Detail from Ancient Greek black-figured dinos (wine-bowl) with the first chariot in the procession

Detail from Ancient Greek black-figured dinos (wine-bowl) with the first chariot in the procession
“Sophilos Dinos” (wine-bowl) showing guests arriving at the wedding of Thetis and Peleus. In the first car -Zeus and Hera, 2nd-Poseidon and Amphitrite. Source: British Museum (Wikicommons)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Alpha vs. Beta: 20 years

Recently I saw some online comments with side-by-side pictures of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos then (1997) vs. now (2017), then being before alpha male and now on alpha male stats. What a difference aging powerfully makes ! Aging for some CEOs is a blessing, as life turns them from unremarkable, some might say sheep, to powerful men. Bezos is not the only case of  beta-turned-alpha. I also included here pictures of  Muhtar Kent, long standing CEO of Coca-Cola who stepped down last May and is still its Chairman.


Image: Daily Mail U.K.10/10/13, Picture date: 1997

VS.


Getty Images, TMZ Media, 07/2017

AND


Picture: Coca-Cola archives, 1993                                                                                                           From Youtube PwC's 17th Annual Global CEO Survey.2014



What a difference 20 or some years makes in people's lives...If they can take it to the next level.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Most people that work in finance are soft as a cloud blanket. If you're soft, you're never gonna get anywhere.

What will your picture say in twenty years ? Or better yet, what statement do you make with your body now? You don't have to wear an Armani suit, just casual.

Monday, July 17, 2017

How to defeat Trump

It is about one year since I started writing on this blog, and the laurels keep coming. Sweet ! [Previously explained this: although started in 2013, I wrote almost nothing here until last summer.] So I consider this effort to be one year long to date. Happy 1st B-day !


  1. More page views than ever before...between 2,500 to 3,000 a day.
  2. A mailing list quickly approaching 2,000. Those 2,000 folks are my core readership, people who surely know what they want out of life. Core readers are those who place value on the content I bring to the marketplace, people who don't scurry like rats from the difficulties of life.
  3. I've gotten comments,  like "good motivational blog", "you tell it like it is", "the garden place to hang your boss", " not girlfriend friendly". Look, I try to motivate myself every day, so I'll do it here as well [link].  And yes, bosses are my favorite subject. Specifically, dealing with bosses and their efforts to undermine our progress in our careers. I estimate bosses cost our economy $5 Bn in lost productivity, protracted work and unseemly squabbles. I'll write a book on bosses. Bosses are the biggest angst in people lives, together with their mothers-in-law.

A reader says: You say you are the "word's number one strategist". [my note: I am ] We are desperate, after 6 months of Trump turmoil, is it anyway that we can defeat him ?

Thanks,

Lorna


Lorna,

Do you really wanna know the secret to victory ?



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Warren Buffett vs. Paul Singer

Those of you working on Wall Street are aware of upcoming battle of the giants between Berkshire Hathway's Buffet and Elliott Management's Singer over the future of now bankrupt Texas utility company TXU. A iconic buyout era remnant, TXU has since defaulted is is now known as Energy Future. (Reuters)

Elliott is the largest creditor to Energy Future. A subsidiary of Energy Future, Oncor, is the largest public utility in Texas, with 10 million customers. So who gets to own that ?

Warren Buffet is the world's wealthiest and most celebrated investor. An iconic figure, Buffet dislikes hedge funds for wasting client's money (CNBC) yet he operates like a huge long-only hedge fund the only difference is he is using his own money, not investor money. He sounds a lot like a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

It's time for CEOs to "shape up" or give it up

What are you doing this summer ?

I'll tell you what Roland Smith, ex-CEO of Office Depot is doing, According to the WSJ ("For CEOs, High Pay, Higher Anxiety"- Vanessa Fuhrmans, Joann S. Lublin), he is taking a 13,000 mile motorcycle trip with his son from Key West to Alaska and then to Jackson Hole.

