She might’ve dozed off and missed a meeting with top execs, but it wasn’t, like, a hate-nap or anything. Read more »
Bitcoin’s chief lobbyists (yes, they exist) will try to explain themselves to the establishment power-structure mulling ways to keep them down (by ensuring they’re not just 21st-century money-laundering scheme). Read more »
There’s little drama about what the Federal Reserve will say on Wednesday: It’s going to keep buying bonds in its effort to stimulate the economy. But what will the central bank be saying by what it doesn’t say? Read more »
Retired Man Only Has Time To Start Conspiracy Theories About The Jobs Numbers Being Cooked, Not To Defend ThemBy Bess Levin
Jack Welch, writing on his Twitter account, said the Obama administration manipulated U.S. employment data for political gain by showing a drop in the jobless rate. “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers,” the former General Electric chief executive officer said in a message posted immediately after the U.S. Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, the lowest since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009. The Obama administration denied the allegation as baseless and defended the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which computes the figures…Welch is in meetings today and isn’t available for comment, said Rosanne Badowski, his executive assistant. She said Welch is the only one with access to the Twitter account. [Bloomberg]
Most of your meetings for work are probably obscenely painful experiences, particularly for those of you who detest your colleagues and especially for the lucky few who’ve been banned from fucking around on your Blackberry while people are talking. All that’s left to do is zone out, or sigh audibly while presentations are being made, and if everyone is taking a page from your playabook, not a lot is getting done. So! A few companies have come up with some ways for making these sessions more productive, and less wastes of your time. Some of them suck, like have people write down ideas on Post-its and then announcing them anonymously so no one is scared to come up with what might be perceived as a dumb suggestion, or asking employees to take crayons and draw their contributions, and then getting pissed when a go-getter comes back with illustrations of the boss and some barnyard animals. Others, while due for some tweaking, aren’t half bad:
Dixon Schwabl Advertising Inc., in Rochester, N.Y., tries to lower the inhibitions of its 82 employees by arming them with water guns, which workers are instructed to bring to all meetings. Anyone who passes a negative comment at the meeting is bound to get wet.
What is Larry Summers’ personal motto? A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-catnapping. Always be catnapping! Always be catnapping! Here he is putting that guiding principle into action last Friday, while the president was briefed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on hurricane preparedness. Now, before we jump down his throat for sleeping on the job at all times, let’s consider a few things. One– does Weather Watch really fall under his realm of expertise, to the extent he might have something to add? We say, not so much. Just let him know where to find his life vest and he’s all good. Two– this picture was taken pretty late Friday afternoon. It’d probably been a long week, and Summs usually likes to catch a few winks before getting down Friday night. All that being said, Geithner doesn’t do the guy any favors by staying not only awake but with rapt attention.
Citi announced a slew of cost cutting measures today, all aimed at reversing the bank’s declining revenues and getting rid of the sad trombone that plays on loop in the lobby. A ban on offsite meetings, mandatory use of both sides of the paper when printing, and the curtailment of color copies (which will be enforced by physically removing many of the building’s color copiers, because apparently you can’t be trusted*) are all on the list of behaviors that will no longer be tolerated. At first glance they come off as merely asinine rules that won’t amount to jack. This assessment could not be further from the truth. In fact, we expect that they will contribute to the exact intended outcome senior execs at Citi are hoping for.
Look, Count Vikula isn’t stupid. He’s aware of the crippling adversity faced by Citi, and has come to terms with the fact that profitability and success are just not in the cards. Rather than spend the next few years beating around the bush as the stock drops to ten (two? whatever), he’s decided to take the next few months to sink this thing and pack it in. While he could get Jimmy Cayne about things and get it over in a matter of weeks, Vikram is smarter than that and realizes that at the end of this folly, there’ll be more loot in it for Vickie if he can’t be held directly accountable for the bank’s failure. Which is why he and the brain trust came up with the initiatives above, along with “no more computers,” “no more for pay market data,” “no new Blackberries,” “no food,” “no fun,” in an effort to get all of Citi’s employees to quit (let’s be honest– they’re not in it for the prestige). Then VP will shrug his shoulders and make a face as if to say, “Well I did everything I could,” board the place up, and finally take over the role he tells friends and family he was born to play: Morgan Stanley CEO. (More on his plans for John Mack later.)
Citigroup Limits Meetings, Pares Color Photo Copies [Bloomberg]
In Trimming Expenses, Citi Holds Back on Color Copying [Dealbook]
*Not unlike “Non Client Travel.” To wit: “We previously asked that non-client travel be limited to trips which are truly essential. However, it seems that we are not consistently adhering to that policy. Going forward, all non-client travel will require pre-approval. As an alternative to non-client travel, I encourage you to make use of our audio and video conference capabilities.”