Episode #21: Michael Covel, TrendFollowing.com, “We Can’t Make A Prediction Worth A Damn”
Guest: Michael Covel teaches beginners to seasoned pros how to generate profits with straightforward and repeatable rules. He is best known for popularizing the counter-intuitive and very controversial trading strategy “trend following.” An avowed entrepreneur, Michael is the author of five books including the international bestseller, Trend Following: Learn to Make Millions in Up or Down Markets.
Date: 9/13/16 | Run-Time: 1:03:12
Summary: Episode 21 starts with a “thank you” to Michael, as it was his advice on starting a podcast that got “The Meb Faber Show” off the ground. But Michael and Meb quickly turn to Michael’s expertise, trend following. This is how Michael summarizes it: “We don’t know what’s going to happen. We can’t make a prediction worth a damn. The market starts to move, whatever that market might be. We get on board, and we don’t get out until it goes against us and we have an exit signal.” They then turn to the infamous “turtle” story. It involves Richard Dennis, a great trader from the 1970’s, who made his first million by about age 25. By the early 80’s, he was worth about $200 million. Around this time, the movie “Trading Places” came out (two millionaires make a bet on the outcome of training a bum to be a financial whiz, while taking a financial whiz and, effectively, turning him into a bum). Richard felt he could similarly train a financial no-nothing, turning him into a great trader. Richard’s partner felt it wouldn’t work. So they made a bet. How’d it turn out? Three or four years later, the group Richard trained had made, on aggregate, around $100 million. Meb then suggests that a profitable strategy such as trend following, that seems to work, should attract lots of investor dollars in the long run. So why then doesn’t trend following have more “big money” institutional investors using it? Michael points toward drawdowns – “the scarlet letter of trend following” – even though buy-and-hold has plenty of drawdowns too. The guys then agree that all investing is purely speculation. We like to believe there’s more certainty, but that’s not the case. They then bring up a quote from Ed Seykota: “Win or lose, everyone gets what they want out of the market. Some people seem to like to lose, so they win by losing money.” Michael tells us this is true not only for investing, but life as well. Next, Meb asks about Michael’s podcast, which results in a great recap of how Michael got started and how he grew it to be the success it is today. The guys then discuss the mass of great investing content out there, for example, the hours of great interviews from Michael’s podcast—where is a new listener supposed to start? It’s overwhelming. Michael gives us his thoughts. This leads to Meb’s latest entrepreneurial business idea (which some listener should run with and make lots of money). There’s plenty more, including the guys touching on sensory deprivation, yoga/meditation, and of course, what each of them find beautiful, useful, or downright magical – Michael has about seven for us. What are they? Find out in Episode 21.
Sponsors: The Idea Farm and Soothe
Comments or suggestions? Email us Feedback@TheMebFaberShow.com
Links from the Episode:
- Covel’s Books and Podcast
- Jack Schwager Books
- Dunn Capital
- Chesapeake Capital
- Reminiscences of a Stock Operator – Lefevre
- Aspect Capital
- Winton Capital
- Thinking Fast and Slow – Kahneman
- The Black Swan – Taleb
- Zurich Axioms – Max Gunther
- Ed Seykota Homepage
- Never Split the Difference – Voss
- Algorithms to Live By – Christian
- Ready Player One – Cline
Running Segment: “Things I find beautiful, useful or downright magical”:
- Dropbox App
- Fox News App when traveling
- MagicJack App
- Global Entry and Apec Card
- Fish Sauce
- Ito En Tea
- Walking the Streets of Saigon
Transcript of Episode 21:
Welcome Message: Welcome to Meb Faber’s show where the focus is on helping you grow and preserve your wealth. Join us as we discuss the craft of on investing and uncover new and profitable ideas all to help you grow wealthier and wiser. Better investing starts here.
Disclaimer: Meb Faber is the co-founder and chief investment officer at Cambria Investment Management. Due to industry regulations, he will not discuss any of Cambria’s funds on this podcast. All opinions expressed by podcast participants are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of Cambria Investment Management or its affiliates. For more information visit cambriainvestments.com
Sponsor Message: Today’s podcast is sponsored by The Idea Farm. Do you want the same investing edge as the pros? The Idea Farm gives small investors the same market research usually reserved for only the world’s largest institutions, funds, and money managers. These are reports from some of the most respected research shops in investing. Many of them cost thousands and are only available to institutions or investment professionals but now they’re yours with the Idea Farm subscription. Are you ready for an investing edge? Visit theideafarm.com to learn more.
Meb: Welcome to the show, friends. We have an extra special guest today, Mr. Michael Covel. Welcome to the show.
Michael: Meb, thank you for having me.
Meb: Where are you talking to us from?
Michael: I’m talking to you from the great city of Saigon in Southeast Asia.
Meb: Have you been put there for a while? Have you stayed put or you’ve been moving around? What’s the story?
Michael: I’ve been jumping around Asia for the last three and a half years, and make it back to the States some. So yeah, I like this part of the world.
Meb: Podcast listeners you may not know this, but you owe a massive debt of gratitude to Mr. Covel and the reason being is that we put off doing this podcast for many months, years even, largely because of what I considered to be the operational headache of getting it going, started up, all the recording equipment and editing and stuff. Then eventually, I emailed our buddy, Covel and said, “Hey, look you’ve done this going on…” Have you crossed 500 episodes yet?
Michael: I’m close, but maybe 10 away something like that.
Meb: And so I said, “Hey, look you’ve done this enough, any suggestions?” And I also emailed buddy Barry Ritholtz and said the same thing, “Do you have any suggestions?” And he put me in touch with some friends that help get the show up and running, with the equipment and all the to-dos.
So you are kind of this show’s beginnings so a big thank you. And so, listeners, you need to go over and you can pause the podcast right now, and go subscribe to Covel’s podcast. He’s had all sorts of interesting people. Not just trend followers in investing but Nobel Laureates and everything else in between.
And also, so now a little more background for those listening that are not familiar. Now you have a pretty varied background. Besides podcaster, a fellow writer, and you’ve done, how many? Five books?
Michael: Four to five. One was kinda like, I don’t know, a book of data so I don’t count that one, so four, officially.
Meb: Okay, I have about three books that are more pamphlet link than books so I claim five books. And actually have…what a credit as a movie producer? Didn’t you put out a short documentary as well?
Michael: Yeah, beyond short, 90 minutes or so 6, 7 years ago, during the financial crisis.
Meb: And it was Broke, right? Broke, what’s full name?
Michael: Broke: The New American Dream I actually believe that the vast majority, well, that’s maybe a little unfair, but many people actually want to be broke by their actions.
