In 2011 I Learned That…

It’s that time of year again.  It wasn’t an easy year, but we made it through together.  By now, you’ve heard enough out of me, so for this one I got a little help from my friends…


In 2011 I learned that…

Eli Radke (Trading Habits):  when fish show up in a barrel always have ammo.

Patty Edwards (CNBC Fast Money): “extend and pretend” isn’t just for dating in the nursing home anymore.

Leigh Drogen (Estimize):  the early stage tech start-up market is definitely in a bubble, why else would anyone give me money to build a tech company?

Rob Holmes (  Bank of America has the capital and liquidity it needs to run its business. Brian Moynihan told me so!

Erin Geiger-Smith (Reuters):  you’re never too big to be (repeatedly) sued. Never let Seacrest convince you to marry an NBA almost-star. When will honeybadger care? Never.

Chris Selland (Terametric):  sometimes you’ve just gotta keep going. Actually that’s true all the time.

The Fly (iBankCoin):  it is a bad idea to raise prices for a sh*tty movie rental service in a sh*tty economy.

James Altucher (Altucher Confidential):  the less I learn, the happier I am.

Cullen Roche (Pragmatic Capitalism):  the very best investment is never about finding better people or better companies.  It is always about finding ways to make yourself better.

Heidi Moore (Marketplace Radio):  the only real truth in finance comes from a subpoena.

Tom Brammar (Premia Capital):  for far too many truthiness still trumps rational thought, logic and evidence-based analysis.

Katie Rosman (WSJ):  if you don’t want to see it quoted in a newspaper, don’t tweet it.

Robert Sinn (Stock Sage):  momentum is a fickle and spiteful mistress.

Jesse (Le Café Américain):  lawyers are no longer the most despised profession in America.  It’s a race to the bottom between bankers, economists, ratings agencies, and politicians.

Barry Ritholtz (The Big Picture):  the Golden Rule remains inviolable: He who has the gold makes the rule.

Steven Russolillo (Dow Jones):  phrases such as “kick the can” and “muddle through” need to be erased from the vocabulary of market pundits. They’re about as bad as “green shoots” and “stock-picker’s market.” Let’s get creative in 2012.

The Interloper (Interloping): contrary to myth, the market is proven a terrible predictor of the future every time anything bad happens.

Doug Kass (Seabreeze Partners):  how wrong conventional wisdom can consistently be!

Anthony DeRosa (Reuters): I still have a lot to learn.

Dr. Phil Pearlman (Baltimore All-City Lacrosse):  intuition and planning are not at odds but more of a dialectic. I trusted my gut while coming to the ballpark well prepared for multiple scenarios which allowed me to take what the market was giving and this paid off.

Tim Knight (Slope of Hope):  cash really IS a position and there can exist a market that pisses off bulls and bears alike, as it grinds both of them up into hamburger by switching directions every day.

Charles Rotblut (American Assoc of Individual Investors):  no one should fall in love with a stock, because you never know when a CEO will quickly screw up a good DVD rental business.

Jeff Carter (Points and Figures):  my dog created more shovel ready projects than Obama and when trading stinks, you have to redefine yourself.

TED (Epicurean Dealmaker):   running a blog is like constantly trying to explain a movie plot to clowns who keep trickling in late.

John Waggoner (USA Today):  I’d have a lot more Twitter followers if I could just escape from this damn zoo.

Ivaylo Ivanhoff (StockTwits): Europe doesn’t have a solvency problem, it has a crisis of confidence. And no, a good French perfume won’t solve it.

Carl Richards (Behavior Gap): there is a fine line between informed and anxious and most of us have crossed it.

Jason Zweig (WSJ):  there’s only one thing harder for investors than learning from other people’s mistakes, and that’s learning from their own.  I’ve known this for ages, but not many years were as chockful of reminders of it as 2011 has been.

