bostonimproper's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
ertyu
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by ertyu »

bostonimproper wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:32 pm


Timing the market: probably a bad idea, but I'm doing it anyway.
Godspeed, keep us updated. Curious about how it'll go.

Something else that apparently goes down with all equities: gold miners. RIP me.

Edit: not something I own, but BTC is down as well, which I find interesting.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

@ertyu: Precious metal ETFs feel weird in that they are highly speculative and can diverge sharply from the value of the metal that you're actually interested in buying. From my very brief research, this is particularly bad for gold and palladium right now. I briefly considered streamers, but decided it wasn't the cleanest way of pegging to the underlying asset. Felt miners had the opportunity to befall the same labor supply and potentially trade issues as the rest of the economy would during a pandemic. Not really an area I'm super informed about though, so, grain of salt.

I wouldn't worry too much about the loss. Take it as a lesson: day trading is not for ertyu. $5k is cheap as far as expensive lessons go. I think you should definitely do more investing in the future, in part because a long term CD and cash strategy is going to erode your net worth over time through inflation. But you'd probably want to index equities with a heavy bond allocation and set and forget it to avoid panic during the usual fluctuations.

ertyu
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by ertyu »

bostonimproper wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:23 am
you'd probably want to index equities with a heavy bond allocation and set and forget it to avoid panic during the usual fluctuations.
Quite likely. Thus I am also interested in timing the bottom

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

One week retro since my last fidgeting with allocation. Looks like VUIAX has bounced back up (i.e. shouldn't have sold at bottom, whoops) in addition to SLV (whew). Meanwhile the general equity markets are bouncing around where they ended after the one-week correction. Lesson: during a panicked correction, the whole market will be dragged down (including things that reasonably shouldn't be). However, immediate post-panic, the market will start to be more discriminative.

Anyways, that's my $13,000 lesson for the day. I'll be kicking myself on that one for a bit.

ertyu
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by ertyu »

Idk if it helps at all, but I relate and commiserate lol

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Your analysis of the coronavirus pandemic is similar to what I've been thinking. I keep trying to remind myself that what I'm imagining is probably a worse case scenario and I'm probably overreacting. Then I read the news, watch all the press conferences, and read all the medical journals. Then I just go right back to thinking we're looking at what can only be described as an abject disaster.

I really hope I'm wrong, but I suppose we can only see. We're in for a long next couple of years. This pandemic thing is only seven weeks old, and this coronavirus will probably come in waves. I'm just hoping that it eases up in the summer and we're bought enough time to implement the phase 2 clinical trials during the wave come winter of this year.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

@AnalyticalEngine - I'm not holding out too much hope on vaccines because of SARS and MERS, but there are phase 3 clinical trials happening right now on a number of antivirals and antibody treatments. Initial data on remdesivir should be coming out in April so fingers crossed there.

My biggest fear is around the potential for ADE in a second wave of infection, but that's entirely speculative and not grounded in evidence. Apparently the in-vitro studies I referenced in earlier posts showing SARS ADE are pretty controversial in immunology Twitter-verse.

Back-of-the-envelope-ing IFR numbers

I think the WHO is right that the "iceburg" of underreported cases in China data is shallower than we'd like to believe (link).

The numbers for Diamond Princess right now on this tracker are 696 cases, 6 dead, 242 recovered, and 34 active critical. They tested all passengers on ship, and I haven't heard of any released passengers falling ill unexpectedly, so I am going to assume CFR ~= IFR.

Assuming no active cases die you have 6/696 = 0.9% IFR.
But obviously age distribution of patients is skewed, with median passenger age in the 60-69 bucket.
Assuming CFR for 60-69 bucket is around 3x total, we're looking at an age-corrected 0.3% cIFR as our floor.
More likely, some of the still-active severe cases will also die. If we assume long-lived cases to be neither more nor less likely to tend toward death and just compare deaths to recovered ratio we have 6/(242+6) = 2.4% IFR and 0.8% cIFR as a reasonable estimate if advanced medical care is available.

This is around where South Korean numbers are right now with nCFR = 0.7% for early stage deaths. Note that they've tested around 178k for 6.8k known cases, so I'm inclined to believe the "iceburg" is not that deep, no more than 2x to represent those who are asymptomatic and have PCR test failures.

