Money Masters

You've seen the adverts, perhaps. “We identified 15 fund managers who consistently outdid their peers over the last ten years”. What's the deal here? Do they believe their own hype, I wonder? I would be surprised if among 8000+ fund managers, they could not find 15 who fulfilled some level of performance. But that doesn't mean it's by ability – it would still be the case if fund management performance were driven by luck.

Still, relying on people not being able to accurately judge probability or understand statistics isn't a bad business plan I suppose.

3 Responses to “Money Masters”

  1. the_local_echo says:

    That reminds me of a nice little trick.

    Get a huge mailing list of people. Write to half of them saying “the stock market will go up on such-and-such a date”, and the other half saying it will go down. When you know which predictions are right and which are wrong, discard all the addresses with wrong predictions, and repeat with a new prediction.

    Given a large enough sample, you will end up with a handful of people who believe you have just predicted the future, probability of getting it right by chance is only 1/(2^n). Then you can sell them any dodgy stock market prediction scheme you like 🙂

    (modulo stock market being slightly more likely to go up than down. you could do this with lottery numbers too).

    (http://livejournal.com/users/the_local_echo)

  2. elbeno says:

    This principle is also behind an argument I recently made at work – a contributing factor to why multiplayer games have a high barrier to entry.

    The typical worst case scenario is going online for the first time as a newbie and meeting opposition way out of your league. After losing badly a few times, most people just give up. This is a well-known problem, especially in FPS and RTS genres. What is less appreciated is that the best case scenario for a competitive 2-player experience is one where 50% of people lose the first game, 25% of people lose the first two games, etc. Depending on the game, that means probably somewhere around 20% of players (allowing for individual tolerances) have a bad experience that causes them to give up. So the challenge for game design is to move away from the zero-sum game, or make the games sufficiently close that the loser knows they are learning from the losses.

    (http://livejournal.com/users/elbeno)

  3. sylvene says:

    The problem these days… is that computer games are getting too complicated to play without a major time investment in learning how to play them! With all the technology available… two hands on a console… 20 buttons to press…

    I guess that they are becoming accepted as a legitimate “sport” that you have to practise to be good at. Me.. I want to play a game for fun, for relaxation… maybe a little excitement. Which is why I *shudder* stink at RTS and console games.

    *laugh* Can you tell I'm trying to play the XBox, Ben? 😛 My brother and I keep trying to palm off the console to each other, but since HE's the one that is attending CEDIA, he's stuck this time. Muahaha!

    We've seen and heard superb sound and video in some of the demos we've downloaded so far.

    (http://livejournal.com/users/sylvene)

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