“One reason is that I have better things to do with my time. Another is that I don’t think my instant reactions to things are especially interesting. But I have to admit that I’ve also been aware for some time how many people end up destroying themselves by tweeting something really offensive. Why do people do this? Well, it turns out that many prominent people have inner demons of one kind or another — often homophobia, but also racism, sexism, or just some kind of generalized contempt for large numbers of other people. And social media make it all too easy for those demons to slip out in front of a large audience. I don’t think I have any demons like that, but who knows? And if I do make uncomfortable discoveries about myself, I’d like to do it in private, thank you.” [NYT via DI]
In Retrospect Maybe It Was Slightly Suspect That Supposedly Legit Hedge Fund Manager Had A Habit Of Tweeting “Ching!” When A Trade Made Money, Employed A Single Analyst Whose Finance Background Was Limited To Work As A Bank TellerBy Bess Levin
Yesterday afternoon, the SEC and the Department of Justice charged hedge fund manager, YouTube star, and prolific Tweeter Anthony Davian with fraud. Like any good alleged Ponzi schemer, Davian applied the “one pot of money” philosophy to his funds’ assets, and used investor cash to buy himself an Audi Q7 Prestige, build a palace the likes of which Akron, Ohio had never seen, and collect rare pens. As is typical in these kinds of cases, the benefit of hindsight allows those who witnessed the crime unfold in real time (clients, employees, etc) say “Well, of course it was a scam,” even if it wasn’t readily apparent at the time. Although not for a lack of trying on Davian’s part! Behold, the amazing list of red flags he dangled in people’s faces (uncovered by reporter Roddy Boyd), all but begging them to pause and say “Hey wait second, would a hedge fund manager running a legitimate and successful shop…” Read more »
- buy stock in company,
- be annoying,
- sell stock back to company at higher price.
This model had many delights of which perhaps the greatest was that you couldn’t really, like, do damage to your reputation. The more annoying you are: the more the company wants to get rid of you! So the more they’ll pay. And since you’d really only get into this business if you had some natural predisposition to annoyingness, it was a nice way for some people to make a living doing what they loved. Sadly it sort of petered out after the 1980s, though you still see variants on it occasionally.
It’s fun to contrast Bill Ackman’s 2,000-word letter to the J.C. Penney board referencing his previous “several-thousand-word email to the board outlining my concerns about our current trajectory” with Carl Icahn’s 280 characters about Apple. Read more »