Detail from Ancient Greek black-figured dinos (wine-bowl) with the first chariot in the procession

Detail from Ancient Greek black-figured dinos (wine-bowl) with the first chariot in the procession
“Sophilos Dinos” (wine-bowl) showing guests arriving at the wedding of Thetis and Peleus. In the first car -Zeus and Hera, 2nd-Poseidon and Amphitrite. Source: British Museum (Wikicommons)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Max Cantor on The Way of the Sith, CEOs, and more

I like comics and I am a Star Wars fan. A reader sent me a link to these videos and asked me to comment on what I see fit with the Sith code and compare that with the Jedi order code. Which one is better ? Attached were also some Youtubers comments.

"Peace is a lie. There is only Passion.
Through Passion I gain Strength.
Through Strength I gain Power.
Through Power I gain Victory.
Through Victory my chains are Broken.
The Force shall free me." 
-Code of the Sith from the Book of the Sith

"Through passion, I gain strength". That sounds right. What I see flawed with the Sith is unchecked power. If the Sith are not ruled by reason, they're bound to self destruct.

CEOs act like Sith until they've reach the pinnacle. Once there however, they become Jedis. Once at the top, they turn on the "feel good-do good" spigot. They become concerned with the welfare of others. Once at the top of the food chain, their focus shifts from slicing other people's heads off to maintaining their job. Staying power is achieved with benevolence, service and goodwill. The father or godfather would not wage war on his family, so neither does a CEO that wants his job.

At one time I considered writing a book "The CEO Code" but I don't think it a good idea anymore. Such a book would be earth shattering. The Evan Spiegels, Mark Zuckerbergs would move to ban it. Alas, Donald Trump would buy a dozen and gift them to each of his sons and grandsons ! You can't poke into a pit pf snakes and not expect to be bitten. The CEOs will continue writing their glamorous autobiographies and feed the public "what a wonderful life" tales.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This salad has no dressing

I try to keep off politics, but people asked me: how about Comey and Trump, where is this going ? What do you think ? What do I think ? I think today we've finally seen the markets moving down-logically- and there's still ways to go.

The problem is there are no tapes or "dressing" on this salad. Trump knows that, and I think tapes is what you need for convincing evidence. I don't know what the admissibility standards are for top law enforcement memos. Of course, it is certainly better to have them than not to have them.

I shall stay on my topic, which is boss-underling relationship, and more specifically, WHAT YOU CAN DO with your own Nero, your boss.

1. Tapping phone conversations and audio/video of critical meetings is a vital tool for the underling. You'll need to check your own state/local statutes for how that is allowed. I understand Trump used to tape some of his phone calls as a businessman. Tapping is a very important tool. If Comey had a wire on him at those meetings, Trump's pants would be soiled by now, assuming there is evidence of impropriety.

Landlines phones have a two beep sound every 20 seconds when the record button is pressed thus warning the parties the conversation is being recorded.

Cellphones, unfortunately, have no "recording" button to tap. Some people download an app (i.e. TapeACall, CallRecorder) or use an external voice recorder.

2. Every email is a record. Treat every email you receive from your boss like potential evidence. Anything that smells of recklessness, malfeasance or any type of wrongdoing should be saved. Despite the controversy with the phone tapping, more CEOs lose their jobs over email missteps than over phone indiscretions. Boeing CEO Harry Stonecypher was forced to resign after an extramarital affair became known out of his emails.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Scaling up your career

As you may have already figured out, I do not write for CEOs. I do not write for Thomas M. Rutledge or Dara Khosrowshahi, or Philippe P. Dauman, Lyndon R. Rive, Mario J. Gabelli, Leslie Moonves, Charif Souki, Fabrizio Freda, Mark G. Parker, Leonard S. Schleifer, Robert A. Iger, Mark V. Hurd, David M. Zaslav, Marissa A. Mayer, Margaret C. Whitman, Ari Bousbib, Marc Benioff, Brian L. Roberts, V.M. Rometty, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, Indra K. Nooyi, Gregory C. Case, Patrick T. Ryan, Kenneth W. Lowe, Dion J. Weisler, R. Stephenson, Stephen A. Wynn, Jeffrey M. Leiden, James J. Peterson, Anthony G. Petrello, Martin J. Barrington, Bruce Lucas, James Dimon, Marcelo Claure, Alex Gorsky, James R. Murdoch, Laurence D. Fink, Greg Garland, and the list goes on and on. And this is just the public cos. These guys and gals they've got it made. They don't need me to fluff their buttermilk pancakes.

I do not write for any of those. I write for the up-and-coming folk who is rising to the top and is ready to rock the boat. If you don't know how to rock the boat, you'll not only suffer reprisals but will end up worse than you are.

There's one ex-CEO, however, that's inspirational. If you haven't read Carly Fiorina : "From Secretary to CEO" bio you should. It's a powerful life example; [ironic it's a woman, not a man, that scaled up that high].

Fiorina went to Stanford, got a liberal arts degree, then went to law school and dropped out. "When she broke the news to her father, he responded: “I’m very disappointed. I’m not sure you’ll ever amount to anything,” she wrote. She got a job as a receptionist at Marcus & Millichap." She worked there for a year, she quit, married her college sweetheart and moved to Italy to teach English.

Does that sound familiar, is it a life that many people relate to ? Yes, I thought it is. Keep reading.

After graduating from Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, Fiorina got an AT&T sales rep job. She was promoted several times so that by 1985 she was District Manager, overseeing AT&T’s largest civilian government account, the General Services Administration (GSA).Eventually, AT&T sponsored her for a fellowship at the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She then became Director of International Strategy and Business Development for Network Systems, and then promoted to Vice President of Strategy and Marketing. Source: From Secretary to CEO.

How many are still hanging on that plot? Not many ! Keeping up with the Joneses suddenly got hard. You got lost somewhere.

Friday, May 12, 2017

He made my life a living hell

We're going to read an e-mail today:


My name is Sam and I am a software program manager. I've been with my company for six years. I manage testing and commercialization of connectivity programs. I do nerdy stuff: establish routine update, update status, schedule trends vs. baseline, risk management, mitigation and recovery actions.

Six months ago, I got a new boss whom I'll call Mr. Stumpt (for you gamers out there, no connection to the characters Ash, Rik, Price, and Jas). He is 6'1", strong built. He looks like an action movie actor, like Tom Hardy.  Now picture me, I am short (5'6") and weight only 140 pounds.

From the week he got started, Mr. Stumpt started taking me apart from the group, with one-on-one "lap talks" (at least that is how I call them). In these talks he would snap his fingers, put his arm around me and tell me: "No, really, did you think I wasn't going to see that ? and "I watched you, and frankly, I was not impressed". As our private talks became more frequent they reached this progression: from annoying to nuisance to dreadful. We had bi-weekly department meetings he started like this:

"We're talking Sam today. Sam and his his little routine update management is the work we need to pay attention to." So he brought me up at every meeting, even though I'm sure he could see I was a little more than uncomfortable with it and there's no apparent reason for doing it.

At another of our lap talks: We need to show a little extra work, Sam. He then gave me the work of three. I started staying late at work, past 9 o'clock. My work became my life, without a life.

I was coming home exhausted and when I fell asleep I had dreams about Mr. Stumpt. "Sam, we're depending on you." We're counting on you, Sam. Does this rhyme with you, Sam ?"

Tell me, Max, is it anything I can do before he fires me ?"


Sam, thanks for writing. As you know, I don't give advice. What I can do is express an opinion, which may or may not work for you. Unfortunately, bad bosses are very much a rule, not an exception.

You have two choices: hand over your resignation or fight. If you don't want to go willingly, you should fight only after you "laid things bare":

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Option B: "Since I don't want it you can have it"

I was reading Adam Grant's April 23rd '17 post on Linkedin "When you get fired or fail big, this is how you bounce back" when I realized how flawed his advice is.

Professor Grant talks about Sarah Robb O’Hagan, who bounced back from apparent misfortune in her early 20s to become global President of Pepsi brand Gatorade and more recently CEO of Flywheel. Grant is saying O'Hagan's success is due to her realization that what was bad in her early days failures was neither hers nor her boss's fault, but the fault of the "relationship" between her work and herself.

