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Trend Following with Michael Covel

Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 5 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 500+ eps at www.trendfollowingradio.com/rss.
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Now displaying: October, 2015

Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 5 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 500+ eps at www.trendfollowingradio.com/rss.

Oct 30, 2015

On today’s episode of Trend Following Radio Michael Covel interviews Emil van Essen. Michael first heard of Emil from former turtle, Lucy Wyatt. The first thing to note is that he is not a trend following trader. He is a commodity spread trader. Emil has been a CTA since 1997, but his first trading experience was at the early age of 12. Emil delivered papers when he was younger and would take the money and invest in rare coins. The owner of the coin store happened to be a commodity trader. He helped teach Emil about trading commodities and even put in trades for him. Emil’s first trading job was in 1986 at the age of 21.

Michael and Emil start the podcast explaining spread trading. Emil describes trend following as one dimensional whereas spread trading in his view has a multidimensional trading surface because of all the directions a trade can profit rather than if the market only goes up or down. Emil refers to his trading as not systematic but model driven. At the base of his every trade is a model and they can tweak the model accordingly as they see fit–a big distinction compared to trend following.

Emil’s firm is one of the only CTA’s that are negatively correlated to trend followers. He also believes that following rules 100% of the time is a bad idea. “Our brains are far more smarter than computers,” he states. Emil adds, “We need to know not to be emotional about trades but if you don’t adapt to change then you won’t last.” Emil also throws around the controversial word, “prediction.” He says that when he says “predication”, it is actually more about “probability.” He tries to find a method that reliably tells him that something is going to happen more often than not. Emil says, “You try and find an edge. Find consistent behavior patterns that give you a risk adjusted return.”

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Growth of commodity ETFs
  • Diversification
  • Raising money vs. Making money
  • Quality Investors vs. Quantity of Investors
  • Beta and Alpha
  • Not all investors are created equal
Oct 26, 2015

On today’s episode of Trend Following Radio Michael talks about one of his favorite subjects: baseball and numbers. He profiles arguably one of baseball’s greatest managers, Earl Weaver of the Baltimore Orioles. Weaver believed that baseball, just like trend following, always came back to numbers. He knew the right formula was the 3-run home run.

Coincidentally, Covel’s favorite team growing up was the Orioles. They were one of the “it” team in the 1970s and early 1980’s. Unknown to most, Earl Weaver, the Orioles manager, had a strategy that was a foundation for the book (and later turned Hollywood movie) “Moneyball”. His approach to building a winning team not only applies to baseball, but also to many other aspects of life, including trend following.

Covel plays a clip about Weaver, profiling how he operated and changed the mentality of how to put together a baseball team. Focusing on every “out” was at the very core of his strategy. He looked at the whole arc of the game rather than just the beginning, middle or end. Weaver had a plan for every individual player on his team.

Weaver is just as responsible for Covel’s trend following mindset as some of the most successful trend following traders he has met. He showed that home runs win and pay for mistakes. Ask yourself: “How can I put myself in the position to capture the next home run?” That doesn’t mean to be reckless. The podcast ends with a classic Earl Weaver clip that throws a few “F” bombs around. Listener discretion is advised.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Trend following as a numbers game
  • Earl Weaver’s Moneyball legacy
  • Why homeruns pay for the losses
  • Consistency as an illusion
  • Trading is/as a game
  • Know your strategy and stick with it
Oct 23, 2015

On today’s episode of Trend Following Radio Michael Covel interviews Charles Poliquin. Charles is recognized as one of the worlds most successful strength coaches and has coached Olympic to professional athletes. He speaks with Michael about his new venture with Ed Seykota as well as his vast health and exercise knowledge.

Poliquin was Canada’s second youngest black belt at the age of 14, has mastered 6 different martial arts, and is influenced strongly by Bruce Lee, karma and other eastern influences. After getting into karate at the age of 10, he moved into lifting weights at the age of 14 and fell in love instantly with the sport. He took on his first training client in his first year of college at the age of 17 and has named himself the “Strength Sensei ”.

Charles gives countless bits of advice on how to keep moving forward in life and fitness: “If you don’t have an expiration date then the goal doesn’t mean anything. There is no pressure.” Keep the competition going with yourself. Also, have a good balance of work and time off. He points out that sleep is one of the most underrated subjects within health and fitness, but it should be a priority. Lastly, Michael and Charles talk about testosterone levels and how they are deeply affecting men and women around the world. Charles explains both the environmental and nutritional basis for low testosterone and why it has such a huge impact on the human mental state.

