I'm going to share with you some of the gems and pearls of wisdom that I personally took away from the recent ChartCon 2022 Investor Conference. You may recall some of these nuggets. Others you won't because they occurred in belly-to-belly discussions behind the scenes.
Therein lies perhaps Nugget #1. Hopefully, with Covid behind us, we'll all venture out more. And with this venturing out and more belly-to-belly moments, come insights of a much more personal nature. We stock market folks need that. Yes, this year's ChartCon was brimming with exceptional market wizards, but their presentations being streamed to a broad audience of investors is — by its very nature — a view from 10,000 feet.
I feel truly fortunate that after the cameras went dark, I could approach presenters and mine their content over coffee or dinner — thereby discovering those investment gems that are so rare to unearth after all my years in the markets. Perhaps this is Nugget #2. I first formulated the 10 Stages of Stock Market Mastery as a result of attending countless investment presentations. As an attendee, the most crucial and valuable task is to quickly surmise what the speaker's focus is and to compartmentalize his or her presentation correctly. In other words, if the talk is engaged in Stage 1 — Money Management, then you must accept that it's NOT about Stage 4 — Market Analysis. Otherwise, there's a bug in your caviar!
This was extremely important at ChartCon 2022 because the breadth of topics covered all 10 stages of Stock Market Mastery. As an attendee, to profit most from the topic at hand, you had to quickly deduce which Stage or Stages the material being discussed might belong. Our book is based precisely on these ten stages.
Nugget #3. A chat with Jon Markman reinforced a rule that I've held dear ever since Bruce Fraser (blogger of "Wyckoff Power Charting") recommended I read Wyckoff's book Reminiscences of a Stock Operator. Soon afterwards, Dr. Hank Pruden also suggested that I read it. The rule is this: Don't read any investment book unless it's recommended by two or more people you truly respect. Note as well, the caveat here is that I said "read" and not "buy." I'll admit that my own library consists of every significant investment book you can name. But on those same shelves, there are hundreds of dark and quirky books that are full of stock market twaddle!
At the same time, sitting next to the twaddle is Jon's annotated edition of the Reminiscences book which I've read at least six times. But who's counting? It's not that I'm a slow learner. It's that rereading a seminal investment book builds muscle memory and breeds better investment habits. Hopefully, most of you feel that way about our book — Tensile Trading.
Nugget #4. Our investment arena is blessed with so many colorful and quotable characters. ChartCon was an elite example. What I found interesting is that most of us maintain an archive of our favorite quotes. I believe many have stood the test of time because they are based on a market truism which at first blush might not be apparent to a novice investor. Over coffee breaks, my favorite question to ask other presenters was to query them about their personal favorite stock market quote. I could write an entire blog on their answers alone. Nevertheless, I recall a discussion that yielded this quote. Abraham Lincoln said "A man is just about as happy as he makes up his mind to be." To paraphrase, "An investor is just about as profitable as he makes up his mind to be." In other words, it's up to you to decide how much effort and discipline you are willing to allocate in becoming a consistent and successful investor. You make your mind up, put in the effort, and it will happen. Tomorrow's profits will be as certain as seasonal sunshine.
Nugget #5. Were the speakers and moderators confident? Yes, but they were grounded in humility. The commonality being perhaps that we've all been molded by the markets and the markets don't honor egos. We are all somewhat like farmers who must respect and obey the seasons. Our bountiful harvest is determined by the markets. We recognize that markets are bigger than us and it demands of us that we play our role. The markets ensure that as investors we stay grounded and not exaggerate our own place in this ecosystem. I suspect that this helps explain in part why all the presenters were so likable. Wisdom dressed in humility was fashionable at ChartCon.
Nugget #6. My observation about two common traits amongst all the speakers is focus and persistence. Each decided to direct their efforts at a particular segment of the market. Then they deployed immense persistence to succeed on their own terms. Persistence is a mindset where you are persisting to learn and be better today than what you were yesterday. Focus demands you ween yourself from the human tendency to charge at the markets as if its a smorgasbord (which it is). Focus is what produces competence and builds intuition. Deciding and knowing what is outside your investing wheelhouse is part of focusing. For myself, I no longer short equities, trade options, futures or derivatives, and never use leverage. My focus is long equities and ETFs, and I've done very nicely, thank you!
Jay Sherry said, "When you learn a little, you feel you know a lot. But when you learn a lot, you realize you know very little." This quote pretty much describes the group of speakers. For example, the oldest of the group — its not polite to say who — was always the first person on set each morning, always eager to learn. He's the LeBron James of investing, yet he's first to show up at practice! I can only pray I'll have his focus, energy and persistence when I'm his age.
There are many more nuggets and gems I want to share with you, but I think I'll stop here for now. Back at you in two weeks!
Trade well; trade with discipline!