Ep. 596: Rob Arnott Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Rob Arnott
Rob Arnott

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Rob Arnott is an entrepreneur, author, investor, and writer. He serves as Chairman and CEO of Research Affiliates LLC. advising on over $160 billion dollars in institutional investment assets. Rob is one of the world’s preeminent voices on investment strategy.

What was Rob like as a young man? At age 16 he was extremely mathematically inclined with an avid interest in both the stock market and astronomy. He wasn’t sure which path he wanted, but he knew his mathematical skills were good enough for a top tier job in finance, but not in astronomy. So he took his math skills and entered the world of finance.

Rob has been with quantitative investing since its inception in the 70’s. With the rise in computer capabilities, quant traders were able to start to make a name for themselves in the trading community. What is one of the biggest failings of the quant community? Traders have fallen into a trap of making systems so complex that the average investor can no longer understand them. He is a big fan of keeping things simple.

What is one rule Rob always sticks by? If you have an idea you think is a good, always try. There will be others that came before you, but that doesn’t mean your idea won’t be just as successful or more successful. However, if you never try, you will never know. When it comes to investing what is another rule? Diversification is key.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • An addiction to complexity
  • Fundamental indexing
  • Momentum trading
  • How to use valuation
  • Benchmarks
  • Diversification
  • Modern finance
  • Weighting your portfolio

“I think the quant community has a lot of issues. Some of them relate to an addiction to complexity and some of it relates to a willingness to obfuscate. If you make your ideas complex enough so that nobody can understand it, that creates a seduction attraction to some, but people shouldn’t buy something they don’t understand.” – Rob Arnott

“We are in a business where you win by making fewer errors.” – Rob Arnott

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Ep. 595: Jerry Parker Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Jerry Parker
Jerry Parker

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Jerry Parker was one of the original TurtleTraders trained by Richard Dennis. He has had unbelievable success over his four decade career. Jerry has a straightforward way of breaking down how trend following works.

Trend following has typical highs and lows. During the lows, there will always be people pronouncing it dead. Trend following systems are built to protect capital by using diversification and built in stop-losses to counter down periods. Said another way, there is “crash protection” built into a robust trend following strategy. On the flip side, trend following systems are built to exploit the market when it is trending up.

How easy is it to get into different markets with a trend following strategy? The great thing about systematic trading is you become an instant expert in any market. As long as you have the data, you can jump right in and trade. When you are looking at price alone, you come to find that stocks are all the same – Tesla and Coffee are traded identically.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when trading a trend following system? Having the proper leverage is key. No system is immune to risk of ruin. Sometimes you need to adjust your leverage, reduce your risk, and do whatever you can to stay in the game. Trend following, at it’s core, is a boring strategy. It is simple and that is why it works. Choose an algorithm and from there you can choose how simple you want to make your system. But everything starts with an algorithm.

Are there any resources Jerry recommends? Cliff Asness is a great resource. He is a smart, funny, and humble person that teaches valuable information to anyone that wants to listen. After all, the best way to gain knowledge is to probe the minds of successful people and learn everything you can from them.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Diversification
  • Becoming an expert in all markets
  • Risk aversion
  • Why the idea of “simple” works
  • Fall targeting
  • Buying markets on the cheap
  • Learning from experts

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Ep. 594: The Fundamentals Never End with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

New Trend Following
New Trend Following

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Having the right fundamental information will never guarantee success. Ray Dalio, one of the biggest traders on Wall Street says he trades off of fully automated fundamentals. If this is true what fundamentals does he choose to automate? In the same head space Larry Tentarelli forwarded Michael a tweet recently. It was a tweet from an executive associated with a big USA trading firm. This executive was asked by a business student, “What does a typical week look like for you?” His list went like this [Michael digs in]… How much time is being wasted?

