An Un-Gentleman’s Guide to Fourth of July

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July 4th is a day for white trash to bask in their undignified glory. For those of you living that sort of lifestyle, oblivious to how one might throw a proper white trash 4th of July party, “The Fly” is here to help. With the assistance of my readership, as well as many other people who I’ve met growing up in Brooklyn, this is your “how-to” guide on having an ‘un-gentlemanly” Independence Day.

When you wake up in the afternoon, after a solid night of drunken debauchery, you should feed the children something sugary, like Captain Crunch cereal and/or frozen panned cakes (extra syrup).

Now that your parenting for the day is done, you can prepare for the 4th of July BBQ and drinking extravaganza!

Head on over to the local liquor store and buy a few kegs of beer, several bottles of Jack Daniels and a whole lot of cases of budweiser (CANS ONLY!!!).

After hauling in your treasure, prepare the old charcoal BBQ by spraying massive doses of lighter fluids on it. Have the kids throw things at the flames and play with the fire. Prepare to welcome some of your guests.

After your guest walks through the open screen door, welcome them by saying “what’s up bro” or “yo, man, have a bud”, then carelessly throw a frozen aluminum can of budwesier at him. Every once in awhile you will errantly strike his girlfriend in the head/face with it, so have an extra frozen can aside for the purposes of suppressing swollen bumps about the face and head.

As the party progresses, it’s time to serve your guests of dishonor food. Grab some styrofoam plates and slap a few hotted dogs on them, preferably with bun. If, by chance, you do not have buns, as they weren’t within your budget, feel free to use Wonder Bread as a substitute. Some people actually prefer good olde fashioned white bread anyways. Be sure to douse all hotted dogs with copious amounts of generic ketchup.

As the day drifts on, and the beer cans begin to pile up around the house and yard, ask the children to pick up the cans and place them into the giant black garbage bag that you have hanging off the side of your metal fence. The kid who picks up the most cans of bud gets to drink a can of their own!

FIREWORKS TIME!

You and your friends should now head on over to the front of the house to light some fireworks. It’s important that 90% of your fireworks be of the deafening loud, explosive, variety and not that “color crap.” You will light all fireworks with a lit cigarette butt and be sure to let the children light and toss M-80’s too, as it is their right of passage to do so.

After the fireworks, the real party begins. Parenting is over and has been over since breakfast, so feel free to let the kids roam off into the woods or nearby junkyard for a little childhood curiosity. You and your friends will begin, in earnest, drinking excessive quantities of Jack Daniels, while decrying how “fucked up” this country has become, especially honing in on the immigration issue and how people who don’t speak english should be deported and/or killed.

After 1am is the witching hour. By now, you and your guests should be comfortably buzzed. But it’s time to take it to the next level. Marijuana filled “joints” should be passed around at this time and a side table filled with lines of cocaine should be displayed, for all those interested. Shots of tequila with slices of lemon are appropriate chasers after “partying”, so be sure to have that in stock.

By 3am, 70% of your guests will be asleep (including the children), strewn out across the yard and furniture. Now would be an excellent time to partake in a little innocent adultery. Anything that transpires now is subject to denial and is easily excused, as everyone was “so wasted” that he or she could barely remember what happened.

By 11am on July 5th, most of your guests have woken up and should be asking for coffee. DO NOT PROVIDE THEM WITH COFFEE. By failing to provide them with coffee, they will be forced to leave your residence and find it elsewhere.

The party is now over. It’s now time for you and the kids to clean up the vomit and bottles of Jack Daniels and prepare for the hangover to come.

FUN TIP: Storing beer in aluminum trash cans is good, but getting rid of the water can be a hassle. ENTER BATH TUB.
Bathtub o'beer

The Important Matter of Taking Losses

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The hardest part of investing, in my opinion, is knowing when to let go of a loser. It’s easy to sell a winner. After all, there are gains to realize and victories to lock in. But locking in a loser is admitting loss, a pox of shame upon your household. Such shame may live forever, in infamy, as a tale passed on through the generations of how you lost the family fortune.

Or it might be some piker trade where you lost 3 grand. Either way, losses are hard to close out.

Often times, trades become investments when the trade goes bad. After the trade goes bad, we look for reasons to hold onto the stock. Sometimes we convince ourselves that merely trading the name in the first place would’ve been a ridiculous proposition. After doing all of that hard work and research, we unveil true value in places that no one ever thought of looking.

This is called desperation. More often than not, when we grab for straws, based upon a losing trade, we start over-fitting. In other words, we look for excuses to hold the stock, even buy more, in order to preserve our delicate egos.

After all, we are all genius, a gift to the earth and the stars. How could we be wrong when we are so smart?

If you think about it, this sort of rationale transcends every aspect of living, from marriage, friendships to dead end jobs. People always tell me “the best thing I ever did was divorce so and so.” Or “thank God I quit that job.” But we all fear making that commitment because it means we’ve failed.

Isn’t it better to realize a small loss than a gigantic one? This is common wisdom, not exactly trade secrets. But we keep reading about famous fund managers committing fraud, blowing up billion dollar funds, risking their freedom by trading on insider knowledge. Why? The answer is quite obvious. No one wants to fail, ever.

This mentality has climbed to the top of the capstone. The controlling elite now accept failing as part of the business cycle and allow poor stewards to continue to run good companies into the ground.

I own one stock that is underwater: FRO. Had it went up to $3 after my initial purchases, I would’ve sold it. But since it’s down 17%, I am a long term investor, very prim and proper–interested in the ongoings of the shipping business. I care for shipping in the same way I care for a banana less gorilla jungle. Sometimes I feel like smacking myself in the head with my tea mug for being so stubborn. All of my money losing ventures are the result of pride.

I’ve been blogging on the internets since 2002, one way or another. In the world of finance, I’ve been blogging since 2006. I’ve written more blogs than you could imagine. The pinnacle of iBC was back in the frantic days of 2008-2009. This isn’t exactly a growth industry, as there isn’t anything very innovative about reading the missives from a group of traders. Twitter is to blogs what the internet is to newspapers.

All of my time and energy have gone into making iBankCoin successful. But my opinion of success might differ greatly from yours. Some are happy with a little recognition and influence. Others only want to make money. My opinion of success is fairly straight forward: is the endeavor creating value? If so, is the time spent to create this value worthwhile?

Mrs.Fly often queries “how long will you blog?”

Ideally, I’d like to pass on the torch at some point, crowning the next “Fly” in the same manner as the catholic church selects a new pope, black smoke and all. Perhaps in 500 years, your great, great, great, great grandchildren will be reading the insane missives of King Fly the XIII. Or, maybe I’m just over-fitting again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCre5lvlEcY

The Important Matter of Easter Sunday

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Two thousand years ago today, the son of God became a zombie.

Jesus

Zombie Jesus was pissed off because some greasy Italians had tortured and killed him. Being the son of God and all, he came back as “Zombie Jesus” to exact revenge on his enemies. Rumor has it, Zombie Jesus liked to catch his prey when they least expected it, on fishing boats, hot air balloons and even in outerspace.

One time he parted the sea and ate a Roman solider, who was scuba diving, looking at the pretty fish.

About 1,000 years after Zombie Jesus exacted revenge on the people who tortured and killed him, while in heaven, he created a man-sized rabbit to descend upon his enemies and dubbed it “The Easter Bunny.” Back in the old days, before the Easter Bunny was gentrified, doling out chocolates to well behaved Christian boys and girls, he’d bite off the heads (like a carrot) of the descendants of the original Roman soldiers who killed him.

A long time ago, every Easter, the city of Rome was wrapped in fear, as no one really knew who was related to those original Roman soldiers. They’d hide themselves inside cupboards, amphoras and sewers, to escape the Easter wrath.  For Italian citizens, it was like playing the Wheel of Fortune, with the grande prize being a hideous bunny rabbit gnawing away at your head, like a carrot, until you dropped dead. This went on for many centuries until chocolate was invented.

Jesus loved chocolate so much, he became addicted to it. God would always tell him “to lay off that stuff. It will rot your teeth.” Jesus ignored his Father’s wishes and kept eating chocolate, until one day God snatched away his chocolate cows and sent him to his room to do penance for disobeying him. When it was time for the annual Easter killings to commence, Jesus was nowhere to be found. The Easter Bunny searched for him high and low; but God hid him well.

The Easter Bunny became panicked and started to spaz out in heaven, punching angels in the face and what not. Then he spotted Jesus’ chocolate cow, which was hidden behind the tablets of the 10 commandments. It was at that point that he knew Jesus had been punished by God and this pissed him off. He took the chocolate cow and made millions of pieces of chocolate, in his likeness, with it. After all, it was Jesus’ favorite food.

He then delivered the chocolate to millions of human children, God’s favorite form of human.

When God found out about this, he was pissed off- but could do nothing to stop The Easter Bunny, for he was hidden in Jesus’ old hiding spot, unknown by God. The Easter Bunny sent a letter to God, saying “release Jesus, or else every Easter I will deliver the chocolate cow pieces to millions of human boys and girls, much to your chagrin.”

God replied by making rabbit the preferred protein for the country of France.

