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Why Minyans in the Mountains is For You


Minyanville is truly a community that you are a part of.

The following is loyal Minyan James Babka's perspective on Minyanville's 3rd annual Minyans in the Mountains retreat.

When I got word that Minyans in the Mountains was going to be held in Vail this year it was a no-brainer for me. Living in Denver meant that everyone was coming to my backyard, there was no way I was going to miss the "Sundance of Finance." Being a local had a couple of advantages: 1) The commute was under two hours, 2) Friends with a condo in Vail. However, I wish I would have stayed with the rest of the crew at Vail Cascade - I could have used the extra 15 minutes each morning.

As I walked into the front doors of Vail Cascade, the first thing I saw was Hoofy and Boo on large sign welcoming all the Minyans to the mountains, I was definitely in the right place. After I registered and got my "stinking badge" I made a bee-line to the bar. I believe a little background is in order to set the stage. Prior to making the trek to the mountains I had the opportunity to meet Todd, Vitaliy and Reamer at different times. Outside of those three acquaintances, I knew no one. I was flying solo; the wife wasn't coming up until Friday night. As I drank my beer and looked around to see if I may recognize anyone, another Minyan (you are a cool guy Tom!) walked up and said he was there alone also and didn't know anyone either. We introduced ourselves and began chatting away, with empty drinks we headed to the bar for a refill. As we stood in line for cocktails introductions were made and conversations with two other Minyans (E. Maj & Forrest – two laid back soul brothers) started. The four of us sat on the patio in the cool mountain air until the gracious staff of the Vail Cascade informed us that the party was moving inside. After a trip to the little boy's room (hydration does that) we made our way to the bar. It was packed full of Minyans and over the laughter you could feel the positive vibe that was emanating from everyone. As the four of us stood there "hydrating," Vitaliy came by and was chatting with us for awhile, he then said that he needed to ask television's JeffMacke© something, to which I added jokingly, "Tell him I want his autograph." And Vitaliy did. Now our little circle was growing larger as Macke regaled us with tales of being a "media troll" and some of the inane and asinine things he has witnessed so far. That conversation morphed into somewhat of a more serious discussion of retail stocks/companies. During this time Todd was making the rounds giving out handshakes and hugs and introducing everyone to everyone. After the Vitaliy-Macke Retail Mini-Breakout Todd introduced me to Dr. Hanson and Matt Ford, two more incredible people that are more than willing to share what they have to offer. By now it was 1:30 AM and morning was coming quick.

Each day began with Minyans mingling over breakfast and sharing laughs and stories from the night before. I won't go into the details of the presentations and break-outs as they have been documented on the site already. However, what I will say is that if you have ever read anything on the site and said to yourself that you would love to sit down and talk with that person – then MIM is for you. Every session allowed for the opportunity to ask a question and the chance to listen to questions from some of the greatest minds in finance. The afternoons afforded you the chance to engage in some friendly competition (with the emphasis on competition) or learn something new. I believe that the basketball, dodgeball, and softball games are great studies of how the Minyans operate and relate to each other and their world. Everyone in this group is fiercely competitive on the field/court and strives to dominate the opposition; however, once the game is over the person that you were battling with is no longer your competition but your friend. The other afternoon activities were incredible. The hour with Dr. Hanson was not only informative but refreshing (physically and mentally), his session is a must do. I was really looking forward the Afternoon with Tom DeMark and honestly wondered what we would be discussing for three hours, how many charts were we going to look at? Guess what, three hours is not enough. Not only is that man passionate about the markets, but extremely funny. Even if you are not interested in DeMark Indicators, go listen to him speak (hopefully you'll get to hear the story of the broker that saved him money).

Each evening ended with a ranch party of Rocky Mountain proportions and the Minyans bonding over great food and full cocktails. Campfires brought everyone together to roast S'mores, share stories and laughs. The provided transportation allowed even more time for conversation and the chance to meet new people. On the way to the 4 Eagle Ranch Friday night I was lucky enough to sit next to Neil Glassman who, like your favorite uncle, shared great stories about family (Todd & Succo). Saturday night on the way to the post-party, Laurie McGuirk dazzled my wife with his accent and pocket full of gold. At the post-party I was dazzled by that Aussie's bottle of Bundaberg. I do not remember a kangaroo at Team MIM's condo, but the next morning I felt like I fought one, and lost.

Minyans in the Mountains is a unique opportunity. It is a chance to not only be exposed to some of the greatest minds in finance, but to build relationships with some of the greatest people in finance. Minyanville is truly a community that you are a part of. So next year do not hesitate to show up because you think you won't know anyone. All you need to do is introduce yourself; you'll be welcomed with open arms and smiles.

Thank you Minyanville – you all did a terrific job.

-"Chocolate & Semi-sweet"
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