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Taha Ashtiani

Searching for EV in the tails.

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About me

My name is Taha. I currently live in Toronto, working on data projects. I am interested in building simple and reliable data products for solving hard problems. I am also interested in building quantitative models for systems with uncertainty in them (read financial markets). Lately I’ve been spending my time outside of work on quantitative trading research, reading research and implementing research tooling. I also enjoy playing poker, reading and bouldering.

Here’s a list of some of the things I tend to think about when working on projects:

  • It’s important to do things fast
    • slow is fake
    • doing things faster leaves no time for things that don’t really matter
    • people burnout when they don’t feel the momentum
  • Energy matters
    • does the thing you’re working on draw energy or add energy
    • regularly check-in and make sure people are excited, if not understand why
    • make changes if things don’t feel right
  • What not to build
    • what you say no to and don’t build is as important as what end up building
    • code needs to be maintained, and it costs you. (so write less and don’t write garbage code)
    • get into the habit of picking up slack all the time
    • don’t build something people don’t love or not going to use ( always think in “product market fit” terms)
  • Smaller teams are better
    • less meetings, more actual work
    • faster decision making
    • faster feedback loops
  • Mistakes are not bad (as long as you correct for them fast)
    • often experimentation works better than thinking about things for too long
    • your goal is not avoiding mistakes
    • be okay with risk of downside, when there’s good upside (think expected values)
    • when you catch one of these mistakes be okay with climbing down and correcting for it