Trend Following with Michael Covel

Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 4 million listens. Investments, economics, decision-making, human behavior & entrepreneurship--all passionately explored. Guests include Nobel Prize winners Robert Aumann, Angus Deaton, Daniel Kahneman, Harry Markowitz & Vernon Smith. Also: James Altucher, Dan Ariely, Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Kathleen Eisenhardt, Marc Faber, Tim Ferriss, Jason Fried, Gerd Gigerenzer, Larry Hite, Sally Hogshead, Ryan Holiday, Jack Horner, Ewan Kirk, Steven Kotler, Michael Mauboussin, Tucker Max, Barry Ritholtz, Jim Rogers, Jack Schwager, Ed Seykota, Philip Tetlock & Walter Williams. All 450+ episodes only at www.trendfollowingradio.com/rss.
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Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 4 million listens. Investments, economics, decision-making, human behavior & entrepreneurship--all passionately explored. Guests include Nobel Prize winners Robert Aumann, Angus Deaton, Daniel Kahneman, Harry Markowitz & Vernon Smith. Also: James Altucher, Dan Ariely, Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Kathleen Eisenhardt, Marc Faber, Tim Ferriss, Jason Fried, Gerd Gigerenzer, Larry Hite, Sally Hogshead, Ryan Holiday, Jack Horner, Ewan Kirk, Steven Kotler, Michael Mauboussin, Tucker Max, Barry Ritholtz, Jim Rogers, Jack Schwager, Ed Seykota, Philip Tetlock & Walter Williams. All 450+ episodes only at www.trendfollowingradio.com/rss.

Jun 24, 2016

Michael takes a sci-fi journey on today’s podcast as he interviews Robin Hanson. Robin is professor of economics at George Mason University and his new book is, “The Age of EM.” Robin and Michael look forward about 100 years and analyze what the world will look like.

They start the podcast discussing singularity and what it will be like when robots take over. Michael asks, “How much time will it take to get to singularity and are there faster ways that we may get to this point?” Robin says that robots are a staple of where the future is headed. There are a few different schools of thought on how they will evolve but Robin’s theory is based on porting. In a nutshell, this means that you re-write old software to fit your new criteria. The idea is to do the same thing with the human brain. Robin goes into detail on this idea and says that it may take as little as one century to unfold.

Next, Robin discusses the types of people that will start out being emulated. The first will be top intellectuals of the time. After some years that will expand to other types of humans. Robin says that the economy will boom and double in size quickly. He also expands on “Em cities”, what they are, how they are created, and how they are run. “Em’s” is the term Robin uses for emulation robots.

Michael brings up the effects this next reality will have on mother nature and Em sex. Em’s live in a virtual reality. They never have pain or disease. They have perfect bodies and just have sex for recreational purposes. However, they do not last forever. Em’s will have to retire eventually because of software rot which Robin gives examples of and expands on.

Next, Michael asks about the political ramifications of robots entering the work space. Will Em’s run for politics? Robin says that they will most likely be involved in politics because they would never want to be run by people that are not nearly as fast and smart as them. He then expands on what the bodies of Em’s will look like. He describes the different shapes and sizes that Em’s are going to employ. This leads to the question of death. “Will Em’s be afraid of death?” Robin says that they probably wont see it coming.

Many people, when they look at the future, like to discuss what will happen. There is a degree at which our future can be influenced but to a large degree it is out of our control. Technology has been out of control for awhile. There are such varied interests among people that it will not matter if one group wants to move forward with Emulations or not. Things will continuously evolve. Michael and Robin end on how the political system will be run in the Em world.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Singularity
  • Robots taking over
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Slavery
  • Reversible computing
  • Virtual reality
  • Future of politics
  • Democracy in the future
Jun 20, 2016

On today’s podcast Michael breaks apart comments from a Ray Dalio article. Dalio is one of the most successful hedge fund managers alive. He does not give out too much information on his trading strategy, except that he is 100% systematic.

Before Michael begins reading the article he asks, “When the Fed raises interest rates, what will happen? Will the world end like people seem to think?” The first article he reads from was written in 2015 and answers questions on interest rates and the Fed. Next, Michael reads an article from 2016 where Ray comments on the Fed further. Ray is running a systematic firm, however, he gives historical narratives of the debt cycle. Michael still asks the question, “How do Ray’s words connect to trading? When to buy? When to sell?”

Michael stresses that presenting “Oz behind the curtain” statements do not help anyone in there trading. If someone said buy here, sell here, that would help people, but using terminology that could be interpreted as anything is worthless.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Fundamental analysis
  • Bubbles
  • Zero Interest Rate Policy
  • Fed
  • Crony capitalism
  • Quantitative easing
Jun 17, 2016

Michael interviews Tucker Max. Tucker has authored many books, however today he is on the podcast to talk about a new entrepreneurial venture. Tucker created a simple algorithmic process to writing a book. He began by asking himself: What do we have to do to position a book? How do we structure it? How do we outline it? How do we conduct an interview to get the information out of a authors head? And then how do we transcribe it? Once he had these answers, he had a company.

Today, 18 months in, he has signed about 230 authors and has put out about 50 books. With a price point of $20,000-$50,000, Tucker and his company offer the exact steps to writing a book. His company is not ghostwriting. They aren’t learning anything about your content, just getting your ideas on paper in a cohesive manner. You have to qualify in a few ways for their service: Can you pay for it? Do you have sufficient ideas for writing a book? And are you an a**hole? A**holes do not make the cut.

