Thursday, August 20, 2009

Playing Well with Others

Dr. Brett had a recent post suggesting the value of more vertical and horizontal integration among financial bloggers. So far so good.
This was followed by a number of subsequent blog posts discussing blogger cooperation, information sharing and the value of critique versus respect. I'm not going to posts all the links. If you're a regular visitor to this site all you have to do is flick over to the Sites of Interest on the right side of the blog and flip through the archives of a few quant sites to know what I'm talking about.
Unfortunately, a good deal of that blog traffic has gone not vertical or horizontal . . but ballistic and basically off the grid, becoming argumentative, even combative, with a few unfortunate and emotional comments emanating in the form of personal attacks and worse.
And while I can't question the intent or altruism of anyone else who blogs, I can just say for myself that I feel real dismay at these recent developments.
I write this blog and read other blogs because I'm trying to become a "better" trader without letting my ego get in the way or trying to give anyone a hard time. I'm not trying to "one up" any other bloggers and here's a news flash . . . I don't even give a rip about how many folks tune in to my site. If my posts can help one struggling trader make a go of it . . I'm happy. I'm not trying to sell a CD, a book, a training course or generate revenue from an ad stream. Any revenue from the one ad that I run goes directly to a Rescue Dog program that I help underwrite.
That's just me.
My posts are as much for my benefit as any readers. I use the blog as a kind of trading journal and those who have followed me for the last year know that I'm willing to share what I know and not afraid to own up to a few bonehead moves along the way. Hey! It's a learning process.
Now some of you are going to say, "Geez, the old farts's been trading for 25 years . . hasn't he got his act together yet?" The answer is, "Well, Yes and No". The markets are not static. Knowledge is expanding (I'm going out a limb with that one), trading algorithms have become the norm, spreads have narrowed, program trading creates momentum never imagined 10 years ago and the retail trader, whose trades account for only 3% of daily volume, has to be sharp, clever and quick to make a buck. Those that don't (or won't) adapt and fail to find a trading niche and an edge are at risk, whether they know it or not.
I often liken my ongoing trading education to that of a gold miner. I'm always looking for a few nuggets, trying to avoid the Fool's Gold and worked out veins. . and always with the illusive vision of the Mother Lode somewhere in the hopeful distant. In reality, I'm happy to pan for flakes and make a consistent, if modest, daily return for my efforts.
The "nuggets" I refer to are often found in the blog postings of my Sites of Interest and others. And, if you have an inquisitive mind, you keep digging because you never know when some tidbit of trading knowledge will pay off big time. Ditto for the various e-magazines and free seminars that are offered by E-Signal, Telechart, ISE, CBOE, TradeStation and many other companies. You never know when you're going to find one of those nuggets or meet a fellow miner who will turn out to be a great trading resource, mentor or friend. All you've got to risk is your time.
Now, I mention all this because of a series of posts by CXO. Most notable is their "Guru Grades"
This is not meant as an endorsement or critique of any of the "gurus". But the notable metric about the grades is. . . well. . . how bad they are. I mean, really, these are the best and the brightest and this is the best they can do? It's humbling and scary at the same time. So before you plunk down your hard-earned bucks on any of these folks, keep in mind this is what you can expect as a return.
Fast forward to blogdom and the forecasting value of (mostly) free advice and technical analysis.
While I'm going to risk possible censure and assume that we're all posting with the best intentions, the bottom line is it's up to you dear reader to check your pickings and reassure yourself that you're on the right trail. So don't be too quick to criticize and condemn. Just move on and keep on digging. . . maybe you'll be one of the lucky few who strike it rich.
And in that spirit, here's another old post from CXO that might add to your grubstake.


Toptick said...

The CXO entry you link reviews a paper on abnormally large returns for shorting volatility (selling puts). The fact that it was published 9/10/2007 is like the magazine cover theory: when everybody knows it's a sure thing, watch out! They don't call that method 'picking up nickels in front of a steam roller' for nothing.

Thanks again for publishing your work.

bzbtrader said...

Absolutely right! Not for the faint of heart, especially in today's surprise driven markets.

DeathBySavagery said...

I wonder if that applies across many different types of equity classes and asset classes? If so, you could use the method broadly across a wide range of relatively uncorrelated asset classes (granted, harder to find in this market) to smooth out the returns.

bzbtrader said...

Selling puts on the Qs and SMH expiration week is one of my favorite strategies, especially into a rising market. It can get a bit scary sometimes but the vast majority of the trades are easy money. Not for everyone and selling farther out strikes is the safest tactic IMHO. I may do a post on what setup I look for in a future post.

DeathBySavagery said...

Qs and SMH, huh? Why those two? Is it an implied vs. real volatility issue or something else?

I was thinking of selling pairs like SPY vs. dollar-indexed instrument. Pairs where there is a strong inverse correlation. This way you could sell twice as many puts without significantly increasing your risk... in theory, at least :) .