Ep. 579: Mihir Desai Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Mihir Desai
Mihir Desai

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Mihir Desai is author of “The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return.” Mihir is currently the Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance at Harvard Business School and a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

He wrote his new book with two goals in mind: 1. Demystifying finance and 2. Have people look at finance in a more inspirational way. After each financial bubble bursts, the public repeatedly retreats to stereotypical ideas of finance. Mihir doesn’t want to wait for a generational shift to take place for finance to be looked at in a positive light. Financial literacy has gone by the way side in schools. How do you get children to think about basic risk taking? How do you think about protecting yourself? How do you buy insurance? How do you pool your money as a family? He hopes his book may help change some views and enlighten.

Mihir explains why diversification isn’t important just in the markets, it is important to diversify in all aspects of life. As an athlete you should workout all your muscles not just pinpoint one area. Or if you are looking at your health, you should look at all aspects of your health, not just what you are eating or how you are sleeping. Broaden your outlook and diversify your time and energy accordingly.

What is Agency theory? If you give someone money to invest, why do you get the money back? Arguably this is the biggest problem in modern finance. 150 years ago most people were self employed. Nowadays we appoint people as our “agents”. We have a system where we give money to people we don’t know and expect them to take care of it. Michael and Mihir end the conversation talking about people finding their path and true happiness in life rather than doing what their parents or society has told them to do.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Reputation of finance
  • Diversification
  • Risk management
  • Black-Scholes model
  • Behavioral phenomena
  • The magic of leverage
  • The asshole theory of finance
  • Agency theory

“Luck is a dominant force in your outcome. That is lost on a lot of people in finance.” – Mihir Desai

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Ep. 577: Art Collins Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

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Art Collins is author of “Beating the Financial Futures Market: Combining Small Biases Into Powerful Money Making Strategies”, “When Supertraders Meet Kryptonite”, “Market Rap: The Odyssey of a Still-Struggling Commodity Trader” and “Market Beaters.” He has been trading systematically for the past 30 years.

How was Art Collins able to get Richard Dennis, Bill Dunn, Bob Pardo, Mike Dever and Larry Williams (to name a few) to talk? He made the interviews more like a partnership, than an interview. He made an impressive name for himself which led to positive word of mouth spreading.

What does robustness mean to Art? He uses four rules for prudent testing: 1. Don’t settle on your best result if it is a “diamond in the rough”. 2. Strategies should test well in various markets, particularly similar ones. 3. You don’t want your results to be bunched up in limited time frames. 4. Stay focused on testing concepts you understand in the markets.

Throughout the years Art wasn’t only focused on trading markets. He also studied how to beat the blackjack table and how to skew the odds in his favor when betting on sports. Trading football lines, and trading the price of stocks – what’s the difference? There isn’t much of a difference when you take a technical and systematic approach to them. It’s about keeping emotions out of it. He never wanted to be a cowboy trader or thought of as a “genius”, he just wanted his systems to work. Michael and Art spend the rest of this episode diving into card counting, mechanical systems, gambling on football, data mining and the fools errand of making $1,000 a day.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Systems trading
  • Richard Dennis
  • Card Counting
  • Mechanical systems
  • Robustness
  • Data mining

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Ep. 576: Political Bulls with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Political Bulls
Political Bulls

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Michael reads an article he recently wrote for The Observer. He weaves in commentary throughout and speaks to the gross misuse of political power. Michael portrays politicians and the D.C. culture as a dog and pony show.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Parliament of Whores
  • Bill Clinton presidency
  • Political dog and pony show
  • 2000 stock crash

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Ep. 575: Tyler Cowen Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Tyler Cowen
Tyler Cowen

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Tyler Cowen is author of “The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream.” Tyler first noticed a problem in America when he began traveling after the financial crisis and saw how “comfortable” life had become for many Americans. People were not taking risks anymore and when risk is taken away, what is left?

There is no way to deliver upward mobility in a society once risk taking, innovation and a sense of urgency has diminished. Americans seemingly have lost the ability to envision a future different than the reality in front of them. Innovation is suffering, travel is disappearing, and people are changing jobs much less than ever before. Tyler describes this shift in mentality as people losing their sense of restlessness and change. There is no feeling of opportunity costs.

Why is this happening? How can American’s not imagine something better? American lives have become safe and comfortable — risk is the only factor that can help transition Americans away from their own complacency. Unfortunately, it won’t happen with people pushing for it, it will have to hit them. We are investing less in science, have obvious issues with cyber vulnerability and infrastructure is not advancing. American culture is lacking and nothing is getting better. Why have people stopped creating? Will there be a great reset in government and on Wall Street? These questions and more are answered throughout the podcast.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Complacency
  • Elon Musk
  • Innovators
  • The millennial generation
  • Democracy as a medium
  • American culture on the decline
  • Illegal and legal drug use
  • Online matching from dating to shopping goods
  • Lifting people out of poverty
  • Jack Ma

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Ep. 573: Jon Gordon Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following

Jon Gordon
Jon Gordon

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Jon Gordon is an author and speaker on leadership, culture, sales, and teamwork. He has worked with numerous athletic organizations, academic institutions, and corporations. His latest book is “The Power of Positive Leadership.” He teaches people how to focus on weeding out the negative and not letting that energy poison the team.