CEOs pay is out of control. That's nothing new to those that analyze their investments. CEOs of public firms make today some 300 X what an AFC (Average Frustrated Chump) , I mean average employee makes, up 10 times from the late 1970s and most of the 1980s. Does the average employee produce less now than they did 30 years ? Absolutely not. Do the CEOs produce more now than they did decades ago ? In fluff and fold, maybe.

The CEO is no longer the "protected class". No longer serving the 20-year term. How many of us hold a job for 20 years anymore ?  GE CEO Jeff Immelt is leaving this summer after 16 years, not by happenstance, but because of sub-performing stock and a nudge from activist Trian Fund Management.

According to the WSJ:

"In June 2017 alone, the CEOs of GE, Uber, Buffalo Wild Wings, Perrigo, Pandora Media resigned or announced their departure." Don't be fooled by the word "resignation" which most press releases read, these folks are pushed out. Don't be too concerned for them either, these people land on their feet better than cats do.



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Is sexual advance sexual harassment ? male reader asks

I got this email from a reader with an interesting situation percolating into the current amped up Silicon Valley environment with women screaming sexual harassment left and right.

Max,

My name is Anil, I am 30ish and I am so lucky to have found your blog. I'm pretty sure you're one of the very few writers out there that tackles men being the target of harassment by women. Nobody else talks about it.

I work in the Marketing department of my company, a large tech player in the semiconductors industry. My boss, Heather, is good looker, she looks like Pamela Anderson, and at 48 she's in great shape. She goes to the same gym I do, two miles from my work. This is what happened last week. She had two tickets to a Dodgers game and knowing that I'm a fan she invited me. should give you some background here: I am happily married for 5 years with no kids and Heather is also married (to Tom).

So we've met up after work and she decided to drive me up in her car. I was already tired after a long days work, and my wife was already home waiting for me. My wife, Sylvia, calls me. "I go: 'Honey, I'll be late tonight. Heather is taking me to the ball game.'" 30 minutes into the game, Heather started drinking and started rubbing my thighs. Then she started rubbing my penis. All the time she was keeping looking ahead. I was so embarrassed ! At half time I walked up and she came after me, trying to do it again ! Can you believe it ? I said: "What it wrong with you ? Are you insane ? She was giggling and laughing ! The problem is I know Tom, her husband, who is a nice man, and a good husband !

At the end of the game I left quickly and did not want to go into the car with her. She is an embarrassment to herself and her family. Next day at work it was as if nothing ever happened !

What do I do now ? Should I tel my wife ? My wife and I have an agreement where we don't hold anything back from each other. Was this sexual harassment ? Should I report her to HR ? This is crazier than The Game of Thrones.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Old age delusion

When you hear "old people" talk it sounds like this:

When I was in my 30s  I had so much_______fill in the blanks: ambition, fearlessness, stamina, strength.

But then even guys in their 30s "feel old" when  comparing themselves with how they were in their 20s. WTF ?

"If I had the energy I had 10 years ago...

"Time is wasted on the youth." -You've heard those before...

I used to recommend comparing yourself to your earlier self (one, three. ten years ago) but this is just getting ridiculous.

What exactly separates the old from the young ? Is is the number of years since birth ?  Or is it lamenting ?

People that lament (feel sorry for advancing in age, for the passage of time) are suffering from a delusion: The delusion of the linear time. They are sheep, not master. Being a master warrior means eradicating time. Eradicating your illusions.

One becomes old when he stops learning. Period.

If you consider yourself a worthy man, if you are an alpha male not cattle which most men are, I recommend you read  Carlos Castaneda's summary of writings (I believe there are 12). This is not Lord of the Rings fiction. This is not some psychedelic punch. I'm not looking for the latest nootropic here. I am looking to disassemble the reality I was made to ingest, and, following that, make my own reality, free of delusion, including the delusion of age.
"A warrior cannot complain or regret anything."
 So you have it right upfront that "my 30s were better than my 50s" is nonsense.
So what does it take to be a warrior ?

