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Minyan Mailbag - We Feel Your Pain



Note: Our goal in Minyanville is to remove intimidation from the financial markets and encourage an interactive dialogue among the Minyanship. We share this next discussion with that very intent.

Hi Fil,

I just wanted to drop a note to say that I ..well, "enjoyed" is not the word. I don't enjoy reading about bad things happening to good guys. I will say that I appreciated the column on your difficult short in the homebuilders though. It was instructive, and unfortunately, for any of us who have been in this crazy game for a while, disturbingly familiar.

Now see what you've done? You've gone and undone months of perfectly good psychotherapy and my best attempts to suppress the memories of my own miscalculations on the short side. Dang, there's that pesky facial tic starting up again.

Your candor is refreshing though. Too often, we see writers in these public forums (not so much on Minyanville, more so elsewhere) conveniently ignore the mistakes and focus on the successes. Not too helpful in the long run when they do that and it does not do zilch for the credibility either.

Your cards-on-the-table approach - the visibility into the pain of a runaway short - not only sets you apart as a stand-up guy, it also accomplishes a great deal more in terms of Minyanville's stated objective of educating folks. Ignoring the mistake, or presenting it without the passion and pain, would have been less educational at the very least and would also not have served to make people think before they too enter into a short position. There's nothing like a bit of gut-wrenching reality to make people examine their position - and importantly, put in place some of the all-important disciplines you outline in your piece.

As all of us have been when we've hit with a serious shellacking, you're probably dealing with some self-doubt at the moment. You alluded to as much in the column. The old saying though is that "nothing succeeds like success." Over the long run, your record - both on and off of the site - is one of success. Do your best to focus on that. And while forcing a trade to try to recoup the loss quickly is foolhardy, there is something to be said for getting back on the horse, so to speak. A few good trades - even some small winners to get your confidence back, in my experience - will have you feeling the success again...and succeeding like the capable and talented portfolio manager that you are.

"Ridin` the range once more
Totin` my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again"
Gene Autry - "Back in the Saddle Again"

At any rate, thanks again for the honesty and for your good work in general. There are plenty more good things to come.

Best Regards,
Minyan Rob Fraim

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