2.20.2005

From the Trenches

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TIP: Managing by role models
Managing is both a reward and a responsibility. Seeing you as a role model, those who depend on your leadership can be very perceptive they observe, learn and model every move you make. Modeling ...

TIP: Getting past a celebrity obsession
We live in a celebrity-fixated culture. We are obsessed with celebrities from magazines like "People" and "US Weekly" to TV shows like "Entertainment Tonight" and "Access Hollywood." But it ...

TIP: Are you buying motivation?
Do you use money (bonus, raises) to buy motivation and productivity from your staff exclusively? Money can effectively juice staff performance, but that doesn't always keep them from fleeing ...

RANT: Are you the annoying coworker?
Ran across CNN's fabulous http://cnn.worldnews.printthis.clickability.com/pt/cpt?action cpt title CNN.com+-+Quiz 3A+Are+you+the+annoying+co-worker 3F+-+Jul+29 2C+2005 expire 1 urlID 14989205 ...

TIP: The 4 Ks of fair fight
Let's face it. No team is without fighting and arguing. The question is, do you go into it looking for a greater control over the other or a resolution of the issue? The first can make you ...

RANT: To the trader who said "because that is the way we have always done it"
A young woman was preparing a ham dinner. After she cut off the end of the ham, she placed it in a pan for baking. Her friend asked her,"Why did you cut off the end of the ham"? And she replied ...

RANT: Games traders play
(in order of passiveness to aggressiveness) Play Mr. nice guy: tell people what they want to hear and just go along to get along without making any real contribution/progress. Call a long ...

RANT: 5 ways to understand a lazy colleague
A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station. what more can I say. "Work fascinates me" I can look at it for hours. "Hard work ...

RANT: Yin and Yang at work
One day there were flood warnings out in this small town and the sheriff went around telling everyone to get to higher ground before the river overflowed its banks. One man heard the sheriff ...

RANT: Fires at work
Firefighters are often glorified in the work place when they extenguish that urgent issue, whereas the person who gets things done in advance, on schedule and seemingly without effort isn ...

RANT: Verbal Judo
What to say when you find yourself faced with low key confrontations at work? I like you You remind me of when I was young and inexperienced. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter ...

TIP: Loyalty - all you need is a vision
Leaders need loyal followers, but loyalty is hard to come by these days. What distinguishes great leaders from merely good ones is the ability to inspire loyalty in different ways. Remember ...

RANT: New feels Old
When you first get a new job, you get that Superman "S" on your chest and want to prove your invincibility. You take on all comers and solve all problems, until you realize you are so busy ...

RANT: What is a Quant? II
When people I meet at parties ask me what I do for a living, I tell them proudly (most of the time anyway), "I'm an Quantitative Analyst." In a heartbeat, they get that blank look on their ...

RANT: Why is the boss the last one to know?
Elephant and Mouse were best friends. One day Elephant said, "Mouse, let's have a party!" Animals gathered from far and near. They ate, and drank, and sang, and danced. And nobody celebrated ...

RANT: Symptoms or Root Cause
It's been problematic for us to crunch large volume of numbers with Excel/VBA. Instead of refactoring the task to a seperate analtyic server, most of us have wasted considerable amount of ...

Heard in the Trench...
Sometimes when something so competely funny, I find that my own laughter just isn't enough. (talking about a sloppy collegue) Me: He's like King Midas in reverse. Everything he touchs turns ...

RANT: Idea Thief at work
This was the type of thief that could steal the initiative, the moment and the words right out of your mouth. Coincident or not, idea thieves appear bright until you hear them speak, probably ...

RANT: Settle for less C++ or less Finance experience?
Abraham Lincoln once told a story of a neighbor who found himself in a tight situation. He was traveling home one dark and rainy night. There were few bridges in the country and he came to ...

RANT: You know the deadline is approaching fast when...
...your boss came to you and asked if you need more resources for the analytics development. What's ironic is that in this parituclar case it actually slows down development due to the added ...

RANT: Excel - a Golden Hammer?
I have worked on a number of Excel-based applications that would have been much easier/better to implement as a thick client application (in Java/C#)... The reason is the desk (and possibly ...

Q&A: How can you tell a Quant from a Trader?
Two guys walk into a room and find a bag of cash under the table... The first guy thinks: This is crazy. Anyone could walk in here and take this money. The second guy says to himself: Cool ...

TIP: Criticize without trace
For someone (like myself) who hates to criticize others, but have to do at times, the idea of "it's the thought that counts" could really help. Instead of criticizing the person directly, ...

TIP: Be aware of what you are compromising
The trader says, "I think 4 weeks is just a bit too long to deliver this spreadsheet. You can get it done in 2/3 of that time, can't you?" The Quant nods in agreement and hurries off to development ...

RANT: The road less travelled
When asked about the motivation for his switch from being an Quantitative Analyst to a Quant developer, a collegue told the story of a chicken and a pig walking down a street when they spotted ...

Q&A: Just when I thought my performance review couldn't get any worse...
...To much of my surprise, my manager told me that I'm insert your favorite weakness , which is totally not true. What should I do? A : If the feedback contains zero truth (ie. something your ...

Q&A: What's the trader referring to when he says...
... "6s of 1/1/2010 trading at 98"? A : A bond that has a 6 coupon rate, matures at 1/1/2010 and is selling for 98 of its par value. Bonus Points A fixed income security is an obligation of ...

Q&A: Are you a perfect match for Google?
A friend of mine thought so. The problem is that you can't just walk in to their headquarter and ask for an interview. So he did what everyone does: he applied for a programming job 3 times ...

Q&A: How can you tell a Quant from a Scientist?
Quant Are motivated by financial stability for themselves and support for their families Are (therefore) conservative and loyal to their companies; seek rewards for that loyalty, such as promotion ...

Q&A: What are the different flavors of data for trade valuation?
Trade Data Agreed in the context of a particular trade or series of trades with some counterparty. Appear on the termsheet for those trades Not expected to change during the lifetime of the ...

RANT: Another sad Jobs/Scully story
Just got back from a farewell lunch. Rumor has it that the guy was forced out by one of his top lieutenants get this whom he hired. What does this remind you of? (For those of you don't ...

RANT: Where have all the architects gone?
A collegue whispered "all the solutions we delivered seem to be driven completely from the bottom up (ie. by traders). shouldn't the approach be balanced with a healthy dose of top-down, bigger ...

RANT: What keeps me away from Java...
when it comes to financial modelling? no, it's not performance it may be slower than C++ but could be fast enough for one's needs. It's the lack of operator overloading. I can't imagine having ...

RANT: The Signal/Noise ratio
had dropped so low (where I sit) that I had to force myself to take a cup break. Here is something I don't get... we obviously don't eat everything we see, why do we (well, some people) have ...

RANT: Well written, Badly behaved
The other day I got a wake-up call from our support staff in London at 3:00am: The nightly job for generating risk numbers was not spitting out Excel spreadsheets... I had to login remotely ...

RANT: Talker or Doer
Edith Wharton has said that there are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Likewise, there are two ways to climb the corporate ladder: being an ...

RANT: Excel - a Golden Hammer?, II
Do you shop at a single place to buy milk, cars, and all other goods you need? Don't know about you, but I get better fruit from the grocer around the corner. Although one-stop is possible ...

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