If consuming that information isn’t needed then what do you use to trade? One piece of information – price. You take the price and look at the trend. Things in motion tend to stay in motion. Forming rules that you can stick to when the big trends come is key to anyone’s trading success.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Data mining
  • Managing risk based on fundamental information
  • Weekly routines
  • Cocktail party banter
  • Desert island trading
  • Fundamental trading
  • Thinking properly

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Ep. 593: Scott Galloway Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Scott Galloway
Scott Galloway

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Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University Stern School of Business teaching brand strategy and digital marketing. He has started nine firms and his weekly YouTube series has generated millions of views. Scott is also author of “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.”

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are arguably the most influential entities in the world. These companies have deconstructed who humans are as a species and reassembled who humans are, in the form of for-profit companies. They have scaled up so fast and become so successful by understanding humans most common questions and producing answers instantly. Scott breaks down the specific reasons each of these companies have individually thrived: Google = God, Facebook = Love, Amazon = Consumption, and Apple = Sex.

Mediocre and cheap products have been pushed in years past. However, people have new tools allowing them to practice due diligence and find what product is best for them personally. A better product is the best and only way to brand in today’s marketplace. With customer reviews built into Google and Amazon, they have changed the entire course of how people buy.

These four companies have done a lot of good, but have they become so big that they have become bad for society? In some ways, they are leveraging their power to unhealthy heights. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google yield more money and more power than some foreign governments. This has allowed them certain privileges such as tax avoidance and immunity to government oversight. What is another negative? Amazon has literally sucked the oxygen out of other top companies such as Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Sears. Facebook and Google have taken over the digital marketing world. If you are not working with Facebook or Google, then you are marketing with newspapers or magazine — rapidly declining markets. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are not only in zero sum markets, they are creating zero competitors.

What are some great leadership qualities from these top companies? Jeff Bezos, for example, has always kept a long term outlook on consumption rather than short-term. He also has combined fast and free service. Tim Cook has tripled the value of Apple. Apple is the first company in history to have great quality and spend extremely low on production. Facebook has shown tremendous agility in their management. Michael and Scott finish the conversation talking government, and how these companies yield their power in the political arena.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook
  • Eco system of Silicon Valley
  • Zero sum nature of Amazon
  • Jeff Bezos
  • Tim Cook
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Political views of Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook
  • Strong leadership qualities
  • Monopolies

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Ep. 591: Jeffrey Tucker Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Jeffrey Tucker
Jeffrey Tucker

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Jeffrey Tucker is an American economics writer of the Austrian School, an advocate of anarcho-capitalism and Bitcoin, and has authored seven books. Jeffrey’s new book, coming out September 2017, is titled “Right Wing Collectivism: The Other Threat to Liberty.”

Michael and Jeffrey start the conversation talking information. Regimes come and go, but information we share with one another cuts through governments. Interactions with others and the tools we use to spread information are what shapes history, rather than governments trying to put their spin on it. Government officials are not visionaries, they do not define the world, they do not create history. They spend their term in office gearing up to get elected for their next term in office. The more responsibility taken out of government’s hands the better. This leads us to Bitcoin…

Why is Bitcoin so important? Bitcoin represents freedom. It’s an international currency, trades the same globally and has increased in value over time. Jeffery has been studying monetary theory since he was an undergraduate. He wrote his thesis on the gold standard and assumed he had the monetary system figured out. So naturally, when Bitcoin came out, he dismissed the idea. After a few years went by, he was forced to acknowledge the advancement of crypto currency. He now looks at markets far differently than he did in the first part of his career. He knows that the markets know much more than any person could ever understand.

Jeffrey switches the conversation to another passionate subject for him, child labor laws. Youth have bought into the idea of needing a college degree to get the right job. Parents see pushing higher education on their children as a way of guaranteeing their children’s success. Unfortunately, degrees are not necessary in today’s age. Youth unemployment and child labor is a major leading factor to issues later in life. Many kids never have their first job until after they graduate from college and every year thousands of college students graduate still dependent on their parents.

