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“Don’t Just Do Something – Sit there!”

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On January 29, 2005 @ 7:42 am In Investing | Comments Disabled

All too frequently, decisions are made when none need to be.

There is an old trading expression: 

    "Don’t Just Do Something – Sit there!"

Its an old aphorism for traders. The need to DO something often forces people to act when they need not — they deviate from their plan, make mistakes, just to remove their "itch."

Sometimes doing nothing is the best course of action; Do not, hoever, confuse this with indecision, or "paralysis by analysis."

Let’s have a look at CNBC: 

The Market’s still been rough for a coupla years — and their viewership is way down; Too many of the adverts on CNBC are of the cheesy, low-rent variety for me to think that the ad revenue is doing well.

I can just imagine the GE higher ups saying: "Viewership is down, ad sales are down, revenues are down — send someone in to fix it, pronto."

That’s a classic "Don’t just sit there, do something!" issue. In trading, the mistake shows up in your P&L; In show business, the same error will merely be someone getting blame (or credit) for fixing something which is a) not broke and 2) likely beyond anyone’s control.

In the 1990s, equities were the national pastime. The Market was the NY Yankees, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Cowboys rolled into one. Everyone rooted for their favorite team stock. CNBC was the ESPN highlight show of around the World Series, March Madness and Superbowl time — all at once.

Its not that CNBC is broken — at least, not in the sense they think it is — its just that the wheel has turned.

Instead of recognizing this is a post-bubble, secular bear market, with reduced interest in equity markets TV, they try to "fix" whats not broken.

The great irony is that they will do this a few more times over the next 5 – 10 years, and suddenly, one of the revamps will actually appear to work. Whoever the wunderkind behind it will get all sorts of accolades, and a promotion. And He/she will have almost nothing whatsoever to do with the improvement.

The wheel will have turned . . .

For more on this, check out Rob at Business Pundit [1]. He has an interesting discussion going on whether its "Better to Be Right Than Decisive?" [2]


Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2005/01/dont-just-do-something-sit-there/

URLs in this post:

[1] Business Pundit: http://www.businesspundit.com/

[2] "Better to Be Right Than Decisive?": http://www.businesspundit.com/archives/001782.html

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