Tuesday, December 12, 2017

TED Talks; Presentation Mastery Toolkit from Templar Advisors

A friend named Serge called me recently with an idea. Here's the call we had:

Serge: Max, have you ever thought of doing a TED talk ? I think that would be good for you. Do you know about TED and TEDx ?

Me: Of course I do. I feature many of those talks, most recently Ray Dalio. How much do they pay ?

Serge: They don't. This is a non-profit, Max, and in the case of TEDx with local roots. Think of the exposure Max, this conferences get hundreds of thousands, even millions of views. You got to do it.

Me: I see. I'll look into it. What topic should I do, How to Bribe the Chief Bonobos or something.

Serge: The first thing you need to look at are the TED Commandments. That's the first step.

Me: What ? What the fuck is that ?

Anyway, the conversation watered down after that. I did some research on TED and TEDx Talks, and whether I'll do a TED/x presentation I don't know at this point.

I had to get a hold of the 10 Commandments. A writer, Alex Rister, distilled them here. Another writer, Frank Swain, on Why He is Not a TEDx Speaker.

More useful, however, is the Presentation Mastery Toolkit from Templar Advisors, a communications skills firm. ( I have no relation to the firm)

As I told you before, anybody can benefit from improving their presentation skills, no matter what business you are in. Read my previous post on this. I said it before: giving a presentation before 10 persons is the same as giving one before one thousand, or ten thousand.

From Templar:

"If you have to use Powerpoint slides, try the 10:20:30 rule: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point text. Or the Haiku-like PerchaKucha format."

Friday, December 8, 2017

Biggest lies you're told -a list in progress

A statement by Steven Schwarzman to young recruits hopeful to work at BG in a Youtube video via Bloomberg let me think out loud: What a bunch of bullshit. How often do you hear this kind of lies told by top brass to grease your ears ?

How often does your boss butter you up with crap, not just with the innocent pat on the back "I get it. We're on the same page."  ?

What did Schwarzman say ? He said: "Everybody here can be successful." You've heard that many times from many people, so he's not the first and only to say it. The context:

"Landing an analyst position at Blackstone isn’t easy. In 2015, Schwarzman said the firm got more than 15,000 applications for 100 spots, or an acceptance rate of less than 0.7 percent. 'It’s six times harder to get a job as an analyst at Blackstone than getting into Harvard, Yale or Stanford,' the billionaire said in 2015. (Bloomberg)

When I heard that lie, common as it is, I thought: make a list of lies bosses, CEOs, top-of-the-food-chain people say. Some of these lies are so widespread, they've become part of daily life.

-"If you don't do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones." -As much as this makes sense (Does it ?), it is hamster wheeling. This is building a citizenry of servants and misandrists.

"Purpose doesn't only come from work." -Every once in a while an inspiring boss comes up with this one. Last seen: Mark Zuckerberg at the Harvard Commencement Speech earlier this year. This sentence is sort of read-the-fine-print while you're doing shitty work. It's your fault: it's not the crappy job, it's your lack of doing good things outside of it. Be a good donkey and stay at that unsatisfying job. Again, such statements read well on surface but are subterfuge for demolishing your personality.

When somebody says "Start at the bottom.", ask yourself: Is such statement even necessary ? Someone can only start at the bottom. Where else can someone start, if not at the bottom. If they repeat it again four years later what they're really saying is "Stay at the bottom." Can you build an inverted pyramid ? Tell you what: I'll look at your turnover, and based on that, I see what what you mean with the "Start at the bottom" line.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Do Binaural Beats Affirmations work ?

A reader send me a link yesterday to a popular video asking me "Does this work ?"

The video must be pretty popular (490K+ views since summer) and there's a whole bunch of them, some of lengths of hours and hours.

As you can see, the video is affirmations of the kind "Confidence comes naturally to me. Everything I do turns into gold, etc.) recited over 432 Hz "binaural beats" sound music.

What are binaural beats ? Binaural beats correspond to the frequency of the so-called "theta" brain waves. There's some mathematics behind them (link). In this particular compilation the writer says that you should listen to it for 21 days.

I have no idea if these binaural beats statements work or not. I think it is best to have those statements written down. Furthermore, the use of "You" is probably stronger than "I" (I know that runs counter-intuitive for most of you.)

As far the pronoun "I", you can tell the difference between "I am energetic" and "I have lots of energy": the "I am" is the stronger statement.  But I have my reservations with these affirmations. If you've been following me, you know I don't believe in wishful thinking. My methods of extracting change are harsh, painful, and border on exerting body and mental exhaustion. I work with the natural, the supernatural, the hyperspace, the Sith, the M-theory, the Godless, the forgotten, the downtrodden. The whole reason of writing here is to give the downtrodden a chance at winning. Winning against the odds. Crushing the odds. I don't just study the "science of achievement" -that's for Tony Robbins- I study the science of "unshackling". I go to God and hold Thy accountable for what Thy did, if Thy wants me accountable at the end of my life, Thy needs to do the same while I'm here.

However, you're welcome to try it...and let me know.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

I beat the lie detector test

We have a reader's email today -Part 1-  along with the video of a fit ex-Wall Street guy age 76, in Part 2- nobody's going to say now that I write for millennials only...

Sam writes:

I'm a guy of high standards. Yesterday I took a polygraph test. Guess what ? I beat the polygraph ! The finding: no deception. The question "I beat" was innocuous in my opinion: "Have you ever cheated on your wife ?"  I've been married for 20+ years and a couple of years there was an affair that has since died down. I've reconciled it with my wife who, at the time, wasn't too happy, she went away for a short time and threatened with divorce. In my business, however, being divorce is big no. I can't have that on my record. We've managed to keep it together because our bond was stronger than any discord and moments of infidelity. We worked it through and stayed together. The longer you are together with your partner, the stronger the bonds. People make mistakes but mistakes are part of life. That mistake was corrected, forgiven, and I'll gladly handle it the same today. 

I have taken polygraphs before, and never failed. I wasn't going to fail this one. Did not. Here are my tips:

1. Perform well at the pre-test interview. The pre-test interview is their way of establishing a baseline and get you worked up. Easy drill for a good man !
2. Have good, clean standards.
3. Use only "Yes" or "No" answers. Don't ramble. Don't backtrack.
4. There are three types of questions: irrelevant, control, and relevant.
5. Answer the control Qs with the same integrity and sanity as the relevant ones. No hesitation.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Notes on 100 Deadly Skills, a book by Clint Emerson

Since this is a winners strategy blog -the best strategy blog- with Wall Street roots, it should come as no surprise that many readers want to improve their skills and knowledge of situational, physical warfare.  When I suggested former Navy Seal Clint Emerson's book: 100 Deadly Skills, we got a winner, one reader posted his notes here. I'll follow up on it, but very succinct, you need to have the book to follow the illustrations. Life is haphazard and most people do not have a bodyguard. The good news is, by learning proper techniques we can prevent, unravel, and defeat most threats to our safety.

Emerson breaks apart "skills" into their most critical parts, or Courses of Action (COAs) and sums them up in a Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF).  Here are 24 of those; it does not mean they are more important or effective than the rest. The numbering is the original, 001 through 100.

Skill 002 : Every day Carry Kit: the container kit includes: clamshell, handkerchief, paracord (550 parachute cord), rake pick and tension wrench (part of the credit card size pick lock set), sandals (change in clothes in opposite colors of clothing is recommended), cigs, lighter, cash, in a zero trace messenger bag, zebra pen, blades.

007: Teaches you how to build a rectal concealment kit out of an aluminum cigar tube (hiding inside it money, nail, shim, compass).  Are we getting warm now or what ?

020: If you're in a hotel room, some of the places where you can hide things from intruders are: inside housing of older TVs, inside the shower curtain rod, taped to the bottom of a drawer or heavy piece of furniture, inside landline housing (need screwdriver).

022: Steal a vehicle: yes, it will tell you how to hotwire a car but the fastest way to get a car is to take one that is already running !

024: How to prepare your vehicle for high-speed chases (tip: disengage airbags, practice left-foot braking, then threshold braking).

027: You can make a disposable silencer from a watter bottle, stainless steel scourer and fine wire mesh.

029: A Zebra F-400 or F-700 pen can be a weapon. Some people carry tactical pens. Or knives.

038: Detect tampering with personal effects with discreet alignments to determine tampering while away from the room.

