One of the good things about being young is that you can trade stupidity for time – this is the strategic advantage of being young. The excess time you have remaining in your account enables you to recover from the majority of stupid things we all do when we are young. At the AIA conference I noted that the participants contained a large number of people who were still trying to trade stupidity for time but without the luxury of time. Often when you go to a conference the audience has an expectation of being offered something magical, as if someone has the secret to overcome a lifetime of very poor decisions. Rarely, is this true.
Such a situation did cause me to ponder as to why people get themselves into the situations they do and interestingly the conference gave me an answer. When you present anywhere you are pressed for time, an average session lasts only 50 minutes and there is not a lot you can do in that time. My approach is to only try and deliver one or two actionable points and to point the participants at resources that they can follow up on. To facilitate we put together a page with a video for he actual presentation I delivered, accessory notes and follow up references. I believe its important to do this because most of what you see at conferences is a mixture of half- arsed hyperbole and childish homilies. There is very little evidence to support anything any of the presenters say and this in turn creates problems for people attending. Coming from a different background I tend to believe in evidence – without evidence you are simply an arsehole with an opinion and the financial markets are full of arseholes.
It was in putting these resources together that I learnt the reason why the majority of people are where they are – they are lazy. Of all those that attended my session only 7% bothered to visit the resource page and download the additional material. As Woody Allen said – 80% of success is showing up. My guess is a lot of these people didnt bother to turn up to their own lives when important decisions needed to be made.