Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Humble Student turns 8 in Nov, time to retire?

Almost eight years ago, I wrote my first post on Humble Student of the Markets. While others have blogged in support of other business activities, such as financial advisory or asset management, this blog has been a labor of love. Other than the occasional seasonal charitable appeal, I have not asked my readers for anything other than their feedback and financial camaraderie.

While I continue to enjoy sharing my thoughts about the markets, what was once a simple sideline has turned into a significant drain on my time. In particular, the weekend market commentaries with its many charts and multi-dimensional analysis of macro, fundamental, technical and geopolitical analysis is exhausting for what amounts to be a "hobby".

I now face a critical decision, either significantly scale back or stop writing, or turn Humble Student of the Markets into a members only pay-site. Blog posts will be available and free to the public two weeks after they are published, while members get immediate and unlimited full access.

Please help me with my decision by completing the simple two question survey below (if the survey doesn't work, please use this link). If you have any comments or questions, feel free to email me at cam at hbhinvestments dot com.

Past posts of interest
Here are a few key highlights of Humble Student of the Markets:

Weekly market comment: The weekly market is what gets read the most. The latest one is here.

Timely market calls
Phoenix rising? Buy low-priced stocks a week before the March bottom in 2009, many of which doubled or tripled within a year

Why I am bearish (and what would change my mind) May 2015

Big picture macro analysis
Mario Draghi reveals the Grand Plan The eurozone Grand Plan for reforms - this has been the road map all along, ignore at your own peril
China turns Japanese? The long-term challenges to China's growth outlook
Inequality and the genetic lottery: Two views How the Left is both right and wrong on inequality
More evidence of a low return outlook Elevated valuations are pressuring long-term returns
A new golden age of demographic growth Expect a demographic tailwind for stocks and real estate by the end of this decade

Quantitative analysis
Examining your assumptions: The Fundamental Law of Active Management Using Grinold's Law of Active Management in real life
The limitations of Altman Z Why the Altman Z-Score doesn't work in all cases of solvency analysis

Investment policy and financial planning
The ABCs of financial planning Investment policy and asset-liability management concepts
Investment policy: Not just for pension funds Why you need an investment policy statement

Please complete the survey
Please complete the survey and help me make my decision (link here or survey below). Should I turn this into a real job instead of just a hobby?

Whatever my decision, I would like to thank all my readers for their feedback and support over the years.


netbacker said...

Broken link for the survey?

Cam Hui, CFA said...

Link fixed, try it now.

dxo said...

I thoroughly enjoy reading your weekly commentary. It's alot better than most of the trash out on the internet.

Anonymous said...

Because you explain your thought process so well I've enjoyed and learned from your posts for years. I consider your posts to be of value.

So why don't I respond via the survey? Because it gives only 3 choices: $365/yr, $200/yr, or nothing.

I should think you have thousands of active readers, and if you chose a lower subscription price you would get more subscribers out of that population. I think that if you charged $60/yr you would get so many more subscribers than you would at $200/yr you would make more money at $60/yr. 2000 subscribers at $60 gives an income of $120,000/year. Not really high pay but far better than the nothing you're getting now. At $200/yr, you need only 600 subscribers for the same income, but it may be much harder to get that number.

I don't know the number of readers you have, but you do. When you look at your site stats how many paying subscribers do you think you'll get at each price level?

Again, thank you for the years of education and entertainment.

Unknown said...

Strongly recommend you continuing your service.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered Patreon as a subscription model?

Rick T. said...

I agree with the anonymous commentator who felt your total revenues would be higher at a lower price than a higher price, but it is your business and your call. I rarely subscribe to any services, but would to yours.

Unknown said...

I am long time reader who enjoys your insight, thanks for sharing - I've been wondering for whilenow when u would start to charge... Though not really in favour of paying, I understand the work behind all this and voted for 200$. Still it seems a little high to me.

Know that I'd clearly prefer to pay instead of simply missing the "Humble Student", just saying you could maybe come up with another (cheaper) option, (ex. sunday comment only) for less money - just a thought.

