I know I know. Third day in a row and the last post was 2 days ago. Also it was complete fucking shyte. I don’t mind it so much though. As I’ve mentioned a dozen dozen times getting back in to the swing of things is like that. Add the contextual sensitivity of not realizing quite what’s going on until after it’s happened and you end up with an eleven hundred word stream of consciousness cruft post.
I wonder about leaving that kind of thing up. Whether to make a concerted effort to cull and edit what I’ve actually put up here, trim the fat and such. And I come down on both sides pretty hard.
On one hand I think it would be a tremendously useful exercise for me…I think. What’s the value really? I’ve been kvetching about that for the better part of a year, assuming that there’d be something worth gleaning from that distillation process. In fact that may be the lion’s share of benefit from the exercise. I can’t imagine there’s anything so fucking interesting in these accrued ramblings. But the task of editing and wordsmithing? Well shit, that’s good practice regardless of whether the result is worth a crap.
On the other…who gives a shit? It’s not like there’s anything here worth going back to. I mean even I’VE stopped going back and reading old posts, which is rather saying something.
One of my more indulgent pleasures has always been to go back and reread my old stuff, assuming it’s not too cringy. It’s reassuring to see the kind of continuity that I don’t feel in my personal history reflected in what I’d written at a point in mental/emotional context that I’m divorced from in time and mood.
It may simply be that being the aggregation or the thought process is the outcome. Hell, that conjures a near perfect metaphor.
There are really two philosophical camps in trading the markets (any markets really, underlying security classification abstracted entirely.) And stick with me on this. I can get you to this without going super deep:
- Fundamental Analysis
This is the school of thought that says “You can determine the actual value of a company by understanding its internals.” So they’ll pour over quarterly reports looking at how much they spend on research, their market position, how much debt they have, their revenue number and margins, competition and supply chain stability. They’ll come up with a number that represents the intrinsic value of the company. Check the market price and it’s either trading above that number (overpriced) or below it (a bargain.)
It’s a LITTLE more complicated in the details. But that’s the Tao of it.
- Technical Analysis
TA says: That’s cute and all, but people have already done all that work and all of that information is actually baked in to the price already and besides, none of that matters in the face of the actual price. When push comes to shove, price goes up when people buy and down when they sell. You’re not trading against the fundamentals of the market. You’re trading against other traders. It’s a crowd psychology game. So you can watch trends of the price and volume charts and literally see a distillation of what people are thinking and (more importantly) how they feel about the market. Sure, you can SAY Microsoft is worth $345 a share. But something is in fact worth what someone will pay for it, no more, no less. That’s what value IS.
What’s really funny is that the TA guys think the Fundies are just wasting time agonizing over irrelevant details and the Fundamental Analysts think the TA guys might as well be using astrology (which, by the way, is complete fucking horseshit.)
If you’re at all interested in that stuff I’d very highly recommend reading any of Jack Schwager’s “Market Wizards” books. They’re collections of interviews with top traders of all kinds. It’s amazing to discover that they all think each other are full of crap and yet they’re successful. They’re not tough reads and they’ll give you a really interesting glimpse into a world that seems more or less like witchcraft to the world at large.
Now…my point…well shit…what was my point.
Ah. The metaphor.
So that corresponds to those two attitudes of writing and really, thinking. Restated with that in mind:
I could go back and really work through my old thought processes. Distill it down to see what’s there, in the past. There are things there, like the second, third and fourth time you reread a book; things to pick up that I may have missed the first time around. And so the argument to really getting all asses and elbows in the old writings has legs.
On the other hand…
Who and where I am now IS the downstream result of all of that. To use the TA metaphor it’s all already “baked in” to who I am and maybe that’s enough.
So what does it fucking matter really? Go forward. Stop binding myself to the past. Be who I am, damn the torpedoes and full steam ahead.
I LIKE that idea, and over time I find that easier to accept, that, in the insanely (yet decreasingly) cryptic words of my father as he fought for words said “Mikey remember, you’re YOU.”
The relatively astute will have read that trading philosophy comparison and thought “well, those might be Platonic ideals. But what about The Middle Way?” And indeed, that’s absolutely an approach that has legs. There are an awful lot of traders who check some key metrics of a companies “internals” but still “trade the chart” in the TA fashion.
And that’s what I settle on. It makes sense to me. “Why not both?” meme.
It’s interesting. When there are two extreme approaches like that, to take the middle way can be a dangerous lack of commitment, watering down effort. But I think in this case (well ‘these cases’) those philosophies aren’t really in opposition in any real way.
The synthesis is the richer path.