043: You can make lock picks from a paper clip, you need a hook pick and tension wrench.

050: Creating a padlock shim out of an aluminum can.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Optimize your work environment for winning

Folks are writing me wanting to know how I start my workday, how to optimize their own lives. You want heuristics for better living, so I'll suggest how a Wall Street winner -yours truly- structures his work area.

To be clear, optimizing your environment means nothing if you don't have good, predictable habits in place. You should have clean habits and live a healthy life. We are not going to touch on your habits today.

How do you structure a supportive environment ? It's common sense not to leave bad foods at your fingertips, in the fridge, sitting around. If you look at their workstations most people have pictures of their wife, and kids, maybe vacation moments.  That begs the question: What's the girlfriend/wife picture going to get you ? "Missing you" feelings ? A "I wish I wasn't here doing what I'm doing" stamp ? Pictures of your wife scream "I'm a pussy, I'm new, I am wimp."

Have you ever been in a CEO's office ? I can answer yes to that,  because I have, dozens of times. They have their workstation radically different than what you have now. I've talked before about the boss who had a mini-replica of Sisyphus and the boulder made out of clay. Another folk had an original handmade samurai sword that costed $3,000 hanging on the wall behind him.

You need to optimize your work area, whether your company office or home office [don't tell me you work out of Starbucks, you shouldn't work out of of a coffee shop for more than an hour at a time, and only rarely]. You need a space that makes a statement of who you are. Ask yourself: what inspires you ? Suppose you don't have trophies on the wall, you haven't made magazine cover pages,  you don't have a wall art collection: then do as a reader of mine does, he has a canvas portrait of actor Christopher Walker.  If you already have wall art, congratulations. Other suggestion:  Wolf Wall Art by Mark Adligton .  Do you have a hero, a brand, or a symbol that inspires you ? Then put it up as wall art.

Next step: your whiteboard

Most companies have a whiteboard. All people should have a whiteboard. On the whiteboard you write the ideas that drive you, your mission statement, your defining moments, your inspiration. Leaving aside any particular schematics to your office goals, what DO YOU HAVE written on your whiteboard ? "I'm falling backward...Happy Monday [whatever day of the week]  ?  Stop it. Here's what I have written today on my dry erase board:




Friday, November 17, 2017

Venezuela: no debt restructuring. Lessons from Greece

In 2012 Greece got a haircut of privately-held debt of 59-65%. As a result of restructuring, Greece  inched forward and 5 years later progress had been made. Greece's economy is now growing faster than the UK.

Venezuela seems to be close to a debt debacle and apparently no discussions, not even a hint of plan in works has surfaced. Should Venezuela take a hint from the works of the Greek saga ?

From "Greek Debt Exchange: An Autopsy" from EBRD and CEPR, University of Munich, CESifo, and Duke University authors Jeromin Zettelmeyer, Christoph Trebesch, Mitu Gulati : The Greeks were smart to apply new laws where "votes of 50% of face value and a consent threshold of two-thirds of the face-value of bonds, applied across the totality of all Greek law sovereign bonds outstanding rather than bond-by-bond" were required for the exchange. This paper discusses that despite the large variation in the present value haircuts across the bondholders, you had few "holdouts" with 90% of creditors participation.

Why did so many holders of debt take that deal ? There were three reasons, as numbered by Zettemeyer et. al.

-the 15% EFSF  (now ESM) "as good as cash";

-the new bonds were issued under English law, and included standard creditor protections such as pari passu, negative pledge, and cross-default clauses. Greek-law sovereign bonds contained almost none of these protections;

-the new bonds were issued under a “co-financing agreement” that created an "exact symmetry between Greece’s debt service to the new bondholders and its debt service to the EFSF." Of course, the largest creditor to Greece was the EU – both through the EFSF, and through the “Greek Loan Facility” (GLF)"

Since 2012, Greece defaulted again. In 2015, Greece defaulted on IMF loans, the largest default in IMF's history.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Tips on getting "liked"

Perhaps you've read The Like Switch by Jack Schaffer, Ph.D and Marvin Karlins, Ph.D on How to get "liked". If you haven't, here's a recap of the Friendship Formula in the book at the NY Post.

I suppose these are behaviors you wanna adopt in cases of servitude, inferiority, when you're begging and don't have the upper hand: at a job interview or when requesting a favor from your superiors. Those that have the power in the organization would not adapt these signals, with the exception maybe of intense eye contact.

It is useful for anyone to know, however, what is the difference between a fake and a force smile:
Schaffer- "As opposed to sincere smiles, forced smiles tend to be lopsided. Fake smiles also lack syncrony. In a fake smile, you can see that the corners of the mouth are not upturned and the cheeks are not uplifted to cause wrinkling around the eyes...-p. 33"
 I use the tips in this book more than anything to spot suck ups and manipulators. So what are the things to watch out for:

-Isopraxism is the mirroring of the actions of others (their legs are crossed, you cross the legs, point open torso towards the other to induce the sense of openness, etc.). Mirroring works to meet them at their level. Again, it is good for first contact, job interview.

-Use the rumor mill to spread compliments instead of delivering them directly. Especially if people are skeptical of you.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Anger at work: CEOs tool of the trade

I've watched executives exploit in anger -feigned anger that is- numerous times in order to win the show. One time, this guy start calling the team across the table the "Inquisition": "You've forsaken all your children. You've thrown the baby out with the bathwater, you SOBs." If only I had a tape recorder, which of course I didn't, that would be a violation of confidentiality, the NDA I signed.

You rarely, if ever, see how leaders behave, because most meetings are behind closed doors and most conferences (see the Dealbook conference this past week) are boring like hell. Occasionally, you see veterans on TV sparring , these are delightful.

The point is CEOs know how to use trash talk, they do it more often than you think, and that is a skill you want to develop if you want to climb up the ladder. New reader tip: what I do on this blog I analyze the world of corporate power and influence for the benefit of the underlings. I dig deep into the behavior, methods and secrets of the moneyed elite and let you know what they don't want you to know. Because press releases, biographies and auto biographies reveal only so much (correctly should be: only so little).

So can you trash talk like a MMA fighter ?

Can you subdue an opponent relentlessly ?

Sure you can.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I was sexually harassed and this is what happened

Today I will be answering a reader's email:

Max: My name is Tina (name redacted) and I wish to share my story with you. My story is heartbreaking and filled with tears and disappointments.

I am 35 years old and have worked at a large hardware company for almost 4 years. We manufacture important components everybody has on their phones. We'are a pretty awesome company, however, in order to preserve my identity I won't go into much details. I am single currently, been married before when I was younger and have divorced many years ago.

The issue I have experienced at work puts me in a horrible position. A co-worker, we shall name him, Tobias, sexually harassed me. Tobias is single, no kids and about the same age. He came on my team fairly recently. Here's what happened. Last week Tues. we had to stay late to finish a project and Tobias began winking at me as we left, saying that "I was a gift to be around." That remark stuck with me, and I felt repulsed by it. But I gave him a pass. Then next day he said: "Would you like to go out this weekend ? Dinner and a movie ?" I thought, well, I wasn't doing anything, and that could be fun. So we set it up for 7 o'clock Sat. evening. I agreed to have him pick me up at my house.

The dinner went well, at a fancy restaurant, we ate fancy Italian rigatoni and garlicky sauce French escargot. Tobias ordered wine too, the wine was kind of strong, I felt it. Unfortunately so did Tobias, who after three glasses was getting drunk. As we finished dinner, Tobias paid the check, and as we were leaving the table, he said: "I really enjoyed our dinner. Care to see a movie at my place ?

"Wait, Tobias. I thought we're seeing a movie at Regal" (the theater in the same mall we dined.)

Him: "No, at my place. He than grabs my arm and says: "Well ?"

I said: No ! I'm out ! and I sprung for the doors, leaving that disgusting guy behind ! I got a ride home and was glad my awful night was over. Terrible !

I now have a lawyer taking up a sexual harassment case, and you know what ? They can't fire me because I'm suing. It would be wrongful termination. We filled an internal complaint as well. This is what happens when pigs put lipstick on and don't know how to behave.

I wrote you to illustrate how women don't have to put up with demeaning behavior. Ladies, we can keep our dignity intact, and in fact, defend our rights.


