Today on the show, Michael Covel speaks with Tyler Cowen. Cowen is an American economist, academic, and writer. He’s the co-author of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. Covel and Cowen discuss Sabermetrics and the new idea that we will be judged by numbers; Cowen’s early experience studying under Nobel Prize winner Thomas Schelling; the notion of thinking in terms of paradoxes; why we’re moving from the 1% to the 15%; “average is over” and why Singapore and Israel are the two places in the world where this has come true first; problems because of “average is over” in Singapore; pure free markets; thinking about why past regulations have failed; how computers change us; globalization, where things are headed, and what we should be prepared for; zero marginal product workers. For more information on Tyler Cowen, go to marginalrevolution.com. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with William Poundstone. Poundstone is the author of Fortune’s Formula, a book about the Kelly criterion. This is risk management at its heart. All great trend traders have had to deal with Kelly. Covel and Poundstone discuss Claude Shannon; the connection between Al Capone, the Kelly formula, bookmaking, and the telephone industry; Bell Labs and information theory; why, when betting, if there’s a small chance of losing everything, you will eventually lose everything; criticisms of the Kelly criterion; Ed Thorp, blackjack, and card counting; Long-Term Capital Management; Martingale vs. Kelly; and early development of the Black-Scholes formula. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Today on the podcast Michael Covel speaks with Perry Kaufman. Kaufman is an American systematic trader, index developer, and quantitative financial theorist. He is considered a leading expert in the development of fully algorithmic trading programs. Covel and Kaufman discuss how Kaufman came to the idea of 100% algorithmic trading systems; the difference between being systematic and being automated; optimization vs. validation; the biggest advantages of testing; why discretion is not part of Kaufman’s toolbox; the problem of tail events; why discipline is the most important characteristic of a systematic trader; the “loose pants fit everyone” philosophy; preparing yourself for uncertainty; comparisons between risk management and risk measurement; the Sharpe ratio; high volatility trades vs. low volatility; why Kaufman places equal weight on both risk management and the underlying system; and systematic trading in established mature markets vs. emerging markets. For more information on Perry Kaufman, visit Amphi Capital. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Ben Hunt on today’s podcast. Hunt is the Chief Risk Officer at Salient Partners. Salient is a 19B AUM manager based in Houston, Texas. As Chief Risk Officer, Hunt writes the Epsilon Theory, viewing capital markets through the lenses of game theory and history. Covel and Hunt discuss the power of the crowd watching the crowd; game theory; having a profound agnosticism about what the future holds; the difference between risk and uncertainty in the context of game theory; the Panopticon and the chilling effect of being watched; the “common knowledge game” and the missionary; the island of the green-eyed tribe. For more information on Ben Hunt, visit epsilontheory.com. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Today on the podcast, Michael Covel speaks with Andrew Huszar. Huszar is a Senior Fellow at Rutgers Business School and also a former Morgan Stanley managing director. In 2009, he managed the Federal Reserve’s 1.25 trillion dollar mortgage-backed security purchase program. Covel and Huszar talk about looking at the short term; black swans; Huszar’s history and how he came to work for the Federal Reserve; the changing of the banking model in the US from the 1980’s to the late 2000’s; quantitative easing; why Huszar ultimately left the Fed at the beginning of 2011; how the Fed has become over five times bigger in recent history; the current source of Wall Street money; the idea of an overly financialized US economy; and the need for long-term structural changes in the US. You can follow Andrew Huszar on Twitter at @AndrewHuszar. Want a free trend following video? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Hersh Shefrin and Arvid Hoffmann on today’s two-part podcast. Hersh Shefrin has done pioneering work in behavioral finance and is the author of Beyond Greed and Fear. Hoffmann is a colleague of Shefrin. He is a Professor of Finance at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Shefrin and Hoffmann’s paper, Technical Analysis and Individual Investors, came out February 2014. The paper is concerned with short-term technical analysis and retail traders. Covel and Shefrin discuss how Shefrin came to know that behavioral finance was his path; the two-system framework; the connection to behavioral and eating disorders; the disposition effect; when emotion and reason are in conflict; “transferring your assets” vs. “selling a loss”; distinguishing between rules and discretion; how we stick with rules for ourselves given the context of our humanity; the psychological pitfalls of the 2008 financial crisis; the inevitability of market crises; Minsky and Keynes; the psychology of Keynesian economics; and human ideas surrounding uncertainty. With Arvid Hoffmann, Covel discusses the paper Technical Analysis and Individual Investors; the inspiration for the paper; Hoffmann’s definition of technical analysis; the narrow focus of the paper to short-term trading; technical analysis and trend following; “invest as if the market was efficient”, and “restrict your attempts to beat the market”. Want a free trend following video? