Moontower #126

I often share articles about career management. Interviewing, negotiation, what to study, and so on. Some of my writing is me thinking aloud about my own career. But when I’m asked directly for general career advice, I got nothing of my own. It’s impossible to not let your own experience have a tyrannical influence on what you say, so the advice I give could literally be the opposite of what’s right for you. A tension I see with all advice is whether the outcome was “because of” or “in spite of”. (I probably triggered some people by using video games as an example of this)

So recently, when I was asked for advice, I queried the hive and noted the common advice. The context was quant/trading but there were broad prescriptions as well.

I refactored it to make evergreen and cleaner. As an assurance, even though some of these accounts are anonymous, they are professionals.

Before the details let’s see the common themes.

Everyone Agrees These Are Important

  • Emphasis on aptitude (often proxied by pedigree) & teachability over direct market knowledge Although if you lack any market knowledge you might struggle convincing an interviewer on the next point…
  • A genuine interest: The game is hard, you will need persistence and interest to carry you through the inevitable difficulties. You should be able to demonstrate this.
  • Skills. In today’s marketplace, you must have technical skills. Math and coding. While that’s a common theme below, I’ll give 2 additional reasons for needing these skills. The first — as an assistant, the more useful you can be to your bosses the faster you’ll progress. Training apprentices is expensive in time and money. It’s not great if you have to spend company time learning broad skills. You put yourself at a disadvantage. Secondly, skills allow you to self-start. You can prototype and test. If you need to rely on a dev or quant to study hypotheses that are probably wrong in the first place, you are dead in the water. You need to be able to build yourself so you can iterate through ideas faster.

Check out the rest of the document here:

It includes:

  • Advice from specific accounts
  • Broader advice from outside the trading world. Some controversial.
  • A link to my own career musings

Money Angle

Using Insurance For Tax-Free Investment Growth

I recently did some work to understand permanent insurance. Collective eye roll. I’m with you. I begrudge Peter Thiel for forcing me to do this.

My annoyance is your gain. I documented what I’ve learned about permanent and private placement life insurance. Here’s an excerpt from the conclusion:

Insurance is not a fun topic. I’m more of markets guy not a Marty-Bird-structuring-type-of-guy. It makes my head hurt. The layers of fuzzy risks plus costs present many trade-offs. Overall, it felt worthwhile to consolidate and organize my notes from reading and phone calls into this post.

continue reading:

Using Insurance For Tax-Free Investment Growth (14 min read)

From My Actual Life

My buddy Paul was living in Taiwan recently. We had a call one night to talk about career stuff (which for me is just mid-life crisis therapy). Paul does these regularly because his work is focused on thinking about how we work. He has done tons of research, spoken to hundreds of people, and given a lot of thought to life paths. Despite an MIT degree and success out the gate in the consulting world, he pulled the ripcord on a trajectory that would make most parents proud.

Paul asked if we could turn the camera on for the chat. Sure why not.

You can find the convo here. Paul’s insights and story will get you thinking. I might get you thinking if you can get past how slow I can speak. I recommend 1.5x speed because the thought of you seeing me at 1x speed makes me not want to get outta bed ever again.

[In his weekly letter, Paul highlighted the 11 points he found resonant. Check it out and sub to his terrific Substack here]

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