episode 575, Episode 255 and Wikipedia

Robin Hanson: Episode 236, Episode 461, Episode 615 and Wikipedia

Bryan Caplan: Episode 671 and Wikipedia

Daniel Klein: Episode 662 and Wikipedia

Alex Tabarrok: Episode 289 and Wikipedia

Peter Leeson: Episode 687 and Wikipedia

Nobel Prize Winner Vernon Smith: Episode 178 and Wikipedia

Vernon Smith
Vernon Smith
Walter Williams
Walter Williams

Note: Vernon Smith is not at Mason now, but was for a very long time. He did win his Nobel Prize while teaching there. He also appears in my film. Full disclosure? I did graduate from Mason and remain quite proud of the school’s immense success…in literally less than 30 years. Amazing!

Michael Covel’s Mind Food for Thought: September 9th Edition

Food for thought:


Ep. 691: Gregory Aldrete Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Gregory Aldrete
Gregory Aldrete

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Gregory Aldrete is a professor of history and humanistic studies at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, where he has been teaching since 1995. His emphasis is on rhetoric and oratory, floods in Rome, ancient Greek and Roman history, and daily life in the Roman world. What was life like in ancient Roman times? How did people do things in the ancient Roman Empire? These questions are what fascinates Gregory and keeps him moving forward in his research.

What relevance does ancient history have to us today? We are ever presently walking in the footsteps of those who came before us and until you understand the history of prior civilizations, you cannot fully understand who you are. It is the blunders and the achievements of our ancestors that have built up what we see today. There is not much that can be taken away from talking heads in the news and on Twitter, but much can be learned from the study of history.

How does Gregory describe a military blunder? To be a true blunder, the situation must have been avoidable. It could have or should have turned out a different way, but because of someone’s mistakes it didn’t. One of the biggest failures of leadership, which consequently leads to blunders, is overconfidence. Michael and Greg give examples of catastrophic blunders ranging from the Battle of the Little Big Horn to Napoleon and Hitler.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Butterfly effect
  • Overconfidence in leadership
  • Napoleon’s biggest blunder
  • Battle of the Little Big Horn
  • Hitler
  • D-Day
  • Technology and understanding its potential

Mentions & Resources: