Archive for the ‘Uncertainty’ Category

Premarket call May 08, 2011: all the precious metals up in the overnight trade

building on Friday’s momentum (or putting in the first peg of support) all the precious metals are up in the overnight trade; silver is in a perfect “max pain range compression” stage here, ready to break out of Friday’s relatively tight range in either direction with advantage


Managed risks?

May 8, 2010 3 comments

Stock market capitalization in 2005
Image via Wikipedia

The risks now?

  • Risk of being left behind if the fear was an anomaly and there is now the mother of all buying opportunities: my strategy? Continue to trade intraday with no overnight risk, at my usual levels of risk, in large cap US companies, and broad index ETFs, in either direction based on daily directional momentum.
  • Risk of being crushed in longer term positions. My strategy: honor the ruleset of ETF2, and take up to 2 signals per cycle in the mechanical ETF systems at usual risk levels.
  • Combination of 1&2: this is what I ALWAYS do anyway; I conclude that the combination is robust and useful. Particularly when circumstances conspire like Wed-Fri to produce over 100R in 3 days will no overnight risk.
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Reflecting on self-directed leadership in a military college environment (an action research approach)

March 20, 2010 24 comments

schematic view of Curriculum in/out of school,...
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The purpose of this assignment is reflect upon my learning through this course and to describe what I am doing to provide for the development of leadership capabilities in those who look to me for direction and guidance. My professional work centers on preparing Army organizational leaders for a world of complexity and uncertainty, and specifically in designing a teachable curriculum that satisfies both the accreditation system and the needs of individual students and faculty. As a result of many cycles of action research involving a variety of stakeholders, I have been designing curriculum that seeks to maximize the opportunities for student and faculty Voice in all phases of the classroom experience, including: design, preparation, delivery, assessment and follow-through. Because the strategy represents a significant shift from the traditional methodology, I am finding many leadership challenges and opportunities throughout the program. I will explore a number of important themes and strategies in this paper.

Chaos and complexity theory point towards a need for multiple points of view and an accommodating culture and practice in order to account for uncertainty in the world. Leaders set the stage for an organization that seeks to thrive under these conditions and therefore become primary leverage points in setting the conditions for success. Because our students are not objects at a distance,  not third-party objects of study but rather thinking, feeling human beings with insights and experiences and discretion, we have shifted our design team composition to include routinely groups of students in the form of focus groups and co-researchers in the action research tradition. Incorporating students in the design of lessons that will be taught that academic year represents a paradigm shift.

I am shifting our feedback system to incorporate more qualitative assessments from both faculty and students. This is a departure from our standard practice of relying exclusively on quantitative instruments. Our new feedback system for programmatic assessment is much more from the mixed methods tradition, which seems to me to be central in going forward in our efforts to understand and appreciate complexity. My intent is that the mixed methods approaches in the classroom will expose students and faculty to this methodology as a way to prepare them with a useful tool beyond the boundaries of the college environment.

I am systematically pursuing outreach and connections with faculty and curriculum designers from other teaching departments  in order to establish a network-centric approach to integrated curriculum design. This is taking the form of a leaderless, self-directed workgroup, with group norms and processes emerging to take the place of formal assigned individual hierarchical leadership. This self-directed work group presents recommendations of consensus to the traditional leadership of the College and is proving to be more and more influential with each successful project.

Because collaborative and adaptive leadership represents a shift in the cultural and operational perspective of the college, students and faculty, it is necessary to build up a resource and reference base that can be used to justify and support our inquiries. We are building a set of wiki’s and blogs that are interactive in order to prepare for our new lineup of lessons, to support collaborative learning inside the lessons dynamically, to document the results of our in class inquiry and to expand the knowledge base both for future lessons and for the field force in general. There is evidence to show that our students and faculty are getting the hang of this technique. This is reshaping the way we approach lesson preparation and our resource base and it is carrying over into our distance learning and remote site teaching strategy. Remote site teachers now have access to our growing experience base on the wiki and blog and can use that in their classroom for air where they do not possess personal experience and expertise.

Finally, I am working with interested others in formalizing our new approaches into college policy and SOP in order to lock in our games in the college’s infrastructure. Without these changes, initiatives are only as enduring as the energy of the interested parties. By incorporating them into our explicit rules and policies, we can institutionalize changes and ratchet our way towards success.

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A reflection on action research “storytelling”

October 27, 2009 1 comment

What follows is a 1st person, stream of consciousness  reflection written to my mentor & committee chair.  

I describe  what it was like to record a 10 min video “telling the story” of  some preliminary findings emerging from my action research cycles into curriculum and adult learning. 

The video is hosted  at YouTube.

It will be shown at an international conference in Athens, as part of the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) annual conference, as part of a bundle of reports from the Future(s) of Education project, an international  participatory action research network.  

Dr Alana:  

i am just glad to get it out of my head 😛  

i had a real out of body experience recording that one;  

i  am a very effective briefer in person, because i can read the audience pretty well.  

i have recorded hundreds of mini lectures etc for my business and for use here at the college on various topics.

i have never, ever needed more than a single take to record, decent and sometimes even inspired voice-overs  until  last night and that briefing.  