Meb: Oh man, that’s a topic we’re gonna hold onto for a little bit and come back to. But you know for listeners who aren’t familiar, and listeners, I say this with no bias whatsoever but you absolutely should pick up a copy of his book. The kind of probably your flagship book, I’m guessing, which is, Trend Following. And also Mike writes at the domain trendfollowing.com. But Trend Following: Learning to Make Millions in Up or Down Markets, is this the most updated edition, 2009?
Michael: There is, but there is a new one coming in ’17.
Meb: I was saying it’s about time for a new edition because I have also the edition prior to the ’09, earmarked and we’ve got a few copies in the office. All right, so why don’t…We’ve had a massive amount of interest in trend following in general from our listeners.
And I was mentioning to you earlier is that it’s a little surprising to me because I’ve been writing about this for over a decade now and maybe the podcast is kinda drummed up some new listeners and maybe a younger generation. But I thought we had let you talk just a little bit about that world, and kinda a little bit about maybe the book or kinda the origin stories on trend following and then I’m sure after five minutes, it’ll veer off into a totally different direction. But kinda giving you the floor now to chat a little bit about that world, because people I know are super, super interested in it.
Michael: I’ll still go back to probably the mid 1990s learning about trend following for the first time. And I’m sure it was the Turtle story. I’m sure it was the Market Wizards books and look most people don’t realize there’s Market Wizards books that Jack put out a good number in the first two series, the first two books, were trend following traders. I mean, your Ed Seykotas, your Larry Hites, your Bruce Kovners, your Richard Dennis, you’re Bill Eckhardts, these guys are all just pure trend following traders. And that kind of lead me down the rabbit hole. What is all this? Look, I wanna be Buffet, but I’m 26. How am I gonna become Buffet? It’s just not gonna happen.
There is too much information for me to know with my background as a political science major. So I stumbled into this trend following realm. I just started knocking on doors getting people to talk to me whether that was early on Jerry Parker or a guy named Bill Dunn. Bill Dunn, he’s got a 40-plus year continuous track record trend following, one of the most amazing track records that you can ever look at. I mean, it’s really Buffet-esque.
Speaking of Buffet, I looked down this rabbit hole and I just started getting inside, and I was like, “Wow, this is just so damn interesting.” And what was so cool about trend following is you could go back and you could look at these track records.
You could say, “Oh wow, okay. These traders, the turtles, the turtle traders taught by Richard Denis and Bill Eckhart, oh Bill Dunn, oh John Henry, who owns the Boston Red Sox.” You could look at their track records and just eyeball correlate up and say, “Oh wow they are basically making and losing money in the same months.”
Well of course if you know what’s going on in that particular month, which was usually pretty easy to figure out, the most liquid markets, well, lo and behold, you’ve got something quite interesting that so many of these people are doing generally the same thing to get these great results, which were at the time very under the radar.
Now you roll forward to today and you kind of had a shift from assets at trend following in the U.S., more to a London-centric situation with the likes of David Harding, Winton Capital, and Aspect Capital and AHL Man, and Ewan Kirk at Cantab’s. You’ve had quite a shift but it’s all the same thing. And I was writing something the other day about Jesse Livermore and it’s like, it really goes back to that.
We don’t know what’s gonna happen. We can’t make a prediction worth a damn. The market starts to move, whatever that market might be, we get on board and we don’t get out until it goes against us and we have an exit signal.
Meb: And so you mentioned a lot of names, and I’m sure the podcast listeners will be familiar with some. I mean, Dunn, what a fun track record he has because, I mean, you have to… You can obviously dial it down volatility, if you want. But he’s had tons and tons of these, 30%, 40%, 50% drawdowns over the years and then the track record just keeps compounding and compounding.
You know I actually looked up, and we will come back to this trend following story in a second, I actually looked up in my emails to try to find the first time we corresponded, and then I was actually trying to convince you to write a book in 2008 because I love the Turtle story and we’ll talk about that in a second. I said, “There’s been about five groups that have acted sort of as the godfathers of certain areas of investing.”
And so the Turtle story, which we’ll talk about in a second. Another one is Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management and he spawned dozens of famous hedge-fund managers that grew up, that you know, people call them the Tiger cubs. And then there’s a few others at Goldman Sachs, when Rubin’s [sp] Bond Trading Desk and there’s a lot of famous investors that came out of there, Eddie Lampert at ESL, but the guys that also started Eton Park, [inaudible 00:09:14], Perry, etc. Soros has had about a dozen famous hedge fund managers come out of his.
And then, of course, another one that’s kind of in your world, which was Commodities Corp. And that one had a lot of famous names like Louis Bacon, Paul Tudor Jones, Ed Seykota, you just mentioned, and a few others. And I was always fascinated, and then so the origin of this was I was emailing Mike and I was saying, “Hey, you’re a great writer, you should do this.” And, you know, he’s like, “Who are you emailing me and telling me to write these books?” And so I’m still giving you that idea that one day, I would love to see kind of who’s generated the most money managers.
But let’s talk specifically a little bit about the Turtles because that’s a story that you’re pretty familiar with. And for the listeners out there who probably have no idea what we’re talking about, maybe just a broad overview what that experiment was and kinda what would happen?
Michael: Absolutely. Going back real quick to what you just said about the Tiger cubs, I grew up with one of the Tiger cubs, I won’t mention the name, but we played baseball together as a kid then we got older and I reached out to him and I said, “Hey were you the guy in the team that literally was in right field and struck out every time?” He’s was like, “Yeah, that was me.” I was like, “It turned all right for you, huh?
Meb: Great, it’s funny.
Michael: But now the Turtle story is great and it gets into what you were just talking about is these silos of people, these groups that maybe had a core leader and they were taught and they taught other people. And so one of these groups these famous teaching groups would be the Turtle story.
And for those not familiar, there was this great trader in the 1970s, started it on the floor in Chicago, Richard Dennis. I think he made his first million in 1976 on the floor at the age of 25-26, by the early 1980s he was probably, if you go back and look at accounts, he was probably the biggest trader there was except for Soros. Dennis had assembled, by the early 1980s, 200 million and what’s that in today’s dollars? A lot. He was around 37 years old. I mean that’s just crazy, crazy, crazy money and like 1982, ’81.
So right around the time the Trading Places movie came out, him and his partner – who had not had the same level of success at that point in time, but his partner was quite brilliant – his partner said to Rich after they went, his partner’s name was Bill, said to Rich after they went to see Trading Places they said, “Hey.” When Rich said to Bill, “We can do that we can take someone out of nowhere and make him a trader.” And Bill is like, “No way man you’re savant look at you, you’re 37 you’ve made 200 million, you know, this doesn’t translate, you’re one of a kind.”
They made a little bet, I don’t know the exact dollar amount if there was, they put ads in the paper to hire trainees to prove this little bet. They basically hired approximately 20 people over two years. This is the first class, would have started early 1984, they traded after getting two weeks of trend following instruction, they traded for Rich Dennis, this group of 20 novices. And we’re talking waiters, one was a guy who wrote for Dungeons and Dragons, an accountant, I mean, a really diverse group of people. One was a drug dealer.
