The Law of Contrary Public Opinion
"I subscribe to the law of contrary public opinion... If everyone thinks one thing, then I say, bet the other way..."
In what I'd describe as one of history's greatest sales movies, GlenGarry GlenRoss, character Ricky Roma subscribes to the law of contrary public opinion. His sentiment is one that echoes loudly in my life on a day to day basis. Recently, it's a quote that's weighed heavily on my mind as our industry sees a shift.
Consumer sentiment has been off the charts in the marketplace over the last year. Home values have skyrocketed. The stock market has done the same. So what did I do? Take on debt? Spend? NOPE. When everyone else has been spending, I've been positioning.
Will the market take a dip? Will my income? Will the entire industry implode leaving us all wondering what we'll do next? While I don't think any of that will happen, it's nice to know that even if it did, I'd be fine. I've taken the good times to position myself with next to no debt, and all the flexibility in the world.
Contrary public opinion can lead to some really great things, because some of the best opportunities are missed by the masses. Think about it - when did we learn the exact moment home values hit their low point? How about stocks? Once the values (and prices) went back up, of course! Who made a killing? The folks who jumped into the fire, and succeeded in an environment of fear! When everyone thought real estate was collapsing completely and the stock market was a fools errand, that's when they jumped in! And they got the lowest rates, the lowest prices, and are in a tremendous position today!
I wasn't in a position to have contrary public opinion help me in 2008. I am today. When the world tells me to buy, that's when I'll sell. When popular opinion is "spend", I'll save. When Ebert tells me I can't miss a film, I'll wait for the DVD (blueray, stream, I don't know, what do people watch movies on after the theater these days?). When the market says Bitcoin is the future, I'll pass on that.
And do yourself a favor. There's some coarse language, and some inappropriate stuff in the mix - but if you've never seen Glengarry GlenRoss, grab yourself a cup of coffee, pop in that DVD, and get ready to be entertained.