The Maine Surprise Was Time

Data Dependence
Two Differences
Trade Talks
Financial Industry Changing
Gift of Time
Beaver Creek and New Plans

I’m back from Camp Kotok. As always, it was both rejuvenating and enlightening. The Maine woods, lakes, and general environment encourage more candor than I see most places. This, combined with David Kotok’s talent for assembling a diverse group and the always-marvelous Maine hospitality, made it another great success. It helps that David aggressively enforces Chatham House Rules and the Jackson Hole Rule. So you really don’t have to worry what you say.

Basically, Chatham House Rules say that you cannot quote anyone without their permission, but you can share your general impressions of the gathering. The Jackson Hole Rule says that if you overhear another conversation, don’t talk about it without permission. What happens at Camp Kotok stays at Camp Kotok.

However, this time did bring something new. Having gone 13 consecutive years now, I know many attendees and we speak throughout the year. And many of them write just as I do, so I get to get monthly or weekly updates on their thinking. I usually have some general sense of the group’s outlook even before I arrive, which lets me spend the time filling in details.

This year, I quickly sensed a more upbeat mood. Not that many that were wildly bullish, but most were positive or at least neutral. There weren’t nearly as many bears as I expected. “Cautious optimism” seemed to be the theme. That led me to refine my own views with a wide variety of participants. Today, I’ll do the same for you.