Editor’s note: Robin Vasan is a managing director of Mayfield, a global early-stage venture capital firm. He previously founded or worked in key positions at several software startups. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a dual bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and economics from Stanford University.
I graduated from Stanford in the late 1980s with a dual degree in engineering and economics, and, like so many others of my day, I was drawn to Wall Street. Reaganomics was in full swing, Bloomberg terminals were still in their early days and popular culture was full of colorful characters like Gordon Gekko.
Wall Street was booming and firms were waking up to the massive potential of marrying technology and complex mathematics. Technology was transitioning from PCs running Lotus 123 to firms installing real-time data feeds and legions of Sun workstations. Foundational algorithms like Black-Scholes and binomial pricing…
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