• 05 May 2011 at 3:43 PM

Hedge Funds Crowding The Ping Pong Trade

Earlier this week, we took a serious look at a sport beloved to a certain hedge fund in Stamford, CT: ping pong. Second only to trading and hunting humans, p-pong is the pastime that is often cited internally as the secret to this firm’s success, the practice of which has made what started out as a 2-bit boiler room into the powerhouse fund it is today. A prescient call, as today Bloomberg has published an article quoting table tennis experts on ping pong being the hottest new thing in the business community.

“It’s like a real-life version of LinkedIn,” says founder Peter Farnsworth. “We’re bringing the business community together through pingpong.”

According to Alan Williams, of sports management firm North American Table Tennis, “Everyone who plays table tennis [will] live longer, be smarter, and be more attractive.” While true, this affirmation did not please our hedge fund manager who, as we all know, is above all else a trend-setting icon, not a follower. He doesn’t hop on bandwagons, he builds them from the ground up (see: skinny jeans) and the burns them down when others pile on, years later. Read more »


A week or so ago, Dan Wuebben woke up at his best bud John Belitsky’s apartment. The duo had been celebrating Dan’s 31st birthday, and they wanted to keep the party going. “It seemed like everybody was away,” Belitsky said. “And I said, ‘Let’s do something great and fun and serious and magical and bigger than us.’ ” Order a couple hookers? No. Bigger. Hit up a Color Me Mine? Bigger. See if they could eat six Saltines in 60 seconds? Bigger still. They thought and they thought and they thought some more and then finally, it came to D. Dubs.

Wuebben remembered a tale about estimating the cost of a cross-country cab ride. “That’s the ticket,” Belitsky said he replied, telling his friend, “Dan, you’re the only guy you know who’d do this — and I’m the only guy you know who would pay for it.”

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If you’ve been keeping up with the Raj Rajaratnam insider trading trial, you may have come to the conclusion that things have not been going so hot for the Galleon founder. Though he is of course innocent until proven guilty, so far jurors have heard that Raj’s brother felt the need to destroy his big brother’s “private notebooks,” tapes of Raj telling Danielle Chiesi to keep their dealings on the down low, tapes of Raj telling a friend he knew to buy shares of a company because “one of our guys is on the board,” and testimony from former McKinsey exec that Raj paid him $1 million for his tip about AMD’s acquisition of ATI. Sure, Raj’s former head of research testified he never heard the boss asking for inside information and that the big man was “the most prepared of” any of the Galleon team simply by virtue of being “amazingly educated on the issues at hand” but the odds of getting off? Not so great. That’s why he needs a Hail Mary- one in which he’ll dazzle ‘em with fashion. Read more »

  • 25 Mar 2011 at 4:08 PM

Want To Mix It Up With A Colleague?

BusinessWeek is here to help! The magazine, for some reason, is offering tips for people interested in “picking-up” a co-worker. Read more »

According to John Carney and his colleague Ash Bennington, the career-making individuals you must get close to include: Read more »

Though he’s told reporters he’s in the midst of a huge comeback, economically speaking, Lenny Dykstra is still a few paychecks away from getting his $24 million house back from the bank, flying private, paying hookers for services rendered in forms other than the IOU, and taking dates out for a nice steak dinner. As luck would have it, though, last Friday Nails got lucky and after participating in an interview with NBC’s “Sports Final,” got his dinner at the Palm covered, which is apparently a standard arrangement between the restaurant and the station. After hearing that the tab for him and his “attractive blonde” lady friend would be taken care of, LD proceeded to feast like he wasn’t sure when his next meal was coming, ordering two bottles of $150 wine, salads, and surf-and-turn at the table and “crab cakes and assorted desserts” to take back to their room at the Ritz. One would like to say he stopped short of making his date put the silverware in her purse but the scene seems to suggest otherwise. After being handed a bill to sign, Dykstra wrote $200 in the tip section, signed his name, and got out of there, leaving the manager to compensate LD’s waiter. Read more »

For the young whippersnappers just getting started on Wall Street, and even for the veterans, legendary investor Julian Robertson has a lot of wisdom to impart. His sagely advice today, however, is not about how to navigate the markets, per se. It’s about pinching a penny and not letting the state of New York make you its bitch. Read more »