9. Dude, Where’s My Order?

It was summer 1999, and the NASDAQ was rocking. It was the dot-com era, the time of “irrational exuberance.” Our best institutional customer at Instinet was a large mutual fund company, with an army of traders executing large mutual fund orders. We would spend significant time each morning strategizing with one of its traders, who we called “Major.”

Major was always inundated with large orders from his portfolio managers, especially in volatile NASDAQ technology stocks, such as PMC Sierra, which could go up $20 a day in the late 1990s. We were one of his “go-to brokers,” and we worked many of his orders in the Instinet system. In that time period, stock quotes changed so rapidly and the markets moved so swiftly that ...

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