The latest round of robber barons are engaged in full-throttle PR campaigns to convince the public that “they love what they do.” It’s one of the most common statements thrown around in the increasingly cushy human-interest pieces we have to digest on these guys. Statements like “I’ve never worked a day in my life,” “I’m so passionate about doing deals,” and “It’s just a strap-on,” flow incessantly from these modern day martyrs. Did anyone read the (it seemed longer than) 10,000 word piece on Zuckerman in the New Yorker? I was convinced Western Civ hinged on this guy’s recycled jokes after a while.
Wall Street Journal’s Wealth Report probes the billionaire mantra with a bit of skepticism, culminating in the asshatdom of Ken Griffin. From the Wealth Report:
Ken Griffin, the “passionate” hedge fund manager makes a telling remark in the Times article. When he’s asked about raising taxes on the rich, Mr. Griffin says that if his taxes are raised, he would lose some of his incentive and ” I would not be working this hard” So what is really motivating today’s rich? The passion or the money?
We know you can never completely dissociate a job from what it gets you in society, and we’re sure there are a lot of people who genuinely like finance. Judging the extent of how “passionate” a financial professional is, however, is a valid question. No one makes as much $$, so no other field is as conspicuously tied to its positive socioeconomic effects as finance.
We used to get into the debate in the bullpen over whether we’d be doing something other than finance if it paid as well, or was treated like banking during the critical end of college crossroads (you remember, that point at which, at least in some colleges, they make it seem like if you don’t get a finance job, you’ve lost at life and should consider prompt alternatives to existing).
Is a “passion for corporate finance” as self-delusional of a notion as the harshest cynic would suggest, or are most finance types actually passionate about what they do? If you could be a teacher and make as much as an investment banker, would you be a teacher? Likewise if a banker made a teacher’s salary, would you still be a banker?
Our own theory is that the self-proclaimed passion for finance is (mostly) derivative. How many college seniors are elbowing each other trying to study markets in academia opposed to going to that Goldman informational presentation? The “passion” springs from a competitive desire to “win,” judged by society’s current scorecard, which is $$$. People are competitive, everyone has a different utility curve, winning has its benefits, and the risk/reward profile works out for some such that a couple years (or 20) of agony are more than worth it.
Here is DealBreaker’s effort to engage in some Rawlsian exercise in career choice: what career would you choose under a veil of ignorance as to that career’s effects on your status and bank account? Let’s hear those Kindergarten pipe dreams, people, and answer the following poll:
Money Magazine wants you to marry up, which is why it provides you with a primer on how to marry a billionaire in its latest issue. Some helpful tips, setting the women’s movement back a few decades:
– Lower your sights: People with a mere 8 figures often end up with 9
– Don’t forget the kids: Your sugar daddy can have a sugar daddy
– Get an M.B.A.: Competition to be the hot assistant is intensifying
– Show off your brain…or make consumption your career: Clearly both euphemisms for “boobs”
– Move close to where they live: Really, and I thought billionaires married their pen pals
– Get thee to a gallery: Manet’s Olympia was thought to be nothing more than a common whore, now her net worth is through the roof
– Show them the Monet: Fashion an outfit out of water lillies, it gives you that Brooke Shields in “Blue Lagoon” hotness
– Look for good benefits: Because every idealistic humanitarian looks like Jennifer Connelly, not Melinda Gates
– Cultivate dowagers: Read the New York Social Diary calendar, live the inanity
– Become a charity yourself: Fucking for HIV awareness
– Hire a professional: Meet my friends Candi and Squirtz
– Be a class act: No one likes a project, except Richard Gere
– Be into what he’s into: Capital structure arbitrage, squash, felching
Take the helpful Money Magazine quiz to see if you have what it takes to marry a billionaire after the jump! How to marry a billionaire [Money via CNN Money via Money Money Money Money]
It turns out you don’t have to be a real estate billionaire’s offspring to get a sense of Ivanka Trump’s huge (and artificial?) tracts of land. Jared Kushner, fellow member of the “Daddy’s a Real Estate Billionaire” club and vaguely heterosexual courter of Ivanka, succumbed to Yahoo’s Indecent Proposal and is letting the winner of the Yahoo Search Marketing Ultimate Connection contest go on an “executive meeting” with his non-girlfriend.
All you need to do is write three 500 word essays (start honing those “unique journey of self-discovery” narratives now) and send them to Yahoo by tomorrow by midnight, and have your guidance counselor fax your transcript.
