On one hand, it was Steve Jobs who told the Stanford class of 2005 that “the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.”
On the other hand, a lot of college grads have to take whatever job comes their way. During bull markets, investment firms hire big time, and that’s how I got in. Toiling in large firms gave me a deep understanding about how the industry worked and what made investors tick.
The rise of computing gave everyone access to analytics and made transactions go faster. Information became ubiquitous, but the way people made decisions changed very little. Technical analysis and investing are great examples. Elvis was 17 years old when “modern portfolio theory” was introduced. Almost every technical indicator in use today was created in the 1970s when they had to be simple enough to be calculated by hand.
Because institutional investors dominate the market with trillions of dollars under management, decisions made by committee reflect human nature, is resistant to change and adverse to taking responsibility. Individual investors like us actually benefit from our small size and flexibility. We can profit from insight, ideas and innovations made by a resourceful few.
The jury is still out as to whether I love or hate the markets, but as it turned out, I am pretty good at this type of work, so I’ll keep going.