Streetwise Professor

January 6, 2016

Ten Years After

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Professor @ 3:38 pm

Today is the 10th anniversary of Streetwise Professor. Hard to believe. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

I started the blog with the intent of focusing on topics directly related to my academic research on derivatives, commodities, and exchanges. I’ve done quite a bit of that, and indeed, blog posts were often the first draft of material that turned up in research papers, or at least, were a way of thinking out loud that shaped what later appeared in more formal work. But, of course, the range of topics I’ve written about has metastasized over the years. I never would have predicted when I first envisioned the blog that Russia would have consumed so much time and attention. And probably a good thing too, because that probably brought more traffic to SWP than any other single topic, and people who came here for my Russia rants stayed for other topics. But it’s not just Russia. I’ve written about politics (Thanks, Obama!), China, broader economic issues, history, military matters, climate change, sports and even punk rock. It’s my blog, and I’ll write what I want to.

2006 was a propitious time to start a blog, because the subsequent decade has been chock-full of history, especially in financial and commodity markets. The biggest financial crisis in recent history spawned a huge onslaught of regulation, which provided a lot of grist for my mill. (Thanks, Frankendodd!) Furthermore, the End of History that some forecast at the beginning of the 2000s definitely did not occur in the 2006-2016 decade. Indeed, the world has been as unsettled as in any decade since the 1930s. In 2009 or so, I wondered whether these times were more like the 30s or the 70s, and sadly, the former answer wins. But that has provided considerable material to work with.

In areas related to things I actually know something about–commodity prices, energy, speculation, manipulation, HFT, derivatives market regulation, and clearing–I think it’s fair to say that SWP has had some impact on policy, or at least the way people think about policy. I know that there are more than a few followers in the financial and legal community, and among regulators around the world.

Along the way I’ve made quite a few friends, for which I’m grateful. It has been gratifying over the years to have people approach me and mention this post or that. I have to confess that some people have remembered posts that I forgot writing 😉

I’ve also made a few enemies, for which I’m also grateful. It’s part of the way I know I’ve made an impact, but more importantly, I’ve made enemies mainly by calling out rather forcefully the frauds, follies, fecklessness–and fuck-ups–of those who presume to rule us. (I have it on very good authority, for instance, that I was banned from the CFTC building by Gensler.) Their anger is a sign that I’ve hit the mark.

I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to those who have read the blog, particularly those who have read it regularly over the years, and especially those hardy souls who have ventured into the comment section.

What will then next ten years bring? Since I was so mistaken in my expectations about SWP when I started, I will forego a prediction now, other than to say that I will go where the spirit leads me (recognizing that sometimes the spirit is an evil one :-P). I think eclecticism has worked, and I’ll keep it up.

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you stick around. I hope I give you reason to stick around.

PS. Talk about some sort of fate. I remember distinctly sitting in front of my computer ten years ago, wondering what to call this damn thing. Then this song played, and I knew immediately that Streetwise Professor was the perfect name. And what should begin playing on Pandora when I started the third paragraph? Yup. Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards, playing Streetwise Professor. Too funny.

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  1. Congrats, I guess. It’s been great reading your posts and referring friends to your work. I learned some things about economics (my major long ago, one professor from the Boy’s School of the Rockies); confirmed some suspicions and prejudices.

    Comment by The Pilot — January 6, 2016 @ 5:02 pm

  2. I like your website. It’s refreshing seeing people reason independently rather than shriek nonsense from the MSM.

    It could be criticized that confirmation bias occurs in the comments section but how’s that different from anywhere else in the Internet?

    I hope you have gone through tenure review and are a full professor (a website like this could be “career adverse”). A million years ago, I was offered an academic job at the University of Houston doing fluid mechanics but chose a different path (no regrets).

    Comment by Eggplant — January 6, 2016 @ 6:55 pm

  3. @Eggplant-Thanks. Glad you like it.

    I laughed when you mention tenure. Yes. I have it now. But I have definitely experienced “career adverse” events as a result of my outspokenness. Well before the blog. Before the Internet, really. Let’s just say that I ran afoul of Hillary Clinton in 1993. I tell some of the story here.

    All’s well that end’s well. Things have worked out fine.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 6, 2016 @ 7:41 pm

  4. @Pilot. A Zoomie! Why haven’t you said so? I’m an ex-Squid, though I decided that the Navy way wasn’t my way. So I punched out of the Boy’s School of the Chesapeake (though it had become the Boy’s With a Few Girls Thrown In shortly before I was there) after Youngster year.

