Paying for the Things You Never Fathomed You’d Pay For

I was at lunch with a friend a few months ago when he looked down at his watch and said, "Oh I just got a message from [so-and-so]—I'll need to dash off in 15 minutes."

The Whelps of Wall Street: What It’s Like to Work as a Junior Banker in the Post-Crisis Era

Initially, Roose thought about going undercover as a banker, but as an English major who dropped an economics class after three weeks and a name that was easily Google-able, he switched gears and decided to shadow young bankers for three years as they left college and started their careers on Wall Street. His book, Young Money, is about what it's like to work as a junior banker in the largest financial institutions in the world, and how Wall Street's culture and recruiting efforts have shifted in the post-crisis era. I spoke to Roose while he was in town this week promoting his book.

Do I Need to Be Worried About The Default? Y/N

I've decided that we don't need to be worried because it just feels better, not to be worried. Also, there is nothing we can do about it (besides yell at our elected officials to get it together). Just stay on our toes. Be agile. Retain flexibility.

Explaining the Sequester

Multiple attempts to explain the sequester.

And Then They Came For Our Sandwiches

The Problem With Profitless Startups, Kevin Roose's latest for New York Mag, talks about a thing I can't stop thinking about lately, decades too late: FAKE MONEY. Or to be specific, VC money inflating new businesses which [arguably] wouldn't otherwise succeed, and then go on to price out local/actual business who operate using more traditional business methods, such as selling goods and services for slightly more than they cost to provide. And then what?

A Peek into Wall Street’s Secret Society

There is a secret fraternity on Wall Street called Kappa Beta Phi whose inductees include successful financiers like Michael Bloomberg and former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead. Each year the fraternity hosts an annual black tie dinner event to welcome new inductees, whom they force to dress in drag and perform skits and songs.

Of Course There Would Be a Stock Manipulation Scheme in Grand Theft Auto V

Kevin Roose gives us a rundown of the stock manipulation scheme that players of Grand Theft Auto V planned, using the game's stock-trading feature (apparently this exists!). Some players wanted to know if they could somehow game the stock market to make billions of dollars, and went on game forums and a subreddit to hash out a plan to do it. Their scheme did not go exactly as planned. Thank god that this is just a game and none of these kinds of stock manipulation schemes happen in real life.

Microsoft Cool And Great, Turns Out (Not a Joke)

New York’s Kevin Roose visited a Microsoft store and liked it, which surprised even him! (“Outside, it was colorful and inviting. Inside, it was brightly lit, well-designed, and crowded with happy masses eagerly scooping up Surface tablets and Asus laptops … It was weird, disorienting, and pretty great.”)

Then the longtime Apple-user visited an Apple store, and, well: “The overall effect was less like taking Prozac, as Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed, and more like being on MDMA at a sad rave.”

We are all going to be using Windows by the end of the year, aren’t we—is that what’s happening? I think it might be. Maybe you’re already using Windows. Maybe you never fell for this $2,000 laptop mess in the first place. My friend bought a new laptop recently. Or maybe it was a netbook? A chromebook? Whatever it was, looked like a laptop and she could go on the internet with it and type and also be on Twitter. What else does one need? (Nothing.) It was $250.

Why Is Everyone Getting Acquihired Without Me

To hear her tell it, Amy’s start-up decided to sell itself to Google as a last resort, after failing to find traction in the market. Google agreed to buy the company for a relatively modest amount, then interviewed all five members of the company before extending job offers to everyone but her. Making offers to four-fifths of a company as part of an acqui-hire, while legal, is nearly unheard of in Silicon Valley, where mergers and acquisitions are still generally governed by a certain type of decorum.

Amy was heartbroken. Since joining the company, she had been paid a salary of $60,000, half what her male colleagues made. Under the terms of Google’s offer, Amy’s start-up received enough money to pay back its original investors, plus about $10,000 in cash for each employee. Amy’s CEO was hired as a mid-level manager, and her engineering colleagues were given offers from Google that came with $250,000 salaries and significant signing bonuses. She was left jobless, with only $10,000 and a bunch of worthless stock.

In “The Secret Shame of an Unacquired Tech Worker,” Kevin Roose talks to “Amy”, a woman who put something on Secret that has grabbed peoples’ attention.

And if you are wondering if you should download Secret, I guess my answer would be that it depends how much you enjoy zoning out with your phone before you go to sleep at night and then sitting up in bed to yell about how terrible people are and how we need to burn down the world. (Amy aside.) (Amy, it sucks and whoever was in charge of making that acquisition deal screwed you, however inadvertently, by not negotiating the terms of the acquisition so that everyone would be hired across the board, but I think you will be just fine.)

Photo: Elliott Brown

Google Buses Now City-Approved

There was an unusually well-attended transportation board meeting at San Francisco City Hall yesterday, as the topic of debate for the evening was the new pilot program for Silicon Valley commuter buses. The San Francisco MTA board of directors approved the proposal unanimously, which means that companies can buy passes to use city buses at cost, which come to about $1/stop per day, or about $100,000 per year.

Here Is Your Open Thread

Kevin Roose explains how Wall Street has changed since 2008. (“The truth is that Wall Street has improved enormously since September 15, 2008. Those saying otherwise are letting cynicism cloud their perception.”)

Photo: Wikimedia Commons