Well, not really. But one of the fittest women I ever met does live in Zurich, and her name is Cinderella.
I’m back with my regular interview of fitness role models, this time it’s Cinderella (Cindy) Landolt’s turn. Cindy is a 26 years old successful entrepreneur and fitness model and the newest of my online friends on bodybuilding.com. Aside from that, she is one of the most popular female athletes on facebook.
In 2007, the Cannes Film festival had a record number of bankers attending the famous festival. Everybody was schmoozing everybody. I have to admit, my business partner and I were caught up in the movie mania, too.
But while most hedge fund managers and investment bankers were talking to the Harvey Weinsteins, Ryan Kavanaughs, Steven Spielbergs, and Angelina Jolies of the Hollywood scene, we were talking to a less glamorous crowd: independent film distributors, boutique financing firms, accountants for Hollywood and indie films, theater owners, and data freaks with a passion for numbers.
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.
The Google search “How to get in shape under a rational approach” that I did almost 3 years ago brought back disappointing results. I remember exactly when and where I was when I typed that search: September 15, 2008, on the trading floor at Lehman Brothers, my former employer. The bank had collapsed, and financial markets all over the world were in turmoil. I remember exactly what I was doing: I had returned to my desk after a meeting with Jami Miscik, the former CIA Intelligence Chief during the George W. Bush administration.
Jami and her team had completed an extremely good research report which I had requested a couple of weeks earlier. I wanted to thank her personally, and as it turned out, this was the first time that fit both our schedules.
As many of the regular readers have noticed, this “blogzine” is very eclectic, and I have talked about finance, unemployment, movies and fitness
In June I interviewed Christina Adler, one of my newest friends in this whole fitness stage of my life, and got a lot of good feedback from many parts of the world. So, I immediately thought about starting a new, semi regular section to interview people I know and who are excellent fitness role models.
Christine Roberts reports: Republicans have caught the 140-character fever. Several candidates will participate in the first-ever GOP presidential debate on Twitter this Wednesday (July 20th, 2011) afternoon. The announcement comes just two weeks after President Obama held his first Twitter townhall, when he directly addressed users’ questions about the economy and jobs.
Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Gary Johnson will participate in the 90-minute discussion, sponsored by TheTeaParty.net and moderated by conservative radio host Rusty Humphries and conservative commentator S.E. Cupp. Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman will skip the debate.
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 an earlier post, I talked about how I am trying to apply my Wall Street Quant skills to areas other than finance. One of those is data mining of social networks. But before doing any data mining, I needed to join a social network.
When people talk about social networks, most immediately think about Facebook; but there are others. Depending on your goal, finding the right social network can improve your odds of reaching it. If your goal is to make friends with a wide range of interests, Facebook is fine. For professional networking, Linkedin is great. For my fitness goal, I wanted to meet professionals close to my age, looking to improve physically in a rational way. I joined Bodyspace, owned by bodybuilding.com.
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.