Michael Covel interviews Ewan Kirk on today’s podcast. Kirk is the head of Cantab Capital and has brought his firm from $30M AUM in 2006 to over $5B today. Kirk employs several strategies but clearly uses a trend following foundation. Covel and Kirk discuss how consistent and predictable profits are the Holy Grail--you’re never going to get there. Covel and Kirk also explore Kirk’s background, and how someone with a PhD in mathematical physics ends up going to work for Goldman Sachs; why computer programming is “today’s literacy”; standing out from the crowd; trend following in the European scene vs. America; weighting positions based on risk; talking to clients and explaining that losses are statistically inevitable; whether the demand for discretionary traders is waning; how discretionary traders look at a trader like Kirk who is 100% systematic; why discretionary intervention in a systematic trading strategy disqualifies it from being truly systematic; proving a strategy as broken rather than proving that it’s right; why randomness is everything; uncertainty and convictions about technique; capturing the realism of the world in your trading strategy; what actually benefits the economy, society, and the world; seeking client feedback and understanding a client’s drivers; and the importance of consistent marginal improvements. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel interviews both Gerd Gigerenzer and Brian Wansink on today’s podcast. Gigerenzer joins Covel for his second appearance on the podcast. He is currently director of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC) at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy. Gigerenzer’s new book is Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions. Covel and Gigerenzer discuss the differences between Daniel Kahneman and Gigerenzer’s views; heuristics vs. statistics; the notion of medical check-ups, prostate cancer, and the PSA test; taking risks, and instincts vs. expert advice; relative vs. absolute risk; Benjamin Franklin’s ledger, heuristics, and romance; intuition, facts, unconscious intelligence, and gut decisions; being risk savvy and ordering in upscale restaurants, why Risk Savvy is an alternative to many other outlooks; the two tools to being risk savvy; the gaze heuristic and athletics; complex problems and simple heuristics. Next, Covel speaks with Brian Wansink. Wansink is the John Dyson Professor of Marketing and the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab in the Department of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. His newest book is Slim By Design. Covel and Wansink discuss weight and obesity; our genes and environment as an effect on our health; “doing what skinny people do” and studying buffets; modeling the behavior of slim people; the advantages of chopsticks; the power of the grocery shopper of the household; triggers and tips to avoid unhealthy behavior that happens in restaurants; correlations between where you sit in a restaurant and eating choices; the three types of people in the context of nutrition; the influence of the environment on our eating habits; being slim by design vs. being slim by willpower; pursuing happiness vs. pursuing a purpose. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Nigol Koulajian and Donald Wieczorek on today’s podcast--two separate interviews back to back. Nigol Koulajian's firm is Quest Partners, LLC and is approaching one billion AUM. Koulajian has a very interesting take on trend following--specifically his take on replicating famous trend following strategies. Koulajian and Covel discuss Koulajian’s background and entrepreneurism within Lebanese culture; how Koulajian got his start, and how he found his way into the systematic strategies he employs today; the influence of Van Tharp; the importance of practices like transcendental meditation and yoga on the mental side of trading and in the context of Koulajian’s work today as a fund manager. the S&P 500 as a trading system; crowd psychology; replication strategies; price action as a trigger for different strategies; volatility, volatility compression, and why volatility is not the way to measure risk in the markets anymore; the Flash Crash; and trend following as a hedge to equity risk. Next, Michael Covel speaks with Donald Wieczorek. Wieczorek’s firm is Purple Valley Capital. Covel and Wieczorek discuss Wieczorek’s early track record; Salem Abraham; drawdowns; Wieczorek’s first exposure to trend following; why losing early in your trading career can be a good thing; why you don’t need to predict market movement to make money; Jack Schwager and the Market Wizards series; and why systematic trading is more than just the technical system. Next, Covel and Wieczorek break apart some of Wieczorek’s monthly performance windows (trendfollowing.com/don.pdf), picking apart the psychology and context of certain months in Wieczorek’s career. Covel and Wieczorek continue on to talk about correlation between famous trend following traders; volatility and risk; and the value of crisis alpha. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel presents “The State Episode” featuring interviews with Doug Casey and Charles Hugh Smith. State power and central planning are two of the topics on today’s show, and both guests love taking a stab at the state. First, Michael Covel speaks with Doug Casey. Casey is the founder and chairman of Casey Research, a provider of paid subscription newsletter services espousing libertarian viewpoints as the justification for the purchase of highly speculative microcap stocks, precious metals, and other investments. Casey and Covel discuss what it’s like having traveled to over 175 countries and where one can find social and economic liberty today in this world; the advantages of being a perpetual tourist; why Casey describes himself as an anarchist; if whether there is a purpose anymore to voting in the United States of America; loyalty to the country where you were born; those who rule out the possibility of a financial panic in the future; quantitative easing and currency debasement; and what was the trigger for Casey’s turn at life as a global traveler. Next, Michael Covel speaks with Charles Hugh Smith. Smith is an American writer and blogger. He is the chief writer for the site "Of Two Minds". Started in 2005, this site has been listed No. 7 in CNBC's top alternative financial sites. Smith's economic works stress the value and efficacy of decentralizing power and wealth, the individual's power of self-determination and the value of community, which in his view has been diminished by the state. Smith and Covel discuss how winners and are being selected by the state as exemplified by the 2008 financial crisis; alliances between corporations and the state; why there might be an uproar if equity markets were not at all-time highs; what happens when the typical wage earner can no longer substitute debt for earned income; stagnant wages and tradable labor; building your life around non state controlled opportunities; the decentralization of power and wealth; and the reliance on secrecy in politics to avoid accountability. