Temporal Spatial Arbitrage

Temporal spatial arbitrage is a phrase I’ve used for a number of years to describe what I do. There are many definitions of arbitrage, each emphasizing a different aspect (an interesting historical perspective is here). In ancient times (i.e. my childhood) the emphasis was on trades that took advantage of the movement of goods over distance. Today the emphasis is on simultaneous trades like index arbitrage. But when both time and space are considered, all choices in life can be viewed as trades entered in one point in an n-dimensional space and exited at another, where everything, including you, will be different in some way.

I view temporal spatial arbitrage as a very expansive, connected view of trading and an equally expanded definition of a trade. In The Education of a Speculator, Victor Niederhoffer wrote of market ecology and choosing the best niche. James Montier has written about the Keynesian beauty contest aspects of markets, where meta levels of analysis are needed. NLP often emphasizes compatibility with personal ecology, avoiding conflicts and being congruent with yourself. I’m intending all that and more.

There are markets for financial instruments, assets and commodities of all sorts; for you as an employee, as a friend, or a mate; for memes, ideas and IP (unfortunately in that case). Defined very broadly a trade is composed of a larger web of interconnections, undertaken with the intent of improving your life. Your relationships affect your stock trades and vice versa. Where you live, what you live in, your background, your attitudes, your job, interactions you have with others, and a near infinite number of other factors all create feedback loops within the process. A trade is any conscious choice between those factors or sets of factors. This is closely related to the Top 5 regrets of the dying. Life is a process composed of a multitude of choices, and the choices about how you spend your time are the biggest trades you will ever make.

If all of life can be seen as trading, then treat it that way.  In the very broadest sense: What is your trading business plan? What is your risk management plan? What returns are you seeking? How will you select trades and evaluate results? What’s the simplest, cheapest, most direct way to get the results you want? What assumptions are you making? More than anything else, what is your edge? Be merciless in your analysis. Mortality sucks. Regardless of the ends you aim to achieve, and whether or not you achieve them, if you aren’t enjoying the process of life you’re completely missing out. So what’s your next trade?


8 thoughts on “Temporal Spatial Arbitrage

  1. Pingback: » Morality Sucks: Temporal Spatial Arbitrage I heart Wall Street.

    • Thanks so much. I think there are still too many large leaps of inference or intuition required for it to be readily understandable so I think your wife should probably be calling you brilliant more often if it made sense to you.

      • I meant every word — it’s the enigma of life, choice, and freedom that you capture — Love it. I re-read it from time to time trying to dive deeper into the unsolvable riddle of life. cheers!

      • I’m thinking about a Venn diagram addendum to present some ideas a bit differently and see if I can make the target more clear/tangible.

        Mercenary Trader’s recent posts on metaprocess are in a similar vein too.

  2. Pingback: The ultimate blogger quiz: advice better ignored | Abnormal Returns

  3. Pingback: Finance blogger wisdom: advice better ignored | Abnormal Returns

  4. Pingback: Finding An Edge in Life | Mortality Sucks

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