Twitter As An (On-going) Experiment Part II: An Investor’s Perspective, One Year Later
July 1, 2013 6 Comments
I wrote a post titled, Twitter As An (On-going) Experiment: An Investor/Trader’s Perspective , just over a year ago (June 2012). I’ve been meaning to write a follow-up post for quite some time, and think now is the right time to do so (with the 4th of July holiday around the corner).
WHAT HAS CHANGED IN TWITTER LAND SINCE JUNE 2012
A few tweeps have come and gone (a few great ones left, even as a few great ones have entered the scene). @DavidSchawel has proceeded to become the Jeffrey Gundlach of twitter, opining on bonds, single-name stocks (e.g. POWR been a winner), and even Non-US macro (long Russia was one idea he mentioned a few times earlier this year, if I recall correctly). A certain twitter Messiah died and rose again (kind of…). Bloomberg terminals now officially feed a few tweeps’ tweets. A few heavy hitters joined twitter. A few impersonators have come and gone. One got into trouble with the law. Some troublemakers hacked into the AP’s account, and falsely claimed there was a bombing at the White House. @BarbarianCap has turned into a panda . Oh, and I have become the twitter village idiot.
CURRENT THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS TWITTER THING
Last year I wrote:
HOW TO USE TWITTER: FOR INVESTORS/TRADERS
Okay, I actually believe avoiding useless or even harmful tweeps/tweets is a good place to start. So below, I will focus on what NOT to do, so that twitter can be used to preserve, possibly enhance your wealth. If you simply avoid the tweeps described below, you are more likely to succeed, and find twitter helpful to your investing/trading decisions.
In that post, I then proceeded to identify certain types of tweeps who you should not follow, and why. Since that time, I’ve actually come to change my mind; I currently believe that everyone should do as they please. Think for yourselves, and come to your own conclusions.
Be aware that you don’t owe anything to anyone; and no one owes you anything on twitter. That said, you’re more likely to have a positive experience using twitter if you always strive to respect others. You never know who is watching, and you never know how people will change, and how your relationships with them might change. Not to mention, it’s morally correct to be respectful to all. You’re also more likely to get something out of twitter if you are generous to others (so long as you do not harm your own self interest; nothing wrong with self preservation).
If you’re thinking about calling someone out, or if someone confronts you disrespectfully, consider: “those who live by the sword, die by the sword.” You have little to no incentive to participate in fights (critical/constructive dialogue/disagreements are ENTIRELY different matter). The path of least resistance is to listen to critics, but not feel compelled to respond (so that you don’t fuel their flame). As it is written, “the greatest victory is the one with least bloodshed.”
Finally, you should assume that others are out to further their own self interests, and that they have as much of a right to do so as you do (so long as their actions aren’t illegal, blatantly immoral, and/or harmful to others).
I will end this post on a positive note, by offering a profile of a certain tweep who I like and respect very much. I find that he/she is helpful, and fair to all. I will refer to him/her as ‘PB’.
PB: An example of Twitter done right (?)
PB claims to run a $250.1 billion hedge fund. For all we know, he/she could be some heavy hitter or some 14 year old boy from Estonia playing a practical joke (though in my opinion, he’d have to be a very TALENTED 14 year old, if that were the case). I don’t care who he/she is. Here is what I’ve observed about PB (I’ve been tracking his/her tweets for nearly 2 years):
- PB is more right than not; from my recollection, his batting avg > .500 , on macro, on specific securities, and regarding people.
- PB is no day trader. His calls/positions are measured mostly in quarters, if not 12-24 months.
- He is focused, clear, and crisp. He (i) shares a view, (ii) explains what position he has taken already to express that view, or (iii) what position he will likely take, depending on how the future plays vs. his view.
- Nearly all his tweets are ex ante and/or in real time. No now-casting or after the fact patting himself on the back.
- His approach/process (at least from what he shares publicly) bears an eerie resemblance to one of my former bosses…who started out worth a buck few decades ago, and is now worth nearly half a yard. All on investment performance (PB is not my former boss, that much I do know).
- I don’t recall him ever tooting his own horn.
- He makes mistakes, does NOT bat 1.000…therefore, I don’t think he’s a fraud, on that basis. Also, some have pointed to his twitter profile as proof he’s a fraud. I think his profile is some kind of parody/inside joke.
- PB has a tendency to call others out. I think part of the reason he does this is (like many who are successful in this business) he possesses that athlete-like competitive personality. Taunting, trash-talking, mental mind games, etc come with the territory. So I think that’s part of his motivation. I also believe PB has a strong sense of justice (right and wrong), and calls out people who he believes are deceiving others (and themselves).
- PB may come across as disrespectful, confrontational, and just downright mean at times (I think 80-90% of the problem is his word selection/phrasing, not inaccuracy or mal-intent), but I actually think he is very fair and his intentions, pure. And By fair, I mean, he will listen to you. If he goes after you, and you explain how he’s wrong, he will stand back. He is usually right on the mark, when he goes after someone, but is quite respectful/charitable when he is wrong.
- PB confronted me a while back. Instead of retaliating, I pointed out how he was wrong. That’s the first (and last) time he ever confronted me.
- Even though he was wrong on the specifics (when he publicly confronted me), he did have a point. He was able to see through one of my weaknesses (or as some would say euphemistically, “growth opportunities”), and instead of retaliating, I seized the opportunity to learn and grow. I thank him for his criticism, because now that I look back, it was meant to be instructive, not harmful.
- PB has been critical of a certain guy (let’s call him BB) since Q4 2012. If you pay very close attention to the exchanges between PB and BB, PB was clearly trying to help out BB, and was VERY nice at first. The problem is, BB doesn’t take criticism well (I’ve been following BB for a few years). He ignored/brushed off PB’s advice. PB started to get more confrontational, because BB was not listening AT ALL. In fact, BB got increasingly more defensive. It went on and on, until things got very nasty (well, amusing if you were a spectator). Instead of facing the valid criticisms head on, BB went on a blocking campaign. It’s too bad that BB doesn’t have the maturity to acknowledge PB has been right, and would’ve saved BB a lot of money. That’s a shame.
I personally want to thank PB for helping me grow as an investor. I’ve learned so much just by observing the tidbits he shares with the stream. It feels like an athlete studying superstars’ game tapes, and learning by observing.
Disclosures: I barely talk to PB. I don’t know who he is. He has never asked me to promote him. I am deliberately not revealing his twitter handle because the point here is not to promote him, but to give a concrete example of what it looks like when twitter finance is done right (and there’s more than one right way; just pointing out an example). There are others who fit the bill too.
I do want to give a few shout outs to a few folks:
@Legacy_Trades , @MarketFolly , @BarbarianCap , @ValueWalk , @DavidSchawel , @Zerohedge, @MatterhornBob, @KeithMcCullough, @HowardLindzon, @PKedrosky, @StockJockey [list to be updated periodically] – Each in their own way, has helped cultivate this twitter finance ecosystem. There are many others as well, but these are a few names that initially come to mind. I’m not endorsing their products, services, funds, etc. I’m merely pointing out the fact that these guys have contributed to this ecosystem, whether you like them or not.