Bonus Bananas March 7, 2014

1) Traders' stress could cause the next financial crisis (CNBC) - New study shows that the stress level of traders could lead to the next major financial crisis, so please guys - keep self-medicating. Substance abuse is only a problem if you're poor.

2) The Face Behind Bitcoin (Newsweek) - Thought I'd run this link again since it's the story that basically broke the Internet yesterday. As well-reasoned as it sounds (I find it plausible, anyway) there is now considerable doubt that this is actually the guy. Whatever you think about Bitcoin, you have to admit - it ain't boring.

3) The Dark Power of Fraternities (The Atlantic) - There's no shortage of frat rats on Wall Street. Here's how they got to be the worst people on Earth. Oh, and all the drunken frat boys falling off of roofs? Darwin in action.

4) Twitter is installing log cabins from the 1800s in its San Francisco office (The Verge) - Because fuck Facebook, that's why.

Satoshi Nakamoto Revealed?

The Bitcoin saga gets weirder by the day. Newsweek thinks they've found Satoshi Nakamoto, the enigmatic creator of Bitcoin, and they might be right:

This following the mysterious death of a 28-year old Bitcoin exchange CEO in Singapore:

Very strange. Interesting that he's just a humble engineer living in a regular neighborhood in L.A., despite being worth nearly a billion dollars now.


Stanford Just Ganked Martoma's MBA

Wait...what? Can they do that??? Apparently they can. Stanford's Graduate School of Business has rescinded Matthew Martoma's 2001 offer of admission, effectively saying he never attended grad school there, and thereby no longer has an MBA from the vaunted institution. How's that for revisionist history? No word yet on whether Stanford will be returning the estimated $165,000 they charged Martoma to attend.

To be fair to the school, Martoma is a world-class shitheel who was thrown out of Harvard Law for faking a transcript before changing his name and heading out to Palo Alto. That's to say nothing of his later shenanigans at SAC which teed up the next couple decades of his life behind bars. Still, this is the first time in history Stanford has ever stripped a graduate of their MBA, and that's probably true of just about every grad school in the nation. Even Raj and Jeff Skilling got to keep their lambskins (from Wharton and Harvard, respectively).

Stanford spokeswoman Barbara Buell declined to comment on Mr. Martoma's record, citing privacy laws.

However, when asked about the school's general policy, she said, "We take very seriously any violation of the integrity of our admissions process," she said. The school has provisions for revoking degrees or acceptance offers if a student is found to have gained admission through false pretenses, she added.

Dick Bove: Bank Stocks Set to Double

If you're looking for an easy double, Dick Bove thinks there's no better place to find it than the very bank you're working for. In the following video he explains his thesis that bank stocks are set to double based on healthier balance sheets and better business practices. I personally haven't given the sector a hard look since 2009 (when it was all FAZ all day every day), so I'll admit that I'm intrigued. Still, while BAC at $3 was kind of a no-brainer, is the same true at $17? Are we really going to see GS back above $300? Interested to hear what you guys think.

Should We Be Worried About Ukraine?

Going to be a short one today, guys, because what I'm really looking for is your feedback. Depending on whom you believe, we're either on the brink of WW3 or the whole thing is basically over, so move along there's nothing to see here. Obviously my primary concern is the potential impact on the market (as mercenary as that sounds). Yesterday it got knocked around a bit, but today all the world markets are up, presumably on hopes of de-escalation.

So I'm wondering how seriously we need to take this. The whole mess in Turkey a few weeks ago made the market look shaky, and now there's this, so I'm forced to wonder if the market is just looking for an excuse to go lower in dramatic fashion.

And then there's Bitcoin. I buy BTC every Monday morning, and I got mine yesterday for $582.97. At one point yesterday it went over $700, and that was before I had dinner. I'm not sure if it's oligarch money trying to find a way out of Russia/Ukraine, if we have Her Royal Majesty to thank, or if an unknown New York bank regulator's off-hand comment is the cause. If Bitcoin becomes a flight to quality in times of turmoil, well, then we've got a whole new ballgame.

