Who am I? I’m a guy with a lot of passion for learning billions of things with not enough time to do it. With the broad strokes, I’m someone that has two master’s degrees (MS Cybersecurity, MBA) and a bachelor’s in IT. My passions these days are all over the place, but I wanted to attract potentially a broader type of audience to this.
At a quick glance, I like learning and understanding how things work. Puzzles, if you will. Just about everything you do in life has a “best practices” document somewhere, a standard operating procedure – I like to find the gray areas where people have not gone and add to best practices.
My most recent interests have gone towards stocks and investments. Why? Well, I also describe myself as a wannabe futurist like Michio Kaku. I loved watching him on TV all the time talk about what is to come. It’s thought provoking. I used to have conversations like that with my friends in high school, and I miss having those kinds of discussions with people. But what happened to me was a dissonance started happening. Things I was seeing and hearing – and coming to conclusions on were different than what was being covered by the news. 2-4 weeks later, like clockwork, suddenly every news outlet got into lockstep. This didn’t happen once, it happened like 6 times over the last 6 months or so.
I have written about many of them here in my blogs.
Here’s what would happen in high school – I’d discuss things I’d see, my friends would think it was cool. They would then give their opinion. Next thing you know, we’re an hour or two deep into futurist conversations.
Here’s how my conversations go today with people in my life:
- Nate, that’s ridiculous. It would never happen
- Nate, stop talking about this. You’re annoying me and you have no idea what you are talking about.
- Nate, shut up already.
- ***Thing I predicted, happens****
- Nate, it’s nothing like you said it would be
- “Guys – I sort of called this play by play”
- Nate, shut up. No one likes a braggart.
- Nate, you’re an idiot.
So – that’s my universe of friends today. Love them dearly, but they are not much for tinkering with world events.
I decided to see if I could use some of my crystal ball abilities to make a few bucks. In another life, perhaps I was some form of analyst for the CIA or hedge fund. So I like to write about a lot of things in my life where I see how things are playing out – and a few here and there get it.
I took my passions for learning and spent 10.5 years in college. In fact, my first college class I was 11 years old at Reading Area Community College doing BASIC programming. I was extremely happy writing long graduate papers where I could apply things I saw in my fields and could apply book knowledge and models to them. My senior thesis for my MBA, if you will, was a 125 page marketing paper on Tesla. We had to pick an industry, a company, and develop a marketing plan to enter a BRICS+16 country. I had picked automotive, Tesla, and South Korea. Loved that research. In my 6.5 years of graduate school, I probably wrote 100 papers that were 10 pages or longer, with most being around 20 pages. If you’ve seen my blog, you know I can write crazy long posts in a short time.
I watched “The Big Short” a few years back, and loved it. Michael Burry shorted the housing market and made lots of money. I was in a macro economics class in 2003 and also saw the housing problem. The difference is, I had NO idea how to make money from it. He did. I saw things. I had ideas. But I wasn’t connected with people who knew how to execute on them.
In 1999, I went to an inventor firm in King of Prussia. My idea was called “cyber CD”. You had a warehouse of servers, and people paid $1 for a song to “own” it. They would be added to a security group. They would go to a website and build playlists and mark their favorite songs. They would then be able to listen to their lists by the MAC address of the device via satellite. The firm told me there was nothing they could do unless I had a working prototype. “Sorry, I don’t have a satellite in my back yard”. So the idea was sort of shelved. This later became satellite radio. I also took this idea and instead of music, it was movies. This was called “Cyber DVD”. This later became Netflix streaming video.
So – I feel I’m seeing things around that make sense. The problem is, my ideas aren’t able to be executed into making money.
These days, I’ve taken some of what I’ve seen and am working on a few plays.
- Silver and precious metals – I wrote a blog recently on the 8 ways you can get in on the action. This does not involve having lots of precious metals at your house and creating security issues.
- Oil – about a month ago, I saw crude oil collapse. I bought. And bought. I predicted exactly how this would turn out, in a short time. It did. Now, it’s just a matter of how quickly the oil prices start to move up.
- Uranium – this is a much longer play. I’m going to be accumulating here and there with some proceeds. This has a potential to spring up in 2022-2023 but I do not want to commit resources today to a side moving stock.