Jonathan Wald (CNN):  no one cares about celebrities anymore. Except the good ones. And a bad tweet can linger longer than a Kardashian Marriage.

David Blair (Crosshairs Trader):  the market will do what it wants, when it wants, and how it wants…and does so quite often with or without me.

Mick Weinstein (Covestor):  I should appreciate living in a net lender nation with strong bank controls… now where’s our Stanley Fisher for all those other little matters?

Joe and Sal (Themis Trading):  we learned how powerful Twitter can be in battling the status quo. Oh.. and also not to touch your eyes if you eat a habanero pepper.

Scott Bell (I heart Wall Street): my family is too important to let the stock market ruin my day. I will forget this at least 10 times next year.

Teri Buhl (DealFlow):  the trade pubs will still pay well for solid investigative reporting but it takes a paywall or subscription to fund the journalism

Julian Hebron (The Basis Point):  housing finance is like politics: it gets dumber as it gets bigger.

Stephen Weiss (CNBC Fast Money):  if the person sitting next on the plane to you asks what you do and then solicits your input on a particular investment, short it – it’s a bubble.

Mike Wilkins (FinTech):  a big head often carries a small mind. If you fall into that bigheaded trap, you may as well just walk away.

Lucy Marcus (Harvard Business Review):  Boards can run but they can’t hide. (see Olympus, MF Global, NewsCorp, HP, Yahoo, the list goes on…)

Stock Rabbi (Mixtape):  they can have their Arab Spring, as long as my people can still keep Jewish Tax Season each April.

The Analyst (Stone Street Advisors):  We can have a retail recovery with 9% unemployment and tighter credit, so long as rich people keep spending money on things they don’t need and everyone else keeps shopping instead of paying their mortgages.

Howard Lindzon (StockTwits):  I learned from more people than I ever thought possible and that should quadruple in 2012.  Social Leverage is intense.

Roger Nusbaum (Random Roger):   the US and European bank stocks still stink (and they will in 2012 too) and social media IPOs aren’t so hot either.

Simone Foxman (Business Insider):  Slovakia can very occasionally become the most important country in the world. Who knew?”

Greg Harmon (Dragonfly Capital):  there are opportunities to exploit in all markets on all timeframes for those who can manage risk with rules, not emotion. (put me next to Joe Fahmy who’s been scared to trade for a year).

Joe Fahmy (Zenith Asset Maagement):  The fear of missing out is the downfall of most traders and rainy days are just nature’s way of watering the OWS protestors.

David Gaffen (Reuters):  you can agree to not pay back half of your debt and still somehow not be in default. I also learned my bank does not see it the same way.

Tadas Viskanta (Abnormal Returns):  alpha is promised to no one, even if your name is Paulson or Berkowitz.

Dan Primack (Fortune):  rich people don’t like other people calling them rich.

Greg Battle (Leftover Takeout):  unsubscribe, unfollow, unfan and unfriend are the cornerstones of a nutritious, low-information diet.

Charles Kirk (Kirk Report):  Despite a market environment increasingly manipulated by program trading, you can still find and exploit many opportunities so long as you adjust and focus only upon the price action instead of headlines, sentiment, fundamentals, and other irrelevant noise.

Frank Zorilla (ZorTrades):  banks are still too big to fail, countries are as well, and central bankers are influenced by the stock market.

Alyx and Jason (LOLFed):  the absolute best, most foolproof way to effect change in this country is to camp out in a park for three months and have no clear mission statement.

Dinosaur Trader (Mixtape):  the Mayans were a great civilization but their calendar makers were drunks.

Dasan (Davian Letter):  the way to survive a volatile stock market driven by the Euromess is do as they do in Europe: hire a good dominatrix.

Steven Place (Investing With Options):  the can will be “kicked further down the road” longer than you can remain solvent.

Cathleen Rittereiser (Rainmaker):  I learned from Osama bin Laden that “It’s the economy, stupid!”  and Steve Jobs taught me to “stay foolish”, except when diagnosed with cancer.