And so they trained these folks over two weeks, put them down the street in an office in Chicago and they said here are these trend following rules, go at it. Three and a half, four years later the group on aggregate had made around 100 million and this is 1988, right around the time the Market Wizards books were coming out.
So you roll forward. They all left the embrace of this kind of teaching experiment, this group of 20. Most of them went on to start a fund of some sort. Most of them had a track record. I’m sure many of them many, many of them made many millions of dollars. Maybe they didn’t stick with it as a fund manager, but it was just a great story because it was nurture, it was nurture beating nature. It’s Anders Ericsson 101, practice, having rules, sticking with it, having a mentor. And it was just a great story to inspire.
Hell, it inspired me. I’m sure it inspired you. I’m sure inspired many people listening because once you know that someone else can do it. Well, then why can’t you do it? That never leaves you once, once that light bulb goes off. You’re like, “Wow okay.”
Meb: Yeah, I hear the story and I imagine a lot of listeners today are the same way and I get so much FoMO just like a fear of missing out, where like, “Man, I would have loved to have seen that newspaper ad when I was 20 or what not, because what a grand experiment that would be and it didn’t work out for all the traders because there was also some that were, for whatever reason, unable to follow the rules, right? Like it wasn’t, you know…all the subjectivity and emotional challenges of following the rules. It was something that even then, even then they said, “Here, just follow these.” There was a subset that couldn’t do it, right? Do I remember correctly?
Michael: I don’t know if they couldn’t do it or they just elected not to do it but, I mean, overall when I got into writing my book The Complete Turtle Trader, I found this guy Saul Waxman at Barclay group and he had been a tracker of CTA performance going back decades and I didn’t know he had this. But he had the inside internal trading performance histories of the turtles while they worked for Richard Dennis. And once I saw those numbers I was like, “Well, you know, really they all did well.”
Now, once some of them left the embrace, not all of them did well. And there were some stories that are on the inside, there were one or two that were trading different strategies or doing something different. But overall the idea that you could take a group of people with no real trend following experience, give them a set of rules, which had some discretion in the sense of how much they could risk or perhaps their portfolio selections but the same damn rules, and turn them loose and find overall, except for volatility, the same kind of performance correlated at over 90%. Well, that was inspirational.
Meb: So here’s a philosophical question for you, for someone who’s spent decades in this world. The investment community if anything I feel like will be attracted to performance. And you know something that does work, I feel like ends up attracting a lot of dollars over the long run. And one of the oddities of our world is that you look back over the decades and you mention Dunn’s been around for 40 years and many trend followers have been around forever.
Dating back to this, the turtle experiments, and I look at a lot of institutions out there the calipers [sp] of the world and these big real money pension plans, the Norways of the world, and I rarely see hardly any allocation to manage futures. So forget registered investment advisors, brokers in the U.S. because almost none of those that I ever talked to have more than 5% if anything.
Why do you think, as an investment strategy, as an asset class, it’s either a) not more popular or b) why isn’t it a larger chunk of most institutional investment programs? And maybe you have simple answer or maybe you don’t have an answer. But what are kinda your thoughts there?
Michael: Daniel Kahneman wrote a great book, Thinking Fast Thinking Slow and the Sam Taleb has written the Black Swan. Like both of those books goes straight at why most people are bat-shit crazy, including the respected institutional investors that might work for the government wearing bad suits.
But look, really, in all seriousness we mentioned drawdowns with trend following. You mentioned, you said, “Hey, Dunn’s taken these drawdowns.” And it is one of those scarlet-letter-type things that a strategy like trend following that knows from the beginning it will have drawdowns because there will be trendless periods and you will take many small losses, but that’s expected.
And what’s really interesting is when you compare that to the institutional investor that just basically blindly allocates and says, “We will trust at the altar of long only, even if we know it’s damn straight possible that the buy-hold strategy will give us a 50% drawdowns, in the case of the NASDAQ, what 16 years ago, 77% drawdown.” But those things are never talked about, but the scarlet letter of trend following drawdowns are talked about even though trend following is a real strategy that expects it.
So I’ve always found that disconnect interesting. And look, who the hell knows what’s going to happen in the future? But could we all imagine a situation where U.S. stocks took a hit and then sat below water, sat below current highs today, 30% or 40% down for 10 years, can we imagine that situation? Of course we could, of course, we can imagine that situation.
And if you can imagine that situation then one really has to think, what kind of strategy do I want over the course of a lifetime? Now, I’m not telling anybody out there they necessarily need to go have the risk profile of a Bill Dunn. But there are tradeoffs in life and not everything goes straight up.
Meb: Yeah, I mean and one of the things with the volatility is you can kind of dial in whatever you want. So someone theoretically that wanted half the returns in volatility profiles of Dunn, it’s just allocate half and allocate the other half to cash or whatever, you know, short term T-bills or whatever it might be.
I mean, it’s been a really fascinating experiment, because, Mike, I’ve been you know managing money for almost a decade and we are totally okay with lots of buy and hold type of strategies and just talk about them and say look, “One of the biggest challenges, of course, is sitting through the drawdowns.” But that’s the same for any strategy and one of the things that we said is look, “The best strategy for someone is one they can stick with.”
And so we ended up offering a new offering a couple weeks ago called the Cambria Digital Advisor, which actually, the default portfolio, ends up allocating about half to trend following, which is probably the highest I’ve seen as far as any institution or broad offering. But anyway it’s an interesting complement. In going back to one of the reasons thinking about, why wouldn’t more people be allocating to this sort of world?
So I went in. There’s a website called Favstar. Maybe it’s called, Favstar, F-A-V-S-T-A-R. It’s a pretty barebones user-interface website but it’s the only one that can do what I’m getting ready to describe that I can find and it allows you to go in and sync your Twitter or someone else’s Twitter. And Twitter is kind of a fire hose for me. It’s kind of a pleasant distraction.
But for example, the curation is really bad. Like I really don’t care about the U.S. election or whatever you know pop culture thing is going on every day that ten thousand people are talking about in my stream. It’s kind of like this, but I’m interested, you know, I’m interested in someone like you or any of my other buddies on Twitter that may have posted something last night that was fascinating. And Twitter doesn’t do a great job of curating that.
And so there’s human curators but I also have been looking for a service that will go out and say, “Hey, what is the most liked or read tweeted post amongst my list A or list B or people I follow?” And Favstar is the only that even remotely I know does it. There’s another one an App called Nuzzle. Anyway, I went and downloaded your 10 most liked and retreated tweets.
