In a few short months, the next crop of college grads will enter the workforce and this year more than ever, many a bright young thing who would potentially be attracted to a job in the financial industry will be lured out West to a “name-brand organization” like Google or Facebook, that their parents’ friends will be easily impressed by and perhaps even believe is worth a trillion dollars. While Wall Street firms, even the mid-sized ones, can generally pay more up front, talent is being wooed by options, “the luster of working for the cutting-edge social-networking or Web-search firms,” better hours and other perks, forcing hedge funds et al to step up their games.

Take Chicago-based Chopper Trading. According to Chief Executive Raj Fernando, the firm has “virtually no turnover” because employees are “well taken care of” and given many a reason “not to go anywhere else.” Those reasons include the tickets to sporting events, “organized paintball trips,” a pup-friendly office and the ability to play shuffleboard, Ping-Pong, pool, and video games in the 3,000-square-foot game and exercise room.

And while the shops with the most serious competition from Silicon Valley are mostly high-frequency trading and electronic market-making firms in need of computer programmers and software engineers (“geeks” to the layman, as the Journal puts it), thanks to Facebook’s trillion dollar valuation 13-figure valuation and Groupon’s promise of competitive discounts on grooming services, the issue could spill over to start affecting those in more traditional banking and trading gigs. So Goldman and Tudor and SAC etc are prepared, it’s probably wise to start coming up with some deal-sweeteners now.

Remember, big money supposedly isn’t enough for this new breed, who is apparently mostly drawn in by the lure of activities that make coming in feel less like a place of business and more like a dorm room/camp/carnival. Everyone’s got the standard Ping-Pong, pool, Wii stuff, so think along those lines but bigger, better, more outside the box. Like:

- a bouncy castle in the parking lot every Wednesday afternoon
- in-house magicians (David Blaine comes to mind)
- midget masseurs
- a trading-floor adjacent room devoted entirely to Dungeons & Dragons
- topless palm readers

And so on and so forth.


Wall Street Battles Silicon Valley For Tech Geeks
[WSJ]

79 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (79)

  1. Posted by Charles "The Body" Gasparino | January 18, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    Raj Fernando is a friend of mine.

  2. Posted by Charles "The Body" Gasparino | January 18, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    Raj Fernando is a friend of mine.

  3. Posted by 80s_guy | January 18, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Hookers and blow.

  4. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    did you wake up this morning and say to yourself “today is the day I will leave THE most unoriginal comment I can possibly think of online”? ‘Cause bravo.

  5. Posted by PasteSpecialFormats | January 18, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Anyone here work at Chopper? Can you pass along my resume?

  6. Posted by PasteSpecialFormats | January 18, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Anyone here work at Chopper? Can you pass along my resume?

  7. Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Didn’t we see this movie before?

    -Guy who remembers the late ’90s.

  8. Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Didn’t we see this movie before?

    -Guy who remembers the late ’90s.

  9. Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    How about paying bonuses?

  10. Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    How about paying bonuses?

  11. Posted by Sidney Fyfe | January 18, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    I still wanna hang out with you. Despite that joke.

  12. Posted by Sidney Fyfe | January 18, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    I still wanna hang out with you. Despite that joke.

  13. Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    yes we have…the free sodas and fruit at goldman have been replaced with vending machines charging $2 per can and there are guys roaming park ave with sandwich boards.

  14. Posted by Non-Entity Hedge Fund Manager | January 18, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    I hate myself for immediately recognizing the source of this quote.

  15. Posted by House | January 18, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    I’m hearing stories of attrition at AAPL

  16. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    One of those ball-rooms like at IKEA and a basket of kittens on my desk. Fresh kittens every week.

  17. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    One of those ball-rooms like at IKEA and a basket of kittens on my desk. Fresh kittens every week.

  18. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    One of those ball-rooms like at IKEA and a basket of kittens on my desk. Fresh kittens every week.

  19. Posted by Donk | January 18, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    The free sodas went the way of the Dodo when someone realized that the cleaning people were basically emptying the machines every night.