Michael and Tucker bring up the importance of Amazon when it comes to successful marketing. Although Google is the #1 search engine, Amazon is the search engine when looking for legitimate products or the best books to buy on any given subject. When people are looking for a book or a product with reviews, they turn to Amazon.

If you are going into any business, writing a book is the best way for you to become an information authority in that field. Tucker goes into depth describing the steps he takes client through to write their book. He also goes into detail about his clients motivations to writing a book or being held back from writing. Many people see writing a book as an extension of themselves and this holds them back. People don’t want to fail.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Marketing positioning
  • Selling to your audience
  • Finding your niche
  • Writing a book
Jun 13, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael starts the podcast reading an email from a listener. This listener is a fan of the show and agrees with most of Michael’s views. However, he writes Michael asking about his opinion on a fundamental trading strategy that he employs. The listener uses a strategy that can’t be quantified and is not systematic. Michael challenges anyone listening to send their track record.

Next, Michael moves into another trading strategy he is asked about frequently, predictive technical analysis. When you hear predictive technical analysis, you know you are watching a show. It is all made up. Michael throws out the same challenge to any predictive technical analysis trader. Prove that it is a legitimate trading strategy.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Systematic trading
  • Fundamental trading
  • Gambling
  • Trend following biases
  • Day trading
  • Predictive technical analysis
  • What is the best strategy?
Jun 10, 2016

Michael Covel has an “out of the box” interview today with Amy Herman. In 2000 Amy started a program called, The Art of Perception at The Frick Collection in New York City. She helps her students figure out how to fix big picture problems by looking at the small details. Her new book is “Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life.”

Amy starts the podcast off sharing a story referred to by Michael as “the soap story.” It is about a man from Uganda who was moved by how wasteful the hotel industry is. His big picture movement started with a bar of soap. The staff at a hotel he had been staying at cleaned his room and replaced a bar of soap that he had only used a few times. He contacted the front desk of the hotel and asked why his soap had been replaced when it had not fully been used up. The front desk explained that they replace all the soaps everyday regardless of how much had been used. What came of this small encounter? This man from Uganda jumpstarted a movement that changed the way the hotel industry operates by being more mindful of the how much needless waste they are creating. It was a small detail that changed a big picture problem.

Next, Amy shares an “aha” moment she had in college about art. She went from practicing law to studying museum education which led to her founding The Art of Perception at The Frick Collection in New York City. The program began with teaching medical students about art and how to translate it into their own profession. She started the program in 2000 and in 2004 she was having dinner with some friends which sparked the idea of expanding the program to the police field. It was wildly accepted and in no time, the program was expanded to just about every other professional field. Amy goes into some examples of her students that took her class and that have shared real life examples with her. Her students have been able to apply her teachings to everything from helping diagnose patients to solving crimes. It is all about the small details in the big picture.

Amy says her program has been so successful for two reasons; art is powerful and art is not threatening. She requests that her students do not take notes, and there are no cell phones allowed during class. All that is needed is your eyes, brain, and your ability to communicate. She doesn’t want to teach people how to see art, but rather teaches what she refers to as the five “A’s”: Assess, analyze, articulate information, adapt your behavior, and become accountable for your decisions.

Amy talks about listening to your sixth sense but also being able to articulate what you are feeling so you can act on it. She stresses that precise and consistent communication is paramount and gives some real life examples of why it is so important and what could happen when that ground work is not laid down.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Undoing perceptions
  • COBRA methodology
  • Listening to your sixth sense
  • Situational awareness
  • See something say something
  • Pertinent Negative
  • Critical inquiry
Jun 6, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Josh Hawes. Josh is the Risk Officer and Investment Manager of Hawking Alpha. He is a trend following trader now who started off at Goldman Sachs. Josh breaks apart the trading industry, highlighting many of the cons associated with the mutual fund space.

Josh has always had a passion for math. He started looking at the performance of different funds within Goldman. As soon as he started to look at returns of some, he began to see a disconnect. They would judge themselves off “beating the index” but they were still losing massive amounts of money. They would also have access to CEO’s of top companies and still not be able to make money off of the information they would share. This is when he began to transition out of the company and turn to other forms of trading, not just long only.

Josh was given many books to read while at Goldman. “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” was one that resonated with him the most. “Trend Following” was another book that Josh had come across. “Trend Following” triggered him to reach out to some of the traders mentioned in the book. Ed Seykota and Jerry Parker were just a couple of the traders he was able to spark up a conversation with by reaching out.

Next, Michael and Josh break apart index investing. Josh says everyone should ask themselves, “Why does the market owe you anything? And if the market goes down, does that not mean that the markets can go down for a long period of time?” You can’t say that you should go long the market because for 200 years the market has gone up. There has been massive ups and downs and you have to be able to navigate the down periods. Michael then asks, “How does one become the next Warren Buffett?” Josh says that 2008 is one of the best examples of why you could never be the next Warren Buffett. There are a lot of people in the mutual fund space that try and mirror Buffett. Some of these people fail trading the exact strategy as Buffett. So does that make Buffett lucky or a genius?

