Posts filed under “Philosophy”

Ray Dalio & the Machinery of Finance

This morning, I got to listen to a (too short) discussion with hedge fund manager Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates at the Bloomberg Market 50 Summit (video here).

Ray Dalio is a fascinating guy . . . he has what some people describe as a very idiosyncratic approach, but I find it logical and intelligent. His numbers speak for themselves — $125B, 15+%/year, running the shop for 35 years. Those people who criticize his “Truth-driven, self-reflective process” tend to only trash his beliefs as, the numbers above reveal, they cannot trash his performance.

Following his presentation, I wanted to meet him and just say thank you. The guy was barely off the stage when he was mobbed by people pushing business cards and presentations into his hand. I utterly forgot what a pack of unruly jackals the Sell Side can be. I am mortified by the behavior, and go outside to grab an iced tea (Bloomberg events always have great food and drink).

As I head back inside, Dalio and the sea of hangers on are heading out. The salivating salesmen hoping for fat commissions seem to not understand his methodology, which does not have him waiting on a trading desk’s recommendation. He has a huge pile of business cards, and an assistant or Bloomberg aide has a stack of envelopes/presentations.

I hang back from the hyenas, annoyed by the thought I won’t get to meet him. But then there is the tiniest of pauses, and without thinking, I blurt out “Ray, I don’t have a business card for you, I just wanted to thank you for your emphasis on process.”

Dalio turns, extends his hand. I introduce myself, shake his hand, and add “I find your focus on self-reflection and error correction, on enlightenment refreshing compared to the rest of Wall Street.” or words to that effect.

He swivels around to face me full on, and says “Isn’t that what it is all about? If you don’t understand yourself, how can you ever meet your goals, in life or in investing?

Exactly. I tell him the emphasis on what matters is inspirational –the rest of the Street is missing the big picture. We start to chat — I tell him a brief story from my sell side days about cognitive foibles and selective retention — he nods and laughs. Meanwhile, we’re talking a few minutes and I can feel lots of eyeballs staring hatefully at the one jackass not interested in commission dollars (the damned fool!).

