I recently met up with Doreen Mogavero, a longtime New York Stock Exchange trader, on the floor of the NYSE.
I asked Doreen how the world's most famous stock exchange has changed during her three-decade career. Here's what she had to say (transcript follows):
Doreen Mogavero: I've been a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange since 1979.
Morgan Housel: How has the New York Stock Exchange changed during the time you've been here?
Mogavero: That's a very broad question. We've changed in a number of ways, and I think one of our very best points is that we always do change, right? I think obviously technology would be the biggest change that we've seen, and the effect that technology has had on the trading floor in terms of the amount of people that are here.
Housel: So when we look right behind you, there are shockingly few people down there, and it seems like a large portion of who is down there is the media. So what happened to all the people? Where did they go?
Mogavero: Well I wouldn't say "shockingly"; I would say there are less people than there used to be, obviously, but I think that a lot of the people left for actually a variety of reasons. As we all saw the Baby Boom generation move up, you had a lot of people retire, so that was one reason we saw an exodus from the building. Obviously some of the jobs that we did previously can now be done by technology and computers, so we've seen people leave for that reason. And you know, a lot of people who were in the Baby Boomer generation that did not retire, there was a huge learning curve in learning all of this technology, and I think not everybody was suited to learn it. When you get to be 55, 60 years old, it's kind of a big; I know this for a fact. It's a very big learning curve, so not everybody chose to do it.
Housel: And those changes took place really in the last decade, is that right?
Housel: So if we came here in 1999 or 2000, there would be a lot more people down on the floor today, right?
Mogavero: Oh yes, many more.