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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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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.

Apr 11, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel talks about personal responsibility. Michael brings in basketball references from the Boston Celtics and their head coach Brad Stevens. He goes into the accomplishments of Stevens as a coach and as a quant. Stevens coaching is all about numbers and probabilities.

Michael plays a clip from Chris Mannix of the Vertical Podcast with Brad Stevens. Stevens explains how he uses statistical analysis in his coaching and how the “best of the best” like to be coached. Most don’t care about a numbers to numbers speech but everybody wants to know how they can best play and attack situations. Michael circles the conversation back to trading markets and trading on the numbers. Mannix then asks Stevens if coaching is just coaching being on an NBA sideline as opposed to other sidelines? He says that the longer he has been a coach the more he has been able to take emotion out of the game and it has become a job. By the time a game nears the end he isn’t even thinking of the game, he is thinking of the next practice, and how he can make the team better.

Michael ends with reading interview questions that were asked to Stevens; “Is your calm demeanor a part of your coaching philosophy?” He says that his philosophy is doing 99% percent of the work behind the scenes and hopefully that is enough to prepare him for the next game. He is always thinking about the next play, therefore you will not see him doing cartwheels on the sidelines very often. Stevens is also asked, “How is the style of play at the professional level evolving?” He says the game use to be about height and weight as opposed to skill. The game is now being flipped around.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Process vs. outcome
  • Sports and trading analogies
  • Statistical thinking
Apr 8, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Cole Wilcox. Cole is the CEO of Longboard Asset Management and has appeared on the show many times. Cole and his business partner Eric Crittenden are featured in Michael’s book, “The Little Book of Trading.” Eric and Cole started their firm from the ground up. They pushed hard and now have hundreds of millions of dollars AUM.

Michael and Cole start off talking about the recent volatility in the markets; crude oil in particular. Cole is a trend follower through and through. He says that there will always be fluctuations in the markets, but with the right tools and rules, you can ride those waves out successfully. He stresses that diversification is the only “free lunch” that exists. His firm focuses on building multi asset portfolios that provide diversification. “When you are in 130 markets around the world, you can’t know all the fundamentals about those markets, the only thing you have to guide you is the price,” says Cole. Focus on what those price trends are doing, positive or negative.

Michael moves on to ask, “Do you think of you and your firm as more offensive minded or defensive minded?” Cole says they are definitely more defensive minded. Any successful trader or sports coach knows that you will ultimately get ahead and compound your success by making sure you cover you bases on the defensive. Having an unemotional approach to the markets is key. Cole then shows a unique differentiation between trend following managers in regards to their amount of AUM. The way a trend following firm trades it’s money can vary greatly depending on how much AUM they have. The larger firms aren’t able to move into some of the smaller markets where big money can be made.

Cole speaks to the business thought process Longboard is built on, particularly what made him want to start his firm. He says there are three core components: Having a dream or vision about what you are doing, the people you surround yourself with to execute that dream, and the principles/operating rules of the game. When you get those three things to line up inside an organization you can create something magical. Michael asks how he has won people over and gotten them away from the “buy and hold” mentality. Cole says the trend of alternative investments is starting to grow rapidly. His firm takes a different approach in how they interact with clients. They focus highly on their communication process and willingness to be open.

NOTE: On this episode Cole recommends favorite business books. Here is the list.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Defensive trading vs. Offensive trading
  • Risk management
  • How to help people understand trend following
  • Diversification is the only free lunch
  • Price trends
Apr 4, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel discusses scams and what can be learned from them. Any scam that takes place today, we have seen before. In the early 2000’s Enron was at the height of its game. Turns out they had a fake trading floor set up just to convince Wall Street they were real. At Enron’s peak, their company was trading at $90 a share. When it crashed, their stock traded around $0.50 a share. And that story brings us up to current day with the latest Enron.

Michael continues to read more feedback, but this time from a listener of his podcast seguing him into the current blowup of the pharmaceutical company, Valeant. Valeant’s share prices went from $250 to $30 in short order. Even as the stock was crashing people were buying the hype and false fundamental information. Michael reads from sources such as Jim Cramer, Morgan Stanley, and Valeant themselves. He then connects articles from Enron’s press releases back in 2001 before their crash and press releases from Valeant in 2016. Quotes from both companies CEO’s have strikingly similar comments on their companies as events led up to their falling apart.

Bottom line, if you are in a stock that goes from $250 to $30…You screwed up. There is no reason for that except you. When the numbers say exit, you exit. Ego must be left out of your trading. Michael ends with excerpts by Steve Sjuggerud. Check your ego at the door, have a stop loss, and stick to your plan.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Ponzi schemes and scams
  • The Enron scandal
  • Valeant meltdown
  • Ego in trading
Apr 1, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Anders Ericsson. His new book is “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.” Starting around high school, Anders became interested in how he could best improve himself. When he got to college he studied how people could achieve above average performance. He did a study showing the number of digits average people could repeat back correctly. The average number was about 5-7 digits. After an hour of practice they were able to repeat about 20 digits correctly. With even more training one student was able to get 70 digits in a row. This showed Anders that the mind can improve with the right kind of practice. Performance is trainable and purposeful practice is key. One major component of successful practice is immediate feedback on whether you are accurate or not.

Michael moves onto a study Anders did on taxi drivers in London. They have to go through extensive training to drive the streets of London. They are average people, but train for many years to be able to pass this taxi driving test. After learning over 10,000 streets and different connections there brains actually changed. He compared bus drivers in London, who did not have to go through the same training, to the taxi drivers. The same changes did not occur in bus drivers brains like the taxi drivers. They did not have to master all the streets but rather just master certain routes. Michael asks, “If they stop their taxi driving profession, does the brain regress?” Anders says that yes, without practice your mind will revert back to the old state.

Next, Michael and Anders use Mozart as an example of nature vs. nurture. His father was a musician and taught young children how to play instruments. Mozart was able to learn many of the musical distinctions that he was famed for because he started so early, around age 3-4. Any child at that age is able to learn the things Mozart learned, however it is virtually impossible as an adult. This moves into the idea of brain plasticity. It is important to realize that you can’t push your child to learn longer than they want to learn for. About 30 minutes is their limit. Beyond that, they lose their capability for deliberate practice. Deliberate practice helps raise the bar and get you better than you were before.

