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Yesterday during Lloyd Blankfein’s testimony at the Raj Rajaratnam insider trading trial, Blankfein noted that, professionally, he prefers using voicemail to email. This is not a Lloyd quirk but something of an institutionalized “thing” at Goldman, where management has, for years now, been known to fill up employees phones with messages, rather than typing them out. The messages can range from morale boosters (LB left one for the staff last April around the time of the SEC investigation into ABACUS), to administrative and everything in between. For example, there was the time Hank Paulson left a firm-wide message, telling the staff he’d said some stuff he didn’t mean.
Mr. Blankfein’s predecessor as chief executive, Henry M. Paulson Jr., was also a fan of the spoken word. Voice mail was his preferred method of communication and in 2002 he famously used voice mail staffwide to apologize for his “80-20″ comment, when he remarked that 20 percent of the staff add 80 percent of the value. “It was glib and totally insensitive response, which is totally at odds with the way I think about the people here,” he told employees in a voice mail.
If that sounds awkward, it doesn’t really compare to the message he left for Jon Corzine one night not too long after pushing him out, telling him “it’s not you it’s me,” in an attempt to bury the hatchet, footage of which we’ve been able to obtain.
Goldman’s Love Affair With Voicemail [Dealbook]