There are four main things, according to the shamans:

1. Erasing personal history
2. Losing self-importance
3. Assuming responsibility for your decisions: Nothing is more or less important than anything else. There is no time for regrets or doubts. There is only time for decisions.
4. The Four natural enemies that a man must defeat are: fear, clarity, power and our favorite subject of the day, old age. The Shaman view old age, the desire to rest, as mostly a desire "not to be bothered". Don't fall for it.

As far as clarity and power there's more about putting limits on them so they don't  not obscure development.

"Little by little you must create a fog around yourself; you must erase everything around you until nothing can be taken for granted, until nothing is any longer for sure, or real. Your problem now is that you’re too real. Your endeavors are too real; your moods are too real. Don’t take things so for granted."

"The warrior lowers his head to no one, but at the same time, he doesn’t permit anyone to lower his head to him. The beggar, on the other hand, falls to his knees at the drop of a hat and scrapes the floor for anyone he deems to be higher; but at the same time, he demands that someone lower than him scrape the floor for him."

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tools of the trade: pugnaciousness

We know that grit makes all the difference in the world for success (kudos to Angela Duckworth for that) but if you're in a disruptive avant garde industry like activist hedge funds, you better check your pugnaciousness.

I was called the Pitbull of Wall Street like I'm walking around with a picture on my head, but Institutional Investor Magazine this month portrays another "pitbull", Paul Singer of Elliott Management in The Last Hedge Fund Pit Bull (Michelle Celalier).

Getting into proxy fights is not easy, it is cumbersome, expensive and extremely difficult. Elliott's fight with Arconic (last 10-Q ARNC ) is not over yet, but they've won 3 board seats at the company and ousted ex-CEO Kleinfeld in April.

From that fight Elliott had 9 pages of "ethical concerns" about the CEO. "It suggested the ex-CEO had an inpunitive personality and could not take responsibility for his own failures." -II

Drilling down on C-suite personalities is incumbent upon someone that is looking at a level of misdirection or apathy in the leadership of a business.

Of course, Elliott is best-known for is protracted battle with Argentina, and they won 75 cents on the dollar for the bonds. But it took 15 years.

Who can successfully fight for 15 years ?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

You wouldn't have this job...if it wasn't for me

It's the time for another one of my readers to shine:

"Max,

I am a [redacted] industry analyst for one of the largest investment firms. Sometime ago while doing a visit at a large company we cover, I was the leading analyst conducting our due diligence visit. As I started peppering a C-suite executive there, I went beyond your typical what's the outlook for your company, and asked him why was he doing [what he was doing, redacted] to which he replied: 

"Listen, fucker, you wouldn't have this job if it wasn't for us." 

What is it that I should have done ? Also, please write some more maxims, I like them. They reflect my workplace reality.

Thanks,

Alex"



Max: Alex, you are saying this is a client, he's not your existing boss or supervisor. He is lashing out presumably unhappy with the fact Wall Street firms exist to cover firms like his. So if there were no firms doing [whatever industry] there wouldn't be the need to cover them. Guy is obviously an assho*e and you irked him.

His complaining is weak. I mean, if there were no WS firms, he'd have no investors and no business to be working at and his lavish lifestyle. I'd like my readers to take a look at the relocation packages below, for illustration purposes only, and to think for a moment, how does that compare with what they make. How close are you...or how remote.

There are two responses to what you were told:

1. Ignore and continue, Take it in, not react, I imagine eventually you'd excuse yourself and leave at some point. If you were alone with him, you'd not share this with someone else. This is the base case of NOT responding to verbal aggression.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fallacies: what's in my boss' toolbox ?

Do you know your fallacies [list of informal fallacies] ?

People are often lead by irrational mind tricks and trips employed by high charging individuals.

Heuristics, faking social proofs, high flying stories backed by other stories, mocking people, and so forth are tactics used to win and gain support.

Bernard Madoff has never taken a penny from anyone ! People gave that money to him ! [Educated] people [of sound body and mind] WILLINGLY gave him their money ! Madoff has NEVER taking any money from someone who wasn't going to give it to him.

Fallacies are tools of endearment. Watch this video below on Donald Trump's campaign speech where he is using 15 fallacies in three minutes.



