If you're a fan of colorful financial metaphors and aren't satisfied with Matt Taibbi's "vampire squid" comparison, you'll want to check out Adgrok's blog, which has an interesting blog by an ex-Goldman Sachs employee. (Hat tip to The Business Insider.)
The blog is the work of Antonio Garcia-Martinez, a former "quant" at the bank, who quickly became disillusioned with Wall Street's "Boschian" culture . The title 'Why founding a three-person startup with zero revenue is better than working for Goldman Sachs," pretty much says it all.
Adgrok, which Garcia-Martinez formed with two partners, is backed by the influential seed stage venture fund Y Combinator, After leaving the physics program at the University of California, Berkley, Garcia-Martinez left to take a high-paying job at Goldman. Here, he describes the money-obsessed culture at the bank:
Wall Street is even simpler than religion. Your entire worth as a human is defined by one number: the compensation number your boss tells you at the end of the year. See, pay on Wall Street works as follows: your base salary is actually quite modest, but your 'bonus' is where the real money is...So, come mid-December, everyone on the desk lines up outside the partner's office, like the communion line at Christmas Mass, and awaits their little crumb off the big Wall Street table.
Even for someone trained in quantum mechanics, Wall Street's complex securities and deals were nearly incomprehensible. And at Goldman, the "quants" -- mostly failed scientists, the author writes -- were simply there to justify the money-making machine:
Peering into these deals was kind of like the zoomed-in penetration shot in a cheesy porn video: you could barely tell which end was up, which part was which, or, more importantly, who exactly was screwing whom. The quant aspect didn't really matter at the end, as one lacrosse-playing Penn graduate would agree on price via phone with another lacrosse-playing Cornell grad, and life would resume its speedy course to another deal.
The sad truth is: quants were the eunuchs at the orgy. The fluffers on the porn set of high finance. We were the ever-present British guy in every Hollywood WWII film: there to add a touch of class and exotic sophistication, but not really matter much to the plot (and maybe even conveniently take some bad guy's bullet).
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