To this day, Jesus is tucked away in his room, doing penance and The Easter Bunny is running amok, dropping off chocolate cow pieces to children all across the globe.

Now you know the true definition of Easter.

 

The Important Matter of the Series 7 Examination

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After I left the firm of the wooden leads, my goal was to find a firm who’d sponsor me for the series 7 exam. The name of the firm was unimportant, just as long as I could buy and sell stocks. By that time, I’d been trading stocks–successfully– for many years, as I came into some money from an annuity that was set aside for me when I was only 4 years old. It’s not what you think. The money was won in a civil suit against a bar owner–  because my father was killed in cold blood by the establishment’s  bar tender.

My Mother set up the annuity so that it would be released to me when I was 18. My share was very little, but I used it to invest in the market. I’d been interested in stocks since I was 10 years old and had made small investments, with zero success, throughout the years. When I was a teenager, my best friend and I would play stock market, paper trading off of the events of the trading session with paper and pencil. By the time I was 18, I knew almost every stock symbol by heart and had a fair understanding of what made stocks move. I was ready to play. The first thing I did with my share was buy AMER, the ticker symbol of the original America Online. I did so, against the advice of all of NYC’s pension fund managers working for the NYC Comptrollers office, during my summer internship.

The top boss at the time warned me that MSFT would take over the space and that AMER was “nothing more than a fad.” As an aside, Jay Z’s mother worked in that office too, as a NYC municipal bond trader. I was the only one in the office who knew her son, since I was an avid fan in the arts of “underground rap music”– at that moment in time.

Needless to say, I was right about AMER; but it took a very long time to materialize. By 2000, my $6,000 investment ballooned to $250k. That’s how early I was to AMER.

Back to the subject at hand. I took at job at a firm, located at 17 State street in NYC, overlooking the water. It was a beautiful building, with a magnificent view. I really loved the office space. My new boss was not a big broker, but big enough to hire myself and two of my friends from “the wooden lead firm.”

We were the only one’s working at that place. All of the big brokers were holed up in offices and the pikers in the boardroom had little desire to do anything but get by.

As promised, I was sponsored to take my series 7 and given two weeks of “paid vacation” to study and hopefully pass it. I remember the evening before my exam like it was yesterday. My broker called me up and said “stop studying. This is it. Go drink a glass of wine, relax and do your best.” The next day I passed the exam and was given the privilege to recommend and sell securities to the public.

Aside from pitching new accounts for my broker, I had transferred my brokerage account to his rep, since I was not able to manage accounts yet. After I passed the series 7, I was obligated to this fine chap to open up 25 new accounts for him before I was given the right to manage my own business. It’s a right of passage thing and I believed it was a worthwhile experience.

I made 12 successful trades in a row and it shocked my broker. The bastard was making me pay $100 commissions per trade, so I was pretty much working for free. My gains became so prolific, the bigger brokers at the firm started to copy my trades. I was flattered and excited to contribute; but I was also bitter as hell because I wanted to get out from under his tutelage. As much as I liked him, I felt he was my inferior, in both money management skills and salesmanship. He had little to offer me, with exception to a $350 per week salary. It was a stretch for him. He liked the idea of having myself and two others work for him, as he too dreamed of getting big and starting his own firm. But his gross commissions couldn’t support the staff, no matter how many new accounts I opened for him, which was 8 in month 1.

He shared an office with two brokers, one legendary amongst the people who knew him. They were very big producers and my broker was obsessed with learning from them. Instead of working, he’d sit in the office with a pen and pad, listening to every word the other two brokers uttered when talking to accounts–jotting everything he heard down so that he could share it with me later. One day I walked in and he had a nervous breakdown. With tears streaming down his face, he was saying to himself “I can’t do this anymore. I am running out of money.” Everyone just looked at him with pity; but I knew it was time to make arrangements to leave.

While in my second month pitching new accounts there, I met a truly amazing talent. But it was wasted and I lost faith in him rather quickly.

I had made up my mind. It was time to leave the firm and find a place that would permit me to manage my own accounts. I wanted to fulfill my end of the bargain, however, and open up 25 accounts promised to my broker. I looked at it as a learning experience. If I could open up 10 accounts, I could open up 100. I worked frantically, from 8am until midnight, almost every single night. I didn’t have any cold callers to feed me qualified leads, so I did it myself in the daytime and pitched accounts at night. My wife hated me, since I was never home to see her and our newborn. We nearly split up a dozen times, but held it together because we’re both traditional minded people.

One day my broker asked me to hang up the phone and to see him in his office. I was pissed off by this because I was in the middle of pitching a new account. When I got to his office, he was asking his office mates what they wanted from Starbucks, then proceeded to relay this dreadful message to me. Without a seconds delay, my response was “go f*ck yourself.” I told him “I don’t waste time fetching coffee for anyone. If you want coffee, you’re gonna have to get it yourself.”

Words cannot express how mad and slighted I felt at the time. I felt under-appreciated and humiliated. These traits were likely picked up from my pistol packing grandfather, who was  known to pistol whip the other old men in the sitting area for looking at him funny.

After that day, I resigned and continued my journey at another firm and was fired from that fine establishment, which turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me (part 2, part 3)

The story continues, as I am not dead just yet.

The Important Matter of Wood Leads

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In a brokerage firm there is a hierarchy.  There is the boss, partners, senior brokers, junior brokers, account openers and the lowly cold callers. The cold callers work for the account openers, who work for the senior brokers. The junior brokers, generally speaking, are new and without coin. Therefore, they are pikers and cannot afford to staff up.

When I was a cold caller, I got paid $190 per week, working for the biggest broker at the firm, who employed an army of 6 account openers, a dedicated secretary, and about 10 cold callers. Typically, account openers were paid the princely sum of $400-500 per week. It was a machine. The cold callers got around 5-10 leads per day, which was then passed onto the account openers, who’d open 1 out of every 10 leads. After the account was opened, the senior broker would “second trade” the new account and try to raise big money. In the event the new account was a dead end, he’d send the account to junior broker to work, splitting the commissions 50/50.

In the brokerage business, time is money and senior brokers don’t have time to waste on clients who are small or unwillingly to gamble recklessly with his life savings.

This firm that I worked for was the Godfather of high sales tactic mentoring for young aspiring brokers out of college. It was a place that can never be duplicated, because it was the thing of legend.

The firm was situated so that every broker, big and small, was in the boardroom. There were no corners or cubicles. It was like a giant airplane hanger with men smiling and dialing, pitching people so that they could meet their monthly lease payments. There was about 100 brokers, 50-75 account openers and another 100 cold callers, all in one giant room. Only management had offices–but they were rarely in them– since they’d prefer to police the floor for brokers violating rules, such as looking at charts or not dialing for a period longer than 1 minute. EVERYONE was pitching, non-stop, from morning to night.

You had one job to do at this firm and that was to sell. We were told, ad nauseum “we’re not fund managers here. We are here to sell stock. That’s it.”

Morning meetings started at 8 am sharp. If you were a broker and walked in late, while one of the partners was giving a speech (always by way of microphone, at a podium), you were fined $1,000. If you were a lowly cold caller or account opener, more often than not, you were fired for such an offense. I recall getting off the train at 7:58, knowing that I wouldn’t make it in on time and resolving such a crisis by hopping back on the train and calling in sick. It’s also worth noting that this firm practiced Darwinism with regards to the amount of chairs/desks available in the cold caller pits. There was always 5-10 less chairs/desks available than actual employees. Those who didn’t have a chair were tardier than the others– and was sent home without pay.

If you were still on the phone as the meeting began, your phone call was put on the speaker system for everyone to hear. Everything you said was critiqued by just about everyone, especially the bosses. The top partner, who gave the morning and evening meetings, would often walk over to the person who was pitching and feed him lines. If that didn’t work, sometimes he’d take the phone from him and convince the guy on the other end of the phone to buy stock. Like I said, it was surreal.

After the meetings, it was time to get to work. Being a lowly, unlicensed cold caller, I was not permitted to solicit stocks. My job was to call as many people as I could, from leads provided to me by my senior broker, and qualify them. Some brokers are more lenient than others in this regard. But my broker insisted that a qualified lead meant the gent had to have 500k+ in the market, did business with more than one firm, and was receptive to doing business over the phone. You had to find out at least one stock that he owned and what firms he did business with. It was imperative that this information be credible, else the account opener would look stupid and lose the initiative when making a sales call.

Generally speaking, an account opener would call a “new lead” after literature was mailed out and introduce himself by saying “you spoke to an associate of mine and you said you owned 5,000 shares of GE with Piper Jaffrey, is that still the case?” Now if the information wasn’t accurate and the “lead” said “no I don’t know what you’re talking about”– the account opener would have to re-qualify that lead, which pretty much meant the sale was dead.

Cold callers were under intense pressure to get leads. During lunch, senior brokers would visit our confines to “skill mill.” Essentially, he’d teach us how to talk to people with money and test us by randomly picking on one of us to pitch him. You had to get up in front of 100+ cold callers and qualify the senior broker, who, more often than not, was completely irrational–just to make life hard for whoever was pitching him. We did this three times per day, morning, lunch and after the close.

