Bridgewater Associates

A plan to transform a gritty, industrial stretch of South End waterfront into a glassy headquarters for the world’s largest hedge fund came into sharper focus this week, following submission of zoning applications from developer Building and Land Technology. In addition to a five-story, 850,000-square-foot office, the campus for Bridgewater Associates calls for a helipad, a floating recreational barge, a restored estuary and a marina…The heart of the plan is a giant office complex designed by Cutler Anderson Architects. The Washington-based firm previously designed Bill Gates’ private home in Medina, Wash. Made up of two long, curved buildings joined in the center by bridges and paths, the structure is poised to become the most striking presence on the Stamford coastline. The project’s goal, according to the coastal site plan application, is “to house a corporation in an environment that fosters personal interaction and a strong connection to the living world.” [Stamford Advocate, earlier]

  • 11 Oct 2012 at 2:35 PM

Caption Contest Thursday: Vintage Dalio


Bridgewater Mentor Ray Dalio and friends, circa 1976 [Clusterstock]

Earlier today, Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio sat down with Andrew Ross Sorkin for a wide-ranging chat about QE3, China, gold, American competitiveness, monetary policy, and his general outlook on life and the economy. While there are a whole bunch of issues that Dalio could be worried about, his biggest fear? “Social disruptions” that could pave the way for a Hitler-esque guy or girl coming to power.  Read more »

  • 07 Aug 2012 at 4:00 PM

Ray Dalio Loses Fellow Truth Seeker To Baked Goods

Ben Gifford ’10, the valedictorian of his class [at Dartmouth], left his job at Bridgewater Associates after a year and a half. The next day, he decided to open a San Francisco-based bakery called Double or Muffin, an idea he and his childhood friend and Double or Muffin co-founder Sean Pears conceived while they were at a coffee shop in their hometown of Newton, Mass., according to Gifford. “It was the summer after college graduation and we were waiting in line, making bad jokes, when one of us said ‘double or muffin,’” Gifford said. “It’s really unclear who said it first, and we kind of forgot about it initially, but before long we realized that there was an actual game you could play that corresponded pretty much perfectly with the pun. You would buy a muffin and flip a coin — heads you’d get a second muffin for free, tails you’d keep the muffin you already bought.” Gifford, who does not have any prior entrepreneurial experience, had planned on pursuing other career paths post-graduation. After being rejected from several teaching programs in Asia, Gifford subsequently joined Bridgewater Associates in May 2010. “I actually liked the company and the people a lot, and, as I had hoped, I learned a ton,” Gifford said. “But at the end of the day, I’m really just not that passionate about macroeconomics or financial markets.” [The Dartmouth]

A couple weeks back, we noted that Bridgewater Associates had informed employees that they would be required to sit for an exam on the contents of Principles, a 123 page company handbook of sorts, written by founder Ray Dalio and comprised of hundreds of “principles” that guide every aspect of life at the firm. Though familiarity with them has always been an essential part of the job, there has never been a formal test determining that all employees met the required level of proficiency and some people were said to be a bit nervous about what to expect. Luckily, a group called the Principles Training Team sent out an email yesterday walking everyone through what “Test Day” will entail and it appears there is nothing to worry about. The exam, which will begin at 9AM and end at 5PM with a break for lunch is simply “meant to feel like a day-long conversation on Principles.” That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Sure, parts of that conversation (which will take place between you and your computer), during which you “should have no materials on your desk,” will be graded, but Bridgewater is just trying to determine “what you know and honestly think about Principles.” Think of this thing as just a coupla wildebeests, havin’ a chat. Of course, as is the case in any animal kingdom, sometimes you’ll find a few wildebeests looking to cut corners via cheat sheets– you don’t want to be those wildebeests, as the PTT will “audit for cheating, and cheating will be dealt with severely.” To that end, don’t be a weaselly wildebeest who suddenly comes with a stomach bug on Test Day. The PTT will “keep track of lateness or unexpected absence,” and cautions that one might want to “think twice about calling in ‘sick’!” Read more »

Interest in the subject matter is a minor consideration. Unlike a lot of firms, we look at what someone is like rather than what they did before. We are first interested in people’s values, second interested in their abilities, and least interested in their precise skills. We want independent thinkers who are willing to put aside their egos to find out what is true. Did the candidate come up with a new idea and build it out? Like if when he was 15 he mowed lawns and developed that into a business by getting others to mow lawns with mowers he bought them. –Ray Dalio, “How To Get Hired At Bridgewater” [BusinessWeek, Related: "Firing people is not a big deal"]

As many of you know, Bridgewater Associates is mega-successful, multi-billion dollar hedge fund guided by Principles, a company handbook written by founder and Mentor Ray Dalio, which instructs employees to go on radical truth seeking missions in order to better themselves and in turn the firm. Bridgewater takes the principles very seriously and each member of the staff is given spiral bound copies to read, highlight, and imbue their souls with. While the idea of Truth above all else is the overarching idea, there are literally hundreds of principles (such as 31a. “Ask yourself whether you have earned the right to have an opinion,” 130. “…Firing people is not a big deal…” and 184. “Use checklists”), which span 123 pages and are broken down into outline form after being explained at length. Though familiarity with them has always been an essential part of the job, there has never been a formal test determining that all employees met the required level of efficiency. Until now. Read more »