worst trades

Three cranky thoughts this morning:

1. Putting “white” in front of “women” doesn’t give you a free pass to say whatever misogynistic shit you want.

2. It is possible to love and support one character without diminishing or dismissing another character. It is possible for a story to have more than one hero.

3. “You have to be okay with what [I/character] do because it’s a coping strategy,” is wrong on so many levels. I’m allowed to dislike stuff people do. I’m allowed to say “don’t do that around me or we can’t hang out,” and I’m allowed to say “I don’t like [character] because they do this thing that bugs me.” Full stop.

A Few Things I Learned Watching a Hedge Fund Manager Lose $4 Billion on One Trade

Maybe you also followed this story. Or maybe not. But basically a really big hedge fund manager, one of those guys who people quote and probably talk about at Harvard Business School, placed a super big bet on this company called Valeant.

Valeant is a pharmaceutical company trying to cure problems with skin and infectious diseases. They actually also own Bausch Lomb so that means they have a giant eye care business.

This hedge fund manager made a bet that Valeant would keep growing their business, diversifying, and acquiring. He once even called them the next “Berkshire Hathaway.”

This thesis turned out to be wrong. Like really wrong. The company crashed. People started to call Valeant out for jacking up the prices of their drugs. They also were apparently doing some dicey bookkeeping things. Just Google “Philidor Valeant scandal” if you want to learn more about that.

The end result looked like this:

So what did I learn from this story? Are there any interesting takeaways for you? I think so. And by writing this I hope I won’t make the same mistakes. Maybe now you won’t either. Here are a few things I learned from witnessing one of the worst trades ever:

  • Risk management is everything. No single investment or trade should ever be able to wipe you out. You want to play this game forever. In 2015, this hedge fund manager had $12 billion in assets under management. He poured $4 billion into Valeant. So he essentially risked a third of his clients money on a single outcome.
  • Don’t ever average down! This hedge fund manager did not cut his losses when the stock started to crash. Instead he averaged down. He bought more. Then he played the options market. Just cut your losses if it’s not working anymore. Get out. Paul Tudor Jones said this best:
  • Humility is everything. If you are going to make a trade like this, at least do it quietly. Don’t go on CNBC and tout it. Or promote it. When everyone knows about it on the way up, they’re also going to know about it on the way down. It might make things even worse. The media and people will turn on you for entertainment, clicks, and laughs.
  • Social media is your friend. There are some seriously smart people on social media. The Valeant ($VRX) stream on StockTwits is filled with conversations, charts, and debates at all times. Don’t ignore that. Or even the bloggers. A few investment writers totally nailed it. They’ve been writing about Valeant and its problems for years. To this day it’s free and open on their blogs.
  • It happens to everyone and it will happen to you. No one makes great investments 100% of the time. Everyone gets hit here and there. Even Warren Buffett admits to this. He wrote about it in his latest letter to shareholders. Like that one time:

“I made one particularly egregious error, acquiring Dexter Shoe for $434 million in 1993. Dexter’s value promptly went to zero. The story gets worse: I used stock for the purchase, giving the sellers 25,203 shares of Berkshire that at yearend 2016 were worth more than $6 billion.” — Warren Buffett

  • Narratives are fun, but you also need to see the data yourself. What’s really amazing is how this hedge fund manager lost a ton of money. His brand and skill is being questioned and criticized around the globe. But someone recently showed me something interesting. The following chart shows the price of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway vs. this hedge fund manager’s company Pershing Square. Yes, by this metric he’s outperforming Buffett! As a spectator, it’s fun to get into big story lines and narratives. But always make sure you corroborate the data:

you are okay

Okay, so I see a lot of posts floating around Tumblr about how awful/exhausting/stressful adulthood is. They make me laugh and they’re relatable and sometimes I reblog them. The thing is, though, for me, adulthood is actually way better than being a teenager was–so I wanted to share some things I love about being an adult, just to even out the balance. I don’t think I have any teenage followers, but maybe some in their early twenties? Anyway, I don’t want people to fear adulthood, because there are amazing things about it:

–Normally, I end my evenings by sitting on my sofa in my flat in pleasant solitude, drinking herbal tea and reading and listening to that morning’s Essential Classics on Radio 3. This should be the dictionary definition of bliss.

–Even though I have experienced bullying as an adult as well as when I was a child/teenager, I feel like my internal resources for dealing with it are better now and growing all the time. I no longer feel like the bad things people say to and about me define me.

–Buying my own laundry detergent means I can finally pick one that I’m not allergic to. I am no longer 110% covered in red itches at all times.

–I have friends who are boys and my dad isn’t in my house to constantly harrass me about them.

–Last year I went to a concert of science fiction scores played by the Royal Philharmonic with someone I know slightly from church. It was the actual coolest.

–My brother and I are friends now that we live in entirely different cities. He texted me the other day for advice on his CV. It was nice.

–My friends either share my interests or love the fact that I’m so interested in those things. It’s been years since I’ve said to anyone “I learnt an interesting thing today!” and they’ve replied, flatly, “define interesting”.

–I just feel so much more like myself than I did when I was a teenager. I’m okay with hating make-up/loving Disney films/being super career-driven/being great with kids, and the fact that those things would seem to make me a contradiction, and that I’m actually just me.

–My mum keeps defending my right to be single to anyone who tries to commiserate with her about the fact that she doesn’t have grandbabies. Adulthood, for me, has meant becoming friends with my mum.

–I know enough about myself and the world now to realise that understanding social/relational stuff is a real weak point of mine. When I don’t understand those things now, I say “I don’t understand this” to my friends, and they help me without laughing at me. (Then I help them with their CVs and knowing where their apostrophes belong. Turn and turn about is fair play).

–Enough bad things have come and gone in my life that I know dark seasons will pass, and even the things that aren’t temporary (my dad will probably never not be a borderline-homeless misogynistic conspiracy theorist again) are just part of my life, not the whole of it. They don’t consume me. When awful things happen, I am sad for a few weeks or months, but I know that one day I will be not sad for a while, and that is worth hanging on for. This is something I never could have known when I was a teenager, because not enough bad things had come and gone from my life.

–I would not trade the worst day of my last six months (which was awful and heartbreaking and I think I literally cried for 24 hours straight) for any day from my life aged 11-16. I have been sad, this year, but I also knew it would pass. It gets better. It gets so much better.

“Tick tock tick tock ….. brother.” 

ughhhhhhhhh I drew gene because what hes doing to dante is the literal worst™ and yes I’m a bit behind I’ve caught that good ol macelroy fever and have been listening to mbmbam more than anything else so I haven’t seen much aphmau. Here is a trash baby to make amends of that. He;’s greyish only because he’s a gross shadowknight trash goblin. 

Being trans is The Literal Worst™. The dysphoria hits HARD whenever it hits. It hurts so bad I feel like I can’t breathe. Why can’t I be a cis boy. Why.

look, I still cant believe we came up with an even worse version of eyesagao. I didnt know such a thing was possible, but folks we did it: the worst™ asagao/eyesagao AU: the D-AU/Timeline AU good knowing you folks this is the en d