Friday, November 3, 2017

How to be a CEO, once you are one

 Adam Bryant (NYT) takes inventory of his 525 Corner Office columns in his Oct. 27th, 2017 New York Times article How to Be A CEO. While looking for patterns to the corner office, Bryant himself comes to the conclusion there are "C.E.O.s who started out in theater, music and teaching. Others had surprisingly low grades in school."

Bryant identifies four recurring themes:

1. Applied curiosity.

2. Ease with discomfort.

3. Trustworthiness. In that sphere perhaps the most interesting comment is that of Jeffrey Katzenberg, a tough Hollywood executive, who is quoted as saying "you're only as good as your followers.". If you beat the drum of morons, that says a lot about you, doesn't it ? The quality of your followers is in direct proportion to the quality of your teachings. If you've been following my blog for awhile, you see I expressly discouraged idiots from reading it. Who needs them ? It is better to have 20 quality readers than 20,000 piss-spot knuckleheads. I don't need that kind of following.

4. The culture is almost a religion.
“You can have your stated culture, but the real culture is defined by compensation, promotions and terminations." -Tae Hea Nahm, Managing Director, Storm Ventures.
 Show me who do you promote, and I know what your culture is. If your mid -management employees are 70% women, you don't have to sweet talk me into saying who do you promote. You don't promote equally on gender.

If you had only one question, what would you ask ? "If you could ask somebody only one question, and you had to decide on the spot whether to hire them based on their answer, what would it be?" Bob Brennan, for example, answered: "‘What are the qualities you like least and most in your parents?" What about you readers, what would you ask, and why, if you were making that hiring decision on a make it-or-break it single question ?

Bryant identifies as "best career advice" that of Joseph Plumeri, the vice chairman of First Data, a payments-processing company, and former chief executive of Willis Group Holdings. Plumeri's advice: “Play in traffic.”

Sunday, October 29, 2017

I.C.Os. (Initial Coin Offerings): far from fail-safe

NYT article " How Floyd Mayweather Helped Two Young Guys From Miami Get Rich" by Nathaniel Popper makes you wonder why these unregistered securities offerings even exist as they do and are nothing but smokescreens.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather endorsed an ICO offering of a company named Centra that raised $30 MM. By all accounts, not only the company appears running on flimsy wheels, but its owners have questionable backgrounds.

"For now, the bigger problem facing Mr. Sharma and Mr. Trapani [the owners of Centra] is the perjury indictment by a Manhattan grand jury on Oct. 5, just a few days after Centra finished fund-raising."

The problem here is celebrities like Mayflower are endorsing ICOs with such loose controls, it puts shame to shame.
"Celebrities have helped stoke the I.C.O. boom. The actor Jamie Foxx, the socialite Paris Hilton and the soccer player Luis Suarez, for example, have all promoted new virtual currencies to their sizable followings on social media in recent months, offering legitimacy and attention to coin offerings that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Mr. Mayweather, who has promoted three different tokens — Centra, Stox and Hubiits — has even taken to calling himself Crypto Mayweather in social media posts, a play on his better-known nickname, Money Mayweather."

Mayweather's involvement with Centra is however, disputed:
"He’ll do anything we ask,” Mr. Trapani said. “He’ll go shopping around Beverly Hills if we ask him to do it with this card.”

The boxing champ understood their deal differently. A spokeswoman for Mr. Mayweather, Kelly Swanson, said he had been paid in cash for the posts and was not involved in any continuing relationship with Centra. She did not say how much he had been paid.

After being contacted by The Times, Mr. Mayweather deleted his Instagram and Facebook posts endorsing Centra, though he left up a Twitter post."
"Assuming regulators don’t step in, Mr. Trapani and Mr. Sharma can keep the money, even if they don’t build anything."

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Taleb Procrustes aphorisms (Part II)

Watch me answer a reader question at the end of this post: why there's no such thing as female logic, why we don't need more women working on Wall Street. This is good. And since we're talking about Taleb today, ask yourself: How antifragile are You ?

I'm selectively posting 20 more aphorisms today from Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Bed of Procrustes. These are so rich in meaning that we are advised not to ponder on more than four at a time.

1. "Life is about early detection of the reversal point beyond which your own belongings (say, a house, country house, car, or business) start owning you. I'll add there's a reversal point with your wife, also. At what point the wife owns you ?"

2. "The most important aspect of fasting is that you feel deep, undirected gratitude when you break the fast." Try it. Fasting is good stuff. Then try fasting on stuff other than food as well. Live one week without your car. Live one week without your wife (can take up residence at relatives, second home a hotel room, and have no contact with the wifey). Fasting is a wonderful thing. Detox often.

3. "A writer told me, 'I didn’t get anything done today.' Answer: try to do nothing. The best way to have only good days is to not aim at getting anything done. Actually almost everything I’ve written that has survived was written when I didn’t try to get anything done."

4. "If you don’t feel that you haven’t read enough, you haven’t read enough."

5. " God created Monte Carlo and similar places so extremely rich people would come experience extreme envy." Yes, but casinos are routinely filled with poor people walking out poorer. Nevertheless, I do envy the rich or the "whales" as they call them. They don't have money worries like I do. That's why I envy the rich.

6. " It is very difficult to argue with salaried people that the simple can be important and the important can be simple."

7. " Never rid anyone of an illusion unless you can replace it in his mind with another illusion." I'm going to quote this in my book, 'How to get your boss job."

8. "Studying neurobiology to understand humans is like studying ink to understand literature."

9. " Every angel is an asshole somewhere."

10. " Every asshole is an angel somewhere." Ok, these two taken together makes you wanna ask the question: Are there more assholes than angels, or vice-versa ? Even number of assholes to angels ?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Is Artificial Intelligence the New God ?

A reader asked me to hash over the concept of Artificial Intelligence and weight in on the "rise of the machines." As you know, the concept of AI dominance is controversial, with Elon Musk warning about it while people like Mark Zuckerberg saying Elon's fearmongering is baseless and we have nothing to fear from AI.
"Musk thinks AI could ultimately destroy mankind and send everyone scrambling to Mars to avoid machine overlords." In July, Musk spoke at a meeting of American governors and warned that AI was the 'biggest risk we face as a civilization' and urged the government to adopt AI legislation before robots start walking down the street murdering people-via Recode
Most recently, it looks like we are ready to worship an AI God.
"Anthony Levandowski filed paperwork for a nonprofit religious organization called 'The Way of the Future'. Its mission: “To develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.” -via VentureBeat, 10/02/2017
Both Musk and Zuck are master salesmen. Musk is seeking his piece of the pie, while Zuckerberg is seeking his, understanding the huge benefit of automation. Yet they tease each other, Zuck embracing AI wholeheartedly while Musk wanting to put some breaks on it.

You're caught in between. Should you embrace AI? Reject it ? I don't think anyone denies the benefits of  AI in terms of solving many of humanity's problems. But will it really add up to humanity if AI became a permanent feature ? If AI was added to the genetic makeup of humans, would that make for the better ? Are we ready "to write the AI Bible in the next 25-50 years for humans to follow" ?

We need to look at the threshold of control here, the so-called singularity. Technological singularity is the concept that artificial intelligence will eventually surpass human intelligence way beyond. Should you not be afraid of that ? Place some caps on it ?

There is a universal law I often acknowledge: "Change is the Only Constant" (Heraclitus, circa 500 BC). In light of that, AI not only can't be stopped, but it will be coming whether you like it or not. As usual throughout history, those who cooperate with change will survive while those that oppose it will be wiped out. You in or out ?

Saturday, October 21, 2017

How powerful men are being played by women; 10 Rules to Follow

I know this post will be bookmarked by men in positions of power and by those who hold high office. I will try to explain what happens when women throw themselves at men of wealth and influence. I will go beyond the Harvey Weinstein story that captivated the public this week into the deep, dark recesses of the female psyche.
"For good measure you can see a timeline of the Harvey Weinstein allegations. Via Axios, a Boston startup media company: "The list of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment continues to grow. Three women, two named, accuse him of rape in the the New Yorker and  CNN reported Monday that a London actress filed a police report claiming Weinstein raped her. On Thursday, the LAPD said it is investigating a 2013 sexual assault claim against Weinstein."

