Saturday, October 31, 2015

Alternating currents

Back in 2004-7, when I was building a hedge fund practice for the consulting firm where I worked, I read books about hedge funds, amongst them Hedgehogging, by Barton Biggs, who had been at Morgan Stanley before going out and founding his own hedge fund.

More than anything, I remember how Biggs characterized his weekends.  He basically said that he read all day long to stay informed and deepen his knowledge of what he was doing, investing other peoples' money.

I must confess that that sounds pretty good to me, particularly when I spend so much of the week talking to people or trying to do so.  And I do read a lot on weekends.  Which in some ways hamstrings the growth of my business, because weekends are when people are out so much.

I remember early on in my sojourn into the world of sales, talking to another guy who sold for a financial firm.  He said that he had talked to sales recruiters who said that they liked to recruit athletes, and lacrosse players in particular, because they were impervious to pain.  Makes sense.  We also talked about how much each of us liked to be out talking to people and he was in the 7 days a week camp, whereas I am more in the 3 to 4 days a week.

Right now, I have to talk to people more often than that.  In some ways it is only natural, as I'm making up for the 9-10 months where I sequestered myself and studied for the CFP.  Then I talked to people rather infrequently.  To say nothing of the years I spent working on my dissertation.

Truth is, that was excessive in the other direction.  I like talking to people, and listening to them, because in the end people are all we have, and books are in sense a way back to people.  When I studied, I always carved out ways of engaging with people (smoking breaks, calling to raise money for this or that or recruit people to a team or reunion).

I think it's natural for me to oscillate like this, between periods of greater and lesser socializing. But I tell you, it's vital to keep reading and ingesting media other than direct conversations with folx (film, music, dance, whatever), or I shrivel up and die.

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