Lowdown on Lo

Michelle B submits: Teresa Lo recently has written a less than flattering article (which is closed to comments) about trading bloggers. When I have visited her site previously, my impression was unfavorable. Perhaps, it is my own denseness, but when at her site I desperately needed to have a smug and dripping sarcasm decoder nearby, because I was looking at my native language in its written form, unable to grasp the meaning, sense, and flavor of her writing style.

When I read Procol’s comment (Fade her at your own peril) to the Daily Options Report’s entry regarding Lo’s article, my first thought was fading or not fading Lo or any other guru or expert does not enter my mind when I trade, as I trade only per my methodologies. There is no peril in my trading life, as I follow my risk parameters consistently. But if her site ever becomes comprehensible to me, then I will evaluate whether or not her approach and her knowledge has any merit for me.

Elitism coupled with a nanny state mentality is not my cup of tea. I encounter this mentality when I edit the Wikipedia. Several months ago, there was such an ‘expert’ who railed at the very democratic and quite messy way of doing things at Wikipedia, saying it was disgusting that teenagers were allowed to edit an encyclopedia. I love reading teenagers’ comments on the discussion pages. Their Wikipedia profiles show writers and researchers full of positive, constructive energy, eager to contribute, and who just happen to be teenagers. And they are constantly teaching me. Embracing the Wikipedian exhort to be bold, I continue.

I remember a commentator for one of Roger Nusbaum’s entries stated that another blog was so egregious Roger should not recommend yet another website that has put that blog at the top of its blog rating list. Roger replied (and I am paraphasing here), in his inimitably calm manner, that it is the decision of the reader to decide what they want to read and what they do not want to read, and if there is no interest in a blog, there will be no readers. No need to haul in the censor troops. What a concept! Alfred Marshall referred to this concept as supply and demand.

The criticism directed at trading blogs is they do not say anything these critics do not already know, that you can get valuable information only if you are willing to pay, and if these bloggers were good at what they do, they wouldn’t be blogging. Apparently these critics have not considered perhaps the reason why a trading blogger writes is because he has something to write that has merit to someone, and he has a generous spirit, but nothing to sell — he is already making a good living. It also does not occur to these critics that they need to focus on finding sources that teach them something they do not know. The Web allows us to be able to find sources of information that can present material either via its content or style in a way which is new to us. The last time I looked in the mirror, I saw myself, not these critics.

As for trading blogs having the potential to hurt their readers, life is dangerous. Why not prohibit driving? People die in car accidents. Why not prohibit drinking hot beverages? Drinkers of hot beverages get scalded. Why not prohibit sex? One could get a disease or an unwanted pregnancy (now that would really be throwing the baby out with the bathwater!).

I have a cunning plan. Why don’t we encourage people to educate and protect themselves, so they can make choices, and then evaluate those choices, and perhaps even learn from their mistakes, so they can improve their lives?


  1. Posted by LP on October 11, 2006 at 1:39 pm

    Well I admit that I am too stupid to understand her writing style. Much of her crap flows terribly. In addition, to her trashing bloggers, do I understand that she a buy and hold proponent?

    Look; any blogger, style of trading, method of madness can be good or downright miserable. I for one am grateful to good people like Mike, Trader X, the Chairman and Dummy Spots (to name a few), as I have learned a lot about what I need to be successful. My style is still in the experimental stage, my tools have been recommended by them, but ultimately, the execution and refinement of potential ideas and strategies is up to me. This a rule for not just for trading, but life in general. At the end, how different is a blogger from an print author. Most of the books I have read are pure crap. But there are some great books as well, just like there are good and bad bloggers.

    Hell with all this, the beauty of blogging is that you can freely write what’s on your mind, and that’s usually in simple English. I feel I need to get a PHD at Columbia just to understand what the hell she’s trying to say.

  2. Posted by Andy on October 11, 2006 at 1:45 pm

    Her writing style isn’t a style at all, and it’s not smart, it’s just verbose. It’s just elitist BS from someone who missed out on all the parties in life. This is her method of bringing attention on herself, and sadly, it worked.

  3. Posted by Tyro on October 11, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    I’ve benefitted enormously from the work of people on blogs and web forums, far more than anything I’ve ever read on any commercial website or book. (I was even an ActionAlerts PLUS subscriber to Cramer’s newsletter, but don’t hate me for the follies of youth.)