"When we get fired or fail at work, we typically have one of two reactions. The first is to blame our boss. He was out to get me. She was threatened by me. The second is to blame ourselves. It was all my fault." -Adam Grant
"Most of the time, when someone fails, it’s not because there’s a bad apple spoiling the barrel. It’s because the barrel is a bad relationship."

Blaming a bad relationship with the workplace, huh ?

1. Early stage careers are almost guaranteed to hit stump blocks, so O'Hogan's travails are not unique, but rather typical. Ms. O'Hagan's stumbles, or anyone else's engaged in an ambitious career, are to be expected. Dealing with adversity early on in life is character-building. I will go as far as saying it is necessary.

2. Blaming worker-workplace relationship, if it absolves individual responsibility, is a path to failure. Fortunately it seems O'Hagan didn't follow Professor Grant's advice and owned her failures, otherwise how can I explain her self-blame for her second-firing and the more recent "Extreme You" movement. Why is wrong to blame that relationship ? It's wrong simply because it places the locus of control outside yourself.

Of course, Grant is out there selling the book he co-authored with celebrity COO Sheryl Sandberg, Option B [I have not read it]. Option B might be a good book to learn about recovering from personal loss or tragedy, but I wouldn't read it for getting wealthy or for getting the C-level career.

Sheryl Sandberg talking about how to overcome income inequality it's like Donald Trump talking about how to stave off hunger when you go hungry to bed.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The boss who took my home and left me broken

I'm posting another email today... This is a sad one.  It makes me wonder why do we keep these people, why do we give them leverage over our lives...I'm talking about bosses here.


You seem to be the only I know of that talks about the bad bosses in our lives. My name is Steve and I am a 42 years old data scientist, now divorced. I have a seven year old son not living with me. I am going to tell you what happened to me with the most devilish whirlwind boss I've ever had. I hope no one has to go though this like I had. I've lost my home, my family, and I sleep and live in a flop downtrodden hotel downtown. My room is 8X8 with holes in the walls and there are mice inside those walls. The residents in my hotel are the unlucky and the druggies. The room number on my door is part written in a sharpie. The shower has mold everywhere and only cold water flows. My next door neighbor, Tina, is a 50ishs crack lady who sleeps during the day and starts going out at night. at 11 PM- 12 AM. This is worse than Bates Motel.

I'll start two years ago while I was working as Director of Analytics at Company X. When my new boss, James, came on board I knew he had it in for me. He started saying things like: "Have you run those projections for me yet ? Steve, what's with you ? He started texting me: what you're doing, Steve,  Have you been able to do this, Steve ? and this and that ? One day, he invited me and my wife [I was still married at the time ] for dinner at his place. I thought I should not refuse him, so we went. When he met my wife he was going bazookas over her. [He was divorced]. I tried to play it down tactfully. At the dinner table, he was talking things that were close to my wife's interests. My wife, who is a high school educator, had always thought that her school had a problem with the students that scored lowered and weren't getting enough attention, with the quality of remedial classes at her school. He was saying things that he was giving away 4% of his income to his School District Fund. Does Steve do that ? Well. I did not. James was there caring about things that I did not, looking better than I was .

So my wife thought we should invite him over to our house in reciprocity. I thought it was a bad idea. Went along with it anyways. The evening he came to our house -a relatively modest three bedroom, as he came in, he stood tall in there and said: "I can go along with those crown moldings". "Your terrace is just the way it is supposed to be. Isn't it wonderful ?" As he was saying that, he was looking at my wife.

Image: Traveltips

That night I had an argument with my wife explaining to her that James was a awful boss who liked to put me on the spot. That we needed to stop giving him any fuel. That his arguments were smoke.

At work it got from bad to worse. James put me out at our department meetings for "lack of cooperation and poor performance". He fired me 7 months after that. He was "we need to shake things up" here. "Where where's going we don't need any dead weight".

At the firing meeting, which lasted less than 15 minutes:

"Steve, what's wrong with you ? Are you having any problems ?
-No, I didn't say I have a problem.
You're always on the defensive, aren't you ? You are letting us down. You work just isn't what it was.
-What are you talking about ? I'm doing just fine.
Isn't that your defensive voice speaking ? Look at these [he pulls my latest graphs] If that's work well done, then you tell me... I'm sorry Steve, but we're just going to have to let you go." I warned you twice before already. The writing is on the wall. You've let us all down. You did this on yourself."

Since my wife was earning very little and what she had was going towards paying family debts (her family had a money losing business), about 10 months after that I lost our house unable to make the mortgage. My wife stopped talking to me and filed for divorce. She took our son with her and moved in with a friend of hers. And I am now living in this dump. For the final nail in the coffin, I heard now my former boss is buying my house !  This is my story. What did I do wrong? What is it that I can do ?"

Max responds:

Before I get into this, let's take a deep breath and listen to Weightless, "(the most relaxing song that can reduce anxiety by up to 65% when listened to for 10 minutes "(Business Insider,  Inc ) from British trio Marconi Union.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I slept with my boss and this is what happened [boss's tale]

What is about the forbidden fruit that makes it so sweet ? Is is because it's forbidden ? Is it because is breaking an ethical rule ? The forbidden is getting the excitement women crave for ? Is is the pear shape fruit that makes it so appealing ? -The anatomy of the female breasts, if the're not round, some of them are pear shaped. And so are the buttocks. "According to Matthew Schulman, women's bottoms fall into five categories. They are either square, V-shape, A-shape, round or upside-down heart"- Daily News. Lingerie experts identified 9 types of breasts: athletic, relaxed, round, east west, slender, side set, bell shaped, slender and tear dropped.- Daily News NSFW

Let's have this e-mail speak, 

[made changes to the names to protect the innocent]

"I thought affairs happen to other people. More importantly I thought this never happens to a career-minded independent woman who has been happily and I stress, happily, married for over 8 years. I love my husband ! His name is Larry is a well respected member of the community who's integrity is never in question. He is on the Board of our local Children's Hospital. I'm in my thirties and I keep myself in shape, I exercise five days a week. The Soul Cycle studio is my second home. Besides Soul Cycle sweat sessions I have equipment I use at home.

Five months ago a young man got hired at work. His name is John, he is 25 years old, started as an Inside Sales Rep. He has blue eyes, dark hair, is deep-voiced and well -spoken. He came to me one day with a question on editing a report in the newer Salesforce  internal chatter, as we were communicating between departments. I am a Chief Engineer. He said hello, and afterwords invited me to join him for lunch which we took outside the building on the grounds. He he had recently broke up with his college girlfriend and was living at home with his parents. He then asked if I ever went paddle boarding, which I didn't. He started to hold my hand and invited to me on Saturday to go paddle boarding. Then he said: Race you to your desk ! and he raced me to the 5th floor where we work. I won. I never took the stairs before.

On Sat. I went to meet John and we paddle boarded ! I fell of the board five times and he caught me every time. How did such an Angel came into my life ? We made plans to meet at night and go to a dive bar or something. The problem is that I had to tell my husband something. So I told him I was going out shopping for a lamp I needed, and that I'll be back in the hour and 15 minutes I max had. Be back before 9 PM, because that's when the store closed. Imagine even as I met him, I still had to come back home with a lamp ! I met him, and in a hurry we started kissing outside the beer bar, and it went from my car. Then rushing over to the home goods store that sold lamps to buy one.

Have you ever had a crazy Sat. like that ?

After that day, we me got intimate in many occasions. Mostly public places. One night I could take my baby to my house when my husband Larry was away. It was the best night ever. At work, my lips are tight and try not to show my affection for him, However, he does show off. So this is another riddle I have, him showing off at work while me trying to control it.

What do you think ? John wants me to divorce Larry and marry him. I broke Larry's trust ! I can't look at Larry like before ! What can I do ?

Max responds:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Greenlight Capital Q1 2017 Letter

Most of you have seen this already, I am pinging back of Valuewalk.

