VHP of the Week: Nikki Yu

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Delivering Happiness, VHPDH: Share a bit about yourself and where you're from.

Nikki: Who am I? (Taken from my blog) I’m just one of the millions of nameless, faceless traders.  The market doesn’t know who I am, nor does it care who I am.  I do not have an apparent or obviously special gift for trading the markets.  In many respects, I’m indistinguishable from other guys.

Technically, I never really try to reveal my real self in the public space, because I just want people reading my blog to view my investment ideas as objective as possible, and not much on who’s writing the ideas.  Prior to my facelesstrader blog, I used to write as Dimsum Trader.  Dimsum Trader blog still exists as an archive.  The one I continually update is Faceless Trader.

My Faceless Trader blog is really a “niche” blog in that it focuses and caters mainly to Filipinos who want to learn more about Philippine equity markets.  I’m active in most social trading forums existing in the Philippines such as Finance Manila, StockMarketPilipinas, Market Mirror to name a few.

Other than trading, I’ve found myself a staunch volunteer of several social entrepreneurship programs here in the Philippines (but more particularly to two groups : Yellow Boat community which is being spearheaded by Mr. Jay Jaboneta and Dr. Anton Lim (a group that helps determined children who swim just to go to school, to be given yellow boats as a symbol of a new hope) and Gawad Kalinga-Center for Social Innovation, a social entrepreneurship grassroots incubator in the Philippines that actively meets twice/thrice a week to encourage Filipinos to be social entrepreneurs themselves.

I am particularly inspired with the movie “Freedom Writers” and a Benjamin Franklin Quote “Do something worth writing or write something worth doing", my current project/challenge is writing a book about the several social grassroots movements here in the Philippines that are sprouting up and transforming the Philippine landscape.  People to note in the book are the Yellow Boat Community (Jay Jaboneta), Hapinoy (Mark Ruiz), Jacinto & Lirio (Noreen Bautista), Isang Litrong Liwanag (Illac Diaz) etc.  I’m a member of Freelance Writers of the Philippines.

I also am working on developing a small project called “Philippine Book Exchange” and will launch it with my book reviews blog Miss Bento Books whose essential aim is providing an avenue for more Filipinos to enjoy reading and gaining more access to a wider variety of books through the same concepts of the stock market (directly exchanging books instead of stocks), as well as more thorough reviews, discussions and conversations similar to online and offline book clubs.  Philippines still has a long way to go compared to most developed countries in appreciating the many possibilities that books offers in their lives.

Fast Facts: My real name is Nikki Yu, a Filipino-Chinese, living in Manila, Philippines and just turned 25 last Sept 10.  Officially, I’m a proprietary trader for Hong Kong and Philippine Equities market.  I’ve been with the same company (www.CitisecOnline.com) for the past 3 ½ years.  Prior to the brokerage firm, I used to work as a marketing assistant for ING Private Bank.   My hobby of simply blogging about trading evolved itself into me becoming a freelance writer about my three fields of interests (Social Entrepreneurship, Business Books and Trading.)

DH: Tell us about your business or the company where you work, and how you got started.

Nikki: How I got started- I actually wrote a really long article reflecting my decision on trading full time as a career here - but basically, Michael Lewis somehow summarizes my feelings with how I got started in trading.

Why I Chose Trading Full Time As A Career? I certainly had no fixed idea of what to do when I graduated from college, and Wall Street paid the most for what I could do, which was nothing.” – Michael Lewis, Liar’s Poker

DH: How do you deliver happiness to your employees, customers and/or colleagues?

Nikki: Initially, I actually felt a little bit sad upon contemplating about the end goal of trading in itself, if as Gordon Gecko does put it… is just simply making millions out of nothing.  It just seems a challenging poker game with other traders, a cut throat business where one’s essentially just in front of a computer screen without much interaction with the world.  These are all true UNTIL social media and the Internet opened wider doors to a lively Filipino trading community.  I suppose, one of the real driving forces that has enabled me to stay in the game and to feel more empowered to do my part on educating the greater public about the nature of equity markets particularly in my domains of expertise (Philippines and Hong Kong)  is the fact that I’m able to help Filipinos take a hold of their financial literacy, and make sure that there’s a high quality of financial education available to anyone who desires to learn for free.

My Advocacies are more plainly written in www.dimsumtrader.wordpress.com

I’m just continuing it in a more anonymous fashion in www.facelesstrader.wordpress.com

*By the way, the reason why I essentially had to keep myself anonymous was partly because CitisecOnline is the Philippines largest brokerage firm, and I’ve only recently learned that we are not allowed to disclose any of our views to the investment public, as it could be misconstrued to represent our own company’s, even if we (CitisecOnline employees) vehemently say otherwise.  This is the primary reason why I write my thoughts hiding under a guy’s identity (although, I suppose hiding a secret identity in social media wouldn’t quite last as long.)