The next example of extraordinary talent brought up are master chess players. They don’t look at pieces individually, but rather base their actions on pattern recognition. They see structure and see where attacks may be successful. Grandmaster chess players are able to play blindfolded and against 25 or so people simultaneously. These are skills that are acquired and practiced. Stephan Curry is also used as another great example of an extraordinary achiever. If you understand the practice an individual does then you can see their improvement over time. Michael asks, “Has anyone said that their improvement was easy?” Anders said that he has been studying this subject for over 30 years and about 50 people have said that improvement came easy, but after talking for a few hours, their answers change. Michael then asks about the validity of the idea that 10,000 hours makes you an expert. Anders says he hasn’t seen that 10,000 hours is a magical number. You need a lot of practice, but there are no magical boundaries. When people count the number of hours that they have done something, and it happens to add up to 10,000 hours, then that doesn’t make you an expert. For example, if you have driven 10,000 hours, that doesn’t make you an expert.

Lastly, Michael circles back to the importance of deliberate practice asking about the difference between youngsters and older people seeing the benefits of deliberate practice. Anders says that unfortunately most younger people that are so focused as a child in their performance don’t go on to have careers in the field they were pushed into. Those who chose and want to be in the sport they are in usually go on to continued success. Deliberate practice alone doesn’t make you successful. You need to have a sincere desire for what you are doing.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Discipline and practice
  • Solo and group practice
  • Flow state
  • Social Motivation
  • The late birthday rule
  • 10,000 hours of practice
  • Nature vs. nurture
  • Brain plasticity
Mar 28, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Tom Bilyeu. Tom is the co-founder and president of Quest Nutrition. He is the consummate entrepreneur who went from running a successful tech company to starting all over and developing Quest Nutrition. He has created his own narrative for entrepreneurial greatness.

Tom started out as what he would describe as a “good employee,” with never questioning the system. He didn’t take high school seriously but when he started college he buckled down. He heard that the brain doesn’t stop developing until the age of 25 and that helped shape a large part of his 20’s. Watching ‘The Matrix” at age 22, he realize that he wanted to be in control of his own life. Around age 26 he met his business partners with whom he would start his first company.

In 2012 his tech company was named the 42nd fastest growing tech company in North America. Soon after that, he had a talk with his partners letting them know he wasn’t happy, wasn’t having fun anymore, and wanted out. His partners felt the same way, and they proceeded to sell their company at the height of their success. Quest Nutrition came out of the folding of their prior company. They chose to go into the nutrition business by asking themselves “How can we deliver value to people.” Tom and his partners were told over and over again by factories that they were not able to produce the product they wanted to make, and the factories were right. They ended up buying their own equipment and re-engineering it to produce a nutrition bar unlike any other on the market.

Tom says that the combination of unbelievably good tasting food coupled with horrific ingredients makes for the worst kind of drug. Sugar affects the brain just like dopamine. Evolution has instilled a need for sugar in our brains and has brought us where we are now. Tom spent a long time learning about, from a metabolic state, what is nutritious for your body. The “auto pilot thought process” is one thing that Tom really works with people on. He works with people to focus on what their subconscious is telling them to do, and decipher what is right from wrong.

Michael asks Tom to go into international regulations. He says that dealing with all the different regulations can make a person go crazy. He doesn’t think that we should legislate sugar or saturated fat out of people’s diets. People should be able to have free choice. Tom’s life has been based on mastering one baby step after another and accomplishing everything with discipline and practice. Whether you are trying to get better in leadership, finance, or in relationships, everything is a learning experience. The more you attack something the more it continues to get better.

Lastly, Tom talks about letting go of the need to be right. He got to a point where he built his self esteem around being right. He soon realized that, that was actually helping him move further away from his goals. He switched his belief system over to focusing on identifying the right answer faster than anyone. There are so many that just want to protect their ego with being right, but as soon as they learn to let that go, a whole world opens up.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Discipline and practice
  • The Quest belief system
  • Escaping the Matrix
  • Tom Bilyeu’s ultimate reading list
  • Being authentic
  • Obesity
  • Autopilot thought process
  • Letting go of being right
  • Reaching your true fans
Mar 25, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Steven Pinker. Steven is a Canadian-born American cognitive scientist, psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. He covers phenomena that have traditionally not been looked at scientifically such as: visual perception, war and peace, and differences in writing styles. He has authored numerous books with his most recent being, “The Sense of Style.”

Steven knew he was an atheist from the age of 13. He never had a big revelation because God was never a real part of his consciousness. However, his religious awareness as a young man helped to guide his career into using science, and science only in his research. He puts science as the decider of “what is.”

Michael asks, “How has human behavior been shaped by evolution.” Steven based his book, “The Blank Slate” around the idea that humans aren’t born with a blank slate. He says that to have the ability to analyze speech and comprehend speech you have to have something there at birth. If the mind has a built in structure, where did it come from? Steven argues it comes from evolution and natural selection. He uses a combination of cognitive science and evolutionary psychology to back up his theories. He also covers why there has been so much controversy surrounding the idea that we are not born with a blank slate and why our common sense so often clashes with our political conviction. One reason he offers is because many think the idea of equality means that we should be indistinguishable, essentially like clones. He argues that fairness should not be based on sameness.

Michael goes back to the blank slate concept and asks, “Are we born good or bad? And explain what you have learned throughout your career about the evolution of language.” Steven says we have some good and some bad. The brain is massively complex and layered. There is so much going on in the brain when someone speaks and when someone listens and retains the information. Eggs and sperm have about 70 mutations. That is how we have natural selection that makes someone run faster, see better, think faster, etc.