  • Painful shorts with a big position in Tesla (TSLA) :
"Our shorts generated losses but added alpha, and gold gave us a small profit in macro. Apple (AAPL), Chemours (CC) and gold were the biggest winners; the bubble basket, Rite Aid (RAD), and a short position in Tesla (TSLA) were the biggest losers."
Notwithstanding the loss, the market's short interest is TSLA "is now $9.2 billion, up from $7.2 billion at the beginning of the year."
  • Einhorn is happy and dandy with Apple (AAPL), Cemours (CC) and gold.
  • The bubble basket is having its Spring momentum. [The Dow today topped 20,000].
"the market has regained enthusiasm for profitless companies that aren’t at risk of paying taxes. A number of these stocks are back in full-blown momentum mode. Analysts continue to raise “target prices” which the market treats as news. The bulls explain that traditional valuation metrics no longer apply to certain stocks...With holders reluctant to sell, the stocks can only go up – seemingly to infinity and beyond."
  • New longs: Xerox spin-off Conduent (CNDT) and manufacturer of private label OTC Perrigo (PRGO)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Harvey Specter: close, but not close enough ?

Those that never watched "Suits" may wish to pause this one. Harvey Specter is a lawyer in the Suits series obsessed with winning. He's not even a hard-ass but he is pretty good. How good do you think he is ? Please go though the survey below and answer it !

Create your own user feedback survey

Selected best users Survey comments [updated 04.23.2017]:

  1. The only thing I like about Harvey is his paycheck.
  2. I'll pass on Harvey. My boss is better than him, he is first at happy hour and the drinks are on him !
  3. Vote No on Harvey. I'm afraid that Harvey might steal the lunch my wife packed me.
  4. I won't swap Harvey for my boss, but I'll swap my girlfriend for his.
  5. Harvey is overrated. I like Patrick Bateman [American Psycho] better.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Infrastructure investment needed in airports

There is talk about Trump's infrastructure investment plan but the details are sketchy.  When we talk about infrastructure we need to see investment in our airports.

The estimates show 86% of the world airports are owned and operated exclusively by a government. While having a small 14% share of global airports under private ownership, that share is responsible for 44% of worldwide expenditure in 2014. (BCA, Feb. 2017)

In Europe, 53% of airports were publicly-owned as of 2016, a much lower percentage than in America.  Europe has the highest percentage of privately-owned or operated airports. It is time America privatized its airports ! 

Models of privatized airport (from BCA )

  • Freehold -full private-sector ownership and management.
  • Listed companies -full or partially listed on the stock exchanges.
  • Concessions or leases -good for a limited time, include BOT [built-operate-transfer] schemes where the private sector finances and builds projects and has contracts with public sector governments to purchase those assets at a later time.
  • Management contracts - private sector manages but doesn't own those assets.
  • Government-owned companies -participation of government-owned companies in other airports as private investments or for a fee.

Congress passed the Airport Privatization Pilot Program in 1996. However, little has been done under that pilot project. The path ahead to privatization is long and arduous. In a future post, I will explain what a PPP is and how they've been successfully used for large infrastructure projects.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

When the boss is sabotaging you

This is an e-mail I received:

"Hi Max,

My name is Tom. I am an Executive Director of Information Technology at a known brand company, have been in this position for about three years. I am asking for your opinion on a touchy work issue that has me upset. I sleep poorly and have started having trouble with my health-my asthma. I feel trapped. My department head, the CTO, is a woman who detracts my work consistently; everything she does is office politics and somehow I don't fit in. She knows close to nothing about IT architecture and procedural improvements, yet she has built a reputation on the results of people such as myself. She recently hired a friend of hers from her college days and is trying to get her my job. Pretty soon everyone around her is going to be a friend of hers. Recently she embraced the adjective of "efficiency guru" but the laurels rest on people like myself. She's not giving the credits to those that deserve it.

It is our company policy not to discuss compensation at work. Despite my high quality work I haven't been given a raise in the last three years while my peers have gotten raises ! I am afraid of touching the subject with her, because she is looking for ways to remove and replace me."


I understand she has been digging your hole for three years. You shouldn't have given that much time for the situation to deteriorate.

I've heard about those "efficiency gurus" that are praised in Silicon Valley: for the most they are bull***t artists. For those that don't know, "efficiency gurus" are people who claim to take a company 10X [or 14X or whatever] in a relatively short period of time. Efficiency gurus have a 90% failure rate coming in a new industry, and for those that do succeed the results are independent of their making. I call efficiency gurus "moon kangaroos" [the moon landscape is similar to Australia's deserts and you could make high jumps because of low gravity on the Moon, there are no kangaroos on the Moon, anyone can jump high].

Bosses that want the workplace filled with "buddies" are not new.

What you can do:

1. Face your worst fear and face her. Call her out. Have a private meeting where you confront her. The outcome: she either fires you or you[r situation] will improve in some way. Transfer to another city if you can. The confrontation, however, would be coming in late and the odds are not in your favor.

2. Report her to her superiors, but make sure you collect evidence. You can't do anything without evidence to back your claims.

3. Protect yourself by following the company's codes of conduct to the letter. Under no circumstances you should make sexist remarks, because a woman will unscrupulously turn this against you and accuse you of sexism. Women often paint themselves being the victims to the default -female- sexual harassment standard.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cocktails party do's and don'ts: party with the rich

Place: Star Island, South Beach, Miami

Time: Wild, wild mid. 20's

Occasion: Fundraiser

Price: the right price

Estimated Crowd: 70 +

So I walked into this foyer with a marble flooring starring down the Biscayne Bay aquamarine waters.

Task Number 1: Get a drink. Eat good food with minimum caloric intake. I'm looking around the tables, there's crab cakes, lots of cheese cubes, Beluga caviar, smoked salmon. I'm thinking to myself: I'm doing some damage to their caviar, no crackers or cheese. Raw caviar, after all, I'm a fish lover.  I end up eating way more than I though, couldn't resist dried fruit.

Onto drinks: I picked a Martini. For those that don't know, it's gin with a sprinkle of vermouth. Stirred with a spoon, no James Bond bullshit. For a nice guide to drinks, go to The Guide to The Good Life (GAYOT).

I introduce myself to the bartender: My name is Sprinkles. She: really ? Me: yes, really.
What happened, for the rest of the night not only she remembered my name, she was happy with me. Probably having something to do with cupcakes, ice cream toppings or cats.  Try it sometimes: if you wanna pick up a bartender, tell her your name is Sprinkles.

Task Number 2:  Meet the host and hostess, get introduced, introduce myself, cut through the butter. "Cut through the butter" is my expression of getting to the people who I wanted to meet. The moneybags. Things have changed over the years, used to be the moneybags were the oldest people in the room, now they are the youngest. At a cocktail party you can always tell who the bosses are, everyone is gravitating to them. Since I didn't have a friend there, I decided to introduce myself, with a vague reference to my employer. The guy can't just back out, he'll look like shit to his fans.

Another thing you can do if you don't know anyone at a party is to spot the "social engineer", the life of the party. Use that person to introduce you to the host and hostess. Or introduce yourself to the hostess first, hostesses are often very graceful women. If you brought a gift, that's easy to do. Women oblige and understand it is their role to lube up the party. The only thing a woman needs to get your attention is a generous compliment. If a woman is older, I like to say: "Were you a dancer, a performer ?" If it is young girl, I tell her I race horses. 9 out 10 she has never met someone like that. If she has, I say my horse is sick so me and her can commiserate together.

Task Number 3: Pretend I can dance (although I don't really). Dancing is like a foreign language: if you don't practice it, you lose it.

Task Number 4: Try not to get drunk. If you get drunk, you've lost. It's that simple. The logic of going to a cocktail party is to stay sober.

Task Number 5: Understanding the cocktail party effect

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dating: The importance of the redpill

I briefly touched on relationships before, but I never articulated the importance of going "redpill" for men that are dating or that are in any kind of  an amorous relationship.

This week The NY Post had an article "Why I won't date hot women anymore". by Christian Gollayan. In this article, a PE executive is quoted as saying:

"Beautiful women who get a fair amount of attention get full of themselves,” he says. Eventually, I was dreading getting dinner with them because they couldn’t carry a conversation.”

