Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Baltimore Stockbroker

Well the #August50 hasn't started well, so much for two posts a day, although I have a lot of time to make it up, though because August has a few weekend away , I probably only have about 25 days when I can write, so the two a day is sort of essential when I can write.

My walking has got off to a reasonable start, and last night it poured down but today looks like another bright day, that's perfect really , rain at night the sun during the day.

Though there's no direct posts about The Baltimore Stockbroker, it's something I had heard about but not thought about. It came up in the Jordan Ellenberg book an is basically about targetting people to take advantage of them. Anyone can do it, it's just whether you are enough of a git to actually do it but financial institutions and governments do it all the time. This is the full story from Mike Adams blog

"To repeat from the beginning: Suppose you received a letter from a financial advisor who told you a certain stock was going up over the next several weeks. You watched the stock, and sure enough it went up. A few weeks later that same financial advisor sent another letter to say another stock was going to go down over the following few weeks. Sure enough, as you watched, the stock did go down. Then that same financial advisor sent a third letter to tell you to watch another stock that was going to go up. Sure enough it did. With the next letter the financial advisor told you to watch another stock that was going to go up. And sure enough it did. That same financial advisor sent another six letters each time predicting correctly the direction of every stock he told you to watch – a perfect prediction ten out of ten times.

In the eleventh letter he asked for a big investment. What would you say? He had been right ten out of ten times. What the investor does not see is the total picture—the whole story. That financial advisor began sending letters to 10,240 prospects. In 5,120 he predicted the stock would go up; in the other 5,120 he predicted the stock would go down. The 5,120 to whom he sent the letter saying the stock would go down never heard from our financial advisor. Of the 5,120 to whom he said the stock would go up, 2,560 got a second letter predicting that second stock would go up and the other 2,560 got a second letter saying the second stock would go down. The 2,560 who got the letter predicting the wrong direction of the stock those people never heard from our financial advisor again. Of those who got the correct prediction, 1,280 got the third letter predicting a third stock would go up and 1,280 got a letter saying the third stock would go down. You the reader now the full story. Only 10 prospects would get letters with 10 perfect predictions. The other 10, 230 people never heard from the advisor ever again. "

So a small group of people think that the guy is a genius. The book goes on to state , quite rightly, that the improbable is highly probable because there are so many people. It's high;y improbably that you will win on the lottery or a horse race , but people do and sometimes quite handsomely. The thing is with today's speed of communication we hear about these things a lot more quickly. We have tools to help us if we so choose,  but improbabilty and  chance can always throw a spanner in the work.

Part of life is about minimising risk, and we all do that. You set out a bit earlier to get the bus that will get you to work on time, but sometoimes the bus doesn't turn up and you are still late. I try and minimise risk by building in contiongency and options to everything, but it doesn't alwys work , but actually does 99% of the time. I don't tend to miss trains or flights or be late for work or miss paying bills because I have things in place "just in case".

Sorry this is just a functional post, but I suppose the theme points toward the superb Penetration song "Life's A Gamble" . Will I do another post today? We shall see .....

Have a brilliant Thursday everybody 

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