Two Years at the Aleph Blog. Time for a Change.

What a year.  If the first year of this blog wasn’t exciting enough, year two was enough to make your heart flutter.  What have we seen in year two?

  • The demise of Bear, Lehman, AIG, Fannie, Freddie, and more.
  • The near-demise of Citi, Bank of America, and many other financials.
  • The US government floundering as it gropes for solutions.
  • The Federal Reserve tries all manner of novel schemes to support leverage, as they move into a ZIRP with Japan, and the rest of the world trailing.  Quantitative easing remains, if they have enough money to buy helicopter fuel.
  • The collapse of the international division of labor as exports dry up globally.
  • The grand round trip for commodities as the world could not maintain the frantic pace of growth that had been fueled by leverage and neomercantilism.
  • The start of trade wars, as nations look to protect their home markets.
  • The loss of faith in currencies, as gold continues to rise.
  • Risk assets get shellacked, whether public or private.
  • Pension plans, endowments, and other institutions suffer.  Governments realize that they were reliant on the overleveraged markets as well.
  • Residential real estate continues to fall in value, dragging mortgages and banks down with it.
  • Commercial real estate begins its long soft era.
  • My portfolio has beaten the broad market indexes for another year, though not as convincingly as in the past.

Those who have read me a long time know that my interests in investing are broad.  Being an economist, as well as a quantitative and qualitative investment analyst gives me more tools to work with.

But where am I going from here?  I am slowing down.  For two years, I have tried to keep up a  pace of two posts a day, six days a week.  Well, it has turned out to be more like nine posts per week, 75% of my goal.  As when I wrote for RealMoney, my own standards hindered my goal.  (At RealMoney, I wrote few articles near the end, because I did not feel that I had more to write that justified an article.)

I could put out a lot more posts, and quote other sources more broadly.  I would rather just link to them so that they get credit for their material, and then write more.  After all, if I am writing, I ought to put forth my opinion, not just quote someone else.

But blogging has crimped my ability to serve my firm, my family, and my church.  Much as I enjoy the interaction in the blogosphere, I am going to slow down my posting rate at The Aleph Blog.  My apologies to any who are saddened by this, but I hope to keep the quality of my posts high.  My posting rate is targeted at three times per week.

This is post #886 at The Aleph Blog.  Post #900 will have something more on this topic, together with ways that we can work together more profitably.

I close with thanks.  I am big on gratitude.  Thanks to those who read me; your time is valuable.  Thanks to those who comment; you sharpen me.  Thanks to those who link to me; I don’t deserve it.  Thanks to those I link to; you are doing great work (or lousy work, as the case may be).  To my family and church, thank you. Finally, thanks be to Jesus Christ. Woo-hoo! What a great year!  :D


  • pj says:

    “My posting rate is targeted at three times per week.”

    I just hope that this resolution be the one that you are not able to stick to.
    3 postings are way too low David. 1 a day looks better. Hope you dont mind me writing all that.
    Anyways, grateful for whatever you can post. It has always been a great experience.


  • Michael S says:

    I feel your pain on the work/life balance – I’m much newer to the blogosphere than you, but I struggle with this daily. Just want to say thanks for all of your hard work. Even though you and I come from very different investing worlds, I always enjoy your thoughts and insights (one of only a few “fundamental-types” that I would honestly say that about). Thanks for anything and enjoy the more reasonable pace! michael

  • IF says:

    While I don’t share your values at all (religion, politics), I very much appreciate your thoughts as honest and independent. It became clear to me that you are setting yourself high hurdles. Please stick to them, even if it means only one post a week. I am sure that post would be great! (And it would be sad to see you burn out trying to be creative too often.)

  • Scott M says:


    This sad news is not wholly unexpected, but life is all about priorities and balance. Godspeed. I will look forward to reading you on a reduced schedule. (And please, don’t be too shy about publishing links. It’s one of the distinct strengths to the blogosphere, as someone uncovers real insight and is able to propogate it.)

  • jck says:

    Sad news indeed, but looking forward to your posts as always.

  • Steven Milos says:

    Congratulations David – it’s been an education and a pleasure reading the blog for two years. I look forward to reading it in the next year, at whatever pace.


  • Jay Weinstein says:

    I agree with the above–I am a very harsh critic and your writing has been very valuable to me.

    Might I suggest once a work day? That is only 5 days a week less holidays.

    In the blogosphere, you do run the risk of becoming irrelevant if you don’t write enough.

    But you do what you have to do—we are grateful for what you have offered.

  • KevinMorrow says:

    When I read the title, my first thought was that you were shutting down. Glad that’s not the case. I wholly respect your commitment to Jesus, family and work. I’m appreciative that you take the time to share your wisdom. It helps to ground me in my view of the markets.

  • Keith B says:

    I like the once a day idea too. You have done a great job in discussing some of the financial/economic issues. It would be great to see you comment at least daily. In any case I will pray for you and your commitments (I know how involved life can be between work, family and congregational life). Thanks for your insightful analysis and God bless.