If we assume in locales with overloaded hospital systems that all historically critical cases will end in premature death, our ceiling cIFR becomes a whopping 5.4%. This mirrors critical case rate from China's CDC.

tl;dr: As someone with no knowledge, training, or experience in epidemiology, I'm estimating IFR for covid-19 will fluctuate between 0.5% (best case, intensive care for all those who need it) and 5% (no medical care available, hospitals swamped). This includes underreported asymptomatic cases and assumes age distribution of the infected roughly imitates China's in early months of the outbreak.

Looks like some more legit Diamond Princess statistical analyses are still in flight.

Why don't people care?

Some friends: Ugh, this is so overblown, you're way more likely to die of the flu. People are just worried about this because it comes from China and they're racist.
Me: ...

Me: Hey, you visit a lot of people's houses for your work. You may want to consider wearing a mask so you become less of a vector for this spreading.
Husband: I work for the government. If I need to do something, I'm sure they'd tell me.
Me: Um...

Me: You are going to be on a plane with your seventy year old mother to visit your centenarian grandmother. Maybe drop them off a couple masks?
Husband: No, thanks.
Me: ...

Me: Have you gotten your flu shot this year?
Mother (sixty-year-old): I don't get vaccines. I'm healthy.
Me: Okay, but this coronavirus thing is going around and it'd be good if you were protected against other respiratory diseases like flu or bacterial pneumonia in case you needed to be hospitalized. Don't want a secondary infection.
Mother: I mean, I probably won't get the vaccine. Sorry. Also, can I borrow some money from you? I'm thinking now is a good time for me to start a business in order to save for my retirement.
Me: ...

Panic is bad, but willful complacency which contributes to emergency/panic state feels worse? I don't know, I feel like a Cassandra.
Last edited by bostonimproper on Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ertyu
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by ertyu »

Willful complacency on the one hand, terror for one's own survival which leads to endangering others on the other. Friends have shared the following happenings:

Person who works in a bar: "Um, maam, I'm not sure why you decided to go and pee outside in the alley-"
Person who walked out to piss in an alley: "Yeah I'm not going to your toilet, it's the virus"
Bar employee: "Ma'am you're on camera"
Pisser: "Oh, ok, I'll move to that other corner over there"

Bakery employee: "Sir please use the thongs provided. Do not touch the pastries with your hands"
Dude: "No thank you"
Employee: "Sir I disinfect these all the time"
Dude: pretends not to hear because won't trust that someone else has done their job

I agree with your ultimate assessment: ....

jacob
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by jacob »

I'm trying to convince myself that it's fundamentally impossible to "fix stupid" and that much of it has to do with very many humans not being all that great at processing second-order thinking. Most will not pay attention to anything until it hits them (or someone they care about) personally in the ass. Basically, a majority of humans don't perceive anything as a threat when it's only happening to "others".

This means they'll remain dismissive until either they or a family member or a working colleague or someone close to them gets sick. Before this happens the focus will be on more important things such as how sad it is that their children miss their school party because large gatherings are all cancelled, how annoying it is that some of their friends are not as excited about upcoming vacation to the French Alps as their are, or complain about how the media coverage is popping their personal bubble of happiness.

This pretty much goes for everything. I think to avoid the Cassandra curse, it's best to take the above mode as a given and try to accept it w/o getting bitter or angry about it. In terms of full on acceptance, it's still work-in-progress for me. However, I'm somewhat hopeful that it's possible to even develop some appreciation of this "human condition" as [the stupidity] does make life more interesting. It's perhaps helpful to see it not a choice between seeing it as a tragedy or a comedy and locking into either one of them. Seeing it as tragedy leads to sadness. Seeing it as a comedy leads to being a jerk or a clown. But both of them together at the right time and in the right dose along with a few other perspectives just might work.

classical_Liberal
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Maybe the best way to approach this is to stop internally considering it "stupid". Instead consider it the "human condition", or anything consistent with your beliefs that has a less negative connotation. Most communication is nonverbal, so it doesn't matter so much what you say, it does matter what you are thinking. If you start interactions thinking this person is "stupid", the entire thing will likely have an air of smug superiority on your part, and will lead nowhere as they ignore what you have to say.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

I don't think these people are stupid at all. I do see it as a human thing. It's hard to get one's head around the idea that something big is shifting the ground under you. It's scary and alienating and, frankly, there's a lot out there meant to provoke our innate fear responses that sometimes it can be hard to distinguish the real threats from the imaginary. But just because it's a normal and understandable response doesn't mean it's not still frustrating.

classical_Liberal
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

@BI
agreed

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Wrt people not caring, I think what gets me is how callous people act about it. I can accept that people disagree with me or have come to different conclusions than I have, but a lot of the people who don't care have either fallen victim to the "It's just the flu" disinformation or they act as if the elderly or people with pre-existing conditions are somehow subhuman and deserve to die. It's genuinely upsetting to hear people say "well it just kills old people." As if old people aren't people!