Josh and his firm guarantees to always follow their stops. He guarantees his clients that he will be a trend follower and although he can not guarantee any level of return, he will always follow his stops. This sets Josh and other trend followers apart from fundamental traders. Josh then segues into what he believes are the four ways to make money: When prices move, when prices don’t move, arbitrage, and high frequency trading. He expands on these four points and gives examples. Michael and Josh end the podcast on the importance of talking directly with clients and connecting with people on a personal basis.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Trading off fundamentals
  • Keeping up with the Jones’s
  • Smooth equity curve’s
  • Concept of an Index
  • Mutual fund industry
  • 10,000 hours
  • Arbitrage
  • High frequency trading
Jun 3, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Ryan Holiday. Today they discuss his new book, “Ego is the Enemy.”

Ryan makes the case that ego is the worst factor that you can add into any situation. So many entrepreneurial ideas start out as crazy. However, when the idea works out after ignoring every critic or bit of sound evidence that it would not work, then that can create an ego that can easily get out of control. Ryan says, “This is how a person that builds an empire also destroys an empire.” He uses General Sherman from the Civil War as an example of controlled success. His greatness came gradually and unexpected as opposed to a person like Napolean who thought they were set for greatness from the outset. Google is another example. It was started by two men who did not set out to conquer the internet but because they focused on events as they came, one at a time, greatness gradually happened.

Next, Michael brings up one of Ryan’s book chapters relating to being a student. He tells the story of Kirk Hammett, one of the greatest heavy metal guitarist of all time, being a student of Joe Satriani who is one of the most famous guitar virtuosos of all time. Hammett hired him when he was already on his way to being famous. Even with his success, he knew he still had plenty to learn from Satriani. Hammett was able to be humbled enough, even after being chosen as the new guitarist of Metallica, to hire someone who was an even better guitarist than him so he could continue to learn. Steve Jobs is another example that is brought up. Before he created the iPod and iPhone there were many other layers to his story. His story could have ended after he was fired and he could have become a cautionary tail for CEO’s to learn from but instead he became an inspiring story that everyone can learn positives from.

Michael and Ryan move into breaking apart the “10,000 hour rule.” Ryan says that it isn’t a real number. It is egotistical to think that once you hit that 10,000th hour that you will gain your success at that moment. Outcome is one thing, but the process is something else. If we could learn everything from a book that would be great but some lessons can only be learned from painful experiences. It is a balance between learning from your own experiences and learning from others. Landing on the other side of fear, failure, success, and aspirations can be a great feeling. Ryan says that each person is constantly at one of those points in their life. It is ever changing, but the worst thing you can introduce into any of those phases is ego.

Michael finishes the conversation asking Ryan if he thinks his message will translate to the younger “millennial” generation. Ryan says that this is something he had thought a lot about while writing his book.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Letting other people win
  • Being seen not heard
  • Only the paranoid survive
  • Dealing with failure
  • Dealing with success
May 30, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel starts the podcast off talking about President Obama and his recent visit to Asia. Michael had an interesting bird’s eye look at the President’s visit. He describes the the reaction to President Obama’s visit and why Obama deserves credit for normalizing relations with Vietnam.

Michael moves into talking about free market systems and the necessity for them. Venezuela is a perfect example of a failed socialistic state. They are failing big time with no sign of recovery. Michael moves into reading from an article written by David Sirota from 2013. Sirota thought that Hugo Chavez was an amazing leader three years ago. However, in 2016 Sirota goes on to say that oil is killing the economy rather than socialism.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Venezuela
  • Hugo Chavez
  • Negative interest rate policy
  • Trading off politics
May 27, 2016

Michael Covel speaks with Daniel Shapiro. Dan is author of “Negotiating the Nonnegotiable.” He demonstrates negotiation as a process and quantifiable. His work tries to articulate practical negotiation skills based on the most recent science. Dan’s work started when he was working in eastern central Europe when countries were going from open, to closed societies. He wanted to help people deal with conflict more effectively especially the emotional side of it, and more specifically, dealing with identity. He looked at: Do relationships matter in negotiations? Do emotions matter? And how do you deal with them? He has spent the last 20 to 25 years learning how these intertwine. Dan’s website sums up his work perfectly saying, “Drawing on these experiences and his years of research at Harvard, he has developed a wealth of practical approaches to amplify influence and leadership—in business, in government, and in life.”

Dan and Michael start off discussing, “What gets us so stuck in emotionally charged conflicts?” This is a question that drives Dan and his work. In the early 1990’s Dan was working with refugee’s in Yugoslavia hoping to promote good communication. He was doing a workshop in Serbia where he met a women who shared a personal story of tragedy that has stuck with him for the last 24 years. His work is a homage to help people who may feel hopeless, like there could not be any more room for negotiation. Michael says, “Well aren’t there some situations where negotiation is not even on the table and things are just going to play out?” So often we get into ruts of feeling this way, thinking there is no possible way out, but more often than not there is always negotiations that can take place. There is always a way out.

Next, Michael asks, “Don’t both people need to be willing to negotiate to enter a negotiation?” The short answer is no. It only takes one side to move toward a resolution. Also, don’t ever assume that both sides of a conflict need to be rational. The classic challenge within conflicts that he sees is “How do you deal with an irrational person?” Everyone thinks that they are the rational ones and the opposite party is irrational.

