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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:

Should You Jump or Not? Some Good Thinking

Feedback in:

Hey Mike:

I’ve been trading on and off for about 20 years but I finally have created a fully back tested system that I’m really happy with. I’m thinking of becoming a full-time trader and quitting my job to be fully focused on getting consistently competent. As my system only works on daily price I only really need about 30 minutes a day to execute my scan and trade. I’m thinking of getting a part-time but I’m worried that this will take from my focus. Before I had my current job for the past year I was self employed in retail and hospitality for 15 years so I have an understanding of being an entrepreneur however I feel that having these businesses and trading at the same time is the reason I haven’t been able to get it right.

Would love your thoughts.


Asking if you should jump or not?


Or this by me:


Ep. 520: Take the Lid Off with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Take the Lid Off with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio
Take the Lid Off with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

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Michael starts the podcast quoting from a recent blog post of Seth Godin’s called “The Candy Diet.” Most people want a Guru or someone to spoon feed them something, anything. They want to be told what will happen in the future. They are on the “candy diet” that Seth Godin speaks to. People want to be baited with quick and easy. Michael reads from the obituary of the late Jay Forrester next. Forrester made the point in one of his classes that not a single one of his engineering students had ever taken the back lid off of a toilet to see how it worked. Looping back to Godin’s candy diet piece: There isn’t enough curiosity out there.

Michael quotes Jameis Winston, quarterback for the Buccaneers next. Jameis was asked if the Buccaneers were playoff contenders. Jameis’ response was that he was just trying to be 1-0 each week. He was living in the “moment of now.” He wasn’t worrying about week five while he was playing a game in week one. This thought process goes for everything in life, especially trading. You need a systematic approach that keeps you in the moment of right now. Otherwise you become bait.

Jared Kushner ran the Trump campaign. He tried to run the Trump campaign on the cheap. He would see what worked, and if it didn’t work then they would cut their losses quickly. If it worked, they would keep that strategy going and scale it up.

Michael finishes up the podcast talking about the new version of his Trend Following book. He points out some edits the publisher wanted him to make to move toward a more politically correct book. Michael brings in a term coined by Nassim Taleb, “intellectual yet idiot,” to explain his stance on making his book more politically correct.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Political correctness
  • Curiosity
  • Living in the moment of now

Mentions & Resources:

Listen to this episode:

“Given that you’re taking a risk, what kind are you up for?”

Great post by Seth Godin:

Here’s an interesting choice that most people leave unmade:

How comfortable are you engaging in projects where there’s a likelihood that you’ll lose by just a hair?

What makes a project worthwhile and interesting is that it might not work. All the this-is-sure-to-work projects are taken.

Given that you’re taking a risk, what kind are you up for?

Are you seeking out areas where there’s no competition, true longshots where few people see you fail?

Or are you okay with the daring near misses?

That’s the trend following ethos too.


If Not Now, When?

From Seth Godin:

Care a little more.

Show up.

Embrace possibility.

Tell the truth.

Dive deeper.

Seek the truth behind the story.

Ask the difficult question.

Lend a hand.

Dance with fear.

Play the long game.

Say ‘no’ to hate.

Look for opportunities, especially when it seems like there aren’t any left.

Risk a bigger dream.

Take care of the little guy.

Offer a personal insight.

Build something magical.

Keep your promises.

Do work that matters.

Expect more.

Sign your work.

Be generous for no reason.

Give the benefit of the doubt.

Develop empathy.

Make your mom proud.

Take responsibility.

Give credit.

Play by a better set of rules.

Choose your customers.

Choose your reputation.

Choose your future.

Thank the ref.

Reward patience.



Because we can.

It really is up to us. Which is great, because we’re capable of changing everything if we choose.

All we can do is all we can do, but maybe, all we can do is enough.

Spot on.

For those unwilling to think deeply…

Great lines from Seth Godin:

You might not be willing to devote the time and energy to understand how electricity actually works, or the mechanisms of your democracy, or the insights behind irrational decision making. More likely, you don’t want to expend the emotional labor to push through feeling dumb as you dig deep on your way to getting smart.

That’s always been an option. You can just use the tool without understanding it, copy the leader without realizing where she’s going, follow instructions without questioning them.

You can choose to be a cog in a machine you don’t understand.

If that’s working for you, no need to change it.

It made me ponder: trust the Fed, trust buy and hold, etc. If it’s working for you, no need to change it.


Job Seekers: Read Seth Godin’s Linchpin

Feedback in:

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,

Thanks for your interest and the feedback.

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

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