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel opens up by discussing a 2011 David Harding appearance on CNBC in his book Trend Commandments. The other day, now in 2014, Harding appeared on CNBC again with Joe Kernen. Covel goes over the clip, discussing CNBC’s policy of prediction and picks, their ignorance of Harding’s style and outlook, and the talking heads in general. Covel then went onto Twitter and posted, eliciting a response from Joe Kernen. Covel analyzes their Twitter exchanges, noting there are plenty of questions beyond what Kernen asked. Why does Harding enter? Why does he exit? How much does he bet each trade? Behavioral finance? Black swans? Trading only price action? It’s always fun to put a lance into the boil of the system and watch it pop, as Covel shows here. Covel surmises that either Kernen was not prepared, or there’s an agenda--it’s an acting job. Want a free trend following video? Go to trendfollowing.com/win. SPECIAL NOTE: I welcome all of my listeners to join this debate on Twitter. My Twitter is @Covel and Joe Kernen is @JoeSquawk. Check out our conversation and please add smart feedback. However, please keep the conversation above board.
Michael Covel speaks with Mark Miller. Miller is a computer scientist at Google. He has done early work in hypertext, and today is heavily involved in digital rights. His conversation with Michael Covel is wide-ranging, and especially interesting as they look to the future--perhaps even a future after Singularity. Covel and Miller discuss property rights; Hernando de Soto; Bitcoin and digital trust; “smart contracts”; why a contract is like a board game; game theory; 3rd World infrastructure; how program code can become a contract; a closer look at “possession is nine-tenths of the law”; whether the Turing Test was just passed; defining the term “singularity”, and the multiple singularities of the past; A.I. and nanotechnology; how Miller’s work relates to markets; the history of hypertext. For more information on Mark Miller, visit erights.org. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel interviews Van Tharp on his second visit to the show. Van Tharp runs the Van Tharp Institute and is the author of four acclaimed books published by McGraw Hill: Super Trader, Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom, Safe Strategies for Financial Freedom, and Financial Freedom Through Electronic Day Trading. His new book is called Trading Beyond the Matrix. He was also featured in Jack Schwager's Market Wizard's: Interviews with Great Traders. Van Tharp received his Ph.D. in psychology, is a certified Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a Certified Master Time Line Therapist, a certified Modeler of NLP, and an Assistant Trainer of NLP. He has used his expertise in NLP to create the successful models of trading and investing upon which so much of his work is based. Covel and Van Tharp discuss beliefs in the context of trading and investing; the moment of now, and the Navajo’s belief of a never-ending present; the belief examination paradigm; “big money” and what it means to Van Tharp; the idea of “trader jail”; fear of the unknown; the importance of sleep; and the difference between spirituality and religion. Want a free trend following video? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with David Ryan on today’s podcast. Ryan was famously first featured in Jack Schwager’s “Market Wizards” book. He is a protege of William O’Neil. Covel and Ryan discuss how Ryan got his start walking up to the front door of O’Neil’s offices; how Ryan would describe his approach to trading today; CAN SLIM trading, and buying the breakout vs. buying the dip; enjoying trading without clients; some good CAN SLIM winners in the past two to three years from Ryan’s perspective; big picture-wise, the max loss that Ryan is willing to take on a position; the type of winning percentages that Ryan really sees; the uneasiness about the overall market system since the 2008 financial crisis and how Ryan looks at how the situation has unfolded; high frequency trading; how the market can be humbling; and getting your ego out of the market. Want a free trend following video? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel talks with Jerry Parker on his third visit to the podcast. Parker is an original Turtle, trained by Richard Dennis. However, since then he has very successfully run a managed money firm called Chesapeake Capital. Covel and Parker discuss mean reversion trading; what the definition of momentum trading is compared to trend following; why “good enough” is more rigorous than any metric; how the intervention of the Fed has broken up trends and made volatility drop in markets; how the idea of uncertainty and talking in probabilities makes people uncomfortable; the difference between managed futures and trend following; why buy and hold is predicated on trust of the Fed; and why trend followers don’t look to “beat” the market. