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“Really enjoyed the interview with Tyler Cowen…”

Feedback in:

Really enjoyed the interview with Tyler Cowen. As I was listening I was thinking about Detroit and Dan Gilbert. I don’t live there, but I do work for Quicken Loans. That’s probably impacted my perception of the city, but there are big things happening. I don’t feel like Gilbert is playing it safe. Maybe other billionaires do similar type things, but I don’t remember seeing it, especially where I live near Cincinnati.

Here’s an article, if you’re interested – link.

The podcast is great, keep up the good work.

Thanks!

“Why Do You Like My Podcast?”

A recent email exchange:

Listener: Michael, Just found your podcast and I’m really enjoying it.

Covel: Thanks! Why do you like it? Starting steps for more? Go here.

Listener: Why do I like your podcast? If you are actually interested, here is a long answer to a short question:

I have two bachelor degrees (including electrical engineering) and have worked in many fields – air traffic controller, test engineer, applications engineer, marketing, sales, etc. At about age 40 I went back to school and got a masters in operations research and finally found my calling in the analytics field.

Currently I work as a one man analytics department for a medium size credit union doing whatever analytical modeling and reporting work is required – retail credit risk recently.

My experience is that most useful models help an executive make incrementally better decisions at the margins – not huge homeruns every time… but that is enough to be really valuable. In my work with analytics I find that even sophisticated people want to put too much faith in a math model and they expect it to always be 100% correct in answering any possible question. They pour all their spoken and unspoken expectations and hopes into a model and expect that it will be like some computer from Star Trek that thinks for itself and can solve any problem posed.

So, I’ve been in the messy proverbial trenches of day-to-day business analytics which shades my opinion of too good to be true investing approaches. I don’t do any work with investing on a professional basis but I enjoy reading about the topic with the hope of improving my results by a percent point or two over the long haul. I’m not really an adherent to the efficient market theory because simple observation of stock market behavior doesn’t really match the theory.

But, I’ve always been a mostly buy and hold type investor for my personal retirement money because I haven’t seen anything that made sense as a way to particularly outperform except perhaps factor tilt towards value or small cap. Most evidence seems to show that active investment on the whole underperforms.

However recently I’ve become interested in the momentum/trend following approach after reading Wesley Grey’s book DIY Financial Advisor. In fact listening to your interview of Wes Grey is how I got turned on to your podcast. The whole momentum approach is attractive because it seems pragmatic, evidence based and systematic and might provide that incremental edge I’ve been pursuing. In particular I like the potential for reducing tail risk and the big draw downs.

I’ve only listened to a few episodes but I enjoy the podcast because it is educational and because it is interesting to hear different takes on trend following from both you and your practitioner guests.

Sorry for the long email and thanks for the links. I will certainly be tuning in on a regular basis.

You are welcome!

Trend Following Podcast Feedback

Feedback in:

Michael,

This email may be a bit long, but I wanted to express my appreciation for your podcast, your way of viewing the world and for exposing me to many of the critical thinkers I wish I had learned of a long time ago.

Thank you for introducing me to trend following.

I love rules. I’ve always known this, but I also haven’t always understood just how rules can help you achieve anything and everything. I always understood finance and investing to be a complete gamble. You can’t trust fundamentals, you can’t control the weather, you can’t predict crisis, but you can understand price, and you can respond to shifts in price. Price gets you paid. Trend following, and your book The Complete TurtleTrader showed me that rules won’t make you win every single time, but when you follow good rules, you lose a whole lot less than when you role the dice.

A few heuristics I’ve placed on my wall, one is a paraphrase of Richard Dennis: “Following rules is always better than making judgements.” Another by Winston Churchill: “Facts are better than dreams.”

I am a chiropractor in private practice and I practice two techniques, both of which I am very successful at. I have had patients travel from afar who have seen other practitioners who use the same, or similar techniques as myself, and I am able to get results when the other doctors don’t. Some of those other doctors are fairly prominent in the profession, and are even instructors.

It’s a little disconcerting, when someone comes to you for help after they haven’t been helped by someone you look up to.

“Geez, if he can’t help you, what do you think I’m gonna be able to do?”

