How to Choose a College Major and Why

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A young lad on Wall Street Oasis asked the Community on the importance of choose the proper degree so that he can survive in 15 years. I applaud his courage and forward looking approach by taking a long-term horizon in his long positions with the Game of Life.

This is a repost of my response to this thread: What’s the most valuable and versatile Undergraduate Degree nowadays and looking into the future?

In order to understand this properly you have to know all the players in this market namely:

1. Market Makers
2. Promoters
3. Lenders
4. Corporations

College or University is a business first and an institution of higher-education second. A college cannot sustain operations in the red much like any other business therefore there must be promoters to elevate the brand, create a sense of purpose and urgency, and maintain the necessity of going to this institution so that the market makers can feast on the innocent souls of future generations.

Promoters can be anyone like your parents who’ve gone to and are indebted to Lenders from this process and people like your friends or teachers who encourage you to soak up that clout by going to the best target or top school to have the highest probability of success in order to “make it” in life. Promoters makes a market for the Market Makers who are Professors, bloated Administrators, and other Staff that work and feed off of this institution. They trade you, the ignorant, through X amount of credits for a Y degree so that you may graduate in Z years. Sales cycle is typically four years til maturation at which point you are either marketable or not to Corporations but certainly almost always indebted at this point to Lenders.

School is a stage where the game is played and done effectively your four years will be filled with many good stories of parties, late night cram sessions, and tales of getting laid. Enjoy it while it lasts because the real world isn’t as chill in comparison and hopefully, because it is not the duty of Institution to prepare you for this, you also made time sufficient to network and connect with decision makers or friends of decision makers to get yourself locked into opportunities so that you don’t have to use the normal channels to get your foot in the door; fraternities or sororities are great backdoors into some of the most prominent Corporations without leaving you constantly red-eyed from over studying while providing you some hint of social life.

If you were lucky and went on a scholarship or your parents paid for the ordeal, great. If not, then now you are about 200-250k USD in debt and looking (begging) for a job that pays sub $100K ($65-85k maybe?) as an Entry-level nobody. You also meet, depending on the growth of the Corporation and how well it adapts to this Automated economy, other drones who are 10, 15, 20, or 30 years your senior resembling what you will be like in their age doing the same job because they have no other option and they’ve locked themselves into their jobs to call it careers to support their wife, kids, and toys if they can afford it. As you look at that cubical you begin to wonder if it is worth it but you keep reading articles on LinkedIn written by the likes of Jack Welch telling you to keep drinking the coolaide and follow his archaic advice from his limited experience as a widget maker CEO. From confirmation bias, you will no doubt at this point believe in the rhetoric at work from your boss and peers, excited about single digit or low double digit promotions and dreaming about living the life or something in your 30s. Knowing that most haven’t reached escape velocity and your peers are just like your int he cubicles next to you, that dream fades day by day.

Corporations are to serve the shareholders not you. You are simply SG&A unless if you are in Sales or some other field where you kill it for the company or the company gets killed. You start to realize that no W-2 employee every made it to the Olympus 100 (Forbes 100) list and that in order to do that you need to not think like the other working bees next to you. Too late, you’ve drank too much coolaide and now read articles produced by the Gods of Olympus to make a Market for obedient working bees and you have no idea what you wanted to do pre-college, post-college, or at work. You have no life purpose and this $200-250k debt is burning a massive whole in your Checkings Account every slowly as compound interest works against and not for you.

Closing Remarks:

Steer clear of cognitive biases such as confirmation bias on degree selection (reading too much garbage from Business Insider or other unqualified channels of ‘media’ on compensation and careers or listening to your idiot roommate who dropped out twice already and changed majors three times) and the sunk cost hypothesis where you feel like you have to swim in your lane even though there is a big Great White Shark smacking its lips waiting for you to get ever closer to becoming his Dinner. Just like investing in the Markets, know how to properly value yourself, your time, connections/network, and opportunities that lay ahead in 5-10 years in order to make calculated risk-adjusted and properly hedged decisions with your long positions in the Game of Life.