.The man in question eventually stopped dating bikini models and found a compatible girl he is now engaged to, who is the VP of her mother's company. He is "enthusiastic" about giving up "high-maintenance hotties". The articles tries to put women on the same level  playing field, giving the example of a girl who gave up a "hot" guy for the same reason the male banker did, suggesting hot men are much alike their hot women counterparts.

What does it mean going "redpill" for men ? It is seeing women as their are rather then how they want to be seen and how they are made in cultural programming. Women are, by far and large, "flighty, selfish and vapid", each to a degree. That degree is exacerbated in the "hot looking" category. Women are driven by their solipsism [self-fixation] and hypergamy [seeking higher status in men]. So a "hot" woman with a lot of options will inevitably be divisive, manipulative and narcissistic. To expect otherwise is to live in the unreal world of the consumerism society where women reign supreme. Dan Rochkind -and countless others- would have saved himself a lot of heartache and money had he understood this early on. I will incorporate three Max Cantor truths that will hopefully make men and the women they date at ease with themselves and their expectations.

Women, not men, control most of the world resources.- Max Cantor redpill truth #1

That's right. Women sit atop the consumer pyramid and consume more resources (all things being equal) than men do. That includes everything, not (just) purses and clothing, but all basic commodities: oil, gas, food and services: education. Everything and more 9i.i. black market economy) that makes up the GDP of a state or nation.

All things being equal, a woman, not a man, will get a high paying (i.e. "corner office") job.-Max Cantor redpill #2.

How so ? By playing the "minority" card, the woman will get a pass a male will not. Hard to prove, and let's be serious, 99.99% of males are not living life at their full potential as yours truly. They won't initiate an inquiry or even whisper about it.

Back to the original issue of dating "hotties", what should a man do ?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Looking for a good logo

I was thinking what would make a good logo for my blog. In the animal kingdom, an obvious choice would be the bull, but the bull is everywhere and its image has been sullied by a "fearless girl". Would a lionheart or a lion do ? What about a saber-toothed tiger ? The wolf ? The wolf is overdone, there are even [financial] firms named Wolf Capital and variations thereof.

I think the best and down-to-earth symbol is the American pitbull. Ferocious. Pure bred (and not always). Active listener. Boss killer. Foot soldier. Goes where no one has gone before. Does what no one has done before. Really strong teeth. Loves blood sports. Goodwill ambassador.

From the pictures below, please select which one you like the best. Thank you !


Note: In order for the polling vote to become visible, you'd need to exit the secure SSL view mode (https:

1. Graph clipart

2. Red nose pitbull

3. Other graphical art

4. Standup guy

Saturday, April 8, 2017

HBS: promoting money, greed and immorality above society’s needs ?

There is a new book coming out "The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite" written by Duff McDonald to be published by Harper Business on April 25, 2017. "To the author, who spent two and one-half years reporting and writing The Golden Passport, HBS is an institution that promotes money, greed and immorality above society’s needs, a school whose teachings are complicit in the moral failings of Western capitalism. It is the most critical work on HBS since the publication of the New York Times’ bestseller Ahead of the Curve by Philip Delves Broughton who chronicled his two-year experience as an MBA at the school." (John A. Byrne)

Harvard Business School apparently didn't cooperate with the author in allowing him access to their archives, and chose to regard his work as critic towards the school, even though the largest portion of the book is dedicated to the school's history. From John A. Byrne's interview with McDonald:
"The school did not do a good enough job at providing a sense of values to the masters of the universe they trained. They didn’t have a full course on ethics until 2003 or something."
In that same interview McDonald says that the case method (pioneered at Harvard but now widely used nationally) warps everything around the money narrative. MacDonald passes on a critique of HBS guru Michael Porter, a familiar name to all business students.

John A. Byrne calls Duff McDonald the "Barbarian" at Harvard Business School's gates. McDonald himself thinks he has written a book on constructive criticism.

Criticism, in general, accomplishes very little. And "blame is a tool employed by the weak-minded".-Max Cantor quote. Criticism of what ? Of building an elite factory ?

Here is how Harvard, and any other large institution of higher ed works: the school receives money from corporations that have the largest percentage of alumni. So HBS and its endowment investors and grantors are former alumni with the largest share of wealth -you can download the Wealth X Billionaire Census 2017 here. "Harvard has the highest number of billionaires with 52 and the largest number of UHNW individuals with 2,964. That group has $622 billion in net worth. The University of Pennsylvania, which has 1,502 UHNW graduates with a total of $242 billion in assets, is a distant second in aggregate UHNW assets. Of the top 20 universities in the world ranked by the number of UHNW alumni, the three that aren’t in the U.S. are the University of Oxford with 401, the University of Mumbai with 372 and the University of Cambridge with 361. (WealthX, 2013 Report).

Reinforcing money and raising moneymakers is not unique to Harvard. In fact, all institutions do it. There is only one reason, I suppose, to single out HBS: their disproportionate share of wealth, worldwide. It's what the "golden passport status" title of this book is about. To even think that HBS is interested in teaching anything but profit logging is to be thick as two short planks. HBS alumni push for hire from the school to the exclusion of the weaker, less known schools graduates. It is called my tribe, building a close knit community of influencers and powerbrokers.

"I don't have a shot at this job at -[Silicon Valley co name omitted]- because I didn't go to an elite top 20 school" -that's an email I got.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Real CEO talk exposé

A few years back  I was on the 9th Green at Pebble Beach Golf Course (link) playing a heavy hitter. When he introduced himself I found out he was a major company CEO. I recall specific moments of that conversation because the guy spoke of what it takes to be a CEO. Back then, I was frustrated, my downswing was horrible. I shanked the ball because I was hitting from the outside instead of the inside.

Where did you NOT learnt it ?" he asked me.

-I took some lessons last summer at Edgewood.

Guess what: If you don't know where your head, is you lose it. In golf, like life: you need great balance, focus. If your mind narrows to the path ahead, you lose concentration.

-So, coach [I started addressing him affectionately by "coach"], what does it take to be a CEO ? Other than balance and walking confidently on any path, no matter how narrow?

How many can you take with one hit.

-What exactly do you mean ?

Having meetings and people coming in saying their things. Obviously I can't go each way everybody wants, so I'll chose the one way that works for most. Not all. 

-Let me guess: yours is the loudest voice around [in meetings, A/N].

My voice is not only the loudest, but the surest. I have to clear the air of all the fluff and smoke and mirrors.

-And who's bringing all the smoke and mirrors ?

All the bull***t artists. The leadership management experts. My point is slow and steady wins the race.

-I think there is a place for all the Mckinseys of the the world...

These are gamers who've never build anything in their lives. These people introduce self doubt, they are dream killers. Anybody who has ever done anything exceptional has issues and roadblocks, to think otherwise is foolish. They think if sales are down you are going to fade away. Foolish ! 


I've had thousands in my life saying NO to me ! You can't do it ! You can't get there ! What separates a real CEOs from the rest is drive that he has, the patterns and the choices. I get more done than others, that's why I run a company.  I can get any resources I need before anyone else does. That's why I have my title.

-Ok, can I buy you lunch ? -I said

Yes, you may.

-Can I write a book featuring you and title it "Real CEOs are not the pussies you read about",  or "Anti-pussy CEOs" ?

No, you're not.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The C.I. and the target dance

On March 23, 2017 a Bloomberg Business Week feature brought to the spotlight the issue of confidential informants (C.Is.) in financial crimes, the handling of CIs by law enforcement personnel and in this case, agents being duped by an [alleged] criminal who "went rogue" and wiretapped his case agents in an effort to compromise them.

The case screams of idiocy in handling the CI, a guy who was hyping dubious stocks in a foreign jurisdiction (Bahamas). A main issue in developing informants: Is the CI vulnerable to recidivism ? A CI should never be allowed to fall back into criminal behavior while working undercover.

During that period, the agents were letting him suggest his own "targets". Sounds like agents dumb and dumber were on the However perverse it may sound, it is not unusual for agents to "fall in love" with a CI they established a close camaraderie report with. These agents even let the CI "make his own game", get his own targets [based on what, his nosebleeds] ? Finally the turncoat turned on them recording 100 calls, trying to prove they acted unethically and inconsistent. In the end they couldn't convict him because the statute of limitations had run out.

