Archive for January, 2012
Jared Dillian’s brain worked very differently from most of his colleagues. He had what I’d call these emotional tectonic plates inside his head that would shift in an instant. When they shifted, they’d tremor so hard, they’d make the fault lines along the San Andreas Fault sit up straight…and that’s not counting what happened as a result from his trading.
Dillian describes his personal journey in one of the most revealing memoirs I’ve read in the past decade. He is a very genuine person and his recent book Street Freak: Money & Madness at Lehman Brothers is written with a great deal of candor. I recommend you read the book — it’s written with a great deal of honesty and you can hear it come through in the podcast.
“Throughout most my adult life, I’d always felt that I experienced things differently from other people. I felt more. Instead of getting sad, I would get really sad. Despondent. Instead of being happy, I would be delirious. I would laugh, and everybody would turn around to look at the crazy man. Now here I was, crying in the middle of Seventh Avenue. But there was no reason for the crying. I was just walking down the street, and I fell to pieces.” – from Street Freak
Dillian is the publisher of the Daily Dirt Nap Newsletter, which continues the success of the market letter he wrote for his clients over the Bloomberg while at Lehman.
Jared, Aaron Brown and I are speaking at Columbia University on February 13, 2012 for an event called the Financial Engineering Practitioners SeminarRead More
The Dog Days of Yoga
“…inhale and bring your head back with a long neck, shoulders wide and stretching down your back, roll up into an upward facing you, and with a deep exhale, roll your paws under lifting your hips towards the back of the yard into a downward facing you. Try not to look at me or the neighbor’s cat pose…focus only on your bad breath.”
I took an afternoon class with an AMAZING teacher…set myself up for a great weekend. I’ll be writing this up shortly…Read More
The CME Group is holding its annual Commodities Trading Challenge and it looks pretty awesome. These didn’t exist when I was cutting my teeth. Teams can register now and the Practice Round starts on February 13.
Here is more from their site:
“The Challenge is where colleges and universities from across the country compete in a fast-paced electronic and open outcry trading competition. This competition was originally created by The New York Mercantile Exchange and the University of Houston over ten years ago with just a small number of schools on the roster. As the markets have grown however, so has the competition, with 85 schools participating in 2011. In addition to the electronic trading segment, the University of Houston continues to serve as host for the Houston Open Outcry competition and this year we have moved the second Open Outcry component of the competition to Chicago.”
There are scholarships (and internships) available for the electronic trading component portion!!!
For more information, visit the CME Group.Read More
A lot has been written about Wayne Gretzky and his ability and his athletic genius. When Gretzky married his intellectual capacity with technical ability, he dominated opponents like no other athlete in any other sport. From an early age, Gretzky developed his inner game as much as his physical skills.
How Did Gretzky Attain His Inner Game?
Like many successful athletes, Gretzky had some great role models, mentors, and coaches, and a phenomenal set of parents. He holds 61 NHL records and he’s said that his unofficial record of the Fastest 50 Goals will be the hardest for anyone to break. He did it in 39 games. Gretzky scored a total of 9 goals in his 38th and 39th games to shatter the previous record which had been 50 games.
One of his quotes that gets used (and probably overused at this point) is “Skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been.” It brings to mind the use of intuition and anticipation, skills that traders can make use of.
The thing is, it wasn’t Wayne’s idea — it was his father’s. Walter Gretzky, Wayne’s father, had him watch Hockey Night in Canada and trace where the puck went on a piece of foolscap during an entire 20-minute period. When he was done, the darkest areas would delineate where the puck had spent the most amount of time traveling.
Young Wayne did this exercise game after game, period after period and used this insight to intuit where the puck would most likely go during a game that he would eventually play in. After years of repetition, this instinct was honed to such a level, it was impossible to defend. It was as if he knew how the play was going to unfold before it happened.
I’ve skated since I was four years old and played ice hockey competitively since I was nine years old. I saw #99 come play Madison Square Garden as an Edmonton Oiler, LA King, St. Louis Blue, and a New York Ranger. I was always amazed how the puck seemed to find its way to Wayne…and how he always seemed to know what the opponent was going to do with the puck, even if the opponent didn’t know what he was going to do with the puck.
Here is the clip of Gretzky describing the “on-screen” exercise. If you’re on the iPad, the clip starts at the 24:55 mark and goes to the 26:03 mark. Google / YouTube have not gotten the bugs out of the coding to show only the segment. Sorry for the inconvenience.
For traders, this reminds me of the exercise that Linda Bradford suggested where you trace out a certain market in 5-minute intervals to get the best feel for it.
Here is the whole 2-hour video, Ultimate Gretzky.Read More