Why Trading Is Like Tetris

Everyone loves Tetris! Of course they do – it’s a fun, intuitive game and the simple interface and quick feedback get you playing in no time at all. Play for long enough though and you’ll find yourself in a strange trance. Your brain turns into some kind of Tetris machine: in your mind’s eye you’re packing together everything around you; you see the tetrominoes fall down behind your closed eyes just before you sleep.

But no matter how much you’ve played, I’m sure you’re not as good as the person in the video below. The action starts off reasonably fast but the pace keeps building and by 4 minutes it’s quite amazing (if you’re in a hurry you might want to skip straight to that bit).

However the part you really must see is 5 minutes in. When the game “finishes” the credits start scrolling – and a secret mode starts: Invisible Tetris! Honestly, it makes me proud just to be the same species as the player. It may not be the most useful skill in the world but those talents are so far beyond mine that it seems super-human.

Aren’t these kinds of feats uplifting? How wonderful that we can do these things!

Flash Anzan

One more example, this time of a relatively new competition called “Flash Anzan“. This is really just mental arithmetic: 15 numbers are flashed up on a screen, each between 100 and 999, and you just need to add them up. The question is, how fast can you do it? Go on, have a guess. 15 numbers – twenty seconds? Ten? Five?

Here’s your answer:

Humans can add fifteen 3-digit numbers in 1.8 seconds. That’s 0.12 seconds per number – faster than the blink of an eye! The numbers change so fast I cannot even read them all (perhaps youtube or the original camera doesn’t help but still, that is a sign of how extraordinarily fast it is). Aren’t our brains wonderful?

Paid to play: Tetris

Now for a thought experiment. Imagine if you could be paid to play Tetris, but only by working at a large firm. The firm requires all employees to speak English and have a Bachelors degree or higher. In addition you need to pass some pretty tough interviews which are designed to check that you’ll “fit in”.

Do you think that this is the optimal hiring method to find the world’s best Tetris players? We certainly don’t. It’s remarkably similar to what Investment Banks and Hedge Funds do though, for the skill of trading.

That is why we built GAIN, our free game of market prediction.

GAIN

Just as anyone can play Tetris, anyone can make a prediction. Also like Tetris, we’ve spent a lot of time making GAIN as accessible and intuitive and fun as possible. You can pick it up for a minute, then come back minutes, hours or even days later and continue playing.

Unlike the firm in the thought-experiment above though, Nous doesn’t care about your background. We don’t care how old you are. We don’t care when or where you choose to play. We don’t ask you to fit in with anyone’s expectations, except your own. What we care is that you have as equal chance to win as everyone else who plays.

By making GAIN available to everyone, we believe that we will find the world’s best predictors. We will find the people whose intuition seems to be a super-human ability, just like in the videos above. People whose first step on the path to excellence was simply seizing the opportunity. People like you.

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Number Five is alive!

We’re delighted to be able to introduce the fifth member of our team, Mick Horgan. He has 15 years’ experience in web and server-side development, in Investment Banking, Telecoms and other industries.

Mick’s skills will be perfect to help us make sure the app works on as many devices as possible. He’ll also be helping scale the server side and build some features we’ve been wanting to add for a long time.

Mick is based in the UK. One of our goals when creating Nous was to build a distributed company that could hire employees from any location and support employees working from any location. We already have two offices in Asia and things seem to be working great so far, so this was a good opportunity to make sure the model can expand further.

Mick: welcome to the team. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Note: we did not hire this Number 5