Nate Pile’s Bio
Nate Pile is the top-performing editor behind Nate’s Notes, an investment newsletter published for individual investors since 1995. Mr. Pile’s stock recommendations are independently tracked and ranked by The Hulbert Financial Digest – the definitive source for information when it comes to evaluating the real performance records of more than 180 financial newsletters.
According to Hulbert, Nate’s Notes has been ranked among the “Top 5 for real returns” numerous times over the years, periodically holding the prestigious #1 position for one-, three-, five-, ten-, and fifteen-year returns at various points in time. You are encouraged to verify these returns for yourself at The Hulbert Financial Digest.
If an investor wants to maximize their chances of making strong (but realistic) returns over the lifetime of their portfolio by following an unbiased analyst who always thinks for himself rather than following the herd on Wall Street, the data suggests Nate’s Notes is the way to go.
History of Pile’s Market Genius
Throughout his childhood, Mr. Pile was always intrigued by mentally challenging games. Though finding correct solutions to individual puzzles was his initial objective, Mr. Pile began to realize over time that rather than needing “a million different strategies for a million different puzzles,” all one really needed to do was recognize what sort of puzzle they were up against and then draw on their past experiences to choose the appropriate strategy (or strategies) for that particular category of problem.
For example, while in high school, Mr. Pile set the lofty goal for himself of “acing” the math portion of at least one of the two college entrance exams he would be taking in his junior year. The SAT was first on the list, and after leaving the testing center feeling 100% certain he had answered all but two of the questions correctly – but only 99% certain about those other two – he was both pleased and disappointed when he learned he had scored 780, a mere 20 points shy of a perfect 800. Clearly, he must have gotten at least one of those two problems wrong after all.
Mr. Pile was aware of the fact that on tests like the SAT and Achievement Test, incorrect answers count as a fractional penalty against the test taker’s score, whereas unanswered questions are given no points. Though he found the Achievement Test to be slightly more challenging than the SAT, Mr. Pile realized during the course of the test that he was 100% certain about the correctness of all but one of his answers this time around. After much deliberation, Mr. Pile made a decision to leave the question blank in order to avoid the risk of a penalty (even though it was not clear whether an “incomplete” test could be considered worthy of a “perfect score” in the eyes of the testing service). While Mr. Pile was ecstatic about the 800 printed on his test results when they arrived, he was just as proud of the fact that he had achieved that score by taking the time to understand the rules of the game and then incorporating that knowledge into his overall strategy.
Though it started out solving simple logic puzzles in grade school, his mathematical mind would ultimately play a major role in developing breakthrough strategies for outperforming one of the most complex games the world has ever known – the stock market. In hindsight, Mr. Pile now recognizes his experiences on those college entrance exams as one of his first bona fide encounters with the concept of “risk management,” as well as an early lesson on the importance of understanding subtle nuances in the rules of a game in order to gain a competitive advantage over others who may not have taken as much time to fully prepare themselves for success.
Test Perfection to the Markets: How Nate Initially Entered “the Biggest Game”
Way back in 1988, when he was a sophomore who had recently left the Electrical Engineering / Computer Science program at U.C. Berkeley to become “undeclared,” Mr. Pile’s roommate started getting phone calls every morning at 6:30 am. Though the early morning wake up calls were annoying at first (remember when phones used to RRRIIINNG for EVERYONE within earshot to hear?!), Mr. Pile became more intrigued when he learned it was actually an opening bell call from a day-trading pro who hailed from Mr. Pile’s hometown of Healdsburg, California! His college roommate was heeding the telephone advice to actively trade the markets every day… and Mr. Pile wanted to know more!
Mr. Pile had always loved puzzles, and mathematical puzzles really tickled a personal passion. As he began to follow his roommate’s stocks in the paper, Mr. Pile soon realized he was perhaps looking at one of the biggest puzzles he had ever seen… and he was soon passionately learning all he could about the stock market! At that time (and carrying through to today), it was more about being right than getting rich. For Nate, the real fun harkened back to “fixing” that 780 on the SAT – how could he examine the many variables and ever-evolving rules of the stock market game to formulate strategies that would improve his “score” in the game?
First experiences with an investment newsletter
During his last three years at Berkeley, Mr. Pile earned his degree in Mathematics while working 20-30 hours per week with legendary investor and newsletter publisher Jim McCamant (Founder and still Editor-at-large of The Medical Technology Stock Letter). Mr. Pile was given increasing levels of responsibility in the office as time went by, and when he finished his degree at Cal, he was named Associate Editor of a now defunct sister publication of MTSL called The AgBiotech Stock Letter.
The in-depth, nitty-gritty experience of providing individual investors with unbiased, conflict-of-interest-free advice aimed at outperforming the markets while working with McCamant struck a solid chord within Pile. In a climactic moment, what had previously been diverse interests suddenly converged. His mathematics mastery… his passion for one of the greatest puzzles ever created by man… his evolving knowledge of the fine detail variables that distinguish top-performing stock pickers from their less successful peers… all found a calling. The outlet could be monetized and, as a result, it offered him the potential to let this passion become a full-time pursuit.
Says Nate, “I can’t tell you how excited I was when I finally realized that this game into which I continued to dive deeper and deeper – and in which I was beginning to make key realizations that still serve my subscribers even today – could actually become a career option.”
The Creation of Nate’s Notes
Shortly after leaving McCamant’s operation to spread his wings with a small boutique investment banking firm in San Francisco, Mr. Pile began to formulate plans to start his own newsletter… and Nate’s Notes was born in February 1995. Nate was determined to pour every nuance of his background into the project, with the goal of producing a newsletter that would be easy to follow and yield above-average results for its readers. However, instead of hyping his performance like most of the others in the space, he wanted to let his bona-fide results speak for themselves over time. After all, at the end of the day, what subscribers really want are positive returns delivered by someone they trust.
Given his long-term approach to investing, a subscriber almost certainly will not be able to “make 1,000% in four weeks!” following Nate’s advice. However, independently-tracked past performance does prove that it is possible to significantly outperform the market when following the portfolios contained in Nate’s Notes. If you would like to risk your investment dollars by following the advice of someone promoting ridiculous returns over short periods of time, more power to you. On the other hand, if you would like to put your dollars to work following someone with a proven history of actual performance, give Nate’s Notes a try!
Today, Nate’s Notes is continuing to build its track record around the remarkable philosophy and approach to investing developed (and continually refined) by Nate Pile. However, in spite of sometimes holding the #1 ranking by Hulbert, do you think Nate is satisfied? Absolutely not! Remember – 780 on the SAT wasn’t good enough because there was a way to make it better… and if you are Nate Pile, you are always looking for a way to improve your results!