    Now that I’m semi-independent, I would like to give something back to the community that gave so much to me. I also write blog entries so that I can organize my own thoughts, develop ideas, and participate in a community which would otherwise be inaccessible as a home-based trader.

    I’m glad she has found information sources that work for her. If I were using blogs for potential trading information, I would probably pay for more reliable information, too. But to compare blogs to the WSJ or a research library is to miss the point of blogs.

    (BTW: I like this tag-team approach to blogging you two have got going. Opinions on trading is what I grok to, rather than analysis of stocks. I think this helps to keep the site well-rounded.)

  4. Posted by andrew on October 11, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    Mike, Who care what people say.. I still think your blog is badass!!! I’m pretty sure you make more money trading then she does writing. Keep up the good work.

  5. Posted by Bill a.k.a. NO DooDahs on October 11, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    Did you ever see the skit on “In Living Color” with the character that would consistently misuse and mispronounce long words and phrases in order to sound educated? That reminds me of T-Lo.

    Check out http://powerswings.com/2006/10/08/technical-trading-rules/
    She didn’t even read the f*&^%$g papers she posted. She couldn’t have. Every one of the three papers authored or co-authored by Becker support technical rules creating above-market returns, but her conclusion is “It cannot be said that traditional technical trading makes playing the market safer than buy and hold, not by a longshot.” Well, it IS said. By Becker. In the papers she posts.

    On top of that, she has the temerity to put those papers on her site rather than link to the author’s sites or the SSRN site where she got them. She had to get them electronically SOMEWHERE.

    Oh, BTW “Theresa” oops Teresa, could have checked the spelling of Niederhoffer by the WSJ article she quoted. No need to spell it “Niederfoffer” the other day, and then correct it now after someone pointed it out on another blog. 🙂

    Also, a “professional and very intelligent” blog should grammar check. It’s one thing to have an occasional mistake on a post or two; or to have a blatent disregard for spelling and grammar like Howard; but I would expect someone presenting themselves as a former med-school candidate, former major in organic chemistry, and degreed professional private asset manager to view their website as an advertisement – and present their use of the English language accordingly. I can spot several grammatical and spelling articles errors per post, not to mention errors of congition or argument.

    When readers say they can’t understand her writing, I don’t think it’s a comprehension issue on their part, I think it’s an issue with her ability in the language. There are seven steps in the communications process, and many of them are in control of the sender.

    Finally, I have a low tolerance for anyone that wants to fire off sarcasm and criticism against unnamed opponents. Direct it at folks by name, I say!

  6. Posted by Margaret on October 11, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    One particular blogger (Bill Cara) always goes out of his way to make sure that his readers knows about it when he’s made a right call. And when his call did not pan out, you would hear nothing- absolute radio silence. This gives readers the false sense that he’s right a lot, and never wrong.

    On his postings, you’ll see him from time to time start a sentence/paragraph with something like “Remember last month/week/day when I wrote….” That’s of course when something he wrote panned out. If it didn’t pan out, good luck finding Bill acknowledge one of his busted calls.

    And many of Bill Cara’s readers will notice too that he likes to name drop on his blog. You know what they say, if you have to name drop, that’s because you’re a nobody.

    Bill’s got some good writings, just don’t fall into his own hype.

  7. Posted by Jeff on October 11, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    Amen Michelle!

    Like you I take the approach that there is plenty which we can share with other traders that can help them help themselves.

    I blog for that reason and get lots of positive feedback that the conceptual trading articles I write are timeless and beneficial to the traders who read it. Those who want to pay for my own analysis know where to find it, but it’s intentionally kept separate from the blog on an entirely different domain. There’s plenty of helpful and useful FREE info out there for traders in need of some help learning the ropes.

    Keep up the great work and congrats to Mike for having you on his team!

  8. Posted by howard lindzon on October 11, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    jeff took the words out of my mouth. amen

  9. Posted by estocastica on October 11, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    Michelle — you are awesome. I think I’m developing a crush 😡 😉

  10. Posted by Michelle on October 11, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    Esto, I missed you, how are you feeling?

  11. Posted by Pradeep Bonde on October 11, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    Isn’t it ironic, someone who made money trading penny stocks and by day trading and possibly made more money peddling her chat service for gullible new traders than from trading, is now preaching long term investing.