That and the disinformation campaign surrounding the virus has been godawful. It's surreal to see my fellow Americans be utterly unable to distinguish reality from media hype. Yes, many things have historically been media hype, but sometimes real problems happen. I'm just concerned with all the "Masks don't work" or "It's just a cold and you can still go to work with it" disinformation, when it DOES come time to quarantine America (which honestly may happen in 2 weeks from now), people aren't going to understand why this is so important. It's going to have the unfortunate consequence of passing the virus along to people with weaker immune systems or into rural areas/states with less public health infrastructure. Like sure, NYS can manufacture its own hand sanitizer, but how do you think this is going to go over in the diabetes-suffering rust belt? It's upsetting to see your fellow countrymen and women act like protecting the most vulnerable members of our population isn't worth the minor inconvenience of Johnny not being able to go to his soccer game.

To be honest, we Americans haven't had to really deal with a genuine crisis since WWII. I think we're in for a rude awakening when the chickens come home to roost this time.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

Work dilemma

An opportunity has come up at work to lead a big, exciting project. It is on something I would be very qualified to address and is, in fact, the role I thought I was supposed to do initially when I interviewed for the company (and I was quite disappointed that my actual role was only tangential). It would be an opportunity to get a lot of visibility in senior leadership and if I do it well would be hugely impactful to the company as a whole. Also all my peers are more or less setting it up to be me.

However, since I started at this place four months ago, I have had heap upon heap of stuff lobbed at me. I am now leading two teams, fulfilling multiple roles for each team since one of my engineering counterpart's is on parental leave and the other is underwater with his own stuff, and we also don't have a designer so I'm trying to do that too. Basically I'm underwater, feel like I'm doing too much poorly. I've been working later than i'd like and I'm in the eat-sleep-breathe work mode that, honestly, makes me a worse person overall.

In addition, if I take my past experience as an indicator, I actually really hate being visible to senior leadership. I remember the bathroom crying and the panic attacks I used to have at my old job when I'd be berated or undermined by the CTO who didn't agree with my team's decisions. It sucked and caused me to become majorly burnt out.

Also, as I've mentioned before in this journal, my husband and I plan to conceive this year (though after we both inevitably catch covid-19, I don't want to be both pregnant and sick). This project is probably going to take about six months to a year to really come into fruition.

So my options seem to be:

1. Take on the new responsibility.
Pros: Likely get a promotion after successful completion of project (~20% raise). Do interesting and impactful work.
Cons: High potential for panic attacks. Dealing with a ton of interpersonal politics.

2. Don't take on the new responsibility.
Pros: Mental health.
Cons: Disappoint and confuse others, probably get passed over for future such opportunities.

Thoughts?

ertyu
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by ertyu »

I would vote for (1).

Reasons:

-increased optionality in terms of future career direction
-opportunity to learn how to delegate
-opportunity to improve dealing with interpersonal politics (sympathize on this one, I am both bad at politics and I don't enjoy it).
-it seems to me it is what you want to do, the concern isn't that you don't want to do it but that you may not have systems in place to handle it.

I would reframe the question: "How can I address the negatives I expect? What strategies can I implement? What is the big picture here? - e.g. being visible to senior management might be unpleasant but bearable if you make a habit of reminding yourself you're doing it for the sake of X meaningful goal (redirect attention from pain to gain).

Other suggestions:
employing a housekeeper might reduce the burden
having pre-set meals on a weekly schedule and a fixed grocery list might help
can husband help? either with chores, backrubs, or any other way that might be beneficial to your focus and mental health until the project is complete?
would a therapist help? would a coach help? a standing appointment with a friend who is work politics savvy? a personal yoga teacher??

It also might help to give yourself a timeline and keep it clear in your mind (and your husband's mind) that this is a temporary situation which aims to increase future optionality for the family as a whole. handle this as a team, and know it will end.

