Friday, February 24, 2006

Update on what I've been up to...

I'm not quite dead yet
For the last several weeks whenever I had a few spare minutes of computer-time I would look forlornly at this weblog and wonder when I would have the time and the energy to post again. As many of you know, my son Sean was born at the beginning of December. Between that, finishing up school, and starting a new job, I've been extremely busy. Hence the lack of updates.

Career Hijinks
The other reason for a lack of updating has been the fact that a large portion of the newsworthy items in my life have been things that I can't really post here, especially on the job front. I took an internship this summer working for an investment management company in town. Due to the large number of constraints on fair disclosure, insider trading concerns and a few observed experiences while I was there, I decided to refrain from posting anything even remotely job related. Since the job also required a large number of hours, very little time was left over to actually do anything else besides school and get ready for Sean's arrival.

Suffice it to say, the internship wrapped up in September and I landed another internship to take me through til I graduate in May. Where I'm at now is a publicly traded company and I'm once again working in a position that requires a certain amount of "sensitivity" about disclosure concerns. I'm liking the job a tremendous amount, and both internships have given me some valuable education as well as paying me well for the opportunity to learn on the job. I've gained an enormous respect for the ins and outs of our capitalist system in the process as well. Let me just say that the phrase, "a fool and his money are soon parted," is not just a colloquilism, it's almost an economic axiom. Caveat Emptor. If you are thinking of making an investment in the public equities market, you should think long and hard about why you have an edge over the vast majority of people trading in and out of that stock all day long. I'm not saying it's impossible for the individual to persevere over the market. In fact, I think if you know what you're doing it's quite possible. I just think that most people underestimate the market's ability to price in common knowledge about a company.

Blogging and my future
By now some of you have noticed that I haven't bothered to mention the company I'm working at. One of the things I've noticed about getting a job in finance is that most of the people you work with are from older generations and they just don't get this whole "blogging" phenomenon. The concept of me writing about anything regarding the company that hasn't been vetted through public relations and legal is a might bit scary to them. And since I don't officially have a permanent job there yet, I'm going to remain mum on that for the time being. The truth is, until I get some sort of indication that mentioning the name of the company from time to time is not grounds for dismissal, I probably won't do it.

Having said all that, I'm still convinced there is an enormous opportunity with this stuff that they aren't taking advantage of. One of the advantages I have is that I have the luxury of bouncing crazy ideas off the wall. So maybe I can spark some interest internally. That is still a ways off though.

I finish up school in May and I am really stoked about that. Despite a lot of groundswell on the internet around the idea of a Personal MBA, I think the education I've received in an academic institution has been extremely valuable. First, I made some really great friends and contacts. Second, I got to learn from some really great leading minds of various business disciplines, including people who've served at the Federal Reserve and the White House reporting directly to the President. I got the opportunity to run a private investment fund for a year, and I had the benefit of sitting in a classroom for 6-9 hours a week focusing on one subject; learning about the environment that businesses operate in. All those things would have been denied me if I had undertaken a self-study course of my own design. While I agree with the general statement that the academic and the commercial realms have a lot of differences, I disagree with the idea that a traditional education is outmoded. Like all things, I think the level of intensity and passion you bring to something is the crucial factor in determining success or failure. But I can honestly say, having read most of the books that are listed on the Personal MBA curriculum, that I think the standard education is more valuable. I think what's missing from the Personal MBA concept is a true discussion of context and the way all those disciplines interact. The other thing I think that is lacking is a certain amount of academic rigor. In other words, some things that are included in an MBA program are boring and dry (Operations Management springs to mind). What person in their spare time is going to look at assembly line production optimization? Yet, I think that's an integral part of a large portion of businesses and if you are going into any job with even a small manufacturing component you need this knowledge.

Going off on a tangent, I started a Frappr Map for the readers of this blog to add themselves to. I got the idea from the generator of all things content-related, Michael Cote. Add yourself to the map if you get a chance, I think it would be fun to see where my two readers are located. And if there are more than two of you, well I might get more concerned about putting content up :)

On Being a Dad
Enough about work and blogging, what I've really been excited about lately is my brand new, baby boy. For those of you who subscribe to my photo feed, you'll know that I've gone baby crazy. The truth is, being a dad is incredibly fun. Everyday it seems like Sean is growing or doing something new. Some days I just sit and watch him for hours at a time. The dogs seem to like him, which is a relief, since they are very big and he is very small at this stage in his life.

When I step back from it all, it's kind of a mind boggling concept, being a parent. When you're involved in the day to day aspects of it tho, it's just a lot of running around. Changing diapers, changing clothes, giving baths, feeding, taking them to the doctor, taking them to day care. The amazing thing to me is that you never stop to question it while you're doing it. It all seems worthwhile; every step of the way.

It's also been really amazing seeing my family get all excited about having a grandson/nephew around. The fam has been tripping over themselves to get babysitting duty.

Finally, for those of you who have sent baby gifts and haven't received thank you cards, please be patient. We sent out the first and second round of cards, but recently got inundated with a third round of gifts from a large number of people, and we're trying to unbury ourselves from those in addition to keeping up with our kid.

In the meantime, I would expect posting to be light until about May since I have a lot on my plate at the moment. Of course, that's one of the joys of RSS is that you can just have this blog sitting in a newsreader and not have to worry about missing an entry. So sit back and relax...I'll keep posting sporadically letting you know I'm still here.


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