When I talk with my colleagues I realize they aren’t practicing the technique the way it was taught, they’re making judgements. I follow the rules, and I see success where others don’t. I’m nothing special… I just trust the process. You’ve helped me to understand my focus should always be on process and the outcome will take care of itself.

I’m ashamed to tell you that I haven’t yet personally implemented a fiscal investment strategy (don’t yell at me). I’m trying to save up enough to invest with a systems-styled firm. They typically require a significant amount to start an account, and I just haven’t yet had the guts yet to try it on my own without any hand-holding in the process. I also have a wife and 6 young children, so most of my money gets invested in my family and my practice.

Thank you for introducing me to Nassim Taleb. I love his acerbic assurance that you can’t predict. Period. All you can do is have rules in place to respond to what happens. I so appreciate an Anti-Fragile philosophy and how Taleb has applied it to nearly all aspects of his life, including fitness. I would have never heard of Taleb if it hadn’t been for your podcast.

Thank you for introducing me to Daniel Kahneman, Ryan Holiday, stoic philosophy… I could go on and on.

You’ve become kind of like a business/philosophy coach to me. I think I enjoy your monologues, if not more, at least as well as I enjoy your interviews.

I don’t agree with every viewpoint you hold, (I am a confessional Christian) but that’s OK, I’ve always been real good at not throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Again, my sincerest appreciation for your body of content.

Please keep it up.

Yours,
[Name]

Thanks for the great feedback!

“It was amazing and very powerful…”

Feedback in:

Hi Michael,

Just tuned in to your channel and listened to your Ep 476. It was amazing and very powerful. Thank you for sharing your insights. I am a beginner at this and wanted to get started with the basics. If you could provide with with some guidance and reference material, it would of great help to me.

Thanks Again for you making this series.

Tuning in to Ep 477.

Thanks
[Name]

Start here.

Starting Point
Starting Point

My Journey to Self Discovery through Trend Following

It has been a long journey discovering trend following. Consider an excerpt from the preface of Trend Following:

Trend Following challenges much of the conventional wisdom about successful trading and traders. To avoid the influences of conventional wisdom, I was determined to avoid being influenced by institutionalized knowledge defined by Wall Street and was adamant about fighting “flat earth” thinking. During my research, starting with an assumption and then finding data to support it was avoided. Instead, questions were asked and then, objectively, doggedly, and slowly, answers were revealed.

If there was one factor that motivated me to work in this manner, it was simple curiosity. The more I uncovered about trend followers, the more I wanted to know. For example, one of the earliest questions (without an answer already) was learning who profited when Barings Bank collapsed. My research unearthed a connection between Barings Bank and trend follower John W. Henry (now the majority owner of the Boston Red Sox). Henry’s track record generated new questions, such as, “How did he discover trend following in the first place?” and “Has his approach changed in any significant way in the past 30 years?” Read more on John Henry Products.

Now for feedback in the same vein…

Hi Michael,

I am a trend following trader and entrepreneur based in Miami and Toronto. I have to tell you that you have become a mentor to me even though we haven’t met. You have helped give me the tools, conviction and confidence to believe in trend following and put it into practice. Admittedly it took me a long time to fight through the noise, particularly because I spent 10 years on an institutional equity desk in NY and Toronto. Ironically a traditional commission based institutional broker/investment bank is the absolute worst place to gain confidence as a trend following trader. The brokerage house is all about “the story” and predicting the future never even touching risk management, position sizing or exit strategies.

I first bought your TurtleTrader course around 2000 after devouring the website and wanting more, but I was 26 and on my way up the corporate ladder at Merrill Lynch. My ego always got in the way and I didn’t have enough quiet time to think and read and gain the confidence that is so critical. I also was still searching for the “holy grail” not knowing I’d already found it.

Years later I picked up my study of trend following again after rereading Reminiscences of a Stock Operator. I then read your books and then ordered your current course. I now turn to the podcasts when I want ideas refreshed or motivation and I look forward to hearing your interviews.

