“Bon appétit,” says Pandit, as he slices into a beetroot and continues to extol the virtues of something he calls the “SMAC stack”. I tell him this sounds awful but, he assures me, “it’s the vernacular for the ease for which you can get into business today,” and it stands for “Social media, Mobility, Applications and Cloud. “Data is like . . . You’re too young, but there was a movie with the [line about] plastics.” When I assure him I’m familiar with The Graduate, he says: “Data is this generation’s plastics. I don’t see business models being truly successful until you get it.” [FT]
The good news is that you’re up 16% this year even after January’s ominous little hiccup. The bad news is that the last time old Andy Hall put together four good months in a row, he ended up losing money for the first time in 14 years. Oh yea, and he was up 18% through April that year. So, you know, keep your celebrating to a minimum. Read more »
Three Possible Explanations For Dick Parsons’s Seemingly Pathological Lies About Playing College BasketballBy Bess Levin
Two weeks ago, former Citigroup chairman Dick Parsons was named interim CEO of the LA Clippers, following the broadcasting of some unintelligible racist rambling that were somehow supposed to be foreplay by its owner, Donald Sterling. Over at Deadspin today, you will find a long investigative piece on Parsons’s career. It has nothing to do with his time at Citi, or at Time Warner, or at Dime Savings Bank of New York, or Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler before that.
Instead, it’s about his college basketball career at the University of Hawaii. The issue is that while Parons has spoken extensively over the years about his days on the court, it appears that there are no records of anyone with his name playing basketball at the school during his time there, nor do any of the players remember him, making statements by Parsons like, “I did okay in the fall semester, ’cause there was basketball, right?” and ” The basketball team became my extended family and my friends” slightly troubling, as are comments about how his grades suffered because he was too busy working and playing basketball, in addition to the many past profiles that talk about his days on the team.
All of this might lead one (or many) to conclude that, at least when it comes to this subject, Dick Parsons is a pathological liar (or, for unclear reasons, there is a vast Hawaiian conspiracy to bury Parsons’s basketball career). If you’re not ready to write the guy off, though, and personally, we are not, there seem to be some obvious and, we might add, entirely believable explanations that clear everything up. Read more »
Vikram Pandit, the former chief executive of Citigroup, has become chairman of TGG Group, a consulting company co-founded by Steven Levitt, who co-wrote the pop economics book Freakonomics. Promising to harness two popular themes – behavioural economics and “big data” – TGG, short for The Greatest Good, pitches itself to companies as a way to “improve performance, better serve customers, hire and retain the best talent and reduce cost”. [FT]
Sandy Weill Didn’t Pay $43.7 Million To Live At 15 Central Park West And Read His Copy Of Cat Fancy A Week After It Hit NewsstandsBy Bess Levin
It pays to be an employee at 15 Central Park West. Author Michael Gross reports in House of Outrageous Fortune, his new book about the behemoth condo building, that the average worker there made $22,500 in tips during the holiday season in 2011, give or take a few Benjamins…Not bad for tending to a tower full of influentials, plenty of whom have made Fifteen — its nickname, apparently — their base of power…Sandy Weill…is remembered by one (anonymous) staffer as being “very demanding … An automatic call is made to the manager if a letter or a magazine doesn’t arrive when it’s supposed to.” [NYM, related]
The former Citigroup chairman bought the property next to his house in Greenwich hoping it’d become “a family compound,” and while his son Marc built a house on it and lived there for four years, in 2008 he sold it back to dad and split for NYC. So! What do you get for $14 million asking price? 16,460 square feet, views of Long Island Sound, a home theater, and a koi pond, yes, but also, and much more importantly: the opportunity to have Sandy Weill knock on your door and ask to borrow a cup of sugar, as he’ll be your neighbor. And according to Papa Weill, the house on the market practically dwarfs his own, which is something of a hovel in comparison. Read more »
“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]
Perhaps, you thought, that the day Vikram Pandit was abruptly and unceremoniously fired from Citigroup was the end. That we’d lost him for good. That he’d retreat to the his Upper West Side manse and spend his days beefing up his Odd Couple memorabilia collection, or work on that novel about a love that dare not speak its name between a bank CEO and the analyst who only acted like she hated him, or build that Zen garden he’d always wanted that the fucks at Citi never let him have. That he was finished with Wall Street. Well fret not. Uncle Vik wouldn’t never do that to you. Read more »