“You’re a farmer. You can’t control the weather. When you make a Brunello, you have to follow a set of rules. One is no interference with nature. You can’t irrigate in a dry year. I happen to like traditional methods. I’m kind of old school. If you’re someone who balks at following rules, you can still make wine, but you can’t call it a Brunello. You might want a vineyard in Napa Valley instead.” [BusinessWeek]
Bill Ackman Is Saying This Because He Cares: Just Because They Make Pants With 52-Inch Waists Doesn’t Mean You Need To Aspire To Wear ThemBy Bess Levin
As has been discussed at length in the past, should hedge fund manager Bill Ackman ever decide to take up a new line of work, he would no doubt have a bright future hosting a guerrilla-style makeover show wherein he and a sidekick drive around in a van looking for people who could benefit from his discerning eye and then ambush them on the street and weigh in on what’s wrong with their [choose all that apply: bangs/clothes/arms/ass/life in general].1 Although not classically trained, the Pershing Square founder has years of experience, dating all the way back to his days as a Harvard Business School student, when fellow classmates were asked if streetwalker was the look they were going for.
One money manager said Mr. Ackman was a trustworthy and loyal friend, but also “an acquired taste” because of his tendency to speak very directly where others might tread gingerly—or not at all. When Mr. Ackman was a student at Harvard Business School, the friend recalled, he took it upon himself to tell at least one woman she was overly made up. The delivery: “You know, I’m just saying this because I have your best interests at heart, but you have too much makeup on.”
Those who can get past the bluntness to see that Ackman’s constructive criticism comes from a place of love ultimately benefit from his counsel. According to one testimonial: Read more »
George Soros Hearkens Back To A Time When Men Were Men, Women Were Women, And Hedge Funds Were A Good IdeaBy Bess Levin
Speaking to Bloomberg Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, George Soros cast doubt on hedge funds’ future ability to do better than the broader markets. “Since hedge funds are now a dominant force in the market, they can’t, as a group, outperform the market,” Soros said. The 82-year old added that managers’ and investors’ risk aversion will only make things worse. “Outperforming the market with low volatility on a consistent basis is an impossibility,” Soros said. “I outperformed the market for 30-odd years, but not with low volatility.” [FINalternatives, Bloomberg]
Robert Benmosche Is Pretty Sure People Angry At AIG Re: Bailouts Sit At Home Thinking, “Look at them, with their free EZ Passes”By Bess Levin
“People are angry because they want to blame somebody else. They don’t take responsibility for their own goddamn lives. ‘I’ve never been promoted, because they don’t like me and there were these guys at AIG, look at them they have free lunches and EZ Pass and look at me I don’t get a free lunch.’ These people make me nuts. Get off your goddamn ass and do something. That’s what the people at AIG did, They picked up their asses and went to work.” [Pressler, related]
Phil Falcone, as some of you may know, has made some mistakes in the last couple years. Pouring his investors’ money into a wireless start-up that may or may not ever get off the ground. Offering those who wanted out illiquid LightSquared equity instead of cash. Not getting his wife a driver for party-time. If you’re wondering why we haven’t mentioned the incident in which he borrowed $113 million from a gated fund in order to pay personal taxes, which he had not set aside enough money to cover, it’s because Phil doesn’t count it as a mistake, regardless of what you, or the SEC, or anyone else says. Read more »
On an alarmingly regular basis, people send emails to Dealbreaker seeking insight, on all manners of business. “I just received an offer from [insert hedge fund here] and I wanted to know what you think of the place.” “I’m a high-yield trader looking to jump ship– do you have any leads on jobs or ideas about where I should look?” “I have a bet going re: who would prevail in a street fight, Jamie or Lloyd and need you to weigh in.” “Is it possible to have romantic relationships (one-night stands) while spending every waking moment at the office?” “Do you think Vikram Pandit is the person responsible for his Wikipedia page including the line ‘he then turned to business studies & finance and earned an M.B.A in 1980 followed by a Ph.D. in Finance from Columbia Business School in 1986, after publishing a thesis involving a crushingly complex financial puzzle, entitled “Asset prices in a heterogeneous consumer economy’?” “Coke or Pepsi?” “Medium or rare?” “Do you think Biff Basness has tried to have you killed?” “Are you still in touch with Gianna Beamers?” “How would you construct a Wildebeest costume? Don’t ask me why.” While we (I) have no real expertise in much of anything, you may have noticed that we are quite fond of expounding on topics which some would comment we know nothing about. With that thought in mind, we’ve decided to now answer your questions, whatever they may be, on a weekly basis, on the site* (all names/emails/identifying details removed, of course). Read more »
