Sunday, September 23, 2007

PR Pitfalls to Avoid from a Hedge Fund Manager

Trader Monthly's contribution to my regular diet of news and information comes not via the magazine but its daily email of articles - often from other sources but with a concise summary and witty tilt all their own. Occasionally their own articles make the cut - especially last Friday's article about a hedge fund manager's efforts to get behind the velvet rope of an event sponsored by the magazine.

"Sure, Tuesday’s Trader Monthly “30 Under 30” party in New York was a hot invite, with over 800 attendees, but one shudders at the length Timothy Sykes, up-and-comer turned trading laughingstock, went to try to get in. Sykes, who was on last year’s “30 Under 30” list, and then tried painfully to brand himself as a financial expert and bon vivant, while his small hedge fund began losing money with uncanny monthly regularity. Behold, unedited and in full, the Timothy Sykes grovel chain:" (free registration may be needed to read entire article)

Funny and a little painful. I've had the pleasure of talking with Tim several times over the phone and found him to be engaging and personable so I am reserving judgement. But there are a few easy lessons about self-composure that apply whether you are addressing an audience, engaging a broker/customer service representative, or certainly talking to the press.

Who knows when your trading accomplishments will attract the beat writer for your local newspaper or when you'll describe your work and lifestyle as a trader to a curious audience?

Some takeaways:

  1. Keep your cool. Someone's potentially recording you and your musings for posterity - and certainly for the record
  2. If you do lose your cool, never get into a pissing contest with someone who possesses a bigger bullhorn (i.e., continually has a larger audience) than you
  3. Leave the parties early, stick to a 2 drink minimum, and leave with no regrets (good advice from a Colin Hays song)

Timothy's latest book, An American Hedge Fund, is here from Amazon

More information on taming a trader's inner demons and maintaining composure resides at Dr. Brett Steenbarger's blog:

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