Bottomline:
Doesn’t matter what you major in, learn something fun that adds value to the REAL world. Fuck what market makers, promoters, lenders, and Corporations want you to think to make you easier to control. $SNAP had a don’t give two shits attitude where at that time the world of Social Media was about stamp collection not deletion and living in the moment. Right now it is one of the most successful Social Media IPOs in history.

Have fun, learn to learn not to rote memorize, and innovate… Or take a Liberal Arts degree and ride 20 years in the Military to retire on a less than stellar Pension program but none-the-less a Pension retirement at age 42 and figure out what you want to do with life at that point.

Concrete Answer:
1. Computer Science (help put your buddies out of work by Automating their jobs away)
2. Engineering (facilitate and work with CS majors to get rid of the human work force)
3. MBA rebrand – Use this cautiously as a non-M7 and non-Target will almost certainly leave you worse off than before

How WSO can help?:
1. Learn the Language of Finance (IBD, PE, HF courses, etc)
2. Network with others who speak the Lingo (i.e. WSO Intern and City ABC Social Events)
3. Level-up and be in charge of both humans and Robots to be a Lieutenant in the Army of SkyNet (Webinars, Resume services, etc)

Final Notes:
I noticed most people fall short on Soft skills and not Hard skills which results in lost opportunities. Your value add as a human being is having Soft skills for which Machines cannot at this moment Master and doing it better than the next person. I’m writing a basic LinkedIn guide for fellow Apes here on WSO. If you want opportunities you have to pry them from other people’s “cold, dead hands!”

Cold calling, e-mailing, and connecting on LinkedIn are some of the tools that you ought to have in your toolbox as a student or working Professional. People spend too much time on their phones so the game is to figure out how to get their attention at the right time, with proper content, entice, engage, and sell them on your idea or yourself.

Valuing Yourself – Assessment of Fair Market Value [Part 3]

By: Heero Yuy

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Part 3 – How the Job Market Assigns a Fair Value:

It’s a Wonderful Life beautifully illustrates how the Job Market assigns us our valuation:

This point can further be explained with an example in the following dialog:

[Case 1]

Employee (John): I heard you wanted to see me boss?

Boss: John, yes, please sit down. I like to discuss your performance and we loved how you performed last quarter!

Employee (John): That’s good news! Does this mean I get a raise or promotion?

[Variation 1] Boss: No, we’re just going to fire you!

[Variation 2] Boss: No, we’re just going to keep you as is but keep up the good work!

[Variation 3] Boss: Yes, you are getting promoted! [varying degrees of monetary reward and perks]

[Case 2]

Employee (John): I heard you wanted to see me boss?

Boss: John, yes, please sit down. I like to discuss your performance and we hated how lousy you were last quarter! You’ve finally hit the bottom of the barrel!

Employee (John): Well that sucks, does this mean I will be fired?

[Variation 1] Boss: Yes, we’re just going to fire you!

[Variation 2] Boss: No, we’re just going to keep you as is but keep up the good work!

[Variation 3] Boss: No, we’re going to retain you and pay you more than our CEO!!!

  • Case 2 Var 3 is like winning the lottery. Everyone hopes this happens to them but it is very unlikely. We all strive for a balance between the qualitative assessment of our performance and the quantitative reward for our work. Case 2 Var 3 is a qualitative failure and quantitative success.
  • Case 2 Var 2 is a pleasant surprise for not doing well while still being retained.
  • Case 1 Var 1 is the worst scenario to have where hardwork is rewarded with being let go for no apparent reason.
  • Case 1 Var 2 is the second most irritating when there is no marginal reward for additional effort(s) committed.
  • Case 2 Var 1 and Case 1 Var 3 are the expected results for doing poorly and being let go and doing well and getting rewarded.

Generally speaking, we are thrown out of balance when the qualitative differs from the  quantitative assessment.

The difficulty is striving to find the fine balance between the different values as assigned in the market place for how we sell our time in exchange for money. The entire job hunting and skill building for a rewarding career that pays well is centered around how this game is played between the employer and the employee in determination of the qualitative and the quantitative value of the individual.

The house wants you to lose so that you can add value to line their books with profits. You want to maximize your returns so as to take home the winnings and exchange the loot for goods, products, or services. Know how the game is played so that you can maximize your earnings and also add value to any organization whether the enterprise is an employer or one of your own.

