The buzz is tangible, electric.
Ticker symbols flash, phones ring, numbers are thrown about at a mile a minute pace.
In fact, everything is so grandiose, immaculate, and well maintained that you can’t help but feel that it won’t be long before you’re in the future, that is, if you aren’t already there.
Welcome to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, pre-pandemic times.
As you walk around passing various screens and desks in the fairly open floor plan you notice four offices in the back.
Each appears to follow an identical layout.
An imposing wooden door with a panel of dimpled glass. This provides the viewer a murky outline of what appears to be a desk and a persons’ silhouette behind it.
Each door has a gold nameplate.
Engraved on the first reads, Mr. Market. Through the glass you see a man dressed in a full suit. He is frantically pacing the floor in his office. Occasionally opening the door and trying to knock on one of his neighbor’s doors to get a response. You notice that all ignore him but one. From your short moment of observation, you can tell Mr. Market lives a life reflecting that of a rollercoaster. Some days are up, some days are down, and some days he doesn’t know which way is up or down.
He tends to be spastic, frantic, and characterized by big mood swings – often without grounded cause.
The second nameplate reads, “Angus Gresiv (investor)”. On the door posters of various billionairs who have made their fortunes hang proudly. You can tell he holds a love for the process of making money and less so the extravagant lifestyle that propels him to take risks if he thinks it’s a good opportunity. A spunky young chap pops out of the door in business casual attire. “You win some you lose some but it’s better to try for the big leagues than to not get in at all!” he says with a grin. Upon a quick glance at the bookshelf behind him, you notice “An Intelligent Investor” in his collection and a colorful banner that reads “find the under-valued stonk.”
The second nameplate states, “Van Fensiv (investor)” looks like he could be your neighbor. That is, he shares an ample dose of normalcy and would probably lend you a cup of sugar if asked. It’s as if he’s in a different world from everyone else present, or was wearing imaginary headphones, for he goes about his day seemingly unbothered by the loud collective activity. He doesn’t vary from his well worn paths to the water fountain, his favorite dollar slice pizza, and the parking garage. He wants to do what’s always worked and that’s buy low and sell high. Index fund tickers are visible on the wall behind him.
The third nameplate declares, “Malcom (speculator)”. When not being interrupted by Mr. Market the tweady man is seen doing one of the two activities. Spying coyly on the trading floors’ activities or trying to overhear what one of his neighbors are saying.
Which office do you walk into?