What I've Learned From Two Years of Market Misbehavior

January 6, 2019 marked the two-year anniversary of Market Misbehavior. My goal with the blog was to help myself find a voice during a time of personal and professional transition. Getting my thoughts out there helped me gain the confidence to write for other websites and later to launch an independent research firm, Sierra Alpha Research.

After spending 8-1/2 years on the institutional buyside, where my opinions were mostly kept in-house, getting thoughts out to the broader community was frightening, thrilling, frustrating, and invigorating.

I’ve had many memorable moments, from when I set up my first free Blogger page to when I faced my first anonymous internet troll. Along the way, I’ve refined my process, developed ways to capture ideas and stay organized, and focused my passion for relating all things back to investing.

So what have I learned over the last two years?

Writing content doesn’t take much time at all, but writing good content takes quite a while.

I cringe a bit when I review some of my early blog posts, but I know now that part of my evolution was to see what worked and what didn’t.

Over time, I’ve written more on what I’m truly passionate about and less about things that I think will just grab people’s attention. Ideally there’s a sweet spot in the middle somewhere, and that’s where I’ll keep trying to be.

So what makes good content? I feel the best when I write things that resonate with me personally. Posts that hit on painful lessons I’ve learned. Things that remind me that I’m an imperfect professional with plenty still to learn.

It’s so tempting to write things about the latest market move or bubble watch or academic study. For me, it’s all about recognizing what’s out there and picking the broader, more timeless lessons for investing and living.

Great things happen when you take a chance.

When I spoke with a friend of mine about launching my own research firm, he responded, “Great things are in store for the courageous.”

That quote quickly earned a place of honor on my wall of post-it notes, which I review every day I’m in the office.

Live shot of my office wall, 11:51am this morning.

Live shot of my office wall, 11:51am this morning.

When columnist Mary Schmich (this is often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt) said, “Do one thing every day that scares you,” she wasn’t referring to flying an airplane or jumping off a cliff, she was referring to all the little things that can be uncomfortable but provide great learning opportunities.

For me, that has meant having an opinion and telling people about it. Even in the sometimes brutally cynical world of social media.

The key to a blog is consistency.

When I’ve chatted with fellow stockcharts.com contributors or attended events like FinCon18, the one common piece of advice is to develop a routine for writing content.

It can be first thing every morning, every Friday afternoon, or whatever works for you. But it has to happen consistently. I give myself a grade of “barely passing” on that front, and it’s an area where I hope to improve in 2019.

My new daily routine, as developed during my Power Week of strategic planning (a topic for a future blog post), involves four key items: Research, Clients, Content, and Marketing.

Every day, I want to research the markets through reviewing charts and news, reach out to clients with whatever I think is worth knowing, develop new content for my blog and elsewhere, and then focus on marketing through social media and connecting with people in my network whose views I value.

It sounds so simple. But I seem to always find new and exciting distractions that have prevented me from hitting these four items.

So for 2019, I hope to write more consistently, continue to refine my voice, and communicate my passion for finding nuggets of investing wisdom in anything and everything.

Thank you for taking this journey with me, thanks for your support and feedback, and thanks for reminding me that I will always have much to learn!


Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only, and should not be construed as financial advice. Please see the Disclaimer page for full details.