These are horrendous, multiple allegations and they seem to indicate a pattern. I have two questions:

1. Why did it take so long -decades in some cases- for multiple allegations of a toxic environment to be disclosed ? Why did these women waited that long ? If a woman is wronged it would be a sensible conclusion the soonest she comes forward the better the outcome. And if she doesn't want to do it for herself, what about exposing wrong behavior for the sake of cutting of the snake's head ? You've waited 2 years ? 4 years ? 12 years ? 19 or 20 years ? (see timeline at NYT). Some of Harvey's accusers came out anonymously while others didn't.
From Axios: "Asia Argento [one of the accusers] said "she didn't speak out until now [20 years later] for fear Weinstein would 'crush' her." The only one getting "crushed" is Harvey right now, for not getting help along with the women he allegedly harassed since then ! Had Argento been more of a forthcoming witness, others wouldn't have had to go through this !
2. If Harvey was such a whack job, why did his extramarital affairs, unwelcomed advances, etc. not affect his work performance ?Those of us that work in finance [at least] know that marital life and work are so closely intertwined that any imbalance, i.e. marital infidelity would almost certainly impact our work output. Even if you picture Harvey as some modern day Rasputin, his sex life seems so disorderly that he couldn't possibly run smoothly a complex business like a movie studio. All of these encounters describe him like he was a talent scout, hiring actresses day in and day out. Is that what a movie studio executive does ? I don't work in Hollywood, but that's just not the job description I picture someone running a major studio doing.

I don't have the answers to these two questions. I will move away from the disgusting, infantile  Harvey story and delve into real life. Anyone who's had a leadership position has seen women throwing themselves at [the men] who hold that power. "Power is the strongest aphrodisiac" it's said. Women will find overly attractive even the scroungiest two-bit schlepper. in the world if he holds powerful office or has family money.

To my friends and associates that have money and success, beware ! These are 10 Rules to live by if you want to keep your money and not get punched in the gut by some dumb broad.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Taleb Procrustes aphorisms (Part I)

Someone here asked me to comment on Nassim Taleb's aphorisms found in his Bed of Procustes book. I believe there are 212 of them,  huge work considering that we are advised to ponder on no more than four of them a day.

They also follow a personal logic, so some of them will appeal more to you than others, depending on who you are and what your perspective is. It's logical for me, that I like these:

"If powerful assholes don’t find you “arrogant,” it means you are doing something wrong." This one has my name on it.


"We need to feel a little bit lost somewhere, physically or intellectually, at least once a day."

"Never hire an A student unless it is to take exams." What if I turned this around and said: Never hire a HBS grad unless you're looking for failure. How many [more] haters would I get ? The more the better.

"Did you notice that collecting art is to hobby-painting as watching pornography is to doing the real thing? Only difference is status." -this is going to hurt some people

"The alpha person at a gathering of “high status” persons is often, delectably, the waiter." -very, very antifragile statement here

"Success in all endeavors requires the absence of specific qualities...6) But to succeed in life requires a total inability to do anything that makes you uncomfortable when you look at yourself in the mirror.

"Studying the work and intellectual habits of a “genius” to learn from him is like studying the garb of a chef to emulate his cooking." That's a tough one to swallow if you're a Buffett buff. Shorthand is you learn by doing.

"Never show a risk number, even if it is right." I don't know if I can let that sink in.

"A good book gets better on the second reading. A great book on the third. Any book not worth rereading isn’t worth reading."

"High Modernity: routine in place of physical effort, physical effort in place of mental expenditure, and mental expenditure in place of mental clarity."

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Activist or No activist: talking value from activist shareholder campaigns

In his Fortune Oct. 1st. '17 article "Resisting activists, and winning", Ryan Derousseau argues shareholders "fare better" when they fend of activists demands, that is, when management says no.

In the article, there's a run down of the Nelson Peltz (Trian Fund Management) campaign at P&G. Most of you working in finance are already familiar with it. Trian published a white paper awhile ago accusing Procter & Gamble of settling for "mediocrity", and the company replied to that the view was "outdated and misinformed." Stock up since.

The article gets into Trian's history with Pepsi-Cola, that Trian tried to split its beverage unit and snacks divisions back in 2013. That split didn't happen, Trian reached a "truce" with Pepsi giving Trian a board seat. Since then Pepsi has been doing fairly well. Another case looked at in the article is the 2011 Clorox (CLX) Carl Icahn campaign that didn't catch either. (Icahn didn't buy that company). However, since then Clorox's stock "has risen 95% compared to 87% for the consumer staples index." Clorox is richly valued and pays a healthy dividend of 2.4%.

There are more examples, the MGM Resorts(MGM)  spinning off Las Vegas real estate in a REIT in 2015 (the fight was with a group called Land and Buildings) and the all too familiar Bill Ackman-Herbalife (HLF) battle now going on 5 years (that's a short bet, of course). Derousseau points out HLF is up 16% since a settlement with the FTC, and 85% since Ackman's campaign began.

What do we see in these instances (and many more):

A definitive positive result in performance, years later, whether the campaign enriched the activist or not -Bill Ackman is the poor dog. We see the management piggybacking on the activist moves all the time.

To be clear, these activist examples are very different in nature, what Ackman does at HLF is totally different than what Peltz is doing at P&G and what Icahn did at Clorox.

Activists succeeding with implementing the plans they propose, which is the measure Derousseau uses when citing the FactSet 2012-2016 studies, is not the same as the final results of the companies that had activist involvement.  (Derousseau cites FactSet studies that essentially show poorer performance for the companies where activists were able to implement their initial plans).

Monday, October 9, 2017

We are the sum of our mistakes and trials

Watch me answer a question from a young man at the end of this post. Enjoy !

Beyoncé​ says that "our mistakes make us who we are."

In the movie "The Last Words" (2017) Harriet says: "You don't make mistakes. Mistakes make you." Very true.

A reader's comment on a previous post: "Monogamy is a tough sell to women" deserves a reply. I don't think anybody else on Wall Street writes on this theme, so I'll take a shot at it. What Wall Streeters are doing is lining up the pockets of marriage counselors and when they get divorced their ex-spouses get huge settlements. And there's no refunds from the therapists they saw. If I'm wrong, please call me out on it. Send me the names and tel. numbers of the therapists that offer a money-back guarantee with access to their guarantee payback records. "Settlements" as in getting set up for life. That's different than settlements in corporate battles, which aren't a permanent feature. In corporate finance, one party doesn't get all benefits in perpetuity.

You wouldn't have a divorce if you had a healthy relationship to begin with. A healthy relationship is forged in the beginning, not at the end. It then needs to be reinforced continuously. While I see normal for people to evolve (be wary of people that do not), "irreconcilable differences" are usually bullshit. It's the way of the woman saying: I want out, because a settlement looks better than anything else in my life. I've rewarded you with sex and companionship for _X_ years, and I want to get paid handsomely for it.

How to Sell Your Spouse or Fiancé on Non-Monogamy

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Meta frames: the human mind is a bio-computer

Reader Michael posted a video and sent me this note:


I love your blog. You got high impact stuff and you blow scam artists like Scott Adams away. You even take Trump for a ride. Never seen anything like it. "


Thanks for your video and comments. I don't take anyone for a ride. What I write about comes from real pain, it comes from the blows scumbags had for me. So I proposed myself to gather the tools to defeat the scum, the boss, to liberate myself and control my career. About SC I don't want to make a statement since I don't know him, he sounds smarter than his audience. I can speak for myself and I don't desire an audience of nitwits. This blog has already been banned by some large companies. That alone tells you how influential my blog has become.

If you are average, don't read this blog. You don't need me, and I sure as hell don't need you. On the other hand, if you want to raise to the top and take down a few lowlifes in the process, you've come to the right place.

I am developing a system on How to Repeal and Replace your Boss. Some people giggle at the thought of "destroying" their boss. They think in terms of "the boss is who's paying my paycheck". Not so ! It's the shareholders that pay you and him. Even if you work for a founder, he/she typically owns 3-30% (Silicon Valley standards). If it is a sole owner, small business, outright owner, that fucker will beg you to stay or smash a glass on his head.

I'll show you:

Friday, September 29, 2017

The 10 Commandments of Poon


If you believe that men and women are equal, which I do, are you a feminist ? What if you are a realist ? What if you are both ? Are you an empowered feminist ? Enlightened feminist ?

Life isn't fair.

Smart people will take advantage of dumb people (hello, Ray Dalio) I'd argue here the people most prone to emotions are the dumbest.

