As new as blogging is the folks down at Bespoke are pretty good at it. They launched their blog at the start of May and are already getting rave reviews from several other investment blogs and news sources such as WSJ and CNBC. How did they accomplish all of this in such a short time? By doing two things. One is that they provide good quality content. The other is that they left another quality blog at TickerSense to start their own. In addition to the blog they have premium services but the free posts are very much worth your time if you are interested in investments.
This review might sound like an advertisement but this is actually a non-solicited review. That of course means that we at Blog Raters actually like and read this blog regularly. As bloggers we like how fast they were able to grow their blog and accumulate 3,267 backlinks already (according to Yahoo). They are also some of the first people to leave one successful blog and launch their own while seemingly retaining the majority of their readers. As investors we like the insight that they provide into the markets. They do a lot of quantitative analysis as well as some common sense/chart analysis.
Altogether this is an interesting site for both the blogger looking to see how to grow their business and for the investor trying to get an edge or hopefully a bigger edge.
Way Of The Turtle.com
If you have been following the trading game for a while or have read “The Market Wizards” by Jack Schwager you have probably heard of “The Turtles.” Basically Richard Dennis bet his business partner William Eckhardt that you could teach people how to trade a system and they could do pretty much as well as they did. William Eckhardt didn’t think that “anyone” could be a trader. He felt that you needed some special skills to be successful. So they did an experiment by running an ad in the Wall Street Journal and interviewed a few hundred people for positions as traders for their trading firm.
Well Richard Dennis ended up winning the bet. While several of the candidates ended up blowing up (losing all their money) a few did extremely well more then making up for the losses of others. Well these people became known as the turtles. The turtles signed a lot of non-disclosures and so they did not talk to the press except in extremely general ways for years. But the past few years that has changed. Curtis Faith (the most profitable of the turtles) came back to the public eye. He built Trading Blox Software a back-testing system building software, wrote a book, and most recently a blog.
His blog is filled with great trading related entries such as this one on Fundies vs. Technicals, this post on The Four Levels of Competence, and here is one on Thinking. Basically you get to read posts related to trading by a man who has been successful trading hundreds of millions of dollars at a time. In addition to the blog he has his book and while I am not trying to sound like a commercial the book is excellent and worthy of your time if you are into trading. Here is another blog to add to your RSS reader so you don’t miss any posts.
Life Learning Today.com
LifeLearningToday.com is a blog that writes about what “Agent Sully” has learned. Apparently Agent Sully has learned a lot because the majority of the posts are very comprehensive. And even more importantly there is actually something to learn in most of them. What part of life does this blog cover? All of it. Some of it like this post do an excellent job talking about what it takes to be a good and successful blogger. Other articles like this long and comprehensive post on How to Write a Book are applicable to even more people.
It is not all writing and blogging however. Here is a post on an amazingly simple diet and even posts on Parenting. As the name implies this site covers everything that its site owner knows and learns about life. If you are into self improvement this should be in your RSS reader.
The Legal Scoop.com
The Legal Scoop.com was started in February of this year by four law students whose common connection apart from Law is that they have all lived in Tennessee at some point in time. They write their posts from a few different perspectives. First off they don’t take themselves too seriously. Yes, that means sometimes they make lawyer jokes like this Legal Humor. Since they are all in law school right now they also post tips for students like this Finals Prep. But the bulk of the site is comments on different law related news topics. Such as this recent one on Michael Vick the quarterback.
For the most part their posts are clearly written and do a good job of explaining themselves. Once again Law School tends to make people a better writer. They have also managed to keep the site free of clutter and it is easy to navigate. Overall if you want to keep abreast of legal happenings then it is worth your time to be an active reader or RSS subscriber to this site.
Frugal Law Student.com as the name implies is about a guy (his name is Brett Mckay) who is going to law school and trying in his own words to “mitigate my crippling law school debt.” That is a valiant if not an almost impossible goal.
While there are many blogs talking about how to save a buck here and there most of them don’t articulate themselves well. Brett is not only a personal finance writer but he is a law student. If any of you know anything about law school it is that they read and write and then write some more. I think that writing legal briefs all day long has helped Brett become a good writer. Read some of these posts Iron Your Shirt Like a Pro, 180 Money Saving Tips, and Improve Your Law School Exam Grades and pay attention to the detail of the posts.
This site is useful to anyone trying to save money and is very useful to anyone going to law school. Brett sounds like a smart and resourceful guy. It will pay to read his blog.
This opportunity comes special from CourtneyTuttle.com
Basically if you can guess how much he will make this month within $1.00 he will give it to you. I doubt I get it but on the chance I am right it would me a nice pay day for a post that took 3 minutes to type.
My guesses are
Make Money Online $536
Make Money Online $576
Make Money Online $632
* Create a post on your blog, copy these rules and paste them into the post.
* Make a guess! Link to my homepage with the text ‘make money online $1.00′, replacing the $1.00 with the amount of your guess. Example: make money online $100.56.
* Leave this link to the rules page intact.
* Use my contact page to confirm your entry by letting me know (make sure to include the URL of your post)! I will find most of them, but let me know to make sure!
Special Rule Through 5/18/2007
* If you make your guess before midnight, MDT on 5/18/2007, I will allow you to make 3 guesses. If you want to make 3 guesses, you’ll have to make 3 links. You still only need to make 1 post.
