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Last Updated Tuesday September 26 2017 03:52 AM IST

Dating tips: Let your bad trades turn into investments

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Love and sex

I was doing the rounds of the capital’s stock market themed bars, and I saw her at the bar. She looked like she was in her late 20s. Leggy. Dusky. Curves in all the right places. No ring on the finger.

She was the blue chip equivalent of the stock market. The risk factors? Self-assured. She was inteligente, could hold a conversation. Ran a start-up. Possibly, more intelligent than I was. And certainly wealthier. And yet, I felt an overwhelming urge to all or nothing and not hedge my bets that night. I ran the risk of being brushed off. It was a calculated risk. But she seemed worth it.

Her stock was surely up that night. I saw several heads turn in her direction as she walked out to answer a call.

And it got me turning the tables on myself. If she were the buyer, did I look like an attractive investment to her? Would she favor me, perhaps over the newon-the-market college ‘dude’ in jeans and a tee. Were younger men more attractive to her? Would she be likely to invest her time with the mature, well-dressed and suave older gent at the next table? What about the rich brat at the bar that came with family money? He certainly looked more financially viable. Or how about that tough looking guy in the corner. Was she risk averse? As an investor, should I be bullish or bearish? Should I hold out or would I lose my opportunity? As stock, what were my best assets? My face? My body? My smile?

Should I play my humor card? Or should I just cut my losses and pull out of the exercise before it got messy? As I contemplated making my move, there was also a lot running through my mind. How do I start the conversation? Do I really open up about the weather? Should I talk about the big sports game last night? The traffic? Staking your claim is a lot harder when the market is bullish with a lot of unknown factors.

It would have been entirely different, if say a mutual amigo acted as a stock broker and presented her as a lucrative option. He would have told me her name and presented her salient characteristics. Why, he would’ve even had insider information. And thanks to the Internet, I could have even learnt all about her - insights into who she was, what she liked, and what got her excited.

I could check out her Instagram feed, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, her latest tweets, see if she has written any blogs, and find any news articles about them. The information could be overwhelming and take the excitement out of the unknown, but being prepared is more important, than being in the dark, especially in this volatile market. Anyway, turns out I was worrying too much. Turns out we had one degree of separation between us. And that one-degree person - my ex colleague, who was also her college mate, walked into the bar right then.

We were introduced. We traded information. We both agreed on rum cocktails. We’d both been to Cambodia and Turkey. And London. We had familia abroad. Preferred coffee to tea. And showers to baths. The beach side over mountains. She didn’t want to commit to anything right now, and neither did I. My interest peaked.

You may laugh about the analogy, but it is 100 percent true. Whether you’re investing in love or stocks, the wisdom is often the same. Meeting a woman is not unlike meeting with a venture capitalist. I’ve seen enough and more comrades who thought they knew what they were doing. I’ve seen men make a lot of lousy decisions in the bar that they probably would not have made on the exchange. An uncle of mine, who worked in finance for most of his life, would frequently give me advise on negotiating the stock market. But, as I grew up and started dating, I realized that most of his financial maxims applied to more than just, well, finances.

Each date is a learning opportunity to becoming a casanova entrepreneur. Learn from past dates and incorporate that learning into future ones. Treat it that way. From how you dress, to how much you would say and listen. Do not be too hasty to go for the close.

A venture capitalist will not write a check after a first meeting. As in dating, each side must get to know each other and see if there is a real future there or is it just a one and done. Don’t let your bad trades turn into investments. What trader hasn’t given in to the temptation to buy a stock just for a quick pop?

Even though you knew full well the company was lousy, you’d be out of the trade long before it mattered. Except everyone else had the same idea. Soon you’re staring at a big red number in the profit/loss column. But instead of selling the stock you had no intention of owning in the first place, you try to rationalize why the company is suddenly a decent investment. Sadly, this is not all that different from the one-nightstand gone awry. But of course, if your date is good, the stakes get even higher.

Finally, as any seasoned investor will tell you, good trades tend to work from the start. If you’re arguing with someone right off the bat, chances are you’re not right for each other. Sure, you could make it work. But every day will be a slog.

Playing with volatility may send your blood rushing to places, but it’s not so good for the heart in the long run. But back to the scene at the bar. Having explored the risks and the pay-offs, we decided to take the conversation elsewhere. And by elsewhere, I mean my place.

There were synchronized head-turns as we left the bar. My day certainly closed on a high. My stock (and other things) were up. Until next time… Paz, amor, y rock and roll.

(In arrangement with THE MAN)

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