Death of the Middle-Class – Get the Door, it’s the Robot delivering Pizza!

By: Heero Yuy

Friends are those that challenge you and equally you challenge them so that you may mutually benefit from this exercise and grow together in life. Acquaintances are individuals who are more prone to getting hurt feelings during the friendship process, fall to the way side, and can choose to leave and cease communication. This is the law of friends and acquaintances and one shall only grow in life by having more of the former and less of the latter.

Some acquaintances couldn’t understand full well why Automation is crash over everything like a Tsunami and destroy this precious thing we hold dear to our hearts called the Middle-Class.

When debating this topic, the opposing party mentioned that “humanity has infinite potential, we’ve adapt to countless automation measures in the past, and will live infinitely fruitful into the future.” While is this a blissful outlook on whats to come, the reality is far from this case. The survivors have to learn to adapt at a much faster rate than the rate of automation. There will be victims of Automation and the victims will far outweigh those who somehow survived.

This is my response to the above thesis of “everything will just be fine”:

“For this to succeed I see all of the following to align:

1) Learning rate that naturally exceeds the average rate of those in the IT fields (aka they are smart or smarter than the average person applying to those jobs). OR dedication to throw away all your free-time to make up for the fact that you can’t learn faster than your competitors and the only way to get the same yield is by committing ever more time just to keep up let alone get ahead (Gatech syndrome)

2) Spend at least a couple of hundred or (thousand if you are slower) hours getting proficient in a couple of popular programming languages

3) Spend another couple of hundred or (thousand – same as above) of hours getting proficient in AI and ML/DP applications in those particular languages

4) Hope that others who embarked on this journey are now way behind their current skill level

5) Hope that the job flyer they’ve targeted still exist, if not, it exists at another firm and is still open to a candidate of the current skill level

6) Hope that their interview skills are on par or better than all other people running in the same race with more or less experience

7) Make it to final round of interview

8) Actually get an offer and accept it

Or know someone in the industry or do your own startup and hope to get funding. Both of which are much harder than the steps outlined above in 1-8.

Note: Media reports on outlier stories. It is easy to believe that everyone around you is a multi-millionaire/billionaire and that if you apply these 5 easy steps that you too can be rich beyond your imagination. After a couple of iterations of this non-sense and seeing rest of what you read is complete garbage, you know that to find stories on the 0.0001% and report the collection of these findings as the empirical truth for the other 99.9999% that have no chance of making it is fundamentally flawed.

Each step is a conditional probability and the total probability of success for all 8 steps to all be 1 is rather low. Apply this over the masses of people that will be displaced and you will find that a few might luck out and make the transition while most will fall on their swords.”

A buddy of mine made some revisions to my statements above by saying:

“This is a good fucking post. You’ve honestly summarized the last 6 or so years of my life here. I would tighten some numbers – for 2, definitely hundreds not thousands required for entry level. For 3, that is specialization, which can be done after first round retraining. Everything else I agree. I retrained in my free time while earning 30k a year over 3 years so ~100k investment based on my hourly rate is on point”

Figure out your own self worth, reflect on that, and determine your proper market valuation based on jobs that are coming into popularity not existing jobs that are deemed safe.

Stability is the egg from which hatches Automation. You want to be a part of the Chicken and less so the Egg that is laid. There are plenty of eggs in this world and a ton of new Chickens about to hatch when Automation comes into the spot light.

Paradox of Worshiping the Established – How Every Breakthrough in History was Unconventional!

By: Heero Yuy

One of the main failures of Paper Tigers is that they cannot think independently for themselves and worship Elitists. However, as history has it, every single breakthrough in human history has been made through unconventional discoveries which often if not always goes against the views of the establishment and Elitists!

Most want to worship current Elitists because…? Well, their friends, family, or those that they respect follow the crowd and therefore they feel compelled to join the movement without much thought. This is why History is so illustrious with examples of individuals who’ve started movements and rebellions.