I'm not just showing the poor judgement on part of law enforcement who let a criminal run amok in this story.

How can you fast detect CIs - if you ever deal with one.

The CI and the target "dance"

  • Stress test the individual. CIs have two identities: they can only keep one of them up for so long.
  • The weakest link is the family. Family in distress or incommunicado could mean somebody has turned into a turncoat.
  • Breaking the prearranged meeting sites (diner, coffee house) where the environment allows for easy surveillance by their handlers.
  • If the target disappears for a month or two, what will the CI do ? Retreat or pursue ?
  • Emphasis is placed on wires CIs wear recordings that can be used as evidence. These wearables, while being inconspicuous, button/lapel size are RF transmitters. You can buy a signal bug detector (like these) to detect if the CI is wearing a wire.
  • Of course, a phone -any phone- can be bugged and also used as a recording device. People need just two to three minutes with that phone. 

If the CI is a long known co-worker or employee how do you tell they've turned ? Kevin Mitnick looks at defendants docket "traffic"analysis.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

How to emphasize mental toughness

Mental toughness is described in Wikipedia as
"having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to: generally, cope better than your opponents with the many demands (competition, training, lifestyle) that sport places on a performer; specifically, be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident, and in control under pressure." (Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002, p. 209)
"Peter Clough et al. (2002) [4] proposed a model of mental toughness, conceptualizing it more like a personality trait. Their model has four components: confidence; challenge; control and commitment. In initially conceptualizing mental toughness and developing the MTQ48[5] questionnaire measurement tool, the approach taken by Clough et al. (2002) was to combine existing psychological theory and applied sport psychology."

You can read about lots of implemented scenarios here. Heart rate variability (HRV) was taken as a measure of physiological response, with lower levels of HRV indicating higher levels of stress response.

This sample list from AQR International will show you what to look for in each of the four components. Example "challenges" includes affirmations, heroes and heroines, thermometer, and a "not-do-do list". Surprised by the inclusion of a "not-to-do list" when we are so used to a "to-do list" ? You can order a MTQ48 assessment for £45.00

Controlled breathing exercises matter (NY Times)

"Daniel Gucciardi, Sandy Gordon, and James Dimmock of Australia have proposed a different definition and framework of mental toughness, based primarily on their work with Australian footballers. Using personal construct psychology, these authors proposed the following definition of mental toughness: a "collection of values, attitudes, behaviors, and emotions that enable you to persevere and overcome any obstacle, adversity, or pressure experienced, but also to maintain concentration and motivation when things are going well to consistently achieve your goals."

— Gucciardi, Gordon, & Dimmock, 2008, p. 278, [7]

The single most important lesson learned from 83,000 brain scans is that

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Not everyone is cut to be a CEO

If "Not everyone is cut to be a CEO" isn't a truism then I don't know what is.

Last week at the Monty Technology Summit I got inspired by the "Around The World in 45 Minutes" fireside chat with General David Petraeus which was hosted by Michael Milken. The idea came across my mind: what if there was an "accelerated" way to becoming a CEO ?

I have seen good arguments in favor of [emotional] fitness, determination, even levelheadedness described being like muscles, therefore, trainable. Those three traits I'm certain they're part of a good CEO makeup.

CEOs, they're both:

  • abrasive yet super likable,
  • uncanning yet predictable,
  • direct yet rhetoric,
  • semantic yet unstructured,
  • unifying yet disruptive,
  • a "lover" yet a fighter,
  • visionary yet pragmatic,
  • answering yet asking [questions],
  • sophisticated yet simple,
  • imposing yet friendly,

Cool site for new learning: QuantifiedSelf

Video debate of the month:

The Future of God with Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Jean Houston and Deepak Chopra (2010)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

NOLs (Net Operating Losses) Carryforwards

On March 14th, 2016 on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC it was said that President Trump was able to write off $103 MM of the reported $153 MM that he made in 2005. The "leaked" two page 1040 Form at DCreports lacks the accompanying schedules (such as Schedule D) that would itemize what those losses represented. Trump's supposedly had realized capital losses on investments in real estate, casinos in Atlantic City and the folded Trump Airlines. NY Times: Trump Wrote Off $100 Million in Losses in 2005.

How many businesses use these NOLs ? The answer is, quite a few. The value of NOLs can be a valuable asset for a business.

In fact, there are some top companies with NOLs and tax credits to market capitalization of 10%, 15%, and 20%. including large caps General Motors, Delta Air Lines, AIG, United Continental, Calpine, CIT Group, Charter Communications, CMS Energy, MGM Resorts.

Clarification: there's no connection between Trump and AIG. AIG and other companies are mentioned here because of their use of NOLs.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How to Win (the lottery, at life, on Wall Street, on Main Street)

Folks ask me for recommended reading on "How to win at life".  This month recommendation is "The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street" by Ken Marlin, Founder of Marlin Associates. Marlin shows us 11 Marine Corps principles in ways that apply to business, illustrating each principle with examples from the Tet Offensive and the Iraq War to Marlin’s decisions on Wall Street.

The Principles:

-There's no such thing as a "former marine". (not a principle in the book, but another worthy insight)
-It is not necessary to fight every battle that presents itself.
-Take a stand.
-Be the expert. Operational area expertise is in high demand.
-Know the enemy. Expanding this, I'd say know the target, their motivations, goals
-Know what the terrain is worth before fighting.
-Know yourself. What are your greatest assets ? Expertise
-Control the timing
-Take the higher ground
-It's an interconnected world -see the entanglements
-Trust and Verify
-Luck is not a plan

Source: Marlin & Associates

Adding to Marlin's words of wisdom.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Overconfidence is underrated

Have you ever seen a blind man walking with a stick flawlessly ? I saw one today, very much like this one in this video.

Not all legally blind walk this way, but the ones that do are are a sight [no pun indented] to behold. Where does their steadiness, sureness comes from, if not from over-the-top confidence ?

On March 8, 2017, WSJ published an article, authored by Joann S. Lublin, "Overconfident CEOs: Their Era Is Ending". The writeup says overconfident CEOs "take too many risks" citing Don A. Moore of UC Berkeley Hass's School of Business.
"Top executives attribute their success to their own brilliance and neglect the role of circumstance and good fortune."

This statement, in my opinion, doesn't hold water. Number one, confidence or utmost confidence is not something somebody is born with. Is is something painstakingly achieved thought sweat work and personal achievement. Overconfidence is not random but a result of thought exercise and mental conditioning, bringing forth target, attention and intention. The existing problem is that so many executives lack that "overconfidence", or else why would there be so many confidence "bootcamps" and a whole litany of career coaches ? I have never heard of a career coach hired to defuse somebody's confidence yet, they all get paid to improve CEO confidence within the overall corporate performance. Let it be clear overconfidence doesn't mean use of vulgarity, profanity or beration. Career coaches get hired to improve the communication skills and public images of CEOs. A mean person who lacks control of his/hers emotions shouldn't be a CEO to begin with.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

You're fired...

Some time ago...the boss called John into his office. John saw three security guards posted at the door. Something was up.

Boss: John, good to see you ! Firing on all cylinders today ? How's Rachel [John's wife] doing ?

John: She's good.

Boss: The reason we're here today is most unfortunate. [Takes a deep breath]. You're fired ! I'm sorry.

But... but...

No ifs and buts with this one. When you're given three hours to pack up your things, you're up against the wall.

Somebody asked me what John should have done or said.

  • "If you wanna take responsibility for firing me, you just did." -Depending on the circumstances, saying that may not be a such a good idea. Sometimes it may.

  • "Good luck !" Say good luck to your firing boss -before he does.

  • "See you in the movies"! -Please, only say it if you wanna make a movie about it.

  • "You're on a collision course with planet Earth". If you say that your boss knows where he is-spatially.

  • "Ok, I'm hosting my mom's birthday party and I need a caterer. You're hired !" -If you say that, make sure you are having that party.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Increase your joy

Last night on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel they featured a man by the name of Ashrita Furman.

