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Trend Following with Michael Covel

Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 7+ 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 600+ eps at www.trendfollowing.com/podcast.
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Now displaying: 2018

Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 7+ 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 600+ eps at trendfollowingradio.com/rss.

Mar 23, 2018

Robert Kurson is the author of “Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon.”

How did Robert get hooked on space exploration? He was born in 1963, just five years before the Apollo 8 mission. Some of his first memories were watching rockets take off. He realized he knew a lot of Apollo 11 and 13 but not much about Apollo 8. As he researched the mission he quickly learned that NASA, astronauts, and experts in the field had all talked about this mission being the most astonishing and important of all Apollo missions. Why? Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit, reach the Earth’s Moon, orbit it and return safely to Earth. The three astronaut crew consisted of Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders.

The U.S. had historically always been behind in the race to space. With Russia continuously one step ahead, Apollo 8 gave us the advantage of having the first crew to reach the moon and paved the way for Apollo 11 to successfully put the first man on the moon.

Mar 19, 2018

Where do you pull your inspiration from? Michael opens the podcast quoting Nassim Taleb addressing bullies: Do you throw punches for the sake of throwing punches? No, you throw punches when it will set a standard for others not to mess with you. Michael also pulls inspiration from the 1980’s Dunbar High School basketball team. The 1981–1982 team finished its season undefeated and the 1982–1983 team continued the tradition with a 31–0 record and a #1 national ranking. They produced three first round NBA basketball draft picks. That team has become legendary.

Inspiration can be pulled from extraordinary athletes, writers, singers, and even architecture. Michael recently visited Singapore for a presentation. He has been there many times and describes it as “San Diego on steroids.” He describes the architecture and beauty of the city as awe-inspiring.

Michael ties the podcast together talking trend following and what inspires him about this style of trading compared to fundamental trading.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Bullies
  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Desert island trading
  • Value investing
  • Toxic masculinity
  • Noise elimination
  • EMT
Mar 16, 2018

Josef Marc is an author, entrepreneur, and CEO of Publica developing in the publishing world via blockchain. Publishing companies are some of the most inefficient businesses around today. Josef not only has cultivated a strategy to work around many of the hang-ups created by working with publishers, but has re-imagined the process altogether.

We have reached an era where people no longer care who the publisher is. Buyers can do their own research, read reviews and decide if they want to buy. How does blockchain technology help with this process? During an author’s campaign period, excitement can be generated through blockchain. Searching the content of books is easier through blockchain and there is a deeper sense of engagement throughout the community. Blockchain developments not only supply a platform for an author to get their name out, but it also creates a unique vehicle for payment. Josef also explains how blockchain can help with the re-sale of books and track when, what and who is buying a book or product.

For years Amazon has had a monopoly on book sales. Amazon relies on customer reviews to promote books and get others to buy. There is one small problem with this process – it is almost impossible to track the legitimacy of these customer reviews. How are reviews more accountable through blockchain? Everything is tracked and users have “tokenized” accountability.

Mar 12, 2018

Alison Gopnik is an American professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She is known for her work in the areas of cognitive and language development, specializing in the effect of language on thought, the development of a theory of mind, and causal learning. Her primary study is looking at how we learn and grow from the earliest years of our lives.

How did Alison get started down this path? She is the eldest of 6 children brought up in a bohemian style family. Being the oldest of 6 she had a deep understanding of children at a young age. She saw relationships between play and learning in babies first hand and was intrigued early on.

Alison also looks at the relationship between how long a baby is a baby before adulthood and how that relates to the rest of their life that follows. Humans generally have twice the amount of childhood than any of our animal relatives. If we have these extended periods of learning, compared to other mammals, what are human babies doing in that time? What are the other animal babies doing in that time? How does this time shape the rest of our lives in comparison?

Why is Alison so passionate about her work? She works with children everyday. She observes, plays and sees first hand how important they are. Other fields of science, particularly the artificial intelligence community, is beginning to take notice of her work. They are starting to look at children and cognitive development to help advance their programming. Introducing play and adaptation to their systems is one thing scientists have taken away from observing children. The more you play around and experiment in your childhood, the more you are able to adapt and adjust to the unknown environments. How do you go about taking on new challenges? Exploring and having fun with things often helps to solve problems quicker.

