Mar

5

 I started working as an auditor, at Price Waterhouse, one of the big six, right after my graduation from university. I worked very hard and very long hours. After eighteen months I was managing a very large group and was the youngest manager in the company's history. I was very good with numbers. I studied balance sheets, income statements, and statements of cash flow. I studied hard and learned a lot about companies. I was never satisfied and always thought I could do more. I started a few businesses in my twenties and overall made money. I spent sleepless nights managing people and working to meet deadlines. My businesses grew and I had to leave my auditing career for good.

One day I decided to liquidate everything and emigrate to Canada. The stock market always attracted me. It attracted me initially as the line of least resistance and the easiest way to make money. Boy, was I ever wrong! I read every book about markets from Peter Lynch's to the scoundrel of Omaha's and his womanizing mentor's. I decided I was more interested in the demand and supply curves of the stocks whose balance sheets I am studying more than the demand and supply for heir products.

I didn't know why but it made more sense to me to treat the stocks as the subject of examination, their supply and demand, their temper and their psychology and forget everything else. I felt I was getting closer to the Key to Rebecca, as one large fund manager calls it.

I studied everything about the supply and demand of stocks. I passed the three levels of the CMT in a record time among a zillion other courses. I studied hard and learned a lot. I was living alone and didn't work for a long time. I survived on the capital from the businesses I liquidated. I read every book on technical analysis. I learned about every pattern. I programmed every indicator known to man and developed a system that weighted indicators by their success rate. Even then, unwittingly, I was trying to be scientific. I invested everything I had in the markets and was making more money that I dreamed possible for someone my age. I started living large. I once owned every model of the Rolex watch ever manufactured. No exaggeration. I owned a violin that was auctioned for the equivalent of five years of my audit manager salary without a blink. I still have my tax bills to prove it.

It always worried me that it came so easily. Even then I guess I was smart enough to have my doubts. The more money I made, the more I wanted and the more I worried. I worried that my system might be flawed. The more I worried the more I studied. The more I studied the more I figured that I might not hold the Key to Rebecca.

I had charts everywhere in my bedroom. More quote machines and news feeds than a mid-sized fund operation would need. Financial journals scattered all over my floors. Books everywhere. I was a genius. If you wanted a picture of illusion de grandeur, I was it. I always felt I should enjoy it as best as I could, as it could be taken away from me without a warning.

Every time I surfed the net I worried that my Key to Rebecca wasn't really a secret. People used my indicators everywhere. I felt that everyone knew about them and shared them very generously.

The public newspapers had them. They were all over the free websites. The TV commercials, the financial seminars all had them. They were all over the place. They were haunting me. I couldn't take the uneasiness anymore. How could everyone get rich at the same time? How could everybody be profitable? Why are they sharing? Are they mad? Didn't I study that money is a scarce commodity? Something is wrong.

How could indicators so well known to people, indicators so publicly available, be so profitable? I read and read. I tweaked my indicators so I could be ahead of the public, but only in the sense that I naively used a 47-day moving average instead of the 50 and a 17 instead of the 20 and a different method of crossover. I applied similar naive ideas to all indicators so I would ahead of the public.

I didn't like my game even though it was profitable. I didn't have an edge. Making money doesn't mean you have an edge. But, what's an edge? How do I know I have one? I studied history. I read about wars. I tried to develop a philosophical framework of what edge really is. The more I read, the more I realized that whatever an edge is, I didn't have it.

While I was browsing a bookstore in downtown Toronto, I saw a picture of a barefooted trader with chessboard in front of him. I found out he was also a champion in squash, a sport I took up very seriously at the time. The cover also attracted me, and I started reading the book.

My first reaction was, "wow, this guy knew it all along!" How many traders tell you upfront that they will not unload any secrets on you in the book they are trying to sell you? None. This alone was worth the price of the book for me.

I read the book and Victor unloaded on me a dose of wisdom beyond my brain's ability to digest over a first read. Victor, the counter, knew it all along. Victor mentioned that Jack Barnaby caught him before he learned the game of squash the wrong way. Well, Victor caught me before I learned the game of speculation the wrong way.

Yes, money was scarce. No, popular indicators will not make money over the long run. Yes, cycles change. No, technical analysis and moving averages are not testable or falsifiable. Yes, Victor went through the same stages I went through, as he explains in his encounter with John Magee, the father of technical analysis. Yes, all hope is not lost. I am still young and I can change my game.

I designed trading programs based solely on Victor's wisdom. The wisdom he gave me so freely for the few dollars I paid for his book. Victor made millionaires of, and instilled wisdom into, countless students. Victor, who never bragged about his countless achievements.

Victor answered my first email in 1998. Victor takes the time to send me emails at 2 a.m. to compliment me on a contribution to Daily Spec. A contribution that is often nothing but a recycled and repackaged piece of his own wisdom.

Scott Brooks adds:

 We are all truly blessed to have this forum and opportunity to learn. I know I have grown as a manager, a father, a hunter, and as a person because of my affiliation with Daily Spec.

As a manager, I've learned how to look beyond the world of TA and see more than the shadows on the walls of the cave that my charts were.

As a father, I've been able to share with my kids, especially David, many of the life lessons on the site.

As a hunter — yes as a deer and turkey hunter — I've improved greatly because this site has given me an opportunity to write about my hunts and as a result, forced me to look more deeply at what I was doing and at the rationale behind my choices.

And as a person, I have grown from the friendships I've made with other contributors. As a businessman, from the knowledge gained from the great businessmen among them.

I am in a continuous state of awe and excitement at the knowledge of this group — and that this group actually accepts me as part of it! If you all knew where I came from and my journey, you'd understand how amazing it is that someone like me could be here in this group!

I am most grateful for Victor for allowing me in this forum. I am honored to be here. I am honored to call Victor my friend!


Comments

Name

Email

Website

Speak your mind

Archives

Resources & Links

Search