Interloper: End of Chapter One

True to the pervasive obsessiveness of financial industry employees, I wrote a list of topics to cover with Interloper at the outset. This list, which was surprisingly unchanged as the months progressed, has now been covered.  Alarmingly, as a result of this, the last posts began to exhibit the two temptations that, in the beginning, I swore I would never succumb to – beating on near-dead rhetorical horses (the industry in playing on your imperfect psychology) and attempting to wring pearls of wisdom out of the work of others (notably Epicurean Dealmaker for some reason).

The urge to write combined with a lack of anything new to say is a time-honored recipe for masturbatory crap, so its definitely time for a hiatus. There are also practical reasons for this – I still need to find employment to take some pressure off Mrs. Interloper, who desperately needs a vacation.  Writing blog posts and hitting F5 every 90 seconds is not conducive to a sustained effort in that regard.

At the risk of going all Altucher on the people nice enough to read this, I want to also explicate a strange emotional risk that also informs the decision to take a few weeks off from blogging. I couldn’t, first of all, be happier with the way things turned out for Interloper and the five-or-so people most deserving of gratitude for this know who they are. Having readers focus on your opinions, and occasionally agree with them, has been incredibly rewarding. At the same time it also gives birth, for me at least, to an unhealthy ambition for further recognition – what was an initial, highly gratifying surprise morphs into a weird existential need. Twice during the past two weeks (and this is truly embarrassing) I’ve been on the verge of picking a fight with another blogger only to discover, with a modicum of introspection, that the root cause for the impulse was a desire for attention. Acting on this would have disqualified me from ever calling out anyone else’s behavior as infantile which, as it happens, is one of my favorite things in life.

End of therapy session. I’m not done; I just need time to make a new list. Hopefully the few very nice emailers asking what was up with the lack of writing now have some idea.

To end Interloper: chapter 1, I’ve re-framed the issues covered to date into three broad industry/investing tenets as follows:

Cui bono: Whenever you’re confused about anything involving the finance industry, look to how it benefits the investment banking department. If, for example, analysts from three large BDs all raise ratings and targets on the same stock that hasn’t moved in 5 years, first assess the potential for an M&A transaction or secondary offering.

Don’t trust your gut: The industry knows your brain better than you do, how to appeal to its less rational, emotional elements. Going with a gut feeling and winning is undoubtedly exhilarating and you’ll want to do it again. This is, however, the same thought process that built Vegas. The corollary is to be very careful when you see what you want, or expected to see. Try and practice thinking like other, successful investors with a different style, if only as a test drive.

The finance industry has its own interests, not yours, first: View every research report and every speaker on business television with the same skepticism you’d bring to Super Bowl commercials. This is not inherently cynical – good products need advertising almost as much as bad products. But don’t expect full disclosure.




End of chapter 1

18 thoughts on “Interloper: End of Chapter One

  1. made up says:

    Nicely done!
    It is rare to see someone have the ability to take a break rather than force it. Also, the introspection in real-time is a rare and commendable trait.

    PS, sorry for the made up name. Just how I do things

  2. GYSC says:

    Thanks for all the work and the brutal honesty. I will be waiting for your new stuff.

  3. […] Interloper, “The finance industry has its own interests, not yours, first.”  (Interloper) […]

  4. Well, done. We await chapter 2…..

    ps as much as I would like to be privie to you doing your ‘favoritist thang’, better for us all that your don’t.

  5. The readers are grateful for your efforts!

    I sensed the recent inactivity would auger in a new phase of Interloping on this site.

    But writing for the sake of writing can be both disastrous and cathartic. While your reasons for abstaining are valid, there is a large opportunity cost associated with inactivity.

    Hackery might lead to irrelevance but no content assures it! Best of luck.

  6. Jake says:

    Enjoy the break, but you better come back!

  7. […] Interloper, “The finance industry has its own interests, not yours, first.”  (Interloper) […]

  8. jeremy says:

    Good luck on the employment side.
    And looking forward to reading you again.

  9. kris says:

    Classy! Very classy! Humbleness is rare nowadays; a real virtue. Thx a lot.
    As one born and raised on the Mediterranean, I highly respect time off and vacation as primary. Take your time! You’ve worked enough for free sharing your knowledge with us.

    One thing though, there’s nothing wrong with picking a fight if it’s professional, not personal. Only being annoying one can learn, Ray Dalio way.

    Please come back and teach us for free again. We’ll give you something back for free, also.
    God bless!

  10. A wonderful, if sometimes scathing, series of observations and insights.
    May I quote you?

  11. PD says:

    Thanks for the commentaries, references and suggestions.

    Amongst those references was “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, which is an interesting read. In return, I highly recommend “The Winner-Take-All Society”, a 1995 book by Prof. Robert Frank of Cornell.

    As your commentaries periodically touched upon societal matters such as Occupy Wall Street and the high remuneration for those on Wall Street, you and others will find this 16-year-old book assesses why these phenomena occur and provides one very fundamental reason why they will likely continue around the world. Prof. Frank, who co-wrote the Mr. Bernanke the basic economics textbook used at many universities, should get more attention than he now does for his ideas (regardless what one thinks of the Fed Chairman and his employer).

    If you’re inclined to continue sharing your knowledge though with less involvement, many presumably would welcome further references to literature (books, essays, speeches, transcripts, etc.) that have influenced your thought process.

    You should feel secure in disclosing your prime literary sources as, in a Twitter-esque world, very few will bother to extend themselves beyond the first 140 characters and Cliff Notes and reviews are one-dimensional.

    Best wishes on the next steps and, if you wish, development of Chapter 2.

  12. kris says:

    Oh yes, sorry, I forgot.
    Good luck with job search.

  13. RW says:

    Thanks for what you have so graciously and engagingly taught me. All the best in your future plans and I hope to hear from you again as I still have much to learn.

  14. Jeffrey says:

    Your work is well done, humble and rare amongst all the noise. Keep up the site, the lists (avoiding altucher), and the writing, you never know it might just lead to ‘a job’.

    It’s been a pleasure, reading your analysis/perspective.

    PS: Dear Mrs. Interloper, please let Mr. Interloper take his computer on vacation.

  15. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your
    useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

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