The world is filled with examples of cycles where the current establishment, in thought, government, or enterprise are constantly turning over; out with the old and in with the new. Holding onto the past or present precludes the development of the future. What is may not be in the near or distant future. Yet, however, we still want to believe in the current popular mainly because we fail to use critical thinking to think slowly on each and every decision; thinking fast is much easier in comparison so we feel less compelled to use higher forms of the thinking process.

What’s most challenging is when you are the ugly duckling going against the crowd and standing alone with your beliefs. Only when you can endure all the ridicule, mockery, and being thrown various labels can you shut out all the outside distractions and focus on the only thing that matters which is the self.

For anyone who has made in the past did not do so by strictly adhering to tradition as they would have become an ancient artifact themselves collecting dust in some dark corner of a museum.

Fifth Dimensional Experience! – Thought(1) + Time(1) + Space(3) = Five (5) Dimensions – (11 min video)

By: Heero Yuy

  1. Einstein formalized the idea of thinking about Space-Time which is four dimensional idea with the x,y,z,t (Cartesian coordinates plus time being the 4th dimension)
  2. We physically live in this 4th dimensional world but we are given consciousness
  3. Because we are conscious, we can think and rationalize which means…
  4. We have access to a higher dimension, thought!
  5. Thought is the 5th dimension and action is us acting on these thoughts
  6. Lesson from a Math Professor, Dr.James E. Jamison (June 9, 1943 – November 28, 2014)
    1. Are ideas in Math original or pure inventions from our minds?
      1. Ideas are created VS
      2. Ideas are discovered

A Virtual Reality Journey – Contours of a Story applied! [VR 360] (1 min video)

By: Heero Yuy

I’ve decided to take the more from a pure written format to one that’s more engaging using more of the tools available to us, namely using Webcam and Samsung Gear 360 (Virtual Reality 360 degree camera).

Above is one of my first footages shot in [VR 360]. Please enjoy and let me know how I’ve led you through the contour of this particular one (1) minute story!

Viewing Instructions:

VR headset:

  1. Put on VR headset
  2. Watch the video

On Computer:

  1. Play the video
  2. Use mouse to navigate for VR experience

On Cellphone:

  1. Play the video
  2. Pan around by moving your cellphone around to get different angles
  3. Press pause at any time to freeze frame and observe your surroundings

Homework:

Share the video with as many people as possible for a good laugh!!! 🙂

The Alien – An Extraterrestrial’s Perspective on Terrestrial Trivialities

By: Space Cowboy

On the left we have the Man of Steel, Superman, and on the right the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman. Each are Aliens to each other as one is an extraterrestrial and the other human.

Once upon a time I was an alien to the USA, my ways were not their ways, and I had to adapt, learn, and slowly began to appreciate the new culture as I ceased to exercise majority of the old culture. We grow in habits and mind into any life of our choice and through conditioning and practice we become a person anew.

The feeling of being alien can also be experienced by those who are accustomed to any routine and learning to adapt and grow into a new set of routines. Military members transitioning out of service often can experience this sense of feeling like an alien again in their home country after being out of country for years. The transitioning phase constitutes a period where one has to relearn the old culture again after adopting new cultures and customs.

Getting good at any particular routine in life has its pros and cons. The better you get, the more effective you are, but at the same time the more you become extremely prone to prejudice and dismissive of other habits and routines. This is what happens to Elitists as they assume a very narrow view on life in favoring of living in a bubble and absorbing themselves in their own routines of day to day life.

These are still very terrestrial concerns in adopting to new lifestyle, geographic cultures, and daily habits. No matter how good things on Earth can be, there will always be greater elsewhere in the Universe. What if one were to adopt an even more alien approach in viewing life? Why not be an Alien for a day?

Thought Experiment:

  1. What if you could live a day thinking about how you would look at the Earth and its people if you ruled this Solar System?
  2. Would you have the same day-to-day worries as that of other mortals such as yourself and others in your life?
  3. Why would you ever shift back to being a human-being after gaining a more Universal perspective?
  4. What would it feel like if you can jump into higher dimensions and experience more more dimensions of sensory experience?

You will soon realize that the human body and mind is rather limited. We are also rather limited to behaving in petty ways because it is easy to be dragged into being more of a petty human than it is being a more superior extraterrestrial being.

