Back in June 2009, we held a Big Picture Conference (Recap here).

The response to the last conference was terrific; We are thinking about doing another one in September of this year (2011).

This is always a bit of a project: The conference rooms cost money, as does flying people in and hosting them. I try to keep the costs reasonable (say $895 versus a typical $2500 at some conferences). So before proceeding, I wanted to ask the crowd a few questions:

• Who would you like to hear speak?

• What panels/subjects/discussions would you like to see covered?

• What is the ceiling of a reasonable fee?

Use the comments to add your thoughts or suggestions . . .

For those of you interested in attending, add your email address and I will keep you updated as to the speakers list and agenda as it develops.

Stay Up on speakers and schedule for the Big Picture Conference

Category: Investing

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

46 Responses to “The 2011 Big Picture Investor Conference”

  1. zcarter says:

    What subjects would I like to see covered?

    How to make money. Everything else is peripheral.

  2. jhunt88 says:

    the think tank is a place where people who have different conclusions but real methodologies can have their work shown. Where ideology or partisanship aren’t expected or tolerated, but where disagreement, when backed up by methodology or fact are accepted and lauded. What if you got some of the guys that consistently disagree (conclusion wise) to go at it live over a certain topic? I think the most trouble you might have is to find ones that disagree.

    So what does that mean, when all of the smart analysts are saying the same thing…

  3. Great idea

    Peter Boockvar, Jim Bianco, David Kotok, Paul Brodsky, David Rosenberg — thats the making of a very good panel/line up

  4. Fredex says:

    Chris Whalen, James Grant, James G. Rickards

  5. gman says:

    Paul Ryan, Hasset, Glassmen, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki.

  6. Well, if we’re ‘naming Names’, I’d say C. Whalen, J. Rosen, and, B. Black would be worthy begin with..(in addition to..)

  7. gman says:

    Beardstown Ladies

  8. gman says:

    NYC the location?

  9. Subject-wise..


    when are you (ever?) going to seriously broach the Topic/Discussion of the Federal Reserve (Pro(PR-masterpiece) v. Con (-Job) ?

  10. louis says:

    Hank Paulson and Chris Whalen

  11. investorinpa says:

    Here are some topics/ideas:

    1) The single best investment/investment class to put money in for the next 5 years
    2) Inflation vs. Deflation Debate (Schiff vs. Mish??)
    3) Investment cycles (maybe debate Elliot Wave/3rd year of President/etc)…all the cycle things that come up at various times
    4) Real Estate- are there any attractive sectors to buy in?
    5) What countries will be the best to invest in the next 5-10 years (also, will China and India really be the growth areas that the press says they will be)

    As far as locations, I live in Philly, but would love to come up to NYC for this. My price point would be 900 for one or 1500 for 2 people.

  12. mojo says:

    Sound like a great idea. I would be trekking from SoCal. After flights & hotel, $600 would be my top end.

    I second the topic suggestions of Mark E Hoffer (discussing the Fed) and InvestorinPA, above.

    You may want to consider Mike Montagne re: Fed and our monetary system. He’s a bit verbose to say the least, but his points and data are strong:

  13. Chief Tomahawk says:

    Donald Trump? He may well turn out to be our next president, but I don’t like what he’s done with the medium NBC has provided him. “The Apprentice” began as a noble social experiment to take a group of folks from different walks of life and allow the cream to rise to the top. Now it’s sadly become “The Celebrity Apprentice”, stocked with many “past their prime” folk out for a little more face time under the guise of raising money for charity. [Wait I know this story arc from somewhere... oh, wait, it's our financial system! And Gary Busey is Citibank!]

    Invite Dick Fuld, Angelo Mozilo, Hank Paulsen, Alan Greenspan, etc., and see if they start pouring out their conscience. And see if you can get Bernie Madoff out on some type of 24-hour work release deal, where he squeals nonstop for the 24 hours he’s out.

  14. Bruman says:

    If we’re just naming names we think would add value, I’d like to hear George Soros and Jeremy Grantham, if you can get them. Maybe “the Mohammed” (el-Arian). John Hussman would be interesting too.