Michael and Dan move on to discuss BATNA. BATNA is an acronym for; Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. It is your “walkaway alternative”. Most people walk away to a worst situation than they were in. You always need to think rationally and not emotionally about your alternative. Lastly, Dan gives an overview of what he calls the five lures of the tribal mind; vertigo, repetition compulsion, taboos, assault on the sacred and identity politics. Dan expands and gives examples of these lures. He says that these concepts are obvious and everyone has experienced them. He just puts words to these feelings that people have so people can identify and help work through them.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Negotiations
  • Self awareness
  • BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement)
  • Five lures of the tribal mind
May 23, 2016

Michael Covel breaks apart Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. He reads from a MarketWatch article that highlights documents that came from a Senate committee investigating the Valeant scandal, and the various reactions of top people involved. Michael also outlines and comments on various interchanges between Bill Ackman, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, and news outlets.

This episode is a “behind the curtain look” at billionaire traders and the seduction of fundamentals.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Fundamentals
  • Valeant vs. Enron
  • The Deep State
  • Fixing the media
  • Trading off price
May 20, 2016

Michael Covel talks with Daehee Park and JT Marino. They are the owners and founders of Tuft and Needle, a modern mattress company. They met during college at Penn state, parted ways after college and then met back up in Silicon Valley at a startup tech company.

Two young men, who had never worked at a mattress store and were coming straight out of Silicon Valley, hardly fit the mold of mattress company tycoons. When they first started Tuft and Needle, the majority of questions they received all circled around how and why they came to enter the business of mattresses. The answer was quite simple; JT and Daehee started the company based on horrible personal experiences buying mattresses. After their experiences and talking about them together, the two sat down and wrote out all the painful things associated with shopping for a mattress and discussed how they could eliminate those experiences. They came to find out that their wasn’t any “love” or brand loyalty associated with a mattress or the company. This was something they wanted to change.

Since they started with zero mattress experience, Michael asks the obvious question, “What was the first step you took once realizing you wanted to be in the mattress business?” The first step was building up the list of negative experiences they had encountered with personally buying a mattress. Second step was trying to figure out, “What is a mattress? What is the science involved? What are the root principles? And working backwards from that.” They ripped open one of their own mattresses and figured out the components. After seeing the makeup of the mattress, they called around to manufacturers to figure out what it would cost to build.

Next, Michael asks “What kind of motivation did you have for disrupting the industry?” JT and Daehee only figured out the kind of traction they could gain after about a year. They didn’t know how big of an “old boys club” the mattress industry really was. However, their success has proved that there was definite need for disruption in the industry. The bar was set so low to begin with in the industry that they immediately started disrupting it in all areas: price, technology and service by just by listening to customer feedback. Even with increasing their marketing over the years, the majority of their growth is 70% organic and word of mouth.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Marketing a company
  • Growing a startup
  • Product development
  • Importance of customer service
  • Creating art
  • Simplification of products
  • Venture capital
May 16, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel starts off reading a listener email from someone interested in making 3-4% every month with only 15% drawdowns. Michael gives his personal feedback as well as responses from Facebook after posting the email. The responses were mixed. Some people fully believed these kinds of returns are possible, while Michael and others said that if anyone is telling you they can produce 3-4% returns every month then it is absolutely a scam. Only Long Term Capital Management, Bernie Madoff, and some high frequency traders with insider trading access can tout such returns.

Michael finishes the podcast talking about the upcoming American elections. What is the alternative to Trump and Sanders? Hilary Clinton? Michael says that everything is an act with Clinton and that she’s a bona fide…[fill in the blank].

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Long Term Capital Management
  • Bernie Madoff
  • Leverage
  • Diversification
  • Indian Stock Market
May 13, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Neil Pasricha. Neil is author of the New York Times best seller, “The Happiness Equation.” He is also author of the popular blog, “1,000 Awesome Things.” Neil brings great insights on finding happiness and staying positive.

Neil starts the podcast sharing how his success started. During his first years of gaining notoriety for teaching about happiness, he actually wasn’t happy himself. He was going through a divorce, hardly sleeping, and still working a full time job at Wal-Mart management. His creative output was nothing. He ended up falling in love with a women and that ended up shifting his thinking. He went from observing awesome things, which he is probably most known for, to the application of integrating those awesome things into your life, such as “How do you live a happier life?” “The Happiness Equation” started as notes to Neil’s unborn son. He essentially wanted to write down everything he wanted him to know about life.

Neil details some of his techniques on how he starts writing a book. He is a huge believer of “the note card system.” For a few years he carried note cards around and wrote down any thoughts or tidbits that he would see during the day that were interesting. This is a great example of placing action before motivation which is critical to reaching goals. Neil says that taking small steps is the key to success. Michael brings the conversation back to Neil’s book and happiness. The first thing that pops up on Google search when you type in “how to be” is “how to be happy.” Everyone wants to be happy but they are struggling, searching, stressed, and looking for balance.

The traditional way of thinking is, “Study hard, get good grades, and you will be happy.” Neil says that you should flip that upside down and work on; being happy, then doing great work, and then you will have big success. All studies show that choosing to be happy above all other things leads to a better life. The healthiest societies in the world do not have retirement. Instead they focus on loving what they do throughout life. People need to have a challenge and a way to stimulate the mind and body. Retirement, for most, tends to put an abrupt halt to those things. Michael ends with taking quotes from Neil’s book and having him elaborate.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Happiness
  • Retirement is a lie
  • Loving your work
  • The lottery
  • The note card system
  • Criticism
  • Goals are never ending
  • Having less wants in life
May 9, 2016

Today, Michael Covel interviews Mike Lofgren. Mike’s new book is titled, “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government.” We are in a world where everyone thinks their vote matters and that the next President will fix all of America’s problems.

