Goldman Sachs Alum And Self-Described "Astronaut In Training" Has A Dream

Involving weightless trading and his Buzz Lightyear cape. In an interview in the latest edition of the London-based publication Square Mile Magazine, former Goldman Sachs trader Anton Kreil has announced that he will be attempting to become the first person in history to make a financial markets transaction in Space, when he hops aboard the XCOR Lynx MKII shuttle with Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) in 2014. Technically, the World Records that Kreil and SXC will be attempting are "First Financial Transaction in Space" and "Highest Recorded Financial Transaction." However, given that Kreil is a City-based trader, the "Financial Transactions" he will be making will be a Currency Trade and a Stock / Share Trade. In the Square Mile interview, Kreil outlined that since he is British and is flying in a US-built shuttle, trading the currency pair of Sterling US Dollar (GBP/USD), commonly known in the financial markets as "Cable", made perfect sense. Kreil admitted: "I certainly can't commit to trading the Euro. With the way things are looking at the moment, it may not even be around by the time we go." The flight will be broadcast live on the internet, so the sponsors of the trades will get instant worldwide exposure. There will be cameras inside the aircraft and Kreil will be floating weightless in the cockpit, looking down at Earth and buying the sponsor's stock. "From the companies' perspective, the message of being a true global pioneer is a great message. It's an amazing situation to be involved in," stated Kreil. The flight itself will take off from either Mohave in California or the Caribbean island of Curacao. It will take Anton four minutes to get to Space and he will be travelling at three times the speed of sound up to 103km (330,000 feet). 100km is the internationally-accepted border to Space and is known as The Karman Line. As long as Kreil executes the trade at 100km above sea level, the sponsor will hold the record. Kreil will then fly back to Earth and the entire trip will be around one hour. SXC and Anton Kreil - "The First Trade in Space" [Press Release] Anton Kreil [Twitter]
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Involving weightless trading and his Buzz Lightyear cape.

In an interview in the latest edition of the London-based publication Square Mile Magazine, former Goldman Sachs trader Anton Kreil has announced that he will be attempting to become the first person in history to make a financial markets transaction in Space, when he hops aboard the XCOR Lynx MKII shuttle with Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) in 2014. Technically, the World Records that Kreil and SXC will be attempting are "First Financial Transaction in Space" and "Highest Recorded Financial Transaction." However, given that Kreil is a City-based trader, the "Financial Transactions" he will be making will be a Currency Trade and a Stock / Share Trade. In the Square Mile interview, Kreil outlined that since he is British and is flying in a US-built shuttle, trading the currency pair of Sterling US Dollar (GBP/USD), commonly known in the financial markets as "Cable", made perfect sense. Kreil admitted: "I certainly can't commit to trading the Euro. With the way things are looking at the moment, it may not even be around by the time we go."

The flight will be broadcast live on the internet, so the sponsors of the trades will get instant worldwide exposure. There will be cameras inside the aircraft and Kreil will be floating weightless in the cockpit, looking down at Earth and buying the sponsor's stock. "From the companies' perspective, the message of being a true global pioneer is a great message. It's an amazing situation to be involved in," stated Kreil. The flight itself will take off from either Mohave in California or the Caribbean island of Curacao. It will take Anton four minutes to get to Space and he will be travelling at three times the speed of sound up to 103km (330,000 feet). 100km is the internationally-accepted border to Space and is known as The Karman Line. As long as Kreil executes the trade at 100km above sea level, the sponsor will hold the record. Kreil will then fly back to Earth and the entire trip will be around one hour.

