Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Follow your intuition - a Jewel of advice or bunkem?

Sorry, was grading final exams this week. Am working on a serious article about the future of oil and oil prices, and the relationship to the international economy. Should be up by Wednesday night.

What's amusing is that my life makes "no sense". The song "Intuition" by Jewel contains these words of advice to:

"...Follow your heart
Your intuition
It will lead you in the right direction
Let go of your mind
Your Intuition
It's easy to find
Just follow your heart baby...

Well as it turns out I have to find a new place to live by the end of July, find a new job (or try to hang on to this one in face of a coming state wide education budget cut), and decide what to do with my life. Instead I'm blogging about economics, which means I'm blogging about money instead of working on getting it.

Isn't that ironic?

So I'm trying this follow your star kind of thing. The problem is that it doesn't seem to be leading me anywhere productive in the short term. "Build it and they will come," may have been good advice for Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams," but to put it frankly I get on average maybe 60-70 unique visits per day which is certainly worthwhile for me to put in the effort of writing from a personal reward point of view but as far as the opportunity cost of putting that effort into trying to find something else to bring home the bucks may be quite expensive.

So what happens when your "star" is leading you into territory so strange you don't even understand where it's going?

I've always written, but in various places and venues, and when I discovered blogs it seemed a natural transition to first comment on them and then to write my own. Fair enough as a personal outlet. However, it startled me to think that my economic writing would have the best reception given that it's always been a relatively minor adjunct and hobby. I don't get obsessed about money per se, and by itself it's just the most normal and unremarkable thing in the world to me. If I sound worried about it, it's for the things I need it for - financial security, helping to take care of a mom and a grandmom with medical bills my dad's death left behind, neices and nephews and such relatives that have some claim upon my generousity and largesse, funding my ideas, etc. I don't particularly care about money per se.

Perhaps this is the reason why analyzing economies and markets comes so naturally to me. It may be the source of my inherent neutrality and therefore objectivity that let's me see exactly what is going on. It's "only money" to me, something I've observed is extremely difficult for most people to grasp - either because money isn't very familiar to them or because if it is they get extremely anxious when their money is on the line. And putting your money where your mouth is truly is the only way to learn how to do good analysis about money. Only when you can attain complete detachment and complete involvement can the decisiveness necessary to good analysis and execution open up to you like a spring flower opening up its most tender blossoms. One can say the same thing about wooing women.

But still I don't get it. If I had to say it, I'd say that my writing is "worthless" in the sense that I don't have a business model to extract revenue from it. After all I blog for free. In addition, of all the writing I could do that would please any audience, my writing about "just money" would if you ask me be near the bottom of what I would think would get an audience.

It's just that people seem to prefer fiction and fantasy to tough facts, just look at Hollywood or Washington D.C. if you need examples of minds thriving in the complete absence of anything resembling facts. And money is all about facts. It's one of the reasons I do like writing about it. A political operator can argue a bad agent is not being a double agent and screwing you behind your back, and a President can say all is well when things are going the exact opposite, and to a certain extent they can be believed. There is something about a plummeting balance or portfolio level that focuses the mind and causes all bullsh*t to be ejected out the window. In the case of some stock brokers, quite literally.

So don't get me wrong, I love writing about money if for no other reason than it's an objective and indisputable topic from a certain point of view. As they say "Money talks, and bullsh*t walks."

I just don't get why at this point in time, following my intuition is guiding me to write about money.

It's not like I have any expectations about breaking into a financial reporting career or anything like that. There are enough fluff-brains and meat-heads in that department selling bad advice to bilk a nation, which is essentially what they're doing.

Indeed given the bad advice floating out there, no wonder why some people are hungry for a bit of good and timely advice and analysis on economies and markets. But I have no illusions about beating out far inferior moronic interns tp restart a career in the financial services and journalism industry. Long live the vapidity of CNBC! Long live perennial bad advice with conflicts of interest! Long live the relentlessly greedy to the point of stupidity of major financial market institutions!

Right now at the bottom of my Windows I've got some twenty various references in Windows already opened up waiting for linking to for tomorrows single piece of analysis. I doubt if your "average" journalist writing on a topic taps much more than three sources in a given work product, and as for the industry analysts ... dear Lord talk about an generationally inbred group.

And I'm doing in on this piece of $#^@! free Blogger html interface, with no Lexis-Nexus, just using public domain news content and Google. If I had access to real information and time to work some real contacts and the ability to ask for real prospectuses I could rip the heart out of stupid no-brain economic policy statements and corporate balance sheets.

But while I should be worrying about my bottom line, I'm writing about other people's bottom lines - not really because of popular demand - but because it seems to be the only place my intuition is leading me. Only it doesn't seem to be leading me to anywhere profitable!

I wonder if there's a Ferengi Rule of Acquisition covering this situation ... oh yes, of course!

Rule 012 » Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
Rule 013 » Anything worth doing is worth doing twice.

and the non-canon rule:
153 Sell the sizzle, not the steak. Quark ST: DS9 Comic #22 Non-Canon

That's my problem, not only I am not selling the sizzle but I'm giving away the freaking steak for free. That's probably why even though I understand money in an intuitive way few people get to "grok", I don't make any money at it. That's me: the mystic of money!

Hah! I do have to say though, even if Jewel may not be giving good advice about latinum she can touch my lobes any time baby. ;-)

40 She can touch your lobes but never your latinum.
ST:DS9 TFRoA (p23) Non-Canon


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