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» MISC: Your computer is not as important as our disc
» RANT: Wall Street says Happy Holidays!
» TIP: When you are burned-out on the job search
» TIP: When you're not sure if the trader is criticizing or blaming
» RANT: If your boss is reluctant to delegate
» MISC: "I'm a Buddhist, but I celebrate Christmas because..."
» MISC: If you are dating a notoriously shy person
» MISC: What are you saying when you give that gift?
» MISC: If you order a copy of the "Little Red Book"...
» MISC: Here's what you need to do... nothing.

MISC: Your computer is not as important as our disc

Sony was forced to recall 4.7 million CDs this month because the copyright-protection software embedded on the discs left computers prone to hacker attacks.

Other musings in the news:

  • Prior to leaving for a two-week break, Congress approved another pay raise for itself. Wish my group can do the same at work.
  • What's fast food: A day before millions of Americans sit down to eat traditional Thanksgiving dinners, a Virginia woman grabbed the world turkey-eating title on Wednesday by gobbling down a whole roast bird in 12 minutes.
  • Is that a failure, or a deferred success?: According to Yahoo.News, some people wanted the word "brainstorming" replaced by "thought shower" so as not to offend people with brain disorders, and they also wanted "deferred success" to replace "failure" so as not to embarrass those who don't succeed. Both phrases appear on a tongue-in-cheek list released on Thursday of the year's most politically correct words and phrases issued by Global Language Monitor, a nonprofit group that monitors language use. Other phrases include misguided criminals, Intrinsic Aptitude, Out of the mainstream, and womyn.

Category: C++ Quant > Random Walk > Musings

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RANT: Wall Street says Happy Holidays!

As investors anticipate fourth-quarter results, so do the hard-working men and women of Wall Street. This time of year is known as the bonus season, and it's when the real money gets made. According to New York magazine, Goldman Sachs will dole out the $11 billion it's set aside for incentives, meaning the average employee will receive over $500,000.

Bonus rules Wall Street - what a novel idea to reward late hours and hard sweats. What other industries pay out half their revenue as compensation?

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got

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TIP: When you are burned-out on the job search

Years ago, Stallone was broke and living in New York. He had no money for food or electricity. He had to pawn his wife's jewelery just for food money. Eventually, he even had to sell his dog Butkus for $25 because he could not afford to feed it and needed the money for his family.

Stallone looked for work as an actor, asking agents again and again, more than 1,000 times total. After watching a boxing match, he got the inspiration for the film "Rocky", and spent 24 hours straight writing the first draft. Then he began trying to sell the film with himself in the lead role. Everyone rejected it.

Eventually, he got an offer for $125,000 for his script. But they did not want him to star in it. (They envisioned Ryan O'Neil for the role.) However, Stallone wanted to be an actor, so he walked away from the offer.

The offer price rose to $250,000, and eventually to $325,000, as long as Stallone would not star in the picture. But he refused.

"Are you insane?", they asked him.

"No, I'm Rocky", he responded.

Stallone eventually took $35,000 plus a percentage of the profits of the film. (Obviously, things turned out well.)

What kicked off Stallone's successful career as an actor was his passion and persistence to become one. Looking for a job could be depressing and demoralizing, but Stallone didn't collapse and give up, even when confronted with financial troubles, rejections, or other major obstacles. The real challenge during a job search is staying positive when there seems to be little reason for it. Worse, the negative attitude always manages to show in the interview, no matter how hard you try to hide it.

Landing a job takes patience. Someone once said every success's the transformation of a previous failure, therefore, if you fail, it is because you quit too soon. Although this may not be true in every instance, there's a lot to be said for not quitting too soon. Patience counts and in the long run, patience generally wins out. Take every No you receive as a deferred yes.

Landing a job takes persistence, and persistence requires energy. Establish a routine that includes exercise, rest, and plenty of water. Let the job hunting drive you to drink, just as long as it's spring water ;-)

Be your own cheerleader. It's essential to find ways to inject some confidence and optimism into your search. Celebrate every progress, however small it may be. Create a support group of close friends to get the negatives out of your head.

Be driven and persistent during your job search - all winners share this trait, and you can be one of them.

Category: C++ Quant > Land the Job You Want

Your Turn!


