What is this?
August 5, 2021

Maybe a better question to start with is who is this?

I’m Justin. I started my career in the stock market, and then I went into startups, with a focus on analytics and making sense of big data.

Now I’m interested in stocks again, and, in my mid-30s, I’m still confused about what is happening in markets and the economy. From what I can tell, everyone else is confused too – and that’s what makes things interesting.

One reason we’re confused is we can’t see the big picture. We’re processing attention-grabbing headlines, social media posts, and one-off charts; then we’re trying to put this jumble of factoids into a narrative that justifies what is happening. This is not only reactive and headache-inducing, but it’s a dangerous way to develop an opinion. It’s reductive; it fosters group-think, confirmation bias, and false confidence.

We can’t all be experts. And there are some fantastic people synthesizing and sharing insights about markets. But things are constantly in motion, and as an investor and a citizen, I want to monitor trends and spot changes first-hand.

Ultimately, I realized that I needed good analytics – thoughtful, grokkable, repeated patterns to track changes in financial markets. I needed the types of reports I built at startups. So I gathered up gigabytes of price, fundamental, and economic data, and I put it into a data warehouse. I started writing queries, building charts, and scheduling emails. I went nuts – way, way overboard.

What started as a personal project became a fixation, because I realized that many of these reports were useful. Unlike many investors and economists, I can’t easily grok the magnitude of the countless raw numbers we see reported on a daily basis; but with clear, familiar data visualizations, I can take in the same information faster, more easily, and more durably. These reports are improving my worldly comprehension and my confidence.

Tangled Lines is an experiment to see if others find my reports useful. It’s an email list that delivers automated reporting, along with occasional commentary. It’s like internal hedge fund research, for everyone.

I can’t promise to unconfuse us, but I’d love to share some colorful charts and an occasional insight. Much like the United States economy, Tangled Lines is a work-in-progress and will change constantly, hopefully for the better. If this sounds interesting, sign up, and please reach out with ideas, bugs, feedback, or to say hello.

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