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05 Aug 2003: Permanence

Good news this month, as I became a full-time employee at BGI from August 1. At the very least this means better stability than I've had for over 12 months.

My life has been triple-booked for months and it's time to let something go. First of all, as I go on and on and on about, I'm studying Japanese. Then, on top of that, I've been trying to learn more and more information relevant to my sphere of work: I now have a nice, basic understanding of Efficient Market Theory, beta as measure of portfolio risk and currently I'm working my way through how financial derivatives actually work and why. My third time-eater is trying to learn more technical skills such as .NET.

Progress has been slow. Plus, work is really getting quite busy leaving few brain cells available for other interests. Where to go from here? Japanese continues to be important at work and the level 2 exam is something I really want to pass this year. Financial knowledge is also important to the job, and I'd like to move toward the front office side of the business, which demands a lot more in-depth knowledge of How Things Work. I've worked with the back office for a long time and I've had my fill. My technology study has been set up as the fall guy it seems.

I've been trying to create a third web site (with PHP) but haven't had the time, attention span or luck. Stretching my personal resources over so many disparate projects is great in theory (24 hours in a day) but crap in practice (just 1 hour of spare capacity concentration per week). For now I think technical studies are going on hold - although that doesn't mean Wander is going offline. I still have plenty of thoughts on what I encounter day-to-day and will continue to post there.

If you hadn't heard of PAM in recent weeks, have a look. Upspin: An innovative idea to use futures markets to predict terrorist activities and major upheavals in the Middle East. Downspin: Pentagon wanted to run a futures exchange where traders could bet on terrorism or Middle Eastern governments being overthrown; this probably wouldn't have gone down well with the victims of terrorists or Middle Eastern governments. [I don't know if this was could really work in practice; it seems to rely on the strong-form of efficient market hypothesis (market always reflects all public and private information) but I didn't think anyone really took that seriously except some academics.]

Book Corner: Richard Ferri's All About Index Funds. Good, straightforward, with an easy-to-read-on-the-train score of 10/10. Covers why you would want put your money into index funds, what you need to think about and how you should go about doing it. Streamlined and accessible alternative to A Random Walk Down Wall Street that I read last year.

Movie Corner: Okay, so I enjoyed the Matrix Reloaded film. There. Got that out the way. I mean, every god damn web site out there has a comment about the Matrix film, right? Yes, there is lots of fighting, but I enjoyed the story as much as the first. That's it, watch if you haven't - and watch right through the credits, trust me on this one.