Sanding our assholes with 150 grit. Slowly. Lovingly.

the international talent market

Estimates suggest that intangible capital, which is mainly skilled employees, constitutes 70 per cent of the total capital of large American companies. Attracting and retaining skilled workers is the number one priority of these companies.

http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2007/07/the_internation.html
Permalink rocco 
July 14th, 2007 10:32pm
"Attracting and retaining skilled workers is the number one priority of these companies."

ROTFL.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 14th, 2007 10:36pm
"Since the number of skilled workers in countries doing the outsourcing is large relative to the supply of underutilized workers in India, before long outsourcing absorbed all the available skilled workers in countries like India."

I agree with this. We have all of the competent people in India tied up answering the phones about why can't I download porn, and where's my government aid check, and the ultra smart spend their days building the next great intracommerce site for trading in manure and alfalfa futures.

Meanwhile, the infrastructure in India goes to shit continually and the country falls apart because none of the smart people have 10 minutes to think about how to improve India herself.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 14th, 2007 10:47pm
Meanwhile, in the USA, we have all of the competent people downloading porn and arguing on message boards about India, the government and their pay check, and the ultra smart spend their days outsourcing the next great intracommerce site for trading in manure and alfalfa futures.
Permalink hello. 
July 14th, 2007 10:50pm
True. Andthe supergeniuses among us are polishing our guns and preparing for the revolution.


Back to the article:

"It has long been recognized that educated and skilled persons within a country move more easily than other workers to cities and regions that offer better paying and more attractive work and living conditions. This explains, for example, why earnings of college-educated persons in different parts of the United States are quite similar, much more so than the earnings of persons who did not go to college."

That's a very good point many people don't realize.

Someone who can easily make $100,000 as a developer in the bay area can also easily make $100,000 as a developer in Lawrence, Kansas.

But the lifestyle difference is not inconsequential.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 14th, 2007 11:00pm
100k is easy anywhere.  250k is hard to make off the coast.
Permalink rocco 
July 14th, 2007 11:05pm
What percentage of developers on the coasts make $250,000, and how do they live on that amount?

My friend in Lawrence is a web developer with html experience. He has a 1250 acre ranch, 600 head of cattle, and a household staff. He spends 2 months out of the year laying on a beach in Tahiti.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 14th, 2007 11:08pm
20% ?

How do they live? Pretty well -- can afford the million dollar mortgage for a nice 1 bedroom -- but not outrageously well.
Permalink rocco 
July 14th, 2007 11:21pm
>Someone who can easily make $100,000 as a developer in the bay area can also easily make $100,000 as a developer in Lawrence, Kansas.

>But the lifestyle difference is not inconsequential.

This is true. In San Francisco you're stuck living in a loft apartment next door to a house full of cute, 23 year old asian women. In Lawrence, KS, if you know HTML, you get to live next door to 600 cows.
Permalink hello. 
July 14th, 2007 11:23pm
The % of developers making $250K is 0.2%, not 20%.
Permalink hello. 
July 14th, 2007 11:27pm
developers is the wrong word.  developers is for suckers who cling to this "i code, therefore, I am"  People doing technology.  Plenty of 250k tech jobs in NYC.
Permalink rocco 
July 14th, 2007 11:35pm
It is still like 0.2% if you're lumping the CTOs in with the suckers.
Permalink hello. 
July 14th, 2007 11:40pm
how many make over 100k?
Permalink rocco 
July 14th, 2007 11:46pm
I don't really know. The average salary for everyone in Manhattan is $125K/yr, so if you're a programmer in NYC and are making less, you are below average.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/23/nyregion/23income.html?ex=1184558400&en=76a8935876d5d667&ei=5070
Permalink hello. 
July 14th, 2007 11:51pm
My reading of that article is to get into the finance field.
Permalink anoneemouse 
July 14th, 2007 11:56pm
Indeed. The problem with Wall Street is that it is hard to get into a cushy position unless you went to the right school. I'm assuming that if you went to the right school and had an interest in finance, you'd already be working on Wall Street.

On the other hand, I have friends who went to the same shitty college I did who did a stint on wall street. They were doing boring back-office programming shit. It is like boring back-office programming shit anywhere, only it pays $140K instead of $80K. And you get a bonus if the company is doing ok.

