Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

As someone who has started a business in the finance space trying to leverage technology, I take some offense to this. My business partners and I have worked our asses off over the last several years to get to where we are today: billions of dollars in assets powered by our investment models. Trust me: asking someone to give you money to put in your strategies is not easy. Unlike the start-up space, there is no "minimum viable product," "traction" metric, or even "asset" that has some intrinsic value (like a unique algorithm or brand). You either have a track record, or you don't. New strategies don't, so it's all "trust." Sure, I can show a "back-test" or "stress-test" -- but everyone knows those are bullshit anyway.

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.

I'm sorry, I think I was unclear and can see why you would take offense. I don't think this was a knock on creating a finance business or anything else - it was specific advice for me and my career path. He was telling me that doing the finance business now would have been the obvious choice or "easy out", rather than tech startups, because it was the industry I grew up with. He was telling me that if I had the balls to consider starting a hedge fund I sure has hell should have the balls to start a tech company.

As I said below, it's likely that I am hyper-sensitive to these issues. I urge you to continue sharing your journey and your stories!

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'.

I see Dad's advice as going for something that can have more meaning to you and for which you need balls then for the safe/low risk model.

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.

The assumption implicit in that is that starting a hedge fund is "safe/low risk" - which, having started a hedge fund, is just wrong. It is as risky as starting any business. In fact, in some ways it is much, much harder because to gain any size in the hedge business you have to have either come from a very well-known shop or have a very good, audited track record. Even given all of that, count on 2-3 years of managing a small amount of money that doesn't cover your costs. And pray you don't have a large drawdown and have to watch that fast fund-of-fund money disappear.

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 am a 20-ish year old and despite "what I do" has been done before, the "way I do it" never has -- and that is plenty "exciting." There is nothing safe or low-risk about starting a hedge fund.

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.

I think you're reading into it too much, and you're taking it too far away from the context between Dad and Daughter. This is, and will be, their own personal experiences. For some starting a hedge fund can be seen as high-risk, when for someone that has run one for years (Dad's case) or for someone that's been around one for years (Daughter's case) it can be seen as low-risk.

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.

As I said, I am likely over-sensitive to these issues; finance isn't exactly the most well-respected industry at the moment.

Couldn't agree with this more...

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact