My 2013 Year-End Review
- Moving away from the Finance Industry and switching to tech/programming
- Learning Chinese. I moved from Hong Kong to Taiwan for that
- Working on a side project called The FinBook, a service to help Finance graduates find jobs in Finance
At the beginning of the year, I quitted my Finance job in Hong Kong. When I quitted, I had been working in finance for 3 years. It has been an amazing adventure, I learned a lot, and I made very good friends. I saw people making thousands of dollars in a few seconds, and a million in a year. Trading rooms are crazy places. I still remember my boss, every morning at 6:29am, 5 seconds before the opening of the Korean market:
“5, 4, 3, 2, 1 …. beeeep! MAKE MONEY FUCKERS!!!”
And minutes later, after a trade was made, every broker shouting to their customer:
“Trading 100 millions, any interest to trade more?”
When you are a young 25 years old guy and you experience this from the inside, this is very impressive.
However, while I enjoy making money, I cannot say that this is my calling in life. Instead, what I love is programming. Wherever I worked, it has always felt natural to me to automate my tasks as much as possible. Using Excel VBA, I built many tools to make my job easier. At my last job, I built a VBA macro that could send trade confirmations automatically, instead of typing manually emails, an error-prone and stressful process. A single mistake can ruin a trade and get you fired. So I took a deep breath and decided to leave my career in Finance for the unknown but exciting tech industry.
But before making the switch there was something I wanted to do since a long time: learning Chinese (Mandarin). As someone who had lived in Hong Kong for 3 years, I had been exposed to a lot of Chinese characters and I feel very curious about them.
For learning Chinese, I hesitated between going to Shanghai or Taipei (Taiwan). But since I wanted to learn traditional characters, I chose Taipei. Coming from Hong Kong, moving to Taiwan is like having an instantaneous life upgrade: for half the price, you get everything twice as better: food, housing, and the list goes on… I studied at the TamKang University. Not many people know it, but this is the best deal in town. For 26,000 NTD (865 USD), you can study Chinese for 4 months. After a couple of month of learning, I can already recognize the most common characters, and I can say basic stuff. Already feels amazing!
Besides Chinese, I also have been working on a side project, The FinBook (thefinbook.com). It is a service to help Finance graduates to find a job. Customers can buy packages of email addresses of Finance professionals matching very specific criteria. For example, customers can target all the Fixed Income traders working in London. I have built The FinBook because LinkedIn always made me very frustrated and didn’t allow me to reach out to very specific people. In a way, FinBook could be described as a very specialized version of LinkedIn, exclusively for the Finance sector. This is my first website, and my first side project, so I am very excited to work on it!