Billions Season 7 Episode 3 ‘Winston Dick Energy’
by Lady Trader | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | September 1, 2023
When I was living this lie, fear was my game
People would worship and fall, drop to their knees
Powerslave – Iron Maiden
If it’s Friday, then it’s time for “From the Trader’s Desk”.
Before I get into the meat of my post, just some observations:
I was asked why MPC is claiming ownership of Winston’s software. If he developed it how does MPC have the rights to it? Well, the type of risk management software Winston is trying to sell would most certainly take months (if not years) to develop, code, back test, and debug. Which means there is no way he could have developed it overnight. If what Taylor says is correct, (that Winston used data to test his software using MPC trader transactions) then that also would make it property of MPC. By using data and equipment owned by MPC, legally Winston doesn’t own it. Could a court possibly rule that he co-owns it? Yes. Also, most funds would have a clause written in his contract that he would not be able to market any type of software for a stated period (usually 6-9 months). His best course of action would have been to offer it to MPC first to either buy him out or lease the program. If they passed, he then could have tried to get permission from MPC to market it to other firms. Just another example of unnecessary greed killing a golden goose.
What a coincidence it was to see Michael Lewis in this week’s episode. I wrote about the book Liar’s Poker in my post last week. The many “crass motherfuckers” would certainly celebrate the 35th Anniversary of one of the most (in)famous books written about Wall Street. As Wags says, some saw it as a love letter to the cut-throat culture of the Street during the 80’s and 90’s, while others would see it as totally unflattering and a cautionary tale of excess and of a “frat boy” like mentality.
Mr. Lewis is also correct that the Street is a bit more sanitized now than it was back then. I still think traders say fuck (I know I do), but strippers on the trading floor and other shenanigans don’t take place anymore less than because it’s frowned upon, but more because trading floors are dead. With most transactions taking place electronically, trading floors are basically obsolete. The NYSE keeps its trading floor more for tradition than necessity. Just look at reports from the NYSE in the 80’s and today. The hustle and bustle is all but gone. There is more excitement about who is ringing the opening or closing bell these days on the floor.
When I worked at the American Stock Exchange from 1991-1997, the only mischief I heard of was the tradition on the trading floor to take a soon to be groom, handcuff him to the pole outside of the Greenwich Street entrance, and pelt him with eggs, shaving cream, etc. It was all in good fun, but I could see how that would not be acceptable today!
Wags mentions he is surprised that more of his fellow wolves in wolves clothing haven’t decamped to Florida. In the last few years, over 150 New York based financial firms have left the city, and relocated to Florida. Big firms such as Elliott Investment Management ($71B assets under management) and Icahn Enterprises ($28B AUM) have decamped to southern Florida. Goldman Sachs has reportedly been looking to relocate certain businesses to Florida as well. The reasons are several: high taxes, increased crime, and being able to work from virtually anywhere. “The Street” is not really located on Wall Street anymore.
This week we see three characters suffering from a crisis of confidence and questioning if they have still got the magic that made them feared and/or loved.
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