Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Investment model

Emergency meeting in an investment brokerage. Chief of trading, Altman, requests help from chief of research, Zbigniew, but differences in communication are revealed between them.


Altman: These are weird times. There are so many sell orders some traders are saying go short on futures. Yet prices are so cheap, others are taking long positions. We lack guidance.

Zbigniew: You need a new model.

Altman: We do. What factors were you thinking of including?

Zbigniew: Investors sell their shares, they buy gold, they sell their houses and rent a place to live.

Altman: OK. Model needs all those things. The traders want an interface, too.

Zbigniew: So you need a new program. Coding takes time and testing.

Altman: Can I suggest these steps. First, a new model taking account of the changed economic climate. Second, a new instrument for traders to interface with. Snazzy graphics to impress their cutomers. And third, a testing period to see if the thing works and we can tell the future and make some money.



There are several ways to express ideas clearly. Zbigniew, the researcher, is a clear thinker, offers his bulleted suggestions in a list. He gleans ideas from data and is used to writing pithy reports. His talk is like a visual display.

Altman’s job is managing traders. He has to talk clearly. In an oral context, linkage (transition devices like first, second, third) map the road the ideas stand on. And causation expressions (to interface, to impress, to test) answer the whys.


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