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Today on the show, Michael Covel talks with Dr. Walter Williams. He’s an American economist, commentator, and academic. He is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, as well as a syndicated columnist and author known for his libertarian views. Covel and Williams discuss why Williams calls himself a radical; the morality of markets; the welfare state and bailouts; how Williams didn’t "think poor" growing up; the nefarious aspect of minimum wage; how Williams stayed positive and avoided bitterness despite opposition; Malcolm X. and Martin Luther King, Jr.; why there’s no poverty in the United States; how Williams felt about the Fall of 2008 and the bailouts that took place; how we got to the point where people want to trust the state so much; and how Williams has developed a thick skin to deal with the criticism of his radical nature. For more information on Walter Williams, go to walterewilliams.com. Want a free trend following video? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics. Mauldin is a noted financial expert, a New York Times best-selling author, a pioneering online commentator, and the publisher of one of the most widely read investment newsletters in the world. Mauldin and Covel discuss credit card rates and zero interest rate policy; the improper use of credit; debt spirals; central bank policies that keep whipsaw periods going; the actions in Japan and how they can spread across the world; the justifications that Mauldin sees behind the scenes; black swans and boom-bust periods; how the 2008 financial crisis wasn’t a true black swan event; the “why” behind zero interest rate policy; and the specter of Keynesianism over the world. For more information on John Mauldin, go to mauldineconomics.com. Want a free trend following video? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Dr. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud. Bouchaud is Chairman of the multi-strategy quantitative hedge fund Capital Fund Management (5B+ AUM) and co-supervisor of the research team. He is a well known authority in the field of Econphysics, co-author of "Theory of Financial Risks and Derivative Pricing", a Professor of École Polytechnique where he teaches Complex Systems and has his Ph.D in theoretical physics from École Normale Supérieure. Covel and Bouchaud discuss Bouchaud's physics background and how it collided with the world of classical economics; the Black-Scholes model, and it’s still use; experimenting with simulation; Bouchaud and his colleague's paper, "Two Centuries of Trend Following"; the efficient market hypothesis; why the existence of trends is one of the most statistically significant anomalies in financial markets; how trends predate trend following; why classical economics has no framework through which to understand "wild markets"; benign randomness vs. wild randomness; accepting uncertainty; and differences between physicists and economists. For more information on Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, visit www.cfm.fr. Complimentary trend following DVD from Michael Covel: trendfollowing.com/win.
Have you noticed with equity markets at all time highs there are starting to be justifications again? It reminds Michael Covel of... The “this time is different” routine. Covel moves on to talk about Timothy Geithner’s new book, and how Warren Buffett approached him after bailouts. Covel talks about crony capitalism on both sides of the aisle. Rigged markets at all-time highs are not fun. It may feel great at the time, but there’s a hangover. Covel shifts gears and talks about classical economics. It’s all about assumptions that become axioms. Covel discusses the Black-Scholes option pricing formula, and how the edges are indeed important. Covel can’t predict or tell you when or how, but he can tell you that if you’re in a position with a system to take advantage of price movements, you can benefit on the upside, the downside, and the black swan side. Next, Covel gives an example of someone who was mugged outside of a bar and became a mathematical savant after brain injury. Given these gifts, will he work for Wall Street? There are too many variables to make a prediction, he says. Next, Covel moves onto a TED talk. He’s thought they’ve always been enjoyable--until now. It turns out the TED operation operates like a cult, as evidenced by a clip from the Joe Rogan podcast. Covel wraps it all back to classical economics--it’s a cult, too. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Nir Eyal. Eyal is an educator, author, and entrepreneur who is all about connecting psychology, technology, and business. His new book is titled “Hooked: How To Build Habit Forming Products”. Covel and Eyal discuss how behavior and habits can be engineered, and how technology changes our behavior; the moral implications of habit forming activities; the difference between habits and addictions; breaking “the hook”; the four areas that “the hook” goes through: trigger, action, variable reward, and investment; the IKEA example and how value can be built; Eyal’s mentors and influences; the importance of social feedback from your community; the WhatsApp deal, and how to deal with your “insane jealousy” of the messaging app deal; getting equal pay for equal work, and how that might be embedded in our DNA; and the importance of interface changes when it comes to revolutionary changes in technology. For more information on Nir Eyal, go to nirandfar.com. