As someone striving for intellectual honesty I am amazed at how we confront moments of truth when we least expect it.
In roughly 2 weeks time we will be lifting the lid of our new startup and start talking openly what we do and why we think we are bringing a fresh approach to an old problem.
The story behind the subject starts yesterday with me spending most of the day with a friend and advisor who occupies a unique position in the market we are looking to compete in. Because of my friends industry knowledge I was more inclined to consider what he had to say.
Vladimir and I have spent many hours discussing our business model and a few weeks ago we finally locked down our way forward, or so we thought. Enter friend X and his idea of a 180 degree switch to our business model with the prospects of making more profits in a shorter time frame and the result is one helluva confused set of co-founders.
So Vlad and I started talking but our heads were spinning we just couldn’t get a grip; we launch in 2 weeks and here is a proposal that will completely change the message and approach we plan to launch with. This is when intellectual honesty and the genuine pursuit of it comes into question. Vlad and I really gave this new approach very serious consideration.
We have finally decided to stick with our intended value proposition which might not be as profitable in the short term, but it represents our value system and the idea of disrupting the market with genuine innovation and giving as many people as possible the benefit of this innovation and giving us much lower exposure to conflicts of interest.
This leaves us as both richer and poorer, which aligns nicely with my Kabbalistic and Jungian principles of uniting opposites.
As the CEO of a software startup that will be launching in the new year it is frustrating talking to interested parties about what we are doing, as the first question they ask is can I see how it works.
Unfortunately this is currently not possible as we don’t yet have a beta version for people to play with. However, the one thing that keeps my spirit soaring is watching each line of new code added to our GitHub repository.
Just like you build a beautiful building one brick at a time, so do you build beautiful software, one line of code at a time.
In January this year we presented our seed funders with a dollar and time budget for our new startup PsyQuation (we are unfortunately still in stealth mode so our site has no information (2 more months)).
When we put our budget together we had no idea on the details of the project. Yesterday I spent a lot of time going through the budgets, and I am very proud to say that we are well on target to come in under budget $-wise (despite a 20% AUD devaluation) and on time, time-wise.
How did this happen given all the distractions and crises that have happened since January?
Intuition is something Jung writes a lot about, and I unfortunately don’t have the time to unpack it from a theoretical point of view. The key point is that when you are an experienced professional you are able to do amazingly complex calculations unconsciously which expresses itself as intuition. Take a grandmaster chess player, it takes super computers with enormous processing power and speed to think like a grandmaster. While the grandmaster can do the calculations with no effort and in seconds drawing on their experience and their brains ability to process deductive reasoning.
The synchronistic event I wish to discuss is the reference I made on these pages a few months ago regarding my desire to learn the Python computer programming language. Why did this interest me? I had already embarked on learning R the more in vogue data science language, yet something in my psyche kept pushing me to learn Python.
Well what do you know, through no influence of mine, the language we have chosen to be the universal language across our companies software development is Python. That is not to say we won’t write things in C++, or other database languages at times, but essentially the glue with all the code will be Python. As the CEO of the company it is immensely powerful that I am familiar and can write some code in the language of the company I represent. A few months ago I often wondered to myself, “why”.
I now know Why!
The last couple of weeks I have been noticing a certain behaviour on Instagram and its bothering me. I am not immune to the social media trend, in fact I am happily engaged, lol – one of the few times I am happy to go with the trend. However what I am noticing is particularly worrying and will be interesting and sad to see how it plays out on society.
A couple of the people I follow on Instagram are constantly “posing” for selfie shots as if the posts are going straight onto the cover of some famous fashion magazine. A lot of these people I am following happen to be good looking and it seems that they are obsessing with their appearance and showing it off to the public as some sort of wish fulfilment. In short I don’t really get it, but I can tell you I don’t like it. It feels contrived and self indulgent and it has forced me to unfollow many of these narcissists.
We live in a materialistic, hedonistic and increasingly narcissistic society, heaven help us for what kind of next generation we are breeding.
Before discussing the subject line, I just wanted to update you on the performance of the Sefirot Freestyle Fund. I remain very satisfied with the progress to date, and the fact that we are not making money in the current environment doesn’t bother me in the least. It does however confirm to me that managing a fund with other peoples money using my style is an exercise in masochism in the extreme.
Yesterday in therapy I was discussing a lucid dream/feeling that has come and gone for the last 10yrs with my Jungian analyst. I raised the image/feeling not knowing exactly where it was coming from and its meaning. Dr Andre being the expert he is helped me connect the dots.
