Larry David is one guy who is totally OK with the unexpected. He wrote and starred in the hit show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. He wanted total control of writing the show and didn’t want HBO looking over his shoulder. However, the show has no script. The actors are comfortable going into the unknown and winging it. So much of our modern world is pre-packaged and scripted down to the last syllable. Larry David knows that life is all about the surprise, and people value that surprise factor.
What do these examples have in common with the stock market? Markets are unpredictable. Yes, it is necessary to have a game plan but with constant unexpected changes, you need to know what to do when things deviate from the plan. Chaos exists, there is no getting around it. To be successful in the game you must look past the chaos and know how to profit from it.
Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel has a conversation with Joey Yap, Feng Shui expert, founder of the Mastery Academy of Chinese Metaphysics and self-made entrepreneurial millionaire. Feng Shui, as Joey explains it, is “about how your environment supports you”. Further digging into the subject, Joey and Michael examine the world as a network of positive and negative energies.
After explaining some of the core principles of Feng Shui, Joey discuss how the practice has been “bastardized” by the West. Westerners believe it’s the items themselves that project energy – resulting in an entire trinket industry that has developed – when nothing could be further from the truth. The items exist merely for the energy to flow around because, as Joey explains, flow is everything.
Joey then goes on to discuss the myriad ways in which the tenets of Feng Shui apply to the business world. Think of a bustling office as a closed environment of continually crossing positive and negative energies. Collectively, this energy is called the “corporate culture.” But each individual environment is governed by a dominant energy, and that energy is determined by the company leaders. And, as you’d expect, an overall positive energy flowing throughout an environment will always produce better results. Many of the core principles seen in behavioral economics, trend following and Zen shine through in this episode, but from another perspective.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
Experts: get close to them and learn
You can’t predict the future, you can only see patterns
If you don’t like your destiny, go the other direction
Change your environment, change your life
Corporate culture: an energy determined by leaders
You don’t have to invent – fix something
“There are two kinds of people. People who make things complex, and people who simplify.” – Joey Yap
This time on Trend Following Radio, Michael Covel talks with Paul Slovic. Paul is president of Decision Research and a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, and today he talks with Michael about the science behind risk perception.
To demonstrate how people tend to conflate actual risk with their perceptions of risk, Michael and Paul discuss a topic that’s always been a hot button issue in the public consciousness, nuclear power. In the early days of this industry, people were rightfully concerned with the possible mismanagement of such a potentially dangerous technology – concerns seemingly crystallized by the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. Similar concerns continue to be raised today, particularly in light of the Fukushima disaster of 2011. But as Paul explains, neither of these tragedies can completely outweigh the obvious benefits of nuclear power. It’s a case of risk perception to overcome the actual risk posed.
The conversation also focuses on the role of the media in influencing people’s decision-making processes. Why is it, you might ask, that the media spends so much more time pushing negative stories than positive ones? The answer, according to Paul, goes back to biology. It’s a survival mechanism in human beings that we’re affected far more by negative stimuli than positive stimuli. This makes sense when you consider the external dangers we’ve faced in our evolution. So today, we tend to harp on the bad things that happen while ignoring the good.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
The psychometric paradigm of risk perception
Balancing risk vs. reward
The concept of affect heuristics
How the media sways the public’s risk assessment
Fast vs. slow thinking
Risk in the context of decision making
“Bad is stronger than good. If something goes wrong in a system it decreases our trust in the management of that system more than when something goes right. Something goes right, it doesn’t really boost our trust and confidence. It’s the negative that outweighs the positive, and the negative is being conveyed to us much more frequently and forcefully through the media than the positive is.” – Paul Slovic
Michael, is the last black swan the next black swan? Please have an expert on your show to explain where are all those toxic assets (CDOs, collateral debt obligations, or mortgage backed securities) are now? They caused the crash (2008), so where are they? The Fed buys some every month apparently, but where the heck are they all and whose balance sheets are they on? Banks, taxpayer? What could they do to the economy now or in the future? Did they just disappear or get absolved somehow?