Victus Spiritus


The Secret Weakness of North East Investors

07 Dec 2009

Each year I'm faced with the same winter query: Hibernate Like a Bear, or Keep Moving?

Damn it's Cold

As the frosty weather moves in, I swear my tolerance to cold temperature is dropping. My instinct this morning was to roll over and sleep a few months. Fortunately, Michelle (my fiancé) and I have plans of moving somewhere warmer.

I'm getting smarter with the years though (cognitive bias). Now my morning walk of a few hours has shifted from the hand and face numbing outdoors to the local shopping mall. They don't open as early as I'd prefer, but it's better than paying $50 a month to stand in place on a treadmill at a gym. For fellow walkers in colder regions I highly recommend finding an indoor exercise spot, your face will appreciate not turning into leather ;).

Seasonal & Cognitive Value Shift

For those that lust after unlocking value as much as myself, it's worth noting a regional change of perception. The obvious focus for consumers is Holiday shopping. I should know. I'm walking in the mall each morning and encounter the push sales techniques passing the many kiosks which litter my path. For the tenth time today, no I don't want a special nail file stone!

Contrary to gift buying, the common sense of value becomes more conservative this time of year. My hypothesis is that seasonal cold activates survival instincts which cause humans to be more risk averse. It's well documented that the blood thickens in warm blooded mammals in cold climates, but are there other effects? My stock guru friend Howard Lindzon can better judge this market effect.

At least in the startup/venture circles I follow very few deals are closed in December. The rationale is that all the partners need to be availabe for meetings. But holidays and time off make December deals sparse. I pass at least partial attribution to the reluctance to travel (locally) in frosty weather, and instinctual cold conservatism. Chock that up to another advantage of Silicon Valley startups (only half kidding).

Take Advantage of Winter Opportunities

I believe there are some timely and risky ventures that aren't getting the attention they deserve. The value and wealth Jedi (investors/traders) can leverage this cognitive bias to pick up excellent deals. The normally shrewd risk versus reward genius that many North East investors share may be offset just enough to allow those aware of it to seize on extraordinary buys.

This December I'll be busy at my day and night jobs. Thanks to my partner Tyler I'm officially dangerous again with a local Aptana IDE driven rails project (he quickly figured out that I forgot to kick up my local Mongo database - an efficient design shift a couple weeks ago). I'm still on the lookout for extraordinary web developers/designers and with some fortuitous weather, others may miss out on their amazing talent. (Victus Media is prefunding and our burn rate is very low, so we're looking for Jekyll and Hyde founders).