The first one doesn’t really count because it’s a photo that you had posted about three or four years ago of somebody’s monitor set up with about 34 monitors and it’s just a great photo of kind of the ultimate trader set up. But you’re like, “If you’re trading at a home or office looks like this, my guess is you have ceased reality and, of course sex.” And it’s just a great photo.
But the second one is the one I was getting to. Your second most liked retweeted and it’s a quote from a book that I guarantee you, most listeners have never heard of that I’ve actually read. But recommended to me by someone else and it says, “All investment is speculation. The only difference is that some people admit it and some don’t.” And it was a book called, Zurich Axioms, which had been recommended me to by a trader, by the name of Larry Williams, which the younger audience may not be that familiar with. The older audience certainly would be absolutely familiar with.
Have you read the book? Do you remember that book at all? Is that…
Michael: Absolutely, Zurich Axioms, right?
Meb: And that, it may or may not even be in print anymore, I can’t remember. I remember having a really hard time trying to find it last time I bought it, but I read it years ago and it’s just funny because I haven’t seen anyone else reference that book in quite some time. But I think that quote is a great quote where a lot of people believe in investing and a lot of what they think is that there’s this magical, like they deserve to get this magical return.
And they understand that there’s risk involved but they also think that necessarily that risk is correlated with returns. So that, you know, kind of guaranteed a higher return, if you take more risk and I thought this quote was so perfect that it hits right to the core of the comment, which it’s all speculation, right? Coming down at the end of it, it’s about making bets, and about making intelligent bets, but making bets nonetheless.
Michael Faber: And how many people out there, maybe not in this podcast listening, but so much of the population hears the word speculation, and they immediately think pejorative. It is the most beautiful damn word. I mean it’s awesome. I would give people an exercise and I think you can go do this through Google books, you can go back and you can access the full copy, full books, back I don’t know 1920s, 1910s, 1800s a couple from the from the various British catalogs in the 1700s, literally, all about speculation.
And when you read these old books going back hundreds of years you know exactly where the Zurich Axioms came from. Speculation is as old as the hills, and it is the lifeblood of anything. If you’re not a speculator, you’re brain dead. You’re not admitting the truth. Everyone has to be a speculator for every damn thing, every minute of the day, or you’re losing and who the hell wants to lose?
Meb: I was I was just in Canada giving a speech with another guy who wrote the book, Dual Momentum, Antonacci, but he was giving a speech actually on trend following. He reminds me of what you’re just talking about because he was referencing some philosophers from like probably 300 years ago or 400 years ago they were talking about trend following, and markets as well that I thought was pretty interesting.
Speaking of modern-day philosophers, a lot of listeners probably have never heard the name Ed Seykota. And one of the cool thing about Mike’s book is that it has like a thousand quotes in it from investors, and trend followers and philosophers, but a lot of which you probably have never seen anywhere else, and I was highlighting some of this earlier when I was flipping through the book.
And here’s one that I think is fascinating that will probably hit a little too close to home for some listeners and it’s this from Ed, famous trend follower individual, and he says, “Win or lose, everyone gets what they want out of the market. Some people seem to like to lose. So they win by losing money.” And I thought that was such a wonderful quote, do you any thoughts on that at all or is that something that…?
Michael: Yeah, it’s absolutely its life too. I would say it’s everyone gets what they want out of life, like right now if you really want to be brutal about it, you and I want to be doing this podcast. I want to be in Saigon. You want to be in Southern California. You want what you have in your life right now. That’s what Ed is saying. And if you want to have really shitty performance in your account, of course, there’s always some luck involved, but you have to have the right process and that’s what he’s really getting at.
And, you know, look, too many people don’t think about this. They, “No, I don’t want to be a loser. I don’t wanna be a loser.” Well, the hell, what are you doing with yourself? What are your actions? So I agree with you, that is one of my one of my favorite ones and I have to tell you if anyone ever gets the chance, maybe he will not open up, he doesn’t necessarily want to open up to everybody, and you become a name like Ed Seykota, a lot of people come knocking on your door looking for things.
But I feel very fortunate to have met him for the first time in 2001, and he was an interesting guy to meet. And I’ve met him many times since then. He’s been on podcast several times. But just a brilliant guy, a guy that seems to understand human nature in such a way that if you walk into the room with that guy he can see through you. He can literally see through you. I don’t care how smart you are, or whatever, he just has a way of knowing where you are, and if you’re not brutally honest with him, he can just see through. It’s one of the only times in my life where I’ve ever felt that from a human being, just a really amazing intellect.
And for a little bit of background, going back to the Market Wizards books, where he is first featured, he trained a guy named Michael Marcus. Ed started the Commodities Corporation. He trained a guy named Michael Marcus, and Michael Marcus was the guy that really led to Bruce Kovner, one of the wealthiest guys in the world, he made his fortune as a trend following trader. So there’s a long thread that goes back to Ed Seykota influencing a tremendous number of people a really interesting guy.
Meb: Yeah, I had met Ed when I made a brief stop in Tahoe. I was living there for about a year or two and I think the best way that I’ve heard describe Ed is pleasantly eccentric. But he is a very…you see the…
Michael: That’s the cover. That’s the cover, really. In truth, so many people have met Ed and I think they will hear only the eccentric part but that, honestly, it’s the cover.
Meb: Yeah, you know, there’s certain people you meet, and echoing your thoughts, that certainly have, you know immediately that their brain has a lot of horsepower. And I think he was one, and he used to write a lot on, I don’t know if he still write. I haven’t revisit in years. He used to be a fairly prolific writer. I know he still does some, but he used to have…Will link in the show notes on some of his websites and works as well.
And here was one last quote and will probably move on to some other topics but he said, “The joy of winning and the pain of losing are right up there with the pain of winning and the joy of losing. Also to consider are the joy and pain of not participating. The relative strength of these feelings tend to increase with the distance of the trader from his commitment to being a trader.”
And I think is there’s so many of these that people are going to have to probably hit rewind three or four times to listen to the full quote.
Michael: And some of those guys too, like Ed, I will argue that even though a guy like Daniel Kahneman got the Nobel Prize for Prospect Theory. These traders in the ’70s were executing, even though they didn’t write the books and do the research, they were executing in real life, in the markets essentially what he got the Nobel Prize for.
Meb: It’s great, so we could talk about markets still some more but I think some of your other experiences would be really interesting to the audience because you managed the carve out, like you mentioned, a lifestyle that you want and living as an entrepreneur in a different country, doing writing, giving speeches, doing the podcast now, which basically you get to talk to anybody you want to.
And you know, there’s certainly a lot of your podcast that aren’t necessarily even investment related anymore. Maybe you could just talk a little bit about the podcast and what the plans are going forward are coming up on your 500th episode. What do you see for the next five years for you? What are your plans? If you know or if you don’t that’s fine too. But just feel free to take the open mike.