What are some lessons we are learning about kids and technology? Will this generation’s technology ruin the world? Michael and Alison end the podcast discussing the ever changing technological advances and what impacts it may or may not have on the world and the children living on it.

Mar 9, 2018

Martin “Marty” Bergin and James Dailey are on the podcast today. Bergin is the President and owner of DUNN Capital Management. He began working with DUNN in 1997 and took over the day-to-day operations of the firm in 2007. He became owner in 2015 (Bill Dunn remains Chairman). James Dailey became CEO of Dunn Capital in March 2016. DUNN has a track record that spans over 40 years.

Today’s podcast was recorded the week after the February 2018 volatility. Inevitably, when there is volatility in markets, machines are blamed. DUNN Capital is a trend following trading firm who uses computers for everything they do. They know fintech well. That said, there is a difference between DUNN Capital and “the machine” traders.

DUNN Capital trades from a higher volatility perspective and it has worked out well for them. They don’t charge management fees, but rather are completely incentive fee based. Further, at DUNN Capital they don’t reduce volatility for the sake of possibly reducing bad events–they still want strong profits and that is the only way they make money. Unfortunately, investors always remember drawdowns and they do try to minimize those without compromising their core system.

Finally, and this a surprise for many, DUNN Capital’s office is quiet and not very exciting. Trend following after all is about discipline and blocking out all of the media noise and information. DUNN’s investors get that. DUNN is managing money for the long term, not short term. Their trend following is geared toward data and everything in their research shows that long term trend following trading is their best opportunity.

Mar 5, 2018

Michael Covel walks the line on trend following.

Mar 2, 2018

Oliver Hart is the 6th Nobel Prize winner to appear on Trend Following Radio. He is a British-born American economist, and currently the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2016 for his work on contract theory.

Oliver is an expert on contract theory, theory of the firm, corporate finance, law and economics. He studies how ownership roles, structure and contractual arrangements are used in the governance and boundaries of corporations. How did he get his start? After receiving his PhD from Princeton in 1974, he began studying general equilibrium under uncertainty – particularly the behavior of firms when under uncertainty. Summer of 1983 was when his career path shifted – specifically to contracts. He became less interested in what firms should do, and more interested in how firms align with what shareholders want them to do.

Following the 2008 financial crisis, Oliver believed it was dangerous to start intervening in such a fragile economy. Yes, it was an unprecedented crisis but, Oliver believes it was totally overblown. No physical or human assets were disappearing and we had mechanisms such as bankruptcy to fall back on. What was the reasoning behind some banks beings saved and others not? Wall Street was bailed out but mainstream was not? Oliver looked at the crisis as arbitrary and rigged. Michael and Oliver wrap the podcast up discussing the differences in block chain and bitcoin and end the podcast with a 6 minute bonus Q&A.

Feb 26, 2018

What drives, distracts or motivates you? There has never been more availability to information than today. It is being pumped out every second of everyday. Is it useful?

Michael pulls a few quotes from a Farnam Street blog post and Nassim Taleb who further his point; we are not free, we are all part of the matrix, information is transforming us from nice people to neurotic people, and data that is not well discussed is toxic. Twitter, Facebook, CNBC, Bloomberg, and Yahoo Finance (among many others) are brainwashing the public. Shane Parish (from Farnam Street) also encourages people to think about what the information they are consuming means to them. Will it be relevant to them in a week, month, or year? He breaks the value of information down into two parts: Will the information stand the test of time? Does the information have detail?

The highest achievers have figured out how to sort through the chaos. They choose not to participate in the noise and tune everything out that is not essential. They are busy getting things done, rather than watching what everyone else is doing.

 

Feb 23, 2018

Martin Ford is a futurist and author focused on the impact artificial intelligence is having on society and the economy. He is also the founder of a Silicon Valley based software development company and recently started Genesis Systems, focused on creating sustainable water by way of atmospheric water retention systems. He has over 25 years of experience in software development and systems. His newest book is “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future.”

What was the trigger that caused Martin to go down the path of studying artificial intelligence? He was running a small software company from the mid 90’s to the 2000’s. He saw first hand in that short span of time how rapid technology was shifting jobs. Once his interest was sparked, he quickly began looking beyond just the loss of jobs and thinking of the economical ripple effect of jobs disappearing.

