Brett Steenbarger, PhD, author of the TraderFeed blog, upon announcing the upcoming cessation of his active posting.
An important point he made in a subsequent post:
I look back on the opportunities that have come from the blog—the books and book sales, the coaching opportunities, the valuable contacts and colleagues—and the return on the investment of my time has been immense. It’s been phenomenally rewarding personally and emotionally, but it’s also contributed to many hundreds of thousands of dollars of income. All without subscriptions. All without advertising.
And that’s the thought I want to leave you with: If you put yourself out there, share your best ideas, reach out to people, and give more than anyone ever could expect you to give, you’ll attract the right kinds of people—and the right kinds of opportunity. If you have passion and you have talent, make yourself visible: the best people will find their way to you and everyone will benefit.
I don’t trade securities, but I do play poker, and his writings on behavioral psychology and trader performance are highly applicable to other decisions where self-knowledge, understanding market variables, and money intersect.
Steenbarger’s success in just putting his wisdom out there corresponds with the concept of art as a given gift that Seth Godin espouses in Linchpin:
The essence of any gift, including the gift of emotional labor, is that you don’t do it for a tangible, guaranteed reward. If you do, it’s no longer a gift; it’s a job. The hybrid economy we’re living in today is blending the idea of capitalism and the gift economy. . . .
Going out of your way to find uncomfortable situations isn’t natural, but it’s essential. Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you’re doing something that others are unlikely to do, because they’re busy hiding out in the comfortable core.
The Importance of Having Poker Buddies (and Doing Due Diligence)
Or golf buddies, or fellow boardgamers, or a tight roleplaying game crew, or whatever your fun-bunch does, who might be able to help in a pinch and get your career kickstarted:
Then, at their [the producers of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, who ran out of money after months of editing] moment of maximum desperation, another group of Austin politicians got involved. Henkel had confided his dilemma to Bill Wittliff, the Austin screenwriter best known for Raggedy Man and Barbarosa. Wittliff called his buddy Joe K. Longley, an attorney and the former head of the antitrust and consumer protection division of the attorney general’s office, and a meeting was arranged at City National Bank for everyone who played in his weekly poker game. Hooper and Henkel put together twelve minutes of the best footage from the unfinished movie and screened it for the poker players. At the end of the screening, six of them agreed to put up $23,532 in exchange for 19 percent of Vortex. When the agreement was drawn up, the number of people with shares of ownership had risen to somewhere around 35, although only Henkel and Hooper knew the real number. (Longley called the new investors’ corporation P.I.T.S. It stood for “Pie in the Sky”; to this day, a few members of the poker circle get regular royalty checks from Chainsaw.)
Though you might not feel the same way if you were, say, an actor or crewmember who wasn’t in on the way the deal was really split up:
Hooper, reclusive and nonconfrontational by nature, fled from the problem, which exacerbated tensions. The actors felt bamboozled. They were startled to find out that Vortex, the company run by Hooper and Henkel, owned only half the movie, a fact some of the actors said they were not told in the beginning. Parsley’s M.A.B. Inc. owned the other half. That meant that an actor’s .5 percentage was actually worth only .25. Then there was this mystery company, the one run by Joe Longley, that suddenly turned up owning 19 percent of Vortex and demanding that it receive its investment money before anyone else was paid.
In fact, the cast and crew had no idea how bad things really were. Although Variety, the trade newspaper, was reporting that Chainsaw had grossed upward of $12 million in less than a year, [New York City–based distributor for 35% of the profits] Bryanston’s statements showed only about $1 million. One explanation is that, according to a Village Voice article, the heads of Bryanston, brothers Lou and Joe Peraino, were both members of the Colombo crime family. The Perainos had gotten into the film business, according to the FBI, by extorting the rights to Deep Throat from director Gerard Damiano, but since then they had acquired a legitimate reputation by hiring Hollywood veterans for their West Coast office, where the real marketing and distribution was done.
Unaware of this, investor Robert Kuhn had taken to calling the Perainos “the Piranha brothers.” And after repeatedly requesting an accounting of Chainsaw’s profits, he, Skaaren, Henkel, and Parsley demanded a meeting with them in New York in 1975. “Skaaren and I went over to their offices,” says Kuhn. “Henkel and Parsley stayed in the hotel. We waited a long time, and then Lou Peraino invited us into his office. On either side of him were two great big guys who looked like stereotypical thugs. We sat down and said, ‘We’re here to audit the books.’ He said, ‘You’re not gonna audit the books.’ I said, ‘In that case we would have no choice but to sue you.’ He looked at me and said, ‘You don’t have enough balls to sue me.’” There was a long silence as neither man said anything. Looming behind Peraino was a huge painting of Saint Sebastian, gouts of blood pouring out of his body, his face twisted in agony as he died with dozens of arrows mangling his flesh.
From “They Came, They Sawed” by John Bloom (aka, “the” John Bloom, aka drive-in maven Joe Bob Briggs), Texas Monthly (Nov. 2004).