“Progression not perfection is what you should be focusing on. “ --Charles Poliquin

“The general who sleeps the most wins the war.” --Charles Poliquin

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Long distance cardio vs. short sprint workouts
  • The importance of sleep to your health and fitness
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • How testosterone levels affect the psychology of men and woman
  • Relationship between top athletes and top executives
  • How to stay motivated
Oct 19, 2015

On today’s episode of Trend Following Radio, Michael opens up about uncertainty and uses one of his favorite writers to illustrate: Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens is certain that he doesn’t know, and sees doubt and skepticism as our only path to enlightenment. He invites us to open up to the possibility that doubt will always be in front of faith–whatever that faith may be about. Covel sees Hitchens insights well beyond religion, and connects his comments to his trading world.

Next, Michael excerpts a recent soundbite from Jim Simons on Trend Following. He is one of the most successful traders ever. A great track record. 100% systematic. Uses price action. He is very clear that fundamental analysis is not his direction. How does Simons really trade? Will we ever know? No. Simons is tight lipped. Is Simons a trend follower? Does he use trend following at all? Worthy questions given his limited public statements. Covel digs into Simons recent comments about trend following asking the hard questions few are prepared to pose.

Lastly, Covel brings in Alan Watts to connect both Hitchens and Simons. Watts wonders why children have been forced into a learning process that doesn’t help them in the long run. He sees culture as leaving children at a disadvantage. He points out that the rules of the game are not given to children. Children are strung along. The powers that be keep key information away from the child, and even the adult, forcing them to always rely on the system. So while everyone is in desperate need of the future, ignoring the present moment is inevitable. Covel easily connects this to the markets and trading reminding us all that the gatekeepers are not your friends.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Christopher Hitchens on certainty v. uncertainty
  • Jim Simons on Trend Following
  • Faith v. Skepticism
  • Is trend following dead?
  • Buying pleasure: a complete fallacy
  • Constraints on the truth
Oct 16, 2015

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel has a conversation with Joey Yap, Feng Shui expert, founder of the Mastery Academy of Chinese Metaphysics and self-made entrepreneurial millionaire. Feng Shui, as Joey explains it, is “about how your environment supports you”. Further digging into the subject, Joey and Michael examine the world as a network of positive and negative energies.

After explaining some of the core principles of Feng Shui, Joey discuss how the practice has been “bastardized” by the West. Westerners believe it’s the items themselves that project energy – resulting in an entire trinket industry that has developed – when nothing could be further from the truth. The items exist merely for the energy to flow around because, as Joey explains, flow is everything.

Joey then goes on to discuss the myriad ways in which the tenets of Feng Shui apply to the business world. Think of a bustling office as a closed environment of continually crossing positive and negative energies. Collectively, this energy is called the “corporate culture.” But each individual environment is governed by a dominant energy, and that energy is determined by the company leaders. And, as you’d expect, an overall positive energy flowing throughout an environment will always produce better results. Many of the core principles seen in behavioral economics, trend following and Zen shine through in this episode, but from another perspective.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Experts: get close to them and learn
  • You can’t predict the future, you can only see patterns
  • If you don’t like your destiny, go the other direction
  • Change your environment, change your life
  • Corporate culture: an energy determined by leaders
  • You don’t have to invent – fix something

Want a FREE Trend Follоwing DVD? Find it here

Oct 12, 2015

On today’s episode of Trend Following Radio, Michael Covel opens the conversation by taking a look at the concept of faith, and how it has no place in the trading world. In trading, logic and reason trump faith. If you can’t “grow” up and use reason to gather information and form strategy, Michael notes, then you have no place at the “adult” table.

Next, Michael outlines core decision-making precepts. Sometimes making the right move means going against your instincts, and it’s at these times that you need to force yourself to make a decision – even if it means quitting. People tend to equate quitting with failure when the truth, as Michael points out, is that sometimes quitting is what keeps you in the game. This line of thinking is again linked to logic rather than faith – the erroneous faith that if you necessarily stick it out (i.e. a losing trade in the markets) success will follow.