If you didn’t get 5-10 leads per day, you were not going to earn the right to study for your series 7 and start making the real money. And, you’d probably get fired. Most cold callers were miscreants of the first order, totally devoid of honor and integrity. They’d simply make up stuff, write it on an index card, and hand it in. They hoped to guess right, putting popular stocks like Lucent and Microsoft on the lead, but it backfired very, very often.

If your lead was bad, it was called “wood.” If you gave your account opener a wood lead, he’d walk over to you, rip it up and throw it in your face. If you did it again, you were fired.

I made it a point to never lie about the leads that I got. I took pride in my leads and worked until midnight, if need be, to get 10 leads per day. No one worked longer hours than me because no one was as hungry as me, living in a basement apartment in Brooklyn with my wife and new born son. My family didn’t have money, since my Grandfather decided it was a good idea to burn his furniture stores down, as some sort of idiotic insurance racket. Shortly thereafter, he lost his vision and was unable to work. Karma can bite hard sometimes.

So I had no choice but to bank coin, else I’d end up being a loser and that was not part of my gameplan.

After nine months of working at this stock broker pressure cooker, I was granted the right to study for my series 7. It was a major accomplishment. I had to pitch the CEO of the firm for such a privilege.  Things were going well and I knew it was only a matter of time before I too would be making 200k per month. I knew how to sell and that was all that mattered, at least that’s what I thought at the time.

Then one day a junior rep, who looked like a leprechaun, walked over to my cold caller desk, ripped up a lead and threw it in my face. He said “stop writing wood” and walked away. Back then I had a very bad temper, being that I felt the world was always working against me. So I got up, walked over to my senior broker, who I respected immensely, and quit. He called me that evening in an attempt to get me back, but I was gone. I couldn’t go back to that place after being insulted–a small pet peeve of mine picked up by my Italian Grandfather who fancied arson to get ahead in life.

By the end of that week, I had a new gig at a much smaller firm, working for a much smaller broker, who once tried to order me to get him coffee. That didn’t work out well for him.

To be continued.

The Important Matter of The Blind Handyman

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As you know, I just bought a new house and have been renovating it over the past 3 months. I’ve spent inordinate sums of money bring the house up to my standards, never sparing a nickel to improve my rightful claim to luxury.

ENTER THE BLIND HANDYMAN.

I hired a handyman to build an exclusion barrier around my front porch. It was my idea to put mesh behind the lattice of the front porch, in order to keep out critters. His work, although rudimentary, was sufficient. He then reminded me that he did “work on the side.” It just so happened that I wanted to redo 3 bathrooms. So I gave him the small one downstairs, as a project of sorts, a tester to see if he was up to the task.

ENTER THE BLIND HANDYMAN.

As he was tiling the bathroom, I had a staff of carpenters installing wainscoting, coffered ceiling, crown and base moldings, the works. Their level of professionalism could not be matched because their work was flawless. From time to time, they’d peer in on the Blind Handyman to see how he was doing. I ordered travertine for the job, at $9 per sq ft–a quality tile.

ENTER THE BLIND HANDYMAN.

Dust and smoke billowed throughout my house, covering everything upstairs, even my clothes inside the closets. This bozo was cutting tiles inside of my house, while I was away. My carpenters told him to “do it outside”–because it would cause too much of a mess. One of the carpenters commented “it looked like a fire was ripping through the house, with all the smoke coming from the bathroom.”

I took a peek at the bathroom, to review his work. CATASTROPHE!

All the tiles were uneven and poorly spaced. One of the tiles was cracked and he fucked up so many cuts, there were zero tiles left, even though I provided him with 50% more than he needed. I am not surprised, frankly. He’s an older man, with glasses, and an avid cigarette smoker. With all the dust on his glasses from fucking up my tiles, his vision, apparently, had been impaired.

I hired someone who came without a recommendation or body of work. His price was 50% cheaper than proven tile masters. It’s a parable of sorts, a lesson that has reminded me “you get what you pay for.”

Much to my chagrin, the carpenters are having a good laugh at the bathroom, as I write this blog– saying in thick Russian accents “he do a professional job, custom work, very nice.”

Fucking Borats.

The Important Matter of Making a Fortune

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In 50 years from now young children will run up to me asking “good Sir, how did you make such an immense fortune? How were you able to amass such wealth in your lifetime?”

With top hat and cane in hand, whilst smoking on my pipe, I will tell these chaps the following.

“Back in the summer of 2012, see, I was losing money in VXX for the 4th time in so many years. I was obsessed, mind you (puffs on pipe), with it because it had taxed me for millions of dollars and I wanted revenge. It would torment me, see, on down days, as well as up, okay? I’d cry foul and wave my tightly clenched fists in the air, demanding the CEO of VXX, or whoever the fuck made it, was thrown inside of a prison cell, shared by a famished crocodile. I’d go on the internets and lament over my losses, all the while offsetting them with unprecedented winshippery in other venues of course. I was a man with numerous financial interests, always keen to smell out the next hot stock or future insolvency (vigorously puffs on pipe).

Then it hit me. I had a vision that I’d end up being a very powerful and rich man. I had to put this vision into action, and do so at once (puts pipe down on world map). I’d be able to own islands and drown Bentleys into carp infested lakes, that I own. I would own aircraft carriers, accompanied by attack submarines, armed with lasers. The works.

(the children will interrupt to ask: good Sir, please, I beg of you, tell us what you did”?)

Very well, listen to me very quietly (picks up pipe and smokes it intently): this is what I did.

Every morning, during my ritualistic cup of Early Gray tea (honey with milk, never sugar), I’d open the portal to my brokerage account– and when the market opened– I’d sell short shares of VXX. I did this every day until I was 47.5 years old and made billions of dollars doing it. That, small plebs from the sewer pipe, is how “The Fly” made the fortune that you see so gallantly and deliciously displayed before your eyes (no homo) today.

Good day.”

The Important Matter of Wasted Talent

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I just got my series 7 license, working at some boutique firm filled with nefarious figures. It wasn’t a bucket shop because they were pitching real stocks and didn’t underwrite scams. Nevertheless, between the cigarette filled boardrooms and shifty criminals (a story for a later date) roaming around the office, it wasn’t exactly the place where I wanted to stay long term, if you know what I mean.

Starting out, my job was to get new accounts through cold calling. More often than not, people hung up on me; but it never bothered me because human behavior always fascinated me. If you say certain words to people, in a specific cadence, you can literally control them. I experienced this salesman mastery on several occasions, when the words flowed off my tongue perfectly, allowing me to address all concerns with ease and confidence. But it was impossible for me to maintain, consistently, due to the variables of the personalities I had to deal with.

“First one to talk loses”: that’s what I was taught when closing someone. Ask for the order and shut the fuck up. There were times when I’d be on the phone with a prospective client for minutes in total silence (it felt like hours), a game of discipline and will. I shit you not, if he uttered a word before me, 9 out of 10 times he was buying. But cold calling is a hard business. Most men can’t hack it and quit inside of 3 months, after running into walls–fact.

In comes “Ed Motta.”

The seat adjacent to me was idled, apparently reserved for a “professional” account opener. As always, I was skeptical, especially after learning he was getting paid 3x my $200 per week salary–a great sum of money for a piker like me back then.

On a Wednesday morning, around 11:30 am Mr. Motta staggers into work and introduces himself to me “Ed Motta, nice to meet you.” He was in his early 30’s and had an unusually large jug-head, short legs and stocky build. He was a Ray Liotta look alike–to the tee. His arrangement with his senior broker was straightforward: $600 per week salary and an additional $100 per new account opened. He didn’t manage a book or ever speak to a client after opening him. His job was to get clients and move on–like a locust.

He picked up the phone and started to “dial for dollars” as he liked to call it. He made a contact and started to pitch some rich guy out of 0hio some bullshit biotech stock. Ed’s voice was built for radio: it was stentorian, with perfect enunciation and he had an extensive vocabulary to boot. To my amazement, on his first contact he opened a new account. Flabbergasted by his showmanship, I put down the phone and watched him for a next three hours. No one ever hung up on him, literally. He could keep anyone on the phone, for hours if he wanted them to. To test this, I gave him leads of people who “slammed” me on contact and he was able to hypnotize them with his voice and make them buy something. He had the ability to open accounts, almost (some people will never buy), at will. He was a great talent, the best I’ve ever seen.

After his first week at work, Ed invited me out one night “for some drinks.” We hopped in a cab and he told the driver to take him somewhere. At the moment, I was drifting off into outerspace, wondering how this singular man was able to control people like elephants under a stiff whip, so I didn’t hear the address. When we arrived at his “spot,” I was taken aback, finding myself in the middle of Washington Heights (shitty area, like you wouldn’t believe), outside some seedy building. He told me, “Fly, I’ll be right back, just stay here.”

Okay.

After 10 minutes, Ed came running down and said, “okay, let’s go have some drinks.” We hopped in a cab and headed to midtown NYC. After getting out of the cab, some homeless fucker approached us for money. Instead of giving this bum money, to my astonishment, Ed gave him his fucking business card and told the homeless guy “call me Monday, I’ll give you a job.” I queried “are you out of your fucking mind?” That guy’s a crackhead.” His reply was “nah, he has a good voice. I’ll throw him on the phone and he will be a killer.”

