Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why James Altucher is Totally Wrong on This One

James Altucher posted a link to his blog today on Twitter. So, like I usually do, I followed the link and read the contents of the post. I am actually a big fan of James. Ever since I saw him on "China Watch", which was a little video segment on TheStreet.com where James would talk about small-cap China stocks for a minute or so. After a while, I didn't see him on TheStreet.com so I went searching for everything James had ever written and bought a book or two of his.

Anyway, I was reading through the 10 things James learned from Jim Cramer and I was in vehement agreement until I got to #9 and I have to tell you that I completely disagree with what he said. In parenthesis, as if to sneak it by the reader, he throws out the thought that " "my last book, out in December 2008, was a total flop" to which I have to say "HOG WASH", because that is most certainly untrue.

Let me tell you another story to make my point clear. I pick up the forever portfolio because I think I like Jim Cramer, this guy James Altucher works at TheStreet.com, might as well read everything I can to give me an edge. I look up the last book from Altucher and it's "The Forever Portfolio". I read the book, cover to cover, and in it he revealed that he eats out daily and carries a pad with him. On the pad, he keeps a list of great ideas that pop into his head so that he can keep track of them. Then, he finds the right people to put these ideas into practice. James is a man that has started & failed or started and sold many businesses. He has a disease, called entrepreneurship that...if we had an epidemic in our country, could probably cure the recession in one full swoop.

Back to the story. I get this bright idea that I have to somehow become James Altucher's next big idea. That seems logical, right? My friend invites me to the World Money Show and I check out the list of attendees and low and behold, James Altucher is on the list of speakers. Now all I have to do is figure out where he's going to eat breakfast that morning, ask him about the note pad, and somehow fate will take over and my dreams for Magnum Opus Financial will all come true.

Well, I didn't see James at breakfast the morning he was speaking. BUT, I did go to his presentation and I decided to stick around after and ask him if we could have an interview with him for a new series we're launching. At the time, "we" meant me and Rachel (my wife) and this new series didn't even have a name (or a guest beyond James if he even said yes). James graciously agreed to do the interview on his latest book, "The Forever Portfolio" and I went about my day.

That night, it was raining outside so I decided to have dinner at the hotel and when they sat me down, they put me right next to James Altucher. He remembered me from earlier and we struck up a conversation. After an hour of so a good conversation we bid each other farewell and James kept his word, becoming the first ever guest of America's Favorite Trader. The topic of the show, his book ("The Forever Portfolio") of course.

We went on to book Jared Levy, Patty Edwards, Brian Kelly, Anthony Scaramucci, Guy Adami, Steve Grasso, and Jon Najarian. From our one interview came an interview series with exclusive content available only from us. The iTunes episodes of the podcast received thousands of downloads and we are getting ready to launch Season Two this year with even more shows than last year.

It doesn't stop there. Chapter 21 in the book, "Internet Forever; or, Five Mistakes I Made as a VC" helped guide Rachel and I through the process of founding Magnum Opus Financial in March of 2009, becoming a Registered Investment Advisory, striking a deal with tradeMONSTER so that we could trade capital for our clients on their newly created institutional platform (that can now be used to bring other firms on board). Episode 5 of AFT was done from Anthony Scaramucci's office in Downtown Manhattan. I have shook hands with 5 of our 8 guests and been to conferences in Orlando, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. We have an invitation to the prestigious S.A.L.T. Conference that Skybridge Capital puts on annually.

We have a daily show on YouTube, a Facebook Page, close to 1,600 Twitter Followers, a Blog and on and on and on. Why recount the successes of Magnum Opus Financial since 2009? The company took off last year and it all started with our very first guest on Inside the Mind of America's Favorite Traders, James Altucher. Where did I get the idea for the show? After I read about the days when James produced a show for HBO I got the bright idea that we could create a show for CNBC. The goal was to make the show so popular that someone offered us money to do it for their network. Without the book, which James apparently considers a total flop...none of this would have ensued and we'd still be wondering how we would make our tiny little company a household name.

So James, my friend, I'm afraid I'm going to have to politely disagree with you about the "failure" of "The Forever Portfolio" and it's impact on the world. They say it's not what you accumulate while you're here that you'll be judged by, but what people say about you when you're gone. Well, I am who I am and Magnum Opus Financial is what it is thanks, in large part, to the many great things I read from that book and I want to say thank you. See, James is a guy that has made himself and others a lot of money in stocks and is getting sick of writing about them. Since starting his blog, "The Altucher Confidential", he's written mostly about life lessons that he hopes to share with the world. His advice has been a rare window into the life of someone on Wall Street who has made, lost, & then made back millions. And, while his financial accomplishments are to be commended. What I think he probably sees as some of the greatest things he's ever done are found in the life of his kids, whom he writes about periodically.

The last book, and so much of his other writing are so terrific, that I hope we can have James Altucher back on the show this year to talk about his new book that should be due out in February. In fact, it just so happens that the World Money Show in Orlando, FL is coming up again; and James Altucher will once again be speaking. Unlike last time, where fate bailed me out on my shot in the dark...this time I have an appointment. I'll be having dinner with James in Orlando and I think this time, I may just be the one to bring the notepad so that I can write down all the great ideas that come out of this year's dinner conversation.

Bottom line, the last book, "The Forever Portfolio" wasn't a flop...it set my life on a course that humbles me to this day. Who knows what I'll get out of the next one...who knows what anyone will get out of it. But, people often say that if you touch just one, then it was all worth it. Well James, I may be the only one for the last book (but I doubt it) and I'm willing to bet the next book will change someone's life as well. Thanks to you for writing about so much more than stocks, more than money, more than finance. Thanks for stopping to share a few things about life with us because THAT (life) is the real commodity and so many of us are short it right now in pursuit of something else with a $ sign stuck before it. What we should all do is short all the time we waste and get long those things we can never get back in life once our time is gone like time with our kids and other loved ones, time spent with a good book, and a good conversation with a friend. Who knows if I made a dime trading anything off what was in "The Forever Portfolio". What I do know is that I'm a lot further along the road to success than I was when I started, and that book was one of the things I read on the way. I'm looking forward to dinner next month. I'll see you in Orlando my friend.

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