Anonymous said...

For me, reading your blog is a labour of love, as it has been for you writing it, as well as CENTRAL to my investment activity. Your clarity of writing and broad perspectives distinguish your mini-essays from the best of the other commentators/advisors. 2nd place is far below you.
I would very much appreciate more timely notice of your buys and sells. Twitter is not adequate. Even better, I wish you would be able to manage my money; I understood you were prevented from taking non-Canadian clients. If that is still the case, is there no possible work-around that would make it possible. If needed, I would lie like hell to save you.
David Galin MD

Jules said...

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. It will always be one of my "go to" sites.

How about the Patreon model?

Anonymous said...

I would be 50/50 to subscribe at 100$. 0% > 150$ and 100% at 50%. Just another data point.

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed your blog, particularly your way of combining fundamental analysis with technical analysis and I wish you continued success.

Patreon is interesting and good for a web comic but that is probably not your target audience. Patreon is also about promoting a personality, so it that is what you want, you should try it. Patreon also takes 5% and there are additional credit card fees that range from 2-4%.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Hui.

I am a long time reader and every Sunday your Twitter feed and site are some of my favorite destinations. I hope you take my advice as someone with a lot of experience in the field and in business in general.

$199 and $365 are much too high.

For an annual "unlimited" subscription, the cost should be $49.99. You should also offer monthly "unlimited" subscriptions at $4.99 per month and finally the final option should be $2 per Sunday commentary (for a total of $104) if they pay every week rather than putting in for annual sub.

At the lower prices, you will have more loyal readers, and with more readers comes more referrals. We understand all the hard work you do, but at the prices you are suggesting people will just move on to the free alternatives (you use charts from Dana Lyons, Urban, JBoorman, etc) and you will be stuck with a smaller group of readers.

Thank you again for all you've done Mr. Hui, and we wish you the best of luck.

Alki G said...

I love your blog and would be happy to pay but perhaps you should make the prices seem lower with monthly rates?!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog. As with most good bloggers/sites, being good at it takes significant time and effort. You might think of posting less often also, along with a pay site.

Thanks for all your work.

Anonymous said...

I just now stumbled across your writing and blog from a post on Seeking Alpha. I am intrigued by your track record and report card. I completed the survey and my recently find you meant I voted no to payment.

However ... like many posters indicated, I subscribe very easily when a newsletter is priced at $59, $79, $99. Above that, I get real demanding.

Denali92 said...

The challenge you have here is what so many have with respect to monetizing their work.

SO many hard working, smart people would like to monetize.... but the market is crowded.... and for $200 a lot of people would expect even more work and effort....

I considered going the full blog route and decided that my work helped my trading enough to just keep it as my work. I publish when I want, and only when I want. One big benefit I found was that the process of posting and publishing the work significantly improved my results.

I have enjoyed your work and appreciate it, but I am afraid I will move on from it if you do go for a pay mdel.



Anonymous said...

Although a late comer, I really get a lot out of your posts and links and don't want that to go away. That said, the amount of pay sites I can afford would best be thought of as a function of my portfolio size. I'm afraid the family trust (joke) doesn't run to seven figures. So what I have to consider is canceling my subscription to Real Money, which shouldn't be too tough.

Anonymous said...

Your insights have helped me tremendously, both on a technical perspective and thinking holistically whilst trying to survive the current complexity in this trading environment. Can't thank you enough and sad that I will miss your postings if you go to a paid service. Thank you again for your hard work and generosity.

walt said...

I only glance through your curve-gazing technical analysis and cant imagine paying for them.

Beyond that, I enjoy and learn from your thoughtful essays.

Anonymous said...

Your writings are very insightful and help making investment decisions.
The price you are considering is way too high.
Plz consider something like 50 dollar a year.
Less lengthy posts and keep your weekends free of work.

Hope this is helpful.

Many thanks for all your mails up to now. Great!

LetUsHavePeace said...

I think you would be better advised to sell advertising and then offer a relatively low-priced subscription to the people who want to receive your content free of ads.