Michael starts the podcast off reading an excerpt from Lofgren’s new book. The two dig into expectations that people had for George W. Bush. As he failed, the people then voted in Barack Obama. Obama failed to meet people’s expectations as well. Lofgren explains what he describes as a “deep state” phenomenon.

Next, Covel and Lofgren dig into: “Does our vote really matter?” Lofgren says that whoever is elected President matters on the margin. The general vector of who gets what, what the general distribution of income is, and what our general foreign policy is, is going to be pretty much the same no matter who is elected. However, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are so far out of the box that they may change those norms because of how out of distribution the system has become. The public knows something is wrong. Trump and Sanders have, at the very least, shaken up the political structure regardless of if they win the election or not.

Lofgren goes into economics and military next. He doesn’t look at economics and military as separate entities. He sees all arms of government as intricately intertwined. When you see a change in the economics of the country, you can see just as large of a shift in the military and vice versa. Michael and Lofgren also discuss Dick Fuld and the Lehman Brother collapse.

Michael moves on to ask, “Why aren’t their more whistle blowers coming out of the government?” Lofgren says that it is largely because people don’t want to go to prison. More people are being charged with espionage in America than within any other government. Michael and Lofgren continue to dig into depth about politics, corruption, and Wall Street for the rest of the podcast. Michael ends asking Lofgren, “Is there really anything on the horizon where this deep state entrenchment goes away?”

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • The deep state phenomenon
  • Military industrial complex
  • Vietnam War
  • National debt
  • Negative interest rates
  • Capitalism in communist countries
  • Does your vote matter?
May 6, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Ben Hunt. Ben is the Chief Risk Officer at Salient Partners and the author of “Epsilon Theory.” This is his second time on Trend Following Radio. He has an interesting way of looking at capital markets–through the lens of game theory.

Michael and Ben start the podcast off talking about buy and hold and why the strategy does so poorly. Ben moves on to break apart monetary policy and domestic politics and how they are intimately intertwined. When you have a world of massive debt, like we do today, then deleveraging naturally should take place. Instead, in today’s world you have the ownership of that debt shifted from private entities taking responsibility of it, to the government.

Central bank policies are always a direct reflection of the politics that are going on in the big four economies that drive the world; U.S., China, Europe, and Japan. The domestic political interactions going on in those countries are what you see in the world’s economics. This leads to cooperation during economic crashes, for example, during the great recession. Countries inflate their economy to get out of economic crashes. Going to a lower or negative interest rate is a perfect way to devalue a countries currency. Right now, we are moving from a positive sum on trade, to a zero sum on trade and Ben says that the outcome is very predictable. He says that we have seen this movie before and it isn’t hard to see how it is going to play out.

Michael brings up Ray Dalio and asks the question, “Why are all these companies putting their money in one place, with one company and with the same model?” Ben notes Ray Dalio’s massive amount of money that he manages and what Bridgewater (his company) has created is an easy process that is implemented in an automated and quantitative system. The whole notion of having a rigorous process and managing clients money within that process is Bridgewater and Dalio’s most widely spread influence. Bottom line, instead of trying to predict what is going to happen we need to try and react quickly to circumstances.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Monetary policy
  • What drives the value of currency?
  • Economics in recessions
  • Systematic models
  • Central Banks
  • Policy controlled markets
  • Expectations of the public markets
May 2, 2016

Michael Covel talks political correctness. Americans take regular issues, and blow them up to the extreme. We see it 24/7. In addition, there is massive abundance, arguably a distraction to the freedom to make choices. Is the freedom to make your own choices even real?

Michael reads excerpts from an article by Josh Brown titled, “Abundance.” He makes the case that abundance is now the enemy, which sets our economy apart from every other culture in history. For example, so much entertainment is free these days; movies, video games, apps, dating websites, music, the list goes on. People are taking paid versions of products and producing cheap and free versions. Josh points out that a year ago he was writing about scarcity, now its abundance. We use to have pop culture or a #1 hit TV show or hit band. Now there are 50 different sub cultures and genres.

But abundance is killing us. Josh notes that it would be best if there was a major flush of the system. Capital needs to be exchanged and shifted. The imbalances we are experiencing will inevitably correct and restart, it’s only a matter of when. Michael stresses that you need to have an investment strategy to prepare yourself for that inevitable correction. You need an investment strategy to take advantage of the next crash, as well as save yourself from the next crash.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Ego
  • Preparing yourself for the next crash
  • Abundance
  • Downfall of the economy
Apr 29, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Parag Khanna. Parag is an international relations expert, a CNN Global Contributor and Senior Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore. He is also the Managing Partner of Hybrid Reality, a geostrategic advisory firm, and Co-Founder & CEO of Factotum. Parag’s new book, “Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization” recently came across Michael’s desk. The concept of connectivity does not just relate to mobile phones and Skype. There is a very physical and tangible evolution of connectivity that can be boiled down into three categories; transportation, energies and communications.

