career longevity

Discussion in 'Trading' started by pinetboltz, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. pinetboltz


    so recently there was a flurry of articles in the news how it's the 10 year anniversary of the march 2009 lows on the S&P etc, and just as the landscape of leading stocks/ companies have changed since then, i think the same could be said of people's careers

    even some of the top luminaries in 2009 have now gone by the wayside, perhaps surprising in a way, as they/their companies are presented as almost invincible by the press..while others have managed to remain firmly in the highest echelons

    the list is probably too long to tally, but a few that come to mind have been
    - a global tech company/ceo who went from billion dollar valuation to liquidation mode
    - a quant manager that didn't deliver on expectations
    - a few stock pickers/macro funds that didn't deliver on expectations
    - a pe fund, same as above
    - a commodities fund, same as above

    i don't think it's necessarily just hubris like the Greek mythologies either, as some seem genuinely decent & competent people.

    on the other hand, there are also those who seem to perpetually go to greater wins all the time

    so what gives? what do you think accounts for the differential in people's career longevity in business, finance, trading?

    my own hypothesis is that maybe some factors are:

    - leverage/ how good the connections are with providers of said leverage: eg. if highly leveraged, absolutely must be on good terms with bankers/brokers, etc, so that they don't immediately margin call/ demand liquidation on first drawdown

    - relationship with the press/ how much energy spent on business publicity vs. profits management: maybe it's like the 'inverse indicator' they say of magazine covers, where companies whose ceos appear on magazine covers too much tend to lag the market afterwards

    - balance on tradeoff between focusing on core competences vs. having blinders on by filtering out everything else
  2. newwurldmn


    Some have a sustainable business process and is able to adapt that process when it doesn’t work. Others don’t.
    ironchef, jys78 and pinetboltz like this.
  3. Many are adequately prepared, but just don't have the lucky breaks.
  4. pinetboltz


    that's actually a good topic for side-discussion as well -- re luck, it feels like the secret sauce that takes some top 5-10% programmer (according to a coding challenge website anyways) to zuckerberg/fb level results

    it'd be good if someone 'cracked' the code on luck (more precise, not just generic recommendations in popular journalism, etc), kind of like what Ed Thorp did in cracking blackjack in Beat the Dealer, very scientific/ robust, that would be groundbreaking
  5. Quite frankly the code on luck is simple: expose yourself to a plethora of opportunities daily. Tons and tons and tons. Most people live mechanical lives which are not so good for serendipity. If you have to choose experience over money, choose experience each time.

    Excuse me for using a word outside my level of intellect.
    qlai and pinetboltz like this.
  6. pinetboltz



    depends i guess, i can think of a few times in my past when i'd rather have chosen the money in retrospect
  7. That's the nature of a single trade. The idea is that your trades altogether will take you in the direction towards greater results. If your system of manufacturing luck isn't working, then I guess you need to find another. I know my system for having interesting, well paying software projects given to me without work to find specific projects is very much related to this approach. It's exhausting but pays off. I know I make more than my buddies at FB, Amazon and Google and I get to do more or less what I want when I want to do it. For now anyway...
  8. pinetboltz


    good stuff, i'd only taken a few comp sci classes way back when (very theoretical approach), so just wondering from your perspective in professional software/tech:

    - in a field like tech, which seems quite meritocratic on the outside, how much does technical expertise matter in one's career? i guess what i'm curious about is, tech looks incredibly competitive where computer scientists are coming out with new algorithms all the time, the hardware is constantly improving, what's trendy in languages/platforms keep on changing, so do people actually try to stay on the 'cutting edge' for their niche by competing on technical skills, or is it more along the lines of, be good enough to get in the door, then establish 'ownership'/take charge of key projects?

    - as schools and universities bring out more and more comp sci graduates every year with the increased enrollments, do you think the field nowadays is becoming more saturated, such that very educated people are sort of pushed into working on smaller and smaller domains of tasks? there was a story some time ago about google and how they have so many highly trained staff that even phds are sometimes pushed into working on seemingly minor items...does it mean in a way technical knowledge has become commoditized of sorts, & the few who rise to the top in tech nowadays did so because of a unique idea/ business model / fundraising capabilities?
  9. I'll try to answer...

    Depends how you define career. If you want to get better and better titles, just like every other career it's about marketing yourself so the politics are important. Ownership, managing up, etc.

    If you just want to keep working, then you have to stay on top of technology. Maybe every 2-4 years, completely reinvent the type of technology you are an expert in and really become an expert. The first couple of times it's a pain in the ass but I can promise you that you will make way more money than your buddies if you choose well and it's a lot of fun.

    If my business depended on intelligent people I would do whatever I could to eliminate the risks around it. Sounds like Google is successful at creating a machine that has commoditized their use of intelligent people. The IYI thread might be relevant here. You have very few IYIs (none?) that are successful business people. Even on my projects, I commoditize the difficult parts of it. Being smart is not a prerequisite to success. I think there is research around this.
  10. Also: this is why there is a huge push for companies to have "girls who code" or reduce/eliminate the undergrad requirement. They are tired of paying these nerds all this money and want to lower their wages.
    #10     Mar 14, 2019