Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

My Finest Hour

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And what did today bring us? Pablum. Reassurances. Sleight of hand. And that cocaine-snorting Kudlow threatening equity bears with his so-called Ultimate Bazooka. Thus, the market soared again, approaching a SIX THOUSAND POINT GAIN on the Dow in just a couple of weeks.

And what did Tim do about it? Cry? Cower? Tremble in fear? Buy stocks like Kudlow demanded? Hell, no! I boldly wrote a NOW NOW NOW post and shorted like a son of a bitch. Here, before a candid world, do I reveal my 50 shorts, all of which closed the day profitably.

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The Curse of Abundance

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We are in the midst of daily events that would have been unimaginable only weeks ago. There is a particular aspect of the current environment I’d like to write about, and I’d like to approach it by way of a personal anecdote from many years ago.

Early in 1999, I had managed to get my little company, Prophet Financial Systems, on its feet again from a near-death experience from a few years before. The company had always been very thinly funded – – its initial starting capital was all of $3,000! – – and I had slowly and carefully nursed it from something I ran out of a spare room in my house into a real company with a real office and about a dozen employees.

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Just Screw It

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There are few things more boring and pointless than hearing someone tell you about “the one that got away.” By its very nature, trading generates countless missed opportunities, and anyone who has done this for a while has approximately zero interest in hearing about the big fish that got away. It’s got to be as boring as listening to someone tell you about a dream they had last night.

I’m not here to write a post about the countless profits I let slip away last quarter, but I would like to share a tale of “blowing it” that I think informs my decisions in the immediate future.

Back in mid-February, I did something which I had not done in years, which was buy puts on individual stock. I had reason to believe that Nike (NKE) was going to weaken, so I bought some puts. When I buy options, they tend to be quite conservative. Specifically, I bought some puts that were in the money and didn’t expire for months.

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Letter for the Ages

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Over the fifteen years I’ve been writing on Slope, I have received thousands of emails from all over the world. Yesterday, I received an email from a young man which almost made tears stream down my cheeks. The letter crackles with vital questions from a younger generation. The writer gave me his kind permission to share this, and I’d like to respond beneath. This is the email verbatim, with the only change being some boldfacing I’ve added.


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Much Good Has Sprung From Misfortune

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People are understandably in a funk these days. They’re trapped in their houses. People are sick or dying. Every day greets us with more grim news.

One thing which has been surprising to me throughout my life is how some of the greatest blessings have been born from what seemed at first to be negative circumstances. I thought I’d share three unrelated anecdotes to make my point.

The first is from back in 1994, when my little business Prophet was at the cusp of going under. (If you’re interested in the history of Prophet, there’s a cool documentary about it here.) I had started the company with an investor (the fabled Andy Bechtolsheim, now one of the richest men in the world) and a programming partner.

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