I appreciated the moment, and say something to the effect of “I know you want to get to you car, I just wanted to say thank you again.” He shakes my hand again, and heads to the car (Some other crazy stuff happened that I will save for another day).

~~~

If you want to learn more about his approach, I suggest you read Dalio’s dissertation on Principles. Its his Magnum opus, and explains his fundamental Life Principles as well as his Management Principles.

>

See also
Bridgewater Discussions on Culture (Videos)

Observing a Bipolar World
Barron’s March 12, 2011

Mastering the Machine: How Ray Dalio built the  world’s richest and strangest hedge fund.
John Cassidy
New Yorker, July 25, 2011

Category: Hedge Funds, Investing, Philosophy

Email of the Day: Thoughtful vs Dogmatic

From an anoymous reader: “Have you ever considered switching from thoughtful to dogmatic?  It’s a lot easier and you make more friends.  Plus, sometimes they send you free bumper stickers in the mail.” I found that to be hilarious . . .

Category: Humor, Philosophy

The Big Picture Conference ~ Oct. 11, 2011

These are the last of the early registration for discounted tickets in our reverse auction. After these go, the September registration goes to $695 and the October is $895… > Close Event registration for The Big Picture Conference powered by Eventbrite

Category: Markets, Media, Philosophy, Trading

TBP50: Who Influences YOU the Most?

Yesterday, I lamented the missed opportunity of the Bloomberg 50, a predictable list featuring the usual suspects. It was your grandpa’s list. Let’s takes this up a notch — change the 5 categories of Meh! to something worthwhile, and see what sort of list you, dear readers, can help put together: Asset Managers Technicians/Analysts Researchers/Strategists…Read More

Category: Financial Press, Philosophy

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God

Hat tip Brainpicker

Speakers in order of appearance:

1. Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
2. Robert Coleman Richardson, Nobel Laureate in Physics
3. Richard Feynman, World-Renowned Physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics
4. Simon Blackburn, Cambridge Professor of Philosophy
5. Colin Blakemore, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Neuroscience
6. Steven Pinker, World-Renowned Harvard Professor of Psychology
7. Alan Guth, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Physics
8. Noam Chomsky, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Linguistics
9. Nicolaas Bloembergen, Nobel Laureate in Physics
10. Peter Atkins, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Chemistry
11. Oliver Sacks, World-Renowned Neurologist, Columbia University
12. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
13. Sir John Gurdon, Pioneering Developmental Biologist, Cambridge
14. Sir Bertrand Russell, World-Renowned Philosopher, Nobel Laureate
15. Stephen Hawking, World-Renowned Cambridge Theoretical Physicist
16. Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics
17. Ned Block, NYU Professor of Philosophy
18. Gerard ‘t Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics
19. Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford Professor of Mathematics
20. James Watson, Co-discoverer of DNA, Nobel Laureate
21. Colin McGinn, Professor of Philosophy, Miami University
22. Sir Patrick Bateson, Cambridge Professor of Ethology
23. Sir David Attenborough, World-Renowned Broadcaster and Naturalist
24. Martinus Veltman, Nobel Laureate in Physics
25. Pascal Boyer, Professor of Anthropology
26. Partha Dasgupta, Cambridge Professor of Economics
27. AC Grayling, Birkbeck Professor of Philosophy
28. Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in Physics
29. John Searle, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
30. Brian Cox, Particle Physicist (Large Hadron Collider, CERN)
31. Herbert Kroemer, Nobel Laureate in Physics
32. Rebecca Goldstein, Professor of Philosophy
33. Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, Colorado
34. Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
35. Leonard Susskind, Stanford Professor of Theoretical Physics
36. Quentin Skinner, Professor of History (Cambridge)
37. Theodor W. Hänsch, Nobel Laureate in Physics
38. Mark Balaguer, CSU Professor of Philosophy
39. Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
40. Alan Macfarlane, Cambridge Professor of Anthropology
41. Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, Princeton Research Scientist
42. Douglas Osheroff, Nobel Laureate in Physics
43. Hubert Dreyfus, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
44. Lord Colin Renfrew, World-Renowned Archaeologist, Cambridge
45. Carl Sagan, World-Renowned Astronomer
46. Peter Singer, World-Renowned Bioethicist, Princeton
47. Rudolph Marcus, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
48. Robert Foley, Cambridge Professor of Human Evolution
49. Daniel Dennett, Tufts Professor of Philosophy
50. Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics

Category: Philosophy, Video

QOTD: Tea Party Political Failings

Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics essentially saying you can blame the Tea Party if market collapses: “The Speaker is in office, but not in power, because the Tea Partiers do not respect party discipline. They argue that they are standing up for principle, but the principle they have chosen to defend is the idea…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Philosophy, Politics

I’m So Mad at Big Government

Politico’s M. Wuerker captures this fellow beautifully: >

Category: Philosophy, Psychology, Really, really bad calls

How Hard is it to Become the Michael Jordan of Trading?

I have been meaning to get to this interesting article Heidi N. Moore wrote over at Marketplace radio. “They Are Day Traders. Hear them Roar.” A terrific looking commercial for OpenTrader accompanies the article (video here). The video is pretty slick. But as intriguing as it looks, it overstates what I believe is the true…Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Philosophy, Trading

QOTD: Financial Crisis Recoveries

How prescient was this, circa January 2008: “Broadly speaking, financial crises are protracted affairs. More often than not, the aftermath of severe financial crises share three characteristics: First, asset market collapses are deep and prolonged. Real housing price declines average 35 percent stretched out over six years, while equity price collapses average 55 percent over…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Philosophy

Listening to Dead Philosophers

This post was originally published today at The Financial Philosopher. Whenever a timely milestone, such as this new calendar quarter and the second half of the year, is reached I do my best to resist the tiresome looking-back-and-looking-forward ritual.  To remove myself from the timely chatter, I indulge in the timeless words of philosophers from…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Psychology