Sometimes you have a 24-year old woman from Harvard, for example, who takes the job of 40-year old veteran. A guy who's been sweating his way up from the janitor room to the boardroom for decades, loses his job, just like that. The Harvard BumperDoc is here.  Sometimes you have a woman who runs an internet company, company goes the way of the dinosaurs and she pockets 240 MM (over five hears).

Back to the subject of dating. We live in a different world today that we did 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Women are the largest, most powerful consumer force. They are also the wealthiest ones. That's how we coined the term she-conomy. Better learn that term. Check out the latest Wealth X report and you see who has accumulated wealth the fastest.

In our times, women have the moola, they drive the best cars (who do you think buys those big SUVs ? ) Men are like waffles somebody said, mushy gushy. Pour some syrup on that mess and it's a treat.

On the subject of sex

Did you know that music lights up the same center in women's brains that sex does ? Same stimulation, same reward. I am a man and I like good music, but...the two things are not the same to me. So good sex to women is like listening to a decent song. For men, sex has been shown to be more primordial than food ! Do you see the difference here ?  Women's testosterone levels are 12-18 times lower than men's and so is their libido.  So don't listen to those idiots that say women are as sexual as men are. They can't be.

The 10 Commandments of Poon for the enlightened feminist

1. Women only love themselves and their essence is solipsism. Women don't love men, they just love HOW men make them feel. If you don't have a plan for conditioning your own life and emotions, she will. Once a man becomes a pawn in a woman's emotional roller coaster, disaster ensues.

2. Women need no protection. From anything or anyone. Men need to stop being "protectors". We are not in the middle ages anymore.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wave function collapse

Is there a wave function collapse caused by consciousness ?

"The von Neumann–Wigner interpretation, also described as 'consciousness causes collapse [of the wave function]', is an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which consciousness is postulated to be necessary for the completion of the process of quantum measurement." -Wiki on the Von Neumann-Wigner interpretation.
Many of you that are in finance have heard of the Schrodinger cat experiment, where a cat is both dead and alive. The cat remains both dead and alive until the state is observed. "Schrödinger described how one could, in principle, create a superposition in a large-scale system by making it dependent on a quantum particle that was in a superposition." (Wiki)

Schroedingers cat film.svg
Image: Christian Schirm - Own work, CC0, Link
"The quantum-mechanical "Schrödinger's cat" paradox according to the many-worlds interpretation. In this interpretation, every event is a branch point. The cat is both alive and dead—regardless of whether the box is opened—but the "alive" and "dead" cats are in different branches of the universe that are equally real but cannot interact with each other."

In the video below, James J Traitz argues the substance of the universe it consciousness, not matter and that in the 4th Way method (aka the level beyond thought) we create a "pixel" like reality through the wave function collapse.

He trails on Carlos Castaneda and Gurdjieff teachings that "the universe" is consciousness, not matter.

For me it turns out reality is more art than science.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Past present and future

If you ever second guess your actions, I'll tell you the first reaction is usually the correct one. Don't second guess.

Ever wondered why any time the future is known, that future dissolves ?

Back in the nineties they used to make movies with masculine action heroes. Such a character was Captain Picard of the Starship Enterprise. In the last two-episode conclusion of the ST:NG (please click it if you are not familiar with the series or you need a refresher) "All Good Things Must Come to an End", Picard moves between three time zones and encounters an anomaly in the space-time continuum described as an eruption of anti-time. His challenge is to solve the puzzle..or everything is lost. He stands trial before Q of the omnipotent continuum.
"As Picard arrives at the anomaly in all three time periods, he discovers that the anomaly is much larger in the past, but does not exist at all in the future."
"I don't understand why it's bigger in the past." -JLP.
It appears that his actions based on multiple knowings were causing the anomaly. Rather than acting from the present, his future self caused it. I say there can be no multiple "knowings."

Let's leave Star Trek out of it for a moment, and ask: Is it possible that your future self is causing the anomaly [present] through your future actions ? Since you're not shifting though time, are your thoughts of the future causing it ? I brought the Star Trek episode because I am always interested in paradoxes.

To grasp the present moment as the only one that is means "enlightenment". Clarity. To think on the future, and not understand the future IS NOW, is to be stupid like 97% of people out there.

What about the past, Max ? That's real. I lived it. No, I say. The past is some neuronal nods, episodic mem nods. Semantic memory is not the same as episodic memory. (Wiki)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to control your anxiety: the basics

"What you need is not courage but nerve control, cool headedness. This you can only get by practice." -T. Roosevelt

I have extensive experience in public speaking and board presentations. People have asked me about cool tips on how to control your anxiety when delivering a speech or when facing an important appointment such as a court date. The fear of public speaking is, after all, ranked third in the top 10 things people fear most (fear of death is No. 1, fear of flying No. 2, fear of snakes, spyders -insects- comes in number 4, etc.)  The unconscious response to threats is controlled by the ANS, or Autonomous Nervous System.

Folks: be careful: When you associate yourself with a pussy-whipped beta man (the greatest majority of men), it just might be contagious! Don't say I did not warn you ! "In 2009, Lilianne Mujica-Parodi, a Harvard researcher, collected sweat from the armpits of first time skydivers. Can we catch 'fear' the same way we catch a cold ? Mujica-Parodi and her team certainly seems to think do."- Kevin Dutton, The Wisdom of Psychopaths. See also Wikipedia Pheromones and why fear can be contagious.  
The video below gives you some basics. You need to  know about the 3-by-3 breathing method (breath in 3 seconds in and out,  X3)  to prevent a squeaky voice, also know you can stop body shaking if you clench your buttocks or your thighs .

Some people suggest entering into a visualized "aura of calm or perfect state". If they have previously imagined a state of heightened clarity or calm, they claim to be able to experience it at will.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Can you walk on fire ?

There is a such a mind-numbing number of psychology books out there: How you can master the craft of happiness, how to grow your trees of success, how to be your own hero, only one problem: they don't work.

Fluff - feel good psychology is a staple feature of the hack-loving society we live in. Most people want the quick fix because that's how they lived their whole lives.  The comfortable, easy way is the default setting for the human mind.

Psychology Today: "folks freely gorge on oversize portions of mental anguish, what Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky calls "adventitious suffering—the pain of what was, what will be, what could be or what someone else is experiencing." Sapolsky has shown that over time such extra helpings of mental suffering can damage the parts of the brain involved in learning and memory, as well as the immune system.

Decades before Sapolsky's studies, pioneering cognitive psychologist Albert Ellis put forth the then-radical idea that painful emotions spring more from people's beliefs than from reality itself: Thoughts alone could lead to anguish. Today cognitive behavioral therapists, including an aging Ellis, counsel patients to relieve emotional distress by changing the content of their thoughts—challenging their beliefs and testing new possibilities." -PT, Katherine Ellison

People always get in a rut, no matter how wealthy or accomplished they are. What do some rich folk like Paul Tudor Jones do ? They pay, say, Tony Robbins, $1 M a year (since the early '90s) to shore up their spirits. What does a guy like Robbins have to to ? Get people to the basics. When people are off-balance, it almost always is because they're "stuck in their head" with a story line about the past or the future (what if ? scenarios).

Fun Videos: AllPsychOnline

Perception Test Video

A lot of people have walked on hot coals to get it right.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ray Dalio's Principles

Bridgewater's Ray Dalio has the Principles book coming out this month, and finance folks are eating it out like candy.

You can watch the TED Talk Ray did in April to familiarize yourself with him.

Some people had an outraged reaction to his principles, including those who stamped his name over L. Ron Hubbard's "Dianetics" book, suggesting Ray and his algorithms of collective decision making is a cult. Look, I get, Ray's built up quite a little fiefdom here, and wants to show you the way to investment heaven.

Prior to this year, The Principles (minus Ray's autobiography) were available for free, and many of you may have already read those out of curiosity even if you didn't work at BA. (NY Times article on Bridgewater Associates)

Let's get down to business cause time is short and the water is rising:

1. I don't agree with Ray Dalio. However, I do think many of these principles are sound and useful. Notice the difference here.

2. Ray in his introductory talk mentions the Principles workhorse is not for everybody. In fact he clearly states that they are not for 30 or 35% of people. If we talk about the creative or unstructured folks that work in finance, those numbers are even less likely to favor the Principles workplace. So at least 50% of the finance types are likely to reject it. After all, I write for the 3% alpha-male minority. 97% of the general population out there does not agree with what I write, and accordingly, for their own benefit, they should NOT read me. [How many times do I have to say this !?]