    –Guy who was there and watched them doing it

  20. Posted by Donk | January 18, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    The free sodas went the way of the Dodo when someone realized that the cleaning people were basically emptying the machines every night.

    –Guy who was there and watched them doing it

  21. Posted by Donk | January 18, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    The free sodas went the way of the Dodo when someone realized that the cleaning people were basically emptying the machines every night.

    –Guy who was there and watched them doing it

  22. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    If we remove all of the cubicles we’ll have much more room for activities!!

    - Night Hawk

  23. Posted by Edmundo Braverman | January 18, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    I still can’t believe someone named their shop “Chopper Trading”. Was “Huge Rips, Ltd.” taken?

  24. Posted by Edmundo Braverman | January 18, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    I still can’t believe someone named their shop “Chopper Trading”. Was “Huge Rips, Ltd.” taken?

  25. Posted by Helicopter | January 18, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Bess: Lynn Tilton CEO of MD Helicopters™ to be Honored as Living Legend of Aviation
    http://www.businesswire.com/ne
    NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lynn Tilton, founder and CEO of private equity firm Patriarch Partners, LLC (“Patriarch”) and industrialist will be honored as “Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year”

  26. Posted by Helicopter | January 18, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Bess: Lynn Tilton CEO of MD Helicopters™ to be Honored as Living Legend of Aviation
    http://www.businesswire.com/ne
    NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lynn Tilton, founder and CEO of private equity firm Patriarch Partners, LLC (“Patriarch”) and industrialist will be honored as “Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year”

  27. Posted by Gozer | January 18, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    the firm is named after the guy’s dog

  28. Posted by Gozer | January 18, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    the firm is named after the guy’s dog

  29. Posted by Gozer | January 18, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    the firm is named after the guy’s dog

  30. Posted by Gozer | January 18, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    the firm is named after the guy’s dog

  31. Posted by Gozer | January 18, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    the firm is named after the guy’s dog

  32. Posted by Johnnyrocks36 | January 18, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    I want my Squishee! I came straight off the boat from India and I want APU’s Squishee’s!

  33. Posted by Pup-Friendly | January 18, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Well get those puppies out. Let us see ‘em

  34. Posted by Anon | January 18, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    never attempt humor again.

  35. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    Alf?

  36. Posted by Mr. Kruger | January 18, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    Legos and Play-Doh. I can’t get these kids to go home for god’s sake!

  37. Posted by StuckInOhio | January 18, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    +1
    Yay 80s comedy reference!

  38. Posted by StuckInOhio | January 18, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    Apparently there used to be a game room in the Broadway building (foosball and other nonsense) and the HR/HCM folks established the “Office of Cool” to try to compete with pets.com and the like.

    The only thing free that I saw was coffee, and it’s already been established that it’s absolutely disgusting.

  39. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Shitty hours. Uninteresting work. Assclown bosses. And now, no bonuses. Tell me, why should I prefer some publicly-traded shit bank to a place where I can have good time, get paid, add skills, and not deal with infantile MD’s?

    Nerdy ComSci grads only went to this industry to earn 2x more than they would at Microsoft, and even then, it was a tough choice.

  40. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Shitty hours. Uninteresting work. Assclown bosses. And now, no bonuses. Tell me, why should I prefer some publicly-traded shit bank to a place where I can have good time, get paid, add skills, and not deal with infantile MD’s?

    Nerdy ComSci grads only went to this industry to earn 2x more than they would at Microsoft, and even then, it was a tough choice.

  41. Posted by Anon | January 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    last time I checked, hedge funds are still paying bonuses.

  42. Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Anyone else remember a WSJ story from ca. Q4’99 about how taking a nap on the office sofa during business hours was the new “in” thing to do at the “cool” firms?

  43. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    congrats if you’re the CalTech EE major with a 4.0 who gets the front-office HFT gig at DE Shaw. for the many others who start out in banks, the decision isn’t that clear.

  44. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Everyone wants to be Google.

  45. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Everyone wants to be Google.

