Terms of Use

Since the readership of this blog has risen to beyond a small circle of friends — we are now well over ~100 million visits, and regularly average ~million monthly page views — I thought it appropriate to list a full set of disclosures.

These include what you should from expect me, your humble blogger, but also what I expect from you, the reader. Consider these the guidelines governing appropriate behavior for all involved at The Big Picture.

The following covers the full site, my own investments, and any financial arrangements relevant to this blog:

  1. Privacy Policy:

We are obsessive about our privacy, and we assume you are also. I never share or resell our readers names or email addresses, PERIOD. Anyone who does needs to die slowly and painfully.

No more than 2 times a year, we may send you an update about your subscription. Given my general distaste for all matters administrative, I would not hold my breath waiting for these announcements. However, if you can hold your breath for that long a period of time, you may wish to explore a career as a pearl diver.

I can envision an emergency email, advising you to seek shelter, buy bottled water, get to higher ground, or obtain radiation detection equipment. Again, my general laziness makes this a low probability event. Not the flooding or nuclear accident — just our warning email about it.

Do not sign me up for any subscriptions I did not request. Unsolicited subscriptions, and foolish unrelated PR emails will be dealt with very very harshly. I am dead fucking serious about this, and will savagely xxxxmize those who fail to follow this rule.

  1. Content:

I try my best to give you a unique combination of original content, as well as referencing the best of what I find elsewhere — MSM, Wall Street, Video, other blogs. My posting pattern in a typical week looks like something this:

1) A longer original piece in the early in the week ;

2) A daily set of reads with Chart of the Day before 7am each morning;

3) A roundup of the latest Masters in Business podcast podcast Tuesday;

4) An interesting or intriguing graphic each week;

5) Longer form weekend reads (links) on Saturdays;

6) Something interesting/provocative/amusing towards the end of the week;

Of course, this is subject to my changing whims and my general level of sloth.

2b: Why I Write: Daniel Boorstin, the former librarian of Congress, once said “I write to discover what I think.” There is wisdom in that.

Here is my dirty little secret: I write for me, not the reader. If that sounds odd, or anti-social, or even selfish, well, perhaps it is all three of those things. But it is honest. I am always seeking the Truth, trying to discern what is reality and what is a false belief system. This is my raison d’etre.

I write to organize my thoughts, to figure out what I am really thinking.

I give you my unvarnished thoughts, warts and all. I like the freedom of expressing myself without self consciousness, or self-editing. If you find any of the items, humor or commentary politically incorrect, well, then, that’s too bad. You probably need to get a sense of humor. An alternative to consider getting your market fix elsewhere.

2c. Content: Several additional pieces of commentary, links, excerpts show up from elsewhere during the day — charts, news, other resources. The goal is to provide a stream of relevant information — leavened with my perspectives.

The category Think Tank provides occasional commentaries from the best writers/analysts I know. I have a great disdain for most the research from big firm Wall Street firms, but there are a small group of pros I have tremendous respect for. Many of them — Bond managers, economists, strategists, hedgies — end up posting in the Think Tank. Sometimes I agree with them, sometimes I disagree with them — but the space is supposed to be a salon for challenging various mainstream views with well argued alternatives.

My coverage of specific topics is governed primarily by a) my own interest in the subject matter, and whatever expertise in I might posses on a given subject. Questions such as “Why don’t you cover X or Y?” are typically answered thusly: “I have no interest or expertise in X or Y. Why don’t you cover it?” Unlike many others, I’d prefer to opine about topics where I have some expertise and hopefully something worthwhile to contribute to the discussion . . . 

  1. Market Positions:

If I am discussing a specific company and/or its stock, and I have a personal — or a firm/client position — in that stock, I will disclose that position at the end of the post, near the “sources” section. I err on the side of “more disclosure is better.”

I may or may not make such a disclosure if I am only discussing a given sector. (i.e., in a discussion of Oil/Energy, I may or may not disclose positions my ConocoPhillips or BP).