3. I am a firm believer in taking what you need and leaving out the rest. You can accept and apply a principle or law from Dalio, but make it your law not Dalio's. For lack of time, unfortunately, I am unable to discuss all these principles (there are 210 of them).

4. A lot of Ray's Principles are common sense truisms that most people already use. It is "GOOD" to face harsh realities, and "BAD" to avoid it." Hey man, thanks a lot.

5. "'GOOD' worry about achieving the goal, 'BAD' -worry about appearing good".

I think Dalio is trying to kill office politics. Unfortunately, politics is life. You can't kill life. His idea meritocracy doesn't account for human nature. Ray wants you to be a computer, and he does put the "GOOD" of the whole organization above your own if your own is not the organization's already.

His critics say: that's why you have a "Circle of Trust" ,buddy [for making decisions], and that's why you have high turnover.

6. Are human beings "machines" like Ray seems to think ? Machines that split decisions between rational and emotional ?

7. "Avoid setting goals based on what you think you can achieve."

8. "Most problems are improvements screaming at you." There you go.

9. "How good is your ability to visualize ?" -Ok, good question to ask

10. Principle number 15: Don't depersonalize mistakes. Hello, Honest Abe, I thought it was all about improving processes here.  Onward and forward into the process of making you more average than you already are

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Way of the Warrior: Subduing the world

"There is no witchcraft, no evil, no devil. There is only perception." -Don Juan

It always strikes me when I see people selling knowledge that is essentially available free to students. The case in point is The Robbins Model of Organizational Behavior, a popular guide book for managers that deals with concepts such as Integrating Contemporary Theories of Motivation and other stuff. Stephen P. Robbins says that "fear is a powerful motivator", short term. and talks about some boss bullying cases, but not enough. Who's selling that, is not important at the moment. Professor Robbins is not the subject of this post, New Age luminary Carlos Castaneda is.

"Carlos Castaneda has become one of the Godfathers of the New Age movement." (Los Angeles Times Book Review, 1987). This is my Part 3 on the subject, Part One being If you Can't fight and you can't Harvest, You're Useless. and Part Two : Old Age delusion.

Castaneda epic journey is applicable in more ways than one. People say: Max, how can you be in two places at once ? That doesn't make sense." Yes, it doesn't make sense...unless you have moved your assemblage point [consciousness] in the "place of no pity."

In The Power of Silence, CC tells us: "A moment of elation would suffice to move our assemblage points and break our conventions. So, too, a moment of fright, ill health, anger, or grief. But, ordinarily, whenever we had our chance to move our assemblage points we became frightened." -p. 210 

But Max, I don't know how to handle fear. Can't I just become fearless ?

You fucking idiot [excuse my French] , you don't get from fearful to fearless just like that. It's not as simple as changing your clothes.

Castaneda tells us, and this 30 and 40 years ago when he wrote: "Naguals make decisions. With no regard for the consequences they take action OR choose not to. Impostors ponder and become paralyzed." Impostors is maybe a harsh word, what he means is dumb-ass, pussy-wipped, Iphone-holding clowns.  People that are reading me scared of looking unkempt on Instagram. Maybe your hair style is wrong for your square face and your pic isn't that good. I can understand why girls do that, they live and die by their looks. And when their looks fade with age, they go on berating other women, saying that "looks are not important".  But men ?

Further from Castaneda: "Once doubts are banished, anything is possible." But how ?

By moving the "assemblage point" to the place of no pity. "The place of no pity is the site of ruthlessness".  Don Juan: "Our assemblage points are constantly shifting...imperceptible shifts. Sorcerers believe that in order to make their assemblage points shift to precise points we must engage intent [=will]." 

Max Cantor suggested exercise:

For everything that happens to you today (good or bad), say: Fantastic. I am good with it.

Friday, September 1, 2017

What it means to be an alpha male

There's such a distorted perception on the subject of "alpha" from the people I talked to, from the users of this site, that the confusion thermometer is way past "high". If you had a fever this high, the thermometer would explode. This is your daily dose of redpill reality (check this out, too)

So what does it mean to be "alpha"? Let's start with what it is NOT in the first two pointers below.

1. People that want to "Save the World". Saving the world is one of the dumbest thing I've ever heard. People that say or believe that are idiots. The world needs no saving. The world was here before you. The world will be here in some shape or form after you're gone. The World doesn't care about you. Stop saying that PC non-sense.

2. People that want to "change the world." The world will not change, no matter how much you puke out your guts. Your boss will not change. Stop wasting your energy. Stop trying to be Batman or Superman. Want a better way ?

3. Change yourself-that's the better way.  A lot of my readers are into daily mantras. Instead of reciting the Scorpion King in Sanskrit or Egyptian, here's better one:

"Never in a Hurry,

Never Worried,

Never Desperate,

Never Stopping Short"

This comes from Ryan Holiday, The Ego is the Enemy. The four line, 10 word mantra works wonders. In fact, stoicism provides many more maxims that go well. I've seen a repository of over 600 of them, but I'll need to curate them and select post them. If anyone's got some time and wants to work with me on that over the weekend, let me know.

4. Stop playing Captain Save-a-Hoe. Beta males always come to the rescue of women. Alpha males don't. A woman, like a cat, lands on her feet even when thrown out of the 7th floor balcony. [Ok, that's a figure of speech, but you get the draft]. White knights are weak, pathetic.
"Captain Save A Hoe often waste time on these hoes in an attempt at love, even though the whole block done run through her. Captain Save A Hoe often end up in the friendzone, if they do a good enough job."-Hipwiki
5. Couple of years ago, somebody posted a picture of a pack of wolves asserting the "peck order" of the pack. A photo showed 25 wolves walking in a single file line through a snow-covered wilderness with this explanation:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Dedicated to the Game of Thrones

I've watched last night's Game of Thrones Season 7 finale. In it there were two developments that caught my eyes:

1. The death of Lord Baelish. Littlefinger had been a master schemer and power mover for so long acing his way it was hard to believe he was executed. The mistake of this power manipulator ? Read in this tweet. There's a lesson in there.

2. Cersei ready to kill her lover and father of her child Jaime Lannister, Commander of her army. Wait. Did she do it ? She hasn't done it yet, has she ? After the episode ended, the Internet erupted with the real Game of Thrones is the "White House of Thrones" and King Cersei getting dumber and dumber.

Nothing else was really a surprise for me, including:

The Fall of the Great Wall. All Walls are meant to fall. There a lesson in there.

Or the revelation that Jon Stark is a Targaryen.

Or Jon Stark making out with the silver haired queen.
"Not even Frank Ocean's new song, Taylor Swift's new video, or Katy Perry's unfunny MTV VMAs circus could compare with Sunday night's biggest cultural event. "-Esquire
After the show ended, people start going nuts CAN'T WAIT UNTIL 2018 or 2019 FOR THE LAST AND FINAL SEASON !"   People were hyped up, people screaming they don't want to wait another year or two to see what happens next.

I am asking, however, don't you have a quite similar show to watch ? I think you do. That show is your life. You don't have to wait until 2018 or 2019 for that show to air.

You do have a little Game of Thrones going on in your life right now, don't you ?  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Best Alpha Male Site for Techies

Silicon Valley does have a fetish with Wall Street.

This blog was named the "best alpha male site for techies" at a large symposium -which makes me proud. It's all about pushing the limits here. "Techies" can mean anything from programmers, web and app developers, entrepreneurs and VCs.  Being the leader of the geek squadron means I can teach technology workers things that Tim Ferriss doesn't. And I am a Ferriss follower, I listen to his podcasts and bought all of his books. What I write about is a little different.

I teach "Heartless of Gold". It's a concept never talked about before. It's having the heart to put yourself first before the world.

With the "Best of " of course, comes great responsibility. If I'm at SVOD Vator LA or PreMoney SF I have to set an example of best practices, integrity and reliability.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

How to Survive an Office Jerk notes

Last Monday WSJ published an article "How to Survive an Office Jerk" by Dr. Robert Sutton, a professor of management science at Stanford University.

These are the suggestions Dr. Sutton offers:

Keeping the distance from those office jerks -he cited a study that showed "employees who sat within 25 feet of a toxic co-worker were twice as likely to leave the company as employees who sat further away.

