Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Variant Perception or Dis-conforming Evidence

Variant Perception can be explained as the difference of opinion between you and the market. That is, when your perception of a situation is different from that of the general market.

To make serious money in the markets, it is important to be able to take a position that is opposed to the general market view. A "margin of safety" is only available if the majority of market participants believe that a particular stock is not worth buying or is actually worth selling. In those instances, where the majority view is in one direction, and you believe that exactly the opposite is true, that the stock is worth buying into, then you have a contrarion viewpoint or a variant perception.

In any transaction in the markets, there is a buyer and a seller. Both are transacting at the same price. So, it is very important to think form the opposite point of view. Why is the person on the other side of the transaction selling to you? If your logic for buying is better than what you can think of for that of the seller, then you have a good case.

This ties in with the concept of "dis-conforming" evidence as popularized by Charlie Munger. [Note: There is no such word as dis-conforming and I think Munger wanted to mean nonconforming.]

Looking for dis-conforming evidence requires that before taking a position you list down points that is opposing to your existing view point. For example, if you are about to buy a stock of a company, think of why you would not want to buy it, what can go wrong in the business, how the business can be ruined or can go bankrupt and other such points.

If you force yourself to think in these terms, it usually brings sanity and rationality to the overall-thought process and helps clarify the decision in your own mind.

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