    Keith B

  • Rich says:


    I didn’t realize your publishing schedule was so ambitious. It seemed to me you were aiming for (and hitting) the once-a-day target.

    I even wondered how you did that, because your ideas are certainly well-thought out and your posts seemed longer and more in-depth than most blogs.

    Best to you in finding your work/life/blog balance.

  • Terry says:

    Thank you for all that you have done to keep at least this single reader more informed and more thoughtful about the markets and the economy.

    Of course, we will all now expect even greater insights as you focus your energies on fewer pieces per week. ;=]

    I’ll be reading your blog every day.

  • Andrew Chandler says:

    I have begun to realize that the people I admire the most have been those that, though very successful at their “job”, never allowed that aspect of their life to take away from their other responsibilities. I like your priorities and hope you do well finding that perfect balance.

  • Patton Lai says:

    I am a reader in Hong Kong. This is a great blog, your insight is original and very balanced.

    1. What’s your view on the growing plea to suspend “Mark to market” accounting? Can it be done? Is there any obstacle that prevents the Obama administration from doing so?

    2. What’s your view on HY default rate and unemployment? How high do you see these figures will go?


  • de92 says:

    I’m not sure if you’ve ever explicitly stated it, but one theme I’ve taken away from your blog is: “Don’t be afraid to let other people make money on trades that don’t fit your knowledge base.”

    Well, along the same lines: i understand your comclusion that you can make peace with letting other people have that readership. I appreciate your blog and will continue to check in often. Your old posts are strong enough to remain relevant and are worth another review from time to time. Best!

  • km says:

    just saying thanks for all the great posts

  • Kieran says:

    I always appreciate your posts, and I understand that’s it’s not easy to keep up a daily pace. I always enjoy reading your insights, and I will continue to check back in to read what you have to say when you have the time to say it.

  • Matt Swanholm says:

    Clearly your life/work/faith balance informs every post you make, and the content is all the richer for it.

    Any regular reader fully understands that you take this project seriously, so don’t think twice about doing what you need to do to be satisfied with the blog.

    I’m grateful for the knowledge you share. And I do think it’s helped me steer clear of some rough financial waters in the last 2 years. Thanks again.

  • PaulinKansasCity says:

    I’ll miss this! Thanks for the effort David

  • Good call, nothing wrong with wanting to fix up the work/life mix at all. Hopefully this helps you free up some time! Thanks for all your work and its a pleasure reading all your posts. Will look forward to continue to read your insight in the future.


  • David says:

    David, I always enjoy reading your work, it’s some of the best analysis anywhere.

  • Zbigniew, Poland says:

    Very good call. I think that you will get more help and more wisdom from above by sharing more time with Jesus. I think people often miss this concept and think this is ridicuolus.But it really works.I stay tuned for sharp calls and also be praying for you.

  • matt says:

    Mr. Merkel:

    I really appreciate your values and the way you carry yourself.

  • A.S. says:

    Heartfelt thanks for offering up your take on important issues, and your very valuable experience in many areas of evaluation.

    Even if you only blog once a week from now on, it will be appreciated. What”s the old adage? “”Quality over quantity””….!!

    And quality is what readers get here, straight from the horses’ mouth rather than via links.

    My five cents worth, and again, looking forward to whatever you write, whenever you find time.

    So thanks again and have fun with all the other things that in the scheme of things are much more important.

  • AllanF says:

    I’m confused. Does this mean John Davidson got fired?

    Hahaha. KiddingI I kid to show how much I read and pay attention to every post. Thanks for all the work you put into this. I’ve found it incredibly valuable over the years, especially when the credit bubble was in its initial stages of collapse. I remember being on pins and needles back in fall ’07 and reading you as one of the few cool heads without an axe to grind that was carefully trying to navigate through the impending mess.

    Again, thanks.

  • I hope by “slowing down” you do not end up “shutting down” the blog. Please keep posting, i like reading your blog!

  • Jack says:

    Dump the church instead.

  • Reading your life priorities, I am more drawn to your writing than ever before.

    You are not a blogger — you are seemingly someone with values and knowledge, who happens to write in a blog — the best combination for a source of information.

    Write at your own pace.


  • mack says:

    Thank you David for your thoughtfulness and goodwill. Best wishes.

  • Darrell Styner says:

    David, I’m happy to read your thoughtful and intelligent commentary at whatever pace works for you. Some people (Barry Ritholtz, Paul Kodrosky) post several times a day. Others, like Jeff Matthews, may go days without posting anything new, but his posts are usually worth waiting for. As long as the content is good people will show up and read it. There’s no magic formula. The key is to write when you want to and feel you have something to say.

  • Thomas Fisher says:

    David, let me add my voice to those commending you for focusing on quality rather than quantity.

    What you have to say is worth hearing; better to say it less frequently than to compromise your integrity.

  • claicylek says:

    Excellent site and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here: this .. as it’s taken me literally 3 hours and 09 minutes of searching the web to find you (just kidding!) so I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor :)