My review of Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

by Kim Ann Curtin on April 17, 2014

I found Flash Boys to be riveting. I read it in two sittings in two days. Of course Lewis is an excellent writer and has the gift of simplifying a complex story, but what made this book so inspiring for me was the heart and soul of Brad Katsuyama and his team to “do the right thing” in spite of the uphill climb they face and still face. How anyone can read this book -understanding what it articulates- and then turn around and say this story is “over-blown” seems unconscionable. I was actually moved to tears after finishing it because it’s so obvious to me that the IEX Group has an intention and desire to take what has been severely less than a transparent platform and recreate a new one against the odds – and yes they will make a profit but an appropriate one – a platform that is built on transparency & integrity.

No one is denying that there has always been and always will be a middle man – I have no problem with that or anyone making their cut. But for every other exchange (not to mention our banks!) to hold our sell or buy orders until it benefits them (hiding them in their own dark pools) so they can jack up their profit on our trade’s back – is way above and beyond what is fair and is certainly not in their client’s best interest which is what we are paying those folks for in the first place!  This is what makes the IEX Group’s so trustworthy and unusual, this from their website: “While IEX has no broker owners, we will have only broker subscribers of our trading platform. This unique separation of ownership and subscribers allows IEX to design a trading venue with the traditional investor’s best interest in mind, while continuing to recognize the role of brokers in the investment process.”

I don’t think you need to be a trader or investor or even for that matter a rocket scientist to see how clear the raping & pillaging has been. No one is dissing electronic trading – least of all Lewis or Katsuyama – it’s the behavior of those electronic trading exchanges that have been skimming off our trades as well as the bank’s behavior in their dark pools as well, which denies everyone the fairness of the market place. As investors we all have a right to transparency. That’s what IEX Group is about – giving that back to all of Wall Street and beyond.

I even found the small vignette re Goldman’s Sergey Aleynikove and their over reaction to him – proof that on so many levels of high finance the tail is wagging the dog.

I actually had the privileged of interviewing Brad Katsuyama for the book I’m writing called Transforming Wall Street. He is a man of integrity and his firm is filled with staff that want to do “the right thing”. Their entire story is truly extraordinary and one that I think has the power to transform Wall Street. If this guy can stand up – then each one of us can too.

Flash Boys reads like a David & Goliath story with David and all of us winning. It gave me great hope and reaffirmed my mission to pour the spotlight on the good guys of Wall Street so that they can start to grow in power and wrestle the reins back from the anti-capitalists that have had too much power their for far too long.  Reading about the two guys at Goldman and their courageous act – proves how powerful one man, never mind two, can be. That story still takes my breath away!

The time has come for each of us to rally. It’s time for each of us to demand better treatment from every division that represents us on Wall Street. Together we can take a stand for what Wall Street is here for, every single one of us. We have to remind them. Katsuyama and his team are taking that stand – with no guarantee still (!) that they will succeed. But together they can do it. With your help.

I can’t stress enough that he and his amazing team can only do this if you join them. Sign up on IamAnInvestor.org and follow them on twitter here: @iextrading. Demand from your broker and anyone else that is managing your money to utilize this platform. How do you make the argument?  Read the letter they have drafted for you here: http://www.iextrading.com/about/

I like books that give me hope and call me forth to play an even bigger and courageous game and Flash Boy’s did just this! I highly recommend it.

Luke Skywalker aka Brad Katsuyama & his IEX Trading Team ~ Photo: Stefan Ruiz for The New York Times

I was so inspired after reading the book that I sent Brad and his team this email:
(they have given me permission to share it with you)

Dear Brad & the entire IEX Trading Team:

I finished ready Flash Boys last night and I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude to you and every single member of your team. In the over 90 interviews I’ve conducted over these past three years with extraordinary men and women, I don’t know that I have felt such a visceral experience of gratitude and joy and yes, I’m going to say it, love, as deeply as I do right now toward each of you.   I so wish I could come and do this interview in person and meet every single solitary member of your amazing team face to face and shake each of your hands so that I can look each of you in the eye and say thank you. Thank you on behalf of Wall Street, on behalf of capitalism, on behalf of our country, on behalf of our youth and on behalf of our world.

For three years I have believed that the good men and women of Wall Street did exist and that if I could just put a spotlight on them – and bring them together they would be capable of turning this ship around.  Getting this book written has asked everything of me and taken a lot longer than expected yet I knew I “had’ to see it through -come what may. A mission that certainly “chose” me as you yourself said Brad re your journey choosing you.

I believe so much in capitalism and in man’s inherent ability to be compassionate by nature and want to have meaning – and all the stories that are captured about your journey in this book prove this true. When I began my project everyone thought I was crazy, but your stories vindicate me on such a deep level that I am moved beyond words.

Thank you for being the kind of human beings you are, for your courage, for your unwavering perseverance and for your heart. Each of you are a Hero.  I bow to each of you and remind you that your heroic actions will now inspire legions of other heroes to come forth.

For neither good nor evil can last for ever; and so it follows that as evil has lasted a long time, good must now be close at hand.” -Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraDon Quixote

 With immense gratitude, Kim

~

As Brad said in his interview with me “It’s within peoples rights to direct trades to a particular market.”  Please go and download this letter now from the IEX website and change Wall Street: http://www.iextrading.com/insight/letter/

The more people that get behind them and this movement the more power they will have to actually affect change for all our sakes. Together we can transform Wall Street.

 

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Learning How To Doubt the Doubts

by Kim Ann Curtin on February 28, 2014

A few weeks back I was interviewed by Paul Blais (@pdblais), Founder & Host of the Doubt The Doubts Podcast. The podcast is one of the top podcast in iTunes and focuses on “Killing The Doubts That Kill The Dreams.”

In the interview Paul drew out of me not only my story, but also some struggles I went through, successes I found, and then he finished the interview drawing out what he calls my “sage wisdom.” I would love for you to hear the story of my journey. Take a listen below and let me know what you think:  Paul’s PodCast Interview of Kim

Here is a description of Paul’s podcast, Doubt The Doubts: “When the voice of doubt silences the call of dreams, it’s time to doubt the doubts. Rockstar entrepreneurs tell their amazing stories of success 7 days a week! Hearing from someone that has already gone down the road will help to you to say, “I can do it.” 

 

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Shining Bright in Hawaii

November 12, 2013

Tweet I’m in Hawaii. I’ve been here for five months and plan on being here until my book is finished.  Thanks to a good friend I got a wonderful opportunity to come here so I could focus on my book. An email invite came just when I was asking the Universe for a place to […]

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