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Sunday, 27 September 2015

You don't worry about being late?

I was at an investment seminar this afternoon.

The session was supposed to start at 1:00 pm "sharp".

However, at 1:15 pm, quite a lot of people were still streaming in...

Since I was sitting near the entrance, I started to "people watch" and "time" the late-comers.

The last person to walk in was an elderly male gentleman in has 70s? He came in at 2:10 pm  - a princely 1 hour late!? On a Sunday afternoon?

I'll poke the organiser next time I meet him - don't print on the programme sheet the session will start 1:00 pm sharp when you don't mean it.  

No, the organising side did not start on time too... (But that's a post for another time)

You are definitely not a trader if you are habitually late

If you consider trading a craft - and not a play play hobby to pass time - you would know that discipline is one of the key attributes for consistent performance. 

The amount of work and preparations before a trader turns up at work (or turns on his PC if trading from home) is almost a daily lifestyle.

Repetition becomes habit; habit becomes lifestyle.

If I'm to visit a place I've never been before, I'll google the street directory and find out how to get there the night before.

And if the meeting is very important - like a job interview - I'll even visit the place 2-3  days before the actual meeting to time the journey and familiarise myself with the surroundings.

I don't want to get flustered by being unprepared on the actual day. (Guess why we have rehearsals for National Day parades?)

Isn't this what we do as traders all the time?

The last thing we want is to miss a trade because we were late (unprepared)...

You a long term investor so no need to respect timing?

OK, you are right in a sense that you can be slightly early or late and it won't make a big difference in the grand scheme of things.

Warren Buffet wrote in his op-ed in the NY times during Oct  2008, encouraging fellow Americans to invest in stocks despite the wide spread fear of equities at that time.

If you had listened to Warren Buffet and bought, you would see the S&P fall a further -20% until it bottomed in March 2009.

Fast forward 6-7 later, does it matter? 

If you bought Singapore stocks similarly during Oct 2008, is that considered late or early?

How about buying Singapore stocks around April 2015? Is that considered late or early?

Now make a wild guess who did more preparations - those investors who bought in Oct 2008 or April 2015?


  1. I was there :-), but I didn't see you

    1. Yaruzi,

      I came early and was sitting at the "economy class bulkhead" first row at the opposite end of the entrance.

      Well, a lady reader saw me going pass the entrance during the "technical break" after the first speaker.

      And she told me she brought a girlfriend...

      I now bang my head for I could be sitting with them - if only i spotted them earlier :(

    2. Haha, you'll need the more PA to overcome the inaction. Be greedy when others are fearful.

    3. Ya lor!

      If only I spotted them...

      But then, even if I did, I'm a very SHY guy...

      Head down, upper body swing from left to right, twiddling both thumbs together...

  2. Try early birds. Goodie bag or door gift.

  3. Think like how to make people stay till the end of ASF. Grand Lucky Draw. So have Grand Lucky Draw for early birds. LOL!

    1. CW,

      Oh, you like to wear the white hat!

      For me, I would do what the Operas and Classical Music do - ban the latecomers until the first intermission break.

      I think I've shared my experience in Shanghai where I asked those who were late to my first Supply Chain workshop get out ;)

      There and then, with one stroke, I've demonstrated the "consequences" of being late and the whole essence of Supply Chain!

      Created a bit of hoo-hah.

      Those managers that "complained" about my treatment of their staff were given "counselling" by HR.


      Well, I come from a "fine" city. What you expect?

    2. simi ban?

      limpeh is your potential clients or customers.

      huge difference between customers and workers?

      can offend your potential customers?

    3. CW,

      That's why I respect those hawkers that tell their customers to fxxx-off if they can't wait.

      And I've dealt with suppliers who can proudly say no to new business as part of their risk management. (Now why I didn't apply this with Jurong Tech? LOL!)

      If a hedge fund is too eager to "lower the bar" to accept new customers, I'll be very wary. Contrast this with those closed-end ones with a long waiting list... Got money also turn you away, now that's the fund I want to be in!

  4. Hi SMOL,

    It's true..you only have a few chances to create a good lasting impression. In my line, I heard from my students that there are tutors who just cancelled last min or perpetually postponing lessons. I'm always early and I expect them to be so too. If they didn't, or they know they can't make it for our appointed sessions but didn't tell me until the last min, then it reflects badly on them. The worst is when they hide behind their parents and the parents condone to this kind of behaviour. Based on past experience, we'll soon part ways due to irreconcilable difference in principles LOL

    How they do mundane things daily is how they everything. Which is why in army, you learn to settle the daily things well, like pulling your bedsheets, clearing the drain etc. If you can't do this well, how can others expect you to do bigger things?

    Excel through basics - that's the BMT motto. I still remember it.

    1. LP,

      Many forget we are creatures of habits and rituals.

      What's the point of setting goals and making plans when you know you have a procrastination problem?

      Solve this procrastination problem FIRST, the rest will fall in place.

      Similarly, if I am habitually late to an event, it could be a symptom my soul is shouting I have a lack of interest on that subject.

      It's like if mom were to send me to math tuition, of course I'll turn up late or better still, feign whatever excuses not to attend!

  5. Whatever type of market, B or B, i found that I am always too early leh.
    No regret.
    The stock market is a paradox where you are rewarded best for being late.
    That is late for buying in a B and selling in a B.
    Now do you want be early for everything in life?

    1. temperament,

      Ah! Warren Bufffet made money by buying too early; Bernard Baruch made my money by selling too soon.

      I believe we are on the same page when it comes to trading and investing ;)

      I like your challenge a lot!

      In general, we tend to celebrate "early" over "late":

      Our baby standing up or speaking earlier than other babies.

      Graduating with a degree earlier than our peers.

      Getting a promotion ahead of others.

      But when it comes to illness and death, do we still want to be "early"?

      On the other hand, if immortality is what we are after, going early is not so bad - just look at Bruce Lee, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe. But we need to be superstars in the first place....


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