How do we disrupt the economical and social impact of severe unemployment? Martin proposes a “basic income”. Basic income would be enough money for the typical individual to get by on and survive, but not thrive. Controversial? Yes. Michael and Martin end the podcast discussing the ever looming threat of sustainable water and Martin’s newest venture, Genesis Systems.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Loss of jobs to robots
  • Basic income
  • Rapid advancements in technology
  • Poverty traps
  • Dignity and work
  • Technology in medicine
  • Population and pollution
  • Sustainable water
Feb 19, 2018

Cognitive dissonance, especially in politics, is running rampant. People regularly contradict themselves just to be right. Jordan Peterson is a psychology professor in Canada who has become popular due to his opposing views and his views on political correctness. Michael walks through an interview with Peterson and a sister article breaking apart that same interview and points out the key issues.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Ad hominem
  • Political correctness
  • Politics
  • Gender equality
  • Gender pronouns
  • The lessons for life from this are profound
Feb 16, 2018

William Damon is a Professor of Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence, and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is one of the world’s top researchers on development of purpose in life and author of the widely influential book “The Path to Purpose.” In January 2018 he was named one of the 50 most influential psychologists. This conversation lets listeners to rethink their purpose and take inventory on their day to day life.

How does one get closer to happiness? Purpose is what drives individuals through life. It creates positive aspirations. People who think beyond the day to day and move toward goals tend to have a more fulfilled, happier life. Bill’s work help’s youth find that purpose as well as help elderly keep theirs. He has seen first hand how purpose motivates and makes people obsessed with life.

What is the typical trigger for someone to start searching for their purpose? Is there always a particular starting point? Everyone has their own journey, however there are usually patterns young people follow while finding their purpose. Often they have observed a person that has had influence, and they want to emulate them–whether that be a parent, teacher, boss, coach, etc. However, these influences can also help to cause doubts–which may not be a bad thing. It’s a natural human tendency to get charged up and pursue dreams with more zest when others say it is impossible. It took about four years for Bill to get recognition he was going down the career right path. Success is not overnight.

Prospective thinking is the new “a-ha” revelation that is coming out in developmental psychology. It’s based on being able to shape your own future regardless of your past. Michael and Bill end the conversation talking common decency, universal morals and values.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Purpose
  • Prestige of colleges
  • Celebrity status misconceptions
  • Developmental psychology
  • Influences of childhood
  • Prospective thinking
  • Basic morals and values
  • Public schools and curriculum being used
Feb 12, 2018

February 2018 has marked the return of volatility in the stock market. With that volatility comes a slew of news propaganda – listening to CNBC and Bloomberg you would think the world is ending. Every news outlet has their own story on why markets are spinning. Think through what is going on. Go back and look at other volatile times. What’s the truth? Markets are just acting how they are going to act. Volatility is normal. It is to be expected.

Adding to Michael’s perspective, he reads a blog post by Cliff Asness of AQR Capital. Cliff further elaborates on “machine haters” and news spinning during volatile times. Michael ends reading feedback from a listener on political correctness and keeping his message true and straight forward.

Feb 9, 2018

Chris Ducker is a British businessman, the founder and CEO of Virtual Staff Finder and the Live2Sell Group of Companies. Chris’s new book is, “Rise of the Youpreneur: The Definitive Guide to Becoming the Go-To Leader in Your Industry and Building a Future-Proof Business.” His book branches out to all audiences – regardless of where someone might be in their journey of building a company or brand.

What is a youpreneur? Chris realized about five years ago that people were personally signing up to do business with him. Not the brand name or the staff he employs, but him. A youpreneur builds a business based around them, the individual, but not reliant on them. Chris has created a movement centered on this philosophy. As you build a business around “you” all sorts of other opportunities start to present themselves. He encourages listeners to think about, “What sets YOU apart?” From there you can cultivate a business specific to you.