Okay.

So we’re at the bar and I have no idea what to do there, as it was my first time in a real NYC bar. I was barely the legal age to drink, by the way. Ed was chatting it up with just about everyone he encountered, jovially having a blast. He told me, “hey, I’ll be right back bud, I need to go do something.”

Forty five minutes later and Ed is nowhere to be found. It was getting late and my wife and baby were at home waiting for me. Actually, my wife thought I was working late and had no idea I was out having drinks (thank God she never reads my blog). I paid the tab and left, thinking “crazy Ed” met a girl and left somewhere with her. No big deal.

As I turned the corner, an ambulance stopped in front of me. I turn to my right and it’s Ed Motta sprawled out on the fucking street, knocked out from an overdose of cocaine. From what I understand, he survived the ordeal; but I never saw him again. Rumor had it that he went to another firm to continue his illustrious career as a “professional account opener.” He could have made millions if he used his unbelievable talents of persuasion to build his own business. Instead, because of character flaws and drugs, he’s probably dead or working as a janitor at some shopping mall right now.

The Important Matter of Cold Callers

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It was January of 2001 and my business was spiraling lower, post dot com bust. At the time, I had two cold callers, one partner and the very worst sales assistant money could buy (more on that at a later time). One of my cold callers aka Brandon was a childhood friend. He entered the business with dreams of getting rich. After all, when we were younger we’d throw wooden chinese stars at each other and threaten strangers with our wooden swords, all made with our own hands. If I could make a million in 2000, so he could he, no?

During his New Year’s eve party he met a man named “Gordy.” Gordy was a Russian immigrant, who was at Brandon’s house because Gordy had a mistress and she was there, the mother of one of my better childhood friends. It was a typical Brooklyn New Year’s, with all sorts of degenerate shit going on.

Brandon was being trained to procure clientele for my Titanicesque of a business, where millions of dollars were being shaved off my moneyline on a monthly basis. It was rather sublimely absurd, if I might say so. Anyway, Brandon got Gordy as a client on that fateful January eve of vagrancy. Shortly thereafter, he told me the news that some “big guy” Gordy wanted to invest $100k. At that point in my life, I didn’t give a shit about piker new accounts, but was glad Brandon was making contacts. After talking to Gordy I knew he was going to be a pain in the ass, so I gingerly gave the account to my partner to handle and manage.

The account was opened and running. My partner made a few solid trades for Gordy and the account surged ahead by 10%. Then February of 2001 came. If you are unfamiliar, February of 2001 was God’s way of punishing stock brokers and anyone else remotely related to the market. We’d just sit there, in a stupor, watching stocks fall to laughable levels, then we’d go get drunk during lunch and resume watching tragic comedy unfold into the bell.

Well, it just so happened, during February of 2001, Gordy was loaded the fuck up with a lot of tech stocks. Apparently, he liked that shit. His account fell from 110k to 75k like an anchor in water. All of a sudden, Gordy became frazzled and began to call my partner 20 times per day. If there was one thing my partner was bad at it was customer service. He was the antithesis of good service, opting to “fucking fire” clients rather than make them feel good. After a few weeks of pestering, my partner snapped and told him to “take his fucking account out of here.” Alarmed by this situation, stemming from the fact that Gordy was cheating on his wife with one of my childhood friends mother, I stepped in and offered to assuage the situation. Gordy wanted to meet for lunch, so we did.

He came to the office dressed like a fucking gypsy, an older man of about 55 years old, clad in an all black sweat suit with gold trims. I took him and Brandon to a deli down the block and we all ordered the pastrami. During lunch, Gordy told me “Fly, you can do better” and started to wink his eyes at me, as if to imply he knew that I was in total control of the stock market, but had lost him money because I was punishing him. I told him “the fucking NASDAQ just fell 30% for the month, what did you expect?” The conversation went into his previous investment experience, where he personally lost $700k trading in and out of Janus mutual funds. I asked him to be patient and I promised him I’d take over the account from my irate partner.

Brandon and I left lunch feeling victorious. Gordy seemed happy, albeit delusional, and he promised to send in more money when things turned around.

I told my partner “let me handle this jackass from now on.” He just nodded.

The next day the market fucking cratered and Gordy’s account was getting punched in the cock hard. I told Brandon to “call him and give him the good news,” as I was busy dealing with 500 other clients who hated me and wanted to skin me alive. Brandon told me “don’t worry about it bro. He is cool.” I said “okay” and then proceeded to write a personal check to cover a margin call. The margin call clerk was literally hovering over me as I signed it.

Two days later Gordy called my manager and alleged Brandon and I were taking money out of his account. Anyone in the business knows this is a serious implication and can easily get you a starring role on American Greed. He told my manager that we’d been siphoning money out of the account, obviously, for there could be no other explanation as to why the account value was $66k. Remember, Gordy thought Fly was all powerful Master and Commander of the stock market, able to control it with his magic wand. The idea of seeing the account down 30% made no sense to Gordy, despite the fact that the Nasdaq itself had gone down 30% in 20 days.

Immediately, the account was liquidated and all activity frozen. I told my manager to “take this nutjob off my hands” and he did, much to his chagrin. Our Chief compliance officer looked into the matter and called us in for a preliminary interview. Just so you know, all compliance officers are douchebags, always hating on brokers because they made 10x their salary.

While in his office he offered a multitude of platitudes to my partner, Brandon and me. He then strayed off the plantation and started to accuse us of “improperly managing the account.” That’s when my partner snapped and told him “to go fuck yourself.” He barged out of the office and I explained to the Chief that “this guy is just an asshole. Look into the matter and you will see we did nothing wrong.”

The next day we were vindicated from stealing from Gordy. The guy had gone off his rocker and was calling my manager every 10 minutes for stock quotes. It was especially amusing to watch my staid, boring, manager deal with the superfluities of Gordy, declining his requests to “trade a little bit here or there.” That’s the way Gordy spoke.

After six months, Brandon quit working for me, after my partner had the head of IT replace his computer screen with a sticky, with quotes written on them. Apparently, my partner thought Brandon spent too much time watching the market, too little getting new accounts. A letter was delivered to the firm, introducing a lawsuit from Gordy, only addressed to me. I was dumbd-founded. After all, I never managed the fuckers account and certainly didn’t open it. I found out later on that Gordy thought I was the boss and felt his odds of “getting back a little bit of money” were higher by targeting me, as opposed to Brandon and my partner.

This was my first lawsuit ever and the other brokers came around to congratulate me, saying idiot shit like “now you popped your cherry” or “you can’t work in the mine without getting dirty.” I just scowled at them and said “thanks.” Coincidentally, our firm was being sold and the Chief counsel was trying to get all lawsuits off the books. The firm was getting sued about 30 times per month and the shit was out of control. To mitigate costs, they were settling all suits, no matter how frivolous the claim was. The attorney assigned to me said “this is nothing. Let’s just settle and make it go away.” At first I was against settlement because it meant this suit would be pasted onto my record for the world to see, effectively branding me a criminal. After a few months of sheer distraught over the market, my business and life in general, I told the attorney “if you guys pick up 100% of the cost, go ahead and settle it.”

They ended up giving Gordy $20k. I heard he lost it all in the market, shortly thereafter. Two years later he died, most likely due to the pangs of anguish– accusing an innocent man of egregious crimes.

To this day, that fucking mark is on my license and I have to explain it to people who question me about it. The accusations were absurd, something one might see on American Greed. I deeply regret settling that suit and if I could do it again I’d spend a gagillion dollars defending my innocence.

At the end of the day, however, Gordy is dead and I’m typing this shit from my space rocket. Karma works in grandiose ways, indeud.

The Important Matter of Serving Dinner

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I’ve been at the grill a lot these days, some good, some bad. When I fuck up, it is always negligence on my behalf. For example, tonight I took about 45 minutes preparing a mean marinade for my chicken. It was a balsamic and herb marinade that was sure to impress the family and perhaps some of the neighbors. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like babysitting the grill, since my yard is plagued with mosquitos of barbaric proportions.

I visited said chicken every 10 minutes or so. I had no worries about a grease fire, since my marinade was without oil and my BBQ is brand fucking new.

Big fucking mistake.

The lighting in my backyard was off, due to some fucked up electrical issue that will be dealt with tomorrow. From a distance, I glanced at a bright orange color emanating from my stainless steel grill. I said, “Whoa upon said orange person that touches thy chicken. I will slay thee with great force of 1,000 lions.”

I flipped open the bullshit grill and the flames nearly melted my face off. Gingerly, I had placed a few cute lemons on the grill, in hopes of squeezing them onto my herbalicious chicken.

FUCKING CHARRED BEYOND RECOGNITION.

I had to rush inside and fetch a bottle of salt in order to douse the flames, before they burned down the whole fucking yard and maybe a house or two. I will have you know, Mrs. Fly was quite concerned over the status of her palm trees, as it is summer time, which means “the yard goes tropical.”

When the flames were suffocated and the chicken was procured, it looked like this:

Actual photo of Chef Fly’s dinner

Upon entering the house, I told the family, consisting of three hungry children and one angry wife: “dinner is served.”

