Editor's Note: Ever wonder about the inception of Hedgeye? How it all started?
Our Founder & CEO Keith McCullough's memoir Diary Of A Hedge Fund Manager written in 2009 chronicles the life and insights McCullough learned on his way "from the top, to the bottom, and back again." Below is a free excerpt.
By the start of 2002, I was trading.
Russell Herman gave me responsibility for a “carve-out” percentage of the Southport Millennium Fund. Although informal, non-audited, and only a small piece of the overall fund, it was still tens of millions of dollars.
Frankly, I was both nervous and thrilled to be playing with live ammo, but more than anything I was psyched for a clear-cut, apolitical, put-up-or-shut-up opportunity to prove myself. I would have discretion over my own trades and be paid on the performance of my P&L. I could make some real money. Maybe even a million dollars. My chance to make it as a hedge fund manager, or to embarrass myself, had arrived.
As it turned out, the secret to managing money was having money to manage. Now that I was running a piece of Herman’s Southport Millennium Fund, I worked longer and harder than I ever have in my life.
I got up earlier, too.
I was always up by 5:30 A.M., but now I started to whittle my wake-up time down into the 4:45 vicinity, no later than 5 A.M. I traveled more, attended impossibly more conferences, more management meetings. I was a road warrior, a freakishly frequent flyer; seriously, I must have done 200 management meetings in 2002. (I would set a personal record two years later with 256 meetings in a 12-month period.)
I engrossed myself in the markets (and not just my narrow sector) with invigorated fervor. I read everything, papers, magazines, biographies, white papers, anything that told me about the world beyond my reach, challenged my assumptions, using plane trips to catch up on materials I collected like a pack rat in freebie canvas conference bags.
My hockey philosophy kicked in full force. I clung to the concept that only harder work could separate me from the rest of the pack.
Mostly, though, I didn’t want to be wrong.
I absolutely hated losing.