Tracy Alloway (FT):  there isn’t a crisis so bad that it can’t be made worse by Continental Europe.

April Rudin (The Rudin Group): social media has enabled anyone with a keyboard and a connection to be an expert at anything and everything!

Joe Donahue (Upside Trader):  this year short term was twenty minutes, intermediate term was three hours and buy and hold was two days.

Eddy Elfenbein (Crossing Wall Street):  if anyone ever asks you to join a currency union where you’re required to use a currency you can’t issue, politely say no and get the f*ck out of there.

Nicole Lapin (Recessionista):  you should take the advice you give.

Josh Brown (TRB):  you can Occupy any place you’d like, just make sure it’s not John Paulson’s investor list.

Chicago Sean (The Weiners Circle):  I’m not always as smart as I think I am, and neither are the markets and the people who predict their demise.

Get Yourself Connected (Economic Disconnect):  the amount of effort and attention required to stay return positive in the absolute correlated market is much more than I ever thought it would be.

Kevin Roose (DealBook):  copy editors are you’re friends.

Jonathan Miller (Matrix):  Aside from the credit crunch causing falling wholesale lobster prices and therefore the appearance 4+ lobster related-items on the menu of every 3+ star restaurant, this year confirmed to me that Washington has no idea on what ails housing…and this being an election year, that merely reduces the incentive to figure it out.”

Comfortably Smug (Stone Street Advisors):  you do NOT listen to the ola-leaf reader. You either cop a plea, or take the money and run #FreeRajRaj

JC Parets (All Star Charts):  no one knows what the future holds and most people are full of it. Ignore the masses and focus on what’s important: Price. The truth.

Francine McKenna (Re: The Auditors):   segregated funds are not really segregated and commingling is not as sexy as it sounds.

Mina Kimes (Fortune):  moral hazard is here to stay (also: that “moral hazard” would be a great name for a chillwave band)

DH (Dynamic Hedge):  the folly of government is infinite.

Cardiff Garcia (FT):  the importance of knowing when to shut the f*ck up is well understood in the abstract and mostly ignored in practice — not least by those who would gain the most from it.

Dr. Goose (Limericks Economiques):

In 2011 I learned
That attention is artfully earned
By enhancing the text
With verses well-sexed,
Where economists’ blogs are concerned.

Marek Fuchs (  traders believe in fairies and pixie dust. Every time an economic statistic showed the faintest sign of progress, they practiced magical thinking and tried to pull a recovery out of a hat.

Tom Brakke (Research Puzzle):  hedge fund managers are trying to be farmers and farmers are trying to be hedge fund managers.

Kelly Evans (WSJ):  It is far better to be an investor than a taxpayer.

Chess N Wine (iBankCoin):  if a hurricane and major snowstorm can hit the New York City area within a span of two months, then who am I to laugh at people who say, “this time it’s different”?

Kid Dynamite:  you cannot educate all of the dipsh*ts on the internet – don’t even try.

Ari Kuchinsky (Mixtape):  there are more opportunities if you turn on the creativity and turn off the negativity.

Paul Vigna (WSJ): the eurocrats are really, really good at this whole can-kicking game. Like, if they replaced the ball in soccer with a can, the Europeans’d win every World Cup. Oh, and if the object of the game wasn’t to kick the can in the goal, but to hold a never-ending series of summits at which you proposed every fantastic, pipe-dream, half-baked idea you’d ever had in this very serious tone, the kind of tone that says, “I get it,” and to get every person who hears you, except for like four bloggers, to then proclaim that those ideas are the very solutions…wait, I’ve totally lost my train of thought. God, they always do that to me. In any case, in 2011 I learned that you can’t trust the eurocrats.

Thanks Paul, get some rest.  And thanks to you all! 

Use the comments section below to pick your favorite lesson or add your own, thanks for reading, gang!  Happy New Year! – JB


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