Saturday, December 27, 2014

Greatest Hits of 2014

I’m always happy to show you people a little leg
“I think it’s just elegant to have an imagination. I just have no imagination at all. I have lots of other things, but I have no imagination.”

— The Seven Year Itch

Yes, O Dearly Beloved, it’s that time of year again. Time to dust off the circuit boards of the dedicated Google Analytics server farm for this two bit opinion emporium and determine which of my 37 beautiful children attracted the most attention from you delightful readers, spambots, and web crawlers in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Fourteen. As I have explained before, this may be the last year I bother to conduct such a shameless exercise of self-congratulatory back patting—and I have already graced these archives with an All Time Greats victory lap—but I am nothing if not attentive to the proclivities of the three obsessive compulsives among you who could not rest if I did not. (And of course that little jolt of ego gratification I receive from enticing a few hundred more of you to click on these links one more time.)

Anyway, the way these things work should not be a mystery to you by now, so I will stand discretely in the back while you explore TED’s very own People’s Choice awards. I hope you enjoy them, but if you do not, well, you’re probably not my demographic anyway.

THE CANON, 2014 Edition:

1) A Fine Disregard for the Rules (January) — A cabal of the largest investment banks on the planet joined together this year and last to institute policies designed to limit and control the near-legendary workloads imposed on their most junior professionals. In this post, your Guide to All Things Workaholic, Finance Edition explains just why it is these poor slobs work such long hours. I won’t give away the punchline here, but you may safely assume it has something to do with client service.

2) Where Did He Learn to Negotiate Like That? (August) — There are right ways and wrong ways to employ investment bankers when you want to sell your company. The idiot savants at online real estate company Trulia gave us a master class in the latter, while simultaneously demonstrating that it can be dangerous to negotiate with professional negotiators.

3) A Cure Worse Than the Disease (August) — A lawyer took to the pages of to explain, among other things, when and why to hire a mergers & acquisitions advisor to sell your private company. I took to my own to provide what I believe to be a more comprehensive, helpful, and only mildly self-promotional gloss.

4) Touring Test (June) — A tendentious screed prompted by more idiocy emanating from the incontinent bowels of Silicon Valley, some of whose boosters and visionaries continue to argue, against all evidence and two decades of wasted technology spending to the contrary, that in-person business meetings can and should be dispensed with in favor of remote, virtual, “telepresence” substitutes. I calmly remind my readers that meetings—and indeed business itself—still actually do involve those pesky entities known as people, most of whom continue to prefer to interact with their counterparts in person, rather than in the pixellated confines of World of Warcraft. For good reason.

5) This Situation Absolutely Requires a Really Futile and Stupid Gesture (March) — Gawker editor Hamilton Nolan Is Full of Shit, Part 572. I think it had something to do with hedge fund managers and their earnings this time. Moral: populist polemics based on a fundamental untruth may1 attract page views, but they only make you look stupid to the people who matter.

6) Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (February) — Two of the dead horses I most like to beat in these pages—junior banker working hours and women’s career challenges in my industry—come together in one convenient pile of moldering horseflesh for me to flail away at. You may watch the proceedings with amusement from the sanitary safety of your virtual armchair.

7) You Go First (July) — The private equity industry has always acted like a tick on the dog of investment banking when it comes to sourcing and hiring its junior professionals. Now that the tick is approaching the size of the dog, the old accommodation between the two symbionts is breaking down. I object.

8) All Hail and Farewell, the Trophy Kids (August) — Apparently the cream of America’s youth is spurning Wall Street for the glittering garages of Silicon Valley. I say good riddance, and helpfully explain why.

9) The School of Hard Knocks (April) — That’s the transcript I want to see from my job applicants, not a 4.0 GPA meal ticket from a degree mill on the Charles River. I fear I am fighting an inexorable tide, however.

10) Oop. Time, She’s Up (September) — That’s right: after almost eight years of an on-again, off-again tempestuous relationship with you Darling People, I am bored. As you might suspect, even my breakup texts are overlong. Time to stop phoning it in.


Previous entries in this series:2
TED’s All Time Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits of 2013
TED’s Greatest Hits of 2012
TED’s Greatest Hits of 2011
TED’s Greatest Hits of 2010
Greatest Hits of 2008
More Works to Look On and Despair (August 2007)
Look On My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair! (May 2007)

1 Sigh, I know: they do. But let me entertain my cherished illusions, please. It’s my blog, after all.
2 Apparently I never did a greatest hits collection for 2009. Sorry.

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