Category Archives: Anecdotes

F.T.W.S.I.J.D.G.I.G.T.

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NOTE from Tim: off to my weekly recording session for my Panic book. I’ll be back this evening! Thanks, Mark……….

(For those who say I just don’t get it…Get this!)

Nothing brings on the chance for people to point fingers, or sing like schoolchildren the old, “Nah, nah, na, nah nahhhh!” when you’re in the public eye faster than saying one thing – and having the opposite happen.

I can not begin to count just how many people I know, (let alone only vaguely familiar with) that are looking at the financial markets today as they rocket higher wanting me to explain myself. My initial response almost to a person was, “What do you mean me? Ask your financial adviser!” That’s when I could see (if not feel through an email) the absolute frustration many are having.

All kidding aside, it is with good reason they’re upset. In actuality many are coming around to an all too frightening idea that many of the people they’ve listened to (or been advised by) as well as the explanations they have relied on as “fact” is dissolving right before their eyes. They are beginning to see for themselves 1+1 is not adding up to what they’ve been told. (more…)

Stone Knives and Bear Skins

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Well, in the heat of a very intense trading day, Comcast pooed all over itself and put many of their customers back into the stone age, including your beloved host. I managed to cobble together an Internet connection (at 10% the normal speed) and slogged through the day somehow or another. I’m delighted at how my long plays worked out (cough Slope Plus cough) and I entered 16 new short positions just before the close. I’m going to get in the line at the soup kitchen before they close, but I’ll be back later to share my thoughts.

1016-spock

Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

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I hadn’t done any options trading for a while, but a few months ago, I dusted off my options account, put some money into it, and started trading it. The past few weeks have been particularly good to me, with the account up about 100%, but along the way (particularly the most recent week), I left a ton of money on the table.

There was one particular issue that left an impression on me: a NASDAQ put. Now, most of my options trading (which is brain-dead simple: buying puts on stocks that I think are going to fall and whose expiration is several months out) is focused on individual issues, not indexes. But on October 3, I decided to buy the $4050 put on the NDX. (more…)

Shorting the Box

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Although this will surely come as a shock to everyone, I am an anal-retentive, neurotic, hung-up, OCD-type who likes things really well-organized. This deep personality flaw compelled me to create Prophet (since I’m obsessed with data) and has driven me to the brink of insanity from 2009-2013, since the world Stopped Making Sense.

As I’m a neat freak, I figured my trip to The Container Store a few months ago would be a trip to mecca. Not so: because what outranks my obsession with order is cheapness thrift, and what I was confronted by was a huge store full of things that were easily double the price I thought they should have been. That, I suppose, is where their profits come from. (more…)

My Marketmax Tale

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I worked at Apple Computer from April 1987 until February 1990 (a story unto itself), and I left Apple after having a falling-out with a boss over some, shall we say, ethical lapses on his part (yet another story unto itself). Happily, I had a job offer waiting for me which had three big things going for it: (a) it was a startup; (b) it was financial technology; (c) I would have a cool title – Vice President of Technology. All at the age of 24!

Cooler still, it was located in San Francisco’s financial district in the city’s most iconic building, the Transamerica Pyramid. Since my working life has been spent in jeans, khakis, and polo shirts, I was excited at the prospect of being a honest-to-God grown-up, putting on a suit, getting on a train, and heading to the big city each morning.

And that, my friends, was the high point of my entire stint with this new company, TriStar Market Data. The prospects were exciting, the (inflated) title was impressive, the pay was (at the time) excellent, and I had finally left the big corporation of Apple for a startup. This was no garage, however. TriStar was a seven-person outfit that had been put together by Montgomery Securities, a regional investment bank, based on technology it had bought from a firm in Chicago. (For those deeply in-the-know, Avram Grey was the original creator of this aforementioned system).

The product that TriStar owned was a Macintosh-based trader’s platform called MarketMax. Take note of that critical phrase: Macintosh-based. In 1990, approximately nobody on Wall Street used the Macintosh. That computer was the domain of desktop publishers, graphic artists, and other weirdos. It isn’t something you had on your desk at JP Morgan. Anyone who traded used Sun. Period. (more…)

Atlanta Observations

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I’m a child of the deep south, and the culture here is no stranger to me. But I’ve been away from it for long enough that visiting Atlanta (not my native Louisiana, but close enough) allows me to have a few strong and swift impressions. I offer these up as naive points and nothing more:

+ Tubby Blubby – I know America isn’t populated with purely svelte people, but honestly, the sheer quantity of morbidly obese people around here dwarfs what I normally see. I guess if so many people are fat, these being obese loses its stigma. Not that I want these poor souls to be walking around hating themselves; it’s just interesting to me that a major metropolitan city with plenty of knowledge floating around about good nutrition is packed with so many porkers.

+ White Like Me – Let me go about this delicately – – – I’m not as surprised at the percentage of black people here, but the lack of them in Palo Alto. I mean, look, Palo Alto is ostensibly a liberal, diverse, sophisticated college town – – but as I’m walking around Atlanta (and keep in mind, this is in a fairly upscale area), the black population makes Palo Alto feel like the most whitebread city on the planet.

+ Jesus! – And, of course, Christianity is far, far, far, farrrrrrrr more pervasive here, in the form of mega-churches, billboards, and everything else. When I picked up my oversized bag at the Delta counter, the woman giving it to me asked me to “Have a blessed day.” Later, I saw an enormous billboard that proclaimed in huge letters: “YOU ARE FORGIVEN!” I then noticed the billboard was for a Ford dealership that offered liberal credit terms, even to those with lousy record. So I guess Mr. Christ doesn’t let a low FICO score foreclose anyone from personal salvation (or a late-model truck from Detroit).

Anyway, I remain here through Sunday. I’ll try my best to stay on top of the wonderful world of Slope in the midst of my familial obligations.