Ashrita is a remarkable individual who since 1979 has set 628 world records, of which 205 are still standing. He is featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Happiness is progress and reaching a goal, says Ashrita.

The Record Breaker from Brian McGinn on Vimeo.

Is Ashrita a model for "psycho executing" at the highest level ? I think so.

Let's refer to a concept known as "Bloom's Taxonomy". Dr. Benjamin S. Bloom initiated “Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning in 1956 as a design and evaluation toolkit for academic education. Today it is applicable to all types of learning.

There are three domains in Bloom’s Taxonomy:

  1. Cognitive Domain (knowledge)
  2. Affective Domain (attitude)
  3. Psychomotor Domain (skills) (Wikipedia)

Bloom believes that all three domains are important, however, Ashrita's performances fall under the psychomotor "domain".

"A domain simply means category. What is the Psychomotor Domain? The Psychomotor Domain is skill based and refers to the learning of skills. Physical skills are the ability to move, act, or manually manipulate the body to perform a physical movement. What is taxonomy? Taxonomy is a structure, a plan, or a checklist to assist in planning training to cover each development stage of the learner’s growth. It is important that each stage is mastered before moving on to the next stage." 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What went wrong...

I assume that most, if not all of the people working in finance are familiar with the Herbalife saga and Bill Ackman's ill-suited short of the company. Now four years in the making, the protracted battle Pershing Square - Herbalife (HLF) is detailed nicely in the most recent New Yorker magazine article "Financiers fight over the American dream" by Sheelah Kolhatkar.

I don't wish to talk about HLF, rather I look at Ackman' moves that scream 'wrong' in general:

  • Going Big (10% AUM is huge) instead of tip-toeing.
  • Sheep-herding -As you learn that Ackman went after Herbalife following David Einhorn, you wonder if he didn't know Einhorn is an able poker player. If this was that good, why didn't Einhorn take a big bite to begin with.
  • Herbalife was long lived MLM, has been around for decades. Whether for the right or the wrong reasons, a business that has survived for a long time / many lawsuits /economic cycles is not "garbage" or can be easily dismissed. If HLF was an easy target it would have fallen by then.
  • If PSC has a L/S strategy that is in fact mainly L(Long) why commit so many resources to a short ? To add injury to the offense "Ackman pledged to donate his personal profits from the short to charity." Not in the [realDT] world, not in any world !
  • Ackman: "I am more interested in fighting evil." If you need a government investigation, do you really think the government is going to favor a hedgie [profiting from the fall of it] ?
  • Then came the CNBC Ackman-Icahn face-off that was of comic proportions, most of you watched it. I think Icahn was trying to irk Ackman.
  • A stock drawn into a public battle almost never goes down (unless it's an epic fraud something like Enron).
  • Another moral of this story is not to fall for a a business that easily morphs forms. MLM "adjust their business models to remain in the zone of legality." Ackman was vindicated as far as the government investigation that ensued and the settlement the company had to reach. Morally he won...yet lost the pocketbook score.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Decyphering Donald Trump's power style

Since I write a blog focused on decrypting power moves and attaining top career goals, I will focus today on the Man of the Hour, Trump.

People that are not business owners or that have not been responsible for their own revenue line have a poor understanding of what a CEO, or even a top salesman, are. CEOs, ostensibly the ones in the public eyes, let very little of their own true image show though in interviews and publications, because they worry about their public image. Politicians do too, with the exceptions of Donald Trump, which had to reveal himself to get elected.

People are so divided over Trump. It's hard to find anyone that's indifferent or not opinionated. His fiercest supporters call him "King", while his critics are no less shy in going to the other extreme. I think this division goes into institutions as well.

Well, what is ? What's the secret sauce that has taken millions of people by the storm ?

What Trump does he speaks to the emotions of the audience. Trump uses language designed to provoke and enrapture the listener. He is, in my opinion, often bare of facts, ignoring content but getting a deep emotional response that have his supporters raving and his detractors go mad. You can do anything but ignore him. Both his words and body language are a battery of emotion-laden imagery, a emotional rollercoaster. His outbursts are very carefully scripted. This comes from CEO and showbiz training. You can't very well argue with that -Watch the grab-and-jerk handshake. Trump has an emotional gravitational pull and unbridled frank language that along with his open hand gestures constitute his trademark. What the stunt doesn't tell you Trump functions like a good businessman, and number one law in business is that "All relationships are transactional."

Business community leaders have come out of WH meetings expressing being "charmed" by Trump. Reality check: negotiations are rarely done by the President, but by his aides. I would default to Frank Underwood on this one: "Shake with your right hand but hold a rock in your left."

Saturday, February 18, 2017


A friend texted me today excited that Showtime' Billions Season 2 is on this weekend.

I replied that I was privileged to have seen another show, days earlier, better than "Billions". The show I watched you bet it's going to cost billions. I don't think Bobby Axelrod is half that shitty.

There was this hyena with angry outbursts. She was crazy. She launched at the lions with a playbook I have seen before.

How to make billions (or cost somebody billions):

  1. Say you have a face "everybody" loves. Everybody loves you.
  2. And you love everybody. Nobody cares more for fanny than you do.
  3. "Say: It's not what you think it is" when in fact, it is exactly what you see.
  4. Say you can lowball anyone. Save them a penny while costing them a dollar.
  5. Push to the forefront low priority/unnecessary problems. Do them the favor and solve them. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fiercest battle of them all: the battle of the sexes

In Japan the tradition is for women to give gifts and chocolates to men on Valentines Day (USA Today). Men get a chance to reciprocate one month later, on White Day, a more recently established tradition.

How is a Wall Street veteran to weight in the battle of the sexes ? From a strategic point, men have lost that battle. Women have largely won, their sense of self-aggrandizement and self-entitlement is out-of-scale. A few bright guys in the manosphere brought to light the so called reality based "red pill" thinking, but that is not necessarily new.

Women initiate 70% of divorces, so who's in the driver seat ?

"Sixty per cent of the 2,000 women surveyed by London dating app The Inner Circle admitted refusing a second date with a guy - after finding he had a lower salary than them.- Express U.K.

"Love never dies of starvation, but often of indigestion". -Ninon de L'Enclos, French author

Let's have a look at dating

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The most important interview question

What's the SINGLE most important interview question a job seeker needs to know the answer to ? The question the job seeker-you- should, without fault, know the answer to before getting the job ?

How much are you worth ?

That's the most important question in a job interview for the job seeker to answer. The question has nothing to do with how much money you have in the bank, how many assets, liabilities, debt and so worth. It's about your self-worth and putting a dollar sign on it. You could be dead broke and be worth a million dollars. Until you have an ingrained, authentic belief of what you're worth and resonate with people, you will not be getting "that" job, that dream offer, or that promotion. It is a very simple concept yet it escapes many.
Note: This question is loosely tied to what the offered pay is.

For an interviewer, the most important question to get answered to hire the best candidate is:

New Benchmarks for Private Equity Performance

This month Cambridge Associates (CA) introduced some nuanced Investment-Level Benchmark by vintage years, Gross/Net IRR quartiles and sector analysis. CA is also making a breakdown between "Gross IRRs" and "Net IRRs"looking for the lowest "fee drag".

CA is gauging the effect of fees on LP returns:
" fund-level fees cost private equity investors 616 basis points (bps) (on average), or about 0.2x MOIC over the life of a fund. Of course, the effect of carried interest can increase the fee drag significantly in better-performing funds and stronger vintage years. For example, for the five best-performing private equity vintages across 1986–2010, the average net to LP returns are a healthy 26.1% IRR and, as a result, the average gross-to-net spread is a hefty 959 bps per year. Expensive for sure, but a price most investors are quite happy to pay for such robust net returns."
Source: Cambridge Associate, A New Arrow in the Quiver: Investment-Level Benchmarks for Private Investment Performance Measurement

"Anytime you continually do something or even think about something the same way, you'll eventually stop growing" -Bill Eckstrom 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Getting A Job - older age, experienced candidates edition

I take a lot of pride in our file and rank folk that fight the good fight in finance and that have proven themselves. I hurt to see veterans getting booted and replaced with 24-year old paper boys with Harvard degrees for whom a bad day is a day fighting laryngitis.