Slowing down the interaction (delaying response to the solicitation of the toxic person) by days, weeks or months (?!)

Having early-warning systems ("the jerk is in a bad mood today" relay).

The aforementioned coping mechanisms are probably used everywhere, but they have serious drawbacks. How far can you get from someone in a cubicle environment ? Not very far I'd guess.

Slowing down the response is hard to do in real life if you have a deadline. If you can find a surrogate for your nemesis and work with them (work by proxy ?)  the third party will notice your unease. Will they be for, or against you ? Now you have a third party's loyalty to manage.

Dr. Sutton's further methods of coping:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

How to grow your readership, tips for my fellow bloggers

"You'll have far more better luck toughening yourself up than you will ever will trying to take the teeth out of a world that is-at best-indifferent- to your existence." Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way.

 I have never made a statement before. I will make a statement here today, a clarification of sorts. (These are not the terms of use, which you can find in fine print at the bottom).

"I write my blog for the alpha male audience. This is an alpha male blog. The tone of it is decisive and incisive. Those that benefit most are those hungry for achievement, those that are not happy with the status quo. If you are a dad swimming in money who is nursing three kids and is proud of it, you're better off staying away. I reckon my writings are wasted on you. But you already know that. There is nothing inherently wrong with what you do, you've got your fill already and you're not looking to climb another mountaintop. Keep hugging that money bag of yours, Harvard dad. Keep munching on your mucus, Harvard son.

Beta males aren't going to find something for them in these pages. I don't serve up easy traits. If you're looking for the silver platter and don't want to put up the hard work, you are wasting your time here. Anyway, reading doesn't make an alpha male, doing is. Occasionally, I will use the F word here and other real life language. If you are offended in any way, drop out. I don't write for women, either (although I've placed pictures of food). Other than the nosy reporter, I have very few female readers. But those females, they are not your average female. They are far and between. They are the ninjas who will deck your cock in the middle of the night demanding that you punch their starfish. They are the go-getters who fly like majestic eagles across the prairie. They are the cream of the crop, the Danaerys Targaryens of the world. There is no limit to what a woman can achieve if she sets her mind to it."

That is what I had to say. 


Monday, August 14, 2017

Body Language Video, more gold[en] Max maxims

User Dina uploaded a video on one of my posts and she sent me an email suggesting I upload this full-length video on Body Language.  I agree to the value of the material and I suggest you watch it when you have 1:30 hrs. to do so.

Edit and update: the original Documentary was removed from public record and I had it replaced with a complete different short video:

Meanwhile, at your requests, here are more maxims:

"If you're going to hire a charlatan, don't make it an expensive charlatan." -Max Cantor maxim #40

"Self-deprecating jerks are just jerks that lower their standards." -Max Cantor maxim #41

"Nobody shoots at Santa Claus, even if he doesn't exist". -Max Cantor maxim #42
(variation of the Samuel Butler quote)

"When people say 'I wasn't born yesterday', they mean what they say". -Max Cantor maxim #43

"Golf is the closest game to the game we call life:You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots-but you have to play the ball where it lies"- Max's favorite Bobby Jones quote

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Who's pulling your strings ?

A friend of mine is going through a long-drawn divorce. I feel sorry for him because he has more sleepless nights and aching pains that you could imagine. I saw him yesterday, he has big bags under his eyes, slumped shoulders and has a barky, raspy cough. Looking unkept and insecure, he needed my help in moving stuff into a storage facility, because in a few days he needs to move and give up his house. It is not his house anymore.

Thinking of him I can't help but see what years of indoctrination and submissiveness have done.

Who's framing you right now ? Let's see if we can get to the bottom of it.

I define as framing [you] anyone that creates a strong dependency. The frame they impose may be self-evident or may be less visible, subconscious. Who can you name, now, that is framing you ? Is it your boss, is it your wife or husband, is it your preferred elected official ? Who do you defer to -like an automaton, without even knowing ?  Some people call this framing "persuasion" - a silly term if you consider you haven't even given consent. Perhaps a better term for it is manipulation, because the results are the same: you become utterly dependent on them, their life choices become your life ingredients, their cause becomes your own.

Let's talk politics for a moment. If you are a strong supporter or detractor of, say, President Trump, then Trump -is pulling your strings. It does not matter whether you like or dislike him, as long as you fall "hook, line, and sinker" you're there buddy, you're sucking on that popsicle.

The list expands from elected officials to anyone who is an "influencer" in your life. Anyone with a "myth" of glory, virtue, whatever. Any outsized influencer.

I could have easily titled this "Who's framing you ?" 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Be your "authentic" self...or not ?

Celebrity COO Sheryl Sandberg was on Bloomberg TV yesterday commenting on the popular topic of the Google Memo, the memo that went viral couple of days ago.

“I think it’s great when people lose their jobs when it [sexual harassment] happens, because I think that is what will get people to not do it in the future,” Sandberg said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang. “And I think this is a leadership challenge. As a leader of a company, there needs to be no tolerance for it.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Onto Uber's next leader: “People respond to what’s tolerated and what’s encouraged,” Sandberg said when asked what advice she had for Uber's next leader. “And I think a great leader can change the culture of I think almost any company in almost any situation. You put in new policies, you have new procedures, your language is different; I’m always optimistic.” (Fortune)

I'm not going to discuss the Google Memo, but Sheryl comments make sense. Hey, Sheryl, I'll trade you my job for yours [maybe].

What we do on this blog is power analysis. I won't debate the Memo. I don't work for Google, and frankly, it's NOMB.

What a leader needs to do:

1. Make sense of the news if it is newsworthy.
2. Set an appropriate course

On the power level, the executive needs to meet the audience at their level. Notice the Google Memo did not debate or implied sexual harassment. Nevertheless, Sheryl addressed it straight point. Why ? Because that issue was in [most] people's minds presumably drawing "the red line". By talking about sexual harassment, Sheryl met the audience at its needs.

2. Sheryl diluted the argument diplomatically. Notice the generalities employed in those comments, and how well they are reframed to the leader. Sheryl spoke from the leader's framework, as it should be. Notice there's no flimsy wasting of breath on any bullshit. A leader does not waste her words on arguments that she/he is not part of.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

What do women want ?

I thought I should humanize today this great leader that I am, and write on an overly used subject we have 10,000 experts on: attraction.

I just had my lunch, which consisted of a one pound raw piece of ocean fish. Those that have been following my blog consistently know that raw meat of all kinds (fish, white, and red meat) is part of my diet. Note: Don't try this at home. I'm a tough act to follow.

It's past 3 o'clock now and what I've had all day so far it's tea, coffee, 8 ounces of berries in the morning and the fish now. [If you throw up with the fish, it's on you]. I'm also drinking a Bone Broth protein shake from Ancient Nutrition [link]. Its' aftertaste is kind of spicy to me. I've cooked my own broth soup before and ate it, but that takes 12 hours to cook properly. Industrialized kitchens cook hard beef bones between 12 and 24 hours. Tough act to follow. I'm not trying to be the next Tim Ferriss to tell you what to eat and how to sleep (although I agree with a lot of his views particularly on stoicism).

Back to the subject, what is it that women want ? Well, why should brilliant mouthpiece Max Cantor tell you, since you dimwits still don't get.

We'll let the ladies speak this time. We'll give them the podium. I'll just seat on the sidelines and munch on my happy bones of fish.

Question: which is the best selling book in recent history ? 

If you ask that question, you'll find out that Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James have sold 150 million copies worldwide. 150 Million ! That's more than I have in the bank. It's safe to say that the largest majority of those readers are women, therefore they are into it.

Now, if you are The Atlantic you will say "Fifty Shades of Grey Gets BDSM Dangerously Wrong", but...125 Million plus women can't be wrong. You may say that I'm a hopelessly romantic,  but... E L James’s New York Times #1 bestselling trilogy has been hailed by Entertainment Weekly as being “in a class by itself.” This is more than a book, this is a cultural phenomena. 150 million copies translated into 52 languages sold. E.L., if you're reading this, I've got dizzy from so many love scenes ! After reading this stuff I need headache pill. I have enough self-respect not to drink like a sailor.

So, what do women want ? 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Fired for "Not Being a Team Player"

This email from a reader is quite a common situation in the workplace. Let's hear it from him now:

"Hello Max,

My name is Josh. I am a banker working in a Tier 1 firm and had been at my former job for almost three years. I was fired unexpectedly about a month ago from my VP Asset Pricing position. I was good at what I was doing, stuff like pricing for institutional and retirement investment plans; pricing for Hedge Fund Services and Prime Brokerage client positions and pricing trader position via the End of Day process.