I literally needed about 30 takes to get thru it; most i stopped when less than a minute into it because the tone just didn’t feel right

 i think it has to do with being a fish out of water, and the difficulty i felt in trying to tune my story for an audience i couldn’t see, but more importantly didn’t have empathy for

because the audience characteristics still feel fuzzy to me, i couldn’t call up the right tone, voice, persona to apply  

 this caused me to have almost a split personality in the moment, when i am ordinarily dialed in

 i had a “talking part” and a “look ahead part” that is concerned with shaping the transition to the next point/slide  

but now i had a disconcerting 3rd part that was trying to anticipate the possible reactions of an unfamiliar, and hard to imagine audience  

this is what made me feel so out of sorts

 until i “wore out” the last, 3d part and was able to trust in just telling the story, and accepting the vulnerability of knowing that i couldn’t know the audience, i found i just couldn’t get thru it.  

this is the same phenomenon I spoke with Prof Mike Wesch, the digital anthropologist at Kansas State University, and world thought leader on social dynamics in social media: the camera eye represents the unlimited, unfathomable infinite future of all possible audiences across time and space who can be looking in on the “telling moment”.  

in a sense, its like coming face to face with the unblinking eye of God and wondering what she is thinking  

 it is trust that lets us get thru that moment, the accepting of vulnerability, that creates the empathy that hopefully fills the story, as told, with hope.  

that’s a clumsy way of trying to express my meaning of the risk and vulnerability to “telling” and why it can be such a powerful learning moment, and why we need to model it, embrace it, encourage it, and support it. 

Your “producer’s draft” was exactly what i needed to be able to get out of my own comfortable fishbowl; 

you gave me a bridge to the audience that i could not create on my own.  

this has become an interesting reflection to me already 😀  

please put the video on the website, and any or all of this reflection as you deem suitable  

have a great time at the conference!

Traders roundtable discussion: the issue of optimization in research

August 2, 2009 Leave a comment

We were having a traders’ roundtable discussion on the topic of researching potential trading systems and the issue of optimization came up. This is a very important topic for traders who want to apply a systematic approach to trading markets. Here are some of the highlights of that discussion for you to consider as you prepare your trading strategies.

Typically when we think of optimization for a trading system we are looking at a process that incorporates multiple variables, parameters with different settings possible and perhaps a number of market filters or conditions which taken together with an exit strategy give us a multitude of ways to trade a particular concept or idea.

It normally begins with an idea the trader has based on insights fromtheory or from reflective practice where he believes the system gives a persistent advantage compared to the average market return  of simply buying and holding. It is also possible however that the edge may come from a brute force data mining operation that finds a statistical edge in some combination of market conditions. In other words, the insight comes from the result of massive computations and not from an intuitive or academic insight.

In either case , what we have is a system of multiple components, each of which can vary, and on an initial pass through with middle-of-the-road parameter settings we find a persistent edge in multiple markets with a statistical significance. Human nature being what it is, we would want to start testing different parameter settings for each component in order to determine the best mix for the most robust return and to find which of the parameters seem to have the most power when it comes to influencing the results. In statistics, this general approach is called factor analysis or principal component analysis.

In theory, you would want to find the absolute maximum return by finding the absolute optimum setting for each of the possible parameters and then take that into the market to begin trading. Taken to an extreme, this can produce a phenomenon of curve fitting or over optimization. What you can end up with is a system that would be perfect for the unique set of data conditions of the test. The problem of course is that the future may not ever show you that same data set again in your over optimize system will under perform much to your surprise.

The usual response to this phenomenon is to conduct testing with out of sample data. In other words designing the system on one data set and refining it to a certain degree and then testing it on a completely new set of market data to see if the edge persists. If you were systems development practice find you always discarding your systems after the out of sample test, it probably occurs as a result of over optimization.

In practice then, we want to find the trade-off between robustness of performance in multiple market conditions with out of sample testing that yields a persistent advantage in multiple market conditions but without trying to overturn the system for ideal conditions.

A way to keep this systematic approach in tune is to continue to monitor performance in a feed-forward approach that examines actual trading results to see how the performance results compare to the test and confirmation performance curves.

The bottom line: the more you rely on automatic trading systems, the more important your research and validation process becomes since you will not be using inexperienced traders override protocol to keep you from going off the deep end.

an exercise in “sense-making”: grappling with “design” and “planning”

July 24, 2009 Leave a comment

a number of faculty and officers gathered around a whiteboard to try to create their own practical sense of the distinction and relationship between design and planning.  The series of diagrams reflected in the image unfolded over a discussion of several hours as we tried to connect the doctrinal and scholarly terms to our own words and experiences, to forge a link of meaning between doctrine and practice.


New feature: indexed links to Youtube videos

July 24, 2009 Leave a comment

I should have done this a long time ago. I created 2 new pages on the blog to collect an indexed list of the videos of mini-lectures for my doctoral research and my Army classroom professional stories. These will be a more organized way to layout a menu of choices for students and interested parties to view my stuff in the areas of force management and force sustainment.

I have probably a hundred refined little speeches I tend to give in various classes that reflect my best practices from my active duty service, but also some things that have emerged as refinements in the schoolhouse through engagement with the great officers who share their perspectives of the war and discuss theory and practice.

I find myself in class hurrying at times to squeeze these in, out of a sense of duty. It’s not always good pedagogy and it would be nice maybe to let the students know about them ahead of time so that we can engage in dialogues of their choosing based on their needs instead of always doing what I want to do.

Time to relinquish the mike a little more? here is a way to offer my humble “greatest hits” and let them follow their interest.

There maybe some value add for my fellow instructors too on my areas of competence, since our faculty are responsible for a wide range of areas; so wide in fact that they don’t have direct personal experience in all of the fields.

Example:our faculty teach sustainment lessons at strategic, operational and tactical levels of war; they cover maintenance, transportation, supply, medical, personal, explosive ordnance disposal, band, finance, personnel, contracting, and all elements of force management; design, plans and operations; Joint and army support operations; plus whatever their elective course specialties are. faculty development programs are an important area of concern for us.

that’s a pretty full plate, so perhaps these videos can be of some help to them as well.