Just came back to Seattle and saw this on the news:
Merrill Lynch exec, Peter Kraus, got paid a $25 million bonus for what amount to a few weeks of work. This is after Bank of America had bought out Merrill Lynch and received a $25 billion cash infusion from the US government’s bailout plan.
Peter Kraus just bought a $37 million, 5 bedrooms co-op apartment in NYC’s Upper East Side, at 720 Park Avenue.
I have a big problem with things like this and those greedy CEOs getting multi-million dollar salary / bonus while the average Joe can barely survive from paycheck to paycheck! I guess it’s due to my background, my father is an engineer and I also worked as an engineer at Microsoft and Yahoo! People like us are “creators”, we develop, implement & maintain things so that businesses can run, produce and earn money. To engineers and scientists, there’s more to a job than just monetary compensation, we also look for that sense of accomplishment when we create meaningful things for the world!!! We take pride in our work based on our achievements and meaning, more than how much money we make!!
I’ve always had a hard time understanding finance and the stock market. Why are these people simply trading papers and can make a shitload of money while producing no quantifiable products for the world? Why are we letting these people control our money??! Anybody else think that this is seriously fucked up?!! I wish someone would enlighten me and may be we can find solutions to fix this social unjust, reverse the pecking order, and take back the control of our hard earned money from the evil banks.
Speaking of evil, I’m reading “The Google Story” and one chapter is about Google’s process to IPO. What these guys had done really impressed me! Excerpts from the book:
Larry and Sergey knew about the scandals – some criminal, some unethical, all evil – where Wall Street underpriced IPOs and then let favored clients profit by dumping the stock on day one, after the price skyrocketed. The guys wanted no part of what seemed to be a corrupt and rotten system.
Google used an egalitarian method for distributing stock to the public, this means anyone can participate, and would overcome the Wall Street bias toward underpricing.
Brin and Page resented what they viewed as a Wall Street monopoly when it came to fees. All the firms charged the same exorbitant fees for handling IPOs – 7%; in a $2 billion public offering, they would earn $140 million. … They decided they would compensate Wall Street at less than half of the usual and prevailing fees, and if the brokerage houses didn’t like it, they didn’t have to participate in the deal. Furthermore, they developed detailed plans to wrest control over the unfair pricing and allocation of shares, and reserved the right to cancel the deal at the last moment if they changed their minds. To put it mildly, the Google Guys were sending a “drop-dead” message to Wall Street.
Larry and Sergey were advised by their outside lawyers that once they filed IPO documents with the SEC, they would enter something know as the “quiet period”, when they would have to make sure they said nothing to tout the value of Google stock. As populists, it made no sense to Brin and Page that the quiet period permitted something called a road show, where they would meet behind closed doors with big money people, the institutinal investros and heavyweights of Wall Street, to give presentations and answer questions. Why did it make sense to give those big insiders an advantage at road shows gatherings, leaving outsiders and small investors to fend for themselves? This seemed like a typical self-serving Wall Street tradition, and they aimed to break it, or at least bend it, in the process of going public. They would say little or nothing new at the road shows, and give everyone access to the same additional data about Google by posting it on the Internet.
Finally, another excerpt from the same chapter that talks about engineers and good and evil:
Many of the best engineers had a strong sense of the deeper philosophical issues of right and wrong, and of good and evil. Technology, in and of itself, could be a force of light or darkness. By instinct, talented technologists were attracted to a company that had appealing values and virtues that went beyond maximizing profits and market share.
A little too exaggerating, may be. But all the same, a lot of my colleagues at Yahoo! felt the same way back then. (though we certainly didn’t mind when our stock options kept shooting up either.) 😛