The ‘Freedom To Succeed’ Ad Everybody Is Talking About Today

If you haven’t seen this on TV, watch it here. It’s a campaign ad, but not one put out by either side or a PAC of any kind.

The guy on the ad, Thomas Peterffy, just shelled out for it and bought time on TV to air it.

Peterffy is a Hungarian by birth, but he got out of there as a young man, came to America in 1956 without knowing a word of English and ended up becoming a billionaire. His story is a classic Horatio Alger tale. As Wikipedia tells it

Peterffy began his career in the United States as an architectural draftsman working on highway projects for an engineering firm. It was at this firm that he volunteered to program a newly purchased computer, ultimately shaping the course of his future. Of his background in programming Peterffy said, “I think the way a CEO runs his company is a reflection of his background. Business is a collection of processes, and my job is to automate those processes so that they can be done with the greatest amount of efficiency.”

In 1977, Peterffy abandoned his career designing financial modelling software and bought his own seat on the American Stock Exchange to trade equity options. During his career in finance he has consistently pushed to replace manual processes with more efficient automated ones. Peterffy would write code in his head during the trading day and then apply his ideas to computerized trading models after hours. Peterffy created a major stir among traders by introducing handheld computers onto the trading floor in the early 1980s. Peterffy’s business related to his AMEX seat eventually developed into Interactive Brokers.

Interactive Brokers has been rated as the cheapest trading venue for investors by Barron’s for five years running. This guy isn’t some fly-by-night operator backing Romney because he wants to stick his nose in the trough; he doesn’t need politicians. Hungarian heritage seems to be just about the only thing he shares with George Soros – you’ll notice it’s Peterffy speaking on an ad he personally bought time on, not hiring stooges to spout his ideology and hiding behind a web of foundations and non-profits to push some insidious agenda.

We like this guy a lot, and we’re glad he’s on our side.

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