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Christopher Cruden on today’s podcast. Cruden has been in the trend following space for over 25 years. In 1988 he became a Director of Adam, Harding and Lueck Asset Management Ltd (AHL) in London, a famed trend following shop. He is currently the head of Insch Capital Management. Covel and Cruden discuss why price is an unimpeachable fact; early “lightbulb” moments that brought Cruden to the style of trading he practices today; the notion of going currency only; why Cruden’s program is akin to a raincoat in bad weather; riding increased volatility and increased directional trending; getting clients to understand that you cannot force a system to make money; benchmark selection and time period selection; why the S&P 500 is a trading system; performance drivers; the duration of trades; why if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it; how Cruden’s strategy would change if Europe reverted back to before the introduction of the Euro; how markets teach humility; why Cruden only trades once a day. For more information on Christopher Cruden, go to inschinvest.com. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Steven Kotler. Kotler is an American bestselling author, journalist, and entrepreneur. His articles have appeared in over 70 publications, including The New York Times Magazine, LA Times, Wired, GQ, Discover, Popular Science, Outside, Men’s Journal, Details and National Geographic Adventure. He is best known for his non-fiction books, including the New York Times bestseller Abundance, A Small Furry Prayer, and West of Jesus. His new book is The Rise of Superman. Covel starts off with a personal anecdote about his experiences with 'flow', and Kotler goes onto explain the topic based on Covel’s experiences. Covel and Kotler also discuss synonyms for flow; flow in basketball and other sports; group flow; pattern recognition; the neurological explanation for flow; the four stages of flow; why flow is not just a binary state; spiritual experiences compared to flow states; brain activity during flow states; the “deep now”; getting to the flow state with drugs; the flow state and the act of being on stage; why you need to take risks to get into flow; social fear, risk, and pain vs. physical fear, risk, and pain; method acting, screen presence, and flow; the military and flow research; risk and comfort; the balance between challenges and skills; getting comfortable with being uncomfortable; the fight or flight mindset; and future research into flow. For more information on Steven Kotler, visit flowgenomeproject.co. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Mark Rzepczynski. Rzepczynski is a Founder and Chief Investment Officer at AMPHI Capital Management. Prior to co-founding AMPHI Capital Management, he was the CEO of the Fund Group at FourWinds Capital Management, where he oversaw alternative investments. Rzepczynski was also President and Chief Investment Officer at John W. Henry & Co., an iconic Commodity Trading Advisor. He is on the Advisory Board of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA), the Associate Editor of the Journal of Alternative Investments, and a former board member of the FIA Futures Industry Association. Covel and Rzepczynski discuss the advantages of podcasting as a format over traditional media outlets; why prices are “primal”; prices as a heuristic; Rzepczynski’s ah-ha moment that brought him to the heuristic of price; why a complex education doesn’t necessarily mean you should use a complex system; why knowing the reasoning behind price movement is unnecessary; VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous; VUCA in the context of portfolio management; the zen of trading and portfolio management; the importance of passion in investing; the notion of over-diversification; dynamic allocation; convergent vs. divergent; the improbability principle; tail events and preparing for the unexpected; the notion of systematic vs. discretionary; how trend following is represented in the mainstream media; complexity; risk and return; volatility and complacency. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Alex Tabarrok and David Nott on today’s two-part podcast, which Covel affectionately calls “The Libertarian Episode”. First, Covel speaks with Alex Tabarrok, co-author of the Marginal Revolution website. He’s an economist at Covel’s alma mater, George Mason University. Covel and Tabarrok discuss China and the importance of teaching Chinese to American children; the greatest anti-poverty program in the world; the difficulty of improving the infrastructure of the United States; regulation and innovation; interest groups; benevolent dictators; the need for a democracy in an information age; innovation in the current American education system; why the American education system is focused on getting you to work for the man; women in the American education system; innovation, intellectual property and patents; the cumulative properties of innovation; grounds for optimism in the United States when it comes to innovation; how George Mason University became a libertarian economist hotspot; if Europe is following the path of Japan; why the European monetary union was a mistake; and why travel can create optimism. Next, Covel speaks with David Nott, president of The Reason Foundation--an organization that is all about free minds and free markets. Covel and Nott discuss The Reason Foundation and what it means to be a libertarian today; how Nott explains being a libertarian to people; how the actor and comedian Drew Carey came to be involved with The Reason Foundation; finding the optimism to stay focused on swaying people to the founding principles of our country; politics in China; the 2008 financial crisis, state control, and Reason’s response to the bailouts; common sense notions; pension reform; drug policy reform; the cultural policies surrounding prohibition; expanding the idea of liberty to younger people; Vernon Smith and Walter Williams. For more information on The Reason Foundation visit reason.com. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.