    Thanks for your kind words, and the referrals.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 6, 2016 @ 7:44 pm

  5. Embarrassment in the presence of the Senior Service?

    Comment by The Pilot — January 6, 2016 @ 8:18 pm

  6. @Pilot. Somehow I doubt that.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 6, 2016 @ 9:12 pm

  7. Congratulations! I came across you perhaps 5 years ago via Tim Worstall, and have been thoroughly entertained and informed since( although admittedly I don’t understand much of the more technical of your posts on derivatives, commodities, and exchanges). I look forward to the next 10 years.

    Comment by Tim Newman — January 7, 2016 @ 3:52 am

  8. Well done Prof. If we’re allowed to have ‘confirmation bias’ in the comments section, then allow me to say that the serendipitous occurrence of the ‘Streetwise Professor’ song is the way the universe displays its pleasure with your work.

    I think your work on CCPs will turn out to be the most important and prophetic of your writings.

    The geopolitical stuff is icing on top. Frontal lobe cheesecake.

    The blog survived the financial crisis, ‘Timmy!’ and the Gensler. But will it survive the reign of pants-suit terror threatening to take over your country? Hang in there.

    Comment by Ex-Regulator on Lunch Break — January 7, 2016 @ 3:58 am

  9. Cheers– a great effort on informing the world with straighttalk. While you are not always right, and rarely humble- nobody is. You are bold and logical. I love it. thanks for making my world, and the whole world a better place. genuine congrats.

    Comment by cypriot — January 7, 2016 @ 5:25 am

  10. Congratulations on 10 years, and well done! I love the blog and have referred many to it– come for the clear analysis of market structure, stay for the geopolitics! Again, congrats, and best of luck for 2016.

    Comment by Matt Jacobs — January 7, 2016 @ 9:06 am

  11. Congrats on 10 years! I attended an FIA event that you spoke at years ago and have followed you (and referred you on) ever since. Although I disagree w/ it, not ashamed to say frankendodd has been a boost to my career. i’ll fight it tooth & nail, but at the end of the day I’m merely a mid-level cog in the global banking/commod world and need to feed the kids (thanks Gary!). And thanks Craig.

    Comment by DerivsComplianceGuy — January 7, 2016 @ 11:55 am

  12. @DerivsComplianceGuy-Thanks! I know what you mean re Frankendodd. I like to say I’ve had a good crisis, mainly because of Frankendodd. Not ashamed to say that either. You have to play it as it lies.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 7, 2016 @ 1:13 pm

  13. @Matt Jacobs-Thanks, and great to hear from you. It’s a long way from GNP, eh? Speaking of anniversaries, 2016 will be the 30th anniversary of our working there. Scary to think about.

    Hope you are doing well.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 7, 2016 @ 1:14 pm

  14. Congratulations on the first decade! Looking forward to the next 10+ years.

    Comment by Phil Rothman — January 7, 2016 @ 1:27 pm

  15. “Let’s just say that I ran afoul of Hillary Clinton in 1993. I tell some of the story here. – See more at:” You will know a genius by this sign: when a confederacy of dunces rises against him” Dean Swift.

    There can be no higher testimonial.

    Congratulations on 10 years.

    Comment by sotos — January 7, 2016 @ 2:47 pm

  16. SWP,

    As the first to post, I said “I guess” meaning blogging is, for you, a thankless, unpaid effort despite the rewards of enlightening your followers. The intervening posts have proved that assumption wrong. SWP is the first place I check after the news. BTW, I count several friends from Canoe U and my brother and nephew were/are Navy pilots, but not from Annapolis.

    Comment by The Pilot — January 7, 2016 @ 9:03 pm

  17. Thank you Professor – I’m a recent arrival, and I have a very high opinion of your efforts.

    Keep it up, let’s hope we’re all still here in ten years time…

    Comment by Cuffleyburgers — January 8, 2016 @ 6:12 am

  18. Congratulations, SWP

    I never thought that economics could be so entertaining and enlightening.

    I, along with others, am very glad that you ventured into issues and topics beyond derivatives, commodities and exchanges.

    Your insights on various topics, from the perspective of an economist, have been – well, let me go ahead and say it – brilliant and well-informed, from where I sit.

    And – you have attracted commenters of a very high caliber, which I think is a sign of a successful blog.

    Comment by elmer — January 8, 2016 @ 9:49 am

  19. Ditto to all the above comments. Thank God for people like yourself who are compelled to reason, write and share with us. Freedom is always in danger when not practiced and celebrated.

