Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sure glad I'm not a pro commentator

Over the last several years my blog has evolved from a pure fitness and training related blog, to one where I feel free to talk about whatever pleases me. Occasionally it pleases my readers and that makes all of us happy. But if it doesn't make you happy, that's your problem, not mine. I am not dependent on your happiness for mine.

In many ways I'm a contrarian, believing that the herd is almost always wrong. If it makes the herd happy, it probably won't make me happy. I will cheerfully use that as a rough cut to winnow out lots of crap, accepting that in a few cases, the herd might be right. Since the herd following my blog is very small, I choose to consider all of us outliers from the great unwashed herd.

Look at the stock market. There are people that believe the technical analysis tells the story, that corporate profits and such determine which stocks go up and down. Poor naive fools. There are two things that rule the stock market, fear and greed. People fear to miss a trend and buy in after it's already a trend, which is when it's too late. People get greedy and hang on too long, or bail out too soon to jump to the next hot tip.

Quite a few years ago I happened to be hanging out in a stock broker's office, and got to chatting with a  much older guy. I was a bit startled to learn he was going through bankruptcy proceedings, and had in fact been a real millionaire. Not just on paper, but actually more than $1,000,000 dollars in cash and near cash, back when that was serious money. He made some poor investments and lost it all.

What he had to say about the whole experience was very interesting. He said it wasn't especially hard to make money, but it was harder to keep it. He told me the big difference between us was that even though I had access to more cash, at that moment, than he did, that was all I had. He knew how to become a millionaire again, because he had done it once already. I hadn't.

And he's right, I'm not a millionaire, most of the way through a reasonably productive working life. But then, I never wanted to be especially rich, just comfortable, so I didn't fully apply the things I know perfectly well. Just partially, so I'm only partially a millionaire. I lost track of him after that, and have no idea how his story turned out. Those who don't know how, and want to know how to become a millionaire, leave a comment. Trust me, it doesn't involve lottery tickets or a pyramid scheme. Could I do it, even now, at my advanced age? Oh yes, I'm quite confident. Am I going to? Almost certainly not. I don't need that much money. There's lots of things I know how to do, and don't want to do.

One thing I have noted is that when it comes to the stock market, the crowd is often wrong. The basic trick is to buy cheap and sell dear. If it's cheap, that means the crowd doesn't want it, so you have to have the nerve to buy in, and stay bought in during temporary downturns. I've heard brokers call market downturns the "dummy shake" because it shakes the dummies out of the market.

Most people badly want to be part of the herd. But when you run with the herd you never get the fresh un-trampled grass, and you're always walking through someone else's shit. Which is why I prefer to do things my way. Blogging, for example. "They" say you need to monetize your blog, and have contests, and giveaways to increase readership and promote your brand. Whatever that is. Do you see any ads? You never will. If I talk about a product or a store or a service, it's because I used it, and it worked for me. That doesn't mean it will work for you.

And my brand. I haven't the faintest idea what my brand is. Any hints, anyone? Amuse me, I'd love to know what you think my brand might be, and where it might be applied.

Rest day. Massage day. Those quads and IT band in my left leg still have soreness I didn't find.

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