TIP: When you're not sure if the trader is criticizing or blaming

There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism that's designed to improve work dynamics/productivity. But as it often plays out in reality, constructive criticism gives way to constant blaming/fault finding. And we all know blame rarely helps any situation - it only invites the individual to become defensive and counterattack.

Here are some warning signs if you are working with a trade who's also a fault finder

  • S/he seldom, if ever, lets a neglect slide by, regardless of how trivial. S/he obsesses over the flaws rather than the value.
    • If you had 10 things to do and did 8 of them to perfection, s/he would spend 90 percent of his/her time talking about the 2 things that did not get done.
  • When criticizing, s/he is fond of insupportable phrases (e.g "You should have known better," "You should have done what I wanted without me having to ask you.",) and judgmental terms (e.g "always", "never"). Not only is s/he disagreeing, but also implying that you have violated some standard.
  • S/he is obsessively interested in getting you to admit to wrongdoing rather than listening to what you have to say. S/he seems to take a pleasure in studying your negative inventory.
    • She is obsessively interested in who's wrong and why rather than what went wrong and how to fix it.
  • S/he tends to complain about how s/he isn't getting what s/he deserves - as if you were to blame. You feel like s/he shoots you down just to "level" with you and to build his own sense of self-worth.
  • You can't even remember when the last time s/he said something positive about your work.
    • If you ask her/him to make two lists of things - 1 positive & 1 negative - s/he would be able to come up with the negative list years sooner than the positive one.
    • Working with her/him reminids you of trying to fill a bottomless pit - no matter how hard you try, it's never enough.

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got

Your Turn!


RANT: If your boss is reluctant to delegate

It's obvious to most people that if you want to be successful, you'll have to give up the notion that you can do everything yourself. But it's not as obvious how one would rather sit on time-sensitive tasks than delegate to subordinates at work, while s/he doesn't hesitate to delegate the tasks of mowing the lawn or washing the car at home.

I had an opportunity to explore this issue in a recent interview. When asked about his weakness, the candidate said something along the lines of "When I first started working I couldn't delegate and would end up micromanaging... over the years I've learned to develop my direct reports... and only if the schedules weren't being met would I take a more hands on approach..."

"So in general, why do you think managers are reluctant to delegate?"

Here are some points we came up with

  • "What happens if something goes wrong?"
    • "Easier to do it myself": no time/energy to teach the task and then follow up.
    • "I can do it better": the manager knows what needs to be done and believes he can do it better and faster.
  • "This is the only way I know to keep my nose to the grindstone"
    • "Why change now? it's what I've always done": the manager tries to stay in the comfort zone - cling to accomplishing even the smallest tasks himself until he gets drained, overwhelmed and lose focus.
    • "I'm not much of an idea-person": e.g. the manager is action-oriented and afraid that delegation might leave him with nothing to do. Incidentally, he also complains constantly about working long hours.
  • "What if the subordinate does too well?": many managers, especially rookie managers, often have a lack of self-confidence. Incidentally, he also tends to play down existing accomplishments of talented subordinates.
    • Delegation = smaller territory: fear for loss of authority + credits. He tends not to believe turf sharing.
  • "My boss got to where he is with minimal delegation": Lack of role models. aka the "monkey see, monkey do" syndrome.
    • "I believe in the principle of subsidiary": the principle of subsidiary stipulates that you can do everything except the following list, whereas the principle of delegation stipulates you cannot do anything except....
    • "What's in it for me?"

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got

Your Turn!


MISC: "I'm a Buddhist, but I celebrate Christmas because..."

via News.Yahoo -- Few Asians are Christian but people across the vast continent are embracing the holiday as a great excuse for shopping, partying and even romance.

Come December, Christmas lights brighten shopping streets in cities from Beijing to Colombo, while images of Santa Claus and Rudolph adorn office buildings, shops and restaurants...

In atheist China -- where Catholics banned from recognizing Rome hold secret vigils -- Christmas does not enjoy official sanction, but Christmas Eve has become one of the biggest party nights of the year for young professionals...

In Japan, Christmas Eve has taken on a meaning similar to Valentine's Day, being the time for romance among young couples.

Christmas issues of Japanese magazines highlight dating hot spots, complete with hotel recommendations and discount coupons.

"We will spend the day together in some romantic place like this," said Akikazu Hamazawa, 22, a student shopping with his girlfriend at the swanky Roppongi Hills in Tokyo.

