I am right!!!
This post was inspired by Alstry's mantra that it is "most important be right." There was also a podcast that I listened to recently which introduced the concept of discovery-driven planning.
Here is the particular quote that I found most interesting in that Harvard Business Idea Cast:
"When you are operating on assumptions, being right is not the solution. Plan to learn and not to plan to be right." - Rita McGrath, Columbia Business School
Many of us play this CAPS game with the intention of proving that we can in fact beat the market. In addition to achieving points for accuracy and performance we are also scored on a host of other metrics. A wonderful system that has become the cornerstone for a unique community of investors looking for an edge.
One of the the things I have noticed over the past several months is how polarizing some of the bull/bear debates have become. Blog posts that call for the end of the world as we know it or DOW 15000 by September!!! get the most reaction, recs and venom spewed.
I am not complaining. Some of these debates are highly entertaining. And feature extremely well thought out perspectives.
What I wonder is how much more we could be learning if we abandoned some of our experience and knowledge of history. What if we opened our minds and let go of some of the bias that firmly believes that the market must trace out like 1929 or why a decrease in jobless claims must undoubtedly signify THE bottom.
Is it that important to be right in these unprecedented times of extreme uncertainty?
The fool who makes a fortune in 2009 might be completely off base but well-timed. Those that prove to be right in their predictions might exit pre-maturely and lose big.
So how do we prepare????
Forget the past and prepare to be wrong. Make a bet that you will not be able to call the top or catch the bottom. Manage your risk. Learn from each point you lose. Abandon your idealogy. Consider TA, FA and maybe even some Astrology. Re-assess your time frame. Try to see where Alstry might be right and Jim Cramer might be wrong. Develop a system and start assigning probabilities. Share your thoughts with the community and don't be afraid to be criticized. Avoid devouring every post that backs up your thesis or blasting every post that disagrees.
If it seems difficult and overwhelming then you are probably on the right track.
If you decide that learning isn't that much fun and your system has become too costly then maybe the game isn't right for you. No harm in that outcome if you play within your pre-determined rules.
And if you do wind up being right consider yourself lucky and start from scratch with your ego and biases checked at the door. When you know everything and your system becomes infallible Mr Market will come remind you that he who giveth can taketh away...without any regard for how right you might be.