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Through Minyan Eyes

By

Well said -- now let's get to work!

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I had a column all cued up and ready to roll but decided to take this post in a slightly different direction. We've recently walked through the market dynamic and the elements in play on both sides of the tape. The trading metrics, sector rotation, performance anxiety, crowded bull camp, liquidity pump, stylistic approach and Minxy mood swings should be old hat by now, and while the script is yet to be finished, we've got a good idea who the cast of characters are. I will touch on these topics in the next few columns but would like to digress a bit. Minyanville is a community predicated on financial education but, on top of that, it's also a vehicle for growing, sharing and learning. That's why I love to write and, hopefully, that's part of the reason you're reading these words.

I began writing in July 2000 when a former colleague asked me to fill in while he took vacation. I had never written anything more than an occasional letter, but agreed to give it a try and enter the creative realm. It was never about the money -- I had a day job that I trained for my entire adult life and was fortunate enough to navigate my way through a rather vicious industry. I fell in love with the medium, however, and genuinely enjoyed the interaction and communication it afforded. Little did I know that the world was about to be turned upside down.

The truest insight I can offer is that my greatest compensation was knowing that others could benefit from my efforts. Not just in a financial sense, although I'm acutely aware that's why most people read me, but on a humanistic level as well. I was fortunate that my bearish bent serendipitously coincided with my literary foray but, more importantly, I was given an opportunity to be me -- for better or for worse. The altruistic efforts were always a large part of my motivation but, as I found, a selfish catharsis would evolve over time.

In the three years that followed my initial endeavors, the readership became more than a faceless audience on the other side of a keyboard. The investment community had just emerged from a period of wealth-creation unlike anything ever experienced. Life was good, for the most part, as the rising tide lifted both boats and spirits. When the market began its precipitous slide into the abyss, we collectively navigated the painful price action, step by step and tick by tick. When my grandfather Ruby passed, I found comfort in the written word, while my family was deeply touched by the thousands of kind letters we received. When the towers fell and we needlessly lost our friends and family, I was drawn to the evolved friendships with people I had yet to meet. Yes, for all we've shared together, I am grateful to have found this outlet.

Throughout my tenure, I've attempted to stress the importance of family, friendship and focusing on the important stuff. That's been a constant theme from day one, and something that's irrespective of performance. There are going to be peaks and troughs in both business and life and we can't experience one without the other. The sad truth is that money makes good people do bad things and provides bad people with justification for their subversive actions. Wall Street, despite the setbacks we endured as a "family" has, for the most part, conveniently forgotten the lessons learned on Sept. 11. That's truly unfortunate, as the only positive to come from that fateful day was the perspective it should have provided.

What does this have to do with the tape? Nothing, other than the fact that the financial decision-making process is driven by the human experience. I'll be the first to tell you that it's been a rough road, and while the treachery is likely to continue, that's not the message I'm hoping to send. Bear markets are filled with false hope, empty promises and endless misdirection. How you approach this environment will go a long way in forging the path to monetary security. If this column helps to identify a more balanced platform with which to make some of those choices, however, then Minyanville will have achieved its vision.

Good luck today.
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