- Cruise lines – I’m on the fence on this. I bought some Norwegian at like 11-12 and options. It was 60 before all of this happened. Cruise lines have debt issues, and smaller cruise lines may indeed fold. Maybe the new normal for these is only 20. But this was worth a shot.
- Retail – I don’t like the sector, at all, but a buddy found value in one and it’s moved a lot. I can’t take any credit for this one at all, but something I’m looking at. While options may have problems with Q2 results, some of these could be a good 1-2 year hold.
- Airlines – I haven’t touched these, at all. While some may come back strong, airlines also have debt issues. However, there may be one that rises from the ashes. Who had the best books and practices before this? Who can lean out the best and restructure their debt better?
Lastly – I had used a lot of my brain power to solve my obesity issue. All of you constantly hear about calories in, calories out. And…”move more, eat less”. I was the most athletic fat guy on the planet. So, I spent a lot of brain power to solve my obesity issue. I spent hundreds of hours researching, and I lost 175 pounds over 3 years. I did my first triathlon this past summer.
With all of that said, this site was named after the kind of person I wanted to be. I wish I could have lived in a time where you could pursue all of your interests like a DaVinci. I was voted “most musical” in high school for my trumpet playing and had quite a few small paying gigs mostly ranging from churches to musical pit orchestras. I played in the World Open of Chess in 1991 at the age of 15 or so, finishing 11th in my section at 5-2-1. I am avidly into technology, and as mentioned, had my first college class at 11. I was a pretty good athlete where I had been named team captain on some of my baseball teams, had a brief cup of coffee as 4th flight on my college tennis team before being thrown off for pledging my fraternity, wrestled, played football, rec league basketball, karate, golf, bowling (227 is my top score!!), softball, hiking, biking (up to 45 miles!), running (4 5ks and my long distance at the moment is 8 miles), swimming, triathlon (did my first spint tri last summer). Also – can you tell I like writing? Some reading is fun, but I go more towards the learning genre than the fiction just because I love movies. Oh yeah, I’ve seen like 3000 movies too.
In my career field, I manage a rather large organization in IT covering networking, cyber, desktop support, systems/server administration. My personal passions are more geared towards automation. I did a lot of scripting over 15 years or so to make things happen silently, without the user knowing about it. These were more towards cyber defensive tactics. I had felt I could be a pretty good architect of defensive cyber security software that takes a lot of what I know and rolls it into operation. I’d make a fortune. While I have had many programming classes, programming is not my thing. Design? BSAD? Perhaps. I had felt I could devise an AI of sorts that was able to make determinations as to what security posture a given machine should have based on a decision matrix and groups. BAM. Instead, all of these massive pieces of software are clunky, have massive databases, and others just take over the processing on your machine and it makes your machine unusable while it’s doing it’s thing.
That being said, and of you hedge fund managers out there that are hiring, give me a ring 🙂
Lastly – I spent 2 years trying to get into the military with a direct commission. Again, people were like, “Nate, you’re stupid”. The absolute hate mail that I received was astounding. First, I grew up as a child wanting to be a general in the Army. That was my thing as a small child. I always wanted to lead clubs. Be a captain of a sports team. Have the highest grades. Be the smartest in the room. My chess showed I had a feel for strategy and tactics. Like other things in my life – I saw an objective, but not a clear and concise way to get there. In my field, I have run into some generals. They are absolutely impressive individuals. Every last one of them. Maybe I would have ever made it to O-4 in my life, but it was still something to try to achieve.
It was my goal to be in the military. My dad was an anti-war hippie who had friends die in Vietnam. My mom talked negatively about it my whole life. My friends went ROTC. I was the “fat kid athlete”. Still – I said, ok, maybe I can do the FBI or be a cop? Freshman year in college and took a puff of a joint, and there goes the FBI. Still – I thought about it. Because I wanted to then be a police officer, I wanted to take a semester off of college and join the Army Reserves. One of my scholarships forbid it. My mom “forbid it”. After college, I tried talking with my buddy about joining as an officer, and well…by this time I was 330 pounds with no hope of ever losing weight.