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Brett Steenbarger. Steenbarger is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. Steenbarger and Covel discuss what a “flow state” is, and why it’s important; how Steenbarger has seen flow connect to the trading world, and the importance of matching your level of difficulty and challenge; risk and risk tolerance; the logical and psychological sides to risk; “what have you done for me lately” attitude for investors; why we don’t grow if we stay within our comfort zones; process vs. outcome; the psychological burden of certain fee structures; some of the common characteristics of successful traders; slow thinking, deep thinking, and fast thinking; where we’re headed regarding prescription drugs related to the mind; trend trading vs. mean reversion; contextualism; trend following vs. momentum trading; and how people actually behave vs. how they describe their behavior. For more information on Brett Steenbarger, go to traderfeed.blogspot.com. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Larry Hite and Alex Greyserman today on the podcast. Hite is a hedge fund manager and is one of the forefathers of system trading. He was famously featured in the Market Wizards book. A few years ago he started ISAM with Stanley Fink. Greyserman has 25 years of experience in the CTA industry, and was originally hired by Larry Hite at Mint. Greyserman is Chief Scientist at ISAM (PhD in Statistics). He is also a professor at Columbia University. Covel, Hite, and Greyserman discuss Singapore, and Covel’s recent excursions in Asia; how the game has stayed the same despite zero interest rate policy; what people are missing when they say “trend following is dead”; how you’ll never get perfection; their 800 year study, the premise, and what was found out; measuring human nature; the difference between divergent and convergent strategies; risk management; having “perfect” knowledge; using long trends and getting whipsawed in shorter trends; the asset class of trend following compared to the NASDAQ buy and hold, etc.; what’s changed about human nature through all the booms and busts; insurance, hedging your risk, and the risk transference process; asymmetrical leverage; adjusting to new environments; how those that survive are the most adaptable to the environment; and how trend following automatically adjusts to what’s happening. More: www.isam.com. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel talks with Sharon Moalem, a physician and author. Moalem’s previous book, “Survival Of The Sickest”, was a New York Times bestseller. His newest book is called “Inheritance”. Covel and Moalem discuss Rafael Nadal as an example of digging deep in genetics; how our bodies are constantly in a state of deconstruction and reconstruction; how DNA is under constant modification; genetic personalized medicine; "Jeff the chef" and an example of specific dietary needs; dysmorphology and analyzing the hands, feet, and face of an individual; Gregor Mendel and his pea experiments in genetics; how your behavior can dictate your genetic destiny; the future of personalized genetic medicine; critics and misunderstandings of genetics; and vitamins on an individual basis. Science in life, science in trading, both excite me. Moalem pulls back the curtain on where healthcare is headed. Will it get there in our lifetimes? Wait and see is all we can do. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Robin Hanson, a professor of economics at George Mason University. Covel and Hanson discuss the definition of prediction markets; how prediction markets are used politically; comparing the prediction markets to the financial markets; Vernon Smith and coming up with the “why” for booms and busts; dealing with a complex world based on our limited abilities; steering towards humanity’s future; Hanson’s physics background, and how he came to where prediction markets became a passion; how prediction markets can make us pay more attention to the truth; Hayek and Mises, and some of their thinking early on; what taboos and idealogical beliefs might stop one from making optimal decisions; if people have employed particular trading strategies to the prediction markets; stop losses as information and as risk preference; setting up a market to bet on geopolitical events in the Middle East, and the controversy based around that; why DC politicians often cannot handle the research Hanson does; and why Hanson has elected to have his head cryonically preserved after medical death based on a cost-benefit analysis. For more information on Robin Hanson go to overcomingbias.com or hanson.gmu.edu. This is a podcast that at first might not appear useful to the trend following community, but it most certainly adds great value. Want a free trend following video: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Today on the podcast Michael Covel talks with Harry Markowitz, the founder of modern finance and Nobel Prize winner. Markowitz also appeared in Covel’s documentary film a few years back, “Broke: The New American Dream”. Covel and Markowitz talk about Justin Fox and “The Myth Of The Rational Market”; Markowitz’s beginnings, and the Nobel Prize; Markowitz’s 1952 paper; how Markowitz felt about some of his prescriptions and ideas being interpreted into dogma; why Wall Street was not interested in Markowitz’s theories at one time; diversification for the right reason; Markowitz’s new four-volume book; advice on maintaining mental acuity at an advanced age and sounding like you’re 35 when you’re 86 years young; Markowitz’s attraction to the philosopher Hume; if it was fifty years later, if Markowitz would be a quant running a hedge fund today; Markowitz’s legacy; on being comfortable vs. being rich; the leveraged long-only hedge fund industry and being coaxed into putting your money into these institutions; Long Term Capital Management and portfolio theory. What a life! Want a free trend following video? