The Netflix Prize was a competition begun in 2006 to predict user ratings for films. Competitors were given ratings scrubbed of information about the users, and were challenged to find, using machine-learning methods, an algorithm based only on the raw data.
Whenever you come up with a new investment idea—whether it’s a new security to buy, a new factor to consider, or a new strategy to implement—you naturally ask yourself whether this new idea will increase your portfolio returns or cause you to lose money (and, of course, how much). Thinking probabilistically involves assessing the probabilities and coming up with a reasoned answer.
Investors compare all day: stocks versus bonds, active versus passive, value versus growth, stock A versus stock B, and now versus later. Humans are quick to compare but not very good at it. Perhaps the most important comparison an investor must make, and one that distinguishes average from great investors, is between fundamentals and expectations.