Next, Michael and Steven dive into the history of violence, where it came from and where we stand today. Steven says you can’t get an accurate view of violence from the news. They find the worst violence and promote it. The rate of homicides have plummeted over the years. There are far less wars going on now than in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and so on. Since the end of WWII there has been a steady decline. Civil wars have still occurred but they are far less plentiful than they use to be and death rates are also less than they use to be. Steven’s next book, due to be published in 2017, is a defense of science, reason and humanism as a source of aiding in morality.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Evolution
  • Natural selection
  • War statistics
  • Cognitive science
  • Evolutionary psychology
Mar 21, 2016

Michael Covel brings a different perspective to countries and cultures. He starts off reading an article by Simon Black, “Việt Nam will become one of the top expat destinations in the world.” Due to China’s growth in the last 10 years they can’t compete making cheap goods like they have in the past. That business is moving to Việt Nam. The lifestyle that you can achieve in Việt Nam for a moderate amount of money is amazing. They have high quality at an inexpensive price. They are making it easier for locals to earn more money and thrive. Things began changing in the late 1980’s when the communist government opened up and encouraged private business.

Michael moves on to talk about his recent trip to Myanmar (formerly Burma). It was colonized by the British, but in 1948 Myanmar declared their independence. Their borders were closed off for about 50 years after that. Around 2011 they opened the borders to foreigners again, and in 2015 they held their first elections. There are 50 million people currently living in Myanmar. Now, there is a buzz about the country that shows they are clearly moving forward. The ethnic diversity is immediately apparent, and the hustle for commerce is everywhere. People there are beautiful, friendly and energized. The lessons for all of us are there staring back at us.

Michael encourages everyone listening to get on a plane and go. Go travel. Capitalization in America has made starting anything nearly impossible. People and commerce in other countries have more drive and ambition to make something happen. Don’t let the system control you. The system is rigged. Michael ends with a clip from comedian George Carlin on government control.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Capitalization
  • George Carlin clip on “The American Dream”
  • History of Myanmar
  • Growth of Việt Nam
Mar 18, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Catherine Stott. Catherine is author of, “Hypnotrading: A practical guide to using hypnosis and NLP to improve your trading performance: Self-hypnosis and psychotherapeutic techniques for traders.” Catherine believes that hypnotherapy and neuro-lingustic programing can help traders defeat inner challenges and become more successful. She got started working with traders after helping a friend, who happened to be a trader. He helped her understand the world of trading a bit more throughout their sessions and this ignited her interest deeper. She has been helping traders for years but didn’t start HypnoTrading until 2014.

Catherine was working as a psychologist when a friend referred her to see a hypnotherapist. She started to see the hypnotherapist for stress relief in her work and personal life. She was intrigued by the therapy so much that she switched career paths and sought training as a hypnotherapist. Hypnosis is essentially being in a deeply relaxed state of mind. It is an open state of consciousness, but you are fully in control of your thoughts. The first time Catherine experienced hypnosis she found it incredibly relaxing, and thought “I can’t believe that just happened, why haven’t I done this before?” Catherine dives deeper in the different steps she goes through in her sessions to get people in that relaxed state.

When Catherine trained as a hypnotherapist, part of the training was in NLP. Hypnotherapy and NLP are two different practices buy when used together they can be very powerful. An example of using the two fields together would be to associate pain with a color or a shape. It gives the client a way to view pain in a tangible way. They are able to think about that pain as an object that can be picked up and taken out of their body.

Michael moves on to asking, “How do different trading styles play into how you treat patients?” Catherine explains that there are certain universal techniques in hypnotherapy. When it comes to traders, the goal is to find the right trading style that works for them. There are many methods of trading and people should find the one that fits their personality. For example, some people are not built to use a strategy with precise rules and vice versa, some are not cut out for the fast pace of day trading.

Lastly, Michael and Catherine dive into the idea of modeling and goal setting. Modeling is a process of looking at other people and what they do, and essentially modeling that. One way to change yourself for the better is to mimic others who are successful in the field you are trying to master. It is a way of seeing what your results will look like. Modeling helps refocus. The majority of people may not have the chance to get next to a great trader, but everybody can get close to those insights through the written word or videos online. Find people that reflect your values and the style of trading that you want to achieve. There are thousands of trading books out there; you need to weed out what will work for you. Break down what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it. Defining your goals and how you want to achieve them is key.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Stress vs. anxiety
  • Meditation vs. hypnosis
  • Being in a relaxed state
  • Negative self talk
  • Fear of success
  • Modeling
  • P-A-C-E-R
  • Luck and expectation
  • Defining goal setting
Mar 14, 2016

Michael Covel talks about shaking up the establishment, referring to Trump and the presidential race. He sees hope that the political establishment could take a hit and just maybe a dent in the political health of America could happen. He isn’t saying that he would get great legislation through, or solve world peace, but he might shake up the political arena and detour the agendas of some special interest groups.

Next, Michael leads into discussion of the lottery, banks, and government. The lottery has become one of the biggest cons by government directed at the lower to middle class. They have convinced people that playing the lottery is a form of investing for their retirement. Michael plays a clip from the Virginia state lottery. They found a Jim Cramer look alike to get people to think of investing as they talk about playing the lottery and saving for the future.

Michael moves into reading an article by Barry Ritholtz that was written in January of 2016 when the Powerball prize was around 1.5 billion dollars. He makes the point that Americans spend 70 billion dollars a year on the lottery which is more than they spent on sports tickets, books, video games, movie tickets, and music plus all types of apps, games and programs bought from Apple’s iTunes app store combined last year. Barry then asks the question, “Is investing gambling?” His short answer, “Your goal as an investor should be to eliminate as much of the element of chance from your process and like the house, stack the odds in your favor… How do you become the house? You understand the nature of risk, are comfortable with the idea of uncertainty, rely on long-term measures of valuation, use mean reversion as a guideline to unknown future outcomes, allow time to work in your favor, understand the impact of leverage, recognize the folly of relying on forecasts, consider all possible outcomes; including extremely rare black-swan events, and accept that some losses are inevitable.” Above all, he makes the point that even though you have full control over how you invest, you do not have complete control over the outcome.

