some big time passed, huh?
Hello, happy almost new year. I hope you are doing great. What a year, etc.
I thought I’d send a little retrospective. ThE yEaR tHaT wAs. To say hi, to acknowledge the passage of Time, to think about what we have accomplished this year, even when it feels like time and work are a dream we have when we’re awake.
First, My Really Big Thing:
I’m struggling to process it, but my book will be published in March!1 (YES you can PREORDER NOW!!) So if I’ve owed you an email for the past 7 years, first off I’m sorry, but also I’m back now! Feel free to remind me, or pretend it didn’t happen and say hi anew, or just to shake your head and sigh fondly.
Now we turn to ~publicity~. So I ask you: what would you like to see for BOND KING promo? I’m thinking of painting the book’s various Bills (there are <80) to make collectible trading cards. Fun or too weird? Should I embroider fleece vests w a homemade logo? Do u wanna see the alt covers I made, should I NFT them??
We recently (“recently”) did a show on THE PORTS being clogged. We went “into the field” aka to a real place. For PROOF, here I am not at my desk!!!!!:
We did an episode on LIBOR replacements. Everyone told me a LIBOR show couldn't be interesting (bc it would be about LIBOR) and, look! On to the next peak, you know?
Before that: Banque Worms! the one where Citibank oops-sent $900m to investors who were owed exactly that and a court ruled they could keep it. I copiloted w Katherine Doherty of Bloomberg; it was a delight. Some lawyers aren’t fun to listen to; THESE are not those lawyers!
The episode made me realize how much joy/material Judge Jesse Furman brings me. I’m remembering Windstream/Uniti, but I’m interested if he’s affected your life! Sound off in the comments!
3. the benefit of benefits
In 2019, I was at dinner with some friends who worked in finance, at real companies. They were all considering starting a family. But none could figure out their leave policies. One had a vague policy which she ended up having to negotiate bilaterally w her boss (in fact, she was lucky, bc the only person who’d taken leave in the firm’s 30+ year history had JUST negotiated a policy into existence). Another was looking at surrogacy, and found that her firm gave five (5) days to any non-birth-giving parent. She learned this when she dug up the only copy of the firm’s policies, in a physical binder in the HR person’s desk drawer. (Two people have quit over this policy in the years since this dinner.)
At this dinner, I suddenly stopped understanding: we talk about benefits as some great competitive advantage, and yet the information is entirely opaque. We have to ask for a firm's policy, usually late in the hiring process. This seems obviously bad. Like oh, we don’t discriminate in hiring, we build barriers to do it for us!
So Karishma and I set about to fix this (lol). We canvassed 101 of the biggest/most influential financial-services companies to find out what they offer, and eventually 32(!!) asset managers, banks, industry groups, and accounting firms sent in their benefits policies.
Data here. (to see the widget, u have to subscribe to Quartz, which tbh you should already!) We list all 101 firms, including who declined and who never responded 👻.
DID YOU KNOW: at Bridgewater, u HAVE to take at least 15 vacation days a year…..
…PwC is PAYING employees to take consecutive time off....
and GS and UBS offer gender-neutral2 caregiver-status-neutral leave of 20 weeks!!
At Bloomberg, Matt Levine talked abt adverse selection:
…Companies want to offer good pay and benefits to attract talented employees, but if they offer the best benefits they worry about the risk of adverse selection. If you offer unlimited vacation, are you going to attract mainly workers who want to take a lot of vacations? … So you want to tell talented employees `come here, we will treat you well,’ but you want to avoid hiring employees who actually demand to be treated well. A compromise is to say `we offer competitive pay and benefits,’ or whatever, but make it hard to find out what they are.
And absolute star Jules Hyman had me on Yahoo Finance about this. I only had a few DONT GET ME STARTEDs, but maybe I should polish this spiel since I’m now a benefits evangelist.
If you run a company, does this inspire you, are you excited to offer such great policies u can brag about them?? If you are an employee, can you march into your next job interview armed w this knowledge, and demand better?
4. Do u need more content? Here’s some OTHER stuff I did/contributed to:
how the US came to be one of the few countries that allow prescription drug ads on TV, congrats to us
honored to be included in the DIRT investigation into Which Heart Emoji Do You Use
An excerpt from NPR’s tribute to Yahoo Answers:
I didn’t contribute but my team made and I loved:
The lost archives of Sadie Alexander. Exquisite, moving, enraging, beautiful
Video gaming the system: odd combination of extraordinarily fun to listen to and v serious
this rerun that imo is among the GOATs: the one where we bought a lot of Christmas trees
5. Other things I loved:
this art from our beloved Tok team
Ellen Huet’s substack: her honesty abt book-writing terrifies / awes me
this Reply All on trying to shake your pandemic malaise
The Verge on “On Background:” “A food delivery company insisted on discussing the popularity of chicken wings on background.”
CARDIFF + AIMEE’s podcast The New Bazaar!! DISCLOSURE my spouse did the theme music 💖
This investigation by Zach Mider and Rachel Adams-Heard into a company buying up dead oil wells. They literally read these wells for filth. But this crowdpleaser also has accounting fun: “Sometimes the most profitable reason to extend the life of an old well isn’t the extra oil or gas that comes out. It’s the delay in the date when a well has to be plugged. When companies tell investors how much they expect to spend on retiring wells, they discount it by how far away that day of reckoning is. On the books, a 50-year timeline makes Hutson’s cost almost disappear.”
(separately, Rachel was on PM to talk about Orphaned Welles.)
Look, it’s Demi, our goofy guard dog:
Ok that’s it! I hope u enjoy the rest of this “year” and sleep a lot and do things that nourish and restore you! “See” you in 2022.
This does mean ur about to get absolutely bombarded with Bond King-related content. Yes, you signed up here under no duress, I know, but nonetheless I wanted to flag!!