Monday, December 26, 2011

TED’s Greatest Hits of 2011

Charming, aren't I?
True, true, 2011 isn’t officially over yet, but I am happy to hurry the good-for-nothing wastrel out the door. What promised to be a busy and productive year in my business fizzled out pathetically after Labor Day, leaving me far too much time to blog for my own comfort. Readers continued to trickle in to this site over the course of the year, however, so either I must be doing something right here or there are vastly more masochists peopling the world than I ever suspected.

While the following 10 “most popular” blog posts from 2011 are not based on anything more scientific that Google Analytics page rankings,1 they are not an unfair representation of the general tenor, topics, and tone of my work. Feel free to while away the interstitial period before the official beginning of the Mayan Year of Catastrophe by revisiting the pieces below (or diving in for the very first time). As a special, one-time, limited holiday offer, there is no charge.


THE CANON, 2011 Edition

1) Jane, You Ignorant Slut (May) — In which I trenchantly and comprehensively respond to some of the idiotic gasbaggery circulating the interwebs over the pricing of LinkedIn’s initial public offering. Targets for my righteous fury include the normally sensible Joe Nocera, intermittently unhinged Jim Cramer, and former investment bank research analyst2 and current blog spammer Henry Blodget, whom I take to task for promulgating “The Stupidest Analogy About IPOs Ever Conceived.”™ Due in no small part to the fact that Mr. Blodget took umbrage at my attack and attempted to paint himself out of the ridiculous metaphorical corner he had invented in a follow-on post, this article attracted by far the greatest number of pageviews of any individual post during 2011. It also reaffirmed my long-standing policy of preventing comments at this location to be the only tenable one for an individual uninterested in marinating himself in the idiocy of the legions of mouthbreathers and internet trolls which populate one of the leading business-oriented blog sites in the English language.3

2) First, Let’s Shoot All the Philosophers (April) — The head of the Department of Philosophy at UNLV argues that the study of philosophy should be supported at his university due to its practical benefits, and I counter that the salient characteristic of philosophy is exactly its radical non-practicality. Picked up like a shiny new toy for some reason by folks over at ycombinator, whose inclusion of this piece on their news feed drove thousands of unsuspecting hackers, venture capitalists, and other hapless start-up junkies to a site which they could only have been too happy to leave as quickly as possible.

3) Come Fly With Me (February) — Wherein I puncture the twin myths of the glamor of investment banking travel and the independence of Big Swinging Dicks like me. It’s a client service business, people, after all. Complete with a nifty cinéma vérité snap by your very own Dedicated Bloggist and Budding Professional Photographer.

4) Bar Nothing (January) — An autobiographical anecdote from serial confessor James Altucher forms the basis for this meditation on the attractions of “hot clients” and “hot deals,” which together reduce normally dignified, self-contained, and highly principled investment bankers4 to slavering crack whores desperate for a hit. Illustrated with a spiffy pic of Rita Hayworth as Gilda, sadly not taken by this Author.

5) If the Phone Don’t Ring, You’ll Know It’s Me (October) — For all those eager beavers who continue to want to break into my industry—regardless of parental advice, social opprobrium, and diligent demythologizing by Yours Truly—I lay out a few pointers which might do the silly buggers some good. Hint: an Ivy League degree in finance is not required.

6) Dan, You Pompous Ass (May) — A follow up post to my original LinkedIn IPO piece (q.v. #1, above), in which I provide more details of the IPO distribution process while simultaneously debunking the notion that the fact that investment banks treat institutional buy-side investors differently reflects underhanded or illicit behavior. As I did not bother to attack Henry Blodget again by name in this piece, pageviews were materially lower. Paraphrasing Jane Austen, I hope and suspect Mr. Blodget was so perfectly satisfied with our first conversation that he will never again distress himself by introducing the subject of it again.

7) She’s Got Legs (June) — In which I offer fashion advice to aspiring young women in my industry and similar ones. Said advice mainly boils down to the following: “sexy” ≠ professional. Period.

8) A Victim of Soycumstance (September) — Your Diligent Reporter spotlights a story on divisional infighting at Morgan Stanley to explain why the historically contentious and structurally conflicted corporate finance and sales & trading divisions of traditional investment banks do much better when they cooperate. Encompasses both management philosophy & practice and firm strategy in investment banking, which may be the first time anyone in my industry has ever actually thought about the two topics together.

9) You’re Doing It Wrong (October) — Your Humble Blogosophist loses patience, once again, with the pace and direction of financial reform in this country. I spray the landscape liberally with machine gun rounds, in hopes of winging a recalcitrant legislator or lobbyist or two, but I fear the result will once again be for naught. Pretty much summarizes the kind of regulatory regime I think would work, though. For the archives or for shits and giggles, depending on your preference.

10) A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall (September) — Sales and trading professionals are getting fired by the thousands, in a massive bloodletting designed to shrink that overgrown side of the house back to normal after years of cheap credit, massive investment flows, and lax regulation. So, what’s a clever sales and trading manager to do? Plant stories in the gullible media attacking mergers & acquisition advisors, of course. Being one of the latter, I fight my corner. I think I win.

* * *

Let’s all hope 2012 won’t be such a pisser. Here’s mud in your eye!

1 Approximately 185,000 pageviews came in over the course of the year to the home page of this blog and are therefore not identified with any one post. Splitting these up equally over the total number of posts this year gives a page view count per page roughly equivalent to the identified page views for the tenth-ranked post above. Which is only to say, I have no fucking idea what you people like to read.
2 Who, one would think, should know better.
3 Yes, you may take that last bit as ironical.
4 I’m pretty sure there is more than one of these in my industry.

© 2011 The Epicurean Dealmaker. All rights reserved.