Michael ends with the nonsensical idea of government achievement. He says that we need someone who leads by example rather than telling us what the next government hand out will be.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Trump as President
  • Lottery and Powerball
  • Changing American politics
  • Getting something for nothing
Mar 11, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Bill Bonner. Bill is author of “Hormegeddon: How Too Much Of A Good Thing Leads To Disaster.” He has made a career out of skepticism. That skepticism started right out of college as he helped a friend start a grassroots organization, The National Tax Payers Union. There, he was able to get an inside look at government. It was during his lobbying for this grassroots organization that he saw the true motivations of politicians.

Bill and Michael start the conversation off talking about having too much of something, good or bad. Everything in the world, when you get too much of it, it is bad. Bill uses Germany as an example: When Hitler first got into power, his message to the people was more security. As Hitler kept gaining more power, the government took more control and things began to fall apart rapidly from there.

Next they talk about negative interest rates. There is a social contract being broken by the use of negative interest rates. Bill says the whole idea of work leading to output, leading to money, leading to investment, which leads to further output all falls apart with negative interest rates. Negative interest rates don’t stimulate the economy, they actually lead to people hunkering down and saving more money. This segues into the next topic of myth and reality. Myth plays a large part in society. Our conception of government is based on myth, and our idea of how government operates is far different than the reality of how it is actually run.

Michael and Bill move into discussing how internet has connected people and put information at everyone’s fingertips. However, it has proven too difficult for people to sift through all the information and find the wisdom inside it rather than the noise. Bill brings up a poll that was done by the National Constitution Center. The poll said that 41% of Americans are not aware that there are three branches of government. 62% of them cannot name what the three branches of government are, and 33% of them cannot name a single one of the branches. Americans can’t be shocked that a government doesn’t work the way it “should” work when they don’t even know how it “should” work in the first place.

Lastly, Michael and Bill talk about prediction and crashes. Since 1970 there has been seven recessions. Economists were able to predict none of them. Even in early 2008 when everything was crashing, not a single economist thought we were heading into a recession. This just shows how little the government basis their studies on facts but rather on human judgement. Bill says that unemployment is a great example. Unemployment rates aren’t subject to scientific analysis, they are subject to human analysis. The GDP growth rate is made up of the same kind of fictitious numbers and based on human judgment. It is more a measure of how quick people are going into debt not if they are better off in life.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Declining marginal utility
  • Unemployment
  • Negative interest rates
  • Myth vs. Reality
  • Government polling
Mar 7, 2016

Michael Covel starts the discussion off with Mark Zuckerberg and the virtual reality realm we are entering. There is now an infamous picture of Mark Zuckerberg walking down an aisle with a huge audience behind him hooked up to helmets. All audience members are in a virtual reality. Michael bridges the gap between speculative follies of the past, with the virtual reality bubble we are about to embark on.

David Harding and James Holmes wrote a book titled, “The Pit and the Pendulum: A Menagerie of Speculative Follies.” Michael reads an excerpt from the book, giving a historical narrative about how people have behaved over the centuries. People always get excited about something new, and that “something new” historically always seems to crater and crash. The chapter Michael reads from is titled “Basking in an Indian Summer: The Bombay Share Mania of 1865.” The excerpt relates to cotton exports during the American Civil War. Bombay saw massive profits in cotton and silver due to cotton exports being halted in America during the war. Due to the boom in the economy Bombay saw huge expansion in their commercial sectors. Investors were only focused on the short term rather than long term.

When the American Civil War ended the Indian economy hit depression. Banks went bankrupt and the housing market crashed. The Bombay commercial world went totally bust. This is only one of many speculative examples that are in “The Pit and The Pendulum.” History always repeats itself. All speculative follies go down the same path. The only difference is the name or market caught up in the mania. Whether it be technology, cotton, or tulips, it’s all the same. How do you protect yourself from the next big mania? Educate yourself and have a strategy in place.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Bombay cotton market 1865
  • Bubbles and mania
  • Profiting from the speculation
  • Having a plan in place
Mar 4, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel interviews Jim Rogers. Jim is a famed American investor based in Singapore. He was co-founder of the Quantum Fund, and has authored numerous books. Today’s conversation is geared toward the central banking system and the direction Michael and Jim think the world’s economy is headed.

Michael starts the podcast off talking about negative interest rates and if that is a possibility in the U.S. Jim brings up a study published in 2007 that said, “We have the Federal Reserve, we have 1,000 of the most brilliant economists in the world how can we be wrong? How can people say that we are wrong?” Jim says that for the last 30 years the Fed has done just that. They have gotten just about everything wrong. Janet Yellen has been getting everything wrong since before she was even head of the Fed. She blames her blunders on the market being wrong or the public being wrong. According to Jim, every head of the Fed has been an academic and political hack.

Michael posits, “Everyone should be able to imagine another stock crash, we have had enough of them.” Jim says that the debt is staggering right now so when we have a crash it is going to be utter chaos. When we have extreme economic problems a war usually follows as well as someone coming in on a white horse to save the day. That white horse person will also cause more debt and make things even worse. This is the first time in history that government is actually out to destroy the people who have saved and set away for retirement. The middle and saving class has been destroyed before, but that was because of war or inflation. Jim says that it is mind boggling that the government’s solution to clearing up debt is to create more debt.

Next, Michael asks, “How do you see China right now?” Jim says that when they had their big market crash they chose to invest in the future with money they had saved. In America, we did the opposite. We chose to bail out the bureaucrats and make sure the rich didn’t go poor. The European and Japanese central banks have come out saying that they will practice unlimited QE funding. They will print unlimited amounts of money to solve their economic problems. Most do not question this because most people have no idea who or want the central bank is.

Lastly, Michael asks Jim what the best way is to prepare for potential problems that may unfold in the future. Jim says the first thing is to not listen to the news or what you may read on the internet. Stay with what you know and if you don’t think you know something, do nothing..

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Negative interest rates
  • Central banking systems
  • Market crashes
  • The impact of unintended consequences
  • Preparing for the future
Feb 29, 2016

Michael Covel speaks to the timelessness of being a contrarian. He starts off sharing a recent email received. The email suggested Michael tone down the trend following talk and work with people to help find their calling in life. This email dovetails into an excerpt Michael plays of high school football coach, Kevin Kelley.