    It might be fun to hear Larry Kudlow speak, just to see how he handles an environment where he doesn’t control everything, but I think we know pretty much what he says (does he ever say anything different), and how he’ll react (does he ever change his mind based on an argument or evidence)?

  15. DL says:

    $2500…? Hmmmm.

    When’s the video coming out?

  16. mpetrosian says:

    David Rosenberg is essential. It would be interesting to hear what David Eagleman has to say about all this. Stephanie Pomboy would be awesome. If what Lee Quaintance & Paul Brodsky wrote in Apropos is true, then what the hell do we do now? Lets hear from them. Please hold the conference in Kona, Hawaii!

  17. philipat says:

    Hugh Hendry is always provocative and out of the ordinary.

  18. edolbysh says:

    It would be great if you could offer deals for students…

  19. Joe says:

    Single path? Each attendee hears each speaker?
    Multipath? Speakers at different but concurrent events?
    One day or more?
    Hmmmm. The ceiling for the fee would in large part depend on what the value of hearing the speakers in that venue vs TBP is. (Steep slope to climb…)
    The previous video may be historical at this point. Was it made available?

  20. ivanisakov says:

    It would be interesting to have a panel on investment strategies for an inflationary world. A toughtful speaker from the SME segment in Japan would be interesting as well. I am also interested in the trend of re-industrialization of the US, eg opening of manufacturing facilities in depressed US areas by European and Asian corporates. Pricewise, the level you suggest seems right. Looking forward to it! Many thanks, Ivan

  21. BearishNews says:

    Speakers: Jim Rogers, Bill Fleckenstein, Marc Faber, Jim Grant, Harry Markopolis, Chris Whalen, Yves Smith?

    Somehow get Tyler from ZH on the docket (in a shadowy corner + voice decoder, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, whatever), and I bet you’d sell quite a few extra tickets.

  22. philipat says:

    And Jim O’Neil never minces his words.

  23. MTPockets says:

    Doug Casey, David Einhorn, Michael Pettis, George Friedman, Willem Buiter

  24. tieornot says:

    I attended last time, and I thought it was great. Josh Rosner was clearly the star of the show, so hopefully he will come back. I enjoyed Alan Grayson, but perhaps he has become unglued recently, so I would pass on him. I would be interested to hear what Chris Whalen thinks, as well as Dave Rosenberg. Also, Nassim Taleb would be interesting to hear from again as to “what happens when you “paper-over” a black swan even (the 2008/2009 crash), everyone declares victory 3 years later with the S&P at 1340, what are likely outcome going forward. I also enjoyed the recent missive from Paul Brodsky.

    That’s all. Looking forward to seeing you in September.

  25. dead hobo says:

    While it’s quite true that investors and investor conferences go together like mashed potatoes and gravy, and as long as investors exist they will feel the need to listen to acknowledged luminaries in their field of interest, I don’t understand the concept of investor conferences and never will.

    1) The speakers will tell you litte or nothing they haven’t told you in a column or newsletter that is free on the Internet

    2) If they had the secret to wealth, why aren’t most already wealthy or so extremely wealthy that wouldn’t bother to even look at anyone in the audience … do they need the speaker fees for income

    3) Of those who are wealthy, ask yourself, why do they want to make a piddly amount speaking to you .. they don’t need the money … perhaps it’s really a sales pitch from those people to you and not a knowledge transfer

    4) If A says up and B sand down, then neither is credible if both claim investment science rules their thinking … gravity isn’t a debatable subject so why should investment science be debatable?

    I know this is minority thinking. People are hard wired to think they will find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if they look hards enough for easy answers to complicated questions.

  26. V says:

    @dead hobo

    Perhaps its more about the concept of mashing together ideas, and the thought that goes into those ideas, with like-minded individuals, rather than being right or obtaining the secrets of the universe per-se.

    After all you can’t have these discussions around the kitchen table, unless you wish to bore people senseless, and if you are discussing such issues around the kitchen table chances are there is some irrational exuberance going on!

  27. dead hobo says:

    V Says:
    April 22nd, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Perhaps its more about the concept of mashing together ideas, and the thought that goes into those ideas, with like-minded individuals, rather than being right or obtaining the secrets of the universe per-se.