DH: How did you discover the Delivering Happiness Movement?

Nikki: My friend Rick Passo added me in the group.  I never really even met Rick in person, but somehow, his active involvement in Gawad Kalinga’s Center for Social Innovation (GK-CSI) spurred me to learn more about social entrepreneurship.  I’ve always been a big advocate of education (whether it be financial literacy or more general education such as what Salman Khan already does). 

Note: GK-CSI is a grassroots social entrepreneurship incubator in the Philippines that has several linkages with my college university (Ateneo de Manila). 

DH: What about DH, the book and/or the movement, inspires you the most?

Nikki: The most memorable lines in DH that really inspired me were partly Tony Hsieh’s learnings when he was trying to apply poker parallels in how he ran his business and the several quotes that he took from the book.   Let me try to outline them below: (Highlights are all mine)

 1.) The Revelation of Doing Something Important and More Fulfilling: “I’d realized that whether in poker, business or life, that it was easy to get caught up and engrossed in what I was currently doing, and that made it easy to forget that I always had the option to change tables.  Psychologically, it’s hard because of all the inertia to overcome.  Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins.  I’d started to force myself to think again about what I was trying to get out of life.  I asked myself what I was trying to accomplish, what I wanted to do, and whether I should be sitting at a different table.  From my poker experience, I knew it was never too late to change tables.  I realized that once I had learned the basics of poker, I wasn’t really building anything by spending endless hours in casinos playing the game.  I realized that I needed to be doing something more fulfilling and that maybe I was no longer playing the right game.  After what felt like an intensive summer fling with the game of poker, I decided it was time for me to move on to something new.  It was time for me to change tables.” (pages 68-69)

 2.) Connectedness: "Without realizing it, we’d created and developed our own tribe, and the most common meeting point became the loft that I lived in.  The connectedness we felt was making all of us happier, and we realized that it was something that we had all missed from our college days." (page 76)

3.) Building Relationships: "If you are able to figure out how to be truly interested in someone you meet, with the goal of building up a friendship instead of trying to get something out of that person, the funny thing is that almost always, something happens later down the line that ends up benefitting either your business or yourself personally." (Page 81)

4.) Be a Creator: “Envision, create and believe in your own universe, and the universe will form around you. “ (Page 84)

5.) Being Humble: “Be humble: in the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, but in the exper’s mind there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki

6.) Sharing: "Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared." - Buddha

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – H.S. Truman

DH: Did DH nudge you towards making any changes in your life? If so, tell us more.

Nikki: Above quotes really made me think more concretely about what I want to do with my life, whether I should just simply focus on  continuing being the best possible trader for myself, or going into an entirely different field where I can see myself contributing more and becoming happier.  I found myself being a financial educator, writer and social entrepreneurship volunteer (whether as a writer or perhaps in the future, my own business as well).  Here’s what I wrote in my blog:

Call me strange, call me weird, call me unreasonable.  I hope to use this financial blog as a communication means to share the possibilities of using your money to create, invest, venture, support or help fund social businesses.

DH: Why is happiness important to you?

Nikki: I don’t know why happiness shouldn’t be important to anyone.  Is there anything higher than that? I don’t know any other higher goal in life than to find oneself in the company of others, experiencing the beauty and potential of using their own lives for the benefit of others.  In a way, happiness is just an enlightened self-interest.  Creating happiness for others creates happiness for oneself.

“Happiness does not primarily come from within but, rather, from between.” – Jonathan Haidt

DH: What's your advice to someone who wants to start making happiness a priority but doesn't know where to begin?

Nikki: I’d share the “Power of Small” by Robin Koval and Linda Thaler.  This has been a very powerful book to me in conjunction with Tony Hsieh’s “Delivering Happiness”.  I think we should just simply overcome that fear of trying to change the world, and making a difference in big waves.  I wrote this in my post “The Power of Small”

I’m a trader, helping other traders.  I’m a child helping other children.  There’s a world that needs fixing, a career waiting to soar, a life ready to be transformed into the extraordinary.  I’m just taking the first small step, and trying to keep on walking on that path.

Writing is my small way.  One smile, one photograph, one letter, one artwork.  Individual powers can never be underestimated.  Contribute and submit any story, work, idea etc as we collectively make our own small part to making big ripples in this day and age.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams

DH: What’s your favorite happy and/or inspirational quote?

Nikki: A candle loses nothing lighting another candle. – Woodie

DH: What's something weird that makes you happy?

Nikki: I’m happy whenever my cousin Freyah smiles and plays Apple Ipad with me. :D

Here’s a picture of me and my cousin.

delivering happiness, nikki lu

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