An Un-Gentleman’s Guide to Fourth of July

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July 4th is a day for white trash to bask in their undignified glory. For those of you living that sort of lifestyle, oblivious to how one might throw a proper white trash 4th of July party, “The Fly” is here to help. With the assistance of my readership, as well as many other people who I’ve met growing up in Brooklyn, this is your “how-to” guide on having an ‘un-gentlemanly” Independence Day.

When you wake up in the afternoon, after a solid night of drunken debauchery, you should feed the children something sugary, like Captain Crunch cereal and/or frozen panned cakes (extra syrup).

Now that your parenting for the day is done, you can prepare for the 4th of July BBQ and drinking extravaganza!

Head on over to the local liquor store and buy a few kegs of beer, several bottles of Jack Daniels and a whole lot of cases of budweiser (CANS ONLY!!!).

After hauling in your treasure, prepare the old charcoal BBQ by spraying massive doses of lighter fluids on it. Have the kids throw things at the flames and play with the fire. Prepare to welcome some of your guests.

After your guest walks through the open screen door, welcome them by saying “what’s up bro” or “yo, man, have a bud”, then carelessly throw a frozen aluminum can of budwesier at him. Every once in awhile you will errantly strike his girlfriend in the head/face with it, so have an extra frozen can aside for the purposes of suppressing swollen bumps about the face and head.

As the party progresses, it’s time to serve your guests of dishonor food. Grab some styrofoam plates and slap a few hotted dogs on them, preferably with bun. If, by chance, you do not have buns, as they weren’t within your budget, feel free to use Wonder Bread as a substitute. Some people actually prefer good olde fashioned white bread anyways. Be sure to douse all hotted dogs with copious amounts of generic ketchup.

As the day drifts on, and the beer cans begin to pile up around the house and yard, ask the children to pick up the cans and place them into the giant black garbage bag that you have hanging off the side of your metal fence. The kid who picks up the most cans of bud gets to drink a can of their own!

FIREWORKS TIME!

You and your friends should now head on over to the front of the house to light some fireworks. It’s important that 90% of your fireworks be of the deafening loud, explosive, variety and not that “color crap.” You will light all fireworks with a lit cigarette butt and be sure to let the children light and toss M-80’s too, as it is their right of passage to do so.

After the fireworks, the real party begins. Parenting is over and has been over since breakfast, so feel free to let the kids roam off into the woods or nearby junkyard for a little childhood curiosity. You and your friends will begin, in earnest, drinking excessive quantities of Jack Daniels, while decrying how “fucked up” this country has become, especially honing in on the immigration issue and how people who don’t speak english should be deported and/or killed.

After 1am is the witching hour. By now, you and your guests should be comfortably buzzed. But it’s time to take it to the next level. Marijuana filled “joints” should be passed around at this time and a side table filled with lines of cocaine should be displayed, for all those interested. Shots of tequila with slices of lemon are appropriate chasers after “partying”, so be sure to have that in stock.

By 3am, 70% of your guests will be asleep (including the children), strewn out across the yard and furniture. Now would be an excellent time to partake in a little innocent adultery. Anything that transpires now is subject to denial and is easily excused, as everyone was “so wasted” that he or she could barely remember what happened.

By 11am on July 5th, most of your guests have woken up and should be asking for coffee. DO NOT PROVIDE THEM WITH COFFEE. By failing to provide them with coffee, they will be forced to leave your residence and find it elsewhere.

The party is now over. It’s now time for you and the kids to clean up the vomit and bottles of Jack Daniels and prepare for the hangover to come.

FUN TIP: Storing beer in aluminum trash cans is good, but getting rid of the water can be a hassle. ENTER BATH TUB.
Bathtub o'beer

The Important Matter of Taking Losses

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The hardest part of investing, in my opinion, is knowing when to let go of a loser. It’s easy to sell a winner. After all, there are gains to realize and victories to lock in. But locking in a loser is admitting loss, a pox of shame upon your household. Such shame may live forever, in infamy, as a tale passed on through the generations of how you lost the family fortune.

Or it might be some piker trade where you lost 3 grand. Either way, losses are hard to close out.

Often times, trades become investments when the trade goes bad. After the trade goes bad, we look for reasons to hold onto the stock. Sometimes we convince ourselves that merely trading the name in the first place would’ve been a ridiculous proposition. After doing all of that hard work and research, we unveil true value in places that no one ever thought of looking.

This is called desperation. More often than not, when we grab for straws, based upon a losing trade, we start over-fitting. In other words, we look for excuses to hold the stock, even buy more, in order to preserve our delicate egos.

After all, we are all genius, a gift to the earth and the stars. How could we be wrong when we are so smart?

If you think about it, this sort of rationale transcends every aspect of living, from marriage, friendships to dead end jobs. People always tell me “the best thing I ever did was divorce so and so.” Or “thank God I quit that job.” But we all fear making that commitment because it means we’ve failed.

Isn’t it better to realize a small loss than a gigantic one? This is common wisdom, not exactly trade secrets. But we keep reading about famous fund managers committing fraud, blowing up billion dollar funds, risking their freedom by trading on insider knowledge. Why? The answer is quite obvious. No one wants to fail, ever.

This mentality has climbed to the top of the capstone. The controlling elite now accept failing as part of the business cycle and allow poor stewards to continue to run good companies into the ground.

I own one stock that is underwater: FRO. Had it went up to $3 after my initial purchases, I would’ve sold it. But since it’s down 17%, I am a long term investor, very prim and proper–interested in the ongoings of the shipping business. I care for shipping in the same way I care for a banana less gorilla jungle. Sometimes I feel like smacking myself in the head with my tea mug for being so stubborn. All of my money losing ventures are the result of pride.

I’ve been blogging on the internets since 2002, one way or another. In the world of finance, I’ve been blogging since 2006. I’ve written more blogs than you could imagine. The pinnacle of iBC was back in the frantic days of 2008-2009. This isn’t exactly a growth industry, as there isn’t anything very innovative about reading the missives from a group of traders. Twitter is to blogs what the internet is to newspapers.

All of my time and energy have gone into making iBankCoin successful. But my opinion of success might differ greatly from yours. Some are happy with a little recognition and influence. Others only want to make money. My opinion of success is fairly straight forward: is the endeavor creating value? If so, is the time spent to create this value worthwhile?

Mrs.Fly often queries “how long will you blog?”

Ideally, I’d like to pass on the torch at some point, crowning the next “Fly” in the same manner as the catholic church selects a new pope, black smoke and all. Perhaps in 500 years, your great, great, great, great grandchildren will be reading the insane missives of King Fly the XIII. Or, maybe I’m just over-fitting again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCre5lvlEcY

The Important Matter of Easter Sunday

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Two thousand years ago today, the son of God became a zombie.

Jesus

Zombie Jesus was pissed off because some greasy Italians had tortured and killed him. Being the son of God and all, he came back as “Zombie Jesus” to exact revenge on his enemies. Rumor has it, Zombie Jesus liked to catch his prey when they least expected it, on fishing boats, hot air balloons and even in outerspace.

One time he parted the sea and ate a Roman solider, who was scuba diving, looking at the pretty fish.

About 1,000 years after Zombie Jesus exacted revenge on the people who tortured and killed him, while in heaven, he created a man-sized rabbit to descend upon his enemies and dubbed it “The Easter Bunny.” Back in the old days, before the Easter Bunny was gentrified, doling out chocolates to well behaved Christian boys and girls, he’d bite off the heads (like a carrot) of the descendants of the original Roman soldiers who killed him.

A long time ago, every Easter, the city of Rome was wrapped in fear, as no one really knew who was related to those original Roman soldiers. They’d hide themselves inside cupboards, amphoras and sewers, to escape the Easter wrath.  For Italian citizens, it was like playing the Wheel of Fortune, with the grande prize being a hideous bunny rabbit gnawing away at your head, like a carrot, until you dropped dead. This went on for many centuries until chocolate was invented.

Jesus loved chocolate so much, he became addicted to it. God would always tell him “to lay off that stuff. It will rot your teeth.” Jesus ignored his Father’s wishes and kept eating chocolate, until one day God snatched away his chocolate cows and sent him to his room to do penance for disobeying him. When it was time for the annual Easter killings to commence, Jesus was nowhere to be found. The Easter Bunny searched for him high and low; but God hid him well.

The Easter Bunny became panicked and started to spaz out in heaven, punching angels in the face and what not. Then he spotted Jesus’ chocolate cow, which was hidden behind the tablets of the 10 commandments. It was at that point that he knew Jesus had been punished by God and this pissed him off. He took the chocolate cow and made millions of pieces of chocolate, in his likeness, with it. After all, it was Jesus’ favorite food.

He then delivered the chocolate to millions of human children, God’s favorite form of human.

When God found out about this, he was pissed off- but could do nothing to stop The Easter Bunny, for he was hidden in Jesus’ old hiding spot, unknown by God. The Easter Bunny sent a letter to God, saying “release Jesus, or else every Easter I will deliver the chocolate cow pieces to millions of human boys and girls, much to your chagrin.”

God replied by making rabbit the preferred protein for the country of France.