On Earth they say that you can be understood by the five (5) closest friends to you. If your best five (5) friends were Aliens from other worlds, each possessing different and unique knowledge and experiences of the Universe, what would your life be like? The knowledge and wisdom gained from that experience can be extraordinary!

Examples to Think on:

  1. How would you describe the inside of a dog’s mouth of an Alien? (Feynman)
  2. Would what makes you feel happy make an Alien happy? Same for sadness?
  3. What is your highest achievement as a human-being and do you think this has any value to the Alien?
  4. What is the Alien’s highest level of achievement and can you comprehend why that achievement is so highly valued?

Above examples should give you an idea of the exercise. How you can think like an Alien from outside of our world and routines is up to you. Try daily to adopt a higher order perspective in the Universe and laugh at our current daily concerns and worries. Most likely the Alien doesn’t care.

Comic version of above Exercise:

  1. For a day, think like Superman as Bruce Wayne.
  2. For a day, think like Batman as Clark Kent.
  3. Rinse and repeat.

Participation or Collaboration is also another great way to cross over barriers and bridge gaps.

A friendly game of Basketball

See you in Space, Cowboy!

Paper Tiger Logic – Three (3) Reasons Why Highly Educated People are actually Stupid!

by: Heero Yuy

Preface: I’m going to rag on Asians, especially Chinese, because I can, it is a suitable stereotype, and because I am Asian and Chinese so I can do it as much as I like. Tough.

Educated people are the worst. According to the Father of Alternating Currents, Nikola Tesla, “Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment.” Erudite individuals often abuse their enlightened minds to persuade others into schemes for which they cannot comprehend in order to exercise confirmation bias to achieving one’s own agenda. These people indeed are the worst. While these individuals may be intelligent, they are exceeding dumb because they are not enlightened but just educated idiots.

Asians, especially Chinese, are some of the dumbest people I know. Forgive them because they know not what they do. Their parents told them stories of stories of people who are better than everyone else because of a lineage of Ancient and Wise philosophers from many Moons ago. If there is a thing of Generational Wealth, then it is safe to say that there is also something called Generational Wisdom. As Asians, we are blessed with Generational Wisdom because there were so many of us and we systematically survived a lot of iterations. Generational Wisdom can make people feel entitled to not DO anything because the previous Generations have done it all. Therefore, all one has to do is sit back and let the crowd of “wise” individuals validate a concept, idea, or person and then simply nod in agreement. (link to Boston.com’s article on pitfalls of crowd-sourcing and bias from online reviews) Baring from fake news, deception, and other charlatan tactics, this might be the most effective way to save one’s effort and outsource thinking to the masses. But what if that weren’t the case at all? What if YOU had to think for once? Uhoh… Get ready, Paper Tigers, because you are in for a wild ride.

Everyone knows that Chinese are supremely Elitist and ostentatious when considered as whole; Ivy League Education, Employee or CEO/President/VP/etc of Major Companies, and iPhone using Louis Vuitton handbag carrying individuals. Asians also encourage their offsprings to think in this way and to disregard anyone who is substandard in comparison to their social caste as people who are “beneath” them are intrinsically a waste of time. By beneath I mean anyone who has:

  1. Lower Education
  2. Lower Networth
  3. Lower Social Status/Rank
  4. Lower Bling Bling (Cars, Yachts, Houses, Jets, Clothes, Materialism, etc)
  5. Lower or non-existent on the Forbes 100 List

Reason#1 – Need for Crowd Validation:

Let’s examine Alibaba’s Jack Ma. No one cares about Jack Ma before his company went IPO as indicated here:

https://www.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=jack%20ma

But now Jack Ma is a household name. Before Jack Ma was successful he was hailed as a failure and now the media worships him like a hero. Quite the change!

When you ask Chinese what they think about Jack Ma before he is the man he is today they would be dismissive, reprehensive, or probably be glued to some Chinese-Drama on XYZ Channel without a care in the world. Now, when Jack Ma makes headlines, Chinese love him without question. Why? Jack was crowd validated and Forbe 100 certified. Without even looking up from their regular dose of Chinese-Drama, the answer, as per Generational Wisdom, is Jack is King. Easy, right? Wrong!