This message could not have asked for a better messenger Michael. You kick ass with your podcasts. You are honest and direct and even funny at times. I’ve even got my girlfriend to listen to a few. The episode with Vernon Smith was particularly powerful. Putting this out there for free is mind blowing and I’m very grateful to you for putting out such an incredible body of work. You are affecting people’s lives and I thank you for affecting mine.

Okay, enough smoke up your ass. Tim Ferriss should be on your podcast and/or you should be on his. In his most recent episode (63), he talks about his investing style toward the end and why he is scared to invest in public markets. He can’t deal with the ups and downs of staring at rising and falling equity so he only invests in startups. What struck me is that he is basically following a trend following risk model in his angel investing. He accepts that less than 50% will be winners and diversifies with the assumption that the winners will more than pay for the losers. Considering Tim’s expertise is in breaking down and mastering skills that have scientific and mathematical track records it seems to me that he would be interested in your work. I find it hard to imagine why anyone who wants to make money in the markets wouldn’t be interested in your work. Anyway, worth exploring even just as a reference in your own podcast.

My question is on constructing a model and automating a fairly basic trading system: is there a data feed you recommend and/or software that can generate signals with a data feed? Do you recommend any particular broker that is very reliable and execution based with competitive fees and an online platform?

Thank you very much
[Name]

After initial interchanges a few months later I heard from the listener again:

Your podcasts continue to be a wealth of education, entertainment and enlightenment and I can’t thank you enough. I don’t think people really appreciate the value you are providing. I have spent approx [number] (courses and books) on your products and I feel like there is more than that value in the podcasts alone and I get those for free. If you’re ever in Toronto or Miami (we split our time) let me know so I can buy you a drink

All the best
[Name]

Thanks!

Related Articles and Podcasts

On Tend Following Trading

Heard it a thousand times

Interview Alison Gopnik

Three times out of ten

Let Your Curiosity Lead the Way

Inspirational Podcasts

“I am long overdue in thanking you…”

Feedback in:

Michael, Please forgive me but I am long overdue in thanking you for your fine work and ongoing efforts. (And I live and work in your former back yard no less). I have benefited greatly from your podcasts over the past 4 years or so, sometimes in unusual or un-obvious ways. I tried posting a review to iTunes a few times, but as an Intel/Windows user it didn’t work out so well. I apologize. I love your work with trend followers, hedge fund managers, tactical traders. Too many to mention, but here are a few I recall:

– Interviews with the early CTAs.

“Dual Momentum” author Gary Antonacci who placed academic rigor behind a similar strategy I’ve developed for our clients over the years.

Nigol Koulajian of Quest Partners. Through your podcast I researched him, have met at his offices in NYC, and now am deploying client assets to his AlphaQuest AQO strategy. (I am indebted to you for this connection, and so are my clients).

– Plus there have been a few non-sequiturs. The recent 1958 interview you pulled up (from God knows where) with Ayn Rand was crazy.

I never had heard this, really interesting to hear her speak directly. I couldn’t believe how opinionated and leading Mike Wallace was for a supposedly unbiased interviewer. Really displays the times, how thing have changed over the years (you wouldn’t know it from listening to the world-class interviewers at CNBC). Thanks again for your diligence and perseverance. You set a fine example.

I’ll keep listening!

[Name]

Thanks!

Mike Lofgren and The Deep State Podcast Feedback

Trend Following Radio feedback:

Hi Michael,

I finished up listening to your podcast with Mike Lofgren on “The Deep State” and felt the urge to just thank you for a very interesting, informative, provocative, but essential discussion. Ironically, the issues you discussed are standard dinner table topics for me and my family (I’d consider ourselves different from the norm in a good way). Unfortunately, today’s farrago of reality TV shows, sports, and social issues have become red herrings to the more important topics. Why discuss the vexing and complicated issues when we can just talk about the Kardashians or whether bathrooms should be genderless?… At any rate, look forward to more discussions on your podcast.

PS: I have also been working in investments for a couple years but would could consider myself a “new” trader. At the end of your podcast you mentioned you’d send some trend following steps. I currently use a nuanced Tom Demark Indicator system, but I’m always open to learning something new.

Thanks again,
[Name]

Thanks!

The Deep State
The Deep State

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