The Quick Hop From Note-Taking To Writing Online, Widowmakers, A Cleaner Dashboard
I started writing online 3 years ago. I wish I started even earlier but as the sign that used to hang in our boys’ preschool used to read:
The best time to plant a tree is yesterday. The second best time is today.
I won’t rehash the benefits of writing online (I have a list of clipped articles on that if you’re interested) but I’ll share a thought on the topic.
I was recently chatting with an internet friend (or what your meatspace spouse might refer to as an “imaginary friend”) who has an established quant finance career. She’s at a juncture in her career but is finding that the most compelling options are coming from inbound opportunities based on her writing. While she has options coming from her direct experience and CV, they aren’t the most interesting. They are well-trodden, established paths. But writing has inadvertently cast a much wider net than her resume ever could have.
I see my writing the same way. I don’t know what my next endeavor is, but I’m making the bet that having a public body of work might allow future partners/collaborators/employers to take a chance on me even though my official career (“option trader”) has been narrow. Writing is a way to demonstrate range. Perhaps I’d be better off getting an MBA or other degree if I’m trying to pivot, but that’s why I call this a bet. It’s also a real-life example of the post I shared last week Portfolio Theory And The Invisible Option On Hobbies.
It’s never been easier to get started. A few thoughts about getting started from personal experience.
I did have one head-start. I am a note-taker.
I’ve explained my system here.
Just as storing a guitar in a convenient location (without a case) makes you more likely to pick it up and practice, your note-taking habits reduce the drag coefficient of traveling from “idle thoughts” to “words on a page”. The structures I built in Notion lent themselves to connecting ideas better than my old Evernote + Trello PKM stack. (PKM stands for personal knowledge management amongst the “productivity” cult).
There’s lots of great software to host your PKM. Ann-Laure’s guide can help you choose.
For Notion users
You are 95% of the way to publishing online. I use Wordpress as a CMS (content management system) but I just subscribed to Potion.so which allows you to point your Notion pages to a custom domain that you own. If I were starting over today, I would simply buy a domain and connect it to a service like Potion.so or Super.so for a small monthly fee. If you want a free solution, with a little extra effort you can use Fruition.
These solutions eliminate the need to learn a new CMS. So you can turn a key and have the Notion environment you are comfortable with be an elegant and flexible CMS. For evergreen content, like much of my writing, the chronology of blogs makes little sense. While you can use “categories” and “tags” the end result isn’t quite right for material that looks more wiki-like.
Here’s a link to all my Notion pages that are now public. Note how Potion allowed me to use my MoontowerMeta domain be the host.
This lets you:
Customize your URLs instead of ugly hashes
I chose to use notion.moontowermeta which is a sub-domain of moontowermeta. You don’t need to do that unless you have your domain registered with WP. In other words, if I transferred my domain to another host, the URL could have been:
I wanted to create a landing page that leads people to all my public work. Linktree is a quick and popular solution if you are interested in that. I chose to make mine in Notion since I’m already comfortable with that.
Add tracking codes so you can track visitor analytics to your Notion pages
If you were on the fence about starting to write online, I hope this was helpful.
What The Widowmaker Can Teach Us About Trade Prospecting And Fool’s Gold (9 min read)
I used recent action in the nat gas options market to tweet a thread showing how I might think about sourcing trades and how strange-looking prices can be a trap. In fact, the strange prices, can be quite efficient once you realize what forces they are balancing.
The thread felt pretty esoteric when I was writing it. It turned out to be my most popular by a large margin. I re-factored it into a blog post where I didn’t need to deal with character limits and could flesh meaning out further.
A Cleaner Dashboard: Z-Scores Instead Of Price Changes (1 min read)
Most investors’ or traders’ dashboards include a watchlist with the field “percentage price change”. Perhaps you have several fields for this. Daily, weekly, monthly.
Here’s a useful way to filter out the noise and get a nicer view of the market action:
Re-scale all the moves in terms of standard deviations
In other words, you are z-scoring move sizes so they have meaningful context.
My preference, although it relies on having options data, is to use implied volatility which is the market’s consensus for what the standard deviation is.
This post shows the simple formulas to compute the z-scores and how to visualize them.
From My Actual Life
I recently caught up with an old friend who built a national tutoring/test prep business to ask him about an idea I was poking around on. Turns out he’s running for mayor of LA.
The campaign launch event is being held on Oct 27th. Yinh and I will be in LA to support him. We’ve reached out to our crew there but the more the merrier. If you are in LA and would like an invitation, hit me up for the details.
Hope to see you there!