  46. Posted by Quanter | January 18, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    EE with 4.0… ESL = no front-office
    {Sad trombone}

  47. Posted by Quanter | January 18, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    EE with 4.0… ESL = no front-office
    {Sad trombone}

  48. Posted by NotStuckInOhio | January 18, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    Sorry for using your handle Danny G, I don’t know how that happened.

    But yea that’s pretty sick that a character on a children’s TV show ate cats, right?

  49. Posted by Bonus Malfunction | January 18, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Easy.

    All Wall St has to do is just provide some tiffins, few bolly movies and a chuddy cleaning service.

    Oh, and dont forget to tick the metro-sexual box on the H1B

    Job done.

  50. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    4.0 in EE and then HFT at DES is the NKI.

  51. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    4.0 in EE and then HFT at DES is the NKI.

  52. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    4.0 in EE and then HFT at DES is the NKI.

  53. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    4.0 in EE and then HFT at DES is the NKI.

  54. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    4.0 in EE and then HFT at DES is the NKI.

  55. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    4.0 in EE and then HFT at DES is the NKI.

  56. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    4.0 in EE and then HFT at DES is the NKI.

  57. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    bid on blonde on right side of the couch. big, maybe firm

  58. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    bid on blonde on right side of the couch. big, maybe firm

  59. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    bid on blonde on right side of the couch. big, maybe firm

  60. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Dartmouth, econ degree, job at a hedge fund out of school, not DES. And it’s not like I’m the only one.

  61. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Dartmouth, econ degree, job at a hedge fund out of school, not DES. And it’s not like I’m the only one.

  62. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Dartmouth, econ degree, job at a hedge fund out of school, not DES. And it’s not like I’m the only one.

  63. Posted by Guest | January 18, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    ahhh yes. sorry about that omission. i forgot about the lower-ivy econ majors who tech companies are throwing mad cash at to woo away from trading desks. top-tier programmers are first on Google’s list, but next someone with a solid understanding of the duopoly equilibrium pricing and the Solow Growth Model.

  64. Posted by Pup-Friendly | January 18, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    Still can’t believe someone named their dog Chopper.

  65. Posted by Pup-Friendly | January 18, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    Still can’t believe someone named their dog Chopper.

  66. Posted by StuckInOhio | January 18, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    I chuckled.

    ~ guy that doubled up on Econ in undergrad.

  67. Posted by StuckInOhio | January 18, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    I chuckled.

    ~ guy that doubled up on Econ in undergrad.

  68. Posted by guest | January 18, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Didn’t know econ majors had a solid understanding of economics. Everyone has one nowadays anyway.

  69. Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    Can’t believe the guy named his firm after his dog.

  70. Posted by Nouveau Richie | January 18, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    WOAH! Uncle Eddie, you’re on DB too!

  71. Posted by Superficial | January 18, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Sold. Thunder thighs

  72. Posted by Superficial | January 18, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Sold. Thunder thighs

  73. Posted by Superficial | January 18, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Sold. Thunder thighs

  74. Posted by Anonymous | January 19, 2011 at 5:21 AM

    I’m hearing a lot less jobs at AAPL.

  75. Posted by Anonymous | January 19, 2011 at 5:23 AM

    The dog is named after his motorcycle.

  76. Posted by Anonymous | January 19, 2011 at 5:32 AM

    I always knew that if they got rid of boom-boom rooms, adequate incentives for new recruits would go wanting.

  77. Posted by guest | January 19, 2011 at 5:55 AM

    RE photo–everyone standing around watching a guy play pool in back ground, and people sitting on ’70′s style l-shaped couch with dogs in foreground. So working for a tech company is like being a perennial sophomore living in a college dorm. Yipee.

  78. Posted by Anonymous | January 19, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    But I hear there may be an opening in the C suite soon.

  79. Posted by Jackburton | January 19, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    Im so glad these s-heads are recruiting engineers to manipulate Wall Street. Building algo’s to rape mom and pop investors of their hard earned money is so ethical. These d bags that dont know a thing about finance, couldnt trade a stock on their own, hold a normal conversation or get laid without mentioning their w2′s will bring the entire system down