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Around the World Entrepreneurism

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Hi Michael,

It seems much easier working full time from Asia but many pitfalls still exist. Let me know when you are in Bangkok next time. I can share many stories from the first visit in 1998 to working and living full time in Asia. Enjoying your podcasts. I bought Taylor’s book today look forward to reading it.

Best Fortunes,
[Name]

Thanks for the feedback.

I have worked for myself since Netscape IPO (geographic location irrelevant).

Pitfalls only exist for those that don’t properly call them opportunities!

Job Seekers: Read Seth Godin’s Linchpin

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Mr. Covel,

First let me just acknowledge I know you instructed me to do more than just email you regarding a research assistant job that requires relocation to Asia and I fully intend to pursue other contact avenues, but I wanted to put something down as a primer for you as I pursue you via phone, etc. I’m also aware that you mentioned this in a podcast from February of 2014, but I’m still so struck with the opportunity and your books that I had to write and hope a position of some kind is still available or something can be worked out between us if you feel I’m a fit.

My background: I’ve been a big fan of your work since reading The Little Book of Trading last summer. I came to find you from watching a [name] DVD of a seminar you spoke at and while I almost immediately dropped [other style], I pursued trend following education immediately. I looked into Ed Seykota’s trading tribe and you’re right. I felt like Yoda was talking at a level far beyond mere markets, but it was something David Harding said about having come up in the business by spending hours hand charting that set me to work drawing market after market and time frame after time frame. This has been a huge help. I’ve since read all of your books and the independent thinker in me is totally taken with the approach. I agree with your opinion about the future state of our workforce being arbitraged away by the internet and technology and I’m doing everything under my power to educate myself.

I would be completely exhilarated to work with you on this research project and also excited to relocate to Asia. I’ve spent the last three and a half years living in NYC, studying market s all day, hand charting and reading everything I can. Previous to this I worked in the entertainment business as I Creative Executive for a film director (hugely research intensive) as well as a writer. Then I got hooked on markets. I took the route with [firm name], spending a lot of money and again, trying to be a daytrader as I erroneously assumed this was the way to riches. I read all the standard books and tried method after method. I was hooked because I’ve always been an individualist and I wanted to carve out my future through my own sweat. I’m now finally cured of this daytrading fever, and the Managed Futures/Quant/Macro Funds are my model of ideal approach to trading, thanks to your work.

Incidentally, I’ve been looking often on over the last six months to find a way to relocate internationally and find something to do to support myself while studying markets, so the opportunity to work with the guy who has sat down with the best of the best and created his own ingenious niche in this business seems like fate. Do please consider me as a candidate, I’m hardworking, endlessly curious and ready for adventure. As I said, I will be pursuing you via phone and other avenues ASAP. Just for reference my cell phone is [#]. I look forward to talking.

Best regards,
[Name]

Thanks for your interest and the feedback.

Note: For everyone on the job pursuit path consider here.

Location, Location, Location … in Asia?

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Michael:

How are you doing? I am considering relocating my CTA [pro trend following trader] businesses to New Zealand. Who do you know that I could speak with in that part of the world about the potential of opening new clientele potential for my management products?

Any thoughts that you might have on this subject would be appreciated as well….

Thanks,
[Name]

I have not been to NZ and have zero contacts there. That’s 13 hrs from me [in Asia]! Wish I had better news. Guessing that Singapore would be a better fit for client business. Or at least larger and more easy for launch. Most every [manager] I speak to has little going on [in Asia] except the very large ones. Even those seem to not have a great lay of landscape. Overall Asia is about being on the ground then working out the hard questions [and details]. Very tough to plan it when your not in the middle of it. That’s my single biggest insight after three years [spending much time in Asia].

Mike,

That confirms everything that I know and have learned. Thanks for the quick response.

[Name]

Welcome.

Note: Some more insight (podcast).

Ep. 309: Mark Mobius Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Mark Mobius
Mark Mobius

Michael Covel speaks with Mark Mobius on today’s podcast. Mark Mobius, Ph.D., executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, joined Templeton in 1987. Currently, he directs the Templeton research team which is based in 18 global emerging markets offices, and manages emerging markets portfolios. Mobius oversees a team of more than 50 people managing some $45 billion. Covel and Mobius discuss key events that happened along Mobius’ development and moved him to find emerging markets as his passion; growth across Asia; the importance of being on the ground to see what’s happening in China to have a true picture of what’s going on; why what’s happening in China now is entirely different from the USSR in the early 1980’s; Mobius’ view on Vietnam, its economic and constructional changes; the two Koreas, and whether we’ll see one Korea eventually; the impact of both North and South Korea on their own; Mobius’ outlook on Myanmar; Singapore as an emerging market, and as it is compared to a city in the States; India, its growth, and how Mobius sees it moving forward; and the importance of travel, and how it changes everybody that goes out there and experiences it.

