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 basic economics of bookmaking dictate that every bookmaker will occasionally have to place a layoff wager with another bookmaker to create a more favorable balance in the bets he books and thereby reduce his risk. For example, if a Washington bookmaker has collected too much money on the Washington Redskins for an upcoming game against the San Francisco 49ers, he must either change the line in order to attract more balanced betting or lay off some of the money with a regional or national layoff bookmaker—so that he has as much money bet on the 49ers as he does on the Redskins.
“Arnold Rothstein created the first national layoff system,” [former NYPD supervisor of detectives] Ralph Salerno told me. “He had some bookmaker friends in Baltimore, with whom he’d opened up a racetrack. He also knew bookmakers in Boston and Philadelphia and elsewhere. And they were all sitting around talking, and one of them said, ‘I had to turn down some heavy action because I was lopsided the other way. I didn’t want to be loaded on one team over the other.’ Rothstein told them, ‘Schmucks, the next time something like that happens, you go through me. And I’ll take some of your Boston excess, and I’ll match it against your Philadelphia excess. And we’ll all make money.’”
Dan E. Moldea, Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football
- I’ve always been fascinated by arbitrage—whether in the financial markets or the arena of sports gambling—at least to the limits of my math skills. Something about how the availability of information, behavioral psychology, and asset prices interact to form a more or less efficient market is riveting to me.
- Finding a niche that’s unfilled due to oversight or desire, convincing people that you best fill it, providing them with solid results, and becoming indispensable to them because you do work they can’t or won’t do, is a blueprint for success.
PS. What sort of kismet is it that Donovan’s “Atlantis” came on the radio while writing this post? If you don’t know why that’s coincidential in the midst of an illegal-bookmaking discussion. run don’t walk to your nearest copy of GoodFellas.
Or, if you haven’t 3 hours to spare: