March 2008 Archives

Wed Mar 26 01:48:16 CDT 2008

various methods of predicting successful stocks

Last September, i left the not-so-tender embrace of the University of Texas and went to work at RGM Advisors, LLC, a company that uses scientific methods to guess at which stocks would be good to buy.

Austin being the small tech community that it is, i've been reunited with a number of friends and former coworkers, including Pam, who was kind enough to loan me Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan a few days ago, which up until now, i have been sorely remiss in reading.

It's classic Vonnegut, and it reinvigorates my all-to-often misplaced sense of pleasant oddness in the world around me, simply as it is. (It reminds me that it's a pretty decent world, most of the time, especially here in Austin.) If you haven't read the book, you should, and you may want to skip to the next paragraph so i don't give anything not-too-critical away. In the book, it's revealed that Noel Constant built his business empire by reading Gideon's bible and translating each verse into the abbreviations of the names of a public-traded companies that he would then invest in.

A slightly amusing coincidence with my current source of income, but not just that -- as i read this, i laugh out loud in the semi-fast sushi place near the laundrette where my clothes go round and round, while i consume the milky sweetness of Nigorizake while reading The Sirens of Titan.

I'm not really laughing at the novelty of Noel's method, except in as much as it resembles one i contrived in 1987, while living at 2703-A Salado, a pleasant little sky-blue, duplexified house in West Campus (Austin) that apparently was bulldozed sometime while i was away in Chicago or DC.

In my method, i did not use Gideon's Bible, but rather the front page of the New York Times, to which i was then subscribed Monday through Saturday. In my method, i'd contrive a stock ticker symbol from the front-page headlines, assuming these headlines were wending their way into the collective semi-consciousness and manifesting as more popular stocks. I had saved several months worth of the NYT, and one heavily-caffeinated night, i refined and then validated my hypothesis by comparing older front pages with more recent stock figures. Satisfied that i had correctly come up with a way to predict some aspect of "the future," i moved on to the next project, like stringing found hubcaps up from speaker wire strung across the living room.

As far as i'm aware, i've never read the The Sirens of Titan before, so this just seems like another one of those infamous coincidences. But i can't help but wonder -- especially given my current employer -- if i've simply been resisting the inevitable all these years.

Perhaps it's as the Baltimorean writer H.L. Mencken is quoted as saying, "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Posted by johan | Permanent link | File under: randomweirdness