You think you know stress? Imagine knowing that every day, your models are making investment decisions for billions of dollars. Sure, it's a drop in the overall pool of assets in markets, but it is enough to keep you up at night, worried about someone's retirement or someone's college fund. Drop a few more percentage points than the market? Goodbye hundreds of millions of dollars. Yep, that's going to happen at 50 when you start your "easy life" as a hedge-fund manager.
I'm not saying my stress is greater. I'm just trying to make the point that every business has its own share of problems, and to say that being a tech entrepreneur takes any more balls than being any other kind of entrepreneur is naive.
Can we please stop, as a community, with the "woe is us, the tech entrepreneur?" It's embarrassing. Starting a business is starting a business, no matter the industry. In fact, I'd argue that we live in a golden age for tech entrepreneurship that has never existed in another industry. Imagine trying to start a bio-tech business or a manufacturing business (well, arguably "outsourcing" could be the manufacturing entrepreneur's "scale"...). There are no "seed" rounds. The assets you have to raise are probably 100x what a tech entrepreneur has to initially raise. On top of trying to build a product, you probably have to manage building and factory development, understand legal regulations for your industry, and manage tons of labor.
We live in a time where you can roll the dice and start a business in the tech space with a handful of smart people, some elbow-grease and maybe $50k in a seed round. This is a golden era.
I respect the hell out of what you are doing -- starting a business is NOT easy -- but please don't say it takes any more balls than starting a business in any other industry. It doesn't.
Be careful not to take away credit from yourself, though; in finance, your father may have been able to "open" a door for you, but you would still have to walk through it.
Keep on walkin'.
It's not about stress, it's about the need of the individual to make a difference. Doing something that has been done before it's not that exciting for a 20-ish year old. But someone older will take comfort in it.
She really lost me with the stuff about raising $200m - I'm sorry, but that's very, very, very unlikely to happen with an unproven manager with no track record - unless her family name is so strong she could just ride on that. But even given that, I don't know anybody that is giving out $200m to a 25 year old who hasn't run money before. Maybe that happened 5 years ago - I don't think that is happening now.
Lastly - I think it is an interesting idea to audit shipping records to decide on a position (macro I'm assuming), but there was also no discussion of whether she had even tested this and if it even worked.
Like an earlier poster, I frankly found this post insulting.
I get your point about "having more meaning" -- but I'd argue that is true for any business endeavor, not just tech startups. If what I was doing didn't have truly personal meaning for me, there is no way I could stomach the stress.
Maybe I'm overly sensitive because the article seemed to compare the easy hedge fund life to the tough tech start-up life, which I think is a gross over exaggeration in the divergent profile: I believe that they are tremendously similar.
If Dad was an MD he would've said don't become a surgeon, do research and try to change current procedures. At least that's my take on the blog.
Capital introductions are hard, and everyone wants to cosy up to someone looking for a 'home' for their excess millions. It's an environment where a couple of dudes/dudettes with laptops and an idea might have a potentially successful hedge-fund idea but lack the credibility and track record to make the risk worthwhile for a potential investor. The investor could lose a lot of money very quickly if your idea is wrong. The chances are, that if your idea is 'right' they'll listen to you explain it (because you really will need to explain it in depth) and then go and find someone who they do trust to implement it for them.
My point is that, it would be very hard for me to gain sufficient trust from prospective investors to raise $200m because I don't have any contacts or access to the necessary capital.
However, the daughter of a financial advisor for high-net worth individuals is playing a very different game to me. She very well might easily be able to do, what I easily can not. So, for me at least, there's nothing of interest in this article. I'm pleased for Elle to be in such a great position and wish her well.
Perhaps you actually say this in the post somewhere, but it I don't recall seeing it. IMHO it would make an interesting article if you emphasised that point more.
In my experience there is something to be said for NOT always following the money but following the 'fun'. More than once the 'fun' turned out to be surprisingly lucrative after all ... :)
If you don't have the balls to do the things necessary to archive the things you want, with all your energy and will behind it, you simply won't archive it.
Most people doesn't even try to do the things they fear, just a small minority does. Of the small minority just a few tries with everything they have, most of them unfortunately holds back because of their fear of failure. A fear of failure is preventing them from giving it everything they've got.
That's still fear of failure, only in that case, the fear may be well founded. If they fail, they cannot feed their family, so they are afraid of failing and probably for good reason.
The higher your financial obligations are, the more weight the ruin side of the equation holds.
Not at all a criticism of the author - we absolutely should work with the advantages we're given!
So, I'm sitting here sipping my first coffee of the day and have a huge feeling of being directionless. Maybe the blog post was "drivel" to some here, but not to me.
My own dad died when I was 8, so while he was around for some of my life, I was still much too young to get the guidance that I wish I'd got. On the other hand, I'm not doing too bad now, but sometimes I wonder if maybe I would be doing better if I had someone like that helping me. Then again, I don't really know what kind of dad he would have been as I got older - and he certainly wasn't anything fancy like a financial adviser, so I don't know what kind of advice or guidance I would have had - but I like to think it would have been beneficial. Sigh.
[edit: 'His' changed to 'her'. Sorry for that]
At a former company, in a large group setting, I was asked to identify what I thought was the biggest roadblock to the company's success. I hesitated to comment because I knew my answer would be controversial. But, taking the bull by the horns, I answered, "Fear." I felt (still do) that when people are nervous about their careers or how they will be perceived, then they tend to censor themselves, sometimes without even realizing it. If the company took a deliberate approach to making the company a safe place (safe to disagree, safe to take risks, etc) then it would be a major benefit and help improve both morale and performance.
The CEO immediately disagreed. She didn't like the idea that any of her employees (200+) might be feeling some form of fear. Trying to address an issue like that is hard because it implies that high-ranking employees and "leadership" types were acting in a way that caused fear. It didn't even have to be deliberate or conscious. She would've had to do a lot of soul-searching, a lot of questioning the actions of her direct reports, many of whom were friends, and a lot of listening to frustrated employees.
I think it's pretty common to avoid hard things. So I try to tackle the hard things first. I think I learn more and it gets me out of my comfort zone. And the benefits are normally much greater too.
creating a hedge fund, or any kind of fund, was something i should be thinking about in my 40s or 50s when I wanted a more traditional role in finance with a lower risk/reward profile.
One of the strengths of HN's ranking system appears to be that story downvotes are pretty limited, so that stories that appeal to just 10% of readers can be aired too - don't take it to heart.
I read more of your blog and see that you think these are 'troll posts'. They're not.
Also, not everyone who shares their stories and advice must and can be a great writer. The idea behind the story is what counts. Of course, if a story is also entertaining to read that's a bonus.
J/k, I am sorry for revealing myself as an ass. I'll bite my tongue next time, or at least attempt to offer something of value.
FWIW if this article is "drivel" then HN must have really high standards.
"My wonderful friend David Weekly probably remembers me angsting in his kitchen over whether or pursue this idea vs. what ultimately became Referly."
"I pondered him comments though"
Please don't hesitate to submit on account of jerks like me in the future. Not to rationalize my behavior, but I do think the typos were a large part of what gave me a bad impression, inclining me to question whether it was up to the site's standards. Proof-reading carefully before submitting to HN might have made a big difference to my reaction.
That said, I am embarrassed by how much of a dick I was, and that certain other people voted me up (you know who you are). I could never have said something that mean to your face, which makes me a coward as well. Let that be a lesson to the kids out there; don't post mean, stupid comments at 1AM (or any other time)!
There's a lot to write on that subject. Good luck with your raise!