Falling Forward

I just finished reading a piece by Mark Suster on moving to Medium for it’s ease of writing and sharing thoughts but also of technological progress. I have enjoyed reading many of Mark’s pieces and have wanted to embrace my love of writing for a long time so…two feet, meet water. I’m in.

As a financial services professional for over 20 years I have had the incredible good fortune of, well, good fortune, and the curious position of watching first hand how another passion, technology, has so quickly changed the landscape of what was a fortunate career. Trading equities used to require a far more manual process of actual humans brokering transactions, sourcing liquidity, and managing risk. All buzzwords that managers in the industry continue to use as liberally as Sriracha on their egg whites. With the advent of faster networks, direct exchange access, lower cost alternatives, algorythmic trading engines, and certainly the deleveraging cycle we are in it is no wonder that these trading operations are looking more like the gutted gas stations lining Route 66. As the flow of commerce shifts so does its ancillary support structure. Bigger servers, less humans. The new game internally is a the old game; a battle of attrition. Unfortunately the winning resources are often political capital not groundbreaking leadership. I would surmise this is why fin-tech is exciting these days as the old constructs are laid bare and services “repurposed”.

I have spent several months reconnecting with old friends and colleagues, and making tons of new ones. I’ve been reading and networking and listening and thinking. I’m really trying to rewire my brain from the ADD inducing 6 flat panel monitors flashing myriad data 24/7. I’m using an extremely general philosophical construct that “there’s a whole world out here”. What I’m finding is there are incredibly intelligent human beings who are eager to share thoughts and connect others and in the process better their own neural networks and environments. It’s incredibly refreshing. I’m fascinated by entrepreneurs, I feel like I relate to venture capitalists, I still have no idea where it ends up. I used to love the random morning quote on my Bloomberg terminal as a source of strength to carry on my day. One that shocked me into looking away from the blinking lights had said: “Even if you fall flat on your face, you’re still moving forward.”