After graduating from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, David Black began his career with StreetAccount, a financial services start-up which he joined pre-launch. FactSet ultimately acquired StreetAccount. Today, StreetAccount is a leading market intelligence news service.
David Black’s transition to Business Development was predicated on his experience at StreetAccount and helped the organization build momentum toward its eventual acquisition.
David Black then went on to become a Managing Director at SAC Capital (later rebranded as Point72 Asset Management). David served in this capacity between 2006 and 2013 and was a senior leader on the business development team working closely with the firm’s Founder, President, and COO.
David then founded the recruiting firm Quadra Advisors in 2014 and successfully ran the firm until 2018 working with many of the top-performing hedge funds globally. His experience paved the path to becoming a Managing Director of Business Development with Balyasny Asset Management (BAM). BAM, was launched in 2001. Balyasny is a leading multi-strategy investment advisor.
Today, David resides between New York City and Charlotte, NC. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and family and pursuing a love of the outdoors.
David also allocates time to several philanthropic interests including The Robin Hood Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up early which I’ve found is critical. I then get caught up on news/markets and any emails that have come in overnight, then get in some form of exercise. After that, I’ll try to tackle first the tasks that are most critical for that day. I’ve learned that it’s very easy to be reactive i.e. letting email dictate your workflow and you can feel busy, but you’re not actually moving the ball forward. I’ll then typically have 3-5 meetings split between internal with team members or external, and then the balance of time is left to execute. I’ll typically work until around 7 pm. Before I leave the office I take an inventory of what is most critical to tackling for the next day. This is also a key part of my process.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s really about creating space to think critically in order to crystallize your ideas and then upstreaming that vision to team members to help execute.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think it’s the realization that people can work in any number of locations and be highly productive if you have a passionate team like we do at Balyasny. While time in the office is critical for collaboration across teams and the overall organization, WFH [work from home] has enabled employees to better manage their personal lives and spend more time with family which leads better long-term outcomes.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think it’s about investing the time to connect with your team on a personal level and authentically develop a team mentality. If team members know you are there for them and champion their success you’re going to get the best out of them.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Not to underestimate the power of time management
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think at Baly we passionately believe in our culture and the premise that if you foster a positive and collaborative environment coupled with best-in-class resources that you’re going to get the most out of your people.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Consciously work every day to be incrementally better across every aspect of your life than you were the day before. This is a habit that has a compounding effect and the ethos of Balyasny
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
For me it’s simple. I aligned myself from day 1 with talented people who are passionate about finance, of the highest character, and I’ve invested in those relationships.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have been fortunate in my career that whenever I’ve faced significant challenges I’ve been able to lean on mentors to help me see around the corner. I think it is key in any industry and without question in finance that you have to identify great mentors early on in your career.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
WFH [work from home] has single-handedly changed the game and there are innumerable opportunities that I think are compelling as this plays out.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The book, The New Rules of Living Well by Frank Lipman and Danielle Claro and a yoga mat.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
What is your favorite quote?
“Success is not final, failure is not final, it is the courage to continue that counts” Winston Churchill
- To be successful first and foremost you have to identify what you’re good at and love to do
- Work with individuals you believe in, who you respect, and who make you better
- ABLE: Always Be Learning & Evolving
- Do right by others; it sounds simple, but this will pay off in spades
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.