I love Python and cloud storage. Python and cloud storage has helped me get rid of some of my data clutter, and I can now retrieve it on command from anywhere in the world. With Python code, and the APIs of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other fun things like that are making high level concepts easier to develop, right in the cloud, and providing a fertile playground for creative people.
By using some analytical tools that I applied mostly to financial engineering problems, I created interesting algorithms to monitor key parameters of my own body. I aggregated them in an Pandas or R Dataframe, and created a sort of a ‘body control panel’. It was that (almost) real-time monitoring of those parameters which allowed me to transform my body from obese fat to six-pack abs fit in a natural, low volatility and controlled way. As an added bonus, I have increased my life expectancy as measured by several devices. Aside from the health benefits, it feels good to be in the best shape of my life at 45.
So, it looked to me that Hollywood could finance an asset (movie), by selling “options” (pre-sales), in a very specialized, over-the-counter market. That meant that the risk of a movie (like Lara Croft’s Tombraider) being a box-office disappointment was passed to third parties, in exchange for those guys getting the distribution rights in their respective territories.
My analysis also showed that the pricing mechanism was very inefficient, because it was not based on any analytical techniques, but on subjective opinions about the ‘hot’ stars, genres & directors of the moment. As an additional hurdle, Hollywood was subject to the capital constraints of their parent corporations, which are exposed to risks larger and diverse than those faced by their Hollywood branches.
Steve’s proposal was sitting on my desk in my office at 110 Wall Street for weeks, and the more I read it, the less I liked it. I said to myself: This doesn’t make any business sense!
How is somebody going to invest in an ‘asset’ that doesn’t even exist yet, without a risk profile and expected returns via an analytical framework? Where is the value here? How do you price this? The more I read Steve’s proposal, the more frustrated I became.
In 2006, my hedge fund advisory firm SAGA Capital was approached by a Hollywood actor-turned-independent-producer who had worked with John Travolta in one of his more notorious films.
He had also produced a moderately successful film that was acquired by Showtime. Let’s call him ‘Steve’. Steve was looking to finance a slate of 10 films, in which he had some actors committed, as well as some ‘pre-sales’ financing in place, decent screenplays (yes, I actually read them) by good writers for most of his films.
I love America. It’s my adopted homeland, and I have lived here more than half my life in a great city, in a great country. I went through a lot to earn my citizenship, and every day I feel lucky that I did.
It is because of this that I can say: our nation is headed in the wrong direction in many areas: health, social issues, foreign policy, to name a few broad areas.