THE BLOG
09/13/2013 10:03 am ET Updated Nov 13, 2013

Why I Flashed the Shaka Sign at the NYSE Opening Bell

On the morning of Sept. 10, I enjoyed the great privilege of standing at the podium of NYSE Euronext as a participant in the opening bell ceremonies, marking the launch of the KraneShares CSI China Five-Year Plan ETF. It had been 21 years since I was a summer intern on the floor, and the scene below me was nearly unrecognizable. Today, the trading floor is littered with flat screens and handheld devices rather than buy/sell pads and torn trade tickets. The number of floor traders has been reduced dramatically, and CNBC's broadcast stage sits in place of what I understand used to be "Post 9." It was great to be back, and the history and excitement of standing there was not lost on me.

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Why the Shaka?

People in Hawaii use the "shaka" to convey the "Aloha Spirit", a concept of friendship, understanding, compassion, and solidarity. When I saw the cameras broadcasting the 60-second long excitement of the Opening Bell festivities, I was suddenly inspired to send a friendly "howzit" via a spontaneous "shaka" from the New York Stock Exchange -- the financial epicenter of the world. Perhaps counterintuitive to the fast pace of Wall Street, I strongly believe that aloha spirit has a place here. We all need it and can benefit from it. Additionally, I find my symbol of aloha to be particularly timely on the eve of September 11th, a time of remembrance and reflection.

My passion for Hawaiian music has opened doors to a beautiful culture and opportunities to connect with many amazing people. In my avocation as a Hawaiian musician, I learned about "The Aloha Spirit Law," an actual law on the books in Hawaiʻi, which I would like to share with you. It can be applied to your life and how you conduct business. It makes me think of HuffPost's Third Metric, an initiative to redefine success beyond money and power, to include well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder and our ability to make a difference in the world. Music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. I believe that Hawaiian music not only makes me a better person but a better investment adviser. Every professional in financial services should be obligated to do good, not evil, and aloha can be a tool to achieve that goal. Here is an excerpt of the law.

The Aloha Spirit Law

§ 5-7.5 "Aloha Spirit". (a) "Aloha Spirit" is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. In the contemplation and presence of the life force, "Aloha", the following unuhi laulā loa may be used:
  • "Akahai", meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;
  • "Lōkahi", meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;
  • "ʻOluʻolu" meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
  • "Haʻahaʻa", meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
  • "Ahonui", meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.
These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii's people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaiʻi. ''Aloha'' is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation. ''Aloha'' means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. "Aloha" is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. ''Aloha'' means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.

The full statute can be found here.

I hope that you will join me in sharing a shaka. Share aloha no matter where you are. What begins as a small gesture can grow into something larger. I send my sincere aloha to you. Live Aloha!

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