SXC and Anton Kreil - "The First Trade in Space" [Press Release]
Anton Kreil [Twitter]

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Harvard Business School Alum Has A 4-Point Plan For Fixing The Election Process In The United States

On November 6, 2012, as the results of the presidential election rolled in, a member of the Harvard Business School Class of 2010 considered ending it all. "The thought crossed my mind to jump off my penthouse apartment balcony," he wrote his fellow classmates yesterday. Sure, he had a lot to live for: friends, family, the earthly delights afforded to him by living in Southern California ("surfing, mountains, 78 degree sunshine, and hot babes everywhere"), as well as a new company and all that came with it (relationships with celebrities that straddle the line between "friend and service provider," as well as invites to "the VMAs and private concerts in Vegas"). But he also had a lot of reasons to be good and angry at the world, including but not limited to: the state of California being "filled with so many hippie liberals" he just might snap and in doing so "choke out a street bum," people who "sit around with their hand out and expect to be fed," and, most vexingly, the reelection of Barack Obama. And while he did not in fact end up leaping from his penthouse balcony apartment that night, make no mistake, he was and is exceedingly pissed about the direction this country is going, which is south on the Pacific Coast Highway right straight to hell. And whereas the endless stream of bums and hobos and hippies he encounters each and every day the second he steps out of his penthouse apartment probably would take the easy way out, because that's what they do, he's better than that. So instead, he went to bed, got up, sat down at his computer and channeled his anger into something productive: a list of suggestions for how we can get America back on track and in four years, rest it from the hands of the commie holding it hostage, like forcing candidates to use bullet points and telling people who don't believe in capitalism to pack their shit because in 20 minutes a van is coming to ship their non-contributing zero asses off to a country where it's not actually a "privilege" to live. First, though, some life updates, because it really has been too long.

What Else Does Goldman Sachs Have In Store For Greg Smith?

As you may have heard, eleven short days from now Grand Central Publishing will release Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story. The book is the memoir of former Goldman employee Greg Smith, who in March of last year penned an op-ed for the New York Times called "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs," a resignation letter of sorts in which Smith detailed the ways the firm had disappointed, sickened, and ultimately failed him, from opting for "shortcuts" over "achievement" to becoming, in the twelve years he worked there, a place that only cares about one thing and one thing only: "making money." While perhaps another person would have turned a blind eye and said nothing, Greg had an obligation, as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist and a Maccabiah Games bronze medal finisher in ping-pong, to say ENOUGH. To violate his employer in the most gruesome fashion possible (that is, publicly), in front of clients and other interested parties. To let the world know this place he worked at for over a decade could continue to be a criminal enterprise but that he was moving on. The piece, as you might have imagined, did not please many people at Goldman Sachs nor did the $1.5 million deal Smith scored shortly thereafter to write the book. In September, a spokesman for the firm issued a delightfully bitchy, exceptionally underminey comment to the press re: Smith's tale being no more interesting than that of a disgruntled first-year analyst who thinks he's got a story to tell and yesterday, amazingly and almost unbelievably but you must believe it because here it is, leaked details of Greg's performance reviews to the Financial Times which, spoiler alert, are less than flattering. Two people who managed Mr Smith said he was a solid performer but did not merit promotion to managing director, a distinction he apparently sought in 2009 and 2010. They also said he reacted badly to his bonus award in January this year. At the time one of his managers wrote in an email: “Greg Smith off the charts unrealistic, thinks he shld trade at multiples. We told him there’s v little tolerance for reactions like that and he needs to tone it down.” Ignoring for a moment that the manager quoted sounds like one of those horrible people who oh so cleverly discusses humans as financial assets, and has probably told people "I'm short Greg Smith" in the past, is this strategic attack on a former employee not the most wonderful thing to come out of GS since Hank Paulson used voicemail to apologize for telling 80 percent of the firm they were worthless pieces of crap not worthy of cleaning the lining of his birds' cages? Particularly because they maintain he is so insignificant they've barely given him or his book any thought at all? And does it not get you excited for what's to come in the run-up to October 22, i.e. what other ways Goldman has planned to humiliate and discredit Mr. Smith? Some ideas we assume they have already thought of include: * Revealing the nickname he gave himself in firm emails (Agent Smith) * Getting eyewitnesses to tell reporters that after getting shafted on his bonus, he was seen flying into a fit of mad rage, whipping his ping-pong paddle out of his holster, and screaming obscenities at passersby on the trading floor before he was restrained by Gary Cohn * Leaking the original draft of his book he was working on circa 2009, entitled Why I Became A Managing Director At Goldman Sachs: A Success Story Goldman's 'Muppet Hunt' Draws A Blank [FT] Earlier: Goldman Sachs Unimpressed By Sophomoric Writing Efforts Of Former Employee; Resignation Letter Reveals Goldman Sachs Is In The Business Of Making Money, Hires People Who Don’t Know How To Tie Their Shoes; Jewish Ping-Pong Tournament Participant / Sixth-Year Goldman Sachs Vice President Is Looking For His Next Challenge; Goldman Sachs Accuser Greg Smith (Might Have) Lied About That Which He Holds Most Sacred