December 13, 2011
Board of Directors
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Attention: Mr. Roy Bostock, Chairman
Third Point LLC, as the beneficial owner of 5.2% of Yahoo! Inc.’s (“Yahoo”) outstanding shares, remains extremely troubled by news reports regarding the dysfunction and inequity being exhibited in the process of maximizing stockholder value that the Board is allegedly “managing”. We are disturbed but not surprised by this mismanagement given the history of strategic bungling by Yahoo Board Chairman Roy Bostock and Founder Jerry Yang, which has been chronicled in our previous letters and in numerous critical media and analyst reports. As significant shareholders with our own fiduciary duties to investors to uphold, we cannot stand by silently if such reports are accurate and Yahoo, a company in no need of cash, plans to engage in a sweetheart PIPE deal which will serve only to entrench Mr. Yang and the current board while massively disenfranchising public shareholders and permanently robbing us of the opportunity to obtain a control premium.
Mike Bloomberg: You Can Take Unlimited Bathroom Breaks Or You Can Actually Make Something Of Yourself. Your Call.By Bess Levin
Maybe you’re a first-year analyst at Goldman Sachs who’d like to run the place. Maybe you’re a SAC trader who wants to be the next Steve. Maybe you’re the CEO of JPMorgan, though you’d prefer the title of Mr. Treasury Secretary. Maybe you’re a mega successful hedge fund manager who dreams of breeding dogs and, one day, taking your best dog to Alaska to run and win the Iditorad in record time, with you driving. You’ve all got a dream but the question is, how are you going to make it happen? If you really want to know, Mike Bloomberg will tell you. The first thing you’re gonna do, the Mayor said in an recent interview, is you’re gonna stop being afraid. You’re not going to have a defeatist attitude that causes you to miss out on things. You’re going to seize every day as an opportunity and you’re going to realize that every situation has an upside if you look hard enough. Sayeth Hizzoner:
“You have that drive to look at the bright side. There’s never been a day I haven’t looked forward to going into work- even the days I knew I was going to get beat up, even the day I knew I was going to get fired…I had never been fired before and wondered what it was like-I thought okay, let’s go find out.”
Second, and most importantly, you’re going to put in the time. Now, Mike knows that anyone can spout off vague cliches about working hard and blah, blah, blah. He’s not here to do that. He’s here to tell you to keep your ass glued to that god damn chair and not get up for anything. Not fresh air, not lunch, not to take a leak. Think he’s not speaking literally? Think again! He doesn’t care if you’re about to piss your pants or if you have a family history of kidney failure. You get out of that chair and it’s over. Read more »
I have a serious question for all of you. I am a rather large man (both in stature and in the pants.) I played D1 football as an offensive lineman. I am currently 6’1, 250lbs. However, I am very lean and at around max 10% body fat. I worry that my overly muscular stature will not bode well with company culture. After leaving an interview, I was told that I have a “vice grip” for a handshake (I received and accepted their offer.) Not to sound conceited, but I have honestly never come across anyone even close to the size I am at the office, or even walking around down town. I was being silly before about the penis size comment, but I am an attractive guy and present myself well. I don’t look even remotely out of shape or fat (some of the shorter muscular guys can look like that in a dress shirt.)
This a clumsily worded post but I suppose my main question is if anyone has witnessed any type of discrimination towards large, muscular guys at the office. Is this something I should be concerned about? I suppose I could loose 10lbs of muscle or so (I’d truly rather not) if it would help me fit in. Any advice or comments are greatly appreciated.