Friday, 28 January 2011

Who Moved My Port?

The best-seller "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson is, in summary, a parable about a mouse who is let out from 'home', into an area with three tubes. He wanders down the first tube to find it empty, retreats, tries tube number two, and finds some cheese there. He returns home, and the next day the process is repeated. He tries tube number one, finds nothing, tries tube number two, finds his cheese, and returns home happy. After a few days, the mouse learns that he's wasting his time wandering down tube number one, so he skips it, goes straight to tube number two, gets his cheese and life his good.

One day, he strolls as nonchalantly as a mouse can stroll, down tube number two only to find that there is no cheese there. The bastard scientists conducting the experiment had moved it to tube number three. What did the mouse do?

Anyone guessing that he retraced his steps and tried tube number one or tube number three would be mistaken. The mouse stayed where he was, and had he been allowed to, would have starved to death there. An example, of course, of how because something has always previously worked, there's no guarantee that it will continue to do so.

The only constant is change.

There is also the issue of the mouse never venturing beyond tube number two, even though tube number three may well have offered Stilton and a glass of port. And who knows what might have been in tube number one at any time?

So how many gamblers develop a system, and either stick with it for too long after it has stopped putting food on the table, or alternatively find something that works, yet never try other markets that may well offer even greater riches?

As in the experiment, circumstances on the exchanges change. The bastard scientists in our world are the Premium Charge inventors, or the cross-matching implementers, or other gamblers who like cheese as much as we do - even if it isn't always Stilton with a glass of port.

Finally, one of those strange coincidences that happen from time to time happened to me yesterday. I am reading another book at the behest of my boss, and there in a chapter titled "Do Less or Work Faster" (I went for the former option) is another piece about Signor Paret - in bocca al lupo.

1 comment:

Mark Iverson said...

Liked that post cassini - very true.