It was a happy coincidence when Patrick emailed me a couple weeks ago to check in and see what I've been up to, because I've been thinking about you guys a lot lately. It's been a couple years since I was with y'all every day, and at the risk of sounding like a big softy, I've missed this place.
The past couple of years have been a bit of a whirlwind for me, and that's why I had to step away from WSO. The smoke is clearing, though, and Patrick and I discussed my coming back to write a weekly column for WSO if you guys thought it was a good idea.
Who the Hell Is Eddie Braverman?
I realize a lot of you don't know who I am, aside from the occasional repost of some of my older stuff and my name on the list of Top Monkeys. For those of you who've joined WSO over the past couple years, here's my story.
I started writing for WSO back in 2008, just as shit was going nuclear on Wall Street. It was a crazy time. The site was only a couple years old, and no one had seen anything like what was happening. Every day was worse than the one before, but we got through it.
WSO went through a true baptism by fire to become a formidable community. This became the place to share, validate rumors, pass along leads, and generally make sense of the mayhem happening on a daily basis. If you go back to the 2008 boards, you'll read some of the best insight on the crisis that you'll find anywhere. I was proud to be a small part of that.
The site continued to grow, and we got Internet famous. Patrick was featured in a bunch of different venues, ranging from the NY Times to Mixergy. He even did some TV, if I remember correctly. I made the cover of Playboy magazine in 2010 and wrote a book in 2013.
As for my background in finance, I started in the boiler rooms in the early 90's when you could still walk in off the street (think Stratton Oakmont). I busted my ass and learned everything I could, eventually becoming a commodities trader at a well known (but now defunct) boutique. I hit my walkaway number a couple weeks before my 30th birthday and resigned the day my last paycheck cleared. I've never looked back.
From there I started a couple companies, invested in a bunch of esoteric stuff, adopted a couple kids, moved to Europe, moved back to the States. You know, the usual.
So what have you been doing the past couple years?
- I took a job for the first time in a long, long time. I don't get why you guys want one so badly, they're awful. Seriously. Even on a good day it's pretty bad, and the good days are few and far between.
- I moved my family back to the States, which I'm surprised to admit has been a pretty profound culture shock after more than six years in Europe. While it feels like everything here has changed, I've come to realize that it's me who is different.
- I sailed in one of the first yacht races to Havana in more than 50 years. I think we logged around 800 miles underway, and Cuba was incredible. I've been wanting to get there for a long time, so it was nice to see it before the cruise ships disgorge their cargo of diabetic Americans and the island becomes another Caribbean trinket shop.
- I partnered with NASA to commercialize a bit of proprietary rocket valve technology. This was probably the most fun I've had since being back (aside from Cuba, of course), because I got to work with some incredible minds throughout a truly iterative process. My normal process is to find a problem and then devise a solution for it, so it was really interesting to work in the opposite direction (start with a solution - the valve - and then find the problem it solves in the world outside of rocketry).
Some other shit. What can I say? Two years is a long time.
What I'd Like To Do Now
Here's what Patrick and I talked about. I'd like to have an open discussion based around an original long form piece once a week. There's plenty of coverage of the day to day stuff on the site now, what I'd like to do is cover the macro stuff, the stuff that has long term economic effects on everyone, and to discuss the impact that stuff has on the career of a modern finance professional.
I have selfish motivations for wanting to do this. WSO has been a resource for me to bounce ideas off of for a long time, and I always get thoughtful feedback from you guys. Not to be overly dramatic, but there are storm clouds on the horizon, and I think together we can figure out how best to adapt to them. I'm talking about the inevitable end to the current bull market, the disruption caused by technology (especially fintech in our case), the viability of economic mechanisms like Universal Basic Income, and the seemingly unpredictable nature of modern American politics (and how it impacts finance).
So I'd love to hear what you guys think. Does that even sound interesting to you? Because you could save Patrick and I considerable time and effort if it doesn't. I happen to think it could be something really valuable. When I think back to 2008, some of the discussions were like reading tomorrow's paper today. That's what I'm hoping to achieve with this; a resource we can all reference and contribute to as these events unfold.
What say you, monkeys?
Mod Note (Andy): Best of 2016, this post ranks #13 for the past year