Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Investors In People

No, I'm not going to go all corporate employee on you and start spouting nonsense about various bullshit workplace schemes and such. There'll be no blue sky thinking here chaps. Nope, straight from the get-go, you need to get with the program, yeah?

Enough of that. I'm depressing myself.

Matt of FE and OTO fame left a comment after last night's post that summed up nicely where I'm coming from with regard to tipsters and how they retain their edge over time.

"It's an interesting topic. Can an edge erode over time? Absolutely. Is that erosion speeded up if you go public with that edge in the form of a tipster service? Almost certainly.

However that only applies to a specific, definable tactic/strategy/system IMO. For most services the edge comes from the tipster himself and his ability to find himself a gap in the market and evolve over time.

A parallel I think would be a successful football manager. Would Fergie be successful nowadays if he was still using the same approach he was at Aberdeen in the 80's? Almost certainly not he has had to evolve his approach over time. His "edge" is himself, not a specific tactic, formation or man-management style. That and a continued fresh supply of new refs every few years!

What I was trying to say in yesterday's post was this: when we as investors decide to put money into following a tipping service, it is actually the tipster that we are investing in, not the tipster's fundamental methodology or system. We are investing in the person and their ability to maintain their edge, and if that person is incapable of doing this, in the long run we will lose money following them. That is an inevitability if we accept that over time either the market adjusts to negate the tipster's edge, or what happens to a successful service with increasing membership numbers and all that goes with that will threaten the edge that service has previously demonstrated it possesses.

If we take this to it's logical conclusion, then what we are saying here is that when deciding on which services to follow, we should in an ideal world only choose services whose operators had proven their ability to adapt and maintain their edge over a significant period of time. By significant, I reckon we must be thinking in terms of four or five years?

In the real world though, it's not that easy. I wouldn't want to wait four years before following Graeme Dand's The Football Analyst systems. I'd have missed out on two years of good profits and have another two years to sit twiddling my thumbs. Why did I jump in with these systems? A combination of seeing how the systems had been developed and gut instinct allied to complete faith in Graeme's ability as an analyst. That's right - it wasn't his systems per se that I bought was the guy's ability to develop them successfully.

What we can do of course, is to balance our portfolio in such a way that we stake more overall on those long-serving, 100% proven services. Does it not make sense to stake more over the course of a season with say, Skeeve, who has six seasons of producing top level profits, than with Summer Of Football, who have done very well but over "just" 15/16 months? And that is no disrespect to SoF by the way. Another 15 months or so of repeat performance, then obviously staking levels could and should be brought into line with the likes of Skeeve and Football Elite.

Do I structure my own staking in this way? No. I don't. But I think I should, and part of my big August sit down, where I finalise my attack plan for Season 2012/13 will perhaps see me implement this strategy.

As is my wont, I've digressed a little here. I haven't finished yet with the subject of proven edges that erode over time that I wanted to address after the following, interesting comment was left on the blog last week:

The reason I am commenting today is because it seems to me that a lot of the SBC members have bought into being able to make long term profits by paying for an "experts" tips.Its unlikely that anyone using a portfolio in a less organised way than yourself will improve on the figures you report to achieve. I dont know what the people at SBc tell you with regards to service performances,losing sequences ect but for any racing service not to be in profit by the end of June suggests incompetence. If any of the services you or anyone else subscribes to cannot turn a profit after say 100 bets they have demonstrated a very real weakness in their methodology.Forget variance after 100 bets there is no excuse.I expect you will believe 100 bets is simple too few a number to judge but unless the service is tipping min odds of 33/1 100 bets is plenty.
I tried to tell the guy who blogged "my betting life" to ditch all the racing sevices except systematic. A simple analysis of ML's advices will enable to reproduce his future bets better still invest in a system builder and create your own systems.
Tipsters used to be thought of as con artists then the clever people got involved marketing themselves as hard working and trustworthy. If these service providers are so hard working how come they cant find a way to beat simple racing systems that continue to outperform them year after year.
Why would anyone offer their edge for sale , its not because they cant get on and if it were where does that leave the subscribers , ultimately in the same position. Most of the services have such a tiny edge that they struggle to show a profit to ind sp. 90% of my bets are in the live market just before the off when all the info has been factored in. almost 100% of service providers' bets are at early odds so its no suprise that bookies close the accounts of punters taking the best of it .

I thought I'd post this up today, and then talk about it tomorrow, as it raises a lot of interesting issues. I should add a little context now though, in that the comment was written by someone who has been betting on horses for a living for the last twenty years. I have no reason at all to not believe that claim and am happy to assume it is true. In which case, the opinion should be noted carefully.

Tuesday's Betting

No racing bets! None. Niente. Nada. Nowt. Is it February?

Sportyy though, had a stormer. Three from three. Heh!

And that was it.

Well, that was a bit of a mish mash of a post, wasn't it? I shall try to be a little more focused tomorrow. 'Til then.

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