Your mind is not even aware of what he's doing to you. Red herring fallacy, bandwagon, false cause, black or white fallacy, loaded question fallacy, strawman fallacy, slippery slope fallacy, personal incredulity fallacy, ad homini fallacy, and they just keep on coming.

What are some of the fallacies your boss is using on you ? Can you now see better through his (or hers) bulls*it ?


Sunday, June 18, 2017

3 ways to lose your FEAR

A publisher (let's call them ramdomly) asked me to write a CEO Bluebook on the blueprint for CEO ascension. The problem with that is CEO ascension is not something like writing a cooking recipe formula. Also, CEO biographies are all over the place, from Steve Jobs to Travis Kalanick, you can cull and pick as many as you want to. Most people will never be a CEO because either they're not interested or not cut out to be one. So I see a limited market for such a title. I also see a small advance. The result: not happening ! I'm not doing boring stuff and I am not doing stuff that'll just be pleasing to the oligarchy. Get yourself another henchman, butthead ! I have no lost love for you !

After writing the last post, you want more of the truisms I call Max's maxims. I can spill those out faster than a speeding ticket.

When God spoke to me, He said: I am the God of no mercy. -Max Cantor maxim #11 [redacted]

The way out is following through. -Max Cantor maxim #12

Think of yourself as a company or going concern business, not an individual. For everyone you encounter, boss included, ask yourself: How does this person help out my growth and development ? Are they here to help me or STUNT me ? -Max Cantor maxim #13

Think of your boss as medicine. All medicine outgrows its usefulness. -Max Cantor maxim #14

If a patient keeps on taking cancer medicine and does not stop, that person will die from the side effects. When you have a cold, you won't keep on taking cold medicine after you got well. Once cured, there's no need for the medicine. If you keep taking medicine past the prescribed period, the good effects will end and you will have sickened yourself.

Every boss' wish is to linger in your life past office hours. They think that's what phones are for.

Make yourself unavailable during your private time. Do NOT answer that phone, do NOT answer that text. -Max Cantor maxim #15

We live in a workplace where, for some ungodly reason, bosses think you must be available 24 hours a day. Unhealthy ! Unwise ! Flip the script ! (one of my favorite words).

Beware, boss love can easily, perhaps overnight, turn into hate. Max Cantor maxim #16

As I said before, boss-subaltern relations are not unlike amorous relationships. Love turns into hate and sometimes hate turns into love.

If you sing praise to your boss, you'll have to escalate it more and more. -Max Cantor maxim #17
I said it before, bosses are "drug addicts" addicted to the drug of praise. Once you are on that trip, they need a higher dose of the thing every time.



Boss love is tough love. -Max Cantor maxim #18

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

10 Boss Maxims

I'm speaking out today 10 Max Cantor "maxims". I know I've slipped a few of those gold nuggets in previous posts, will not be repeating those. I'm sure you can find them if you try. To simplify here, we'll start off at number one.

 The World is full of ass*oles and THEY RULE the world. -Max Cantor maxim #1

If you don't know how to bring the fight home to those ass*oles, you're an ass yourself. -Max Cantor maxim #2
You might as well go into a ditch and feel sorry for yourself.

If you knew how to lead you wouldn't have a boss. -Max Cantor maxim #3
The reason you have a boss is because you are inadequate to lead. 

You are ALWAYS replaceable to your boss-Max Cantor maxim #4
Your skillset is. Your portfolio is. Your entire background is. Everything about you is easily, if not practically, reproduced and replaced. But, but I'm a scientist and I won four awards. Doesn't matter !



You should end your "love" relationship with your boss before he does it.- Max Cantor maxim #5
What that means is he/she becomes inadequate in the relationship first.  Even if you like/love your boss understand the liking is only temporary. Boss-underling relationships are not unlike love "amorous" relationships in that they have courtship, honeymoon, plateau and falling out phases.

If you can't fight and you can't plant and harvest, you're useless

If you were born in medieval times, you'd be fighter. But you're not.

