Mouth Feel

Ageusia is the word for a loss of taste which Ben of Ben and Jerry fame is afflicted by.

If you can't taste your own ice cream, what do you do? Focus on texture. More than any other brand, Ben and Jerry's is a mouth feel rollercoaster.

Mouthfeel is v important in Chinese food also. For example jellyfish is more or less tasteless, but it's kinda crunchy and refreshing to eat, unconventional but enjoyable.

In finance we have a whole bunch of metrics to measure how investments 'feel'.

Top of the list are returns.

Profits feel great, losses terrible.

More volatility makes you feel queasy, less reassured.

Of course over-indexing on more return and less vol, causes its own problems.

High returns is the equivalent of the strongest sugar hit imaginable.

Lower vol results in a smoother creamier taste.

Which, sooner or later, results in diabetes; blocked arteries and heart attack inducing losses.

Why? Because the skewness of such strategies is often very negative.

Statistics are as good at lying as sweet ice creamy goodness is at seducing your brain into eating more. In a world where our brains evolved with a constant lack of sugar and fat our brains are programmed to gobble up as much as possible

The same is true for mean and variance. A decent average return will put a roof over our heads and low volatility will keep it there. Our brains are used to working in societies which are simple and can be described well using return and volatility.

Skewness is important for a connected world, where calamity in one part of the world can trigger sudden widespread drops. On the other end of the scale, small advantages can lead to enormous profits.

Skewness is the analytic which reflects this modern connected world best, and apart from anything else, it is the metric which sums up well rounded trading also - it sums up both a lack of serious drawdowns and successfully capitalising on opportunities.

Large negative skewness with high returns and low vol (e.g. value, small cap, low vol & momentum strategies) is the equivalent to super processed food. Large positive skew gives us something far more wholesome.

As with mouthfeel, skewness is single most underrated metric in finance.