Jon describes himself as a once fearful, negative and stressed out 31-year old. What changed all of that? His wife gave him the ultimatum: Change your life or I am leaving you. He had an “Aha” moment that gave him the revelation he was meant to write and speak. However, Jon knew he needed to work on himself first, so he started taking steps to better himself. He began by going on walks of gratitude and created a “positive tip of the week” newsletter. This lead to him creating a website, doing about 80 free talks to get started, and ultimately just going for it as an entrepreneur. Jon describes impacting others as being the greatest feeling in the world.

“The Power of Positive Leadership” and Jon’s overall message is about how to root out the negative and focus on the positive. One negative person can bring an entire team down. He calls these people “negative vampires” and says they must be addressed, called out, and kicked off the bus. Building positive leaders fosters building a positive team. You get people on your bus by the way you lead. It can’t be an ultimatum—“Be positive or your are out of here!”

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Leadership skills
  • Energy vampires
  • Negativity is contagious
  • Grit is the biggest predictor of success
  • Overcoming challenges
  • Pushing forward through adversity

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Ep: 571: Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following

Claude Shannon Bio
Claude Shannon Bio

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Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman are authors of “Rome’s Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar” and their newest book is “A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age.” Jimmy and Rob highlight aspects of their new book by detailing who Claude Shannon is and why he is so fundamental for our everyday lives.

Claude Shannon made the entire digital age possible. As Jimmy and Rob said, “He didn’t just think about things, he thought through things.” What made Shannon so unique? He was extremely curious about information and wanted to know about all aspects of it. He brought a lot of insights into a subject that seemingly would come from left field. Shannon was also brilliant at transmitting information and breaking the complex into the simplistic. He allowed himself to move into different fields and go wherever his mind wanted to take him but never wasting his time on an unworthy subject. He could expertly sort through what was worth working on and what was a waste of time.

How do we talk about information? How are we going to quantify information? Where did Shannon live and how did he live? Jimmy and Rob not only dug through scholarly journals to find out how Shannon thought, they also talked to the Shannon family and got to learn who he was as a father, husband and friend. When people think of Shannon’s level of genius, most think he must have short comings in his social life. Shannon did not. His colleagues, family and friends new him as a guy that barbecued, went running, and did his unreal math projects.

Another fascinating trait Shannon had was his ability to not let critics get to him. He was smart enough to know that when he did projects and knew he was right, he didn’t need to pay any attention to the critics. He had confidence that came from his kind of intellectualism. He worked on the information theory over the course of 10 years while working on other projects. By the time he had published it, he already new he was right and had moved onto his next endeavor before the critics could get to him. Jimmy, Rob and Michael end the podcast discussing how Jimmy and Rob came to write this book together and what their collaboration process was.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Information theory
  • Turning complex into simplicity
  • Complexity is the enemy
  • Bell Labs
  • How to deal with freedom in the work space
  • Short-term-ism in our economy
  • Dealing with critics and competitors

“It’s not about talking louder, its about talking smarter.” – Jimi Soni and Rob Goodman

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Ep 569: Andrew Lo Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following

Andrew Lo
Andrew Lo

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Andrew Lo is author of “Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought.” He is also the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor of Finance at MIT and the chairman and chief investment strategist of the AlphaSimplex Group.

Andrew was taught from the beginning of his career that the efficient market hypothesis was gospel truth. It was the end-all-be-all. However, he first found a problem with the efficient market hypothesis just after graduating college. He did a test on the “random walk hypothesis” and related his findings from that hypothesis to the markets. He then came to find that his results proved the efficient market hypothesis wrong. Was there pushback during the early stages of talking about EMT being wrong? Absolutely. Andrew was one of the strongest that pushed back primarily because it went against everything he previously knew to be true.

Andrew talks about another study he did with one of his MIT classes in 2004. He looked at hedge funds around that time and through data he proved that they were headed for trouble. They were able to foresee a small piece of the 2008 crash. Michael and Andrew end the podcast talking about Andrew’s new book and the role that the environment is playing in adaptive markets. When studying a species, what should be asked is, “Is it the species that is complex, or is it the environment that is complex and the species is just adapting to it?” Many species have figured out how to live in harsh environments in very different ways. In the same light, there are many different ways that people can trade the market and be successful.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Efficient market hypothesis
  • Adaptive markets hypothesis
  • The random walk hypothesis
  • Crowded trade phenomenon
  • 2008 meltdown
  • Paul Samuelson
  • Commodities Corporation

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