Huge Tools of the Week

Huge Tools of the Week: Getting out of Jury Duty

justice_bz_detail.jpg Here is the latest installment of the new DealBreaker feature, Huge Tools of the Week. The feature is designed to provide the financial community with additional resources, from fledging online utilities to the name of a good 24-hour rub ‘n tug establishment (Starbucks does close, after all). You can see past huge tools here. Send any toolkit to: tips at dealbreaker dot com.
A partner at my old PE firm used to say, “Smart people don’t get put on a jury.” After seeing several of his associates get picked off for the 3-day minimum obligation in the span of a couple months, he was a bit miffed. Serving on a jury is no picnic as a finance drone. It basically means starting your workday when you leave the courthouse. We’ve known more than a few I-bankers who’ve had the worst weeks of their lives while on jury duty. It turns out senior associates and VPs lack a real shared sense of civic responsibility.
I had my strategy all set – self incrimination. If I got called to voir dire, I would just start sputtering off nonsense about how I hated Homo sapiens, especially those of the defendant’s persuasion (kind of like the Curbed episode). Fortunately, it was a slow day in court, and I only got called to be a prospective juror once, and even then did not get interviewed to sit on the jury. Most of the people in my prospective juror “class” (Wednesday), got released early after 2 days (although I may or may not have pretended this did not happen, and spent Friday in a bar watching World Cup games…the HR people are as blind as justice sometimes).
It turns out the self-incrimination strategy may not be as foolproof as cynical members of society may have thought. A Cape Cod man trying to get out of jury duty by acting like a racist homophobe this morning was taken into custody for a couple hours and may face criminal charges (wow, I wouldn’t want to serve on that jury).
What’s fantastic is a transcript of the conversation between the man, Daniel Ellis and Barnstable Superior Court Judge Gary Nickerson, from CNN:
GN: You say on your form that you’re not a fan of homosexuals?
DE: That I’m a racist. I’m frequently found to be a liar, too. I can’t really help it.
GN: I’m sorry?
DE: I said I’m frequently found to be a liar.
GN: So, are you lying to me now?
DE: Well, I don’t know. I might be.
GN: I have the distinct impression that you’re intentionally trying to avoid jury service.
DE: That’s true.
Also notable is CNN’s amazing box-summary of “Story Highlights”:
-Daniel Ellis really, really doesn’t to want to serve as a juror
-He tries to get out of it, saying he is homophobic and a racist
-He also says he’s a liar
-Judge is appalled, refers case to prosecutors
We’d never advise you to get out of jury duty. It’s your civic duty, and all that. Also, we’re vaguely afraid that it might be illegal to give that kind of advice. But, if you are going to try to talk your way out of the jury pool, our advice is to do it subtly. During voir dire, don’t follow the path of obvious idiocy. Be a subtle racist homophone. Start telling rambling stories, like how in the latest Transformers flick, you enjoyed the fact that Michael Bay killed off Negrotron, the only black Autobot (unfortunately this is true…I still weep over the execution of that film), or that you think all Mexicans are [insert what defendant is charged with here] serial jaywalkers. We understand your hesitancy to serve on the jury. Who wants that 15 hour day to become a 19 hour day?
Jury duty excuse: I’m a racist, homophobic liar [CNN]

Here is the latest installment of the new DealBreaker feature, Huge Tools of the Week. The feature is designed to provide the financial community with additional resources, from fledging online utilities to the name of a good 24-hour rub ‘n tug establishment (Starbucks does close, after all). Here’s last week’s installment about a website that aggregates industry comps and allows for uploading and updating comps already on the site, wiki-style. Know a Huge Tool? Send any toolkit to: tips at dealbreaker dot com.
Series 7.jpg
Just when you thought the art of personal note-taking had been lost (after calling your VP for the fifth time today to decipher ptichbook markup chicken scratch), here’s a wonderfully quirky 13-page study guide refresher to the Series 7 passed along by one of our readers. It can’t really replace the Series 7 tome the banks give you to prepare for the test, but it can be a fun surface-level self-quiz to make sure you’re not missing anything major. Above is one of the more entertaining pages from the guide explaining the surface dynamics of calls and puts (something we think most non-traders could use a refresher on, from the oft-confused usage in common conversation).
Series 7 Illustrated Study Guide 2006

Huge Tools of the Week: Comps Go Wiki Wiki Wild

vaynersit_215x215.jpg Here is the first installment of a new DealBreaker feature, Huge Tools of the Week. The feature is designed to present the financial community with helpful additional resources, from fledging online utilities people may not know of to the name of a good 24-hour rub and tug establishment (Starbucks does close, after all).
Spreading comps can be the bane of an I-banking analyst’s existence. Not necessarily an onerous task by itself, comp spreading is always the icing on the cake, the extra obligation amidst a sea of other life ruining tasks. Comp assignments always creep up on you, when some VP in the diversified group absolutely needs the Enterprise Networking Comps, stat, on a Friday night for some meaningless pitch, ensuring that comps are the only thing you will be spreading over the weekend.
It would be one thing if senior people would accept a CapitalIQ comp printout or a Factset download, but that would be far too rational, and often numbers from those services are not properly vetted. Besides, they cost thousands of dollars a month and scrambling for a CapIQ password from one of your banker friends is annoying. is a free site created by ex-Citi analyst Dave Schmierer. The site is designed to be a user-interactive ‘compmunity’ of sorts, almost wiki-style, allowing users to upload their own comps, and check and discuss existing comps on the site. This way, you can do everything from send a blast request for comps across the Street (instead of just to your group and your friends), to check (by check we mean steal) your own comps with comps spread by other analysts at other banks.
Here’s the description from ‘the Architect,’ Big Papi Schmierer:

Don’t tell your summer analysts just yet, but is a new website that hopes to make their lives a little better. By providing a platform for users to share and collaborate on financial data and modeling online, Trading Comps hopes to foster the growth of a community dedicated to bringing sophisticated financial modeling to the masses (and to the inexperienced interns).
Trading Comps uses the leading online spreadsheet technology from EditGrid to deliver its vision of free, accurate, and transparent valuation information for all. But it doesn’t need to stop there. Whether you’re interested in how many subscribers canceled their NetFlix accounts last quarter or how many passengers boarded a JetBlue plane last month, it’s likely there’s someone else with that same interest out there, and at Trading Comps you can find each other and pursue new avenues of research.
Once you sign up for a Trading Comps account you can upload and manage your spreadsheets from your private workspace online. If you eventually want to share something with the community it’s easy to do so. And even if you don’t have anything to upload, there are plenty of ways to be an active Trading Comps contributor.

The site just recently launched and its comp library is growing. Stop by and spend a few minutes to see what it’s all about, your summer analysts might even thank you.