The Future is Now

By Todd Harrison  MAR 02, 2011 1:15 PM

Working towards a collective solution rather than trying to identify a personal exit strategy is what we should all be focused on.


I had an out-of-body experience this morning and it had nothing to do with my stomach bug. As I laid in bed, trying to muster the moxie to roll into my Wednesday, Bloomberg Television dutifully walked through the morning news.

"The Middle East contagion continues," they said, referring to the percolating geopolitical unrest in the region, and that struck a chord for obvious reasons.

We're all about the forward-looking lens in these parts, although context often provides utility. I won't go through the song and dance -- most of you already know it -- but I will share that "cumulative imbalances," "societal acrimony," and other not-so-pleasant catch-phrases were once considered conspiracy theory.

Heck, some of our endemic advertisers actually pulled the plug when we opined the financial industry was technically insolvent in 2007, but we stuck to our guns. All a man has is his name and his word, even if those words aren’t consistent with the status quo or conventional wisdom.

So yes, when I listened to the media discuss the third phase of our tricky tri-fecta of "societal acrimony, social unrest, and geopolitical strife," I took a moment to let it sink in. It's one thing to get in front of the curve, and another to get caught under a wave you sensed was approaching; and just as I foresaw a financial tsunami on the horizon (yes, I was early), a more disturbing crystallization has taken shape.

I respect the price action and yes, nestled within the forward probability spectrum is the potential that the credit markets, government intervention, and/or lower dollar (not mutually exclusive) will jack equities higher -- perhaps much higher. That's a valid discussion that we have often, but a different conversation for purposes of this prose.

My concern -- one we've been on point with throughout the crisis -- is that the government bought the cancer in an attempt to sell the car crash, pushing untenable obligations to the future, and the risk morphed from the tangible to the intangible and from the definable to the amorphous. In short, it's gone airborne.

Truth and trust makes the world go round, or at least it should. Now it's seemingly about manning a post, protecting your own, and getting what you can while you can before someone else grabs it. While that reality may be a world away, it's a matter of time before it hits closer to home. Paradoxically, and sadly, we should know better; we should have more faith in each other, ourselves, and yes, our country, and we should be aggressively working towards a collective solution rather than trying to identify a personal exit strategy.

I'm not trying to spook anyone or be a Debbie Downer. I've been to 70 Dead shows, enjoy sunsets as much as the next guy, and in ten weeks or so I'll welcome my first child to the world -- a little girl, who shall be named Ruby. I have every reason to be optimistic and truth be told, when I'm not immersed in the flickering ticks, I can honestly say I’m a happy man.

That's my life, however, and this is my job; and I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror if I wasn’t forthright in my thoughts.

We're here to make profit on the path, not obsess with the destination. So through that lens I will share that I used the green screens this morning to add back some of the short-side exposure (which I covered into S&P 1300 late yesterday). Those are pure trades, and I'll make 'em to take 'em as long as I'm able.

I suppose the bigger investment, the one it's taken me a lifetime to learn, is to absorb the moments within the moments and appreciate what we've got while we've got it. As we used to say often, it should never take something bad to make you realize you've got it good.

Some of you may have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry... you will someday.


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No positions in stocks mentioned.

Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at

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