What Do You Have To Lose?
Random Roger is a blog dedicated to investing. For the most part Roger focuses on the intermediate to long term with his investment wisdom and ideas. He focuses a lot on ETF’s and global investing along with what he is doing with his money and client money. He is very common sense oriented. Of course along with common sense he does his DD on the topics that he writes about. What do I mean by that? Well due diligence is when you realize that you need to actually do research into the big picture, medium picture, and small picture. For instance when he writes about ETF’s he actually looks at the holdings and what makes this ETF different from another ETF with the same theme. Here is a good example of ETF research. Now you might ask “what is so different about that?.” Well I would venture to say that 80% of financial advisers that use ETF’s or Mutual Funds could even tell you one of the top 10 holding for any of its funds, or what the expense ratio is, or a host of other factors. Most just know that the SPY is the SP500, OIH is the oil industry, etc. Not very detailed oriented. Contrast that with Roger who not only looks at the big picture but the micro picture as well. Remember the devil is in the details.
A few other notes about this blog is that he has been at it for three years now. A long time for a blogger. He also does a weekly review video that he posts using YouTube. He calls it the Big Picture. Overall this site has a lot of good info. Both current ideas as well as just good investment habits are written almost daily on this site. If you are sick of high strung Jim Cramer then give low key and calm RandomRoger.com a visit and actually learn.
Cooking for engineers is one of the more popular cooking sites out there. The writer Michael Chu apparently is an engineer and by the look and organization of the site he is. He started the blog a few years ago in an effort to have his own online recipe storage database. Obviously it turned into more then that. It is now a full blown cooking website with recipes, cooking tips, reviews on cooking utensils, appliances, etc. Overall it is a very comprehensive blog.
Overall blog design is excellent. He either built it himself or had someone build it because it is one of the nicer put together and functional blogs I have seen. Clicking on any of the header titles makes a very nice and organized drop down menu that I have not seen before on a blog. Another design element that he does better then most is that he takes good pictures. If you have posted pictures yourself you understand that a good picture actually takes some work to put up. Michael takes the time to make it look good.
Cooking for Engineers content is not only organized but well presented. Together with the site functionality it really makes this site shine. For instance click on Recipes and then find Pan Seared Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce or just click HERE. To tell the truth almost every one of the recipes is that well done this one just caught my eye. The recipe and pictures goes step by step so that anyone but the worst cook could make this. As someone who cooks I can also say that his presentation of the finished dishes is excellent. Almost every final picture is Cooking Channel worthy.
So overall what do I think of this site? If you have read to here you can tell that I like it. It is one of the top five cooking blogs that I look at out of probably 50. So if you cook take a trip to Cooking for Engineers and see what you can learn or find a new recipe. You won’t be disappointed.
The Big Picture
If you are into trading, finance, or really anything to do with the financial markets you should be reading Barry Ritholtz regularly. If you like Jazz you should stop by at least weekly. You might be wondering why would I go to a market blog to read about music? Well Barry does an excellent job of blending together his primary interests. If you got to his site you will see that in the header he has six different categories. They are Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, Housing, Energy, and Digital Media. He uses the digital media category quite liberally covering everything from the Ipod and what it has done for APPL to Friday Night Jazz.
That being said the vast majority of his content is related to the markets. He posts at least once a day but usually 2-3 times. He hails from the trading world and then became a market strategist. These days he runs his own research firm Ritholtz Research and Analytics. The research is good, clean, and easy to read. That talent comes through on his blog. In addition to the blog and the research firm Barry also writes for TheStreet.com.
Here are some samples of his work.
One from today explaining where the SP500 returns have come from SP500
Here is one on The Baltic Dry Index. Have you ever heard of it? Well it is actually useful so read this post and learn about it.
And the the whopper. Here is one of many excellent articles on the housing market and its effects on other industries and sectors Housing Slowdown and its Effects. If you want to know more about housing and the economy Barry is the man. He has a ton of posts related to this and they are well written so that the layman can read it and the professional can profit from it.
As you can tell I like this blog. I have been reading it for a few years now and throughout the trading day I go back to it 1-3 times. Yes, I get it in my RSS reader but guess what? I like reading the whole thing right away with all the charts. Whereas many of my feeds I read the headline and move on I think I read 90% of his posts all the way through. So go and make The Big Picture part of your daily readings. You will become smarter after day 2.
NakedShorts.com is a site dedicated to Wall Street and more specifically hedge funds, private equity funds, and other controversial subjects related to the street. Greg Newton is the writer and he has a sense of humor. Most of his posts are relatively taboo (except for nothing is taboo on Wall Street). Here is an example of a recent post regarding Red Sox owner and CTA fund manager John Henry. If you are a Sox fan and were wondering why they couldn’t bid as high as desired for The Rocket this might be the reason. Most of his funds are down 30% or more. WIll he rebound? Probably but that is yet to be seen.
He also follows other controversies such as this one Refco figure at Man Financial. In case you were wondering Refco is a futures brokerage that blew up a while back and lost a lot of customer money in the process.
If these types of posts of Wall Street gossip/news interest you then you will love Naked Shorts.com. He posts quite regularly so if you want to stay up to date stop in every day or two. Or as I do just put it in your RSS reader.