AxelHeyst
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Is it possible to negotiate yourself out of the other responsibilities, or at least make your expectations very clear? In other words, either of the following conversations:

1) "Yes I'll do it, but I need to drop project A B and C in order to do a good job. Can I delegate them to Frank and Sally and X?"
2) "I really want to do this project, but I'm underwater as it is. I perceive there is limited relief available for projects A B and C. I would love to prioritize new project, but that means I *will not* do as good a job at A B and C as I typically would want. Are you okay with this?" (this is MEA's advice but with explicit communication)

This really hinges on having a boss/someone in leadership with whom you can have a frank discussion. It's got to be *somebody's* job to make sure you aren't unreasonably overloaded. And it's your job to make sure that person knows if you are or aren't overloaded. If that person (or the culture) is toxic or there's dysfunction in that relationship, this situation gets super hard super fast.

A turning point in my career was when I drafted an email to my boss with the subject line "This is me screaming for help" (I was doing a half-dozen people's worth of work on a project that should have had ten people on it at the time). He was so busy as well he didn't realize I was going down for the third time, so his response was basically "Oh, damn, really? Guess we should hire some extra folks huh?"

Also, I recommend being really clear about your vision for your career. I'm struggling with this sort of thing too right now (I passed up an opportunity to enroll in an MBA-ish course earlier this year). Is taking on heroic levels of responsibility something that actually fits in with my goals for my life? Yes, the project would be fantastic for career growth. But how does it fit with the child plans, the FIRE plans, the mental health plans? Our culture encourages us to hustle and thrash and win and sleep when we're dead. But that's terrible if your aim is to have a good life.

Option #2 is a bad choice if your goal is to prioritize career. But it might be the best choice if your goal is to have a great life, be healthy, show up for loved ones in your life, etc.

edit: advice I got early on, which may or may not apply to your industry/workplace: "Everyone f's up. No one is going to be mad [forever] if you f up. If you f up, admit it and ask for help, and we'll gladly help you fix it. But if you f up, and try to hide it, which makes it worse, your name will be mud forever and we'll all hate you." I think this advice applies to admitting when you're overloaded as well.

ertyu
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by ertyu »

Hm I disapprove. Accept (1) first, go to boss with, "hey, I tried to cope with all three, and I also tried (delegating, etc. measures) but. Come clean with the situation on A B and C post-factum.

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

Some additional context:
  • If I do worse at my job, it'll mostly hurt my engineering team, because I'll be too busy to help define and facilitate their work like I normally would since our EM is out. Our customers would probably suffer, but my boss is not incentives to care about these particular customers (weird internal politics stuff) so there's that.
  • My boss is on paternity leave and even when he was around was very bad at helping me maintain a manageable workload. His advice was mostly that it was part of the job, gotta be passionate enough, etc. He also gives all his reports a lot of what I consider to be low impact administrative busy work, which my peers seem to view as learning and growing opportunities? Lots of internal customer demos and surveys that don't really help with team direction and are mostly patting ourselves on the back instead of doing the real work. If he were around, I don't know that I'd even have this opportunity available.
  • We are hiring to try and take one of my teams, but the candidates have been bleh so far. Still plugging away at those interviews. Plus it takes a lot of time to ramp someone new up.
  • I love my husband, but he fucking sucks when it comes to chores. As in, if I want things done in a reasonable time frame, I have to organize to do it myself or have it done. He used to get his car towed for not paying parking tickets. Not because he didn't have the money, but because he forgot to.
I think it comes down to: do I want to pursue ambition or living a happy, balanced life? My default is to be Type A about these things, but I think that has led to a pattern of me being miserable at work in the past.

Scott 2
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by Scott 2 »

The prior CTO sounds like a bully. I wonder if it is the same for senior leadership on the new project.

Pulling back from the existing teams makes an opportunity for others to grow.

How would you feel watching someone else do the project, but not as well as you would have?

bostonimproper
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Re: bostonimproper's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

Prior CTO definitely had bully tendencies. Senior leadership in this case don't seem like bullies, but they are definitely a particular brand of SV corporate that I don't know how to communicate with particularly well.

If someone else did the project... I think it depends. There are only two viable candidates other than me.

If Person A did it, I think it would go okay. They are sort of in charge of this space now. I think they are too focused on a very specific methodology that is not the most impactful long term though. I would feel kind of sheepish and out of place since they'd probably be directing my team's work (they have a long history working with my team and were sort of doing my role before I got hired), but not in any way angry. Note Person A has voiced that they'd support me taking this project over or doing it themself, but would not want Person B to do it.

If Person B did it, I would not feel particularly out of place or jealous. Their life would probably be pretty miserable because they'd both have very little familiarity with this problem, the teams and technologies involved, and also potential pushback from Person A, who can have a very strong personality. I'd probably feel relieved not to have to deal with all the politicking they'll have to go through.

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