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.

Liberation Day

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Today is the last day of the quarter. For me, who manages a small hedge fund, that is terribly exciting, because I don’t have to wring my hands with worry about guarding my Q1 results. I’ve got an amazing quarter under my belt, and, frankly, I don’t have to worry about messing it up. I feel far, far more enthusiastic about getting aggressive by day’s end than I did even yesterday.

And what a quarter it has been. Surely in the long history of United States financial markets, if this isn’t the most amazing quarter in that entire span, surely it ranks in the top four. What I’ve had the privilege of enjoying just this month includes:

  • Some of the best trading of my life;
  • Far and away the biggest surge of subscribers ever, in the midst of celebrating Slope’s 15th birthday;
  • Some amazing product/feature breakthroughs on the site.

And we’re only one-forth of the way into the year!

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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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The Rabbit’s Habit

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Human nature is an endlessly curious thing. I noticed a new example of this just yesterday.

Since we are sheltering-in-place, we permit ourselves very few trips out into the big bad world. I took it upon myself to do a grocery run yesterday. Since this is a rare privilege, I decided to drive not to the close-by Whole Foods in Palo Alto, but the substantially larger one in Los Altos.

It was, as usual, full of people…………but not food. I noted with gallows humor amusement that in the otherwise near-empty produce section, there was an abundance of three-foot long aloe vera leaves. Hardly the stuff of a sumptuous weekend meal.

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Phasing Back

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We all keep hearing about we just have to tough it out through Easter, and everything’s going to be totally back to normal. Spoiler Alert: it’s not. Indeed, the end of this endlessly-cited “15 Days” is on Tuesday! So there seems to be this cultural meme being bandied about that we’re just a few days away from ending this thing. We ain’t.

Of course, at some point, things will start to drift back to normal. In sharp contrast to the opinion of our ostensible leadership, however, I don’t think an enormous “pent-up demand” is suddenly going to explode into the former capitalist society of ours. I think it’ll vary tremendously. Off the top of my head:

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A Short History Of Market Crashes

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My last few posts have been a coronavirus COVID-19 series, so I’m putting in the links here so as to refer back to them easily for now. These are the seven posts so far.

18th February – Peering Through The Fog Around Coronavirus COVID-19

24th February – Some Genuine Coronavirus Numbers Coming Through

28th February – Falling Down The Steps

9th March – A Tale Of Two Cities

12th March – Sudden Death

16th March – Pinball Markets

20th March – A Short History of Superflu Pandemics

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