Centering a business around your reputation puts you in top control of a company or product you built. Why waste all that work by building your company on rented land. Chris stresses the need to grow your platform on your own domain. Don’t rely on Facebook or Instagram to look out for your best interests. Once you have your domain, what is the best way to reach your audience? By the year 2020, according to Google, 90% of content consumed by users will be by video or audio. Michael and Chris end on tips and tricks on creating a successful podcast, or going on a podcast as a guest.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Building your business on your own domain
  • The ripple effect
  • Email campaigns
  • Starting a podcast
Feb 5, 2018

David Ricardo would be just as successful today trading as he was trading 100’s of years ago. He understood, from a trend following perspective, that there is no value in prediction. When trading, you take an entry signal, get into the market, and ride the trend. It is impossible to know with certainty where the market will go, so you trade with the market rather than against it. Some think they have a grasp on bitcoin, but there is no way to understand the “why” behind it or any other market.

You don’t have to be an expert to trade bitcoin, gold, coffee, or cocoa – just have rules in place and start trading. Small losses will happen but they are balanced: home runs – small losses = extreme gains. Do the homework, put rules together and go.

Still uneasy about diving into trend following? Check out performance from trend following traders such as Dunn Capital and Winton Capital. Much can be learned from information in public trend following track records.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Time series momentum
  • Cross sectional momentum
  • Definition of managed futures
  • Diversification
  • Trend following diversification
  • Drawdowns
Feb 2, 2018

Annie Duke’s new book is, “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts.” She has taken her poker expertise and graduate level degree of psychology and digested it into a book we all can relate to our lives. She is a poker player, author, decision making expert, and cognitive scientist. Her understanding of how luck, skill and uncertainty all play a role in life is fascinating.

The foundation of decision making crosses over to all genres. She touches on football play calling, crypto currency, and everything in between. In Annie’s book she breaks down “the worst football play in Super Bowl history”, relating to Pete Carol. She proves that it was actually the right call in terms of probabilities and mathematics, Carroll was just unlucky. Carroll is on record admitting that it was the worst result of a call in Super Bowl history, but not the worst call.

Under a stressful situation, like the Super Bowl, would you be able to make the right call? How good are you about checking your beliefs and keeping your bets in line? Are your decisions and outcomes lucky? Smart? Skilled? Very few outcomes are solely skill or solely luck. Phil Ivey, arguably the best poker player in the world, sorts out what was luck and what was skill after every win or loss he may have in a poker tournament.

Learning occurs best when there are lots of decisions to be made in a compressed amount of time paired with lots of feedback to those decisions. Annie first studied this in young children learning to listen, speak, and digest words and quickly saw this study directly relate to the poker table. How do you learn when there is a lot of noisy feedback? Having limited resources, how do you use those resources to make educated bets?

Life is a series of bets that compound on themselves. Annie makes the point that, “I’m not sure” is the best answer in many situations – and there is nothing wrong with that. Coming from a place of uncertainty helps to make more rational decisions. When that decision doesn’t turn out well, you can then analyze how you can improve that action going forward.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Crypto currency bubble
  • Decision making
  • Game theory
  • Decision making groups
  • Noisy feedback
  • Decisions in uncertainty
Jan 29, 2018

Do you buy and hold Bitcoin? For those who have held on through the turbulence it has turned out well–so far. Michael reads a lively blog post from a few years back regarding the right way to trade, the wrong way to trade and all the emotions people feel in-between. Michael breaks the post apart with commentary.

Jan 26, 2018

Charles Faulkner is back on the podcast today. Faulkner is an author, trader, and international expert on modeling the knowledge and performance of exceptional individuals. He was originally featured in “The New Market Wizards” by Jack Schwager. Faulkner has had one of the most popular podcasts on Trend Following Radio. His new work is centered on deciphering the complicated from the complex.

Warren Buffett recently said, “In terms of crypto currencies, generally, I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending. When it happens or how or anything else, I don’t know.” What does Faulkner make of Buffett’s prediction?

With all this new technology and language most will turn to others for advice. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fortune tellers pushing agendas. The idea of forecasting is to make people move. It is a way of getting people into action and doing things they would never do if they knew the truth. “Why can’t the magical thinkers be accurate?” Charles points out that unfortunately fortune tellers will be right some of the time and “reasoning by resemblance” is a common fallback trap for people.

How should you go about navigating this complexity? Complex and complicated are two very different things and the ability to identify what situation you are in requires a high level of thinking. Complicated situations or problems can be solved by asking a knowledgeable person for advice, reading a book, watching a YouTube video, etc. Complex scenarios take trial and error.

