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Trend Following with Michael Covel

Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 5 million listens. Investments, economics, decision-making, human behavior & entrepreneurship--all passionately explored. Guests include Nobel Prize winners Robert Aumann, Angus Deaton, Daniel Kahneman, Harry Markowitz & Vernon Smith. Also: James Altucher, Dan Ariely, Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Kathleen Eisenhardt, Marc Faber, Tim Ferriss, Jason Fried, Gerd Gigerenzer, Larry Hite, Sally Hogshead, Ryan Holiday, Jack Horner, Ewan Kirk, Steven Kotler, Michael Mauboussin, Tucker Max, Barry Ritholtz, Jim Rogers, Jack Schwager, Ed Seykota, Philip Tetlock & Walter Williams. All 500+ eps at www.trendfollowingradio.com/rss.
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Now displaying: September, 2016

Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 5 million listens. Investments, economics, decision-making, human behavior & entrepreneurship--all passionately explored. Guests include Nobel Prize winners Robert Aumann, Angus Deaton, Daniel Kahneman, Harry Markowitz & Vernon Smith. Also: James Altucher, Dan Ariely, Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Kathleen Eisenhardt, Marc Faber, Tim Ferriss, Jason Fried, Gerd Gigerenzer, Larry Hite, Sally Hogshead, Ryan Holiday, Jack Horner, Ewan Kirk, Steven Kotler, Michael Mauboussin, Tucker Max, Barry Ritholtz, Jim Rogers, Jack Schwager, Ed Seykota, Philip Tetlock & Walter Williams. All 500+ eps at www.trendfollowingradio.com/rss.

Sep 30, 2016

Chris Voss is the author of, “Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.” Chris is a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI. He has had an amazing career full of great experience and insights. Chris first entered the FBI in 1983 and has been involved with over 150 kidnapping cases. He started out working on a suicide hotline and quickly realized that his negotiating skills were applicable to all areas of life, not just hostage situations.

Chris starts the conversation off talking about how he begins hostage negotiations. It is about exchanging power and getting the upper hand early on in the negotiations. A lot of people want to think of negotiations as chess. Chris explains why this is not the case. You can make four moves in a row if you want. Not necessarily making one move, then a counter move by the other person. Chris goes on to explain that if you can walk out of any situation you don’t like, then you can win in any situation and you are able to have more fun with negotiating.

Next, Michael asks, “How do you go about negotiating with bat shit crazy people?” Even “bat shit crazy” has it’s patterns. Chris talks about being on Comedy Central and doing a skit on this exact situation. As long as he starts looking at patterns then things become aware to him and he can influence people’s emotions. When people don’t open themselves up to you, that is the first sign of danger. If people won’t talk, this is when you know psychologically they have shut down. 9-11 is an example of people being silent on the other side, shutting down, and leaving no room for negotiation. If you can ask someone “Have you given up on resolving this situation amicably?” Even having someone say “Yes” means they are immediately opening up a little more than they were before. Chris was always taught to go into situations knowing that people are not rational. They are driven by passion and purpose.

Chris also elaborates on “Why, How and Lying three times”. In general, “Why” questions make people feel defensive instantly. “How” questions make the other person feel powerful. People feel in charge when they are asked “How”, but it puts a lot of constraints on their answer. His last rule of negotiations is the “Lying three times” rule. If you get someone to lie three times then they most likely won’t act on that lie.

The podcast wraps up with bonus material of an interview between Michael and Chris recorded on a previous day.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Aversion to negotiation
  • Negotiating skills
  • Never pretend people are rational
  • Business negotiations compared to hostage negotiations
  • Lying three times
  • “How” and “Why” questions
Sep 26, 2016

Michael reads some of his favorite quotes circa 1920’s/1930’s from a famed trader. These quotes are timeless bits of wisdom. Michael adds commentary throughout.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • How is the “price” made?
  • You will never know all the fundamentals
  • Speculation
  • Getting mad at the market gets you nowhere
  • Bull and bear markets
  • Entry and exit signals
  • 1920’s wisdom on numbers
  • Always be ready to catch that unexpected move
  • Follow the price action
Sep 23, 2016

Robert Cialdini is on today’s podcast. He is best known for writing “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” published back in 1984. Robert is the “go to man” for understanding effective persuasion. Reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity are his six key principles of influence that he teaches. His new book, “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade”, introduces a seventh key principle of influence.

