Wednesday, November 23, 2005
i'm thankful i have taken the advice of a few friends on a condo investment in florida i walked away from a few months ago (this was not for rent, i was going to flip the contract when the unit was ready for occupancy in 12-24 months). the most convincing argument they made was this: "when amateurs (read: idiots) like you start thinking this is a good idea is exactly the time you DON'T want to make the buy".
good advice, thanks chris :). it'll be interesting to see the selling price on those units in a year. and now....in the panic...how to exploit all those crazy no doc and low doc loans that were made, ARMs to people that had no business qualifying, etc. etc.
great reading: housingpanic.blogspot.com
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Sunday, November 13, 2005
managers think subordinates are motivated by (in order): good wages and job security. subordinates actually care about “full appreciation of work done with a “feeling of being in on things” second. in other words, managers do not understand what motivates their employees. According to the famous psychologist Maslow we can sort the motivations of people:
1. bodily needs
5. self actualization
Supervisors mistakenly think the lower needs are important to their subordinates (wage levels and job security address bodily needs and safety). workers feel that higher areas are more important. Good delegation relies on motivating around these higher needs.
Next, there are two examples given. Mgr. A: “Corporate wants another Q.C. report. I don’t know why. You’ll have to go around and note procedures used on all products and report” Mgr. B. says “our customer is especially interested in quality. we want to have a reputation of high quality. What I think we can do here is find ways to improve quality control by reviewing the current procedures.
what’s the difference? Mgr. A appeals to neither belonging nor achievement. Its ‘yet another order from corporate.’ He doesn’t emphasize the results that the subordinate is to achieve but starts right off on the method. The only motivation is the fear of a reprimand.
Mgr. b, on the other hand, presents the same assignment in a different light. First, he lets the subordinate know why the achievement is important. he put it in the context of the mutual efforts of everyone in the company and the status that results from achieving an important objective. Also, one can feel pride from participating in the teamwork of the firm.
Not a recommended book, but the highlight above is a useful observation and one to put into life's tool chest.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
call of duty and ghost recon looked unbelievable.
no, they were not available for purchase.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Here is a slide show of some areas close to where I used live. Evidently, the tornado went up Bell Road, and down Lincoln and then out by 261 and 66.
When things like this happen, so close to home, its always chilling, and those terrifying moments when you just don't know if everyone is okay, and if they aren't okay you can do NOTHING about it from so far away, its just scary as hell. Normally, when there is a tornado, you can see the sky changing and you know its a possibility, but this happened late at night, in a season when tornadoes aren't as common. I think its taken everyone by suprise and it makes it that much harder to handle.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Since moving to the pacific northwest I’ve become quite an espresso snob (don’t drink coffee much but I do love the latte’s). We tend to steer away from Starbucks unless it’s the only thing around. Personally, I think Starbucks is quite good when the barista is good, I just look for alternatives when I’m in a town like Portland when there are so many shops to choose from that make delicious drinks. There is a web site to help you find your non-corporate coffee at http://www.delocater.net/.
some of my favorites (and all of them have free wireless!):
World cup at 18th and Glisan, Powell’s, and the Ecotrust building in the Pearl
Common Grounds around 50th and Hawthorne
Stumptown on 3rd, one on Belmont, and one on Powell.
In Seattle: Victrola on 15th and Bauhaus on Pike/Pine near downtown.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Spent a good part of my weekend reading through the autobiography of Derman. This book really didn’t start to talk about quantitative finance until over 1/3 of the way through the book. Up to that point it was a biography of a physicist. He gave an inside look at the life inside academia for a ph.d. student, several postdocs including one at Oxford, time at Bell Labs back when they were relevant, and his time at Goldman and Saloman. I enjoyed reading it but it really was more of an autobiography than a book about the math. if you’re considering a life on wall street as a quant this would be a great read, if you want to know more about the math stick with the Mandelbrot book reviewed below.
This was a fantastic book if you’re interested in a very simple description of Mandelbrot’s work and its relationship to how markets work. I really had no idea until reading this book that CAPM (capital asset pricing model) was so widely regarded as incorrect yet still so widely used. While this is true, Dr. Mandelbrot misleads by making one think its just totally wrong when really it does provide a simple approximate model that is correct to a first order. What he does a great job of pointing though is the subtlety of the different methods…it’s the corner cases that matter the most (the days the market makes most of its movement up or down, those are the days that create the most gains or losses by a SIGNIFICANT margin). He does a great job of explaining intuitively, with figures he calls ‘cartoons’ to describe the multi-fractal behavior of markets.
The references at the end of the book provide a compendium of a significant amount of the work Mandelbrot has touched in his lifetime.