Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Technological Slavery

As 2009 is finally coming to an end, we are finding ourselves one step closer to the Holy Grail of creating artificial life. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the first racist machine in history!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We All Have Our Issues (II)

Speaking of issues, we can no longer resist commenting on the now infamous Tiger affair(s).

This being the Balcony of course, I will refrain from delving into the saultry, gossipy details of the story and keep it strictly business (I am sure my dear readers, that for this sort of coverage you have other much more insightful sources):

Here is a NY Times story about the hardship Tiger's behavior has caused to at least one member of his (corporate) family.

My favorite quotes include the one made by a top advertiser: "The Accenture ads with Tiger finally make sense" (commenting on their "it is tougher than ever to be a Tiger" campaign) , and the one made by the Accenture spokesman "The company’s advertising campaign is about high performance, and Mr. Woods just wasn’t a metaphor for high performance anymore" (which, with the number of girlfriends now running in the dozens, seems a little unfair).

This divorce was swift, abrupt, and costly. Others will surely follow...

P.S. We are now learning that Tiger is the recipient of the "Athlete of the Decade" award, while NYPost has a claim for Headline of the Decade.

We All Have Our Issues

It's a well known fact that Bankers around the world are currently facing some of the roughest times in their carrers having to tackle extremely serious issues pertaining to the very survival of their organizations and the protection of their own financial and social status.

Goldman, of course, could not be an exception and here is an excerpt from a NY Times story revealing the cruel severity of issues senior managers there are forced to address at their corporate retreat:

... "Given Goldman’s plans to pay out billions of dollars in bonuses this year, many outsiders might think the bank pays little attention to its public image. In fact, current and former executives say, Goldman is acutely aware of its diminished public standing.

But even people close to Goldman acknowledge that as long as the bank is making a lot of money, public opinion does not matter all that much.

“Their reputation has suffered,” Mr. Levitt said. “So has every other financial institution. And I’d rather suffer the way Goldman suffers.”

Still, Goldman’s tarnished reputation has become a hot topic inside the bank. A few months ago, at a meeting of Goldman’s in-house leadership program, known as the Pine Street Group, the bank’s image came up. The group of 30-odd people wrestled with questions like how to talk to family members about Goldman and its role in the financial world.

Another question that came up was what to do if someone at a cocktail party started criticizing Goldman. Mr. van Praag, who ran the meeting, suggested that the executives should explain how Goldman made its money. But another Goldman executive offered a different answer: change the subject."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Bet They Were Bernie's Clients Too

A. Einstein once famously said "only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former"...

The logical inference from this statement is of course that there is no limit to the potential returns from taking advantage of human stupidity.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Great Misunderstanding

GM CEO Fritz Henderson resigned yesterday after the Board concluded that he hadn’t done enough to fix GM’s finances and culture.
We find this development thoroughly unfair and deeply disturbing as it was clear from Day 1 that "fixing the company's finances and culture" was not part of what he thought his job description entailed as my Dear Waldorf had pointed out early on.
It appears though that the Board's thinking was slightly different and therefore decided to fire him using a fair amount of force, will, and leverage...