I have been intellectualizing a particular relationship lately and have repeatedly admitted that it doesn’t bother me because I know its for the best. In fact I have been quite proud of myself for being able to rise above the situation and do the “right thing”. However, this is where things get interesting as I have been experiencing these lucid image and emotional flashes and couldn’t see that in fact my unconscious was telling me that no matter how much I intellectualize the experience the emotions are real and need to be felt. If you ignore these repressed unconscious emotions then they will erupt to the surface as a complex.
I feel a million times better that I have zoned in on these feelings and now that I am acknowledging them I am feeling more centered.
This insight is equally applicable to the markets. There is no way to ignore the emotions driving the markets the primary emotions of fear and greed need to be “felt”. However, the world we live in today with news coming from every angle and mavens in their thousands writing on blogs (just like me) trying to explain each and every new data piece and its significance, are doing the markets in their genius a disservice. The market and her participants need to feel! We intellectualize emotions at our peril with market complex eruptions the likely result.
Take a step back from the markets and look at what possible emotional message could be communicated to you. If you do and experience the balance of intellect and emotion then you are likely to be in a much happier safer place.
Last week we celebrated the jewish festival of Shavuot where the custom is to learn ancient jewish text through the night (tikkun leil). For the last many years I usually flake out around 2.am and feel to soft to push harder out of fear of the grump I am likely to be around the family the next day.
This year was different I was on fire, my concentration was razor sharp and I felt light and engaged throughout the long night and due to the winter in the southern hemisphere we could only begin the morning service around sunrise 6:15am. In short (actually it was quite long) it was a great night.
Over the last week I have also rekindled my interest in learning a programming language. I have had many failed starts with C# but have a fairly decent beginners knowledge in R. I am not sure exactly where this interest has come from but I want to learn a more general purpose language that will be strong in the quant space but equally strong in web and other programming tasks. I have decided on Python an excellent open source language that all who use it say its syntax is the most intuitive of the languages and its power is awesome.
There is a reason why I juxtapose this latest interest with my “tikkun leil” evening over Shavuot. The human mind is so incredibly powerful that it is able to overcome (push aside) many physical necessities, at least for a period of time. I have become so engrossed with my Python learning curve that I have hardly slept the last week or so. I am so enthused and keen to learn, that sleep is not something that is coming into the equation too often.
So what is my point? It is really simple, when you are focused and inspired many needs (often superfluous needs) that may seem insatiable when your mind has spare capacity tend to not get the energy to have the same negative influence over your life. Of course there is the risk of becoming too one sided and losing your equilibrium, but the point I am making is that having an interest, a passion, a goal is so important in life as it serves to keep the minds “spare capacity” occupied and less likely to get up to mischief.
Today I read an absolutely brilliant article about Frank Lowy and his greatness.
I want to relook at my post yesterday which cast Frank’s fall from grace in a negative light, and give it a more positive spin. The article I read today which resonated strongly with me spoke endearingly how once again Frank picked himself up and carried on with his never say die attitude.
Most 80yr olds who take a fall like this, assuming they survive, usually spend the next few months in hospital. Well Frank gathered himself and within a few minutes was back up on the stage presenting the trophy. The following day he was nursing a bruised shoulder but otherwise in good shape. Now that is either very lucky or exceptionally tough. I will say it is a combination of both!
The takeaway for me from these two posts is to be careful not to fall into the trap of looking for major pivotal moments that are under heavy archetypal influences. The temptation is to see it as a fall from grace, as its theme fits so well within the context of archetypal moments. Then it can be followed like today’s positive post as another step in the Hero Archetype whose never say die attitude keeps being invoked in major archetypal type themes like falling from grace on the world stage only to pick oneself up.
We can draw the very same parallels when analyzing the markets. For instance in today’s context with markets at all time highs. The market commentators/researchers who have a bearish bias are looking for any archetypal sign to pin the TOP to, but just like I was quick to make the call about Lowy yesterday, today I am seeing his fall in positive way and far from calling it the end it may be the beginning of another reinforcing story of triumph which could be the same in the market context.
In order for one to draw conclusive inferences from archetypal type events, one needs to see clusters of complexes reinforcing the message of the influence of the prevailing archetype. Just like markets at different time intervals display sometimes contradicting messages so to with archetypes. On a 10 minute bar chart the market could be bearish whereas on a daily chart it could be extremely bullish. So when making calls on archetypes one has to also determine which archetypal force field is dominant at a particular time. For example a person may live their life like Frank under the influence of the hero archetype, however there may be shorter moments or periods where the innocent archetype is more dominant. The question one can then determine when taking a more macro view of the persons life is what archetype best defines this persons character through their life.