Michael and Parag start the podcast off touching on what connectivity is and then dive into the relationship between cities and states. Parag says that there is not one single successful state that is not built upon the stability of their successful cities. We have more mega and viable cities than states in the world. Cities are the drivers of growth. More mayors are sitting heads of states or presidents nowadays than any other time in history and think of themselves as CEO’s rather than politicians.

Next, Parag elaborates on supply chains. The diversity of products available today is truly global. A product can have digital design from Silicon Valley, assembly in China, and a call center for product customer support in Vietnam. As a business, the combination of infrastructure investment and connecting through supply chains to global markets makes you a real player in the economy. Michael brings up the economical impact that globalization has made, in particular to taxes. Apple is working with Ireland to keep their investments outside the U.S. More and more companies are realizing that they can operate over “the cloud.” Markets are everywhere and sales are everywhere so investments should be able to be everywhere as well. American politicians have been counter productive in trying to capture taxes from some of the biggest companies in America.

Michael brings the conversation back to China and their infrastructure. China has made a global plan to help counties boost their infrastructure. They are spending their own money to help gain trust and also smooth the flow of goods in and out of developing countries by building railways, airports and shipping ports. Most of the world trade growth is happening across the Indian Ocean because of the Chinese.

Next, Michael brings up country borders and the reservations citizens may have about immigrants. No country has gained more from accepting immigrants into their society than America Parag argues. Parag says that unfortunately people are acting more with their hearts rather than acting on the data. There are far more benefits to welcoming immigrants into societies as opposed to shutting them out. People talk about globalization doing us wrong. It is not. It is political governments that are failing. Policies in politics are the problem.

Michael and Parag finish up discussing the booming rise of Dubai, and how the city is a perfect example of infrastructure growing a city. Dubai has thought strategically about all their expansion, from their roads to their buildings to their education system. It’s a place that represents a leap in quality of life for people who are on the move and doing different things.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Supply chains
  • Connectivity
  • Cities vs. State
  • Chinese infrastructure growth
  • Trade
  • Trust among China’s neighbors
  • Territory borders
  • Globalization
  • Winners and losers in the 21st century
  • The idea of “not in my backyard”
  • Growth of Dubai
Apr 25, 2016

Michael Covel starts off reading an email from a listener asking, “Do all trend followers use spreadsheets alone to trade? Or do they also use charts for visualization? I am having a hard time trading using a spreadsheet alone and I tend to need to see a chart. It provides the visualization I need.” Michael responds saying “What does the visualization do? Are your trading decisions based on the price or visualization of a chart?” You don’t need charts or multiple monitors streaming at a time. That is not how the best traders trade.

For the remainder of the episode Michael leads with a presentation from Gregg Popovich, the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team. Gregg talks about organization, discipline, player relationships (between players and the coach and between players and players), and the importance of being comfortable enough in your own skin to take advice from others, among many other subjects. You can’t begin to execute a trading rule until you have sound philosophical grounding. It starts with the right mentality and imagination, and Gregg is a perfect example of this. There are countless lessons to be learned listening to Gregg’s presentation. His outlook is applicable to anything you could want to do in life whether it be starting a business, trading, or running a marathon.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Why cultivating your second string is so important
  • Foreign players vs. U.S players
  • Accountability
  • Importance of honesty
  • Having the same standards for everyone
  • Importance of humility
  • Execution
  • A different perspective on goal setting
  • Looking at the big picture
Apr 22, 2016

Michael Covel speaks with Simon Black. Simon is an investor, entrepreneur and the founder of Sovereign Man. He has a travel perspective that has given him unique insights on freedom, making money, keeping as much of it as possible (and protecting it from the government whatever government that may be).

Michael starts off the podcast asking Simon, “I want to know your story. How did you go down this path? How did you start?” Simon’s journey started in the military. He went to West Point. Upon graduation he was commissioned as an Army intelligence officer and stationed in the Middle East around the time Bush was accusing Saddam Hussein of having weapons of mass destruction. As the U.S. was gearing up for war, it became abundantly clear that it was all a lie, and Simon realized that if the president would be willing to go to war over something that was so false, then what else would the government be willing to do?

Simon breaks down the idea of currency. He says that everyone should have physical cash money. There are different forms of money or “legal tender.” One form of currency would be U.S. government bonds which are used by large entities. Another type of money is banking accounts. That is what most of us use. 90% of the money supply is in banking accounts, otherwise known as in digital form. Most people have their money in a computer stored in a windowless building somewhere. Physical cash is another form of money. It is the money you see in your had. Those are three very different forms of money, however they all happen to trade at a 1-1-1 exchange rate. That could change at any point. Simon urges that everyone should have physical money at their disposal in the case that banks shut down our ability to withdraw.

Michael and Simon talk travel next. Modern transport technology has made travel simple and given people a unique opportunity to see different places and cultures. Simon makes the point that freedom is a state of mind, it isn’t necessarily attached to travel. Every country has a unique vantage point such as great health care or education. Simon talks about health care in particular and the cost differences in the U.S compared to certain places in Asia.

