Know the playing field.

A good PVP player will tell you that success requires understanding the terrain.  Knowing what your goals are in Arathi Basin  and where to go to achieve those goals are key to getting your honor points at the end of the day.  (Am I dating my time in WoW by mentioning Honor Points?  Most likely).  Also understanding how other players react to the field is important as well.  Where are the hotspots?  Watching out for repetitive behavior is key to understanding a PVP match.  This concept is also key to doing better in the market.
There is another side to this coin.  If you don’t understand something, don’t expect to play it well.  As the example in the intro illustrates: I didn’t understand the market forces which lead to the collapse of the industry, and lost money.  The same will happen to you.  If you are a gamer looking to start investing the first advise is to learn as much as you can about what you are going to invest in.  It is actually far easier to stay on top of the market as a whole.
Advice #1: Play the market, not the stock.
Unless you really know a particular company very well (say Activision Blizzard for example) don’t try and play just one stock.  Instead look for things called Exchange Traded Funds (ETF).  This kind of fund should have very low costs, because a human doesn’t get paid to manage it.  If you find one with high costs, run away.  Find a different one.  An ETF just tracks the market.  That’s all.  Instead of paying attention to one particular stock now you just have to pay attention to what’s happening overall.
Advice #2: Collect Good Information.
For weeks NPR has been talking about troubles in the market because of the stagnation on the rise of the debt ceiling.  And the market slipped a little bit more each day.  Were you paying attention?  Were you taking action based on that information?  This is like a big red zone in the heat map.  The thing to pay attention to is ‘nervousness’ when investors are nervous the stock market drops.  In this post, lets avoid the issue of what to do when the market drops, we’ll talk about that in future posts…  But for now simply understand that although you cannot predict specific behavior in the market, at times you can really get a great idea of the increasing likely hood of a drop in the market.  Last weeks “Market Meltdown” is a great example.
I’m going to apply more gamer strategies to business over time, but for now, lets keep this post to that one tip.  So now that we know we need to pay attention to something, where can we find great places for that information?  Preferably places that don’t include a lot of craziness.  Some great suggestions come up next week!

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