Bridgewater

Cutler, an architect who trained under the legendary Louis Kahn, had meticulously prepared a presentation about the history and environment of the piece of land that Bridgewater would like to use for its new 850,000-square-foot headquarters. The boat people didn’t care. They were shouting Cutler down. Boat people? Oh, yes. Boat people…Almost all of those crammed into the auditorium were opponents of Cutler’s and Bridgewater’s plan for the property. They cheered when opponents of the plan spoke, and jeered during speeches given by city administration officials, architects and developers from a company called BLT, which supports the plan…Cutler never got to explain his design for the Bridgewater “campus.” It includes two buildings separated by an interior courtyard and surrounded by a public park. The green rooftops will make the buildings invisible from the sky. And mirrors on the walls around the courtyard will disguise the buildings, reflecting only images of nearby trees, so that until you are actually in the buildings you won’t see them. [CNBC]

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]

  • 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]

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 »

Last Friday afternoon, while many a financial services employee was dealing with the fallout of receiving a bonus they did not believe to be commensurate with the work they put in for 2011, Bridgewater was dealing with a far weightier issue. The hedge fund had a thief in its ranks and said thief’s jig was up. Read more »

  • 08 Sep 2011 at 10:11 AM

Ray Dalio: Preacha Tellin’ The Truth And It Hurts!

The truth, according to Bridgewater, being: 1) the world is going to hell in a handbasket and 2) 2011 will be the Year of the Hyena. Read more »

At a party in New Hampshire last week, one Dartmouth undergrad relayed a story to another about Bridgewater Associates. Apparently the former had chosen to abstain from the annual recruiting session that takes place over the summer for rising juniors and as a firm committed to probing the depths of any situation until they find the truth, Bridgewater wanted to know more. The hedge fund offered to pay the coed “$100 to write a statement explaining why she didn’t participate,” she told her friend, a proposition that sickened him.

The sheer arrogance and senselessness of this anecdote made me sick to my stomach, partly because, as planned, the exercise made her second guess her choice. But I had to admit there was a certain conceited logic to it — if this company can pay her $100 just to explain why she did not want to work for them, it’s easy to imagine how much cash she could rake in if she decided to pursue the job.

The exercise also got him thinking.

After I was done vomiting in my mouth, thinking of all the people who desperately need that hundred dollars, I began to think about the depth to which the recruiting culture has permeated our College. It has siphoned off some of our great minds into a dead-end field that sanitizes the intellect, offers almost nothing to human society, and conditions people to act in ways that are decidedly inhuman.

He continued. Read more »