If the trend of "Juniorization" of Wall Street continues, it can prove damaging to the institutions that allow it. Experienced workers (with more than 6 years of experience in the industry) are routinely let go and replaced with young talent because the "millennials are the greatest generation" and Ivy League schools churn too many of them. Meanwhile, older workers sit idly unable to get a job. How can they get a job when the HR firewall is a 25-year old genius. Millennial wisdom: If you're not on Snapchap, you don't exist. How many Instagram followers does a 40-year old suppose to have to "make the cut" ? "We look for evidence of your social media influence." an HR Director told a colleague of mine. You know, we need someone that's hungry and driven. We're looking for a data whiz, who "lives and breathes" data algorithms. My colleague: But...I got references ! Sorry, if those references are over 5 years old, they're out-of-date. Tough luck ! A Resume with over 10 years of work history gets dinged automatically.

From the "Juniorization of Wall Street" on Efinancialcareers we find who does that systematically:
"On Wall Street at least, the answer appears to be Goldman Sachs, closely followed by Deutsche Bank and Barclays." Goldman Sachs has 30% entry level (Analysts, 0-3 years) workers and ONLY 6% workers with 20 years or more.
Please note this is happening in other industries as well, outside of banking in NYC.

If Goldman Sachs keeps sucking the millenial tit, a number of things can happen:

-firms like Goldman will fall behind the sophistication to execute deals or trades, because the ability to execute is non-existent in newbies (aka excel monkeys).

-all other things being equal, older, more experienced workers produce higher quality product. Since most of the production at Goldman is entry level worker generated, it will have more mistakes and redundancy.

New York is a pretty straight forward place. Imagine what happens in Silicon Valley.  How many workers over the age of 50 does Facebook have, other than janitors, servicemen, and shuttle drivers ?

So what is an older and experienced worker to do in an environment where millennials are given preference in the workforce ?

(If you are an entry level or recent grad, read my Guide to Getting A Job -college edition)

1. First, set the record straight with your former employer. Were you forced to resign ? You may have a lawsuit going. Get a good lawyer, If you were replaced with a younger worker, document it, if you are over 40 years of age, you may have an age discrimination and wrongful discharge case. Is your U4 record clean ? You may also have a defamation lawsuit going.

2. Most people don't sue even if they were wronged for fear of ruining their name for future employment.

3. When looking for a new job, look the chicken shit HR millenial in the eye and tell her "Excuse me, Ms./Mr you got flushed cheeks ! What's happening ? Are you feeling well ? Should we call an ambulance for you ?

Real #3 now. Never go through HR. As an experienced hire or lateral, you should never go through HR. Your best bet is someone already working there and them pushing your Resume. HR resume piles are for deletion only.

4. A good idea is to have the Resume tailored for the position. If applying for an entry level (0-3 years) your Resume should not show more than three years of experience. If you have 10 years of experience, cut the last 7 out. They mean nothing. You get no extra points from the HR bums.

5. It's been said that getting a job is a lot like dating. It is a numbers game. There's no escaping that.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Third Point Capital Q4 2016 Letter

This is a nice overview of where we are and maybe where we are heading. Remember what I often said: watch what your competitors are doing, but not necessary do what they do. Here are some stick points that resonated with me:

"Many people are bullish for rate sensitive financial stocks."

"creating a virtuous cycle by following a 1980s blueprint is highly unlikely."

"There is a similar Value-At-Risk coming from heathcare, technology, industrials and financials."

" if anything, banks have been over‐staffed and have over‐spent for years during a period of subdued activity."

"Credit–like equities–is starting from a relatively high point in valuation this year and we expect the rising rate backdrop to provide a headwind. Retail- probably distressed this year."

The letter, released Feb. 1st concludes:

"While America may or may not be made great again, there is no question that the rules are literally being rewritten and there is likewise no question that this process will be carried out in a flamboyant fashion. We do not plan to trade the tweets but we expect an increasing number of real and, even better, fake dislocations to create some extremely rewarding investing opportunities."


Not responsible for errors. Publisher does not endorse or recommend any particular article, and does not offer any investment advice, training or solutions. This website does not constitute or form part of, and should not be construed as, any offer for sale or subscription of, or any invitation to offer to buy or subscribe for, any securities, nor should it or any part of it form the basis of, or be relied on in any connection with, any contract or commitment whatsoever.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Dealing with information overload

A lot of my readers have read Tim Ferris newest best seller book, "Tools of the Titans" and found practical, revealing tips from Tim's guests, which are some of the worlds top class performers.

I think an important issue to those interviewed was answering the question of how to deal with the information overload, which, make no mistake, kills productivity, joy and creativity.

What is it that you can do to put a stop to the information overload ? There is an incessant, unforgiving barrage of news and information that's like a world on acid.

Do you just apply better filters to your email and social media feeds ? Are you able to self censure yourself to reading emails only twice a day ? What about those hundreds of emails left unread or unanswered every day ? There is a tremendous amount of noise that is waiting to capture your attention, emotions and pull your decision-making. Add to that the clunk and gutter that your significant other is experiencing.

If you fancy yourself as a top performer, you need to:

Ruthlessly cut out 4/5th of the information overload. This is no easy job. There are no "top-of-hour" news, ","trending","fake" news or "alternative" news. There are only relevant information and relevant people some of the time. When relevant people babble in non-sense, you need to switch off. You don't need to know when your neighbor gets a cold unless you shake their hands every day. Social media giants have transformed us into social media addicts. (anyone ever heard of Trump...). This addictive behavior has resulted into short attention spans and incapacity of concentration, especially from younger users.

Every man carries about him a touchstone, if he will make use of it, to distinguish substantial gold from superficial glitterings, truth from appearances. And indeed the use and benefit of this touchstone, which is natural reason, is spoiled and lost only by assuming prejudices, overweening presumption, and narrowing our minds. - John Locke

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Snake in a suit

The snake came in today dapper as always dressed in his expensive navy suit.

What are we doing today ?

Listening to this big CEO and his "United States of ME."

He puts everyone on emotional quicksand.

Perfunctory management of human capital. Guy is great in the waste management department.

"He is so transparent in his self interest that I kind of respect him." [quote borrowed from The Big Short movie]

Sounds like anyone you know ? (Any resemblance to actual characters is coincidental)

What are we doing today ?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inaugurating the top strategist alive, Max Cantor

Today was Inauguration Day: The greatest strategist alive, Max Cantor, was sworn in (just kidding, the Inauguration was that of the 45th President of the United States).

I can draw a parallel between the victory of Donald Trump and the disorientation felt by the global elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. I think global elitism is anathema. The days for setting up glorious agendas that don't matter are behind. Most people seem to have the basic understanding that individual effort is the lever that works, and refuse to let a wack-a-doo or two do their show for them.

Davos Demystified

What is Davos ? Davos is a networking event by invitation only. Pure and simple: networking. The hush hush you read about is non-sense. I give you the real scoop, like no Harvard behavior economist does. If you've active in any profession, you would have gone to conferences or meetings. Networking is essential in business. So why are topdogs [sic] like Marc Benioff of or Stephen Schwarzman go there for ? They need no networking, one might say. That is the wrong thing to say, they still need networking. They are out to spread goodwill toward their causes, making the link between business and NGOs, for example, or art and science.  The background is PROMOTE. Promote your business, cause or perspective. The danger at Davos that nobody tells you about is the herd mentality ! Davos is prone to the same flaw that abounds everywhere else: the sheep mentality. That's where Davos participants go wrong, creating the myth of the 'DavosMan or Woman'. Some Davos folks believe they're somehow responsible for the wrong or right turns of the world and they have grown into some "guardians" of the galaxy. The man who only takes care of his parcel in life suffers not such illusion. It is an extraordinary sense of self aggrandizement that, paradoxically, induces "taking title" to the "state of the world". It's like taking ownership to the wind.  People shun simplicity and dream of glorious pandemonium.The simple man from the past did not suffer from that self delusion.

