Sunday, March 27, 2011

This Is Not a Blog Post

Thomas Jefferson: "Hi, Ben!"
Benjamin Franklin: "Tom."
Jefferson: "Ya got a minute?"
Franklin: "Well, I tell you the truth, heh... we were just going out of town for the weekend. Heh-heh."
Jefferson: "But it's only Wednesday."
Franklin: "Yeah... Well, you know: 'A penny saved is a penny earned.'"
Jefferson: "What has that got to do with anything, Franklin?"
Franklin: "I dunno. It's the first thing that came into my head. Heh. I was just making conversation. 'An idle brain is the Devil's playground,' you know."
Jefferson: "Say, you're pretty good at that, aren't you?"
Franklin: "Yeah, they're some new wise sayings I just made up."
Jefferson: "Wise sayings?"
Franklin: "Yeah, I call 'em 'Wise Sayings.'"

— Stan Freberg, Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America: Volume 1, The Early Years

I hereby proffer my humblest apologies to those Loyal Readers among you who forlornly frequent these pages in search of trenchant commentary and analysis on all things financial. You might have noticed that such has been rather thin on the ground for some time now, replaced instead by desultory pontificating on divers topics social, philosophical, and non-numerate. Some of you may even view this to be a case of false advertising, given the banner emblazoned at the top of this site.

There are a number of reasons for my reticence. The primary and best one is that I am actually busy doing my day job of raising funds and merging companies. This gainful employ not only cuts into the time I would otherwise selflessly employ to educate and entertain the masses huddling on the other side of this computer screen but also prohibits it. For, if you could find anyone at the SEC not otherwise engaged in surfing porn sites or persecuting $25,000-a-year brokers in Wichita, Kansas, they would no doubt tell you that anything concrete I might say here about my current transactions would be looked upon with a very unfriendly eye. In a word, spilling the beans about ongoing deals is considered very naughty. (Not to mention being harmful to the interests of my clients and the contractual promises of confidentiality I have made to them.)1 Sadly, from your perspective, those confidential beans are about the only financial legumes I have to spill at present.

Entirely aside from these impediments, I make it a practice to shy away from too much specificity in my scribblings here, for reasons both competitive and personal. My ilk are a secretive bunch, since we have learned from long experience that the slightest clue, in combination with a host of other apparently trivial data, can enable a bitter competitor to sniff out the client, deal, or opportunity we are working on at the moment and therefore jeopardize it. For such reasons our personal assistants never volunteer our whereabouts to incoming callers, but rather say "Mr. Dealmaker is traveling" or "out of the office." Even the name of a city can—under the right combination of circumstances—reveal critical intelligence about a pending transaction or opportunity I would not want my competitors to discover.

By the same token, illustrating my remarks with too many details or personal anecdotes is guaranteed, over time, to allow the curious and ill-intentioned to suss out my identity. This is an outcome I resolutely oppose, for reasons too obvious to mention to you delightful and intelligent people. Furthermore, if secrecy begets tyranny, its opposite must surely engender banality. This is a state of affairs too horrible for Your Humble Diarist to even contemplate.

* * *

In summary: I have no time to write thorough, well-thought-out dissertations on general finance topics or issues; I have no license, right, or permission to write about specific transactions or clients I am involved with; and I have no interest in airing my personal laundry before a hostile and indifferent world. It's a bit of a pickle, since this means I must violate the primary precepts of interesting writing: write about what you know and use specifics.

Instead, I scratch my intermittent writing itch here by excerpting interesting bits from the great works of others and nattering on about topics over which I hold no special command, intelligence, or authority. I refuse to be too apologetic, however. After all, blogging is and always has been at least partially a exercise in vanity and self-indulgence. Anyone who tells you otherwise is self-delusional.

Upon reflection, the cynic in me does find it ironic that it's easier to write about wider ideas and social issues than the daily substance of my own life. One of these days I just might have to write a blog post about that.

1 Naturally, I listed the regulatory impediments to disclosure before the legal, contractual, and (implied) moral and ethical ones, since I do not want to disabuse anyone reading these words of their prejudice that all investment bankers routinely flout and ignore all but the first of these. Heaven knows I do not want to tear anyone away from their fondly held preconceived notions.

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