FYI, Whitney Tilson's Investment Thesis On Goldman Sachs Has Not Changed In Light Of Times Op-Ed (Update)

Having said that, T2 Partners will be "monitoring" the situation. The op ed in today’s New York Times by retiring Goldman Sachs Executive Director Greg Smith is the talk of Wall Street. We think we know Goldman well, as the company has been our prime broker for the past seven years and Goldman (both stock and call options) is one of our largest positions, so we wanted to add our comments. Our direct experience as a client of Goldman has been universally positive. The many people we have dealt with there have all been exceptionally talented and high-grade, and never once have we had a negative experience in which we felt that they took advantage of us or didn’t do what they said they would do. That said, we are not naïve. In all of our dealings with Wall Street firms, we assume that they are looking out for their own bottom lines, not ours. And we are certainly aware that the old, gentlemanly culture in which integrity and a customer-first attitude generally prevailed is long gone – not just at Goldman, but across all of Wall Street – and, in fact, across the entire financial industry (the reasons for this and what should be done about it are the subject for another day). When we think about investing in any company – especially a financial one, which is heavily regulated, leveraged, and particularly difficult for an outsider to analyze – we factor into our investment equation our assessment of the company’s culture and values, and, if we have any concerns, what the potential associated risks are, such as unexpected losses and regulatory action. In light of our view of the moral decay across the U.S. financial sector, we aggressively haircut our estimates of intrinsic value in the sector – some companies more so than others. But at some price, of course, any stock is a buy, and last August and September we felt that the negativity surrounding the financial sector was way overdone and hence made a big – and, so far, very profitable – bet on Goldman and a number of other U.S. financial firms. With the run-up in Goldman’s stock – after falling below $90 as recently as December, it’s now over $120, just above tangible book value of $119.72 as of 12/31/11 – we’ve been debating whether to trim or exit our position, so today’s op ed is timely. But is it relevant to our investment thesis? We think probably not, for two reasons: 1) The argument that Goldman has become increasingly profit driven, sometimes at the expense of clients’ best interests, and that some employees use vulgar and disrespectful language is hardly news. What’s the next “shocking” headline: “Prostitution in Vegas!”? 2) We highly doubt that Goldman is as truly corrupt as Smith makes it out to be. Goldman has more than 30,000 employees (including nearly 12,000 vice presidents, of which Mr. Smith is one) and has gone through wrenching changes in the past year, including savage cuts to bonuses and extensive layoffs, so it doesn’t surprise us that there are many disgruntled employees, especially those who are leaving. Is Smith one of them? It’s hard to tell, but here’s an email sent to me this morning by a former partner at Goldman (who generally agrees that the firm’s culture is not what it once was): There are a couple of things out of place. 1) This guy has been at firm for 12 years and is only a VP…a piss ant of sorts. He should have been an MD-light by now, so clearly he has been running in place for some time. 2) He was in U.S. equity derivatives in London…sort of like equities in Dallas…more confirmation he is a lightweight. Somewhere along the line he has had sand kicked in his face…and is not as good as he thinks he is. That happens to a lot of high achievers there. In summary, we think it’s likely that Goldman does the right thing for its clients the vast majority of the time – but not as certainly as it used to in the old days. Times have changed and the trend is unfortunate, but it is not unique to Goldman. In fact, we believe that Goldman still has a better culture and is more ethical than most of its competitors – though this is a very low bar to be sure. Our investment thesis on Goldman is simple: when all the dust settles, it will remain the premier investment banking franchise in the world – and, if so, will be worth a substantial premium to tangible book value. Smith’s column is a warning flag that we’ll be monitoring closely, but we believe our investment thesis remains intact and the stock is still cheap, so we’re not selling.