Other topics covered in this episode touch on how financial advisors primarily exist to push mutual funds and buy and hold orthodoxy, why investing without a plan dooms you before you begin, and why embracing the challenge of how the world and investing really works makes you a smarter investor.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Logic over faith
  • Financial advisors: there to give mutual fund advice
  • Adapting your strategy
  • How quitting can keep you in the game
  • Forcing yourself to make decisions
  • Risk and reward

Want a FREE Trend Follоwing DVD? Find it here

Oct 9, 2015

Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel talks with author and startup entrepreneur Gabriel Weinberg about the concept of traction. Gabriel points out that in the business world traction is about far more than simply getting a grip and hanging in there – it’s about then moving forward, ultimately toward a defined goal (customers).

Just like a trend following trader that uses quantitative methods to invest scientifically, Gabriel relies on numbers and hard data to inform him about which marketing channels are working and which should be focused on, and which are less effective and should be dropped. The result is a streamlined marketing approach that’s allowed Gabriel, a self-published author, to sell upwards of 35,000 copies of his book.

Michael and Gabriel also talk about how psychology factors into startup entrepreneurship. For anyone investing their time and energy into a project, both passion and resiliency are paramount. If you aren’t passionate about the work you’re doing, and if you don’t genuinely enjoy the challenge of bringing a product to market, then you’re doomed before you ever start. Best, as Michael suggests, to run back to the office cubicle.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Reaching your goal, then setting another
  • Resilience: vital to the entrepreneur
  • Committing to your idea
  • Psychology: the main barrier to success
  • Understanding that it’s okay to fail
  • Enjoy the challenge – or go do something else

Want a FREE Trend Follоwing DVD? Find it here

Oct 5, 2015

Today on Trend Following Radio, Michael Covel takes time out to highlight the fact that trend following isn’t simply about trading. From gamblers to pharmaceutical executives to those in the film and music industries, trend following is a strategy rooted in human nature itself.

As an example, Michael examines the success of film producer Jason Blum. In direct opposition to the Hollywood mantra of Spend! Spend! Spend!, Blum has chosen another path. Blum, recognizing that big budgets don’t necessarily mean big profits, developed a filmmaking system based on low budget projects. Blum fully understands that close to half of his films will flop. But he also understands that a handful of box office successes will more than cover those losses. This is the essence of trend following.

Michael goes on to quote from a 2005 article by best-selling author Michael Crichton. Crichton, talking about the then-burgeoning field of futurism, explains that these so-called futurists don’t actually know any more about the future than the average man on the street. These “experts” are guilty of the same flawed thinking that spews forth from the minds of traders who think they know what the market will do tomorrow.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Why embracing uncertainty pays big
  • Trend following: it’s human nature
  • Losses: acceptable when you strategize to cover them
  • The sunk cost fallacy
  • Opening your mind to alternative ways of thinking
  • The mistake of blindly accepting the word of “authorities”

Want a FREE Trend Follwing DVD? Find it here.   

Oct 2, 2015

This time on Trend Following Radio, Michael Covel talks with Paul Slovic. Paul is president of Decision Research and a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, and today he talks with Michael about the science behind risk perception.

To demonstrate how people tend to conflate actual risk with their perceptions of risk, Michael and Paul discuss a topic that’s always been a hot button issue in the public consciousness, nuclear power. In the early days of this industry, people were rightfully concerned with the possible mismanagement of such a potentially dangerous technology – concerns seemingly crystallized by the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. Similar concerns continue to be raised today, particularly in light of the Fukushima disaster of 2011. But as Paul explains, neither of these tragedies can completely outweigh the obvious benefits of nuclear power. It’s a case of risk perception to overcome the actual risk posed.

The conversation also focuses on the role of the media in influencing people’s decision-making processes. Why is it, you might ask, that the media spends so much more time pushing negative stories than positive ones? The answer, according to Paul, goes back to biology. It’s a survival mechanism in human beings that we’re affected far more by negative stimuli than positive stimuli. This makes sense when you consider the external dangers we’ve faced in our evolution. So today, we tend to harp on the bad things that happen while ignoring the good.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • The psychometric paradigm of risk perception
  • Balancing risk vs. reward
  • The concept of affect heuristics
  • How the media sways the public’s risk assessment
  • Fast vs. slow thinking
  • Risk in the context of decision making

Want a FREE Trend Follоwing DVD? Find it here.

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