What Do You Need to Know?
Board: Value Hounds
By way of explanation. How I approach things, investing included, is perhaps somewhat different from how a lot of people do. By way of illustration once, years ago, a colleague, as she was leaving to take another job elsewhere, said that she'd always remember that "thing" I'd said to her. Oh, oh —panic on my part; what "thing?" Obviously, I can't remember verbatim, but this was the gist of the "thing." Apparently, what I'd said to her was something along these lines: I'm basically lazy, so I find the easiest and most efficient way to do things so that I don't have to expend more energy, or do more work, than I need to. It's just as much (or more) about knowing what you don't need to do, or know, as it is about what you do.
So, my questions for Matthew were in the vein of tying to figure, for myself, first, the essence of his methodology (A fog tends to descend when I see calculations and fractions that almost exclusively involve acronyms.) Second, I was trying to figure if what he is going on about was going to end up in the "need to know" box or the "don't need to know box." Obviously, aiming for efficiency and simplicity I like to keep my "need to know box" as small and tidy as possible. Sometimes things find a place in the box, sometimes they don't, and sometimes things get thrown out but later get thrown back in in a modified form.
Somewhat of a meander: I've just counted the number of buttons on the remotes I have to have to operate my TV, cable box, and DVD player: 144. (The TV remote has 43 buttons, the cable remote has 60, and the DVD remote has 41). This is insane. I neither know, nor care, what most of them are for, but I do know that some do much the same as others. This is a bit like investing, in as much as the complexity—with the nuancing and massaging and fiddling with numbers and metrics—can be mind-numbing. So I suppose when someone writes a complex tome on what they've discovered about this little button over here, or better still, this little button that they've just invented my first reaction is "Oh sh*t!
In investing, the signal-to-noise ratio is, in my opinion, well, just let's say there's a lot of static.
I did not read nor follow all of that long ten rec post Mr. [X], but have a rec as your work deserves a lot of respect.
This, kind of behavior, in my opinion, is part of the problem (sorry Dave number 11). There's been numerous times when I've read a long and convoluted post replete with calculations and tables and I've scratched my head, and then I see that the post has 30+ recs., and I scratch my head again. Did 30+ people really thoroughly understand that, let alone agree with it? I ask myself. More likely a lot of those recs came from people thinking "that looks like a lot of work, very impressive; not that I understand it, or have even read it all." 'Reminds me of Alan Greenspan talking to Congress and them nodding their heads, not because they agreed, or even understood what he had been saying, but because they didn't want to look stupid. Hey, even he didn't understand what he was saying.
So, my unsolicited advice is to ask questions of posters, dig a bit, think whether what they are presenting is worth your time and inclusion in your "need to know box."