Playing the Victorian Golf Open at 16 was terrifying. My handicap was 2 and my Dad was on the bag. It was our first big event and my hands were shaking. Officials stood behind the tee.
The first at Commonwealth Golf Club is a short (easy) Par 4 if you hit it straight. Stress the word if. For any golfers - picture a 5-iron / pitching wedge. I "pull hooked" my tee shot into the trees. Ball lost. Triple bogey start and my pro-golf career was looking shaky before it began.
At 18, I decided to go to University. My handicap has blown out to 5 and I become a "weekend warrior" (hacker). Army golf I call it... left... right... left. That's where I am today. I pursued a double-degree in surveying engineering and computer science. I didn't know it at the time (1991) - but we were on the cusp of a major IT revolution.
Four years later I earned my double-degree. I worked in the field as an engineer for 2 years - however decided to go back to school (Canada) to focus on commercial applications of spatial databases design, GIS and in particularly GPS.
Back to Australia and we were building something ground breaking. The technology was yet to explode but we were onto something big. We didn't know just how big...
A decade later the market exploded for 'GPS' services and spatial applications. This saw me move to Google - heading up their 'geo' area for APAC.
Fast forward a decade. In between (much needed) time off - a 3-year stint helping companies with the move to Cloud Computing - I'm back at Google somewhat replicating what I did 20 years with GPS. Today I am involved with Computer Vision and Augmented Reality -- another game changer - but we are getting off track.
How does all this apply to a financial blog?
For that we need to re-wind - back to the late 90s - before the dot.com crash and my hunger for my knowledge about "how to invest" and all things "financial"
I enrolled in post-grad course at the Australian Securities Institute (FINSIA). This was another (new) language for me. Already familiar with languages like C, C++, Java, Visual Basic and Oracle Databases - things regarding "cash flow", "balance sheets" and "monetary policy" meant very little.
But given my passion for everything related to business, free markets and finance -- the language made sense
My investing career had began. I removed my dependence on "financial advisors". The education was FINSIA very useful -- but the real lessons (and costs) were to still come.
The crash of 2000 was humbling. It hurt financially - but the lessons were worth much more. FINSIA (or any course) can't teach you that. As I like to say - a big loss is better earlier in your trading career rather than late. You learn. Fast.
After losing a small amount of money (eg less than $100K) speculating on hot-stocks like "Melbourne IT" and "Sausage Software" - I realised there was much more to learn.
My trading between the years 2001 and 2008 was more measured. I chose to lengthen my timeframes and deepen my knowledge of things like technical analysis
I was becoming far more data focused. And with the ability to write code - I was backtesting thousands (millions) of data points. And things were starting to gel.
2008 came and I had a very different mindset to the crash of 2000. My first 10+ years had given me knowledge about credit markets, money creation, liquidity, bonds, interest rates, technical analysis... we knew what to watch.
Just on this, I remember a conversation with a senior member of Telstra's finance team in 2007 when we were locking in 2008 numbers. I said credit spreads were starting to widen sharply - there's trouble. Let's err on the side of caution. I was called "chicken little".
I traded my way through 2008 from the short-side. My model was simple - I traded the tape lower. Probabilities suggested things were likely to head down - we just didn't know how much nor how fast. Nothing has changed in that regard.
I continue to refine my trading (and investing) knowledge and skills. It took me the best part of 20 years to really understand how markets function. And I am still learning.
Today I trade consistently well. I may have the occasional lower month - but the "draw downs" are light. And the profits steady.
My goal is to share with you these lessons and techniques. And hopefully - you will walk away not needing this blog. You will be independently successful. Thanks for reading. And a big thank you for any person who shares this blog with someone they think might benefit.