March 6, 2009

The Computer is a Moron (Peter Drucker)

I often use this space to reference the methods I use when interpreting data and putting my conclusions to work. It doesn't take a genius, it's better to be lucky than smart sometimes I always say, but it does take a certain type of character. Am I more well adjusted than most people, I don't know? Do I control my temper, not all the time? What I believe separates me from most of my counterparties is that I haven't the behavioral vulnerability that is such a disadvantage when owning a piece of the capital markets. And although this widespread shortcoming nestles itself under my very skin from time to time I've come to easily disassociate myself from immediate circumstances and slip right back into focus.

This, by the way is more or less how I manage all the people and events in my life as well. It is immeasurably useful and no matter how much I try to pass it on to colleagues and clients I'm often met with blank stares, amused chuckles at best, or phony cavalier attitudes at worst. In the high net worth universe there is an untold truth that links those with ample resources with those with tighter budgets. When the markets are in retreat they all fall hard, pray to reckless decisions masquerading as decisiveness and blame everything in sight but themselves.

I used to say to people in the late nineties that I knew the end of the tech bubble was near when I began receiving advice from nearly everybody I’d met including my cab drivers. Many of whom have since left the capital markets summing up for themselves, after the bubble burst, that managing one's own money is never what it's cracked up to be.

My point? Even bear markets can form bubbles.