Past Midway Ramblings on Business & Life

CategoryDecisions

Detained by the Police

I attended my 30-year high school reunion this past weekend in Tulsa, OK. After the reunion gathering concluded Saturday evening, I was walking to the parking garage where I parked my car (on the grounds of the Casino where the reunion was held). It was late… 2:45am to be exact. I had said my goodbyes to my classmates and had a final conversation with Brad Kallenberger before starting my walk...

Making Good Decisions – Advice for My Younger Self

Adults frequently inform students there are no multiple-choice exams in real life. They are wrong. Life is in fact a series of multiple choices. It just requires creativity to ask the right questions and understand the available choices, analytical thinking to reason through potential outcomes and intuition to select the best answer (because in some cases, intuition outperforms logic). You’ll...

Efficient Markets, Pricing Anomalies – Chicken Little & Donkeys

When I was completing my MBA in Finance at the Stockholm School of Economics in the late 1990’s, the rumor was that one of our professors had discovered a pricing anomaly in the Stockholm Stock Exchange and had made a sizable amount of money in a pure arbitrage play. Because the details were scarce, I wondered if this was true. And, more importantly, why can’t this happen to me? It did. Read on…...

4-Plex – Bees

Part 2 of a 5-part series… (read Part 1) This is a continuation of the story about the 4-plex we owned in Austin, TX. The one with the crystal meth. Same property. Different day. Bees I got a call from the tenant in unit A. He said there were a lot of bees outside the main entrance and I should come take care of it because it was dangerous, especially for the kids. Nice of him to...

4-Plex – Crystal Meth

Part 1 of a 5-part series… I stopped to talk to a friend I haven’t seen in a while at the grocery store the other day. As the conversation meandered, he mentioned he was considering buying rental property. I had some limited experience with this and shared a few stories with him, one of which I recount below. 4-Plex On a whim, I purchased a 4-plex apartment building in Austin, TX. This was a dumb...

My Father Knew He was Fallible

For years, my father kept a slip of paper in his wallet, torn from a small 3 x 5 spiral notebook. On it, strangely, was a simple geometric sketch and a calculation of how far a 6-foot person could see before the horizon drops off due to the curvature of the earth. This is a curious thing to keep in one’s wallet. Backstory My dad and my older brother (a teenager at the time) made this calculation...

Mistaking Noise for Signal

Throughout human history, it has been important to be able to make quick decisions, especially if the outcome of a wrong decision might lead to injury or death. Consequently, our brains are pre-wired to be incredibly adept at generating predictive algorithms and generalizations from previous inputs (experiences), even if the data is incomplete. This is a legacy issue with our brains – that we...

Overthinking a Solution

While working on my Master’s degree in Acoustics at Penn State, our lab professor (we’ll call him “Dr. Dave”) wrote a computer program in C to randomly place students in different teams for each lab throughout the semester. This would prevent us from working with the same people every week. A high-tech solution to completely randomize lab teams for the whole semester at the push of a button...

A Life of Its Own

There comes a time in the growth of every startup when you overhear two employees (non-founders) talking about the business, or a procedure, or discussing the best way to do something and arriving at a solution… without you. To a first-time founder, this seems almost unreal. You think, ‘Wow. Work is happening without me.’ Real decisions are being made without founder input. And it’s fantastic. I...

From Engineering To Finance

After an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, a Master’s degree in acoustics (also engineering) and working as an engineer at General Electric for three and a half years, I realized I really didn’t enjoy engineering. While I learned a lot at my time at General Electric, especially in project management, engineering just didn’t excite me, at all. I was also discovering that I had an...

Past Midway Ramblings on Business & Life

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