The marriage of greed and stupidity

My copy of The Quants arrived on the 10 year anniversary of the dot com bubble burst.   I might not have noticed, but Hal posted it in Facebook.

10Mar – < < P O P > > Goes the Bubble: The Dot.Com Bubble burst 10 years ago today (in retrospective clear vision) when the NASDAQ Composite index peaked at 5048.62. 2010-03-10

It seems that some of us are putting thought into the ethical questions that should naturally arise in a climate of one economic crisis after another. This is good. We have some smart minds out there. Go put on you’re thinking hat! I’m all for it.

I’m reminded of a post I read today. It was from someone in Toronto who works for a company that benefits substantially from the grants available in Canada for new media projects. I was struck by the passivity of what he said,

will we apply? well, until either the business models are more sustainable or there are more alternatives available for production financing – then, yup.

I read this and thought, who’s gonna do it? Make the business models sustainable? Who’s in charge? Who’s responsible? Aren’t WE supposed to be doing that?

Now I am pondering the first economic crisis I remember, Black Monday, October 19, 1987. But wait… I remember the oil crisis in 1979. And, oh yeah… 1973. I remember that one too.

I did learn something significant in 1987, however. I learned that some companies benefit quite a bit during times of financial turmoil. And at the time, I was working for one of them. If you sell numbers and suddenly everyone is anxious about those numbers, they look more, you sell more.  Maybe a lot more.  It’s not that simple when self-interest intercedes.

And no, Rick, I haven’t met any of the players featured in The Quants.  In fact, I don’t expect to, given that I’m not really the sort of woman they go for.

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2 Responses to “The marriage of greed and stupidity”


  • Not sure I follow all that…

    My main question: do or did the protagonists of “The Quants” use any Array Programming Languages to achieve their lofty accomplishments? If so, how important was it to their success? I guess I could read the book myself to answer that, but perhaps the author could also provide clues?

  • I was teasing a little… and making a semantic leap… sorry.

    The only woman in the book so far is Clonie Gowen who is described as: “a blond Texan bombshell with the face of a fashion model and the body of a playboy pinup.” Patterson then mentions that she is one of the the most successful female poker players in the USA. The book is trying to be sensational, because that’s what sells.

    I’ll let you know if array languages come up specifically… Some customers are certainly there, but perhaps that takes me dangerous ground, where I don’t really want to be at this moment, to be honest.

    So far, the book is talking about the obsession with Poker and how that came about. And drawing the obvious parallel between the Vegas Casino and Wall Street (“the world’s biggest casino”).

    If you’re going to read it, you can borrow mine when I’m through with it.

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