Downsides: you are considered the lowest form of life at the place you work, you have to work long hours, your days are spent associating with nerdy IT losers and greasy finance types.
Permalink hello. 
July 15th, 2007 12:06am
At least you don't get monitors thrown at you like the front office types do.
Permalink Send private email Colm 
July 15th, 2007 12:08am
A relative started out as a computer nerd at a small firm and now helps run a hedge fund. His break was when a group of traders left the company to start their own fund, and brought him with them. I have no idea what he makes, but it is in the "Hey guys, let's charter a jet to Paris this weekend" range.
Permalink anoneemouse 
July 15th, 2007 12:09am
Yeah, I dunno. That might actually be exciting. Nobody I knew who went the Wall Street route is still on Wall Street. It seemed like a continual oscillation between boredom and panic.
Permalink hello. 
July 15th, 2007 12:11am
I'm thinking of giving up on my startup at the end of the year, and either starting up my own startup or joining an obscure hedge fund here in SF.
Permalink hello. 
July 15th, 2007 12:12am
I know nothing about that world except for my free subscription to "Trader" magazine. It makes them look like an obscene 80's stereotype of shallow coked up egotistical gambling addicts with way too much money.
Permalink anoneemouse 
July 15th, 2007 12:18am
(So where do I sign up?)
Permalink anoneemouse 
July 15th, 2007 12:18am
ask your cousin. then tell him you know this other guy who is interested, too.
Permalink hello. 
July 15th, 2007 12:20am
Spooky-- you know he's my cousin. Spooooky.
Permalink anoneemouse 
July 15th, 2007 12:28am
"The average salary for everyone in Manhattan is $125K/yr, so if you're a programmer in NYC and are making less, you are below average."

Joel says he starts people at $70k, right? And he has zero turnover and everyone is thrilled to work there? How does that fit in? Is the 125k everyone from stockbrokers down to the guys washing windshields on the street?
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 15th, 2007 12:51am
Maybe he hires the bridge and tunnel crowd?
Permalink anoneemouse 
July 15th, 2007 12:59am
> Is the 125k everyone from stockbrokers down to the guys washing windshields on the street?

Yes.
Permalink hello. 
July 15th, 2007 1:07am
OK, so the median is probably way below that level since there's a bunch of guys making 30 million a year, and a bunch of guys making 7000 a year.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 15th, 2007 1:24am
In those sorts of situations an average doesn't tell you as much. Maybe you make 'below average' for the island, but among developers you are in the top 5%.

I really wish every single one of these statistics things would print distribution curves of data instead of trying to summarize everything with a single 'average' number.

This just in - a scientific study has shown that, on average, everyone on earth is a hermaphrodite!
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 15th, 2007 1:26am
I've been a programmer in finance for a few months now.  Three possibilities as programmer:
1.) Heads down grunt programming assignments - to start out.
2.) You actually know WTF is going on in these portfolios, bond and REIT markets, grab-bag 'baskets', and such.
3.) Hardcore math stuff, like Black-Sholes on down the line - a 'quant', 'Wall St. Programmer' calls them..
Permalink Send private email LinuxOrBust 
July 15th, 2007 4:40am
It's actually pretty sophisticated stuff when I listen to these guys talk, and I think holy toledo, they know the ins/outs exceptions layered upon exceptions to each and every "rule".  I don't even think the clients have a total grasp.  It's pretty heady stuff and sounds like gobbledygook most of the time.
Permalink Send private email LinuxOrBust 
July 15th, 2007 4:43am
Often people will cut words short because everyone is supposed to be on the same page, and have endlessly discussed the stuff in meetings.
Permalink Send private email LinuxOrBust 
July 15th, 2007 4:45am
Gobbledy gook is right.

If you want to make big on the markets, you become big enough to manipulate the markets. You set up payola with politicians to get the laws passed that favor the investments you've made.

Corner the market in bike helmets through overseas holding companies so no one knows you own a monopoly, then have your friends in congress make bike helmets mandatory nationally under risk of criminal indictment! Yes, this happened, this is how it works.

Doing math models can never predict that sort of thing. You can only predict it when you are making it happen.

For the little guys, invest in indexed funds for the long term if you want to do pretty good.

For a little spice, invest in obvious things that other people are belittling but you know better.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 15th, 2007 5:33am
I don't think it's necessarily as corrupt as that, PE.

My flawed understanding is that they have a huge amount of money to throw around, they talk to their trader friends on conference calls throughout the day, and the play with each other. The stories I have heard are something like:

- I started to sell a little bit in something
- My friends who control other large funds saw I was selling and started to dump it
- I bought it back at a lower price

Although I have been present at the drunken giddy bragging, I really have no idea what they talk about past that. There are technical terms. And tricks. And somehow jokes played on each other.

But an interesting anecdote is that they feel there is a current 'psychological state' of the market, and that if they miss a day of trading, they get 'out of it' because they don't know the story of what happened that day, and it takes them a couple weeks to recover and get back into the game.

OK, so now you know, I really have no idea how it works. But from what I can tell, it doesn't have to involve political corruption or subterfuge.
Permalink anoneemouse 
July 15th, 2007 5:46am
There is no national law in the USA making bike helmets mandatory.
Permalink hello. 
July 15th, 2007 6:03am
Plus, the helmet manufacturers are owned by a private equity firm. The quantitative financial gobbledygook LorB is talking about only applies to things you can actually trade.
Permalink hello. 
July 15th, 2007 6:07am
OK.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 15th, 2007 6:34am
Nice one, hello.
Seems like PE was just making shit up.
Permalink LH 
July 15th, 2007 8:28am
140k for the back office? so 200k+ for the throwing monitors job?
Permalink rocco 
July 15th, 2007 10:18am

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