Friday, January 29, 2010

On the Virtue of Integrity

Well, the recent rant ended up being the most commented post in the history of this blog. I think that says a lot.

I once shared with readers that one of my first exposures to the questionable integrity of many ventures within the trading industry came when I learned that a "guru" who touted making millions of dollars in the market was only toting up his gains. He had also lost millions. Technically what he claimed was true: he *had* made millions. He simply hadn't made profits. But that didn't deter him from holding himself out to needy traders at a fee that would provide the income he could not make from markets.

There are many excellent vendors of trading goods and services out there. I try to link to those I find useful and informative, because I like seeing value and integrity recognized and rewarded in the marketplace. The exemplary services offer tangible decision support for traders; the less than honorable services exploit hope.

As long as there are traders seeking easy livings in markets, looking for magic bullets, there will be those that offer the snake oil.

But there's an easy way to identify those who offer goods and services with integrity and those who don't: Go to their websites or blogs and measure the ratio of self-promotional posts/articles to the number of substantive, informational posts/articles.

If you have substance, showing it is your best marketing strategy. If you don't have substance, all you can bank on is hand waving.

We all put our best foot forward when we first meet someone we want to know. What vendors of goods and services put on their home pages represents their best feet forward. If there's no substance there, caveat emptor.

Integrity means staying true to one's values, and sometimes that means feeling outrage when those values are trampled. If you really love the trading profession, it's difficult to feel indifferent toward those that drag it through the mud.

Thanks for the supportive comments; they mean a lot to me.

.

10 comments:

MaryMary86 said...

I enjoy reading your comments and find them helpful. Thanks for sharing!

Matthew C. said...

Your integrity means everything to us, and it shines through with every post. Thank you.

Michelle B said...

I was not surprised to see a few politeniks comment at the rant post taking you to task because you were blunt or used naughty language. They always show up in similar threads with nothing to say accept to focus on the style of expression which apparently does not fit with what they regard as the only way to express oneself, and never the core message. They are pathetically boring and usually a bunch of appeasers that never challenge the status quo. Sheeple.

If you cussed all the time it would not have packed such a punch like it did (after all, it was like if Spock blew a gasket). Your established integrity allows you to point the finger at a bunch of crooks and be taken at your word. You don't need to name names (nor do you need the legal hassle--we don't want you to be a martyr).

Studies show that evolution favored a mix where one out of five people are unethical because it offers them an edge to get ahead. However, a higher proportion would result in society grinding to a halt because the selfish gene basically led to the altruistic society. We depend on trust as a group.

So Kudos to one of the four out of five who is not only ethical but knows when to open his mouth.

ES_Addict said...

Once a trader begins to explore various trading blogs, educational sites, etc. s/he can become over whelmed and disenchanted trying to cut through what is useful or not.

Integrity in this business is important, appreciated and rewarded by "the laws of the universe".

Three (3) of the most consistent, integrity based and educationally useful blogs/trader educational sites that I experienced are (in alpha order):

E - aka: Emini Wizard
Miller, Don
Steenbarger, Dr. Brent

Although there are many other worthy tutors out there, these 3 have been a valuable guiding light for this humble trader.

Trade Well !

Mark Wolfinger said...

Integrity means staying true to one's values, and sometimes that means feeling outrage when those values are trampled. If you really love the trading profession, it's difficult to feel indifferent toward those that drag it through the mud."

I value integrity above all else.

I loathe the despicable hypesters, liars, cheats that take money from hapless 'clients.'

But like any business, cheaters abound. All you and I can do is 'stay true to our values.'

Warm regards,

Adam said...

On the Internet we are, to a great extent, anonymous and invisible. People can pretend to be who ever they wish to be. Alternate egos abound, including claims of expertise, riches, accomplishments and beauty.

One’s life on the Internet is not entirely different from donning the ring of Gyges that Plato wrote of in his Republic, a ring that gave its wearer the power of invisibility.

The problem Plato posed in telling of the ring is this: Would one be moral if one needn’t face the consequences of immorality?

Frequenters of Brett’s site all know the answer to this: Market forums, chat rooms and sites are full of posers, ne’er-do-wells, fraudsters and sycophants. Many of us arrived at TraderFeed grateful after a tour of that netherworld.

Apparently there’s even a clinical name for the syndrome encountered when people don the ring of invisibility and log on: the online disinhibition effect.

MichelleB, above, in a cogent and appropriate comment I wish I’d written, cites studies of evolution saying one out of five people are unethical. I’ve run across such studies.

My physical-world experience mirrors this observation; my virtual-world experience says there are more ~ though this is merely anecdotal. Perhaps the disinhibition of wearing the ring of Gyges on-line shifts the odds?

Thank you, Brett, for calling dogs what they are, for being an exemplar of applying credible knowledge to market problems and of unwavering ethical conduct in a shifty landscape.

Adam Sterling.

walt said...

'..."guru" who touted making millions of dollars in the market was only toting up his gains.'

You remind me of an incident in the early years on Wall Street Week. Rukeyser had as guest an individual who claimed he had done very well. During the taping (which aired live) Rukeyser asked him what his biggest losses had been and learned to his obvious astonishment that the guy wasn't counting those (railroads as I recall) because he was hanging on to them.

cb said...

I'm so glad to see all the support for you Brett. You deserved to vent!

I, for one, can so relate to your comments on integrity. In creating our focus on risk management and exit strategies, more for the mainstream market than the very active trader, we at SmartStops.net have the challenge of creating a trust with our web-based only audience and show them via our substance that we know what we are doing and we do it with integrity. We have so much more education to do too! Just need more help.

Michael said...

Thanks Dr. Brett. I love your blog and your research. I will be linking the readers of my website to this great post on the value of integrity.

Michael
www.safe-options-trading-income.com

e911mini said...

As a daily student of Eminiwizard (dot com), and a consumer of materials from Don Miller, and Dr. Steenbarger, I second ES ADDICT's nomination of "Three (3) of the most consistent, integrity based and educationally useful blogs/trader educational sites."
E - aka: Emini Wizard
Miller, Don
Steenbarger, Dr. Brent