Reminiscing about My Brokerage Days

I was talking to someone today about my rapidly-receding days in the brokerage business, and I told the following story:

In my first few months as an analyst I was somehow deemed a puzzle. While I was a very good equity analyst, I wasn’t as predatory and prostituted about my stock-picking as other analysts with which our i-bankers were familiar. And if you know anything about the brokerage business, you’ll know that there is nothing that makes people there more nervous than other people whose behavior isn’t 100% correlated with month-to-month income swings.

So, it led to a meeting with our volatile head of i-banking. A frighteningly tall man whose normal speaking voice was better suited to cattle-calling, he taken this project on as personal thing — and he decided he had figured it out. So he called me to his office.

“Paul, I know what’s wrong,” he shouted at me.

“What’s wrong with what?” I asked.

“Why you keep going on about being objective in your analysis,” he shouted again. “All that shit.”

“Oh?”, I said.

“Yes,” he said. “The problem is like this: You haven’t taken down any cuddly deer yet.”

“I haven’t?”.

“No, and you need to. You’re the type of guy who needs to be out in the field, a sunny day, and you see a deer. You run after the deer, chasing it across the field. It runs, and you run faster. You take it down, throw it down, and sink your teeth into it, blood running down your chest, the …”

“I don’t think so ….,” I said.

“… deer’s heart beating madly, then stopping, and you alone in the field with your kill, you chest covered warm blood, dripping from your chin,” he said. “That’s what you need.” He was delighted with himself, like he had solved Fermat’s Last Theorem, or, more likely in his case, had figured out a way to hire only Hooters girls as i-banking associates.

“Okay, you can go now,” he shouted.

“Thanks,” I said, my ears ringing, and swearing off meat for a week or so.


  1. Are you at least allowed to use a knife? Or even a pointy stick?
    Somebody actually tried “Running After Antelope“.

  2. Hi Paul,
    You are a very insightful man. But I don’t know you well enough yet to tell if you are just kidding here? Is this story for real? Oh man, if this story is remotely real, that would have put me off meat for a few days too! And I can imagine the “deer in a headlight” look I would have after that chat.
    Regardless of its truthfulness, you tell a darn good story here. Made me want to read a few of those colourful stories by Richard Feynman.

  3. wonder if someone told Steve Jobs something similar when he was young and made him go completely veg..
    at PwC I ran a supposedly obejctive group and a couple of partners in different ways asked me when I was going to do some real work…at Gartner sales always had more power…
    it is the cross us curmudgeons have to carry -)

  4. Umm, folks, where do you think protein food comes from? A story like that would put me off the person, not meat.
    Biology note: Humans don’t “sink teeth” into prey as a hunting method. Quadrupeds do that, they have powerful jaws as weapons. Humans have relatively weak jaws and teeth.