If I mention a stock that is also in an index, Apple or Microsoft in SPY/QQQ its not worth doing a separate disclosure each time. You know I think most people should own broad indices, myself included. (Disclosure: I own SPY & QQQs)

I try not to discuss small cap positions often, as they are too easily pushed around. I especially don’t like to  discuss small cap shorts. Since I prefer not to disclose short positions, but do want to maintain a full disclosure policy, I simply avoid posting on them. Readers should not assume that I have any position, long or short, merely because a stock is mentioned or ignored.

  1. Edits:  Once a post “sets,” there are no further edits or changes. I give myself an ~hour after posting to clean up grammar, spelling, etc. If a news event comes out that is the subject of the post, any further changes are frowned upon. In the event I come across something that simply MUST be changed , I will strike it out and leave it visible as the nearby text shows.

UPDATE: January 27, 2007 8:31am
I will occasionally add Updates, and they are clearly dated and time stamped, as above.

The gist of a post stays up forever. 

  1. Posting Comments: 

Please see our entire Comments Policy here.

6. Sources:

I am fastidious in sourcing all materials. Whether MSM or a blog, I link in the body of the post and source at the end of every post. If I excerpt a sentence or two, I usually “quote and italicize” to show its someone else’s writing.

I will indent and often present a different color for quoted text of longer lengths, beyond a sentence or two.

I often use graphics, photos and charts, and I try to disclose not only the media source but the actual photographer where possible.

Despite my best attempts, I will occasionally miss a source. Feel free to email me at thebigpicture-at-optonline-dot-net, with MISSED SOURCE in the subject line.

Important Note: If you email me an item that is not of your authorship, be sure to include the original source — otherwise, it appears that you are the author and are usurping credit.


  1. Blog Roll:

Every link in the blogroll is a site I visit occassionally. Given that it now has 100+, I get to some much more often than others. But if its there, I’ve read it. All I am trying to do is honestly represent what I filter thru.

Sorry, but because of the above, I do not “exchange” links or or swap blogrolls, and I assume that those who do are dishonest assclowns. I delete the email, reference this comment, and mark your address as spam.  Don’t even ask.

8. Media Appearances:

All media appearances (tv, print, radio) are unpaid. I show up, say what I believe, and go home. There are no fees, no scripts, no banking favors. I always disclose positions/conflicts to the producer/editors in advance.

If time permits, I spit out my personal/client positions on air; Same goes for print.

I try to post a heads up on TV appearances in advance when I can, but since they tend to be last minute affairs, no promises.

Unlike the various Media hits, Speaking Appearances are well paid. More info about Speaking gigs can be found here.

9. Board of Directors: 

When discussing any company that may present a conflict (i.e., license or litigation) with a private firm I am affiliated with, I will make a disclosure when relevant. There are several other private firms I am involved with; our disclosures are prominent when discussing these.

10A.  Investment philosophy:

If you are an individual managing your own portfolio, as a general rule, I favor dollar cost indexing on a monthly basis. For most people of moderate means, this is the lowest risk, highest return approach. No stock selection, no market timing, nothing exotic. (See this post for more details)

The hardest part about dollar cost averaging is that when you should be doing it the most, every instinct in your body will be telling you not to. When it comes to the capital markets, your instincts are invariably wrong. For more on this, go read You Just Ain’t Built For It.

For those (both professionals and civilians) who want to try to beat the market, well, there are many ways to attempt that. We explore that (somewhat skeptically) on occasion ’round here.


10B.  Investment advice: We do not offer investment advice on this site. That’s here not only because the lawyers insisted, but because its true.

Consider: I have no idea what your financial goals may be. I am unfamiliar with what your risk tolerances are. I don’t know your personal income, age, savings, financial circumstances, dependents, net worth, what tax bracket you are in. Hell, I do not even what country you live in.

There are some people who would find these things quite relevant.

