My last post was on January 23rd. It’s currently February 9th, making it…one second here for the math…17 days since I wrote it. Two and a half weeks. Two and a half weeks that I would love to go back and do over.
That’s a bit melodramatic, since I came out of the GameStop fiasco far from worse for the wear. However, I learned a very valuable lesson. When you are fucking with hedge funds, don’t roll most of your profits into OTM calls that expire the next day. While this may seem like an easy way to maximize your leverage, you may find yourself a mere hour later discovering that nearly all major brokerages have shut down purchasing for retail investors.
That’s right, the hedge funds went mask-off.
But oh, those heady days of Tuesday and Wednesday. See, shortly before everything went sideways, my account looked like this:
That’s right. Three point two million dollars. That’s where it peaked. If my options had been on a brokerage that allowed pre-market trading, their value would have put my account at about $5m and I would have sold. I had decided to sell on Thursday morning as soon as the stock price hit its pre-market level, which it was well on its way to doing when Robinhood and the rest pulled the rug out from under us.
So to answer your question, past Brie: congratulations! You DID become a millionaire! Briefly.
Still, as I said before, I certainly can’t complain. After the dust had settled, I had a few hundred thousand dollars in my pocket and a gleam in my eye that was from more than just the mania that chronic insomnia and life changing amounts of money will generate in a person. It took me a while to process the fact that I’d just watched $2.8m disappear from my life, but I’ve come away from the experience with valuable perspective. And a few hundred thousand dollars.
All of this means that I won’t be able to retire early and do whatever I want forever. So it goes. However, during the couple of days when it looked like that was the way that things were going to go, one of the first questions that I had to ask myself was whether I wanted to continue working at my current job.
In that moment, without the allure of my current salary and growth opportunities, I finally admitted just how badly I wanted to quit. I was ecstatic to finally be free of it. And going back? Opening up that laptop and going back to trying to overcome two years of burnout? I was miserable. You can’t put the realization of how burned out you are on a job back in the box once that awareness is loose.
Then, I caught up with Stephen DeBerry.
Flash back to 2017. It was the height of the crypto craze and I had yet to finally break things off with Rich (girl for real why are you with him he’s like a walking consent violation). I had gotten him into it so hard that he bought a bunch of machines, turning his garage into a mining operation, and he had a connection in venture capital who was interested in brainstorming opportunities to use crypto in the interest of social good. Naturally, he brought to dinner.
The evening was filled with fascinating information, though Rich dominated most of the conversation with Stephen. He had made a big deal about the fact that Stephen was Very Important, and it was obvious that Rich wanted to show off his knowledge. Is there a trace of annoyance in my tone here? Maybe. His self-obsession is painfully obvious in retrospect (who brags about your teenage hacking exploits in your Fetlife profile?!). But anyway. The other guy present was a 4chan dipshit like myself who had gotten into Bitcoin much earlier, ran a crypto hedge fund, and seemed a tiny bit actually crazy, so he and I got along well and spent most of the night chatting.
Stephen and I connected towards the end of the night, though. From the moment we started talking one on one, it was obvious that we were kin. You know that feeling that you get with some people? Vonnegut dubbed it a “karass” in Cat’s Cradle. Also known as “my people”. When we were done talking, he insisted that we visit in Marin sometime and have dinner with his family.
I’ll never forget telling Rich about our invitation afterwards and his subsequent response. “He invited you for dinner with his family? He’s never invited me to dinner with his family…” Motherfucker pouted. lol
Here comes the kicker, though. A month later, Rich and I broke up. I stayed friends with Stephen on Facebook and commented frequently on his posts because they were the only worthwhile content on my feed most days, but I was in a bad place for a long time afterward and I assumed that me popping up out of nowhere after meeting once through my ex-boyfriend wouldn’t land well.
I was wrong. Frankly, it was rude for me to do Stephen the disservice of assuming he’d simply forget strong connection. After reading a couple of posts that I had made about the GameStop squeeze, Stephen reached out with a simple message, “Yo! It has been ages. What’s up girl?“
We ended up getting virtual coffee and he filled me in on a project that he’s working on and that he’d like help making a reality. Short summary is that he manages about a billion dollars in funds and wants to build a massive source of collective capital that can be wielded to interrupt oppressive markets. He had some specific ideas in that regard as well, ideas that I won’t mention here but that made a lot of sense, and we spent the half an hour of conversation in intense, excited discussion.
Walking away, I felt lit up. Electric. Vibrating with a new idea that I wanted to run with and research and build. That’s when a series of realizations slammed into me:
Realization 1: I haven’t felt like this in a long time.
Realization 2: I used to feel like this a lot.
Realization 3: I can’t keep working this job.
Realization 4: I may not have made the kind of life changing money that I could have made from GameStop, but I did make life changing money. Money that could fund…oh…taking a year off to work with Stephen and focus on building the skills that actually interest me so that I can finally take the steps in my career that I’ve been wanting to take for years.
There’s one more kicker. Remember that cottage that I was moving into? Of course you remember, you’re me. Forgive me, you know how I need to pretend there’s an external audience to get the storytelling tone right. Anyway, someone suggested that I do one thing to splurge and celebrate my success, and I decided to rent out the junior one bedroom connected to our unit, to use as an exercise room and office. We’ve got the whole duplex to ourselves, and that room is going to be my sanctuary! I’m so stoked. And relieved, after discovering just how much you can hear through the wall.
Home again, home again. So to sum up the events of the past month: I briefly became a multimillionaire because of GameStop stocks, quit my job, joined the head of a VC fund to try to break the system with money and love, and moved into the cottage of my dreams.
Not bad for a few weeks.