There were only two classes in medieval England and elsewhere: peasants (shepherds and farmers) and warriors. And warriors were the backbone. Warriors were the defenders of the villages against invasions from barbarians and warring factions.

So if you didn't know how to seed crops and harvest, and more importantly, fight, you didn't know anything. Shepherds were for the most part recycled warriors, ergo you were either a GOOD WARRIOR or A DEAD ONE.

Fast forward 400 years today and men are a joke. They march to the drum of an idiot they call the boss, and couldn't fight anyone with words let alone with a sword.

Men are the new women in this slacker society. They may look like men but they think like women.

If a man has no balls, no matter how tall, muscular, and hairy he looks, is he still a man ? I doubt it.

I was reading The Warrior Way: Essential knowledge: summary of the teachings of the shamans of ancient Mexico (based on Carlos Castanada's books) of which I'll share some direct quotes. This teachings might instill some wisdom in some those that wish to polish their spirit.

"For a warrior, to be inaccessible means that he touches the world around him sparingly. And above all, he deliberately avoids exhausting himself and others."

"Once a man worries, he clings to anything out of desperation; and once he clings he is bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whomever or whatever he is clinging to. A warrior-hunter, on the other hand, knows he will lure game into his traps over and over again, so he doesn’t worry. To worry is to become accessible, unwittingly accessible."

"A warrior-hunter does not catch game because he sets his traps, or because he knows the routines of his prey, but because he himself has no routines. This is his advantage. He is not at all like the animals he is after, fixed by heavy routines and predictable quirks; he is free, fluid, unpredictable."

"Nobody is doing anything to anybody, much less to a warrior. A warrior acts as if he knows what he is doing, when in effect he knows nothing. A warrior doesn’t know remorse for anything he has done, because to isolate one’s acts as being mean, or ugly, or evil is to place an unwarranted importance on the self".

"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.

"You must push yourself beyond your limits, all the time. The only possible course that a warrior has is to act consistently and without reservations."


Monday, June 12, 2017

Leadership: When Number Two can step in the leaders shoes

There's a Harvard Business Review writeup "To be Number One, get the Right Number Two" (Rosabeth Moss Kanter, 2012).

The message is that "most leaders benefit from a running-the-company mate. A good number two can back them up, reinforce their message, and handle major responsibilities with the same broad view as the top person."

Rosabeth then gives three guidelines for establishing a successor:

1. Alignment: which messages, values and strengths are clearly reinforced by Number Two ?

2. Differentiation: does Number Two bring up complimentary skills and abilities ?

3. Succession: can the CEO (Number One) hand over power ?

These three things are salient, However, CEOs, bosses in general, do not happily hand over their titles to underlings, except when 1). Jumping ship to a better appointment 2). Retiring and 3). Out of the job on health issues ! Only on one of these three specific situations you see a boss hand over the keys to the castle !

Never seen any of my bosses saying this to me: "Here you go, wonderful, have my job, it comes with a huge desk and my secretary." Rosabeth in fact briefly acknowledges it but only in passing:

"In fact, some CEOs don’t want a strong number two, perhaps finding it threatening that they could be surpassed." (Rosabeth Moss Kanter)


That's a time we can call our own: UlysseNardin Marine 1846.
Max Cantor readers: Which watch tells your time ?





"Bosses love to overstay their welcome." -Max Cantor truth pill #5 

"In Silicon Valley, they do that with Founders stock."-Max Cantor maxim #6

That's happening even when they are no longer needed or work well. More and more CEO's need to be pushed out. It's happening at the largest companies, at Ford with Mark Fields, and it is not just "because the stock declined by 40% under" him" or "he had no clear business vision". We've learned today of Jeffrey Immelt at GE set to be replaced Aug. 1st. [retirement move announcement]. Jeffery Immelt didn't wake up one morning and said to himself: I want John Flannery to have my job. He either planned to retire or was pressured to do so. At such a large of a company it would be safe to say they had a Number Two or a few of them ready to replace Immelt. The company had to nurture a replacement, and Number One had to help [bring that Number Two up to speed.]

Dangerous: When the CEO is readily identified with the company. Where people cannot even see a Number Two.

