Thursday, November 23, 2006

Quote of the Week - We're Just Ants!

"If you study an ant colony, you will find it has a life cycle — it’s robust, it’s adaptive. However, if you ask any individual ant what’s going on, they have no clue. They’re working with local information and local interaction. I think there’s a very clear parallel to markets. How do markets get to be efficient? The answer is it’s an interaction among a lot of diverse investors. The aggregation mechanism to bring the information together is the stock exchange, and then what emerges from that is the stock market.

The important takeaway is it’s impossible to understand the market by interviewing individual investors because each investor only has a partial piece of the picture. It’s the aggregation that allows the full picture to emerge. What the ant colonies teach us is that in markets, cause and effect are very difficult to pin down. Sometimes we like to think that the experts on TV or the pundits quoted in the Wall Street Journal know what’s going on. They’re really just ants." -- Michael Mauboussin
The above quote comes from Mauboussin's article, "Guppies, ants, and golf swings: Mental models for investors." This quote really defines the methodology I have adopted in trading. Forget how you feel about the stock. It doesn't matter. Forget how you feel about the doesn't matter. Who cares if we're in a housing bubble, USD is going lower, inflation, deflation, yakkity-yak...don't come back. The only thing that matters is what the market thinks.

The market is really just a glorified voting system. You may believe Google, Starbucks or Milli Vanilli is road kill. But, if the vast majority of participants believe it's the next best thing...then it is. I know, I know better....but you're just one vote...amongst millions of voters. Know matter how strongly you feel about's just a drop in the bucket.

So, why fight it? I ask's ya's!?! Just go with it. Embrace your inner ant.


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