Coach Kelley is a contrarian thinking football coach. He is known for never punting and onside kicks after every touchdown. Coach Kelley ran the numbers and figured out the probability of winning with punting as opposed to going for it. He has had tremendous success from doing things differently and creating his own answers on the field.

Next Michael reads an article from Andy Staples, “The power of not punting: Why a college coach should adopt Kevin Kelley’s unconventional philosophy.” Andy Staples, a writer for Sports Illustrated, was curious about Coach Kelly and his unconventional coaching, so he visited one of Coach Kelley’s games. During that game, Coach Kelley had to give in and punt on one of his fourth downs. Andy asked, “How hard was it for you to do that?” Coach Kelley replied, “I didn’t really hate it at all. It is what it is if the situation dictates it is something that we have to do. It’s all about winning. It’s never been about anything else.” Coach Kelley’s players don’t win because they never punt and always onside kick, they win because the offense plays as if they are always going to lose. He turns the psychological tables on his opponents, and bases everything off of mathematical statistics. The math indicates that punting is actually the riskier choice.

Michael stresses that no matter how much fundamental information you think you may have, you are lying to yourself. The only thing that you can rely on in the markets is the price data. The only way to get ahead is to be a contrarian. Michael ends paraphrasing Ed Seykota, “Everyone gets what they want, win or lose. If you lose a lot you got exactly what you wanted, to lose.”

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Math in football
  • Thinking like a contrarian
  • Risk management
  • Fundamentals
Feb 26, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel interviews Michael Ellsberg. Michael is an American author, blogger and public speaker. Michael Covel and Michael Ellsberg met for the first time in Napa Valley at a Tim Ferris conference. Today they talk about Michael’s newest work, “The Last Safe Investment: Spending Now to Increase Your True Wealth Forever.” The book is about making money, being an entrepreneur, and giving insights that can applied today.

The two start off talking about entrepreneurism and dive deep into how people think about money. Michael, and his co-author Bryan Franklin, wanted to completely rewrite the script for how people think about making and spending money. Michael says the bottom line is to try and make your life as awesome as possible in every aspect. Most people want money for one reason or another. He has found that the three most popular reasons people want money is: happiness, freedom, and security. Michael always wanted to be a writer growing up. He used his savings to help pay his way to become a writer. Most save their money and figure that what they love can come later when they have enough saved up. The question is, “When do you want to start your passion?” When you retire? Or do you want to invest in those things you are passionate about now?

Michael E. then goes into how important the presence of meaningful friends are, otherwise known as your “tribe.” He says that it is important to travel and figure out where you want to settle down and live. When you nail that down you can start investing in learning about the place, people that live there and invest your time in making friends. Traveling and learning where you want to settle down has a lot to do with gaining critical self knowledge which, according to Michael E., is the greatest investment a person could make. When you are self aware you get far more happiness out of the money and time you invest in things. You aren’t wasting as much time and money experimenting, trying to figure out what you like.

Next, Michael E. answers the question, “What is the difference between a market skill and a super skill?” A market skill is any skill that you can sell directly, such as plumbing or marketing. Super skills are skills that can be taken across any job platform and are essential in any marketplace regardless of economic circumstances. Michael E. categorizes them into four categories: interpersonal, creative, technical and physical super skills. Different skills have different levels of entry. Public speaking is one super skill that they go into depth about. Michael E. says that if you learn how to speak publicly even semi well, you will be far above the rest of your competition.

One of the last topics discussed are the areas in your life that create happiness. Relationships, health and money are the three big contributors to happiness. Each time you spend money you should look at how that purchase will impact every area in your life. If you go to buy a meal you should look at how that will affect your health and if that bleeds into happiness in your relationships. Michael has found that all of these things are interconnected. When you look at things as a whole, spending money can be looked at as investing rather than spending frivolously.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Super skill vs. Market skill
  • Systemic spending
  • Cultivating meaningful relationships
  • Thinking three dimensional
  • Creating happiness in your life
Feb 22, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel speaks with Vineer Bhansali. It is Vineer’s second appearance on the show. He brings a world of experience to the subjects of behavioral finance and tail investing strategies. He believes strongly that sustained portfolio performance comes from expecting the unexpected and hedging both left and right sides of tail risks. Vineer’s firm, Long Tail Alpha, is based on exploiting values from the tails of the probability distribution and also exploiting how human behavior distorts the markets.

Michael starts the podcast off breaking apart Vineer’s white paper, “A Behavioral Perspective on Tail Risk Hedging.” Vineer says the way markets actually trade have very little to do with the idealized models that have been presented in the academic community. Those models are presented because they are easy to solve. All interesting things that go on in the markets are beyond the idealized scenarios. Vineer talks Michael through the idea of the “Three Investors.” His study is based on how people account for gains and losses. The study concluded that people are more adverse to losses than they are to gains, also people like security. Next, Vineer speaks to work done by Kahneman and Tversky that dovetails into his own studies. This work allows him to rationally explain the existence of tails in terms of very persistent behavioral biases.

Michael and Vineer comment on oil and how significant the price of oil has been in the last few years. Where does the behavioral aspects come into play? He says that both kinds of investors, rational and irrational, create market dynamics. He gives an example of a gambler that leaves the casino while he is up a lot, as opposed to the gambler that is down and keeps gambling trying to get it back. “You have people in this commodity market casino who are going in with a certain plan, but they can not execute on that plan.” He goes on to say that people who have a trend following plan are going to do very well. They can go short or long. Their portfolio’s tend to be more dynamic, and unless you know a whole portfolio you cannot make a rational decision. Michael says aggregation is the key word. You can’t look at a price for a hedge in isolation. That doesn’t do anything for anyone.

