From the desk of Tom Bruni @BruniCharting
Today there is no shortage of information: Social Media, Blogs, Newspapers, Television, Water-Cooler Gossip, etc., but we still have the same amount of time in a day. We all have to make a decision what we’re going to pay attention to and what we’re not.
It’s been about a month since I moved into my new apartment, which means I’m just now getting around to unpacking those last few boxes. Boxes filled with items wrapped in old, unused business newspapers.
Besides reminding me what a waste of paper that was, it also brought up a question I’ve yet to answer on the blog: “Bruni, what do you read to keep up on markets and the world?”
So let’s talk about that.
At my core I’m pretty apathetic toward most things we call “news” today. I don’t follow politics, celebrities, movies, television shows, sports, or anything really. My big thing is YouTube. I like memes and a few television shows like Gold Rush and Chopped. I’m a simple person.
That’s my personal life…but in my professional life that apathy manifests itself in my choice to follow price and ignore just about everything else. I give zero attention* to economic data, fed announcements, earnings releases (except to avoid them), analyst reports and any other company-specific news. It’s a natural fit for me. I don’t read about it because I have no inherent interest in it and it also serves no purpose as a Technical Analyst.
But wouldn’t that put me at a huge disadvantage to all the other folks that pour over this information day and night, looking for an edge?
I didn’t know as I’d never tried, but it’s always been my belief that the absence of outside noise allows for more clarity and objectivity in the analysis of price behavior.
So I started a little experiment. I wanted to see if being mostly disconnected from the outside world was helping or hurting my process, so I subscribed to two well-known publications and received a paper copy to my home on their normal delivery schedule.
For the first week or two I was extremely diligent about reading through them. I armed myself with a red pen, a highlighter, and an open mind and dug into the pages upon pages of information in front of me. I’m not the fastest reader, but I’m not slow either, and I probably spent one to two hours per day reading through just two publications.
While there was some interesting stuff in there, I noticed that most of what I found valuable I had already seen the day before. Essentially this was a delayed Twitter feed (without its brevity) delivered to my driveway.
Week three I found myself rushing through the exercise, trying to check this box off my “to-do” list and move onto what I cared more about. And by weeks four and five I was down to reading a fraction of it, if any at all.
By the end of the two months these papers became what they are today, protection for fragile items during my move, something to soak up used grease for disposal, and eventually fodder for the recycling bin.
That’s not to say that they’re of no value. They weren’t a good return on my time and did little for me professionally, and even less for me personally.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not relevant to you. I think the key here, as with most things in life, is to identify your individual needs and goals and then determine which information sources are going to add the right value to help you achieve them.
There are a lot of smart folks that still work for the behemoths of the media world. I’m lucky enough to know some of them personally and hope to meet more of them in the future. It may be harder to find them among all of the click-bait, gossip, and other nonsense designed to grab our attention, but they are out there. Put in the work to find them.
So what do I follow if not traditional “old media”? I rely on a curated network of people who share their thoughts every day on Social Media and through their blogs, which I track through Feedly. I spend about an hour a day consuming other people’s content.
Not only are they providing valuable information about their area of expertise, but they are also pointing me toward things produced by other content creators or “old media” that I should be consuming. That’s what I meant when I said the paper was a “delayed Twitter feed”. If it’s relevant to my work, it will make its way to my desk somehow.
Other than that, I get all of my information through my charts. I look at 5,000+ charts every week and they provide nearly everything that’s relevant to my process. I love being a Technician because I don’t have to pretend I care about any of this stuff, but you have to find your own balance.
Today’s problem is not a lack of information. It’s an issue of curating all that content to find the 1% that matters to you while not getting distracted by the other 99% that doesn’t.
Thanks for reading. Let us know what content you use in your process.
*Zero attention is hyperbole, but not by much. Part of the “qualitative” measures of sentiment I look at is what people are saying, what the headlines are, etc. but it’s only important at extremes and a much smaller weighting than any quantitative sentiment data I look at.