Kirk just published a letter to readers that is well worth reading. It covers some topics that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, like improving my returns and how to best balance the time & effort I spend on my site vs. trading and other things I want/need to get done.
He also reveals some insights gained from his member survey, which should provide valuable information to anybody who runs a blog. The key takeaway for me — this jibes with what I’ve learned from my own experience & surveys — is to keep things concise and relevant to the site’s main topic. After seeing the results of the first survey I did I was surprised at the popularity of my links section. That survey made it clear that people were using me as a means to help them manage the tons of stock market info being published on a daily basis. So if my role is to help people maximize their time then I certainly don’t want to create even more information overload. In fact, I’ve been drastically cutting back on my own information intake which is why the number of links I post each day is way down from a year ago. I hope to keep it around this level and maybe even a little less as I continue to weed out the news feeds I track.
Another interesting thing from Kirk’s survey is that book reviews are one of his readers’ least favorite things. I’ve been struggling with reviews for at least the last year. I have a stack of 6 unread books that were sent to me to review. Two of which I tried my best not to accept because I knew it would be a while before I got a chance to read them, much less review them. (There are two others that I read long ago, liked very much, and still need to write reviews on — Enhancing Trader Performance and Financial Armageddon) After reading Kirk’s survey results I’m feeling better about my new stance of being extremely selective on books. And maybe I’ll even get those two reviews done before 2009.
Kirk also wrote that “Trading and investing in a fishbowl where others can review, constantly question, and critique every move I make has proven not helpful.” That’s not at all surprising to me and it’s part of why I try not to talk about my positions too much. Kirk mentions some of the other reasons as well — like the appearance of (or being accused of) manipulation, etc. This is stuff to seriously consider if you’re running a blog.
Like Kirk, I’m going to be making some changes to the site as well as the site’s content. You’ll start to see the changes in the next few days and hopefully they’ll be better for all involved.