To this day, Jesus is tucked away in his room, doing penance and The Easter Bunny is running amok, dropping off chocolate cow pieces to children all across the globe.

Now you know the true definition of Easter.

 

The Important Matter of the Series 7 Examination

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After I left the firm of the wooden leads, my goal was to find a firm who’d sponsor me for the series 7 exam. The name of the firm was unimportant, just as long as I could buy and sell stocks. By that time, I’d been trading stocks–successfully– for many years, as I came into some money from an annuity that was set aside for me when I was only 4 years old. It’s not what you think. The money was won in a civil suit against a bar owner–  because my father was killed in cold blood by the establishment’s  bar tender.

My Mother set up the annuity so that it would be released to me when I was 18. My share was very little, but I used it to invest in the market. I’d been interested in stocks since I was 10 years old and had made small investments, with zero success, throughout the years. When I was a teenager, my best friend and I would play stock market, paper trading off of the events of the trading session with paper and pencil. By the time I was 18, I knew almost every stock symbol by heart and had a fair understanding of what made stocks move. I was ready to play. The first thing I did with my share was buy AMER, the ticker symbol of the original America Online. I did so, against the advice of all of NYC’s pension fund managers working for the NYC Comptrollers office, during my summer internship.

The top boss at the time warned me that MSFT would take over the space and that AMER was “nothing more than a fad.” As an aside, Jay Z’s mother worked in that office too, as a NYC municipal bond trader. I was the only one in the office who knew her son, since I was an avid fan in the arts of “underground rap music”– at that moment in time.

Needless to say, I was right about AMER; but it took a very long time to materialize. By 2000, my $6,000 investment ballooned to $250k. That’s how early I was to AMER.

Back to the subject at hand. I took at job at a firm, located at 17 State street in NYC, overlooking the water. It was a beautiful building, with a magnificent view. I really loved the office space. My new boss was not a big broker, but big enough to hire myself and two of my friends from “the wooden lead firm.”

We were the only one’s working at that place. All of the big brokers were holed up in offices and the pikers in the boardroom had little desire to do anything but get by.

As promised, I was sponsored to take my series 7 and given two weeks of “paid vacation” to study and hopefully pass it. I remember the evening before my exam like it was yesterday. My broker called me up and said “stop studying. This is it. Go drink a glass of wine, relax and do your best.” The next day I passed the exam and was given the privilege to recommend and sell securities to the public.

Aside from pitching new accounts for my broker, I had transferred my brokerage account to his rep, since I was not able to manage accounts yet. After I passed the series 7, I was obligated to this fine chap to open up 25 new accounts for him before I was given the right to manage my own business. It’s a right of passage thing and I believed it was a worthwhile experience.

I made 12 successful trades in a row and it shocked my broker. The bastard was making me pay $100 commissions per trade, so I was pretty much working for free. My gains became so prolific, the bigger brokers at the firm started to copy my trades. I was flattered and excited to contribute; but I was also bitter as hell because I wanted to get out from under his tutelage. As much as I liked him, I felt he was my inferior, in both money management skills and salesmanship. He had little to offer me, with exception to a $350 per week salary. It was a stretch for him. He liked the idea of having myself and two others work for him, as he too dreamed of getting big and starting his own firm. But his gross commissions couldn’t support the staff, no matter how many new accounts I opened for him, which was 8 in month 1.

He shared an office with two brokers, one legendary amongst the people who knew him. They were very big producers and my broker was obsessed with learning from them. Instead of working, he’d sit in the office with a pen and pad, listening to every word the other two brokers uttered when talking to accounts–jotting everything he heard down so that he could share it with me later. One day I walked in and he had a nervous breakdown. With tears streaming down his face, he was saying to himself “I can’t do this anymore. I am running out of money.” Everyone just looked at him with pity; but I knew it was time to make arrangements to leave.

While in my second month pitching new accounts there, I met a truly amazing talent. But it was wasted and I lost faith in him rather quickly.

I had made up my mind. It was time to leave the firm and find a place that would permit me to manage my own accounts. I wanted to fulfill my end of the bargain, however, and open up 25 accounts promised to my broker. I looked at it as a learning experience. If I could open up 10 accounts, I could open up 100. I worked frantically, from 8am until midnight, almost every single night. I didn’t have any cold callers to feed me qualified leads, so I did it myself in the daytime and pitched accounts at night. My wife hated me, since I was never home to see her and our newborn. We nearly split up a dozen times, but held it together because we’re both traditional minded people.

One day my broker asked me to hang up the phone and to see him in his office. I was pissed off by this because I was in the middle of pitching a new account. When I got to his office, he was asking his office mates what they wanted from Starbucks, then proceeded to relay this dreadful message to me. Without a seconds delay, my response was “go f*ck yourself.” I told him “I don’t waste time fetching coffee for anyone. If you want coffee, you’re gonna have to get it yourself.”

Words cannot express how mad and slighted I felt at the time. I felt under-appreciated and humiliated. These traits were likely picked up from my pistol packing grandfather, who was  known to pistol whip the other old men in the sitting area for looking at him funny.

After that day, I resigned and continued my journey at another firm and was fired from that fine establishment, which turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me (part 2, part 3)

The story continues, as I am not dead just yet.

The Important Matter of Wood Leads

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In a brokerage firm there is a hierarchy.  There is the boss, partners, senior brokers, junior brokers, account openers and the lowly cold callers. The cold callers work for the account openers, who work for the senior brokers. The junior brokers, generally speaking, are new and without coin. Therefore, they are pikers and cannot afford to staff up.

When I was a cold caller, I got paid $190 per week, working for the biggest broker at the firm, who employed an army of 6 account openers, a dedicated secretary, and about 10 cold callers. Typically, account openers were paid the princely sum of $400-500 per week. It was a machine. The cold callers got around 5-10 leads per day, which was then passed onto the account openers, who’d open 1 out of every 10 leads. After the account was opened, the senior broker would “second trade” the new account and try to raise big money. In the event the new account was a dead end, he’d send the account to junior broker to work, splitting the commissions 50/50.

In the brokerage business, time is money and senior brokers don’t have time to waste on clients who are small or unwillingly to gamble recklessly with his life savings.

This firm that I worked for was the Godfather of high sales tactic mentoring for young aspiring brokers out of college. It was a place that can never be duplicated, because it was the thing of legend.

The firm was situated so that every broker, big and small, was in the boardroom. There were no corners or cubicles. It was like a giant airplane hanger with men smiling and dialing, pitching people so that they could meet their monthly lease payments. There was about 100 brokers, 50-75 account openers and another 100 cold callers, all in one giant room. Only management had offices–but they were rarely in them– since they’d prefer to police the floor for brokers violating rules, such as looking at charts or not dialing for a period longer than 1 minute. EVERYONE was pitching, non-stop, from morning to night.

You had one job to do at this firm and that was to sell. We were told, ad nauseum “we’re not fund managers here. We are here to sell stock. That’s it.”

Morning meetings started at 8 am sharp. If you were a broker and walked in late, while one of the partners was giving a speech (always by way of microphone, at a podium), you were fined $1,000. If you were a lowly cold caller or account opener, more often than not, you were fired for such an offense. I recall getting off the train at 7:58, knowing that I wouldn’t make it in on time and resolving such a crisis by hopping back on the train and calling in sick. It’s also worth noting that this firm practiced Darwinism with regards to the amount of chairs/desks available in the cold caller pits. There was always 5-10 less chairs/desks available than actual employees. Those who didn’t have a chair were tardier than the others– and was sent home without pay.

If you were still on the phone as the meeting began, your phone call was put on the speaker system for everyone to hear. Everything you said was critiqued by just about everyone, especially the bosses. The top partner, who gave the morning and evening meetings, would often walk over to the person who was pitching and feed him lines. If that didn’t work, sometimes he’d take the phone from him and convince the guy on the other end of the phone to buy stock. Like I said, it was surreal.

After the meetings, it was time to get to work. Being a lowly, unlicensed cold caller, I was not permitted to solicit stocks. My job was to call as many people as I could, from leads provided to me by my senior broker, and qualify them. Some brokers are more lenient than others in this regard. But my broker insisted that a qualified lead meant the gent had to have 500k+ in the market, did business with more than one firm, and was receptive to doing business over the phone. You had to find out at least one stock that he owned and what firms he did business with. It was imperative that this information be credible, else the account opener would look stupid and lose the initiative when making a sales call.

Generally speaking, an account opener would call a “new lead” after literature was mailed out and introduce himself by saying “you spoke to an associate of mine and you said you owned 5,000 shares of GE with Piper Jaffrey, is that still the case?” Now if the information wasn’t accurate and the “lead” said “no I don’t know what you’re talking about”– the account opener would have to re-qualify that lead, which pretty much meant the sale was dead.

Cold callers were under intense pressure to get leads. During lunch, senior brokers would visit our confines to “skill mill.” Essentially, he’d teach us how to talk to people with money and test us by randomly picking on one of us to pitch him. You had to get up in front of 100+ cold callers and qualify the senior broker, who, more often than not, was completely irrational–just to make life hard for whoever was pitching him. We did this three times per day, morning, lunch and after the close.