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Ep. 118: Trend Following in China with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Trend Following in China with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio
Trend Following in China with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

In his first podcast back from China Michael Covel talks about trend following in the context of The Middle Kingdom. Through five flights, four cities, untold hotel rooms, two speeches before crowds of 500 people, and over a dozen presentations in front of some of China’s largest hedge funds, Covel brings the wisdom gained through his excursion back to his podcast audience. First, he responds to a reader from China who heard about one of Covel’s presentations, and the criticism that Covel didn’t give the “secret sauce” to win at trend following. Richard Dennis was famous for saying that he could publish his rules in the newspaper and nobody would follow them, and Covel could explain exactly how to be a trend follower and it’d go over many heads. So it’s not surprising that in a crowd of 500 some would have their expectations of learning about some kind of “secret sauce” not met. Covel isn’t trying to impress that person, and they aren’t the type of person that would ever get it anyway. They’re looking for the shortcut– the angle, the quick fix. If you have Covel speak to your group, after fifteen years of his life spent researching the topic and putting together the best educational materials for new and experienced traders alike, if your first thought is “you didn’t give me the secret sauce”, it might not be for you. But Covel did reach a great many people, and he got a great deal of excellent feedback. He discusses the typical Chinese investor mindset and what got them to take a second look at trend following. Covel also waxes on the idea of trust in China, the parallels to America, and how the acceptance of “the new” in China might go down easier than elsewhere. Next, Covel adds some lessons to the overall trend following education. Covel’s journey shows that an outsider can get to be an insider. Unfortunately, one of the common questions posed to Covel by the media in China was to ask if any average person could succeed in trend following. Covel discusses how this is a defeatist question. If you consider yourself average: quit now. Suitability, however, is something different. Is trend following, or investing in general, suitable for everyone? If you don’t have the education, it might not be. Covel also gives some examples from his journey that help to put trend following in context. Covel notes a bit of censorship in his presentations via the Chinese regulatory committees. One slide was not allowed in his presentation. What was that slide? Covel explains. Also, Covel recently discussed Ray Dalio at Bridgewater, the biggest hedge fund on the planet. Covel reads a letter from a listener that gives anecdotal evidence about how Dalio could be a closet trend follower.

Listen to this episode:

Listen to my interview with Jed Rothstein creator of the China Hustle Film here.

Ep. 108: Distraction v. Focus with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Distraction v. Focus with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio
Distraction v. Focus with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Today on the podcast Covel gives us a peek into the presentations he’s been giving and the responses of audiences abroad. Since February 25th he has been in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). He’s given 23 presentations–anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes long–spread over 4 cities. Covel speaks to us today from Kuala Lumpur where he was only supposed to stay for two days. However, Covel was so taken by the city that he decided to stay for three or four weeks. Covel weighs in on the food, the culture, and the experiences surrounding his recent travels before getting into the kind of presentations he has been giving abroad and the investment style of the people to whom he has been speaking. Unsurprisingly, many of the largest fund managers in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur are unfamiliar with trend following; they have the a similar understanding of many in America and Europe. Most of the fund managers Covel sat down with were long-only, fundamental and value-based. Perhaps they used some predictive technical indicators on top, but that was it. Covel would go through the big picture differences between trend following and what his audience was doing. While most of these investors were unlikely to wholly adopt trend following, if you can bring a trend following strategy in-house that produces returns at a different point in time than your typical fundamental value returns–that’s extremely useful information. Covel also discussed behavioral finance aspects, the idea of the black swan, and outlier move issues. Ultimately, it’s about this scenario: you wake up tomorrow and you’re on a desert island. You’ve got nothing except the closing price of the 75 most liquid global markets (which somehow magically appear in the sand), and a phone to your broker to make the trades. You have nothing else–no Bloomberg, no Wall Street Journal, no CNBC. Can you look at that data–and only that data–over time, and figure out a way to make money? That’s the challenge. Can you find a positive mathematical edge in that stew of data from all those different markets? You don’t even need to know the names of the markets you’re trading. All you need are the prices. Can you find a positive mathematical edge in the great spirit of Ed Thorp and “Beat The Dealer”? That is the rallying cry of the trend following world–the desert island trading scenario. Even if someone elected not to make an allocation to a trend following firm (or did not want to trade as a trend follower themselves) Covel invited them to create a model portfolio. That way, you can at least know when trend following is doing well. That piece of information can be a useful piece of fundamental data for your fundamental trading shop. Some criticisms? The idea that Covel is not revealing the “secret sauce”, holding back, or not revealing the “new thing”. You have to ask yourself: Can you look at a trend following system? Test it? Look at professional trend following managers and see how they have performed? Compare it all? And believe in it? Or do you allow yourself to be distracted by other peoples’ comments? Distracted by society? Ultimately that might be the big picture issue that Covel is seeing in his journey. Distraction kills focus.

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