Monday @Mentions March 3, 2014

Thread of the Week:

This week's Thread of the Week goes to @"Mr. Manager" for his post "Lessons from a PE Superday". Not only was it a fantastic post, it also highlights the growing power of WSO on the Wall Street landscape. Ten years from now asking you what your WSO username is will be a standard interview question, so take a page out of @"Mr. Manager"'s playbook and always bring your A game. This thread earned him 29 Silver Bananas and 2 Tweets.

Comment of the Week:

The thread, "HELP- Pissed in Big 4 Audit" by @"breezy44" was a treasure trove of fantastic comments, but the one that stood out among all the others was written by @"_bird_" and it brougt in 18 Silver Bananas. He spits the inconvenient truth that, despite what we'd all like to believe about our own importance, we're all just easily replaced cogs in the wheel. Well said!

Caption Contest Winner:

This week's caption contest winner is @"animalz" with his shot about a non-target kid being so out of place at Goldman Sachs that they had to photoshop his picture in. Ouch...that's gonna leave a mark.

Is This a Great Country or What?

America is not a place without its problems, but there are some things we do better than any other country on Earth. Opportunity has to be at the top of that list. America is one of those rare places where you can truly start with nothing (or with even less than nothing) and become enormously wealthy. Generations of immigrants have borne this out since the founding of our country, and the same remains true today.

If you're like most people, you're probably at least mildly shocked over the news that Facebook is acquiring WhatsApp for almost $20 billion. Say what you will about the valuation; only time will tell if it was a great call or a bust. But here's something you might not know: the founder of WhatsApp grew up in a house with no hot water just outside of Kiev, immigrated to Mountain View when he was 16, and lived on welfare while he taught himself computer networking by reading manuals. In an inspirational twist to the story, he signed the deal to sell WhatsApp to Facebook on the door of the welfare office that paid his rent as a kid.

At 16, Koum and his mother immigrated to Mountain View, a result of the troubling political and anti-Semitic environment, and got a small two-bedroom apartment though government assistance. His dad never made it over. Koum's mother had stuffed their suitcases with pens and a stack of 20 Soviet-issued notebooks to avoid paying for school supplies in the U.S. She took up babysitting and Koum swept the floor of a grocery store to help make ends meet. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, they lived off her disability allowance.

FX Traders the New Kings of the Street?

mod (Andy) note: "Blast from the past - Best of Eddie" - This one is originally from February 2010. If there's an old post from Eddie you'd like to see up again shoot me a message.

Icahn Lowers the Boom on eBay

Does anyone else get the impression that Carl Icahn is just an angry dude? Maybe, like me, he just longs for the 80's when we were both much cooler. Be that as it may, Carl has been a mite cranky of late. First, he was very publicly dissatisfied with the way Apple was handling their massive pile of cash, and now he's taking the eBay board to task for being...well...idiots. In his defense, there does appear to be some fairly egregious conflicts of interest here. His delivery is acerbic and classic Icahn. I can almost picture Icahn as Rust Cohle, whispering to the eBay board, "If you get the opportunity you should kill yourself." It's anyone's guess whether he'll be able to seed the eBay board with his people at the next election, but it appears he's determined to make the interim entertaining at least. Enjoy:

Monday @Mentions February 24, 2014

Thread of the Week:

This week's Thread of the Week would also garner the Rocky Balboa prize. @"upod01" gave non-targets everywhere some hope with his inspirational tale of breaking in with a non-target background. The post was "Can a Non Target land a IB SA? With hard work and persistence it definitely is." and it proved once again that anything is possible with enough hard work and dedication. The thread brought in 17 Silver Bananas and a Tweet. Nicely done.

Comment of the Week:

Comment of the Week this week goes to @"SilvioBerlusconi" for his comment in the thread "NYC is pointless unless you're rich or either in college". We love to bash NYC, but the fact remains that it's about the most baller place to live on Earth, especially if you're single.. That's what Silvio was alluding to when he quipped, "NYC just ranked #1 by Business Insider's "25 Best Places to Roll Dolo" so I don't know wtf you're talking about." The comment earned him 7 Silver Bananas.

Grizzled Veteran:

The Grizzled Veteran award goes to @"BOTT1702" for his epic thread, "What I Learned From Losing $1.2 Million". His somewhat dour view of the world of trading was spot on and really took me back, and his advice was top notch. The post earned 16 Silver Bananas and 4 Tweets.