For an early dose of Christmas spirit, come to Singapore, a shopping haven where lights and baubles go up in October...

Category: C++ Quant > Random Walk

Your Turn!


MISC: If you are dating a notoriously shy person

via Metafilter -- Here are some ideas to ease her up for a nice conversation
  • In the early stages it's better to compliment a woman on an item of her clothing than on her physical person...
    • Wear some "flair". Have a neat lighter or pen she can comment on to give her an free conversation topic. Make sure you have good stories to go with your flair. "I got this lighter from my grandfather before he went to the war blahblah"...
  • Make her issue your issue and talk to her about it. Say to her something like "You know I'm kind of shy and have a problem with opening up to new people. I wish I could change that."...
    • Not be the one talking most of the time. Listen to what she says respond honestly, but try to ask questions instead of making statements.If she says, "I like watching [your favorites sports team]", don't follow up with your impressive knowledge of the topic. Instead, ask simple, easy to answer questions, like "Did you see the game [whenever it was]?", "Do you see many games?", or something similar...
    • You want to escalate your conversation... You can start with small talk... but you need to escalate to personal topics. Find out what makes her tick... You want to build a deeper bond than "oh, I know what food he likes to eat". (She can trade facts with anyone.) The highest level of connection (and the best) you can make is discussion of your dreams and life and what makes you happy. You can't start talking about this stuff when you first meet, so that's what the small talk is for...
    • Tell her stories that reveal your weaknesses... A clever trick, often used by the ninetheenth-century French stateman Talleyrand, is to appear to open up to the other person, to share a secret with them. It can be completely made up, or it can be real but of no great importance to you - the important thing is that it should seem to come from the heart. This will usually elicit a response that is not only as frank as yours, but more genuine - a response that reveals a weakness"...
  • Touch her non-sexually. On the shoulder, elbow, etc. It might be awkward at first but don't act awkward when you do it. Just put your hand on her back or shoulder when you suggest you shuld change venues. Rub her shoulder when she's telling a sad story, etc....
  • Change venues. ... Every time you move form restaurant to bookstore to your apartment, you build comfort like you've known each other for a long time.
    • Bowling. No ... seriously. I used to be super shy and quiet on dates too, because small talk and just talking one on one made me anxious when I didn't know someone well. The best first date I ever had we went bowling (he was shy too), and even though we both sucked at the game, we ended up laughing and talking a lot more than we would have had we sat down in a restaurant or bar...
  • Be decisive. Don't supplicate. Don't ask "what do you want to do?" You're the man. Plan the date, show her a good time. If confidently act like things are going well, they are...

Category: C++ Quant > Random Walk

Your Turn!


MISC: What are you saying when you give that gift?

via LateNight Jokes -- They say the two most popular Christmas gifts out here are cologne and Botox. What are you saying when you give that? You're wrinkled, and you also smell bad.

According to the U.S. Ambassador in Pakistan, Osama bin Laden may not be in control of al Qaeda anymore. I just hope for everybody in al Qaeda the new boss isn't some kind of American hating nut case. (that would explain all the directionless suicide bombers blowing themselves up left and right lately.)

President Bush's approval rating is on the rise. He is up 5 points this week. You know what you call that? A Christmas miracle!

Category: C++ Quant > Random Walk > Jokes

Your Turn!


MISC: If you order a copy of the "Little Red Book"...

The Standard Times reports the story of a university student who reportedly received a visit from the Department of Homeland Security.

The reason? Apparently, he ordered a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's "Little Red Book" to complete a research paper on Communism. The book is a collection of quotations and speech excerpts from Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung, and is supposedly on a "watch list."

Guess some transactions are best done in cash (no, not eWallet, but paper money).

UPDATE: this story turned out to be a hoax (Thanks to the reader below).

Category: C++ Quant > Random Walk

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MISC: Here's what you need to do... nothing.

via Reader's Digest -- My husband, a computer expert, often troubleshoots for people like me who are still struggling to learn basic computer functions. One day I called him at work when I had a minor disaster. As I listened with pencil poised, ready to record his instructions, he said,

"Okay, here's what you need to do. Go downstairs, put the tea kettle on, and don't touch the computer again until I come home."

Category: C++ Quant > Random Walk > Jokes

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