  12. Posted by Bill a.k.a. NO DooDahs on October 11, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    Glad you’re on the thread, Pradeep! Now I’m not the meanest one here …


  13. Posted by Pradeep Bonde on October 11, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    Just stating facts. I read her interview in the book Guts and Glory of Day Trading, now she made money on wild option trade, which would have blown her account the same way she is criticising others for doing.
    She was just plain lucky. She was following all kinds of tips from others and newsletters. She had no risk management methodology. She bet the farm on few concentrated trades. She was trading based on charts. Now she talks about quantitative techniques and risk management and asset allocation. It was all about luck and right kind of market circumstances.
    Some time plain facts sound mean.

  14. Posted by Bill a.k.a. NO DooDahs on October 11, 2006 at 7:16 pm


    In my experience, the meanest mean and the funniest funny is simply the truth, with the volume turned up. “It goes to 11.” – Spinal Tap


  15. Posted by Zoomie on October 11, 2006 at 8:29 pm

    There are those who pan for gold and those that sell picks and shovels. I get much higher satisfaction panning.

  16. Posted by estocastica on October 11, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    Michelle: I’m feeling much better now — thanks for asking. 🙂

    Zoomie: Great comment!

  17. Posted by JB on October 11, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    There is a major difference between a wise man and a ordinary intelligent man. A wise man knows he can learn from others while a very intelligent man thinks he already knows everything, hence he’ll never become a wise man.


  18. Posted by garfield on October 12, 2006 at 2:35 am

    Michelle B. vs Teresa Lo — catfight !! scratching, hairpulling, wreowlllll, pfttt, pfttt

  19. Posted by Michelle on October 12, 2006 at 5:10 am

    These comments are great, keep ’em coming.

  20. Posted by Peter on October 12, 2006 at 7:17 am

    i mean, making big money on some well designed now-or-never-trades…whats wrong with that ? if you start out with a tiny capital, you have to hit it big to get anywhere…later, when you capital base is bold, you can still have enought time to turn to “capital allocation” or “money managment” issues…remeber market wizard michael marcus in vol. 1 ?…he said something like “you just make your best educated guess…and get stoped out…again…get stoped out…again, made your best educated gues..and then you DOUBLE YOUR MONEY..” what ? double your money on a single trade ? jesus…8-|

  21. Posted by garfield on October 12, 2006 at 8:48 am

    Michelle, am glad that your comment came right after mine; and hope that you realize mine was facetiously tongue-in-cheek. Isn’t Garfield an apropo name for a Wall St fat cat ?

  22. Posted by garfield on October 12, 2006 at 8:57 am

    Michelle wrote rhetorically “Why not prohibit sex?” They have. It’s called married with children.

  23. Posted by Michelle on October 12, 2006 at 9:14 am

    Peter, if you are the same Peter that mentioned Jimmer, The Anticipation Manifesto, thanks, It is a great read.

  24. Posted by Michelle on October 12, 2006 at 9:16 am

    Garfield, so true about how they have managed that prohibition so sneakily that they tricked me.

  25. Posted by anatrader on October 13, 2006 at 7:14 am

    “Why don’t we encourage people to educate and protect themselves, so they can make choices, and then evaluate those choices, and perhaps even learn from their mistakes, so they can improve their lives?”
    Well said, though I do believe there is already plenty of encouragement out there but with education comes the realisation that the responsibility for the consequences of the choices we make lies squarely with ourselves. And that is simply too much for some people to bear. It’s just easier to blame someone else, the government, the institutions, the markets, even bad luck.

  26. Posted by Michelle on October 13, 2006 at 8:14 am

    Anatrader, There is plenty encouragement for us to defer to EXPERTS for guidance in the important events in our lives. It is just lip-service (or just a business opportunity for someone) when we are encouraged to do self-help, because our children are taught at an early age not to think critically and to defer to the status quo.

    When you have critical thinking abilities, you can make a call regarding risk and reward, and understand it is your call and you take the responsibility. The powers-to-be don’t want that approach to become the norm because they would be made obsolete.

  27. Posted by anatrader on October 13, 2006 at 8:54 am

    “The powers-to-be don’t want that approach to become the norm because they would be made obsolete.”
    Yes, that is true.