#89 - Blair Hull - “Emotions Will Kill You in This Game"

47 minutes

In Episode 89, we welcome legendary market veteran, Blair Hull.

We start per usual, with our guest’s background. In this case, long-time Meb Faber Show listeners may think they’ve heard it before. That’s because Blair’s background shares an interesting similarity with that of Ed Thorp – the card game, Blackjack.

It turns out Blair made a considerable sum of money playing Blackjack after reading Ed’s writings on the game. Blair tells us you needed an advantage, and then you need to stay in the game. That’s why he played with a team. More hands played according to their system tilted the odds in his favor. This is a fun part of the podcast you’ll want to listen to for all the details, including Meb’s foray into card counting with a partner that botched the system after drinking too many Bloody Mary’s.

Eventually, Blair took his winnings and used them to get a seat on the Pacific Exchange, where he became a market maker and began trading options. Blair tells us he was intrigued with market timing, resulting in a paper he wrote which concluded that you can time the market.

Meb asks about the genesis of Blair’s market timing strategies.

Blair points back to Blackjack – each different card provides an idea about the future. In a similar way, various indicators provide an idea about a market’s future. So, part of the challenge is which indicators do you consider and what weights do you put on them?

Next, Meb digs deeper, asking for more specifics of Blair’s strategy, inquiring about the indicators.

Blair mentions one indicator that piqued his interest – the Federal Reserve Bank Loan Officer Survey. They found the correlations with 6-month returns was about 30%, which is a fairly high correlation for an indicator. He then took this indicator and combined it with a few others and ran a regression with no forward-looking bias to see if they could exceed the returns of the S&P. What were the results? You’ll have to listen.

The conversation bounces around a bit before Blair mentions how valuation is one of their key variables. He tells us his valuation method combines three different aspects: CAPE, cyclically adjusted dividend yield including buybacks, and book-to-price.

The guys spend a while discussing the various inputs in Blair’s model before discussing sentiment (which Meb calls “squishy). Both guys like sentiment, with Blair even having invested in two different firms that are using Twitter feeds so he can get a better handle on sentiment.

Next, Meb asks about AI, and how machines may affect investing going forward. Blair has a proprietary trading firm that operates on a high frequency basis, so he gives us his thoughts, noting that a key to maximizing wealth is to use an optimal-sized bet.

Meb changes direction, asking what Blair is excited about today.

It turns out Blair is focusing on the stigma of market timing. He believes it will be irresponsible not to be involved in market timing over the next 30 years. That’s because when we have correlations that really go to “1” when we have a disaster, getting an edge in the market is critical.  

There are a couple quick questions – Blair’s favorite indicator, and Blair’s advice to young quants looking to get into quant finance today, but then we turn to Blair’s most memorable trade.

This is a great one involving the crash in ’87, when Blair was a market maker. Don’t miss it.  

There’s plenty more in this great episode featuring a true market legend, including why Blair tells us “Emotions will kill you in this game.”

That and far more in Episode 89.

More episodes from The Meb Faber Show

#335 – Thomas Eiden, Atomic Alchemy - There Is A Vast Shortage Of Man Made Radioactive Materials

In episode 335, we welcome our guest, Thomas Eiden, founder of Atomic Alchemy, a company dedicated to producing radioisotopes used in nuclear medicine.

 

 

In today’s episode, we’re going …

#334 – Peter Johnson, Jump Capital - What I Think About Most Of The Time Is What Crypto Is Going To Mean To The World

In episode 334, we welcome our guest, Peter Johnson, a partner at Jump Capital, where he leads Jump’s investments in the FinTech, crypto, and blockchain sectors. 

 

 

In today’s episode, …

#333 – Startup Series – Rob Forster, Wonderbird Spirits - Making Gin Is Truly An Art

In episode 333, we welcome our guest, Rob Forster, co-founder of Wonderbird Spirits, Mississippi's first grain-to-glass gin distillery. 

 

 

In today’s episode, we hear how Rob stopped …

#332 – Mebisode – Journey to 100X

Episode 332 is a Mebisode. In this episode, you’ll hear Meb talk about his journey investing in over 250 private companies since 2014. He explains why he chose to do so and his framework …

#331 – Phil Nadel, Forefront Venture Partners - The Best Companies Are Founded By Folks Who Personally Feel The Pain Point

In episode 331, we welcome back our guest, Phil Nadel, co-founder of Forefront Venture Partners, one of the largest and most successful syndicates on …

#330 – Guillermo Cornejo, Riders Share - Riders Share Is Like An AirBnB, But For Renting Motorcycles

In episode 330, we welcome our guest, Guillermo Cornejo, founder and CEO of Riders Share, the first & largest motorcycle peer-to-peer rentals platform in the United States.

 

In today’s …

How you can listen to this podcast

You can listen to episodes right here on the website, or if you prefer, in a podcast app. Listening in an app makes it easier to keep track of what you’ve already heard, listen without using your data plan and many other conveniences.

Recommended apps
Start listening to #125 - Tom Barton - The Biggest Problem Investors Have is Things Change...and They Don't Change
1:24:56
Start listening to #125 - Tom Barton - The Biggest Problem Investors Have is Things Change...and They Don't Change
1:24:56