    After all you can’t have these discussions around the kitchen table, unless you wish to bore people senseless

    Agree about that. That’s one reason I write here so much. No other outlet unless I want to cultivate blank stares, nodding heads (agreement and sleeping), and nobody understanding what I am talking about.

    But $895 or $2500 to have a few drinks with people who think YOU have the secrets of the universe is not in my budget … ever. Also, to repeat .. .if these people were so smart they wouldn’t share what they know. Otherwise it wouldn’t work.

    For me, it took years to understand it’s all about liquidity, liquidity flows, greater fools, having the morals of an ambusher or a rural carny or anyone who preys on rubes, and never getting into something you don’t understand. Everything else is hype. Hint: the people on TV claiming silver is going to $100 … it might but none, I suspect, want to be holding 1 month after that date.

  28. m111ark says:

    “The” human rights issue of the 21st century is debt servitude. Nothing else matters until we devise a monetary system equal and just for ALL. I have not seen one of those named above EVER describe our monetary system as it truly is.

    Wait a minute!!! What I am thinking! Your readers want to know how to make money.

    And so the game goes on.

  29. curbyourrisk says:

    Just a heads up. If you do land a Hank Paulson, like requested above….I can not be held accountable for anything i might do to him.

  30. Bill Wilson says:

    It might be interesting to hear from a bona fide foreign policy expert who can talk about the future of the middle east, or someone who can talk about the future of the European Union. That could add some back round for the financial experts.

  31. seneca says:

    It’s hard to think of someone well known whose views aren’t equally well known and completely predictable. Does anyone really expect to hear anything new from the likes of James Grant, John Hussman, Marc Faber, David Rosenberg, Jim Rogers, Bill Gross, Niall Ferguson, or the oracular Hugh Hendry?

    Actually, there is someone who is saying something original and astute: Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang, author of “23 THINGS THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT CAPITALISM” and “BAD SAMARITANS: THE MYTH OF FREE TRADE AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF CAPITALISM.” From what I’ve seen on YouTube, he’s also a very articulate and persuasive presenter.

  32. nofoulsontheplayground says:

    Brooksley Born. She should also be on some sort of financial Mount Rushmore.

    Are you going to have some kind of velvet rope to keep out undesirables like Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Akan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Mr. & Mrs. Phil Gramm, Hank Paulson, Chris Dodd, Tim Geithner, Barney Frank, Arthur Levitt, James Leach, Barry Bonds, and Rev. Terry Jones?

    If you let hypocritical Warren Buffett in, he should first endure the same initiation treatment Kevin Bacon’s character did when he joined his frat in the movie, “Animal House”. He should also be made to wear a dunce cap with the words, “Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction”, on it during the entire conference.

  33. Bill Wilson says:

    I think there are three major camps right now.

    1. Deflationists
    2. Hyperinflationists
    3. Outright Bulls.

    It would be good to here from all three.

  34. plantseeds says:

    How about Mohnish Pabrai? He’s an interesting guy who could certainly add value and diversity of perspective.

    Discussions on the following: emerging market projections, projections on shifting global economies – in terms of rankings who’s moving where and what is the impact, and the 500 lb gorilla in the room…oil/energy, 10 years out, 20 years, 30 etc. what are the opinions surrounding the energy landscape?

    curbyourrisk – i’d be careful. Paulson may be getting up there in age but he was O-line at Dartmouth, he’s probably still got a pretty good hand game.

  35. Lookout Ranch says:

    The “Apropos of Everything” monetary articles by Lee Quaintance and Paul Brodsky were interesting.

    Would it be possible to have one of them speak in a panel with someone who could give a good counter argument?

    Basically, you’d be setting up a Hard Currency vs. Fiat Currency debate.

  36. wtcombs says:

    Considering the only way I could justify going is by expecting the conference to pay for itself in the form of investment strategies upon having attended, I would only attend if the guest speakers had a track record over the past 4 years that was stellar. As much as I like Rosenberg, he was wrong more than he was right about equities since the crash, and I’m not paying to listen to someone that can’t make me money (yes, i know he was right about gold, but so was everyone). I’ll leave that to you, Barry, to fill the roster with people that I’ll review before booking. Target price could absolutely not exceed $900 since going to NYC means bringing my wife and making this appear as a necessary/non-selfish expense and bribing her with at least two days of shopping.

