Post 300 (Mainly About Friends)

Well, its that time again.  WordPress informs me that this is post 300.  For me, that means a time to stop and reflect, and let readers know what’s going on in my life.

The blog has been live now for about seven months, and it has seen growth.  Growth in readers at syndicated sites (I’ve lost count), growth in readers through Feedburner (RSS) and Feedblitz (e-mail), growth in the number of blogs linking to me, growth in comments, personal e-mails, and spam.  Since the blog started, I have screened out over 6000 spam comments.  It fascinates me how much effort goes into trying to penetrate the comments filter of this blog.  I review the spam filter periodically to rescue the 0.1% of captured posts that are genuine.

As in most of life, we don’t succeed purely on our own.  It helps to have friends.  My most personal support comes from my family and my church.  Beyond that, though, I don’t think this blog would have gotten where it is today with the aid of James Altucher at TheStreet.com, Abnormal Returns, Charles Kirk at the Kirk Report, Barry Ritholtz at the Big Picture, StumbleUpon.com (surprising how much traffic has come from there, and all recent), Roger Nusbaum of Random Roger’s Big Picture, Bill Luby at VIX and More, Seeking Alpha (Aleph – Shalom), and Jeff Miller at A Dash of Insight.  A special thanks to my friend Cody Willard who encouraged me to do this early on, and who has received the promotion of a lifetime recently by becoming an anchor at the new FOX business news channel.  The quality of insight in business journalism has just taken a turn for the better.

Speaking of friends, I’d like to talk a little about what I am up to now.   No one has bitten yet on my equity management product, which has handily outperformed the market over the past seven years.  In one sense, that’s no surprise.  Doing well with a small asset base is not going to attract many takers, even if you have done in a liquid, disciplined, institutional way, as I have.  But I am still talking to people, and I have a four page synopsis of what I have done over the past seven years.  If any of my readers has an institution or a wealthy friend that you think might like to seed me (early investors get advantageous terms, permanently), please e-mail me.  Any real referral puts you in my “friend for life” category.

We’ll see where this leads. My dream is to manage money for others using my eight rules, and eventually set up a mutual fund so that smaller investors can join in.

But friends help in other ways also.  Two friends have decided to employ me as a consultant.  One for bond management advice at his bank, and management of two balanced funds, and another to analyze four insurance companies that he owns big stakes in to get a second opinion.  I am available for other consulting arrangements as well.  My wide (shallow?) skill set makes me particularly good for projects requiring knowledge of a broad range of subjects.  I’d like to say that no problem is too tough for me to take on, but that’s probably not true.  I have solved many tough problems for life insurers and investment firms, though.

Friends help in other ways also.  I have an article coming out in MoneySense magazine in November; an editor came to know me through RealMoney and my blog.  I am friends with a number of public insurance management teams.  One of them has granted me an interview in October; we will see where that leads.  My friends from my corporate bond management days are helping me as best they can; I need all the help I can get.

That’s what I am up to now, aside from seeking for venture capital for a friend, and aiding other friends in their business pursuits.  Oh, and seeking out other writing assignments.

A special thanks to the 22% of my audience that hails from outside of the US.  It surprises me that I have many readers in Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, China, Uruguay, France, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, South Korea, India and Taiwan.

Now, about future blog plans.   Here’s what I have coming up:

  • Build out my books page, with book reviews, complete with a little Amazon store.
  • Articles: How markets and traffic are similar, When to be flexible versus rigid, hidden correlations in strategy, problems in academic finance, rescuing Capitalism from capitalists, and more.  Also more articles that answer reader questions.
  • My usual coverage of current topics, particularly when things are hot.
  • One more thing: a stock picking contest, akin to the Value Line contest done in the mid-1980s, with a prize to the winner.  This contest will test skill in picking stocks, rather than luck in trading, as so many contests do.  Sponsors are welcome to apply, otherwise the prize will come out of my pocket, which means it won’t be large.  A sponsor will receive free advertising on my site for the duration of the contest.

Finally, thanks to all my readers who take time to read what I write.  It is a pleasure to produce content for you, and I will do my best for you.