Actually, the name of the sequel to the hit movie Wall Street is Money Never Sleeps and when it debuts in 2009, I have little doubt that its focus will be on absurd sums of money, greed, opulence and corruption in the finance industry. As will the upcoming TV show about hedge fund managers from Entourage creator Doug Ellin. Unfortunately, this is what the majority of people in and out of finance think Wall Street is all about (while there should be more emphasis put on the journey as the awesome There Will Be Blood does (saw it two nights ago, review forthcoming).
But other than the first paragraph, this post does not deal with Hollywood’s perception of the financial industry; instead, I’m talking about the idiots who keep emailing me, thinking that this YouTube video shows my strategy.
This is their main exhibit as to why I stink at trading and am doomed to fail! They are idiots.
Let me make this very clear: the strategy I advocated in the video was ONLY for the $1 million CNBC stock picking contest. Since there were over 375,000 contestants and contest rules put the emphasis on weekly gains, it was right to bet 100% of your portfolio on low priced stocks like Six Flags (NYSE: SIX) (as the winners later proved).
Not so in the real world because in the real world, you have to worry about the risk of losses! In the contest, whether you gained 5% to 20% or lost 5% to 100% of your capital, you didn’t win, so the risks didn’t matter. It was all about big gains. Go big or go home. When I first started trading, I frequently risked 50-75% of assets on one play, but that was 1999-2000 and ignorance truly was bliss. Now, if you read my blog, book or watch my DVD, I recommend using no more than 20-30% of assets per play and maybe even 5-10% for beginners.
So, what can these nasty idiots teach us? Simple—there are a ton of dumb people in this business. They are quick to jump to conclusions without doing the proper due diligence. (Think me and my investment in Cygnus) I don’t write this to mean, I bring it up because for my first post in 2008, I want you to understand that you must learn to be thankful for their presence because it is their money that you will take. After all, these idiots either manage their own money or if we’re lucky enough, they manage OPM (other people’s money) too, both of which they will most likely be handing over to people who do take the time to do thorough – and I do mean thorough – research.
A perfect example is me and my investment in Cygnus. I fell in love with their technology and its potential and besides losing a bunch of money (nearly $500,000 as of my last count); I learned a ton of lessons. Lessons that will help me for the rest of my life and which I will gladly share with you. After all, when I made that investment, I was one of those idiots I now write about. The more experienced market players must have been drooling to take my money, the money of my friends and family and my fund’s investors. After all, I was one of those idiots who managed other people’s money. (See how it all comes full circle?)
So, as my first lesson for 2008, don’t go to random restaurants in NYC. Do your due diligence. You can start with this list.