Chancing

How does one discover the missing ingredient?

By chancing it. 

One keeps trying different mixes…

…till something hits. 

The hit is then fine-tuned…

…such that it is reproduced again and again.

Once the hit can be reproduced at will, one has got the strategy all together. 

A successful strategy is then let loose. 

At first it is on manual.

Ultimately, it comes on auto, or semi-auto, whatever best is possible. 

There has come and passed a stage, when this same strategy has not been winning. 

Aha. 

What is the difference between the mix of that stage and the current – winning – mix?

It’s some kind of a twist you’ve discovered. 

Something you are adding, or doing differently. 

This something is making the strategy win. 

Congratulations!

You’ve kept trying. 

You’ve been in the field. 

You weren’t away from the field, ruminating. 

You were getting action. 

Losing action, but action. 

Losing action has huge educational value. 

It tells you how not to do it. 

You keep twisting, fitting, tuning, upon loss. 

You chance new stuff.

Eventually, something clicks. 

You develop that something further and take it to the nth. 

Where does that leave you?

You have to keep chancing it. 

There is no way around this. 

Make funds available for the R&D. 

Have the courage. 

Don’t be afraid of a hundred losses. 

Winning is around the corner. 

Fancy schmanzy or just plain Vanilla?

There’s expenditure and there’s expenditure.

Meaning?

Let’s say you start some work. It can be market-related, for all I care. What do you do first?

Prep.

How do you prep?

Studying up. As long as I can manage.

And then?

Courses, workshops, the deal.

Local?

Naehhh. I try to keep it national though.

International?

Haven’t required it till now for market work.

Ok. What happens next?

I hit the market concerned. Low-key at first. 

Why?

That’s when you make the most mistakes. That’s why. 

I see. Motive?

I want to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them.

Rather than from an instructor?

Of course. This is the market, remember. This is about you. Not about the instructor. This is about knowing your own shortcomings related to a particular market, and about adjusting and fine-tuning yourself to the market to trade it optimally. This is about fitting the market concerned in a tailor-made fashion into your own life without disrupting your own life. 

Wow! Well, then, congratulations. You’re a prime candidate for doing it the plain vanilla way. 

Is there any other way to do it?

Oh, there’s the fancy schmanzy one. 

Kindly describe it. 

Well, it mostly entails unnecessary expenditure along with necessary expenditure. There’s more unnecessary expenditure though. 

I see. 

One is normally too lazy to study up. Or, one doesn’t have the get-go in oneself to approach the subject on one’s own. 

Sure, can happen. 

One flips from instructor to instructor in search of the holy grail. Expensive software, international trips, five-star hotels, the whole shebang. In the end one has spent a bomb. To end up trading the instructor’s perspective. Finally realising that the markets are about oneself, and unless one is trading one’s own perspective, one is sure to lose. Or not realising this (!) and continuing to flip instructors and instructions. Finally burning out and giving up on the markets. 

Sad though. All necessary software is available free of cost on the internet. One can do inexpensive internet courses to widen one’s horizon. These can involve one-on-one instruction too. Video-conferencing. File sharing. Threads. Assessments. The works. Live-market training. You name it. All travelling and extra expenses cut out. Few hundred dollars for the whole course. 

I already acknowledged your plain vanilla acumen. I’m just trying to tell you that most others prefer the fancy schmanzy way. 

I prefer to stay in the market and not burn out. I’m in the market to make a steady income. 

Well, that you will, my dear friend. The plain vanilla way doesn’t promise any hype, but it does promise income. 

What is an Antifragile approach to Equity?

Taleb’s term “antifragile” is here to stay.

If my understanding is correct, an asset class that shows more upside than downside upon the onset of shock in this age of shocks – is termed as antifragile.

So what’s going to happen to us Equity people?

Is Equity a fragile asset class?

Let’s turn above question upon its head.

What about our approach?

Yes, our approach can make Equity antifragile for us.

We don’t need to pack our bags and switch to another asset class.

We just approach Equity in an antifragile fashion. Period.

Well, aren’t we already? Margin of safety and all that.

Sure. We’ll just refine what we’ve already got, add a bit of stuff, and come out with the antifragile strategy.

So, quality.

Management.

Applicability to the times.

Scalability.

Value.

Fundamentals.

Blah blah blah.

You’ve done all your research.

You’ve found a plum stock.

You’re getting margin of safety.

Lovely.

What’s missing?

Entry.

Right.

You don’t enter with a bang.

You enter at various times, again and again, in small quanta.

What are these times?

You enter in the aftermath of shocks.

There will be many shocks.

This is the age of shocks.

You enter when the stock is at its antifragile-most. For that time period. It is showing maximal upside. Minimal downside. Fundamentals are plum. Shock’s beaten it down. You enter, slightly. Put yourself in a position to enter many, many times, over many years, upon shock after shock. This automatically means that entry quantum is small. This also means you’re doing an SIP where the S stands for your own system (with the I being for investment and the P for plan).

Now let’s fine-fine-tune.

Don’t put more than 0.5% of your networth into any one stock, ever. Adjust this figure for yourself. Then adjust entry quantum for yourself.

Don’t enter into more than 20-30 stocks. Again, adjust to comfort level.

Remain doable.

If you’re full up, and something comes along which you need to enter at all costs, discard a stock you’re liking the least.

Have your focus-diversified portfolio (FDP) going on the side, apart from Equity.

Congratulations, you just made Equity antifragile for yourself.

🙂