Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Befriend the Network Admin.

The trend is your friend, so is the Network Administrator (NA). If you are thinking about trading while at work, it is crucial that you consider the network that will carry your orders to the outside world. Do you have privileges to install new software on your work computer? Is there software installed which limits your surfing privileges? Does your company monitor what sites you visit? Is streaming data allowed? How often does the network fail?

The key to resolving the above issues is to get to know the NA. Specifically, what does he think about the company? Does he seem to like his job? To whom does he hold his allegiances? It will be important to get a read on these aspects of his personality before approaching him.

When it comes time to approach the NA, you certainly do not want to give the impression that you will spend copious amounts of company time trading. I suggest admitting that you “dabble” in stock trading and that periodically you would like to be able to log into your account and “check out how things are going.” Watch closely for his reaction. If he does not seem overly concerned, ask him if there are any known issues with the network which would preclude you from running your platform. Be sure to closely monitor his reactions and body language. If he seems interested in how the software works, do not be very specific. Simply tell him something such as, “I set buy and sell orders from home, and they are executed automatically for me. I just want to be able to check and see if anything has executed.” It may be that you find out that he is going to sing the company song, and that trading at work will not be feasible for your situation. However, I believe the typical reaction from NA is this: It is not pornography; it is not going to compromise the network, so what the hell?

If you find your NA agreeable, and the network actually permits you to trade, then it becomes time for gifts and well-timed compliments. My NA’s wife is a mortgage broker. I refer as many people as possible to her. If I have a particularly good month, I get a gift certificate for a local restaurant and enclose it within a card to the NA. I typically write the following: “I really appreciate your help in keeping the network up and running, and helping me whenever I have a technical issue.” Whenever you find yourself in a group setting/meeting, say anything you can that is complimentary about the NA and the network in general. I do not use tobacco products anymore, but my NA is a smoker. If I see him outside having a cig, I will typically bum one from him. The key here is to form a deep allegiance with your NA.

Even after 3 years of building a relationship with my NA, he still does not know the extent of my involvement in the markets. He only knows that the computer executes trades for me, and that I like to watch things trade when I get a chance. I have his personal cell number and beeper number and can call him as soon as there is any problem with the network. This relationship goes a long way to ensuring that I almost always have safe, secure, and confidential access to the markets while at work.

1 comment:

IIO said...

That was a nice write-up. I'd agree its important to have friends in IT. I work for the government and they are unyielding in their requirement to keep PCs free of non-company software. They won't even let us change our desktop or screensaver (both company logos). Fortunately I know enough about how to remove the user restrictions and have been able to pull up the IB Webtrader on the internet. I'm super paranoid though. We occasionally get massmailings about the government's right to monitor our email, phone and web use.

Nice going on GIGM! That was such a nice chart.