Still not sure if something is complicated or complex? Uncertainty is one quality of complex systems. It has non-linear causes and effects. Some little action can have huge ramifications. In the same way, it takes huge amounts of effort and money to change complex situations, for example: healthcare, opioids epidemic, etc. People frequently think that if they just have more information, different information or a smarter “guy” that they would be better off. Unfortunately, when you are in a complex situation, standard rules don’t apply.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Forecasting
  • The rise of magical thinking
  • Reasoning by resemblance
  • Network theory
  • Power laws
  • Crypto currency
  • Complicated vs. Complex vs. Chaos
Jan 22, 2018

Michael reaches back and brings on three authors from the archives with three great books: Fascinate, Simple Rules and Visual Intelligence.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Sally Hogshead on Fascination
  • Kathleen Eisenhardt on Simple Rules
  • Amy Herman on Visual Intelligence
Jan 19, 2018

Cognitive dissonance is everywhere. Michael quotes from an article by Alwyn Lau titled “Quick to Attack and Condemn: Why We do It.” Trumps presidency has produced arguably the greatest case of cognitive dissonance in history.

Many cognitive dissonance with the markets. What is the best way to counter cognitive dissonance? Take a minute, stop, and look for an alternative explanation. Stop hallucinating and start studying. Read perspectives from both sides and educate yourself.

Staying attached to news and breaking headlines only feeds the problem. Are you in cognitive dissonance about markets? Politics? Have you given yourself a back test?

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Donald Trump
  • Fact checking
  • Bitcoin
  • Breaking news
Jan 15, 2018

“The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” –Hunter S. Thompson

Taking the lead from Thompson...Michael goes in search of the edge.

Jan 12, 2018

Ben Hardy started blogging in May of 2015 and in just under three years has gained over 300,000 email subscribers and become the most followed writer on Medium.com. Ben is also just a few months away from his PHD in organizational psychology at age 29. His three foster children, as well as personal experiences, inspired his new book, “Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success.”

Ben sees willpower as a fight against the natural environment and consequentially, a losing battle. Getting out of typical environments helps to see things from the outside and remove yourself from the echo chamber of mass society. Experiencing emotion, both good and bad, is also important. Finding a sacred space that triggers good emotions is important to mix into daily routine – a place to go everyday that re-centers you, and you look forward to going.

How does Ben have time to write new articles, with great content, and continue growing his following? We live in an information world and having the right writing skills can help grow a business immensely. He is a big proponent of re-purposing evergreen material. Also, learning how to structure content and write headlines are some of the quickest ways to see boosts in traffic. Lastly, publishing your content on the right platforms is key. The three websites Ben believes provide the best opportunity for you to see massive growth are all covered in this great conversation.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Western and eastern philosophy
  • Getting out of your environment
  • Sacred space
  • Morning routines
  • Squeeze page
Jan 5, 2018

George Anders is a New York Times best selling author and journalist who has written for national publications spanning over 30 years. He shared a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1997, while at The Wall Street Journal. Michael is a huge fan of George’s classic, “Merchants of Debt” published in 1992. His most recent work is “You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Education.”

“You Can Do Anything” shows how humanizing technology has become one of the fastest growing jobs. 6% of technology jobs are programmer based with the other 94% being human relations based. Social media, branding, psychology, etc.–they have nothing to do with coding but are just as essential to running a successful technology based company. George gives one example of an exceptional sales person he met who happened to be an English major. He sat beside her and witnessed first hand why she was so exceptional at selling – it was how she talked to people and fostered relationships with customers over the phone. You don’t need a business degree to sell. You just need an intuitive social way of talking with people and making your customer feel comfortable. Building a successful company takes a combination of tech savvy and psychology.

Having the confidence and audacity to take a risk and reach out to some of the highest achievers in a field of your interest could be your greatest chance at a dream job. To be the best you learn from the best and you won’t get very far if you are shy about it. George also stresses that no matter what your major was in college (or if you even went to college), it is important to know that you can go in any direction with a career path. Michael and George end the podcast talking about climbing Mt. Fuji. George describes the gorgeous landscape, scenery, and a mistake he made that anyone following in his footsteps should avoid.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Confidence in business
  • Journalism
  • Targeted marketing
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Alumni connections
  • Audacity
  • Persuasion
  • E-books
  • The explorers spirit
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