Minyan Mailbag: Catching Up
Hey, the Business Week article called you a "former" hedge fund manager, did I miss that announcement? There is a strong possibility I did miss you telling the Minyans that you've flipped lids. I missed a ton of last year's postings due to serious illness and moving. I'm well now and catching up, but it would take weeks of digging through the old Buzz's to catch the personnel news.
Either way, your star is still quite high with me--I've learned a ton at both your writing venues over the years. I've also learned enough to know that the era of the at-home well-off trader is over so I've been keeping a hand in while I work my way towards a job that actually pays a salary I can count on (for now anyway, the future of the entire economy looks suspect to me). Sometimes it is hard to look at all the evidence for economic and global political/environmental problems and feel like there is any kind of a future at all, but we have to keep hoping for the best, right? Some days are certainly harder than others on that front.
Great to hear from you--I'm not sure if you saw this article from a while back--it may help fill in some blanks.
My passion has focused my efforts on Minyanville and the Ruby Peck Foundation for Children's Education. Things like the guitar auction really excite me, as does the potential for establishing the 'Ville as a globally branded franchise of fiscal literacy, from pre-school to old school and the ABC's to 401(k)'s. In an age of compression and crowded catalysts, these platforms are, quite simply, the best risk/reward in my universe.
I've been trading my portfolio, as discussed daily on the 'Ville, but my style has shifted as a function of the environment. Whereas volatility used to afford us opportunities to make hay each day, sector rotation, broader trends and specific situations are now the profitable approach. I'm not managing other people's money at present (alotta balls in the air) but I most certainly remain "in the game."
I wish you the very best of luck with your endeavors. Yes, the future is a bit scary but there's a lot to look forward to if we maintain the proper perspective. I'm hopeful that you'll always count on the 'Ville to provide helpful guidance as we all find our way. You'll really dig the new site design when it rolls out in early January.
Happy and healthy to you and yours---all the very best,
Yes, I indeed missed your news about your career change; that was a period where I had no computer access for several months. I'm proud of your choice! I remember thinking even as Minyanville was being launched that "Wow, Toddo must have a LOT more than two ends to his candle."
You are right; life is too short to spend it all living to work. I've been there, but not to the extreme you have - fortunately I got laid off and had to spend two years on the ragged economic fringe to see that the work I had done before had sucked me dry and left me bitter. I'll never be wealthy, but I've learned to have no debt and be careful of the economic elephants around me.
I've married since my walk in the economic wilderness and I think my husband and I will be OK as the economy continues its seismic shift. If not, well, life is what it is and we have to get up each day with a sense of optimism that there is good in all sorts of places if you look at it from the right angle. To do any less is to throw away the gift that each new day represents.
Of anything I read, Minyanville provides both the most soul focus and the most financial literacy; you should be proud of what you have created here, it is truly unique. I'll always be a Minyanville reader, no matter what I do for a living! To be able to read what all of the professors are thinking is a real treat in my eyes. I'll always be on the left side of the bell curve here and I honor the idea and purpose behind the guitar auction even if the current bid is well beyond the size of my market investment capital and liquid assets.
Keep hammering on that energy idea for the long term too, it is important. I have a MS in geology and my single best skill is that of recognizing patterns, and I just spent a good deal of time digging into the Peak Oil idea; the implications are stunning for all of western civilization. From food production to the basic economic grease that keeps commerce running, this is the single greatest challenge to face humanity, period. We've built an amazing system in the last 100 years out of the abundance of cheap energy but the base to that pyramid is in very real jeopardy.
One of the many very sad things about this war is that those billions could have been spent on research to make nuclear fusion-based energy viable, or improve the safety of fission. The basis of so much conflict in the world today is the scramble for energy (and that is going to increase); just think of how a workable fusion generation system (virtually unlimited power) would change absolutely everything in the geopolitical sphere!
And yet every year the federal funds for research on this and other alternatives is reduced; we are eating our seed corn without thinking farther down the road than a few years or the next election cycle. I write all this to you not so you'll think I'm some sort of wild eyed ex-geologist with a tin foil hat, but because the scientist in my soul sees this as the single overarching problem facing humanity and I recognize the visionary in you that can point to this idea for others (as you have already been doing with your long term energy investment theme).
A Sputnik-like scientific push is what we need to make the transition away from oil as painless as possible; we need to get started now, not later when the price of energy has crippled the world economy. I am hoping that with more awareness on the part of the average citizen that we can get this fire started; people need to be looking farther down the road than the next heating bill.
It is a bit presumptuous of me to write so much to a guy as busy as you, but I thought this was something you'd be interested in. There is no need to write back to me, I know you read everything you get and I sincerely appreciate that. Now go take that vacation you so well deserve and enjoy yourself immensely!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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