Michael: Let me give a little background on my podcast, so well over four million listeners. I launched it in January of 2012 on a lark. I remember somebody telling me that was a really dumb idea. And you know it kind of generated a couple hundred listeners a day, [inaudible 00:29:12] nothing crazy. Then I had Jack Schwager on and there was a real bump and with, along that process, talking to like minded trend following traders, other traders.
At some point in time, I wanted something a little bit different. I don’t know why. I think it was…I don’t know why exactly, but I got the idea of trying to get Dan Ariely on from Duke, a behavioral economist. And I asked him in the summer and he said why I got to wait till the end of the end of the semester.
So I had to wait like four months to get him. That would be my first big outside guest. Along that same time, I asked Daniel Kahneman to come on and didn’t get a response. And while waiting for Dan Ariely, I asked for Vernon Smith to come on, who also won the Nobel Prize, actually shared it with Daniel Kahneman the year they won.
And Vernon Smith had done all these market experiments to show our irrationality. And so I got Vernon on and then I finally got Dan on so I had these two my first two big outside guests. And then I went back to Daniel Kahneman and I said, “Hey, I’ve had Vernon Smith on.” Of course, he knows Vernon. And I had Dan Ariely on and he wrote me back and he said, “Hey, I listen to your podcast.” And this would have been in 2014, and he said, “I listened to your podcast Vernon Smith I liked a lot. I would love to come on your show.”
This is this is great. The most famous living psychologist is going to come on my small trading podcast. But once he appeared, I then just basically went to like TED Talks and said, “Who do I want?” Because I’m now gonna send an email out to people and say, “I would like you to come on my podcast. Here’s the list of my prior guest I lead with Daniel Kahneman.” And people would just… You could feel it, while they didn’t tell me this, I think people would feel maybe not that smart if they say no to an invite where someone like Daniel Kahneman appeared.
And that kinda just went down the rabbit hole of like, “Okay, now I’ll just keep doing this.”And I’ve gone down the list of almost every behavioral econ pro that I can possibly find. There’s a few stragglers I need to clean up and get on the show.
And I’ve gone down the path of really diverse, for example, Jack Horner. Jack Horner was a paleontologist. He’s the guy that was the brains behind the Jurassic Park film, the guy that Spielberg hired to be the consultant. And so I had actually met him giving a speech at a book signing in San Diego. So a year and a half later, whatever, I wrote him. I said, “Hey I’m doing this podcast on trading. I’ve had some behavioral guys on. I know this doesn’t seem like it’s a match for you, but you have to come on.” So Jack Horner appeared.
And then I would go down the path of like, I met Ryan Holiday a few years ago. And Ryan is a young guy who’s written these great books on Stoicism and Stoic principles in the last couple years. And I got Ryan on.
Then one thing led to another, I kinda have met Ryan. Well, I’m gonna ask Tucker Max, get Tucker Max on. And then, you know, one day, Ryan contacts me and he says, “Hey, would you like to have Tim Ferriss on your show?” It’s just this kind of organic, unexpected process. So if I describe my world of a podcast in last four years like that. How the hell am I supposed to answer your five-years-ahead question?
Meb: Well, you’re gonna have already hit all your bucket list, I mean, because you have mentioned the paleontologists. I know that was, at least, I don’t know, a hobby or an interest. Don’t you own like triceratops head or something?
Michael: A couple years ago. Well, not a couple years ago, I don’t know, dot-com-esque era, there was a group out of South Dakota that had the original fossils and they were selling scale replicas of like T-Rex and triceratops. So I bought the skulls, these scales skulls, and they’re some of my favorite possessions actually. Really, you know, it’s just, it takes up the size of a kitchen table and they’re life-size skull of a T-Rex. What better possession, it’s not the real thing, you know, there’s only a handful of those in the world. The most famous is Sue in Chicago museum.
But look, they are so damn cool. And one day, I’m gonna get the full dinosaur. You can get the full dinosaur, you can get the full T-Rex, but I think you need like a hundred feet to display it and maybe 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. So, I need to get like a, I don’t know, like a barn or something to set it all up in.
Jeff: All right Michael, quick question from Twitter. After 500 podcasts you probably learned a thing or two, any suggestions for aspiring podcasters or about interviewing in general that you’d like to pass along?
Michael: That is a heavy question. It is a deep question. And there’s no simple answer. Let me give some perspective, at least for me. I feel like you have to start this stuff early. And what I mean by that is talking. I’m lucky. I ran for political office when I was 21. I made my first public presentation in front of a government audience when I was 19. So I was doing debates and interviews in my early 20s, that really started the process for me of making mistakes, learning how to talk to people in public, how to feel natural.
I still remember the first time I heard my voice. I fucking hated it. I was like, “Wow that just sounds terrible. I don’t want to hear my voice.” But I look back, those early experiences of my early 20s, those were huge. And also let me compare it to for example something like Michael Jackson, and I’m not comparing myself to Michael Jackson, or let me compare it to something like Elizabeth Taylor. I’m not comparing myself to Elizabeth Taylor. But they were both basically child stars.
Again, getting started early, this Anders Ericsson stuff: practice, practice, practice. So there is no secret with this. The earlier that you start talking, getting confidence, interacting with people, that’s the trick. That’s the secret, really.
On the interviewing side of things, I got lucky to do a film, what six, seven, eight years ago? And then, I first started talking to traders in the mid 1990s. So I had this ongoing interviewing process for probably, gosh, almost 15 years, where I would approach strangers and try and get information out of them.
Never really planning to be “on the radio,” this was just my process. But I look back now and I realized this all helped me to do a podcast today, right. It’s all connected in some way. Again, if you haven’t read the book, Peak by Anders Ericsson, that’s gonna probably be much more important to you than anything I might say right now about podcasting because it all comes down to practice.
Some practical tips, be yourself. If you’re anybody else, if you’re listening to Tim Ferriss’s show, if you’re listening to James Altucher’s show, how the hell does that help you? You can’t be them. They are who they are. And they have the kind of experience that I’m talking about right now, they have it and they’ve been practicing for a long time.
How the hell can you emulate them? You can’t. You can only be yourself. And being yourself means being interesting, having something to say, being an expert in something, having some foundation where people can go and read about you, understand about you. You’ve put a footprint down. You’ve left evidence that you’ve done some hard work and that you might be an interesting person. Now still that might all mean shit.
Nobody might listen and maybe everyone will stop listening to me as well, but you get the idea. You have to jump in there, you have to have some grease, some meat on the bone something that causes people to say, “Well, okay, this person they’ve got some flesh there, there’s some evidence there. I want to dig in.” But be yourself, if you’re anybody else it ain’t gonna work.
