Can I Pick Your Brain Michael Covel?

A great piece of third party writing that puts into perspective the value our firm puts on my work and research:

“I love giving advice. I write blogs, articles and a newsletter. I tweet, Facebook and share nuggets of advice almost daily. So what is it in all of that that would make anyone think they can still have the right to ‘pick my brain’? I can’t tell you how flattering it is to be approached by representatives from major companies seeking my wisdom and advice. It shows they are listening and like what I have to say. But often I find the road ends when they are just on a fact-finding mission. That mission is to pick my brain to gather as much free intelligence and knowledge they need to make their jobs easier. Not going to happen, sorry. My brain costs money to maintain. There’s training, reading, networking, attending conferences and mastering my skills that all cost me money. I have to protect my investment. How fair is it to me to give away all the knowledge I have acquired that I use to make my living? Now, don’t get offended. If you do, maybe you deserve to be offended because you’re one of those aforementioned brain pickers. With the Internet being so widely available loaded with free information, people automatically assume that you too have to provide information for free. Go ahead and read the free stuff. But when you still find yourself lacking answers, then apparently the free stuff doesn’t work. You can’t come to a professional and ask them to work for free. In essence, that is what you’re doing when you ask to pick someone’s brain. If you’re like (how I used to be) you’ve given away tons of valuable information. I never once minded helping people out. It’s the ones who keep coming back for more freebies and those who take my ideas, implement them, find success, then never offer to repay me for my time. I charge my paying students very good money for my expertise and results. The most prevalent question I get is how do you draw the line? Deciding the point where you begin to charge is tough, especially if you’re just starting out. But your knowledge has value. You’ve invested time and money into learning your craft and it’s not fair for people to expect you to give it away for free. Even friends need to understand there are boundaries. For example, I will no longer advise my friends or family for free. I have businesses to run, employees to pay, mortgage to pay, office rent to pay, etc. I’ve told this to many who have promptly replied, ‘Me too, you know I don’t have much money.’ So what. That means you either have to delay your plans or come up with the money to fund your dreams. Period.”

My world is designed to change you:

• Have investors burn buy and hold at the stake.
• Properly classify Warren Buffett as not you. You can’t do what he does.
• Acknowledge the black swan risks associated with centrally planned policy.
Adopt trend following strategies and philosophies as a solution for up, down and surprise markets.