James Altucher Q&A Transcript

In baseball, the term “5-tool player” is often used to describe a ball player who brings a wide variety of skills to his game. James Altucher can best be described as the StockTwits Community’s 5-tool player.

Trading, investing, running a hedge fund, competing in chess, business start ups, journeys to India to practice yoga – James has done it all. And then done more.

These topics and more were discussed in this week’s live Q&A with @jaltucher…..


StockTwits: Welcome to the Afternoon Q&A with James Altucher (@jaltucher).

jaltucher: Beginning my answers now but keep on asking til 4:30.

JenShahade: how much time do you put into writing your blogs? Do you edit them on paper or read them aloud to make them flow so well?

jaltucher: Each post takes me about 3-6 hours, including 3 full edits. No paper. I finish first draft by 8-9am. Read 2 hours first.

JenShahade: Who are your favorite chessplayers?

jaltucher: Duncan Suttles, Kramnik, Fischer, and the Shahade siblings are my favorite chessplayers. And “Chess Bitch” is a must-read.

DomainNoob: Is there a list of your current biotech stocks online anywhere?

jaltucher: There’s no list but I own $CIGX, PIP, SIGA, SGYP.pk and 3 others i haven’t written about yet.

StockSage1: Why do you play the modern/hippo defense? And do your kids play chess?

jaltucher: I’ve been playing it since i was 17 since few people know the theory. At least back then.

1nvestor: Favorite childhood memory?

jaltucher: Realizing that Beth Wesloh in 5th grade might like me.

pf_hayes: If you could give ONE piece of advice while on your death bed, what would it be?

jaltucher: My deathbed advice would be: make honesty/lie ratio as close to 1:0 as possible.

harmongreg: What is your favorite cheese and do you put mayonaise on your sandwiches? Oh, and do you like trading or writing better?

jaltucher: I hate cheese AND mayo AND trading. Writing much better.

Techinsidr: Are you bullish or bearish on the $GRPN / $ZYNGA IPOs?

jaltucher: I’m bullish on Zynga, neutral on $GRPN, but bullish on IPO market coming back. Means a lot of VC exits.

seldomawake: Any tricks to get over writer’s block?

jaltucher: 5 tricks to get over writers block: A) 3 cups of coffee. B) massive bowel movement C) write same day each day D) read before.

jaltucher: One more: Start in the middle. Dont stress the beginning.

Bmp135: What top two ‘spiritual’ to better yourself books do you recommend?

jaltucher: My book: http://j.mp/lU5Nwp and @ClaudiaYoga’s book. Then a whole list that i rotate through of about 10.

TheArmoTrader: How do we solve our deficit problem in 140 characters or less?

jaltucher: Solve deficit problem: eliminate both houses of congress and allow people to vote thru internet on every bill. Sell all public universities, roads, parking, and hospitals to private companies.

xiaohanzhang14: Any advice for getting motivated to write everyday as a finance/economics blogger?

jaltucher: Write at the same time each day. Persistence builds consistency. It trains your brain.

in10sive: In all honesty, your sense of the economy near and long term?

jaltucher: In all honesty, I think we’re in year 3 of a 6 year cycle. The best thing to do today is just sit on hands til 2014.

Spyder_Crusher: Suppose one wants to convey the hard work and positive feedback from a trading/market blog to a prospective employer. Thoughts?

jaltucher: Compile it all in one file and mail it to everyone in organization. If no positive response then quit your job.

CoachGogo: How can I make people better than me feel like I am better than they are? :)

jaltucher: Stand up straight when you talk to them, breathe deeper than they are breathing. Sleep 8 hours a day.

bclund: How come you don’t write more about your kids and your experiences of being a father?

jaltucher: I should write more about being a dad. Maybe I’m afraid I’m not very good at it.

HHbel: Will you ever start a new hedge fund again? Are publishers contacting you to write a book ?

jaltucher: People have asked me to start a new hedge fund, but not interested right now. Publishers don’t talk to me anymore.

HHbel: Last week I sent you an SMS : grtz from Belgium –  after I saw your number in a post. Did you get it?

jaltucher: I don’t usually read SMS messages or listen to voicemail unfortunately.

HHbel: Any regrets?

jaltucher: I regret losing all the money i did in 2000-2002. I regret not being more present as a father 2006-2008.

SteveRomain: How do you reset?

jaltucher: EVERYTIME I’ve needed to make a transition (MANY MANY times) I’ve had to start with this: http://j.mp/hLROkK. Its the only thing thats every worked for me for 30 years.

kunaalarya: Where the hell do i build the discipline and focus to the shit i really want to do in life?

jaltucher: If you follow this for 6 months http://j.mp/hLROkK life will be 100% different and you’ll see. I’m working on a post which is a modified version to get into the discipline in an easier way.

davideiselt: Any chance I could play you in chess?

jaltucher: Sure, next time you are in NYC we’ll play a game.

GratefulTrader: Where/how do you find your best ideas?

jaltucher: I try 10 ideas at a time and let customers/readers tell me which ones are best.

lotus16: Have you tried Jivamutki Yoga there in New York?

jaltucher: I have not tried jivamukti. Only ashtanga.

joe_moulden: Do you like to travel?

jaltucher: Traveling wastes so much time its almost inexcusable.

JDMarshall: If you didnt have a top person to take equity (ex. Clarke&Cramer w/ Stockpickr) What marketing techniques would you have used?

jaltucher: I didn’t have just $TST for stockpickr but $AOL, $YHOO, Forbes, Reuters all giving distribution.

skepticave: How long were you married 1st time? How’d it end? …think u blogged about it before but can’t find it.

jaltucher: Was married 12 years. It ended before it began.

davideiselt: What do you think about $RIMM? Did they lose the retail business? Their phones are like on the 12th line on verizon’s webpage.

jaltucher: $RIMM invested in a biz i started in 2000. I had a Rim for 12 yrs. Just got rid of it. Thats what i think of $RIMM.

AhtiK: What was the first thing on your mind when you woke up today?

jaltucher: “who will i save in my secret superhero identity today?”

Follow James Altucher on StockTwits: @jaltucher

Read James’ blog: The Altucher Confidential.

– Compiled by Sean McLaughlin: Editor, StockTwits (@chicagosean)

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