Michael then asks “What about the timing in Tail Risk?” Vineer says you have to be very open minded in how you construct a portfolio, and the timing relates back to the valuation. These concepts are well known in the finance world, they are just not widely practiced. Tail risk, hedging or insurance is what investing is all about. Michael ends with asking, “We all know everything we know about Oil, China and Rates could go in another direction. What will happen if your thesis doesn’t materialize? If things bounce back to the way they were?” Vineer says that at some point markets overshoot and his firm is set up for when that happens. He is always asking himself, “Where is the valuation? What signals are you getting? What objective framework and model can you build?”

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Is trend following mean reverting?
  • Tail risks
  • Tail hedges
  • Human behavior and biases
  • Importance of a dynamic portfolio
Feb 19, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel interviews Philip Tetlock. Phil is a Canadian American political science writer currently at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is right at the intersection of psychology, political science and organizational behavior. His book, “Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction,” is about probabilistic thinking defined. Phil is also a co-principle investigator of The Good Judgment Project, a study on the art and science of prediction and forecasting.

Michael starts off asking, “Regular folks can beat the experts at their own game?” Phil says essentially that is correct. He started The Good Judgment Project in 2011. It was based around forecasting and was funded by the government. He was shocked by the amount of “regular” people he recruited for his study that were able to compete with, or do a better job predicting than professionals working for agencies such as the NSA.

Michael and Phil move onto discussing the Iraq war. They discuss what the actual probability may have been of Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction. George Bush claimed that it was a “slam dunk” when clearly there was not a 100% probability of weapons of mass destruction being there. Michael asks, “When is society going to adopt more of a probability mindset?” Phil says that soft subjective human judgment is going by the way side. Pundits saying, “Someday this will happen” without any real substance, will come to a stop. As long as a forecaster can say, “This may happen in the future” then they can never really be held accountable for being wrong. Michael brings up the example of Robert Rubin. Robert worked for Goldman Sachs and was under Bill Clinton during his presidency. He was a great probabilistic thinker. Everyone loved him until the 2008 crash. Phil uses him as an example of even the best prediction people getting it wrong.

Bottom line, superforecasters look for aggregated data. They know there is interesting data laying around and they tend to look at crowd indicators heavily. The distinction between superforecasters and regular forecasters is their ability to start with the outside view and move to the inside slowly. Regular forecasters start with the inside view and rarely look at the outside view. Superforecasters also believe in fate less than regular forecasters do. When you highlight all the low probability events surrounding outcomes, such as the lottery, many chose to think the event was decided by “fate” or just “meant to be.” Superforecasters think in a way of “well someone had to win, and they did.”

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • What are superforecasters?
  • Probabilistic thinking
  • Looking at aggregate data
Feb 15, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel profiles Jeremy Siegel. Jeremy describes himself as “The Wizard of Wharton.” His website claims that he is credited with contributing and expanding the great bull market of the last two decades. Jeremy is also bestselling author of “Stocks for the Long Run.”

Michael moves right into playing a few clips from appearances Jeremy has made on CNBC. The first clip has Jeremy outlining his predictions in early November 2015: The Dow will surpass 20,000, oil can’t go much lower, and the dollar can’t go much higher. His predictions are perfect examples of predictions without any substance. They have no timelines, or data to backup why he feels the way he does.

Excerpt #2 was filmed around December 13th. The Dow at that time was at 17,300. The S&P was at 2020. Jeremy moves right into more predictions and generalizations. He doesn’t say “buy at this time” and “sell at this time.” Jeremy proceeds to use words like “tremor” and “relief rally.” It is hard to have wrong predictions and forecasts when you use words that have generalized meaning.

Excerpt #3 is from February 8th, 2016. Jeremy had to back peddle because his November and December forecasts had not come to fruition. He admits to being too bullish…sort of. He blames his wrong predictions on the market not doing what the market was suppose to do. Michael weaves in his commentary throughout the clips. The podcast ends with one of Michael’s favorite classic songs from the 1920’s.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Predictions
  • CNBC Analysts
  • What is a bull and bear market?
Feb 12, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel interviews Angus Deaton. Angus is a British American economist. In 2015 he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize for his work in economic sciences on his analysis on consumption, poverty and welfare. Those topics go into one of the most hotly discussed issues in America right now, inequality. He brings some great data driven insights and angles to the discussion.

Michael starts the podcast off discussing the benefits of winning a Nobel Prize and how it opens up debate and reshapes topics. Angus agrees that the Nobel Prize does get conversations going and as an academic, it allows him able to reach a broader audience. Michael and Angus move right into discussing inequality. Angus says that in periods where there has been the most innovation, this is typically when there is the most inequality. Angus also quotes a famed economist saying, “Data is like meatballs. I won’t eat them when I’m out because I don’t know what is in them and I won’t eat them when I’m home because I do know what is in them.” When going through data from places like India, where about 1/3 of all global poverty resides, it is hard to tell whether the data is correct. For example, although there is a rapid rate of growth, the poverty level has not raised. Are poverty levels not moving because the aid money is going straight to the 1% or is it because the data is not correct? Angus says the data is easily skewed so it is hard to really get a read on what is going on.

Next, Michael and Angus discuss how arbitrary the idea of “the poverty line” is. It is hard to classify what poverty truly is. Angus likes to look at the subject as if everybody is poor, but some are just much poorer than others. Measuring poverty across time and place is an impossible thing to do. Poverty data can be skewed by various factors such as if the area being studied has government healthcare or public school systems. Michael brings up the emotional side of poverty next. Angus says that it is very possible to be happy and sad at the same time. Emotion isn’t cut and dry. He has found that not having enough money does have a large impact on your happiness. However, most day-to-day emotional happiness comes from having contact with other people and friends, not money. Money starts to affect your day-to-day interactions if you are so poor that you are not able to do certain things that allow you to spend time with friends and family.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Unemployment
  • Minimum Wage
  • Poverty
  • Economics
  • Money and happiness
  • The birth lottery
Feb 8, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel starts off giving listeners perspective on the feedback he receives. Over the years Michael has received thousands of emails that have created insightful and thought provoking give and take discussions. He reads an email that came in recently on a fairly controversial topic. The listener talked about his disagreement with Yaron Brook in episode 183. He disagreed on the shared viewpoint between Yaron and Michael. The listener’s email also touches on unemployment, minimum wage, and government regulations. The email was extensive and Michael gives his feedback as he makes his way through reading it.