I personally like the SuperReturn Conference, in my field, better. The vibe is different. It is a healthier, better working environment. Just like Davos, SuperReturn has different series on different continents and is coming up in February

Womens March

Tomorrow there is the Womens March in Washington D.C. and in other cities across the country. What prompted such a novel, unprecedented march ? I think this is the rise of the individual, unfettered initiative, the only source of meaningful progress and satisfaction.

If you are reading this blog, I take it you undertake your personal growth and development seriously. You deserve the best of everything. You are strong but want to get stronger. You will not accept being second class. You might as well give it your best shot.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Greenlight Capital Q4 2016 Letter, L/S perspective

Greenlight Capital (GC) Q4 letter, is a good read-always and especially now. Einhorn has remarkable prescience and he didn't do too badly either. GC generated 9% of gross alpha for 2016.

He has lost money on shorts, shorting tobacco firm Reynolds American (RAI). Shorting tobacco "can be hazardous to portfolio health" and it was.

His leading long winners were CONSOL Energy (CNX), CC, Time Warner (TWX), GM, Michael Kors (KORS) and Apple (AAPL). He considers GM, now trading at less than 6X earnings, undervalued.

Greenhorn likes the prospects of Bayern (BAYN) whether it will complete a proposed merger with Monsanto or not.

Short: oil frackers, which are not helped by the proposed tax-cuts of the Trump Presidency since "they don't pay much taxes". O&G "drill-baby-drill" prospects in the Trump era would lead to investing more money while oil prices would still be down. GC is short on CAT. "Even in an U.S. infrastructure boom, CAT is overpriced."

GC is is also short the "bubble basket". That includes NETFLIX (NFLX) whose "domestic market has matured." Einhorn doesn't believe NFLX large investments in paid content creation have paid off. I disagree with that, I think as more content gets consumed on mobile, there's more for Netflix.

Gold is another holding for GC. Gold is a typical safety flight asset.

                                                      GM: Good Buy ?


Not responsible for errors. This site does not offer any investment advice, training or solutions. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Keep Moving

Someone once told me that legendary Sisyphus was not punished, but in fact, rewarded by the Gods by having to push up the giant boulder uphill for eternity. That someone even kept a Sisyphus man and boulder miniature replica on his desk. You can read about the various interpretations of the legend of Sisyphus, most of which see terrible punishment of unrewarded labor. What if Sisyphus boulder wasn't a horrible sweatshop job but the inevitable way of moving forward. Albert Camus concluded "one must imagine Sisyphus happy" as "The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart." (Wikipedia)

King Sisyphus wasn't just accused of any violation: he stood guilty of assuming his cleverness surpassed that of mighty Zeus himself. Punishment is not punishment until one agrees to make it so. I think Sisyphus was more astute than given credit by most historians and scholars, with the exception of Camus.

If Sisyphus can push forward, what stops you from moving ? Have you "reached the top" ? There is another top. Improvement never stops. Improvement never fails.

And since it is MLK day today,

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Negotiations: Can't top this

"[You] can't top this" is a line I used to attain an advantage in countless negotiations. I'd set out my agenda, escalating point-by-point. You can't top this. I let it set so they have the last word.

Sometimes I throw my counter-parties a bone [no sweetener] to see if they bite.  If they don't bite I go back to square one. What's the difference between a bone and a sweetener ? A sweetener is something you cannot take back. A bone, if not accepted, leaves you under no obligation than you were before you offered it.

Case in point of a brilliant negotiator: Rex Tillerson, ex-Exxon CEO known to employ "temper tantrums and silent stare-offs" {WSJ) "Anger is a strategy, not an emotion." Tillerson avoided "projecting American superiority" when negotiating in far-flung places, he was "keeping it real" avoiding the emotional factor that would erode fair dealing.

"Keep your eyes on the prize", "Negotiating is a lot like dating", you often hear. In dating, women make the man prove himself.  Is that what you need to do when making deals ? Make the other party prove themselves ? It depends. If you want an emotional decision, make them prove themselves, but if you do not, stay away like hell. Patriotism or nationalism are not emotional motives to be triggered lightly. If you deal with the Russians or the Chinese and evoke nationalism, you quite possibly pulled the wrong lever. The host is always right in the host country.

At the negotiating table, everyone needs to be able to tap into their resources. If where [they] are right now is a pain point, I encourage them to let it out. "I'm here to help." I make it sure my counter-party knows that. If I'm dealing with a party that's so white-shoed they're sparkling, stick a fork in it and you're done. People "dry as a dead dingos donger" are not my favs.  I like to build people up. If someone looks like they're helpful but unsure of themselves, I want to see them empowered. In negotiations, if you empower people, you may have already won.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Opinion: Ray Dalio and the way Bridgewater Associates operates

If you're not familiar with a WSJ article on Bridgewater Associates (BA) culture, click the link. Today, Henry Blodget of Business Insider published a Q&A interview with Ray Dalio which represents Dalio's rebuttal to the earlier Journal report. I'll comment on BA's self described "idea meritocratic way" and Dalio's apparent critique of the original report.

I thought Bradley Hope's and Rob Copeland's WSJ report was fair, informative, judiciously researched and well put together. Of course, Dalio is struggling with having to organize a bureaucracy of 1500 or so employees and his problems are not unique but very much common.

The WSJ piece is good journalism that does not deserve criticism as "biased news". Here are my observations on Dalio's Q&A and the way he described operating at BA :

1. Peoples management should not be the employee focus. While the "culture of radical transparency" is a seductive idea, spending time reviewing co-worker and personnel files is a waste of time for employees that work outside HR and that are not your immediate supervisor.

2. The letter where the employee wrote "I love you Ray" is not the letter he should have quoted in the interview.

3. Ray has some 210 Principles laid out into three sections -it is good to have a layout, a structure. I will discuss those in greater detail when I have some more time, but I already have a problem with "Don't pick your battles'. Fight them all." I think Dalio is trying to engender himself into Eastern philosophy. My opinion, as a strategist, is that you need to pick your battles so that you don't expend energy needlessly. Examples: What do you win if you fight a fool ? Or do you go into a battle with an adversary that's bigger and stronger than you ? I think fighting other peoples battles is a foolish way to live.

4. Let's suppose Ray has this idea to get everyone on the TM (Transcendental Meditation) train, and offers the course for free (it was around $1000 when I took it years ago), so that folks don't even have to pay for it. We know Ray practices and values that practice. Substitute for meditation with anything else, say, fencing, anyone ? that is deemed "beneficial" by management. What you will have is some folks hopping in for fear of not standing out. Someone might get criticized at the next video meeting. "How was TM ? Oh, well, not for me." Ummhh -wrong answer. Two points down. My point is the hunt for points (pun indented, BA has the points score system) doesn't necessarily create better people despite its best intentions.

5. The "idea meritocratic way" is not a fail-proof method. In a large organization there will inevitably be better employees and weaker ones riding the coattails. People are not supposed to be static. What I mean is BA should administer their personality and skills tests repeatedly, so that they can hopefully see shifts, next year, or next quarter, etc.

6. BA is using big data trying to homogenize its employee population. That's not unique to them, It's been seen and done in most large organizations.

7. Blodget missed to ask a very important question, which is how do Ex-Bridgewater employees fare after they leave. How successful are they ? How good are they when they open their own shops ? Answering that gives a better picture on how effective BA's ops manual is.

8. Dalio dodged the question Blodget asked on what he thought about Trump not accepting what some journalists write about him. "journalists...they try to write the truth in a fair way, and our President Elect, Donald Trump, doesn't like it or believe it. Have they done their job?" Dalio goes on rambling about how "the President must operate by rules..., if you pull rank, you lose all credibility, etc.". On this blog I wrote how Trump became the President of the United States by not playing by the rules. Also, we learned though the journalistic work at the Washington Post that Trump might have had a role model earlier in life, a shyster by the name of Ray Cohn.

9. It is not the job of the one that's interviewed to figure out the mindset of the person who's interviewing him. Why expend energy unnecessary ?

10. So is it See you Ray at the World Economic Forum in Davos this month ? Probably not. Also, for those of you that are looking for jobs at BA it's fair to say your chances are very close to none, since the firm has an internal hiring priority process system (as have many in the industry).