The thrust of today’s podcast is to point out that everyone should be responsible for his or her own security and safety. One should be sovereign over his or her own life, experience freedom and live independently. Challenge the status quo. Think outside the box, whether that be choosing your healthcare, profession, or where you want to live. Think differently.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Health care
  • Banking system
  • Government
  • Travel
  • Breaking the rules
Apr 18, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel reads Sam Hinkie’s resignation letter, former general manager of the Philadelphia 76er’s basketball team. His management strategy was stats driven. Sam talks about how critical it is to focus on process and not be fixated on the outcome. Process you can plan out and control, you can’t always control the outcome. The point Michael aims to make by reading the letter is not to show whether Sam was a good or bad GM. His wisdom is something we should all not just consider, but wisdom we should learn from.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Thinking about thinking
  • The importance of intellectual humility
  • The necessity of innovation
  • The longest view in the room
  • A contrarian mindset
  • A tolerance of uncertainty
  • Be long science
  • A healthy respect for tradition
  • A reverence for disruption
Apr 15, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Jesse Lawler. Jesse is the host of Smart Drug Smarts, a podcast that is centered around supplements people can take to augment brain function. He has an out of the box perspective on health, fitness and enhancing cognitive performance.

Michael and Jesse start the conversation off with the question, “What is healthy?” Some athletes that can perform amazing feats are actually destroying their bodies to get there, so are they really healthy? Mind and body can be at total odds when it comes to health. Jesse breaks open the idea of cognitive performance and where a good starting point is when trying to increase your performance. He says your brain is meant to do everything. It is a universal machine that does things that we are, and are not aware of. To improve performance of the brain, there are a variety of things one can do. He breaks it down into four categories: Mood, focus, creativity, and anxiety. Jesse goes in depth on different supplements you can take to improve your focus (in particular) such as increasing your dopamine.

Jesse and Michael talk about how Jesse rode his bike from the west coast to the east coast in about 5 ½ weeks. Michael asks “Why do you think you are constantly experimenting?” Jesse says there are a lot of things that you can’t get the gist of without going through the experience. He wants to continue to understand, and maintain his brains capabilities to keep up with the evolving world.

Jesse moves on to explaining what nootropic drugs are and the cognitive effects of them. He is not a doctor but has given himself an education over the last few years by immersing himself in these subjects and talking with field specialists such as doctors or pharmacists a couple times a week. Michael asks about jet lag and how to beat it with different techniques. Jesse says that one of the best ways to beat jet lag is by fasting until it is dinner time at your new destination. Overdosing on tea or coffee can be a good way to stave off the hunger if you choose to use this method. Another trick to help beat jet lag is taking particular weight loss drugs to help you stay awake until it is bedtime at your new destination. Lastly, Jesse talks about some of the more popular drugs on the market such as marijuana and ecstasy and his views on them.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Cognitive performance
  • Effects of caffeine
  • Augmenting brain function
  • Dealing with mood, focus, creativity, and anxiety
Apr 11, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel talks about personal responsibility. Michael brings in basketball references from the Boston Celtics and their head coach Brad Stevens. He goes into the accomplishments of Stevens as a coach and as a quant. Stevens coaching is all about numbers and probabilities.

Michael plays a clip from Chris Mannix of the Vertical Podcast with Brad Stevens. Stevens explains how he uses statistical analysis in his coaching and how the “best of the best” like to be coached. Most don’t care about a numbers to numbers speech but everybody wants to know how they can best play and attack situations. Michael circles the conversation back to trading markets and trading on the numbers. Mannix then asks Stevens if coaching is just coaching being on an NBA sideline as opposed to other sidelines? He says that the longer he has been a coach the more he has been able to take emotion out of the game and it has become a job. By the time a game nears the end he isn’t even thinking of the game, he is thinking of the next practice, and how he can make the team better.

Michael ends with reading interview questions that were asked to Stevens; “Is your calm demeanor a part of your coaching philosophy?” He says that his philosophy is doing 99% percent of the work behind the scenes and hopefully that is enough to prepare him for the next game. He is always thinking about the next play, therefore you will not see him doing cartwheels on the sidelines very often. Stevens is also asked, “How is the style of play at the professional level evolving?” He says the game use to be about height and weight as opposed to skill. The game is now being flipped around.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Process vs. outcome
  • Sports and trading analogies
  • Statistical thinking
Apr 8, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Cole Wilcox. Cole is the CEO of Longboard Asset Management and has appeared on the show many times. Cole and his business partner Eric Crittenden are featured in Michael’s book, “The Little Book of Trading.” Eric and Cole started their firm from the ground up. They pushed hard and now have hundreds of millions of dollars AUM.

Michael and Cole start off talking about the recent volatility in the markets; crude oil in particular. Cole is a trend follower through and through. He says that there will always be fluctuations in the markets, but with the right tools and rules, you can ride those waves out successfully. He stresses that diversification is the only “free lunch” that exists. His firm focuses on building multi asset portfolios that provide diversification. “When you are in 130 markets around the world, you can’t know all the fundamentals about those markets, the only thing you have to guide you is the price,” says Cole. Focus on what those price trends are doing, positive or negative.

Michael moves on to ask, “Do you think of you and your firm as more offensive minded or defensive minded?” Cole says they are definitely more defensive minded. Any successful trader or sports coach knows that you will ultimately get ahead and compound your success by making sure you cover you bases on the defensive. Having an unemotional approach to the markets is key. Cole then shows a unique differentiation between trend following managers in regards to their amount of AUM. The way a trend following firm trades it’s money can vary greatly depending on how much AUM they have. The larger firms aren’t able to move into some of the smaller markets where big money can be made.

