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The Cost of Having Community

Dynamic Hedge has missed the whole point about StockTwits in the author’s recent blog post Cost of Free in the Financial Web.

The “population of novice observers and would-be pundits” along with the pros et al. create a valuable community where everyone is an equal. That to me is what seems to be the biggest asset of StockTwits – more than the Tweets themselves. It’s the idea of sharing and being part of something bigger than the individual.

There’s no room for ego or “I’m a pro and StockTwits is beneath me because they let amateurs contribute.” Ed Seykota said “pride is a great banana peel.” We want newcomers to air out their thoughts among professional traders. That’s how they’ll grow and become great, not become a Massengill like Brian Hunter from Amaranth or Bernie Madoff.

Some of the most insightful things I’ve learned have come from students who didn’t know their backsides from a hole in the ground, but had the guts to ask questions that were way outside the box. And those questions got me thinking. As a teacher I’m better for those questions b/c frankly, I wouldn’t have come up with them on my own. I’ve been around too long to sometimes see the simplicity in things…to my own detriment. This goes for my trading also.

Traders and traders-in-the-making are very idiosyncratic and highly independent people. It’s more valuable than not to have some type of tribe to belong to. Trading is 80% or more self-awareness and 20% “how to,” so there isn’t any “best ideas” anyway. Saying otherwise is disingenuous.

Like Dynamic Hedge, I could not care less who nailed a big trade or who made 8 great calls in a row. That’s not the point. What is the point is if one of my buddies I’ve connected with via StockTwits has gotten ripped off by an HFT and he’s frustrated, he can reach out to me for support. StockTwits provides the platform for us to connect maybe long before we actually need to.

Unlike Dynamic Hedge, I will always share my best material for free. It’s very hard to develop trust with a readership otherwise. Plus, most new traders cannot afford to pay me what I’m worth, so I figure karma-wise it will come back to me in spades from other sources – not necessarily from the students who benefit from my writing.

I can call most of the Market Wizards from the first book on a cell phone at a moments notice for advice if I need to. I reciprocate that by paying it forward on my blog with some of my best material as frequently as I possibly can. I am by far the luckiest blogger/trader out there and I know it.

I’m willing to sift through some of the grizzle in the blogosphere to find the 3 guys who can help me. That’s the cost of having StockTwits.

F*ck intellectual greed.

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