The post that simply refuses to post!
Lest you think I am some sort of masochist (due to my frequent and public moans and groans), I should state I really do want to help. To help you, however, requires you [to] help me. So some history...
Trading/investing is an insular pursuit; I believe it is akin to being an artist (writer, painter, sculptor, etc). That is, I work for myself, by myself -- and alone. This pursuit has both advantages and disadvantages. Many of the advantages are obvious. For those, I refer to Michael Shropshire's always-excellent (and, in this instance, timely) comments from his site, Innerworth:
As a trader, the bottom line is the amount of money you make on your trades and pocket. It doesn't matter how you go about doing it, and it doesn't matter how long it takes you, or how hard you work, for that matter. For the seasoned, talented trader, it may take as little as an hour to make a thousand dollars, but for the novice trader, it may take a month to take home a thousand dollar profit. That's the advantage of trading. You're completely free to do whatever you want, whenever you want. As a trader, you don't need to please anyone but yourself. You are on your own, and if you are like top-notch traders, you relish the independence.
Top traders are carefree and independent. They don’t care what others think of them. The only opinion that matters is their own. Many people forget about the advantage of working for themselves, however. They can't shake the idea that they have to please others. They act as if someone is constantly looking over their shoulder, waiting to find a mistake, and quick to offer criticism. But the nagging feeling that you must please others isn't going to make you a profitable trader. It is vital for success to realize that when it comes to trading the markets, it is just you, the markets, and no one else. You should enjoy your freedom.
Trading is one of those rare professions where you can be socially incompetent, yet still be successful. It's much like being an eccentric artist. Successful trading has nothing to do with getting along with people, trying to persuade them to do what you want, or assuaging them. As long as you can develop a winning trading strategy and implement it flawlessly, you will be profitable. This isn't the usual state of affairs, though. Throughout our lives, parents, teachers, and supervisors have told us that unless we obey the rules, we'll get in trouble. When we break a rule, we feel guilty. Some people never learn to stop thinking that someone is looking over their shoulder, trying to find fault. Even when no one is looking, some people actually make up a type of pseudo-parent to guide them. They pretend that there is someone out there, an omnipresent overseer, ready to punish them if they don't follow the rules.
Why would anyone want to make up a pseudo-parent or supervisor? It provides solace. When people work a typical job, they feel security in believing if they perform their job duties well, then they will be paid well. Most people prefer structure and regularity. It is nice to believe that if we follow the rules, we will be rewarded. But the trading world doesn't work that way. It's not like a 9-to-5 job where you put in your 40 hours and get a paycheck. As a trader, you could put in 10 hours and get a big bonus one week, and put in a grueling 80 hours the next week, and get nothing. If you like structure and certainty, you may feel uneasy about the uncertainty of it all. But if you enjoy your freedom, trading offers a way to express your creativity and reach your potential. Enjoy your freedom. As a trader, you can express your independent streak. You may be all by yourself, in the end, but you are also free to do whatever you want. You might as well enjoy it, work hard, and take advantage of unlimited market opportunities on your own terms.
Through it all, I wrestled with how much to share. Did readers prefer "buy, sell, or hold" ideas or did they prefer lessons on how to fish for themselves? I chose to provide the latter. In that objective, I admit that I could be sometimes oblique, gnomic, allusive, even "perplexing"; my goal was to 'teach' you how to think for yourselves re investing not to create an army of epigones. I wrestled continually with how much to share and how best to share it; the combination proved sometimes toxic when my inability to know how to get along with other people was added to the admixture.
I suspect my obliquity frustrated many readers, scathing critic included, and when coupled with my "rare ability" to foresee market action, readers became that much more frustrated. My talent, such as it is, comes from years of difficult and solitary work. I have tried to share it, but to little success, it seems; I note the extremely incisive comments from the original respondent. In sum, this talent might not be transferable, no matter the quantity (or quality) of information, understanding, or perceptions [that] I might share.
For example, during my more "gnomic" days, I suggested the market would nosedive (year end, 1999) and that JDSU and QCOM would soon crater. (One writer in this thread already noted these long-ago comments. For more recent 'predictions', read the archives.) After those 'predictions' became fact, the universal response was, "Please, do not be so oblique; your track record is so phenomenal that I will pay them heed no matter my opinion!" I believe that, even were I to grab the investor by the lapels and shake hard, shouting all the while, "BUY XYZ!", he or she simply prefers lassitude to action. The market provides to each of us precisely that which we seek. (I seek profits; however, not every investor does.)
I can think of no better example of this attitude in recent action than my many, many recommendations to "Buy Google/GOOG! It is a Singular Opportunity(TM), an opportunity like this comes along only once in a generation", etc. Guess what... Many people, including readers of this blog, did not buy Google/GOOG. (Surprise, surprise.) Also included are those who stated they would act upon any clear signal from me. Certainly, I could not have been clearer re Google/GOOG.
How can I help you become successful investors? Thus, my frequent call for your questions and comments; the more interactive this venue, the more we help each other. (And, yes, I crave community.) So, thank you for your past and future comments on this topic, and others.
My New Year's Resolution -- this blog entry will represent the final post on such a private matter. From this post forward, this blog returns to its avowed goal: to worship Mammon... er, make that, "How to make money in the markets."