Michael furthers the discussion by moving into reading from an article titled, “The Case Against the Minimum Wage” by Daniel Bier. Daniel says that there is much we may not agree on, but when there are topics that economic professionals do agree on, we should take notice. Economists across the board agree that by raising the minimum wage we will actually increase unemployment. The article’s main premise is that the core value a young person gets from their first job is the life experience rather than the monetary gain. Working with a team, punctuality, and taking direction are just a few fundamental skills that can be taken away from a minimum wage job. These jobs create a track record for an individual that lets them move on to other higher paying jobs.

So many people miss the point: It isn’t about the money, it’s about the experience. Having exposure to minimum wage jobs at a early age has long term effects. Daniel Bier says that it is actually more about politicians trying to feel good than actually doing good. Michael finishes with a quote from Nobel laureate James Buchanan further touching on the ramifications of raising minimum wage.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Unemployment
  • Minimum Wage
  • Ayn Rand
  • American economics
  • The seen and unseen consequences of a law
  • Libertarianism
Feb 5, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel speaks with Steve Kamb. Steve is the author of “Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story” and has built a career in the niche of Nerd Fitness. He gives great insight on how to reach a specific audience and gain a loyal following. He knew he was horribly mismatched in his career and had to make a drastic change. Not wasting much time, Steve moved to Atlanta and took a job making half the money and loved it. It was at this job where he started getting into fitness and creating a website to help others. His company, Nerd Fitness, soon turned into a full time job.

Michael starts the podcast asking, “What is your definition of a nerd?” Steve quotes Wil Wheaton, “A nerd is not what you love but how you love it.” He elaborates saying that you could be a comic book nerd, medical school nerd, Star Wars nerd, etc. Steve’s outlook on fitness is about keeping a healthy lifestyle while keeping your other passions alive. It took Steve years to get his fitness regime down. He knew there had to be more people that were struggling to find the right information when it came to fitness. Steve started writing about sound strategies to build solid plans to get on the right fitness path. He uses movie and comic book references to help get his clients motivated and relate more to what he is teaching.

Steve also started looking at his life, and his clients lives as if they were on their own “hero’s journey.” He calls it the “hero’s call to action.” This journey is cyclical. You go out and come back and it is never ending. He shares stories of superhero’s like Clark Kent/Superman or Indiana Joans/archeology professor. Regular men that go out time and time again on their hero’s journey, only to return back to reality after accomplishing what they set out to do. His book, “Level Up Your Life,” is about re-framing ones life in a hero’s journey type of way. Strength training, yoga, live action role playing, etc. could all be things that motivate you to get off the couch and start your own hero’s journey.

Michael and Steve finish up sharing tips on how to travel smarter. Steve says that when it comes to jet lag, what works best for him is exercising immediately after traveling. Also, buying the cheapest ticket can ruin the first few days of a trip by adding to your jet lag.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Traveling domestic and internationally
  • The hero’s journey
  • Marketing yourself
  • Marketing to a niche
  • What is a nerd?
  • Tailoring your fitness needs
Feb 1, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel discusses three topics: the idea of two Americas, crowds, and his recent Barry Ritholtz interview. Michael starts off reading from an article titled “Two Americas.” The article focuses on people who contribute, and those who do not. People who work and those who do not. The article disagrees with the notion that all incomes should be equal. Different choices lead to different consequences. Those who choose wisely have a greater degree of success and should not have their success taken from them because others chose unwisely. The article goes on to say, “Entitlement has replaced effort in American society.” Just because you went to college doesn’t mean you are entitled to a certain level of income. On the other hand, those that do not have an education or work hard to make something happen are also not entitled to a certain level of income. Achievers do not want a pat on the head or a fake handout. Free money doesn’t work. You need passionate effort for there to be a desirable end result. If the drive is not there then the result is there.

Michael then reads from a blog post by Seth Godin titled “The crowd, your work, and a choice.” Seth dives into crowd mentality. He says that the public would rather, “Watch a movie than read a book, stand in lines for the popular attractions…likes explosions, resolved plots and ample lighting…Crowds only care about fast, easy, cheap, fun, now and simple.” Crowds demand that they are told how much they will make and in what markets. When it comes to investing and trading there are no deadlines. Trends come and go, there is no timeline.

Michael moves on to discuss his recent interview in New York with Barry Ritholtz. He talks about himself and Barry as a piece of media and how media is becoming more individualized with the help of social media. There are so many outlets to get your name out whether it be your blog, podcast, or news column. All these places are just distribution outlets. Places like twitter and Instagram give you a platform to contribute value and feedback to people. It is now easier than ever to build a one man media conglomerate.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Two Americas
  • Crowd behavior
  • Marketing yourself
Jan 29, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel interviews Mebane Faber. Mebane is a noted author, blogger, and portfolio manager with Cambria Investment Management. His new book, “Invest with the House: Hacking the Top Hedge Funds” is out now. This is Mebane’s 4th appearance on Trend Following Radio. Michael and Mebane have a slightly different outlook on trading but they do align. The biggest similarity is that they both come at the markets from a quant way of thinking.

Michael starts the podcast off asking, “Why do some of the big name guys motivate you so much.” Mebane says he always loved investing. In his spare time during college he would explore finance. A fund manager named John Griffin, who was Julian Robertson’s right hand man, taught at Mebane’s school UVA. It was in this class that many famed hedge fund managers provided his first initiation. The managers would give examples of different kinds of research they would do. Mebane knew he would never have the resources to do that type of research, so he turned to studying the numbers instead.

