The “Vampire Squid” refers of course to Goldman Sachs. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone used this moniker to describe “the world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
It was a bit controvercial when his 2010 article proclaimed this. After all, Goldman was still doing bring business and there were no signs of client defections. You’d think customers would be the first to dislike the offending GS behavior.
Today came an interesting opinion piece in the NYT. A long-time employee writes why he is leaving GS and it isn’t pretty for the firm. Greg Smith is leavings because of “the trajectory of its culture…the environment is now as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.” Almost corroborating Taibbi’s claim is that “Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way.”
Interestingly, his main claim is that “the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money” and “how callously people talk about ripping their clients off”. The problem for GS’s future, Smith writes, is “how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.”
Which raises some interesting questions. If GS’s behavior is so bad, why aren’t clients defecting? Are they that oblivious, clueless, blind or dumb? Or does GS offer things that can’t be matched elsewhere such that customers stay anyway? Perhaps clients simply don’t feel these claims are accurate and that GS really does care about them? As illustrated by Buffett saving Salomon in the early 1990′s or Arthur Andersen disappearing after Enron, reputation and trust are so important in finance that if GS’s business doesn’t hurt from these allegations, either they are not taking advantage of clients or clients are truly oblivious. It’s hard to see a middle ground.
Dear financial press,
Please have mercy on us color blind folks. Is it too much to ask that your charts use colors that are clearly distinct? I once failed a chemistry lab because I couldn’t see the goop on the microscope slide turn from pink to purple. Like there is a difference to us color challenged?
Red, green, yellow lines- all just look like a kid was drawing scribbling lines to us. Even when lines are labeled, we’re lost after two series cross. Red and blue are hard to decipher if the screen is off or the printing is off. They key is to use colors that dramatically contrast to a degree where color is nearly irrelevant. Bright red and green can just be bright lines, but a blue line and a light green line are different in intensity/brightness/contrast and can almost always be deciphered by all but the worst colorblind cases.
A Few Percent of the Population
And “magenta”- whatever the hell that is- is really just a joke to us.
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