Cole speaks to the business thought process Longboard is built on, particularly what made him want to start his firm. He says there are three core components: Having a dream or vision about what you are doing, the people you surround yourself with to execute that dream, and the principles/operating rules of the game. When you get those three things to line up inside an organization you can create something magical. Michael asks how he has won people over and gotten them away from the “buy and hold” mentality. Cole says the trend of alternative investments is starting to grow rapidly. His firm takes a different approach in how they interact with clients. They focus highly on their communication process and willingness to be open.

NOTE: On this episode Cole recommends favorite business books. Here is the list.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Defensive trading vs. Offensive trading
  • Risk management
  • How to help people understand trend following
  • Diversification is the only free lunch
  • Price trends
Apr 4, 2016

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel discusses scams and what can be learned from them. Any scam that takes place today, we have seen before. In the early 2000’s Enron was at the height of its game. Turns out they had a fake trading floor set up just to convince Wall Street they were real. At Enron’s peak, their company was trading at $90 a share. When it crashed, their stock traded around $0.50 a share. And that story brings us up to current day with the latest Enron.

Michael continues to read more feedback, but this time from a listener of his podcast seguing him into the current blowup of the pharmaceutical company, Valeant. Valeant’s share prices went from $250 to $30 in short order. Even as the stock was crashing people were buying the hype and false fundamental information. Michael reads from sources such as Jim Cramer, Morgan Stanley, and Valeant themselves. He then connects articles from Enron’s press releases back in 2001 before their crash and press releases from Valeant in 2016. Quotes from both companies CEO’s have strikingly similar comments on their companies as events led up to their falling apart.

Bottom line, if you are in a stock that goes from $250 to $30…You screwed up. There is no reason for that except you. When the numbers say exit, you exit. Ego must be left out of your trading. Michael ends with excerpts by Steve Sjuggerud. Check your ego at the door, have a stop loss, and stick to your plan.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Ponzi schemes and scams
  • The Enron scandal
  • Valeant meltdown
  • Ego in trading
Apr 1, 2016

Michael Covel interviews Anders Ericsson. His new book is “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.” Starting around high school, Anders became interested in how he could best improve himself. When he got to college he studied how people could achieve above average performance. He did a study showing the number of digits average people could repeat back correctly. The average number was about 5-7 digits. After an hour of practice they were able to repeat about 20 digits correctly. With even more training one student was able to get 70 digits in a row. This showed Anders that the mind can improve with the right kind of practice. Performance is trainable and purposeful practice is key. One major component of successful practice is immediate feedback on whether you are accurate or not.

Michael moves onto a study Anders did on taxi drivers in London. They have to go through extensive training to drive the streets of London. They are average people, but train for many years to be able to pass this taxi driving test. After learning over 10,000 streets and different connections there brains actually changed. He compared bus drivers in London, who did not have to go through the same training, to the taxi drivers. The same changes did not occur in bus drivers brains like the taxi drivers. They did not have to master all the streets but rather just master certain routes. Michael asks, “If they stop their taxi driving profession, does the brain regress?” Anders says that yes, without practice your mind will revert back to the old state.

Next, Michael and Anders use Mozart as an example of nature vs. nurture. His father was a musician and taught young children how to play instruments. Mozart was able to learn many of the musical distinctions that he was famed for because he started so early, around age 3-4. Any child at that age is able to learn the things Mozart learned, however it is virtually impossible as an adult. This moves into the idea of brain plasticity. It is important to realize that you can’t push your child to learn longer than they want to learn for. About 30 minutes is their limit. Beyond that, they lose their capability for deliberate practice. Deliberate practice helps raise the bar and get you better than you were before.

The next example of extraordinary talent brought up are master chess players. They don’t look at pieces individually, but rather base their actions on pattern recognition. They see structure and see where attacks may be successful. Grandmaster chess players are able to play blindfolded and against 25 or so people simultaneously. These are skills that are acquired and practiced. Stephan Curry is also used as another great example of an extraordinary achiever. If you understand the practice an individual does then you can see their improvement over time. Michael asks, “Has anyone said that their improvement was easy?” Anders said that he has been studying this subject for over 30 years and about 50 people have said that improvement came easy, but after talking for a few hours, their answers change. Michael then asks about the validity of the idea that 10,000 hours makes you an expert. Anders says he hasn’t seen that 10,000 hours is a magical number. You need a lot of practice, but there are no magical boundaries. When people count the number of hours that they have done something, and it happens to add up to 10,000 hours, then that doesn’t make you an expert. For example, if you have driven 10,000 hours, that doesn’t make you an expert.

Lastly, Michael circles back to the importance of deliberate practice asking about the difference between youngsters and older people seeing the benefits of deliberate practice. Anders says that unfortunately most younger people that are so focused as a child in their performance don’t go on to have careers in the field they were pushed into. Those who chose and want to be in the sport they are in usually go on to continued success. Deliberate practice alone doesn’t make you successful. You need to have a sincere desire for what you are doing.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Discipline and practice
  • Solo and group practice
  • Flow state
  • Social Motivation
  • The late birthday rule
  • 10,000 hours of practice
  • Nature vs. nurture
  • Brain plasticity
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