Michael asks “How did you start down this path? What was your ‘A-ha’ moment that got you researching for this new book?” Robert says it was a series of recognitions as he was reading the newest work in behavioral studies that made him realize that creating mindsets in people didn’t involve just six principles. He went back to his notes and looked at what the top people in various professions were doing. He realized that they were acting like gardeners. They were preparing the earth before planting the seed. These professionals were priming a persons mind to perceive their idea more fully.

Next, Michael and Robert talk about anchoring a persons perception of what they are paying or asking for. You start off with a higher number or a grander request before hitting the other person with what you really want. “Are there types of thinkers where pre-suasion is not as effective? Or have you found universally across the populations that pre-suasion is just very effective?” Robert says it seems to be a universal operating procedure that is built into us from birth. He uses a study done with 18 month old babies that proves that this is built into our psyche.

Lastly, Michael asks Robert to elaborate on the idea of unity. Robert shares a story of Warren Buffett and unity taken from his book. Michael finishes up the last 20 minutes of the podcast with a presentation on behavior change and the part that social norms play in creating that change, given by Robert. He focuses on how to make people move more towards a environmentally socially responsible role.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Establishing trust before asking for anything
  • Rational self interest
  • Anchoring a persons perception
  • Asking for advice rather than an opinion
  • Warren Buffett’s shareholder letter
  • Environmental responsibility
Sep 19, 2016

Michael opens the podcast with an excerpt from “The Fountainhead” about creating, entrepreneurism, and living for one’s self. “The Fountainhead” is one of Michael’s favorite books and encourages all to read it.

Michael dives into an example that dovetails right into “The Fountainhead” excerpt. Recently Michael tweeted a quote from Derek Bok, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” He quickly got a response on Twitter saying he was “bearish”. Michael stresses throughout the conversation that it doesn’t matter if you are liberal or conservative. Trend followers don’t care about politics or media. It is all about price action.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Creators vs. parasites
  • Human relationships
  • Altruism
  • The individual vs. The collective
  • Liberal and conservative trading perspectives
  • Price action is paramount
Sep 16, 2016

Jared Dillian is editor of The Daily Dirtnap: A daily market newsletter for investment professionals. Jared is also author of “All the Evil of This World” and “Street Freak”. He gives a behind the scenes look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of Wall Street.

Jared’s interest with Wall Street didn’t start with the idea of making money. It was more academic. He wanted to learn why so many traders were trying to beat the market when all the Wall Street books he was reading said that beating the market was a huge waste of time. He started working at Lehman Brothers and quickly learned the culture within an investment bank was completely different. Everyone working at investment banks were in the business of making money, they are all traders. Jared speaks about the structure of Lehman Brothers and how they changed under the management of Dick Fuld. He then dovetails into detailing the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble, and explains why some firms were able to fail and others were able to survive.

Next, Michael and Jared talk about the “sex drugs and rock and roll” aspect of Wall Street. Jared looks back on what he saw when he worked in the pits of Wall Street and says that, “that culture” doesn’t really exist anymore since the 2008 crash. They finish up talking about the pros of being an entrepreneur rather than working for a big investment bank on Wall Street.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Behavioral finance
  • Market psychology
  • Housing bubble
  • Dot com bubble
  • Lehman Brothers
  • Starting your own hedge fund
Sep 12, 2016

If you can’t change the data, then why try and fight it? Listening to people who have spent their lives researching and digging into the data is how we learn and progress. In today’s podcast Michael plays a clip by Richard Dawkins about data. Michael shows that listeners can find insight within the talk that can be applied to their lives–all aspects.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Evolution
  • Looking at the data
  • Natural selection
  • Long term macro evolution and short term evolution
  • Fossils do not prove evolution
  • Comparing animal and human bodies
  • Evolutionary arms race
Sep 9, 2016

“What is it about growing up in poverty that leads to so many troubling outcomes? Or to put the question another way, what is it that growing up in influence provides to children that growing up in poverty does not?” This is the question that today’s guest, author Paul Tough, poses in his newest book, “Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why.” It is a data driven book about how young kids are growing and developing in today’s world.

