One of the most fortuitous decisions I made in my career was accepting a job from SIG out of college. Back in 2000 going to Silicon Valley or I-Banking was all the rage. While trading was a coveted job, the idea of going to an exchange floor to sling options was not a mainstream career choice. And SIG was not a well-known company outside this narrow world.
The job offer I got from them was the lowest paying, but the interview process stood apart from the banks and other firms I talked to. It was clear that working for SIG meant a serious education in decision-making commensurate with the objective — to take responsibility for risking the partners’ own money after as little as 9 months of training.
I was placed at the American Stock Exchange where I would learn from senior traders including their head of education in NY, Mike Steiner, simply known as Steiner.
Steiner was a natural teacher, able to communicate complex ideas with simplicity and frankly, joy. It was no surprise when I discovered 20 years later he retired to become a physics teacher in public school.
In 2022, we reconnected and he showed me the prototype for what would become Pitbulls. Pitbulls is a game distilling the essence and mechanics of the mock trading program we used in training. Pitbulls is a fast-paced game requiring players to think quantitatively while building intuition and understanding investor psychology. Steiner focused on making it fun — it’s a game first. But when I saw it I was immediately struck by its potential to bring investing principles to life!
Skills that will immediately develop from the very first game:
- market making in an open outcry market
- tracking multiple quotes from competitors
- managing a rudimentary portfolio
- reacting to new information
Deeper concepts embedded in Pitbulls:
- arbitrage pricing, inter-dependent pricing
- expected value and probability
- the concept of edge as the foundation of a business
- how you can be profitable without relying on prediction
- making trading decisions under uncertainty
- risk and diversification
- the role, wisdom, and conditions of a healthy market
- an introduction to derivatives
- a bridge from trading to investing principles
Steiner has been hosting in-person playshops for years and I helped organize larger events in NYC, SF, and Chicago to overwhelmingly positive feedback. Unsurprisingly, the most universal suggestion was “give us an online version”. People wanted to play on their own and host their own sessions.
Starting now, you can play online!
I’ve been writing about financial education topics for years. These posts go into how Pitbulls and its underpinnings can improve your thinking in powerful ways.