    Interested Topics for discussion:
    Gold, USD, Oil, Emerging Markets, World Currencies

  37. JimmyDean says:

    In addition to the many great names already listed, I think Nassim Taleb and Jeff Saut would nail it.
    Also, might be good to invite a few “bulls” to keep it balanced – maybe Jim Paulsen of Wells Capital and a few others from the “I’m bullish, and everything’s okay” crowd would be good to put up there, so people can weigh arguments and it isn’t too one-sided? Or we can just see how weak their arguments really are once put to rigorous questioning :)

  38. JimmyDean says:

    Ed Easterling and John Mauldin would also be great.

  39. dead hobo says:

    It seems the best speakers would be those who your readers have the greatest affinity towards. They are likely to be viewed as genius on your part and affirmation of their opinions. The conference should be an amazing success. For added value, add a beatnik type who says something new and out there but supports everyone else, or at lease does not contradict them. If you include a swag bag that has maybe $10 of popular crap and a couple of ads from other visionaries, you will be a legendary success.

  40. Joe says:

    So there’s (was?) this running thread about why your paying clients shouldn’t be upset at the quantity of your contribution to TBP. I don’t see it as an issue because what I see in TBP is primarily informative, thought provoking and educational and only indirectionally actionable. I have my own investing and trading riff going and what I glean from TBP is invaluable in how I view the world in which I do my thing, and what longer term forces and environments I’ll be doing my thing in. But I don’t expect or get trades from TBP or an investment advisor’s hands on advice on portfolio management . Which your private clients get.

    So I expect more of the same at the conference. I don’t expect to leave with actionable info, new charts, new patterns to look for, new names, and new levels to buy or sell them at. So I’d show for a fun day that would also be of personal benefit. Kind of a structured track day at one of the more serious drivers/riders schools. That makes me very much more comfortable at the lower end of the fee scale.

    Would my S.O. be required to pay up for drop in privileges during the day?

    How burdensome would an overnight package be to set up for outa towners through a travel agency or whatever? I’d come from the leftmost part of the Left Coast.

    I’d like to see Jeff Miller (Old Prof) tossed into the mix, bringing a possibly very different view point to the table.

  41. DrungoHazewood says:

    Satyajit Das on derivatives and European debt crises and Nadeem Walayat on the UK. Both have been spot on in the last 5 years. Walayat has made a ton of money.

  42. boveri says:

    The person most worth listening to is George Soros IMHO.

  43. dcsos says:

    Max Keiser or Janet Tavakoli

    Can’t resist a joke:
    If you can’t get Dick Bove can I make a DB Pinata?

  44. Space_Cowboy_NW says:

    Paul Volker and his view(s) of being ‘frozen out’ of the (inner) process, as he does not blow smoke
    (and mirrors) up anyone’s _____!

    Please embrace that some of your audience cannot (can you say ADD? LD’s??) sit for long periods
    with endless verbalism flowing forth. For those of us afflicted with limited focus skills, could you implement a ’10/20/30′ rule?
    ie No more than 10 images w/in a twenty minute enguagement and no smaller than 30 font.

    I learned that info mgmt nav trick from a couple of aircraft drivers (bosses were San Fran VC’s)

    Now I realize that the (vast) majority of this board is far sharper than I, and can uptake information
    that leaves me in the dust. But (every damn day) I try to learn from this incrediable & diverse collections of minds/talents that freely post their thoughts within Senor Barry’s sandbox.

    Btw as airfare$ ri$e [ie JetA impact and more to unfold amongst transport sector], the trek from Pacific NW becomes more painful than the price of admission [let alone lodging]…part of the calculus.

    Senor Barry, Thank You opening the door(s) for civilians to ‘see’ (and ‘hear’).

  45. [...] the comments to add your thoughts or suggestions . . [...]

  46. scowlfaceq02 says:

    A few suggestions for speakers are Mark Mobius and Ray Dalio on the economy and the markets.
    I would like to see a discussion on how retail & institutional investors can profit from the global growth story taking place in Africa.