This site is a great place to come if you want to learn about some of the market/economic issues of the day, and see them discussed with a somewhat contrarian bend. I have a tendency to push back against the mainstream thought processes. I like to explore ideas I find interesting and relevant.

But its a blog, for crying out loud. Professionally, I manage money for a living, and I research and market and economic commentary as part of that process. You get what you pay for — and this is free.

10c.  How I can tell that you are an idiot: My all-time favorite comment (for two reasons) is this: “I bought/sold/stayed out of the market because of something I read here.”

The first reason I love that comment is that it makes me wonder how someone as dumb as you actually accrued enough money to buy a stock (male prostitution must be more lucrative than I previously surmised). Further, it reveals you as a 1) moron; or b) troll. IP addresses can be quite revealing.

The second reason is that if your investment philosophy is dependent upon what you read in the media or even worse, on a blahg, well then you definitely need to go back and rethink your investing philosophy. Pronto. Perhaps, the simpler explanation is that you are an idiot (a high probability bet).

Regardless, you need a wake up call. Let me give you a head start on that process: Go read Lose the News.”

And try to be less of a money-losing schmuck in the future.
11. Amazon.com:

I occasionally make recommendations for products that I like or use. Many of these have Amazon links.

This generates boatloads of usable data, and some minor revenue from Amazon. Purchases create an associate fee (minimum = 4%, average = ~7%) that averages out to a few shekels a month. More important than the revenue (less than 1% of my income) is the data it generates. In late 207, we could tell retail sales were slowing due to the sales drop; In early 2009, we could tell they were recovering. Each month, we also create a list of books purchased by TBP readers. This is possible due to the data each embedded Amazon link creates. (Note I also link to an artist’s official site, their Facebook/MySpace page, a YouTube video, or an IMDB entry when appropriate).

Anything linked to in these pages are my hand selected choices; no else has any input or influence on this but me. (Again, don’t even think of asking).
12. Freebies, product placement, payola:

I do not accept any “blog product placements” nor am I willing to accept blog payola. I have made a special exemption for any product manufactured by Ferrari S.p.A. from this rule.

As to “freebies,” there is already too long a queue of books patiently awaiting my attention. I don’t have time to read or review the vast majority of books out there. If you send me an unsolicited book, I will simply throw it away,
13. Advertising:

We do not sell key words, blog links, placement of any not readily recognizable commercial advertising. If you ask, I will place a voodoo curse on you, make your genitals shrivel over the course of many years. Than they will fall off.

We happily accept advertising: We charge $10,000 per commercial Trackback or Comment linking back to your site or product or service.  Eg., 3 trackbacks = $30,000.

By placing any commercial advertisement on this site, you agree to these terms and conditions: That you will pay the aforementioned fee promptly, that you agree to be governed by the laws of New York State and where appropriate, New York City, that you agree to jurisdiction in the great State of New York. You further agree that you are jointly and severably responsible for what any 3rd party does on your behalf, including but not limited to PR or Advertising or Marketing firms.

We will bill you promptly. Failure to pay will force the balance to be put into collections, where you will also be responsible for costs and legal expenses. You agree to jurisdiction in any small claims court of my choosing, or in the alternative, any court in New York State of my choosing.

Non-Trackback or Non-Comment advertising is available at a negotiated rate.


  1. Guest Blogging:

Everything I post is either written by me, or someone I know for many many years. If I don’t know you for at least a decade, don’t even ask. I don’t have time to vet the dozens of requests that come in each day, and so I mark them as spam and delete them.

Seriously, what the fuck makes anyone think I want their bullshit post on my blog?  If you are a blogless writer of little skill or insight don’t offer that shit to me — that’s what Seeking Alpha is for.


  1. Confidentiality:

Any information we obtain from legitimate commentors is strictly confidential. This includes email addresses, IP address and actual names. They will not be revealed unless we receive a valid subpoena from a legitimate law enforcement agency or court of law. Spammers, Trolls and Asshats receive no such guarantee . . .


Last Updated:  October 1, 2013

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