If you didn’t get 5-10 leads per day, you were not going to earn the right to study for your series 7 and start making the real money. And, you’d probably get fired. Most cold callers were miscreants of the first order, totally devoid of honor and integrity. They’d simply make up stuff, write it on an index card, and hand it in. They hoped to guess right, putting popular stocks like Lucent and Microsoft on the lead, but it backfired very, very often.

If your lead was bad, it was called “wood.” If you gave your account opener a wood lead, he’d walk over to you, rip it up and throw it in your face. If you did it again, you were fired.

I made it a point to never lie about the leads that I got. I took pride in my leads and worked until midnight, if need be, to get 10 leads per day. No one worked longer hours than me because no one was as hungry as me, living in a basement apartment in Brooklyn with my wife and new born son. My family didn’t have money, since my Grandfather decided it was a good idea to burn his furniture stores down, as some sort of idiotic insurance racket. Shortly thereafter, he lost his vision and was unable to work. Karma can bite hard sometimes.

So I had no choice but to bank coin, else I’d end up being a loser and that was not part of my gameplan.

After nine months of working at this stock broker pressure cooker, I was granted the right to study for my series 7. It was a major accomplishment. I had to pitch the CEO of the firm for such a privilege.  Things were going well and I knew it was only a matter of time before I too would be making 200k per month. I knew how to sell and that was all that mattered, at least that’s what I thought at the time.

Then one day a junior rep, who looked like a leprechaun, walked over to my cold caller desk, ripped up a lead and threw it in my face. He said “stop writing wood” and walked away. Back then I had a very bad temper, being that I felt the world was always working against me. So I got up, walked over to my senior broker, who I respected immensely, and quit. He called me that evening in an attempt to get me back, but I was gone. I couldn’t go back to that place after being insulted–a small pet peeve of mine picked up by my Italian Grandfather who fancied arson to get ahead in life.

By the end of that week, I had a new gig at a much smaller firm, working for a much smaller broker, who once tried to order me to get him coffee. That didn’t work out well for him.

To be continued.

The Important Matter of The Blind Handyman

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As you know, I just bought a new house and have been renovating it over the past 3 months. I’ve spent inordinate sums of money bring the house up to my standards, never sparing a nickel to improve my rightful claim to luxury.

ENTER THE BLIND HANDYMAN.

I hired a handyman to build an exclusion barrier around my front porch. It was my idea to put mesh behind the lattice of the front porch, in order to keep out critters. His work, although rudimentary, was sufficient. He then reminded me that he did “work on the side.” It just so happened that I wanted to redo 3 bathrooms. So I gave him the small one downstairs, as a project of sorts, a tester to see if he was up to the task.

ENTER THE BLIND HANDYMAN.

As he was tiling the bathroom, I had a staff of carpenters installing wainscoting, coffered ceiling, crown and base moldings, the works. Their level of professionalism could not be matched because their work was flawless. From time to time, they’d peer in on the Blind Handyman to see how he was doing. I ordered travertine for the job, at $9 per sq ft–a quality tile.

ENTER THE BLIND HANDYMAN.

Dust and smoke billowed throughout my house, covering everything upstairs, even my clothes inside the closets. This bozo was cutting tiles inside of my house, while I was away. My carpenters told him to “do it outside”–because it would cause too much of a mess. One of the carpenters commented “it looked like a fire was ripping through the house, with all the smoke coming from the bathroom.”

I took a peek at the bathroom, to review his work. CATASTROPHE!

All the tiles were uneven and poorly spaced. One of the tiles was cracked and he fucked up so many cuts, there were zero tiles left, even though I provided him with 50% more than he needed. I am not surprised, frankly. He’s an older man, with glasses, and an avid cigarette smoker. With all the dust on his glasses from fucking up my tiles, his vision, apparently, had been impaired.

I hired someone who came without a recommendation or body of work. His price was 50% cheaper than proven tile masters. It’s a parable of sorts, a lesson that has reminded me “you get what you pay for.”

Much to my chagrin, the carpenters are having a good laugh at the bathroom, as I write this blog– saying in thick Russian accents “he do a professional job, custom work, very nice.”

Fucking Borats.

The Important Matter of Making a Fortune

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In 50 years from now young children will run up to me asking “good Sir, how did you make such an immense fortune? How were you able to amass such wealth in your lifetime?”

With top hat and cane in hand, whilst smoking on my pipe, I will tell these chaps the following.

“Back in the summer of 2012, see, I was losing money in VXX for the 4th time in so many years. I was obsessed, mind you (puffs on pipe), with it because it had taxed me for millions of dollars and I wanted revenge. It would torment me, see, on down days, as well as up, okay? I’d cry foul and wave my tightly clenched fists in the air, demanding the CEO of VXX, or whoever the fuck made it, was thrown inside of a prison cell, shared by a famished crocodile. I’d go on the internets and lament over my losses, all the while offsetting them with unprecedented winshippery in other venues of course. I was a man with numerous financial interests, always keen to smell out the next hot stock or future insolvency (vigorously puffs on pipe).

Then it hit me. I had a vision that I’d end up being a very powerful and rich man. I had to put this vision into action, and do so at once (puts pipe down on world map). I’d be able to own islands and drown Bentleys into carp infested lakes, that I own. I would own aircraft carriers, accompanied by attack submarines, armed with lasers. The works.

(the children will interrupt to ask: good Sir, please, I beg of you, tell us what you did”?)

Very well, listen to me very quietly (picks up pipe and smokes it intently): this is what I did.

Every morning, during my ritualistic cup of Early Gray tea (honey with milk, never sugar), I’d open the portal to my brokerage account– and when the market opened– I’d sell short shares of VXX. I did this every day until I was 47.5 years old and made billions of dollars doing it. That, small plebs from the sewer pipe, is how “The Fly” made the fortune that you see so gallantly and deliciously displayed before your eyes (no homo) today.

Good day.”

The Important Matter of Wasted Talent

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I just got my series 7 license, working at some boutique firm filled with nefarious figures. It wasn’t a bucket shop because they were pitching real stocks and didn’t underwrite scams. Nevertheless, between the cigarette filled boardrooms and shifty criminals (a story for a later date) roaming around the office, it wasn’t exactly the place where I wanted to stay long term, if you know what I mean.

Starting out, my job was to get new accounts through cold calling. More often than not, people hung up on me; but it never bothered me because human behavior always fascinated me. If you say certain words to people, in a specific cadence, you can literally control them. I experienced this salesman mastery on several occasions, when the words flowed off my tongue perfectly, allowing me to address all concerns with ease and confidence. But it was impossible for me to maintain, consistently, due to the variables of the personalities I had to deal with.

“First one to talk loses”: that’s what I was taught when closing someone. Ask for the order and shut the fuck up. There were times when I’d be on the phone with a prospective client for minutes in total silence (it felt like hours), a game of discipline and will. I shit you not, if he uttered a word before me, 9 out of 10 times he was buying. But cold calling is a hard business. Most men can’t hack it and quit inside of 3 months, after running into walls–fact.

In comes “Ed Motta.”

The seat adjacent to me was idled, apparently reserved for a “professional” account opener. As always, I was skeptical, especially after learning he was getting paid 3x my $200 per week salary–a great sum of money for a piker like me back then.

On a Wednesday morning, around 11:30 am Mr. Motta staggers into work and introduces himself to me “Ed Motta, nice to meet you.” He was in his early 30’s and had an unusually large jug-head, short legs and stocky build. He was a Ray Liotta look alike–to the tee. His arrangement with his senior broker was straightforward: $600 per week salary and an additional $100 per new account opened. He didn’t manage a book or ever speak to a client after opening him. His job was to get clients and move on–like a locust.

He picked up the phone and started to “dial for dollars” as he liked to call it. He made a contact and started to pitch some rich guy out of 0hio some bullshit biotech stock. Ed’s voice was built for radio: it was stentorian, with perfect enunciation and he had an extensive vocabulary to boot. To my amazement, on his first contact he opened a new account. Flabbergasted by his showmanship, I put down the phone and watched him for a next three hours. No one ever hung up on him, literally. He could keep anyone on the phone, for hours if he wanted them to. To test this, I gave him leads of people who “slammed” me on contact and he was able to hypnotize them with his voice and make them buy something. He had the ability to open accounts, almost (some people will never buy), at will. He was a great talent, the best I’ve ever seen.

After his first week at work, Ed invited me out one night “for some drinks.” We hopped in a cab and he told the driver to take him somewhere. At the moment, I was drifting off into outerspace, wondering how this singular man was able to control people like elephants under a stiff whip, so I didn’t hear the address. When we arrived at his “spot,” I was taken aback, finding myself in the middle of Washington Heights (shitty area, like you wouldn’t believe), outside some seedy building. He told me, “Fly, I’ll be right back, just stay here.”

Okay.

After 10 minutes, Ed came running down and said, “okay, let’s go have some drinks.” We hopped in a cab and headed to midtown NYC. After getting out of the cab, some homeless fucker approached us for money. Instead of giving this bum money, to my astonishment, Ed gave him his fucking business card and told the homeless guy “call me Monday, I’ll give you a job.” I queried “are you out of your fucking mind?” That guy’s a crackhead.” His reply was “nah, he has a good voice. I’ll throw him on the phone and he will be a killer.”