    Comment by Margaret Aten — January 8, 2016 @ 12:37 pm

  20. I have resurfaced after a while to wish you a happy 10th anniversary Prof!

    Comment by Surya — January 8, 2016 @ 4:59 pm

  21. Professor…Congratulations on your 10th anniversary. There are no doubt 100x+ who enjoy your posts who haven’t congratulated you yet.
    Please keep up your good work. I check your site every night for your excellent and insightful commentary.

    Comment by Richard Whitney — January 8, 2016 @ 5:18 pm

  22. Congratulations Craig!

    Your blog has been a hugely valuable contribution to serious economic discussion on the web.


    Comment by John L. McCormack — January 9, 2016 @ 10:18 am

  23. Procrustes,

    A decade ago you were full of unctuous concern that Russians were dying. Now you vituperate the guy who turned that situation around.

    So you’re still upset that Russians refuse to lie down on that bed of yours, you know, the one the Baltics are on.

    Comment by rkka — January 9, 2016 @ 12:56 pm

  24. SWP, during the dark years of GiGi you were the only voice not afraid to tell it like it is; industry voices were silent out of fear that an application would be denied regardless of merits. Not surprising at all that regulators trying to implement Fraankendodd while minimizing harm are your most avid readers. Thank you.

    Comment by DrD — January 9, 2016 @ 6:12 pm

  25. @rkka-I see you are still delusional. Seek help.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 9, 2016 @ 8:23 pm

  26. @DrD-Thanks. Very much appreciated. I spoke out of conviction. Although I couldn’t be more than a speed bump–if that–I think that some of what I wrote has finally infiltrated the understanding of those in charge now. Too late to prevent the big mistakes, but maybe it will help mitigate their effects.

    I hope all’s well.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 9, 2016 @ 8:26 pm

  27. @Ex-Reg. Thanks. The comment section is for confirmation bias and insults! It averages out 😉

    I’ve always been a big fan of serendipity. Funny you mention that, as my daughter brought that up today, recalling how I was always telling her not to overplan, but be open to serendipitous opportunity.

    I think you are right re my work on CCPs. It was a case of luck being the collision of preparation and opportunity. I had been working on CCPs for quite a while, to the collective indifference of academia. That was the preparation. The Crisis was the opportunity.

    True story: on September 15, 2008, I received a rejection letter for a paper on clearing vs. OTC bilateral from a journal saying that the topic was of insufficient general interest to warrant publication, so they weren’t even going to send it out for review. I think this captured the cluelessness of academia to a “t.”

    Re the pantsuit terror: She’d be bad for the country, but great for the blog. I would gladly sacrifice the blog for the good of the country, but alas, that’s not a choice that’s in my power to make.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 9, 2016 @ 9:15 pm

  28. Congratulations on 10 years of illuminating posting, although your taste in music remains bloody awful and your taste in warfare a bit regional. If you want really apocalyptic slugfests then I’m afraid the ACW, while fascinating in events and dranatis personae, runs a distant second behind what we’ve managed to arrange in Europe over the years. Nobody does end-of-days human wave carnage like the French, the Germans and the Russkis.

    Comment by Green As Grass — January 11, 2016 @ 5:52 am

  29. Nice, rounded yet spry number.
    Commodities, etc topics go right over my head – but others are magnets that bring me here all the time.
    Thank you, Professor.

    Comment by ETat — January 12, 2016 @ 7:12 am

  30. Congratulations on your ten years! As far as the financial issues go, if you didn’t exist you would have had to be invented. Partly it’s the clarity of reasoning, partly it’s the willingness to say what others may be thinking but are unwilling to say in public. The geopolitics are icing on the cake. Hope your next ten years are as good.

    Comment by srp — January 16, 2016 @ 1:17 am

  31. @srp-Thanks. I hope so too!

    Re saying what others are thinking . . . channeling my inner Eminem 😉

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 17, 2016 @ 4:59 pm

  32. @Green-De gustibus non est disputandum.

    Oh I know that us Americans can’t compete with you Europeans when it comes to mindless slaughter. I have tried to read about WWI, but I find it just too depressing. (Similarly, I don’t read about Iwo Jima anymore.) I do read quite a bit about WWII, and European Wars, esp. Napoleonic, Seven Years War, and the War of Spanish Succession.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 17, 2016 @ 5:06 pm

  33. Congratulations on your first 10 years.
    Sto lit,
    Sto lit.
    (and a hundred more)

    Comment by AndyEss — January 24, 2016 @ 12:47 pm

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