I lost 175 pounds, and they changed the laws a few years ago to let people who are older in. They created a cyber direct commissioned officer in the Army, and an Information Professional (IP) officer in the Navy. Still – I had lost the weight, but now fighting recruiters over age. The laws changed, but their policies hadn’t rolled down. Eventually, they did!! I applied to the DC for Cyber in the Army, and out of 500 applicants, I was one of 11 interviewed.
The Army was where I wanted to go, mostly, due to USCYBERCOM at Ft. Meade about 90 mins from my house. If deployed, I’d probably be deployed there. Unfortunately, the job itself seemed to be offensive cyber operations and high level programming. I’m a defensive cyber guy and it was a long shot. I did not pass the interview, unfortunately.
With the Navy – this was EXTREMELY similar to what I do with my current job. My problem was weight. I needed to get under 200 pounds or so in order to go for the weigh in and measurements. I had been working with a recruiter for a year, filled out all the waivers, paperwork….PAPERWORK. Oh yeah….MORE PAPERWORK. Every medical thing you could imagine. Weeks of paperwork. As I was approaching my low weight, I touched base with my recruiter who then said, “you’re too old”. I had had multiple conversations with him, filled out the paperwork with this, and it wasn’t an issue. 8 months later, dude acts like he doesn’t know me. He’s moving on, and handing me off to a new recruiter. At this time, my mom is in late stages of pancreatic cancer and me and the wife just conceived. Had I worked with the new recruiter and he reviewed my file, I felt there was a strong chance I’d be picked for the IP. There was a 1/6 statistical odd on paper when I checked the numbers. Given this is what I did for a living and had the below certifications and 2 master’s degrees, I felt I would have been damned good at it. Timing is everything in life. The timing just didn’t work out. The Navy IP was EXACTLY what I could have done to contribute to my service to the country. Interestingly, I was poked fun at for wanting to pursue it. I just don’t get people sometimes. If you’ve read this far, you know I feel a certain way about my abilities and competencies. What part of any of it doesn’t make me a capable military officer? I got a lot of feedback essentially where the military rank and file hate direct commissions as whole. That’s a different conversation.
I just wanted to be a military officer from the time I was maybe 4 or 5. Would play with army men and tanks in my back yard for hours. It was a dream of mine. Because of my obesity issues, I was preventing from joining the traditional way. Later in life, I was able to overcome obesity, and the only way I could join over 40 was a direct commission. Some really supported me. The vast majority scoffed.
This is the world we live in, unfortunately, and a lot of people go through life listening to this negative feedback loop. I’m hear to tell you to tell all of them to fuck off. Listen to your passions. Listen to your heart. Do what feels right. Do the right thing, even when no one is looking. Even if you are ridiculed. Character is you being true to you. What I have found in life as a contrarian is that you need to listen to your gut more often than not. Most people are conditioned to think in herd mentality. It’s the “safe play”. Think about it. For hundreds of thousands of years, humans needed to exist in groups in order to survive. For food…security…partnership…reproduction. If the “herd” feels a certain way, you risk alienation from the herd if you are a contrarian. This risk avoidance is bred into us.
But I dare ask you – the Michael Burrys of the world who are worth $300 million and bet against the housing market. Did they follow herd mentality?
I would posit that the ONLY way humankind moves forward in technology, culture, math, science – is the contrarians of the herd are able to forge new paths.
Buddy Ryan was my Eagles coach in the late 80s. He once said, as head coach, “if you listen to the fans in the stands, you will be sitting with them soon enough”. This was a big picture concept of listening to your gut.
If I had another 5 lifetimes, here’s what else I’d pursue:
- math (actuary science)
- astrophysics – astronomy
- how the f to work for a hedge fund
- professional athlete
- military officer – Information technology
- law (JD)
- orchestra musician with my trumpet
- professional chess player (when I retire, I plan on getting more involved with this until I pass)
- full time triathlete
For career inquiries –
I possess the following degrees:
- B.S. Informatics (1998)
- M.S. Cybersecurity (2012)
- MBA (2016)
I possess the following certifications:
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA server 2008)
- Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE server 2012)
- Microsoft Certified Professional (NT 4.0 + enterprise)
- Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist – SCCM 2007