There are in fact hundreds of thousands of Jack Ma’s in the world, all equally hard working if not more so, all using the same if not similar techniques to tackle challenging problems, but only one Jack Ma made it and the rest are not THAT successful in comparison. Chinese glorify the story of the MOST successful while dismissing those of anyone “LESSER.” If the same message was said by Jack Ma and that of Jack Ma clones who didn’t make it, the Chinese will listen to the former and totally dismiss the latter and also remark that the latter is a complete loser and opinion irrelevant until they make something of their lives.

Reason #2: Worship Elitism and Fall to Pettiness:

This sure makes anyone preaching ANYTHING to the Chinese rather difficult under this philosophy of worshiping only the absolute top Elitists. Similarly, if this is applied to their own weaknesses, they would then become defensive and dismissive. Chinese are not particularly good at receiving it as much as they love dishing it out. For instance, one can argue that if the child were not successful then the parents are idiots and the grandparents are idiots as well, ad infinitum. Children who are clever can play this game with their parents and make them feel equally worthless under the Elitist system. If the child is not successful that means the parents could be better, the parents lack the resolve to improve themselves and therefore are not the most fit or Elite parents, and therefore unworthy to parent any kid let alone their own. If that were the case, then the parents need to find ways to hire other Elitist parents who are better than them and fall on their swords to save face because the child is ruined by lackluster environment and resources. No one wants to be told they suck themselves but the Chinese love to tell each other how much others suck. Ever wonder why a race of people never really got anywhere after thousands of years? It’s primarily because of this Generational Wisdom and maintaining this cancerous mentality of pettiness through thousands of years that leaves us with the righteous title of Chinese or Middle-Kingdom’s people or those that will never evolve to higher societies and will always be fending off surrounding Barbarians.

Why am I hating on Chinese so much? It illustrates my point and that the culture of Elitism is very much flawed. Natural learning that was supposed to happen to make people aware of the fact that they need to be more empathetic and sympathetic in understanding of others were silenced in favoring of blindly worshiping Elitists. If Jack Ma told everyone to jump off a cliff tomorrow then a lot of people will without question because it is Jack Ma, man!

Reason #3: Failure to actually be Educated:

Majority of Chinese interpret Education as a means of leveling up individual skills to get an ever higher paycheck in performing a high-skill based job and remaining pacified living a middle-class life. Education is for work only and work is for making a living. Education was supposed to be an enlightening experience to understand life better but many Chinese aren’t affording the luxury of understanding because they are too busy conforming to test taking and climbing the social status ladder. True understanding requires meditation for which is in short supply these days.

After exiting a rather dictatorial rule of Mao post Cultural Revolution, the Chinese mindset is that society and its systems are always right and the Government is absolute. Teachers and coaches have to be obeyed without question because they were appointed into those positions of authority by the Elitists due to their supreme qualifications and the system is supposed to work all the time without error. It’s a shame to have this mindset because the system in fact is flawed by construction and people who put people into positions most of the time do not have any clue what they are doing. That’s why mistakes happen, that’s why life is full of surprises.

It is much easier to have absolute belief and faith in the system without question and much harder to question everything and test ones understanding. Chinese love to do the former and fail often to do the latter. This is why they can be easily pre-suaded to buying dumb shit like Louis Vuitton bags and every edition of the Apple iPhone even though Huawei, Samsung, and LG make better phones at a lower price point and also run on a better platform called Android.

Paper Tigers are horrible creatures because they (1) live off of crowd validation, (2) worship elitism and at the same time fall to pettiness, and (3) lack a true understanding of education to think independently for themselves. Next time when you run into some “smart” Asian that says, “well, the Ancient Asian Philosopher said….” Hit them back with, “Well, what do YOU say?” They will try to cite a bunch of sources and use confirmation bias to bolster their original thesis, wait for this annoying display of “Education” to end, and then repeat once more, “That’s fantastic. Without citing references and quoting others, what do you genuinely feel about this issue or topic?” If you’ve always felt Asians were introverted and calm you will be in for a real treat as you witness full-on Paper Tiger Panic. Enjoy!