Inside a Trading Blog

12/21/2012 8:30 am EST

Focus: TOOLS

Tim Knight

Principal, Tim Knight Organization, LLC

A candid interview with longtime blogger Tim Knight, who explains the goal of his blog and why he is hooked on writing it after so many years.

My guest today is Tim Knight, and he has a hugely popular blog called Slope of Hope. We're going to talk to him today about what he's learned after so many years of blogging. Tim, big popular blog. Give us some lessons learned over the years of blogging and what you've learned and how it's helped you trade as well.

Sure, well I've been at this's my eighth year now. I went into it at the urging of my wife. I thought it was just a fad at the time, but it's become a really important part of my life now.

I guess there are two or three things I've taken away from the experience. One of them is that the community is everything. The culture of the community has to start from the top. If you go onto blogs, a lot of people are hesitant to participate because it's just a very friendly environment. Trading is a blood sport and there are a lot of strongly opinionated people out there.

All through these years, I've tried to make Slope a place that is friendly and helpful, and frankly, kind. That becomes obvious to people who come there for the first time. It's a safe place to ask questions or learn from others. I think that's part of the reason why it's so popular both as a blog and also in the comment stream.

The second point is about the comments themselves. Most blogs get zero or five or ten comments a day on each post because not a lot of people have much to say and it's sort of showing up at a party. It's like a table with a punch bowl and nobody around, so it's just not worth hanging around.

Slope is not a highly trafficked blog, but it gets 1,500 comments every single day; tons of comments, totally compelling content. The reason I think is that it feeds on itself. I think part of the reason it does is because I built the comment system from scratch, to be very friendly to financial content and a lot of fun things like avatars and badges you can earn. Once people are there, they stay there and it's become their home.

The final thing I think is that for any blogger, the good news and the bad news is that people choose to stay stuck. It's sort of like your bank. If a bank comes to your town and says change to us, move your account to our bank, we'll give you 0.1% better, you're not going to bother because it's a pain in the neck. Same with blogs; once people find a home, they stay there.

That's really, really good if you have a big audience because they're going to stay. It's really, really bad if you're new on the scene and are trying to draw these people away. It takes time. Again, I've been at this for eight years. I have not a huge audience, but it's a consistent audience, and I have a blast doing it because by writing about it each day I have to explain to a serous audience why I'm doing what I'm doing.

I was just going to say has it helped you trade better, but maybe the question is have you ever changed your mind because of a comment discussion where you put a point out there and they've convinced you maybe the opposite is true?

Yeah, definitely. I don't have as much time as I'd like to hang around the comment stream and read everything. I definitely am influenced usually for the better by the comments being made.

The real thing is that I don't have just responsibility for myself, I have to think seriously about what I'm saying to them as an audience because I feel a responsibility to them, but  more importantly I don't want to look like a complete doofus if I'm coming out there all time with crummy calls.

I'd rather be right most of the time ,so I have to really put myself under the lamp, saying, "Is what you're saying backed by good solid analysis and logic?"

Finally, I know with Twitter the 140 characters have been really popular for somebody who doesn't maybe want to take the time to do a blog, yet I feel like there's something missing there. What I get from Slope of Hope is a more in-depth discussion which I think you don't get as much with Twitter. Maybe people would argue with me there, but is that why you continue to do it? It's a lot more work to do a post than it is to do 140 characters.

Yeah, it is. I love doing it. I've never considered stopping, and the fact is that even if I did want to stop, I'm not sure I could because frankly where are these people going to go?

I feel a certain obligation like this is their home. It's a bearish blog. There aren't many like it, and they feel comfortable there. I've sort of opened the party, it's popular, and I have to keep the discs spinning.

No reason to close it down.

That's right.

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