One last thought on interviewing, questions. You’ve got to read. You’ve got to read smart people’s books. If you don’t read their books, if you don’t know what they’re all about, how the hell can you ask a question? And I’m sure everyone’s listened to one of these podcasts episodes where it seems like the guest is asking a laundry list of what 20 questions? And that list is gonna be asked no matter what. Well that’s, that’s not any good. That’s not Howard Stern. I mean, Howard Stern’s the gold-star standard. Laugh, if you hate Stern, but Stern is an excellent interviewer one of the best, if not the best.
And if you watch him, yes, of course, he knows the direction where he wants to go but he can adjust on the fly because he is prepared. When I do an interview, I have several sheets of notes in front of me, but the trick is when you’re listening to a guest to give an answer, you have to decide in a split second. Have they said enough? Is there something you want to ask as a follow-up that will add to the conversation? Or do you need to move the conversation along to the next topic?
And you have to do all this in a split second. Otherwise, no one is gonna listen because you’re gonna sound like an idiot. And I guess potentially in some episodes I’ve sounded like an idiot, but I try to judge myself by listens and if people keep listening. I guess I’m hitting the mark to some degree. This is a really big overview a big broad overview and I hope some of my insights can help other people get started to…no quick short answers. But you have to get in the game you have to get bloody, dirty.
Look at Meb starting right now but he’s got all these things that I’ve been describing. He’s been doing for a long time, has that foundation, books, speeches, so it’s a little bit easier for him. But I’d love to hear his perspective as well. Anyways I’m rambling. I think everyone gets the picture. It’s fun stuff, but tough stuff but once you start. And if you get a little positive feedback, if that positive feedback loop starts you’ll probably never be able to stop doing these damn podcasts because they’re fun.
Meb: Here is the challenge and I’ve kind of whined about this to you a bit where I said, all right someone’s coming to your podcast and this just doesn’t just apply to you but applies to any listener or consumer of content. I struggle with this a lot. It’s one of the reasons I started the Idea Farm, which was your curated research service.
We’re gonna send out the two best pieces of research I read every week, but it was born out of frustration to where I said, “Look, I read dozens of white papers and book snippets and tweets and blogs every day and it’s as fire hose most of it is not interesting or not that useful and now podcast of into the fray and so many people have quickly adopted the podcast listening.” But one of the challenges is, the same thing, is that someone comes to yours or any of these other people you mentioned and we’ve talked about or even mine, I mean there’s only 20, but still that’s 20 hours worth of content.
How does one begin? So if you were to tell them and say, “Hey, new listeners to Covel we’re gonna send you at least three new listeners tomorrow for listening to this. Where should they begin or do you have any tools or suggestions? Because just starting at the beginning. I know you’ve worked on this is as a profession, but there’s a handful of yours that you’re probably like, “Yeah, that was probably a pretty lame podcast.”
So what would you tell people? Where to begin? What to do?
Michael: I don’t know about the lame thing. I always try and give the best that I have at that moment in time and whether or not, historically, looking back, it was a piece of shit, I don’t know because I don’t really go back. But I always try and put myself in the in a frame of mind, whether it’s an interview or a monologue. I have to give the energy. If I don’t give the energy, no one’s gonna listen, they’re gonna tune out.
Meb: It could be your guest or just whatever it just for whatever reason was it…
Michael: Two guys that come to the top of my head that I really have loved Gerd Gigerenzer, who wrote a book called Risk Savvy, some other books, really brilliant German guy on behavioral econ, and Robert Aumann, who basically won the Nobel Prize for game theory.
And Aumann, just to listen to him, 80 plus year old Israeli guy who has a math background that I can’t even begin to decipher. You talk about horsepower. You win the Nobel Prize for game theory. It’s horse power off the charts. I mean, he was colleagues with Nash. This is just, you know, and Schelling, these guys were at the forefront of trying to figure out what to do during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
And talking to him and listening to him to describe a game theory in very simple context and talking about us, the American side, and the Soviet side back in the day, having bombers in the air, loaded with nukes 24/7 for 40 years. Now, in the face of it that might look crazy, but from a game theory perspective you had to have that, you had to have both sides know that they were willing to go to the edge to keep the peace.
Now there’s a lot of math behind that of course, a tremendous amount of math, but to hear Aumann really talk about that and to hear Aumann talk about vacationing in Switzerland and says, “Why am I…” And he loves Switzerland and he said, “I’m vacation in Switzerland, why are fighter jets flying over us during the summer vacation in Switzerland?” Again, you have to display the force in such a way that the other side knows that you’re willing to use it for it to be effective.
That was just a really, you know, a great inspirational moment for me. And I’ll share one more that I really loved. Maybe this is a side tangent of what you’re not really even asking, but talking to Daniel Kahneman, I realized, okay I was so happy to get this great guest on and the podcast felt a little slow. Then it really feel like he was into it too much.
But then I knew, something about his early childhood, and I knew that when he was in Nazi-occupied Paris as a six, seven, eight-year-old boy he was walking down the street during a curfew period. He should not have been walking down the street and he was approached by a Nazi soldier. And he’s like thinking to himself, “Okay, this is it. I’m gone.” And the Nazi soldier brought him over and said, “Come here, come here and put him on his knees.
So here a little Jewish boy, not supposed to be out and the Nazi soldier says, “Hey come here, come here.” And sits him down and opens up his wallet and pulls out a picture of his son to share with Daniel Kahneman. And you know Kahneman said at that moment and time I knew I wanted to study people.
Now look, I’m just a guy who’s looking in on this experience, right? But this is how we all learn because I get to hear this story from the 1940s from this brilliant guy that everyone loves and respects, and I get to kind of feel it from him. Well, that changes me and now I get to share that with you. And that’s what I love about the podcasting is you just you get these, not only the content, because Kahneman has shared that story before, but the emotion of sharing and in hearing him a share it. That’s completely different.
Meb: Yeah and then that’s a beautiful example I mean you definitely answered the question kind of unintentionally and my point was kinda like to find that moment and define that podcast. Kahneman is an obvious example because he’s kind of a national treasure, right. So people out of your 500 or [crosstalk]
Michael: Sally Hogshead. Sally Hogshead, “I love. I love anything with Ryan Holiday.”
Meb: But so and so, one way, like so this is my kind of my point is one way is to ask you, and will ask you and will add to say maybe 10 of our favorite, or grab my co-host Jeff and say, “Let’s pick our 10 or 15 favorite Covel episodes to get people started, but it is kind of more of a just a philosophical question of how if someone was totally new to your podcast without having access to you, listening to ours, or if someone just started on Tim Ferriss’s podcast or…
Michael: Is this a business idea we should figure out how to solve this?
Meb: It is, but I’ve actually… Man, I’ve already been talking to Libsyn and there’s no way to other than human curating it that I know of to be able… Like there’s no good rating system. The iTunes per episode rating system, they could do something with it, if they wanted and the problem is they hold all the data. And Libsyn and holds the data. And I said, “Libsyn, why don’t you let me have the data and we can go, you know, start to curate the better podcast, and the better episodes and [crosstalk 00:46:02].