Michael and Jeffrey finish up the podcast discussing corporate taxes and building digital walls. The American economy would experience spectacular gains if corporate taxes were slashed. Cutting personal income tax would be nice, however corporate income taxes being cut is the first phase of reform. Our economy also is being hurt by slowing down the flow of information and trying to block it. Is the world going in the direction of building digital walls? Are governments slowing down growth potential by blocking information? Absolutely.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Liberty
  • Friedrich Hayek
  • Crypto currency
  • Ledger technology
  • Block chains
  • Excessive waves of hysteria
  • College debt
  • Tax laws
  • Trump administration
  • Nation state
  • Building blocks for a civilized society

“Government doesn’t really try anymore, and that is a good thing.” – Jeffrey Tucker

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Ep. 587: Robert Sutton Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Robert Sutton
Robert Sutton

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Robert Sutton is Professor of Management science at the Stanford Engineering School and researcher in the field of Evidence-based management. Sutton is also the best-selling author of “The No Asshole Rule.” What does it mean to live in a “no asshole environment”? It means to weed out the people who demean and make you and others feel horrible. He gives the science and craft behind how to deal with assholes, how to prune these people from your life and get out of negative situations.

But the question ever since that book has been:

“Help, I’m dealing with an asshole! What can I do?”

Sutton has heard that question asked in a thousand different ways. He answers the question in “The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt”. It shifts focus from building civilized workplaces to providing relief for anybody who feels plagued and pushed around by assholes.

The Asshole Survival Guide delivers a cogent and methodical game plan. Sutton starts with diagnosis—what kind of asshole problem, exactly, are you dealing with? From there, he provides field-tested, evidence-based, and sometimes surprising strategies for dealing with assholes—avoiding them, outwitting them, disarming them, sending them packing, and developing protective psychological armor.

Ultimately, this survival guide is about developing an outlook and personal plan that will help you preserve the sanity in your work life, and will prevent all those perfectly good days from being ruined by some jerk.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • The no asshole rule
  • The role of assholes in entrepreneurship
  • Steve Jobs
  • Demeaned and de-energized
  • Self-awareness
  • Depression in relation to to workplace
  • Weeding out nasty people from your life
  • The asshole tax
  • Avoiding “the crazy”

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Ep. 586: Jason Calacanis Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Jason Calacanis
Jason Calacanis

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Jason Calacanis is a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, angel investor, author, blogger and has years of perspective when it comes to investing in start ups. His new book is “Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups–Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000”. Even if you never plan on becoming an angel investor, his book is a great look at how the modern economy works.

Technology is accelerating at an ever-increasing rate and Jason argues that there are approximately 30 million jobs that will disappear in upcoming years due to advancements in technology. He wrote his book to try and help people step away from the usual way of thinking and look at where the world is moving. For example, the cheapest car you could buy today is far and above more sophisticated than the most expensive car you could have bought 20 years ago. When Jason evaluates a company, he looks at a couple things: What is in the best interest of society? And what is the best technology that we can use to get there?

What is Silicon Valley like through the eyes of someone living and breathing it? Jason talks about Silicon Valley as the center of the world. There is an infectious need to look for the next $100 billion dollar idea rather than the next million dollar idea. It’s also very liberal, political and quirky. It is where the largest amount of high power tech companies derive from.

What is the biggest factor in becoming a successful angel investor? Success in angel investing comes down to portfolio diversification. You need to cast a wide net, knowing you are going to have a lot of loser companies. There are massive implied odds. The upside to finding a winning company far exceeds any amount of losses you may incur. Michael relates this to the Babe Ruth effect and Jason puts his own spin on it, “Finding a winning company is more like the equivalent of a grand slam scoring 100 runs rather than just four.”

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Creating a global footprint
  • Who is able to export their ideas around the world
  • Silicon Valley
  • Chinese border controls
  • Unicorn companies
  • Portfolio diversification
  • Risk aversion

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