If your business is small enough (under 99 employees) and wants to team up with the marketing wizards behind Yahoo’s recent surge (closest comparable – the Titanic), enter today. Other prizes include:
-A $25,000 Yahoo! Search Marketing budget to blow on your date with Ivanka
-A power lunch with your marketing mentor high above New York City, who may or may not be a peregrine falcon nesting on the Chrysler building
-Access to your marketing mentor and especially easy access to a Yahoo! Search marketing mentor throughout the year
-A web site makeover from Yahoo! Small Business and FastPivot and Divine-Interventions.com Yahoo! A Date With Ivanka [webpronews] The Ultimate Connection Contest [Yahoo]
The old Tang Dynasty (618-907) may have been responsible for starting the practice of foot binding, but the new Tang Dynasty, 3,828 retail outlets strong, is responsible for binding women’s feet in pure comfort.
Tang Yu, the chairman of Belle International Holdings, and daughter Tang Ming Wai are the world’s latest paper billionaires, controlling 34% ($2.9bn worth) of the leading retailer of ladies footwear in China. Belle began trading yesterday on the Hong Kong exchange. Shares of the company shot up by almost a third, giving Belle a $8.6bn market cap and culminating an IPO process that was 500 times oversubscribed. The IPO brings the number of billionaires in the world closer to that 1,000 mark (from 946 last year).
Even though gals are not as shoe crazy in China (they only purchase 2.3 pairs of shoes a year on the Mainlaind, opposed to the 7.3 pairs a year of furry, pointy or jellied abominations American girls “need”), Belle International does considerable business, offering 300-400 new styles a year in several brands commanding prices up to $260. Spending $260 for shoes in China has to be the equivalent of something insane in the US with the lower cost of everything over there.
Tang Yu is seen as a visionary of sorts, or at least one of the first people who realized that Chinese women would not always be wearing tightly bound ropes and cloths on their feet, kidnapped into villages (most sandals are built in-house) or aborted. Eventually these women, sans deformed lower extremities, would need shoes. Tang got a late start into the shoe game, starting in 1981 at the age of 46. His daughter went to UT-Austin with a degree in business administration, proving that even Longhorns can be billionaires if they just move to China. Belle IPO Makes Tangs Billionaires [Forbes]
It only takes Vanessa Grigoriadis seven paragraphs before her New York Magazine piece on billionaires hits on one of our favorite subjects: sex-crazed rich dudes! More specifically, it’s Jeffrey Epstein time again.
So what’s Jeff been up to? Well, aparently not much has changed. It’s still all work and massages.
To be a billionaire is to be radically free. You are your own galaxy. You make your own rules, hang out with the former president, send tourists to space. Billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein, who lives in the largest dwelling in Manhattan, a 51,000-square-foot palace on 71st Street—though his business, naturally, is located on a 70-acre private island in the Virgin Islands—was humiliated this summer when his lifestyle was made public. Epstein was known to be a womanizer: He usually travels with three women, who are “strictly not of our class, darling,” says a friend. They serve his guests dinner on his private 727, and are also there for touching.
But it seems that he was also interested in younger women: Over the past few years, a then-17-year-old Olive Garden waitress, Haley Robson, brought at least five high-school girls between the ages of 14 and 16 over to Epstein’s house in Palm Beach to “massage” him, which meant watching him masturbate and even allegedly having sex. Epstein’s defense seems to be that he didn’t know the girls were minors, and that he is “very passionate about massage,” as one of his lawyers says.
Those who know Epstein say he’s unfazed by his travails. “He’s totally open about his life: His life is about making money and living an erotic life, and his escape isn’t alcohol or drugs—it’s sex,” says a friend. “I was talking to him the other day, and he said to me that he was doing well and working steadily—between massages.”
The rich really are different. And by different, we mean: pervy. Billionaires Are Free [New York Magazine]
As bad as it might be to find yourself in Houston today (92 degrees, 62% humidity and 40% chance of spending the weekend behind bars), it would be far worse to find yourself in Lebanon.
That’s why we find ourselves thinking about Hind Hariri, the 23-year-old daughter of assassinated Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri and the only female billionaire under thirty-five, according to Forbes. We’re told that Hind is pretty easy on the eyes, and speaks with a French-Lebanese accent that makes the knees of men melt.
When last heard from, Hind was campaigning for her brother in Lebanon’s elections a few months ago. So is Hind okay? Is she in a bomb shelter in Beirut? Or was she vacationing in St. Tropez? Calls to the Lebanese consulate in New York went unanswered. Apparently they have more important things to do than answer our questions about their richest young woman.
The World’s Youngest Billionaires [Forbes]