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Ep. 606: Jeff Bezos Is a Trend Follower with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Jeff Bezos Trend Follower
Jeff Bezos Trend Follower

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Michael throws Jeff Bezos, Amazon and trend following into a giant melting pot. Jeff Bezos is a trend following trader – along with venture capitalists, Hollywood, the MIT black jack team, Warren Buffett (to some degree, yes), and many more.

Michael notes an excerpt from a document written in 1983, gleaning wisdom from Richard Dennis and Bill Eckhardt. Not relevant today? Think again. Richard Dennis makes it clear in the document that you never know where the next home run is coming from – missing a big payout is just as bad as taking a loss. Are you guilty of forgetting about big opportunity when trading? Do you focus too much on your downside? Most unfortunately get fixated on the downside and ignore the positive unknown.

Michael also notes an article written by Li Jiang titled, “What I Learned From Reading Every Amazon Shareholders Letter.” Li lists key lessons he has pulled from shareholder letters: type I and type II decisions, end each day of business like it is the first day, always operate like a hungry upstart, only the paranoid survive, make small bets because you can’t predict anything, move fast and break things, and if you are offered a seat on a rocketship – don’t ask which seat, just get on. Jeff Bezos’ words dovetail seamlessly with trend following philosophy. Thinking outside the box is essential to making great things can happen.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Jeff Bezos
  • Amazon
  • Type 1 errors/decisions
  • Type 2 errors/decisions
  • Sunk cost
  • Opportunity cost
  • Prediction
  • Trend following is dead?

“You never really know which market is going to be the one that is the big payoff.” – Richard Dennis

“If you are offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask which seat, just get on.” – Jeff Bezos

Mentions & Resources:

Listen to this episode:

Recreating the Turtle Experiement in the Information Age

A recent interchange:

Listener: As you know most new Macs don’t have DVD drives. Do you have a download to buy Broke?

Covel: It’s on Amazon and iTunes.

Listener: Thanks. And how about the DVD you send to people who sign up for your newsletter?

Covel: Here.

Listener: Thank you.

A few days later the same listener writes:

Listener: Michael, one of the best trades I make is listening to your podcast at night instead of going out to bars with my friends that don’t understand the value of time. I’ve had email conversations with Jerry Parker, [name] and a response from Salem Abraham. Wondering if you have any suggestions on how I may make a trade with them to take me under their wing and teach me as Richard Dennis taught Jerry and other Turtles? At 26-years old I don’t have as much to offer a billionaire as the value they’d be adding to my life and future income [is far greater].

Covel: No secrets on meeting people. Do read [Seth] Godin book, “Linchpin“. But you need to think carefully about the time needed to become an employee versus just being the boss from the beginning. The Turtle experiment will never be repeated as it was.

Listener: I’ll order it now. I’ve always been my own boss. I don’t want to work for them, I want to be mentored by them. But I can’t ask for value without offering them value. You know them. What could I offer them in return for mentorship? Never say never. You wouldn’t be where you are if you believed in never. Doesn’t mean we cant orchestrate a different version of the experiment.

Covel: DIY. The time wasted chasing the boss, or mentor, can be great. Much of the information and insights and mentoring you want is in front of you. But you want something else–so you don’t see it.

Listener: Your podcast is nothing but people who believed in themselves and didn’t listen to others when they said they couldn’t do something, including yourself. Really surprised you are so quick to discourage me from seeking mentorship. I know the way the experiment was done is extraordinary and rare. Doesn’t mean we can’t figure something out that could persuade Jerry or Salem or at least intrigue them.

Covel: You are not the only one to contact all these great traders in the day of the information age. They only have so much time. Best advice: DIY.

The Trend Following Questions to Answer

Now, let’s get practical. Answer the following five questions, and you have a trend following trading system:

1. What market do you buy or sell at any time?
2. How much of a market do you buy or sell at any time?
3. When do you buy or sell a market?
4. When do you get out of a losing position?
5. When do you get out of a winning position?

Said another way (Bill Eckhardt inspired):

1. What is the state of the market?
2. What is the volatility of the market?
3. What is the equity being traded?
4. What is the system or the trading orientation?
5. What is the risk aversion of the trader or client?

You want to be black or white with this. You do not want gray. If you can accept that mentality, you have got it.

William Eckhardt: Limit Portfolio Risk!

willaim eckhardt

Bill Eckhardt, the systems trading pro and former partner of Rich Dennis, once offered:

“…many prospective clients have asked me what’s the most I’ll lose on one trade. I can look up these statistics, but this is not something I would ordinarily pay any attention to. It doesn’t matter how little you lose on an individual trade, but how much you might lose on your whole portfolio. You’re not going to keep a ship afloat just by making sure the leaks are small. The important thing is to limit portfolio risk, the trades will take care of themselves.”

Eckhardt may have lost the bet with Dennis over the Turtles, but it was his hands on instruction that was critical to the Turtles’ development. How do I know? Almost all of the Turtles I talked to were quick to credit Eckhardt. It should also be noted that Eckhardt, not Dennis, has the 15+ year continuous perfomance record going back to the early nineties!

Much more on Eckhardt is in my book. Find out more about Eckhardt in the turtle trading system pdf.

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