Friday, January 29, 2010

On the Virtue of Integrity

Well, the recent rant ended up being the most commented post in the history of this blog. I think that says a lot.

I once shared with readers that one of my first exposures to the questionable integrity of many ventures within the trading industry came when I learned that a "guru" who touted making millions of dollars in the market was only toting up his gains. He had also lost millions. Technically what he claimed was true: he *had* made millions. He simply hadn't made profits. But that didn't deter him from holding himself out to needy traders at a fee that would provide the income he could not make from markets.

There are many excellent vendors of trading goods and services out there. I try to link to those I find useful and informative, because I like seeing value and integrity recognized and rewarded in the marketplace. The exemplary services offer tangible decision support for traders; the less than honorable services exploit hope.

As long as there are traders seeking easy livings in markets, looking for magic bullets, there will be those that offer the snake oil.

But there's an easy way to identify those who offer goods and services with integrity and those who don't: Go to their websites or blogs and measure the ratio of self-promotional posts/articles to the number of substantive, informational posts/articles.

If you have substance, showing it is your best marketing strategy. If you don't have substance, all you can bank on is hand waving.

We all put our best foot forward when we first meet someone we want to know. What vendors of goods and services put on their home pages represents their best feet forward. If there's no substance there, caveat emptor.

Integrity means staying true to one's values, and sometimes that means feeling outrage when those values are trampled. If you really love the trading profession, it's difficult to feel indifferent toward those that drag it through the mud.

Thanks for the supportive comments; they mean a lot to me.