Mebane’s new book is based on mimicking the trades of some of the most successful hedge funds. He says it isn’t too hard to identify the “Michael Jordan’s” of the finance world. The key, however, is to figure out who’s trades you could piggy back off of and be successful. You have to go into this believing markets aren’t efficient. Where do you find the best players? Mebane studied 10-12 managers that friends and colleagues suggested. The most obvious was Warren Buffett. Turns out, you still make amazing returns piggy backing off of Warren Buffett’s trades. You cannot trade futures in this way or trade shorts, you must be long only. Trading with this strategy, as opposed to buying straight into these big hedge funds, gets you away from paying huge fees and large taxes. In Mebane’s latest book he goes much more in depth into this topic.

Michael then goes into Twitter questions posted by listeners. The first question, “My market is too small? What should I do?” Mebane says there is a “home country bias” among people. People like to invest in their own markets. The Asian countries happen to have the worst of this bias. It is a terrible habit to have if you need proper asset allocation in your portfolio. You must look beyond your own country, be agnostic in your trading. Don’t let your emotions or irrationality rule.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Home country bias
  • Diversification
  • Different trading strategies
  • Finding the most successful hedge funds
  • Margin of safety
Jan 25, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel starts off quoting famed trader Stanley Druckenmiller. Stanley shares his views on betting big and diversification. Michael expands on Stanley’s views by stressing how crucial diversification is to a portfolio’s success. You must be open to many markets to handle your risk management. And when markets start to go your way, you have to “bet the ranch.” When one market in your portfolio takes off you need to go big and make the most of it. This is where your profits will come from. Note: Stanley Druckenmiller had two big mentors in his life. One of the two influences was George Soros. The two have been business partners for years now and have made a fortune trading trends. These men do not tout themselves as trend following traders but Michael describes them as “kissing cousins” to trend following.

Michael then reads an article from Josh Brown titled, “Everyone is a closet technician.” In the article, Josh claims everyone is a technician. What is a technician? Josh defines them as, “Someone who cuts right to the chase and studies actual prices and behavior instead of puzzling over the causes of prices and behavior like everyone else.” He says that investors only pay lip service to fundamentals. Technicians find truth and meaning in price and the action that is currently happening. They respect the idea of sentiment. Sentiment is how valuations come to be. Prices change and with that the truth is constantly changing. Technicians do not waste their time with the “Why” question. Hindsight bias is a slippery slope. Josh says, “Fundamentalists will share their reasons with anyone willing to listen. The technicians will take these reasons with stride and focus on what is happening, not ‘why.’ The ‘why’ will always be much more apparent after the fact. After it doesn’t matter.” Price will do its thing regardless of what people predict. Michael doesn’t believe the people on CNBC throwing out predictions are technicians. Trend followers are the only people who fit the mold of what Josh describes in the article.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • What is a technician?
  • Diversification
  • Risk management
  • Trading off price
Jan 22, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel interviews Robert Carver. Robert is author of “Systematic Trading: A unique new method for designing trading and investing systems.” He got his start in finance working at AHL. Robert started with AHL in 2001 during his final year of college. It was at this time that he was introduced to quantitative trading and began thinking of finance in a systematic way. He later went back to AHL, working there from 2006-2013.

Robert doesn’t tout systematic trading as the only way to trade. He says there are some great traders out there that aren’t systematic traders. However, the majority of people need a system to be successful. So how does Robert define a system? He says a system must be objective, repeatable, and transferable. If you can’t get the same results using a different person then it is not a true system. The rules must be transferable from one person to another and the results must be objective and repeatable. Most do not have a good understanding of statistics, and they get confused in thinking that the more complicated a system is, the better it must be.

Robert and Michael move on to discuss behavioral finance, prospect theory and the difference between trend following and high frequency trading. A high frequency trading system is harder for traders to meddle with than trend following systems. The trading time frames are much shorter in high frequency trading which lessens the opportunity for human intervention. Most traders fail because of their own meddling. If you can avoid the temptation to change your system then you will be more profitable in the long run.

Working for a company like AHL would have been interesting to see from the inside during 2008. Michael asks, “What were you seeing from the ground in 2008? How did that change you and how you viewed systems?” Robert says it showed him that people truly don’t know what is happening or going to happen. Systematic traders, including himself, were able to make money because their systems saved them. When their systems saw markets going down, stops helped them exit trades and even go short in some cases. This is where all the money was made. Robert does say there are rare times you should intervene with your trading system. For example, he was forced to modify one of his systems when he found out there was going to be a coup in Thailand and the currency was going to be suspended. It’s not that he thought he could forecast what the price was going to do better than the system, but he did know trading that market was going to be impossible. Robert says there has been maybe three other times when he has had to intervene with his system. They are rare and extreme circumstances.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Unpredictable risk vs. Predictable risk
  • Systematic trading
  • High frequency trading vs. Trend following trading
  • Black swans
  • When to intervene with your system
  • 2008 crash
Jan 18, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel talks prediction. He opens with an excerpt from Seth Godin on how he thinks 2016 will unfold. His predictions are based on events that have always happened and will always happen, poking fun at the idea of having a “crystal ball look” into the future.

Michael moves on to market timing and reads an excerpt from The Institutional Investor titled, “Market Timing is Back in the Hunt for Investors.” The article states that market timing can be done correctly if you use a combination of trend following and contrarian views. Michael disagrees with the article stating that you need diversification. You can’t pick one stock and try and predict the top or bottom. Making that kind of bet on one market will bankrupt you. You need a portfolio of diverse markets so your winners can pay for your losses.

Michael then plays three clips from Daniel Kahneman on overconfidence, playing odds, and why we make the choices we do when spending money. Most of what we read in the paper is about overconfidence. People put a lot more weight on negative events then on positive ones. However, many decisions people make are optimistic. Kahneman says it is good that we have a lot of optimism in society. Unfortunately, over confidence and loss aversion seem to work in opposite directions. Most do not know the odds when they take risks. People save and borrow at the same time. Investors tend to view each stock they buy as an individual account rather than part of a bigger picture. These are just a few examples of how society as a whole is generally narrow-minded. Kahneman shows how intricately trading and psychology are linked together throughout the three clips. Michael finishes up the podcast with Ed Seykota singing.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Diversification
  • Seth Godin’s 2016 predictions
  • Market timing
  • Understanding psychology in trading
  • Pitfalls of overconfidence
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