Some of my simplest articles have been my most popular – maybe the world is trying to tell me something – whereas some of the work I find to be more thoughtful doesn’t catch on with readers.
This post on confirmation bias is a perfect example of something I thought would do great, but did not. Meanwhile, I had low expectations for this simple article on estate planning, but it did really well.
Almost every writer has experienced this a few times, so I turned to the blogging community one final time to get their thoughts. Thank you to everyone that chimed in throughout the series (see the first, second and third installments).
What’s your favorite article that had the worst readership? What made you like this article?
Most financial content is boring so one of the best ways to get people interested is to use analogies or humor to drive your point home. Plus, Louis CK is hilarious and it’s always nice to find an excuse to utilize stand-up comedy in a finance blog post.
One article I want more people to take to heart is this one on lifestyle creep by Michael Kitces. Far too often people react to raises and bonuses by spending more, rather than saving most of it. Over the long run this puts you into a tough spot: take the highest paying job, or experience unpleasant downsizing of consumption. If you keep your lifestyle growing slower than your income, you’ll have more flexibility and independence to choose what makes you happy.
In a world of more, knowing what to say no to is increasingly valuable. Everyone wants to be a contrarian investor, but perhaps the real contrarian investor is the one who creates the space necessary to slow down as the rest of the world speeds up.
A great reminder to always be challenging your assumptions and recognize that no matter who you are (even a Nobel Laureate), you’ll never have it all figured it out.
This is a spectacular question. Probably this one because it incorporates one of my all-time favorite podcast episodes (from EconTalk, of course) and a really wonderful book about medicine and paternalism that sheds light on the dangers of markets with a lot of information asymmetry. It is about the evolution of the consumer/producer relationship in medicine, and what is coming for us in finance as well. Go read it!
This is too hard to answer. If I did something that didn’t get a big response, which happens every week, it means it probably wasn’t especially meaningful or insightful. I’m fine with that. I’ve done tens of thousands of posts and articles at this point. Not everything needs to be Anna Karenina.
I don’t believe I have one, social media does a pretty good job of making cream rise to the top. If it didn’t get great readership, there was probably a good reason.
Such a good question. A few years ago I wrote a post on 50 reasons it’s a great time to be alive. It exploded, hundreds of thousands of people read it. I followed up with a similar post earlier this year. It’s the same framework but twice as good as the first one. I think my mom and three other people read it.
I think my favorite post that had the least readership relative to expectations was “Family, Food, Football and Factors.”
Maybe it was the fact that it was a bit on the long side, or maybe because it was a Thanksgiving themed post…the week AFTER Thanksgiving. Either way, I liked it because as painful as diversification can be at times, viewing the concepts through the lens of real-world examples can be beneficial in driving good investor behavior.
You would think that since I’ve written in excess of 6300 posts it would be easy to find the ONE post that underperformed. So I went through 2016 posts in something I wish had garnered more readership. I came upon a relatively recent post: “Overconfidence and the scout mindset.” The scout mindset is one that would serve not just investors well, but everyone who is a concerned citizen.
If you are talking about our own articles, I’d have to say Jack’s piece on building a “DIY hedge fund.” The article is a bit dense, but it outlines how simple it is for investors to use basic tools, such as ETFs and index futures, to create alternative exposures. A powerful capability that was once only accessible via “2 and 20.”
If we are talking about articles by other authors, I’d have to say Pat O’Shaughnessy’s piece “Assets vs Alpha.” I like this article because it highlights that active strategies face a trade-off — they are either built for building AUM or they are built to serve clients. There is no panacea. The other thing I like about this article is that it serves as an indirect marketing pitch for our products and services!