Susquehanna: Between Fame and Fortune, Choose Fortune

Stop whatever it is you’re pretending to do and read this great new article on Susquehanna International.

SUSQUEHANNA INTERNATIONAL MIGHT very well be the biggest privately held options trading company in the world. Over two decades, Jeff Yass and five other founders and many people who work for them — they now employ 1,500, with offices all over the globe — have become very, very rich. Despite the size, secrecy pervades Susquehanna. Stealth is a word that former employees use often in describing the company m.o. A former trader defines it: If you have to choose between fame and fortune, choose fortune.

Let the legend grow.

Inside Susquehanna, a betting culture prevails. Not just in trading. It’s the philosophy that percolated in a dorm room in Binghamton, that anything that came their way would succumb to rational analysis. In the aggressive mentality of a trading firm, that means you don’t say anything you’re not willing to bet on.

A few years ago, a young Susquehanna trader named Alex Mendoza bet around $500, he says — a hundred with one guy, $50 with another, a lot of side bets, just like the trading floor itself — that he could do 300 push-ups in 45 minutes. He didn’t make it. He paid off his bets, and then was quietly told by management not to make that sort of wager again.

Not because of the amount — $500 is lunch money to a trader. Mendoza was reprimanded because he’d gotten ahead of himself. He had made a dumb bet, because he really didn’t know if he could do 300 push-ups in 45 minutes. If you don’t know the answer, betting is a gamble, utterly antithetical to the [founder Jeff] Yass method.

More here.