Parsons’ Rules

April 10, 2012

Bob Parsons is the founder of GoDaddy is the domain name site with those obnoxious Superbowl ads — and the company that made Parsons a billionaire.

(I guess when you’re a billionaire you can get away with an awful looking earring.)

Many years ago, I came across “Parsons’ Rules” — a list of 16 rules for success in business and life. They struck me as pretty damn good.

I was reminded of Parsons’ Rules while tinkering with another project this weekend, and realized they also apply to trading.

So here they are (original list here):

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone. I believe that not much happens of any significance when we’re in our comfort zone. I hear people say, “But I’m concerned about security.” My response to that is simple: “Security is for cadavers.”

2. Never give up. Almost nothing works the first time it’s attempted. Just because what you’re doing does not seem to be working, doesn’t mean it won’t work. It just means that it might not work the way you’re doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn’t have an opportunity.

3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think. There’s an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be. Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of “undefined consequences.” My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, “Well, Robert, if it doesn’t work, they can’t eat you.”

5. Focus on what you want to have happen. Remember that old saying, “As you think, so shall you be.”

6. Take things a day at a time. No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don’t look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.

7. Always be moving forward. Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.

8. Be quick to decide. Remember what General George S. Patton said: “A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

9. Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate. If you want to uncover problems you don’t know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven’t examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.

11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.

12. Never let anybody push you around. In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you’re doing as anyone else, provided that what you’re doing is legal.

13. Never expect life to be fair. Life isn’t fair. You make your own breaks. You’ll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).

14. Solve your own problems. You’ll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you’ll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: “You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others.” There’s also an old saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: “A wise man keeps his own counsel.”

15. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

16. There’s always a reason to smile. Find it. After all, you’re really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!”

Bring me that horizon,

JS (

p.s. This “Forgotten Market Wizard” booked 41.6% compound returns over thirty years.

Our “Interview With a Trading Legend” reveals the best trader you’ve probably never heard of…

Click here for more information, or tell us where to email it below!


Recent Inspiration & Insight (scroll for archives)

Like this article? Share!

2 Responses to Parsons’ Rules

  1. mikec74 on April 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Any updated thoughts on U.S. long bonds/TLT? Do you consider retaking the 140 level (long bond)/114 (TLT) as significant?  What was the March breakdown a false breakdown and not a reversal of the uptrend to a primary downtrend?

    On a different note, sometimes the market just hands you your ass. After totally missing the breakdown in the yen and not catching any of that down move. I took a big position (for me) when bonds broke down shorting 2 ZB at 138 and 8 ticks which is definitely a violation of risking no more than 2%. I think maybe it is time to go to the beach. How do you know when to come back?

    • Jack Sparrow on April 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      We're flat in bonds right now… jobs report threw a monkey wrench into that trade. Re, going to the beach and coming back, we'd argue for working out rules and parameters beforehand — based on a combination of specific factors like capitalization, mental state, market conditions etc. etc. It's a worthwhile discussion with some depth to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Current ye@r *