Okay.

So we’re at the bar and I have no idea what to do there, as it was my first time in a real NYC bar. I was barely the legal age to drink, by the way. Ed was chatting it up with just about everyone he encountered, jovially having a blast. He told me, “hey, I’ll be right back bud, I need to go do something.”

Forty five minutes later and Ed is nowhere to be found. It was getting late and my wife and baby were at home waiting for me. Actually, my wife thought I was working late and had no idea I was out having drinks (thank God she never reads my blog). I paid the tab and left, thinking “crazy Ed” met a girl and left somewhere with her. No big deal.

As I turned the corner, an ambulance stopped in front of me. I turn to my right and it’s Ed Motta sprawled out on the fucking street, knocked out from an overdose of cocaine. From what I understand, he survived the ordeal; but I never saw him again. Rumor had it that he went to another firm to continue his illustrious career as a “professional account opener.” He could have made millions if he used his unbelievable talents of persuasion to build his own business. Instead, because of character flaws and drugs, he’s probably dead or working as a janitor at some shopping mall right now.

The Important Matter of Cold Callers

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It was January of 2001 and my business was spiraling lower, post dot com bust. At the time, I had two cold callers, one partner and the very worst sales assistant money could buy (more on that at a later time). One of my cold callers aka Brandon was a childhood friend. He entered the business with dreams of getting rich. After all, when we were younger we’d throw wooden chinese stars at each other and threaten strangers with our wooden swords, all made with our own hands. If I could make a million in 2000, so he could he, no?

During his New Year’s eve party he met a man named “Gordy.” Gordy was a Russian immigrant, who was at Brandon’s house because Gordy had a mistress and she was there, the mother of one of my better childhood friends. It was a typical Brooklyn New Year’s, with all sorts of degenerate shit going on.

Brandon was being trained to procure clientele for my Titanicesque of a business, where millions of dollars were being shaved off my moneyline on a monthly basis. It was rather sublimely absurd, if I might say so. Anyway, Brandon got Gordy as a client on that fateful January eve of vagrancy. Shortly thereafter, he told me the news that some “big guy” Gordy wanted to invest $100k. At that point in my life, I didn’t give a shit about piker new accounts, but was glad Brandon was making contacts. After talking to Gordy I knew he was going to be a pain in the ass, so I gingerly gave the account to my partner to handle and manage.

The account was opened and running. My partner made a few solid trades for Gordy and the account surged ahead by 10%. Then February of 2001 came. If you are unfamiliar, February of 2001 was God’s way of punishing stock brokers and anyone else remotely related to the market. We’d just sit there, in a stupor, watching stocks fall to laughable levels, then we’d go get drunk during lunch and resume watching tragic comedy unfold into the bell.

Well, it just so happened, during February of 2001, Gordy was loaded the fuck up with a lot of tech stocks. Apparently, he liked that shit. His account fell from 110k to 75k like an anchor in water. All of a sudden, Gordy became frazzled and began to call my partner 20 times per day. If there was one thing my partner was bad at it was customer service. He was the antithesis of good service, opting to “fucking fire” clients rather than make them feel good. After a few weeks of pestering, my partner snapped and told him to “take his fucking account out of here.” Alarmed by this situation, stemming from the fact that Gordy was cheating on his wife with one of my childhood friends mother, I stepped in and offered to assuage the situation. Gordy wanted to meet for lunch, so we did.

He came to the office dressed like a fucking gypsy, an older man of about 55 years old, clad in an all black sweat suit with gold trims. I took him and Brandon to a deli down the block and we all ordered the pastrami. During lunch, Gordy told me “Fly, you can do better” and started to wink his eyes at me, as if to imply he knew that I was in total control of the stock market, but had lost him money because I was punishing him. I told him “the fucking NASDAQ just fell 30% for the month, what did you expect?” The conversation went into his previous investment experience, where he personally lost $700k trading in and out of Janus mutual funds. I asked him to be patient and I promised him I’d take over the account from my irate partner.

Brandon and I left lunch feeling victorious. Gordy seemed happy, albeit delusional, and he promised to send in more money when things turned around.

I told my partner “let me handle this jackass from now on.” He just nodded.

The next day the market fucking cratered and Gordy’s account was getting punched in the cock hard. I told Brandon to “call him and give him the good news,” as I was busy dealing with 500 other clients who hated me and wanted to skin me alive. Brandon told me “don’t worry about it bro. He is cool.” I said “okay” and then proceeded to write a personal check to cover a margin call. The margin call clerk was literally hovering over me as I signed it.

Two days later Gordy called my manager and alleged Brandon and I were taking money out of his account. Anyone in the business knows this is a serious implication and can easily get you a starring role on American Greed. He told my manager that we’d been siphoning money out of the account, obviously, for there could be no other explanation as to why the account value was $66k. Remember, Gordy thought Fly was all powerful Master and Commander of the stock market, able to control it with his magic wand. The idea of seeing the account down 30% made no sense to Gordy, despite the fact that the Nasdaq itself had gone down 30% in 20 days.

Immediately, the account was liquidated and all activity frozen. I told my manager to “take this nutjob off my hands” and he did, much to his chagrin. Our Chief compliance officer looked into the matter and called us in for a preliminary interview. Just so you know, all compliance officers are douchebags, always hating on brokers because they made 10x their salary.

While in his office he offered a multitude of platitudes to my partner, Brandon and me. He then strayed off the plantation and started to accuse us of “improperly managing the account.” That’s when my partner snapped and told him “to go fuck yourself.” He barged out of the office and I explained to the Chief that “this guy is just an asshole. Look into the matter and you will see we did nothing wrong.”

The next day we were vindicated from stealing from Gordy. The guy had gone off his rocker and was calling my manager every 10 minutes for stock quotes. It was especially amusing to watch my staid, boring, manager deal with the superfluities of Gordy, declining his requests to “trade a little bit here or there.” That’s the way Gordy spoke.

After six months, Brandon quit working for me, after my partner had the head of IT replace his computer screen with a sticky, with quotes written on them. Apparently, my partner thought Brandon spent too much time watching the market, too little getting new accounts. A letter was delivered to the firm, introducing a lawsuit from Gordy, only addressed to me. I was dumbd-founded. After all, I never managed the fuckers account and certainly didn’t open it. I found out later on that Gordy thought I was the boss and felt his odds of “getting back a little bit of money” were higher by targeting me, as opposed to Brandon and my partner.

This was my first lawsuit ever and the other brokers came around to congratulate me, saying idiot shit like “now you popped your cherry” or “you can’t work in the mine without getting dirty.” I just scowled at them and said “thanks.” Coincidentally, our firm was being sold and the Chief counsel was trying to get all lawsuits off the books. The firm was getting sued about 30 times per month and the shit was out of control. To mitigate costs, they were settling all suits, no matter how frivolous the claim was. The attorney assigned to me said “this is nothing. Let’s just settle and make it go away.” At first I was against settlement because it meant this suit would be pasted onto my record for the world to see, effectively branding me a criminal. After a few months of sheer distraught over the market, my business and life in general, I told the attorney “if you guys pick up 100% of the cost, go ahead and settle it.”

They ended up giving Gordy $20k. I heard he lost it all in the market, shortly thereafter. Two years later he died, most likely due to the pangs of anguish– accusing an innocent man of egregious crimes.

To this day, that fucking mark is on my license and I have to explain it to people who question me about it. The accusations were absurd, something one might see on American Greed. I deeply regret settling that suit and if I could do it again I’d spend a gagillion dollars defending my innocence.

At the end of the day, however, Gordy is dead and I’m typing this shit from my space rocket. Karma works in grandiose ways, indeud.

The Important Matter of Serving Dinner

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I’ve been at the grill a lot these days, some good, some bad. When I fuck up, it is always negligence on my behalf. For example, tonight I took about 45 minutes preparing a mean marinade for my chicken. It was a balsamic and herb marinade that was sure to impress the family and perhaps some of the neighbors. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like babysitting the grill, since my yard is plagued with mosquitos of barbaric proportions.

I visited said chicken every 10 minutes or so. I had no worries about a grease fire, since my marinade was without oil and my BBQ is brand fucking new.

Big fucking mistake.

The lighting in my backyard was off, due to some fucked up electrical issue that will be dealt with tomorrow. From a distance, I glanced at a bright orange color emanating from my stainless steel grill. I said, “Whoa upon said orange person that touches thy chicken. I will slay thee with great force of 1,000 lions.”

I flipped open the bullshit grill and the flames nearly melted my face off. Gingerly, I had placed a few cute lemons on the grill, in hopes of squeezing them onto my herbalicious chicken.

FUCKING CHARRED BEYOND RECOGNITION.

I had to rush inside and fetch a bottle of salt in order to douse the flames, before they burned down the whole fucking yard and maybe a house or two. I will have you know, Mrs. Fly was quite concerned over the status of her palm trees, as it is summer time, which means “the yard goes tropical.”

When the flames were suffocated and the chicken was procured, it looked like this:

Actual photo of Chef Fly’s dinner

Upon entering the house, I told the family, consisting of three hungry children and one angry wife: “dinner is served.”

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