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E8: AQ, the Superior Sibling of IQ and EQ

Jordi Visser

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Just about everyone has heard of IQ and many people are familiar with the concept of EQ or emotional intelligence. But AQ, well, that’s a lesser-known concept that is a big deal around the offices of Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisers. In this episode of In Search of Green Marbles, G3 talks to Jordi Visser, President and CIO of Weiss, who has been a tireless champion of putting AQ onto people’s radar screens and has put into practice what he’s preached within the walls of the firm.



Weiss seeks to hire people with the right combination of IQ, EQ, and AQ. The latter is defined as adversity quotient or adaptability quotient. Jordi looks at specific traits in people to measure their AQ, which include flexibility, agility, curiosity, and learning. In addition, grit and resilience reflect the ability to overcome adversity, which is an equally important attribute.

The rise of quant strategies that accelerated in 2009 is an example of how Jordi and the firm had to be adaptable. The approach Weiss sought to take was a human+machine approach, reflecting the firm’s view that combining the two forces would lead to better outcomes. Today, the rise of cryptocurrencies is another example where adaptation to a changing environment will be needed in the years to come.

Jordi ties the September 11th attacks together with the famous Emerson quote: “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. He believes that AQ allows one to view 9/11 as part of a journey. This is hard with such a tragic event and, in Jordi’s case, when you lose your best friend, but the wisdom of knowing you can overcome adversity is paramount.

Can AQ be learned or nurtured? Jordi emphatically believes the answer is yes to both and he has sought to accelerate this process with the younger people at Weiss by getting them to open up about their experiences. His key question: What did you learn from this experience? This helps Jordi recognize an individual’s personal growth and wisdom.

The final topic of conversation is about Jordi’s grandmother, Tex, who served as Jordi’s inspiration around AQ and was the topic of a recent whitepaper that Jordi wrote. How do Seabiscuit, Cinderella Man, and Babe Ruth connect with AQ? Listen in to hear the answer.


The history of AQ

Steve Hargadon on Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cinderella Man Preview