Michael: Well, Meb, I think that one solution here too is there needs to be outside networks because you’re right. And especially when I can look at iTunes, I can see there’s a handful of podcasts that attract a lot of great guests but the hosts are terrible. And I’m not trying to say I’m all that or you’re all that or whatever but there are several out there that kind of are just putting out info porn, it’s not really a good conversation.
Look everyone wants to have a podcast now. I get it. It’s a great thing. But you want to have depth on it too. And I think that’s the real issue is how do you find a situation where if you know you’re producing something that possibly has some good depth, and you know other people that are doing it? The system is not set up to find that right now. I’m lucky I started four years ago seriously.
Meb: My classic example that I always go to is my morning newspaper is a website called Abnormal Returns. And I was actually hanging out with the author Tadas last week in Chicago, this Morningstar conference. And but it’s a great example. It’s human curation. So he posts his favorite 15 links of the day about investing and it’s far more valuable to me.
I mean, I would pay a hundred bucks probably a month for that service in he does it for free. And it’s vastly better to me than any other way of accessing information. But nothing really exists for podcasts. I don’t know. Listeners, if you hear anything, shoot us an email, feedback at the Meb Faber show, and would love to feature it because I’m constantly struggling with the fire hose of content and this is just brainstorming here, but it’s…
Michael: Yeah, you need it you need to leave the States. That’s one way to avoid the fire hose of content. You leave the States you live in a country where they don’t speak English everywhere. And then all of a sudden life becomes kind of like what I don’t know the 1920s or something, in 1910s everything is a little bit slower in terms of information flow. And then you’re left with your own demons in your own mind to invent whatever you invent out of whole cloth right.
Meb: When I was in Canada last week, I did my first sensory deprivation tank. Have you ever done with those float where you float in a bunch of salt water in the dark?
Michael: No, that sounds cool.
Meb: I got bored pretty quickly. Everyone loves meditation and transcendental meditation and everything. And for me, it’s…I would probably much rather just take a nap and that’s my version of it. But for that, I was trying it out, when I was in Vancouver and liked it. Probably not something I would do again, but my problem is not so much the fires…
I still want to find the Jims [sp] that I would love to read and love to find. And I’ve kind of narrowed it down unintentionally, I’m I kind of droning on about this topic, but it’s still something I really struggle with it would love to find some more solutions to. Anyway…
Michael: By the way, I don’t love meditation. I do believe in the moment of right now. I think there’s a lot there’s a tremendous benefit to being in the moment of right now. But I’ve never been able to get with meditation. I do yoga, maybe I get there through yoga, and can clear my mind, but I’m not one of these guys that can just sit down and do it. I just can’t do it.
Meb: Yeah, I mean there’s probably a lot of ways to skin the cat, you know, with just hitting the reset button and usually exercise is such a great one in any form. And for me, meditation, you know, I kind of struggle with it, but again, the ones where it’s the app. Like simply being where you can sit there and take basically a 15-minute guided nap or 20-minute nap seems to work just well for me, but who knows?
So where else are you traveling? Is Saigon gonna be home base for a while? What are the next plans?
Michael: I’m gonna try and make it to the States for November and December. And I will actually be coming through your world. I think I’m probably coming into San Francisco and driving down the coast of San Diego. So that’s the plan.
Meb: Well, they’re going to down in San Diego a bunch, there’s a couple conferences, and speeches given down there. I’m heading to the Caymans for a speech as well. We might have to do an in person podcast. Anything particularly you’ve been reading lately that you love or anything else, any other resources for our readers and then we may just…
Michael: Yeah, I just I just read a book called, I think it’s Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, former lead FBI, a kidnapping negotiator. And wow, that is…you know, he’s kind of like a hard-scrabble guy who used to be a cop then went to the FBI. And he has put together, this thinking, this negotiation thinking. It’s essentially Cialdini put together in a more, maybe even a more accessible way, even though Cialdini is very accessible. Great, great insights in that work for sure.
And there’s the other one too, what’s the algorithm book that I just read? Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths, their algorithm book that’s out right now, forget the exact title, great book as well. That book is literally the foundation of understanding why a quantitative trading system works, fabulous.
Meb: Oh, good. I will add it to the show notes. I’m gonna look that up right after this.
Michael: It’s nothing specific about trading, we talk about this in our podcast episode. But he is laying out the computer science understanding, whether it’s caching or robustness, all these types of things that are that are just the foundation of quant trading.
Meb: Cool, I haven’t read a whole lot that I’m super excited about. One of our first podcast guest has a great reading list, Patrick O’Shaughnessy, that he puts out a bunch of books and he reads ridiculous amount. But he had suggested a kind of a fun fiction book called, Ready Player One that if anyone is a child of the ’80s, or really experienced the 80s, is a fun sort of a virtual realities sort of science fiction book that I enjoyed over the last week.
All right we’re going to start to wind this down a little bit. One of the questions that we always ask the guest, something beautiful useful or somewhat magical that people may or may not know about. Do you have you have something for us today?
Michael: I got a bunch of stuff, little things that I love on my phone, Dropbox app, Fox News app. I don’t love the Fox News app necessarily because of the content. But what’s great when you’re traveling, it’s so difficult sometimes to get a live stream on a news channel, and if you have the Fox News app and you piggyback off any cable system in the States, and you got a Wi-Fi a connection, you can get Fox News live for free.
So that’s great, just to always be connected. Slack app great stuff, Magic Jack app, you could have a stateside phone number that anybody can call anywhere you are, great stuff.
Meb: That’s Magic Jack?
Michael: Magic Jack app, yeah.
Meb: I don’t know that one.
Michael: And so basically you get, like for me, I’ve got a 703 Virginia phone number if you call me on it right now it would ring in Southeast Asia, doesn’t cost you anything. It cost me $12 a year.
Meb: Wow, that’s pretty awesome. The connectivity, I was watching the Broncos game when I was traveling in Japan this year at the Super Bowl, and I said being a lifelong Broncos fan I said, “I cannot absolutely miss this.” And I learned that the wonders of VPN’s and same sort of thing, routing, because they wouldn’t stream it and CBS wouldn’t stream it in Asia. And so you just, hey, pick up a service, you pay 10 bucks for, says you’re in San Francisco and it was the absolutely most crystal clear broadcast and kept me from having to listen to it in Japanese. And it was a wonder. It’s new to me. I had never heard of such a thing, anymore…
Michael: Let me give a couple more practical ones, and then a few you love the ones. [crosstalk]
Michael: Practical one, I’ve seen you mention this but I don’t think you mentioned one side of the coin. You’ve talked about the global entry card which for is just a must. However, for Asia and I’ve had it work in Tokyo, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Beijing, Singapore, KL, The APEC card, the ASEAN card is fabulous.