I stress out unexpectedly, because I had very good reviews, had an optimal performance. How did it happen ? I'm not so sure. I had a new boss come in couple of months ago who, from the beginning, said he wanted to clear house. He was telling me "people are riding on coattails here", "clear the deck", then he was "I feel you're the one I can trust here", "You're safe". With the blessings of his supervisors, he actually introduced a concept in our management meetings, that of the "Team Clock". According to him, every team in the department had to have at least three team sanctioned project going on or else they would not be "functioning well".

"Teamwork goes beyond asking for input on what you need for what you are currently doing. You need to show you've included three inputs from your mates on everything you do. That's teamwork." -[Quoted him]

After failing to include that many inputs because there just weren't any to include in there, he fired me unceremoniously. Monday morning, 10 o'clock, and...I was done.

I've done nothing to upset this man except doing my job to the highest level of integrity and professionalism. I did not botch anything he made me do.
However, I did no put up any resistance to this guy.

Yet he let me go WITH THE BIGGEST SMILE ON HIS FACE that day."

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Do we have a BSD in office ?

Since the recent behavior of Anthony Scaramouch made it to the front lines of NY Times and The Wall Street Journal, I might as well talk about it.

I started thinking we have a BSD working in the House of Cards. For those nitwits that don't know what that means, BSD doesn't mean Berkeley Software Development. It means Big Swinging Dick. Big Singing Dick has nothing to do with the size of the dick. Dick size is important to women. Women care about cock size. [Although admitting "that's not important", women often make dick size a favorite conversation among themselves.] So for the BSD, it is the size of his balls, not dick, that makes the difference.

I've often been questioned if there's a correlation between wealth and alpha male status. There is a weak positive correlation between the two, not as much as you might think.

First, we'll debunk a misconception. It is commonly assumed alpha males make up perhaps 20% of the male population. The real number is close to 3% or less. So 3% (higher in the wealthy crowd) are alphas, and the rest 97% are betas and worse. In the high stakes investment industry, it is excruciatingly painful to be an alpha male. The movies Wall Street and the Wolf of Wall Street glorify an outlier, a minor set of people. Most people working in finance are lackeys in fear of their jobs who tiptoe in life with great caution not to upset the boss, not to talk, not to stand out the wrong way. If they don't fall the line of the establishment they know they will lose their jobs. And when they lose there jobs, there are 1000 linchpins ready for it.

One of the worst things I've seen is women rising to the top in Wall Street jobs adopting attitudes and maneuvers of men in an ill- balanced fashion.

Nobody talks about that.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Got Fired ! Unexpectedly

I was reading Dealbreaker's (via Bloomberg)  account of a firing episode at Hampton Creek and ruminating if there any grounds to sue the boss in that case. I don't know the firm or its boss, Josh Tetrick, but in brief, allegedly three people were fired while they were told they were going to meet a potential investor. That didn't turn out to be an investor but an agent for the boss who handed them termination papers while the boss was patched through on video call to give them the happy news. The boss did that without an apparent needed approval of the Board.
"The dismissal of these three executives came while the employees were on a business trip in Majorca, Spain. During their weekend break, Tetrick created a ruse, said one of the people. Tetrick told the three to cancel their flights to a meeting in Germany. Instead, Tetrick instructed, they would pitch a wealthy venture capitalist who happened to be in Majorca on Monday afternoon, the person said.
Tetrick asked the executives to book a conference room at a Majorcan hotel and video conference him into the investor pitch. But when the three executives patched Tetrick into the meeting, they were surprised to see him sitting with a member of Hampton Creek’s human resources department. Moments later the supposed potential investor arrived. The man introduced himself as an agent who had been hired by Tetrick, the person said. He was there to serve the executives their termination documents and take their company laptops, the person said." [Dealbreaker]
 At least they are on a Spanish beach /near one. They're not in their office with hired guns looking them over, told to pack up and hand over the keys in three hours or be thrown out in the street should they not comply.

I've had friends who were evicted from the building not before the boss had a "friendly" talk with them:

"You are collateral nonsense."

"I've seen all good people come and go" To me that sounds like saying night follows day.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Book review: Superbosses

I read the book Superbosses: How exceptional people master the flow of talent to see what other people write about bosses. Superbosses is written by Sydney Finkelstein, a Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dart­mouth College. If you haven't read the book, a summary is available at HBR.

The book is an ode to these CEOs. Accordingly, Finkelstein has conducted more than 200 interviews to identify 18 primary study subjects ("definite superbosses") and a few dozen secondary ones ("likely superbosses"). Amongst his favs and cited are Ralph Lauren, Larry Ellison, Julian Robertson, Jay Chiat, Bill Walsh, George Lucas, Bob Noyce, Lorne Michaels, and Mary Kay Ash.

For me "superstars" is not even a thing, the only stars I know are those you see in the sky at night. Superbosses ? I'm even more skeptical of such a thing. If dozens of ex-Robertson disciplines left after few years to start their own funds (Finkelstein talks about Chase Coleman who after three years of working for Robertson was given $25 MM to start his own fund) that wasn't goodwill towards them but profit in store, free money flowing to Julian Robertson from seeder funds. Robertson doing it for some altruistic reason ? Not a chance.

Is this too deep for you now ?

For Finkelstein, superbosses are those amazing "talent spawners" who are out there looking to fill peoples hopes and dreams. I don't believe it for a minute. Yes, they may find "unlikely winners" but that's only (in my opinion) because they're skilled at reading human psychology. Pure selfish reason.
Finkelstein: "At health care giant HCA, Tommy Frist sometimes set even physical therapists on a path to the C-suite, simply because he spotted something in them."

Superbosses "focus on intelligence, creativity, and flexibility." Yes, but...so does everybody else. If I was a candidate looking to get the attention of those "superbosses" so far Finkelstein has given me nothing.

The author talks about the unusual "interview" where "Sanders would invite prospects to hike a 7,000-foot peak on his New Mexico ranch with him and other managers." (HBR) That would be part of the unconventional hiring characteristic. Forgive me, Mr. Finkelstein, but such a proposition is not even remotely available to 99% of job candidates out there. The greatest majority get cut off by HR from ever coming close to a first interview. You talk about eating steak with my boss, while the HR (HR should really be called the Human Waste Department) cut me off early on. You're not helping, Prof. Finkelstein.

"Even if people leave the organization, superbosses continue to offer them advice."
Not happening, bro. When you leave, you might have a non-compete agreement and can't even work for the next few years. At least that has been my experience.

"Oracle's CEO Ellison was very good at "continuously throwing new responsibility at people." At least that statement is accurate. What Prof. Finkelstein overlooked or perhaps, obscured, is that's done with the intent to make people fall. For real bosses [thr greatest majority of them out there} people are like pins on a bowling lane: let's hit them and see which one is still standing. Hopefully none. That's the best analogy for you, Prof. Finkelstein.

The author makes an interesting categorization of bosses into three:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Alpha vs. Beta: 20 years

Recently I saw some online comments with side-by-side pictures of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos then (1997) vs. now (2017), then being before alpha male and now on alpha male stats. What a difference aging powerfully makes ! Aging for some CEOs is a blessing, as life turns them from unremarkable, some might say sheep, to powerful men. Bezos is not the only case of  beta-turned-alpha. I also included here pictures of  Muhtar Kent, long standing CEO of Coca-Cola who stepped down last May and is still its Chairman.

Image: Daily Mail U.K.10/10/13, Picture date: 1997


Getty Images, TMZ Media, 07/2017


Picture: Coca-Cola archives, 1993                                                                                                           From Youtube PwC's 17th Annual Global CEO Survey.2014

What a difference 20 or some years makes in people's lives...If they can take it to the next level.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Most people that work in finance are soft as a cloud blanket. If you're soft, you're never gonna get anywhere.

What will your picture say in twenty years ? Or better yet, what statement do you make with your body now? You don't have to wear an Armani suit, just casual.

Updated Aug. 23, 2017

Reader Alli is asking: Who is the alpha in this scene from Poolhard Junkies. Is it Christopher Walken ("Uncle Mike") or Chaz Palminteri ("Joe") ?