The Stock Market and Digital Dreams

by rthieme on November 1, 1997

They say that fear is stronger than greed, which is why markets fall twice as fast as they rise. The best money managers know that we don’t manage money at all, we manage fear, greed, pride, and hope.

Hope is hard. Hope is like sitting in front of a waterfall, wringing your hands and waiting for the water to start flowing up. Hope is the name of the body English we use to turn a bowling ball or golf ball after its out there.

But pride is tough too, admitting when we’re wrong and cutting our losses or learning to be satisfied with moderate gains. It was Bernard Barauch who said he got rich by selling too soon.

Which has got what to do with the digital world?

Projection, that’s what — the automatic and unconscious placing on things “out there” what is really “in here.” Turning an incomprehensible flow into a set of objects that we try to control instead of learning to control our reactions. Mistaking the iron filings that cover a magnet for the magnet.

If we think of money and the markets as things to possess — if we think of the Net and its millions of crossing streams as something to master — we’re sunk.

Living in the digital world is like playing the markets. Both are fluid realities, too complex for even a team of Crays to comprehend.

A friend who goes river rafting tells me that if you aim for the rocks, you hit the rocks, but if you aim where the water goes, you go where the water goes.

We have to ride the horse in the direction it’s going.

The markets — like the internet — like the world — are ruled by simply letting things take their course.

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