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Deep Waters from Jim Sogi

December 15, 2006 |

My best friend is a true Hawaiian master waterman with 50 years experience in the water. When we go out and push the envelope on the far corners of the deserted parts of the island by boat and canoe, he is the best. Whenever we go into the water diving he always brings a spear, and before he goes in he always sticks his head in the water with his dive mask on and looks all around for sharks that might have been watching us. Before getting into 'deep waters' which are abound in the markets in the multitude of niches, it is a good idea to take a real good look around. There is some deep water and big sharks around, straddles that ought to go up but go down 50% in a day near expiry, 4-9% spreads, Vix futures that trade one price each day and have huge gap and traps, strangles that ought to go up but go down with the square root of time, all when equity futures rocket up one percent in 20 minutes. Not quite like the textbooks say it should be. Its wild out there. You option book-runners must have your hands full.

Al Mabry comments:

It might be better to think of the "market" as a huge regatta, with multiple dimensions of distance (sprints, 1500m, 2000m, Head races, etc.), experience (high school, college, elite, masters, etc.), and equipment (fours, eights, quads, singles, etc.). So, if you want to take on G0ldman Sax at their own game, that's like rowing in the heavy eights at the Worlds. But you can also win a national championship coaching a women's lightweight four.

Sam Humbert adds:

Along similar lines, I read a children's science book with my boys last night that said house cats use litter boxes because their relatives, the big cats, are very fastidious about burying/hiding their scat so as not to alert nearby ungulates, who might pick up the scent and quickly make themselves scarce. In Sogic terms, the thought would be "where do G01dm@n et al hide their traces?" I have some thoughts on this (albeit inchoate and disorganized; unworthy of mention) from day-in, day-out praxis in the derivatives markets. A subject for an essay one of these days.

Jim replies:

Steve, Do you remember the Lone Ranger and Tonto, or Broken Arrow? They would come across tracks in the dirt and say, "3 men on 4 horses were here 3 hours ago, and they were riding fast to the East." Or Daniel Boone would look down and say "Big bear was here yesterday with cubs traveling west. Just ate berries and salmon, so will not be hungry." It would be great to be able to read the tracks or the scat … How.


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