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel talks to Ryan Holiday, director of marketing for American Apparel; media strategist for Tucker Max, Dov Charney, and others; and author of the new book “The Obstacle Is The Way”. This is Holiday’s third appearance on the podcast. Covel and Holiday discuss Marcus Aurelius’ philosophy and stoicism, and why it has such a hold on Holiday; distraction; why the impediment to action actually advances action; the unpredictability of the world, and how we react to the world; George Clooney, and his start as an actor related to the obstacles we all face; Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field; what drives Holiday today; how will is the ultimate trump card; the two definitions of will; Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and his approach to the moment of now; feeling great about the fight, the adversity, and the challenge; how the process is intrinsically valuable. For more information on Ryan Holiday, go to ryanholiday.net. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Today on the podcast Michael Covel interviews Larry Doyle. Doyle’s book is called “In Bed With Wall Street”. Doyle is a former JP Morgan banker gets into why the system is fragile despite being five or six years removed from the crisis. Covel and Doyle discuss Doyle’s background and why he put “In Bed With Wall Street” together; Madoff, and what was missed from a regulatory perspective; KYC, or “knowing your customer”; MF Global, Jon Corzine, and touching customer funds; Dodd Frank and the supposed fixes to the 2008 financial crisis, and why Dodd Frank was more of an architectual blueprint rather than a completed piece of legislation; regulatory reforms to help fix the problems created in the 2008 financial crisis; informing the general public of the problems surrounding Wall Street today; the “bribe” of equity markets at all-time highs; manipulation of the markets; why Tim Geithner said “we saved the economy, but we lost the country”; if a crash is the only thing that will bring about change; why the banks must be broken up; and what would have happened if Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley had failed. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Today on the podcast Michael Covel talks with Tucker Max. Max is a bestselling author and entrepreneur who has sold over 3 million books. Covel and Max talk about their first meeting, and Max’s brutally honest advice to Covel; diet and nutrition; the NCAA, college athletics, exploitation, the media, and having to 'beat' the system; marginal cost and marginal product; entrepreneurial thinking and Max's early career; Max’s experience in marketing; protecting your independence; Christopher Hitchens; facing rejection in publishing, and how rejection is part of success; how success only teaches you to repeat what you did before, and failure forces you to think; what drives Max today; how the landscape has changed in regards to authors; the fight for authority and trust in the publishing world; what motivates Tucker Max today--the quality of relationships you have with other people, and what you do that matters to others. More information on Tucker Max can be found on tuckermax.me. Free Covel trend following video go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel discusses a white paper titled "Two Centuries of Trend Following". Covel likes the fact that when he goes through their references, it's all other academic white papers. Then, sandwiched in between the other white papers, "The Complete TurtleTrader" is referenced. Covel posted this on Twitter and received a response in which someone wanted to talk about the last couple of years of trend following performance. Trend following performance is going to differ depending on the trader, what’s in their portfolio, the type of system they’re trading, and the risk they’re taking. There isn't some one magical elixir. Covel believes that you’re better off in the long-term trend following world, rather than in the short-term world. Still, the person Covel interacted with on Twitter was not concerned with the two centuries of trend following that the white paper talked about, but rather, "what have you done for me lately?" Covel moves on to talk about a recent monologue he did concerning a Yahoo Finance article in which he questioned the vocabulary of the talking heads. Covel looks at the responses to that episode, and then the larger view: Most people don’t have the foggiest clue what trading is; what Wall Street is. They’ve been listening to nonsense in the media. The lure is still out there. The buy and hold lure is still out there. But even worse is that "get rich quick" attitude. People don’t understand it as a science. Covel looks at at "The Wolf of Wall Street" and analyzes a segment from the movie. Covel uses it as an example of how most people view money-making and Wall Street. People don’t think like Covel’s podcast guests and writing subjects; they don’t think like Marty Bergin at Dunn Capital or Ed Seykota. This is what Covel is up against. He wants people to understand the science of trading. Covel also notes that his old newsletter system is being changed. If you want to continue to receive Covel’s newsletter, go to trendfollowing.com/subscribe-now. Want a free trend following video? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.