For those who read Leveraged Sellout
Wall Street's Junior Set Tells All: Banks Meet Blogs (Update1)
May 25 (Bloomberg) -- Amit Chatwani is the toast of Wall Street's junior set. He doesn't work for a bank.
From a studio apartment in Manhattan's East Village, the 23-year-old writes Leveraged Sell-Out, a Web log that chronicles the life of today's young financiers: the pastel Lacoste polo shirts, the ``bottle service'' at Meatpacking District clubs, the women pursuing men from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Blackstone Group LP during bonus season.
People really want to read this stuff,'' says Chatwani, a Princeton University graduate. His eight-month-old site gets more than 30,000 page views in the four days after he posts an essay, he says.They want to know about the culture.''
Leveraged Sell-Out, DealBreaker and a half-dozen more online diaries are gaining popularity among young bankers. The sites blend blogging, a regular habit for Wall Street's college- age summer interns and entry-level employees, with an older tradition of insider memoirs such as ``Liar's Poker,'' Michael Lewis's tale of Salomon Brothers bond traders in the 1980s.
More than 4,000 students and business school graduates are starting jobs at New York securities firms in the next few months, including about 1,800 at Goldman Sachs, 1,000 at Merrill Lynch & Co. and 400 at Credit Suisse Group.
They are entering
analyst''' andassociate'' programs that demand hundred-hour workweeks spent answering to senior bankers, preparing presentations known as pitch-books and sitting in cubicles doing computer modeling.
It's about time there are blogs about it,'' says Johanna Tyburski, 29, who left Credit Suisse in March after six years in the Zurich-based company's telecommunications banking and high- yield departments in New York.You know that your life is crazy and not real, and there's a humor that goes with it.''
The online spoofs and gossip pages are typically written by outsiders with contributions from unnamed industry workers. Securities firms tend to fire employees who publicly break their silence about clients or internal politics.
People layer their communications,'' says Douglas Rae, a professor at the Yale School of Management in New Haven, Connecticut.There are things they want to say to their peers that they can't afford to say to their superiors. That hidden transcript is everywhere.''
Going Private, billed as ``sardonic memoirs'' of the private-equity world, told readers on May 22 that its anonymous lead writer received a note demanding money to keep from being named publicly. Among the site's other offerings: a May 3 celebration of Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli's 537th birthday.
Ivy League Pals
Leveraged Sell-Out's Chatwani, who says he's working on a book proposal to sell his talent for lampooning Wall Street, fictionalizes material from Ivy League pals in the business.
Chatwani's mock e-mail exchange between bankers agreeing to order bottles to jump the line at a dance club last month, elicited 45 comments. ``Keep the laughs coming,'' one reader wrote.
Readership of sites like Chatwani's is small compared with those that appeal to a more general audience, such as Boing Boing, a blog on popular culture and technology. That site, the No. 1 English-language blog in the world, according to Technorati, a Web site that tracks the blogging community, got an average of 785,141 page views per day in April.
Page view is a measure of the number of pages seen by visitors to a Web site in a given period.
`Love and Banking'
BankersBall, started in October with the tagline
Where Bankers Come to Party,'' has sections includingthe Natty Banker,'' with tips on Manhattan suit sales, and
Ask the Ex- Working Girl,'' with advice onlove and banking.'' It also offers shortcuts for using Microsoft Corp.'s Excel software, the junior banker's primary tool for financial models.
Last week, BankersBall offered a list of the average salaries of first-, second- and third-year associates at private-equity firms. (First-year salary plus bonus: $172,000).
While young bankers who blog may get in trouble, the sites aren't blocked from work stations at Goldman, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley or Credit Suisse, spokespeople at those New York firms say.
At Merrill, access is limited by a policy blocking any site with a chat room because ``the company can't supervise, retain or archive the information,'' spokeswoman Selena Morris says.
Wall Street's new Web chatter also includes dozens of sites focused on serious analysis of markets and the economy. It's all part of an explosion of blogging, where Internet users post opinions, unchecked news and links to other sites as often as a dozen times a day.
More Than 35 Million
About 75,000 new blogs are created daily, about one every second, according to an April report by Technorati. The total number of blogs doubles every six months and now tops 35 million.
Many bloggers sell advertisements or solicit donations from readers, Technorati spokesman Derek Gordon says. Few are financial successes. Only the top 1,000 sites attract enough readers to secure large advertisers, and only the elite top 100 blogs earn enough to make a living, he says.
New York celebrity blog Gawker is among the few that are profitable, says Gaby Darbyshire, director of business development.
The site, created in 2002 by publisher Nick Denton and founding editor Elizabeth Spiers, draws more than 170,000 people a day. It is the world's 20th most-read blog, according to Technorati.
Gawker Media LLC doesn't release details on advertising sales. The site has spawned 13 new blogs, including the Los Angeles-based gossip site Defamer and Washington, D.C.'s Wonkette.
`Online Business Tabloid'
Spiers, 29, now has her own blog called DealBreaker. The two-month-old ``online business tabloid'' has been getting an average of 30,000 visitors daily, says Spiers, the publisher and lead writer. More than 80 percent of readers are men, and 68 percent work in financial services, she says. The median age is 29.
On her new site, Spiers brings the same breathlessness to investment-banking personnel shifts as Gawker does to movie-star sightings on Madison Avenue.
A DealBreaker section called
Planespotting'' on May 22 included anunconfirmed'' account that a Lear jet registered to Denise Rich, ex-wife of Marc Rich, the one-time fugitive financier pardoned by former President Bill Clinton, flew from New York's Westchester airport to Arkansas's Rogers Municipal Airport-Carter Field and back.
People love anything gossipy,'' says Spiers.It's no different no matter what you're covering. They want sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.''