51% of children in the public school system are below the low income bar set by the government. Paul goes through the psychological issues of children from low income homes starting from birth all the way through high school. Science is very clear that children develop the most during the first three years of their life. He says there are two main things to think about when children are developing: stress, and day-to-day interaction with parents or caregivers. Paul gives examples of the types of stress and interaction that is good and bad during early childhood.

Paul talks about the education system next. He says that development should be looked at as on a continuum rather than separated into segments such as preschool, kindergarten, and so forth. Michael and Paul also speak to the behavioral issues that may come from different socioeconomic backgrounds and what schools can do to improve the outcome of a child. “Grit” and curiosity needs to be taught and encouraged along with standard learning, in and out of the classroom. Intervening more intensely in the first few years is a huge way of creating this motivation and curiosity.

Michael brings up the higher income children who also are having trouble finding “grit and perseverance”. Paul says we aren’t giving children the opportunity to struggle with adversity. The difference between not having grit in a higher income family as opposed to low income is that you can usually get by in life. You can usually find an average job and have food on the table. However, not having drive coming from a low income family, you may not be able to put food on the table and have a roof over your head.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Early childhood development
  • Creating the right environment for children
  • Childhood poverty
  • Serve and return parenting
  • Teaching grit and curiosity
  • The accountability movement
  • What motivates us?
  • Education as a national problem
Sep 5, 2016

There are back-to-back monologues on today’s episode. The two episodes consist of the same material, just said a little different. The first take Michael was told was too aggressive with too many F bombs, so he re-recorded but still left it up on the tail end of the podcast. The double header podcast today was inspired by a film Michael recently re-watched called, “Boom Bust Boom”.

Michael talks about Hyman Minsky’s “financial instability hypothesis”. Minsky said that there is instability in capitalism and if capitalism was eliminated, that would help eliminate bubbles. Minsky believed that offsetting the economy is how you eliminate instability. This is where the government came up with zero interest rates, and in some places, negative interest rates. Due to the Minsky mentality, economists think they can control the markets and stop human nature from happening.

Michael ties his documentary film into the discussion and describes the insight he got during ’08 when he happened to be filming. Trend following strategies and behavioral economics have these characteristics in common: 1. People will never be rational. 2. Markets will always trend up, down and sideways. 3. You can’t predict trends. 4. There are ways to make money even though numbers 1-3 are set in stone and will not change.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • The tulip bubble
  • March 2000
  • Fall of 2008
  • Financial instability hypothesis
  • Trend following philosophy
  • Behavioral economics
Sep 2, 2016

Chris Zook is co-author of “The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth.” The work leading to “the founder’s mentality” started for Chris about 5 years ago. It is predicated on, “What are the deep root causes that allow some companies to stay young, stay energetic, and be sustainable in their performance over time?”

Only 1 in 10 companies sustain a modest level of growth over a decade. Chris, and his co-author James Allen, found that when the founder of a company was still evolved and their presence was still looming, companies had about three times higher performance than other companies where the founder had stepped away. Chris elaborates on their research process and the steps he and James took in writing “The Founder’s Mentality”.

A deep sense of insurgency, frontline obsession, and an owner’s mindset are the three characteristics that make up the founder’s mentality. Keeping an open mind at all times and willingness to adapt to your company’s growth is key. When companies fail to be open minded, they become short term minded. Chris has found a great response from this way of thinking. He has now written 5 books over the last 12 years on this topic and all have been extremely well received, especially his latest work, “The Founder’s Mentality”.

People are searching for happiness in their work and Chris is helping outline how to get there. He helps people own the customer service experience in their company. Chris and Michael use Nokia as a great example of an industry leader that failed to adapt. Nokia was the first to use email on phones, they were huge in cameras, and had the first smart phone but they failed to be innovative enough and became institutionally closed minded. Ultimately what looked like a tech company that could not have died, ended up committing suicide.

Chris uses Starbucks as another example of a company that started something special, but as soon as the company moved away from what Howard Schultz, the founder, had started they began to crumble. After profits started to take a hit, Howard Schultz was asked to come out of retirement and revive the company. Starbucks was self inflicting wounds that were unraveling the core of the Starbucks experience. Michael and Chris wrap up the podcast giving a few more examples of companies that caught what he calls the “founders disease” or lost the owners mindset.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • The founder’s 100
  • What keeps millennials in their jobs
  • Frontline obsession
  • Sense of insurgency
  • Owners mindset
  • Founders disease
  • Meritocracies
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