I mean, I’ve landed at Beijing. Five hundred people in line for customs and I’ve got my APEC card and I say, “Where’s the APEC line?” And basically, there’s like two people in line. And so using the APEC card in Asia is basically like being a diplomat, it’s fabulous.
Meb: We used to joke in the office, I said, “My first interview question, if you come in, is do you have TSA pre-check.” Because if you don’t and you travel and all, you’re an absolute moron because you go into these cattle cars of hundreds of people. And I just had an absolute near meltdown when I was coming back from Canada.
And I go to the GOES line, or whatever it’s called, the Global Entry, and the guys says, “Global entry only.” And I said, “Yeah I got a membership whatever.” He says, “Do you have your card?” And I’ve actually never been carded before. Usually you just walk right up to the kiosk and go. And he says, “No you have to have your card.” And I didn’t pack it. And the trauma of having to wait in the normal line, I mean, it only took, whatever, this one wasn’t terrible, 15 minutes, but I was so sad and depressed.
Anything that will make the travel experience better, to me it’s worth its weight in gold. All right, any more or was that the last one? Okay keep going I’m not gonna stop you.
Michael: Are familiar with the APEC card, though?
Meb: No. I have…there’s some of the global entry, it ends up translating to a few other networks, but I don’t know if it translates APEC it’s some hours.
Michael: For your audience APEC it’s for the ASEAN entry and it is just if you travel anywhere in Asia and you don’t have the APEC card, it’s like what you’re talking about the pre-check.
Okay, on the love stuff for me, this is happened in the last four years, give me fish sauce. Just give me fish sauce. I mean, I don’t care. I’m now addicted to fish sauce. Give me pork and fish sauce. Two others that I…
Meb: I thought you’re saying the name of it was, “Give me fish sauce.”
Michael: No, no.
Meb: It was just fish sauce in general?
Michael: There are so many varieties, I can’t give one variety. But as an American now in Asia, I’ve become addicted to fish sauce for sure.
Meb: You just put on everything?
Michael: Not everything, but it’s just I don’t know, it’s kind of… And I’m not a guy that would ever use salt in the States so I guess this is kind of an unfortunate development later my life. This is like the Asian version of salt, right?
Meb: I used an Asian…David Chang the chef for Momofuku sells a Korean chili paste it’s kind of like Korean ketchup on his website called “sam sauce.” I’m probably murdering the name. Similar sort of thing, when I have it, it goes on every single thing I have till I run out and forget about it. But now that was one of mine from a prior episode, all right keep going.
Michael: Two more loves that I think, I have to have each day. Number two would be Itoen tea. So I have shipped in, wherever I am in the world, I will have shipped in Itoen tea from Japan, just bottled tea. I know this sounds lazy but I’m just addicted to their cold unsweetened Japanese green tea, itoen.com. Fabulous teas, I drink stuff that basically taste like bass beer, but it’s tea.
Meb: I’ve never heard of that.
Michael: Yeah great stuff. My number one love and this is really tough because I just got engaged.
Meb: Oh, congratulations.
Michael: My number one love, my number one love will always be walking the streets of Saigon. And I don’t think this is ever going to change. Because when you walk the streets of Saigon, it’s like no other city in the world. And what it gives you, you know, in a place where it’s always over 90, is it always gives you motorbikes everywhere right? So the city and I don’t know how many millions of motorbikes, six million or whatever.
But if you think about walking in New York City and you see cars drive by, you don’t get to see who’s in the car. You don’t get to see the model in the car, right? You might see her face, if you’re lucky. But in Saigon, you walk the streets and all you see are miniskirts in heels on motorbikes. That doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.
And that even though I’m engaged, I mean, I’m sure my fiancée will listen to this podcast, she would know why, even if I’m not doing anything, I still want to see. I still want to see. And it’s the only place in the world like that.
Meb: That’s beautiful. I love that one. Yeah, you’ve won the award won for most, prolific amount of ideas for this for this segment. And that last one is great. I’m it’s on my list. I’ve never been to Saigon so it’s got to be on the to-do, great list will add all those to the show notes you’ve just increased the workload for my co-host Jeff about two hours having to write all these down, which is great.
All right, mine is and I just remember this one today. It’s a website but it’s more of event it’s called Outstanding in the Field. And basically, what it is is this is traveling dinner, where they come to your cities or say Los Angeles and it’s a group that partners with local farmers and local chefs.
So they’ll grab a bunch of local chefs from the top restaurants, a bunch of local farmers and then they’ll host it in a beautiful location, traditionally, on a farm. Then they’ll get a bunch of wine makers that are hopefully local some areas of the country obviously that’s not possible, but use local food, have this beautiful dinner with dozens in this case, there was probably a hundred people on this local farm in LA, which by the way I had never even heard of that there was an actual things called Wattles Farm and the tickets are expensive.
I think a dinner is over 100 bucks it might be even 200 bucks. But I ended up finding mine on Craigslist, of course, because I’m a cheap bastard but total mama’s boy. So I take my mom and they let you walk around the farm and give you free wine and appetizers. Then you sit down to a family-style dinner in a beautiful location, it’s a memory or experience that certainly you know you’re not going to do every month but I know they have them and then you go up on the website Outstanding in the Field, check it out.
But then the one in San Francisco, they do like on the beach in a hidden Cove. So anyway really cool, nature style thing, put it on the to-do list I don’t think they travel to Asia, so you’ll have to wait till…
Michael: I sound so I don’t know so perverted that my idea is looking at thousands of women in miniskirts and heels driving by their motorbikes and you get this nice story about tasting wine with your mom, I sound like a complete deviant.
Meb: Well my mom, famously at this dinner, she was so classic growing up and particular I was younger and we went to go sit down and of course there was a mother and daughter next to us and so she immediately grabs my elbow sits me in text of the cute girls so that I could talk to her instead so. Great, great, great mom trying to set me up but both great ideas, I love both of them.
Mike, we’re gonna to wind this down where we just hit the hour mark. Where can people find more information if they want to find out your books, your writings, your movies, everything that you’re up to, where can they find you?
Michael: A smart domain that I registered in the mid-1990s, trendfollowing.com.
Meb: That’s perfect man and they…you’ve had it since mid, man, that’s a good one. And so, then you’re also on…you tweet a little bit @Covel and then the podcast, of course, on iTunes, what is it called? Trend Following, is it called Trend Following?
Michael: Yeah. It links off my website too. So, you know, if somebody wants to find somebody like this, it’s pretty easy, right?
Meb: It’s been fun. I imagine we’ll have you back on here soon particularly if you come to the U.S. Listeners, please reach out, go listen to his podcast because we have Mike to thank for the origin of this one. Check out his book, which I absolutely love. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to listen today. Remember to send feedback and questions for the mailbag to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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