Khemaridh Hy, late of Wall Street, starts at 5:15 a.m. with a Snapchat selfie and a caption that says, “Time for daily practice. Be present in the now!” After 20 minutes of meditation, he heads for the elevator and posts a quote on Twitter by the philosopher Lao Tzu, the one that begins: “Stop leaving and you will arrive.” He strolls to a coffee shop and blogs about “ the number” -- the amount of money you need to amass to quit the business.
“If the number enables you to live off a bond-like profile, remember that you’re also short a put,” Hy types on his Macbook. “In the journey of life, don’t we want to be long-call options?”
Maybe it all comes off as new-age sap tinged with arcane finance jargon, and possibly indecipherable to most humans, but Hy devotees hang on every word. They figure he knows the secret: He left BlackRock Inc. when he was 35 and head of New York research at the firm’s $22 billion fund-of-hedge funds.
That was 17 months ago. Now Hy’s a preacher of sorts, his creed having to do with, as he puts it, “being your best authentic self.” He posts relentlessly on a mashup of topics, doling out advice -- take cold showers for mental resilience, eat only four units of dessert a week -- and writing expositions on, among other things, why skateboarders make good employees.
With a trifling 2,000 followers, you’d figure he’d be embarrassed. Then again, the who behind the numbers include at least one person at each of the top 60 hedge funds, representing roughly $675 billion in assets.
Among those who track him are Ross Garon, the former SAC Capital Advisors managing director who heads Point72 Asset Management’s quant business, and Mark Godvin, a partner at HBK Capital Management. Brad Katsuyama, founder of the newest U.S. equities exchange operator IEX Group Inc., urges his employees to read Hy’s website RadReads to broaden their personal insight. “Self-reflection or self-knowledge,” Katsuyama says, “is extremely important.”
There’s no shortage of people who’ve abandoned Wall Street to try something entirely new. Hy’s choice is rather unusual: the “passion project” of sharing his personal-development tour with anyone who’s interested, at no charge. He’s living off savings, though he recently generated a bit of income when a handful of hedge funds brought him in to speak to their staffs. This month, he became the inaugural entrepreneur-in-residence at Quartz, an unpaid gig. Next month, he’ll up his exposure when he gives a TEDx Talk in London.
‘Hub Of Information’
At this point, Hy certainly isn’t in the universe of a Tony Robbins or a Martha Beck or any of the other celebrity life-coaches and self-help writers. He’s not really treading new ground. Hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio, after all, has been into Transcendental Meditation for decades and attributes much of his success to it. (If you think that’s weird for a finance-world heavyweight, Bill Gross told the New York Times in 2009 that some of his greatest ideas came to him while he was standing on his head during yoga; back then, Gross was the world’s most successful bond-fund manager.)