Wednesday, October 10, 2007


A special late night post.

I'm posting mainly because I can't stop thinking about what I'm going to write. I can't sleep because of it, so I'm hoping writing about it will free my mind.

So Tuesdays I go out to dinner with a bunch of my friends from college. I like it because I can talk about some ideas, share stuff I've learned and get different perspectives from people my age rather than the usual that I'm use to. A couple of the guys are business savvy and I really enjoy conversing with them because they bring a lot of new information to the table. Tonight was the first time a discussion of stocks came up with this one guy there who is a finance major.

He broke down his portfolio, the stats so far for the year as well as the reasoning behind each stock choice. It was impressive. He accurately made plays based off of expectations of interest rates going down, the weakness of the dollar and different product releases across various sectors. He knew all the right words and put them in the correct order.

Then he asked me about my investments.

I went through my investments in a previous blog as well as the source of my picks being mainly the formula from "The Little Book that beats the Market". Trying to explain this and the reasoning behind it to someone who actually does financial analysis on their own, a lot tougher task.

At this point I don't even remember a lot of what I said. But I basically stumbled through an explanation and must have sounded like a dumb ass to this guy who actually knows how to do research. I felt like a total fraud.

There are very few moments in my life so far where I've felt like I did tonight. The most recent was when I applied for my current job. My now boss asked me about relational databases and how you would design a database to incorporate a person who can have multiple addresses. I told him about this idea I had when I put together a database for my previous company, which of course turned out to be a terrible way to do it and completely wrong. Some how I got the job anyway, but I felt like I knew nothing.

So anyway, from his facial expression I could tell that his mind must have gone into "this guy knows nothing" mode. He was really nice about it considering, and gave me some pointers about maybe using a more involved brokerage that has tools that will help me learn more. It was basically a nice way of saying, nice try buddy, maybe if you have someone hold your hand for a while you'll learn something and then I can discuss this intelligently with you.

Now I feel like crap at this point. It's one of those situations where your self esteem plummets and you lose all confidence in everything you say and do at all related to the subject. Your credibility is gone and essentially you forfeit any standing you once had to the new champion. All that pride you built up to the point where you think that you have a grasp over different subjects has now been shaken and now I'm left with a feeling of being lost.

I'll pick myself up, dust myself off and start hammering away at learning more in the near future I'm sure. Right now though I feel like a total jackass. It just makes me think, how long do you have to study to get to the point where you actually know something? When do you get to the point where what you know is actually valuable and considered a skill? What is a credible source to learn from?

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