[Most-N.A.] planets have one Sun, a CEO once told me. He likened himself with the Sun. [Note: I didn't appreciate it one bit.]

"Bosses think they are the best at what they do. Even if they are not." -Max Cantor maxim #6

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Riding on Adversity (What you can learn from Uber's CEO)

Headlining and spearheading (not sorry for my investment banking jargon, folks) the June 1st '17 Fortune magazine portrait is an excerpt from Adam Lashinsky new book, Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination. The article title is Riding Shotgun and is about Travis Kalanick (TK), Uber's CEO. Adam Lashinsky is a Fortune magazine executive editor. Everybody knows or should know what Uber is, Uber latest valuation is a whopping $ 69 Bn. Uber operates in 496 markets (cities) worldwide -2016.

On this blog I'm giving tips on how to rise above the crowd, how to conquer your limits, your limiting beliefs and those people standing between you and your goals. TK  is shown to be ambitious to a fault and an all around alpha -male. In his article previewing his book, Adam is trying hard to answer the question "Is TK really an 'asshole' ?" Adam Lashinsky did his research on TK, studying him for over a year.

Quoted from the article: "He likes to play it loose, to at least affect an air of spontaneity." -Spontaneity or the illusion of it is very important in the likeness quotient of a leader. We are told TK does not disappoint.

TK has some austere office settings on the 11th floor that houses Uber's hq. that he calls the "cave". This minimalist office setting "is a metaphor, because when you  have hard times you're in the dark literally in some dark place." So TK arguably harmonizes his exterior to his interior environment.
On the 5th floor Uber has sci-fi themes inspired conference rooms and hallways that lead there "being confusing". Adam says in TK's view "disorientation is good".

"Everybody's got their red line." (push-over limit). "You might find you've got more under the hood than you thought." A leader that can push through the limits.

Bradley Tusk (a consultant who has worked for Uber in the past) is quoted about TK: "He understands to achieve really big things, you're going to piss a lot of people off." Let's be clear. That is a truth speller but only stated as a truism. No hard facts there from Bradley Tusk's NY Magazine interview.

"Someone willing to say exactly what he thinks, empathy be damned, will be judged harshly." Welcome to my world, Travis.

After the walk with the Adam, TK summons a ride that understandably concludes in the requisite popularity nod. (TK back and forth with the driver on what were the driver biggest pain points).

Uber nowadays seems busy dealing with the concerns of a big company: presumably unhappy people, people allegedly misbehaving, unwanted media attention.

Reality check

For a company with 12,000 employees, 215 employment claims of harassment [or otherwise ] is a very low rate. Out of these 215 alleged claims some 100 have been investigated resulting in 20 [up to 37 in some reports] layoffs. Is there a snowballing effect coming ? I don't think so.

The real problem with Silicon Valley employment practices

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Krav Maga - best of the Martial Arts ?

I didn't know what Krav Maga was until recently. Monday, June 5th 2017, The Wall Street Journal wrote a piece on it "'Contact Combat' before work" with the story of PayPal CEO Dan Shurman (age 59) being a daily practitioner of it.

I thought Jujitsu was intelligent and robust, but Krav Maga goes further. Translated as "Contact Combat" from Hebrew, it is a technique developed by Israeli Defense Sources. The most interesting piece is that it uses all the elements of the body to strike: hands, feet, legs, knees, elbows. From Wikipedia:

"Developing aggression, with the view that aggression is the most important component in a fight.
Continuing to strike the opponent until they are completely incapacitated.
Attacking preemptively or counterattacking as soon as possible.Using any objects to hand that you can use to hit your opponent, whether this be the buttstock of your rifle or a fire extinguisher.
Targeting attacks to the body's most vulnerable points, such as: the eyes, neck or throat, face, solar plexus, groin, ribs, knee, foot, fingers, liver, etc.
Using simple and easily repeatable strikes.
Simultaneous attack and defense.
Maintaining awareness of surroundings while dealing with the threat in order to look for escape routes, further attackers, objects that could be used to strike an opponent.
Recognizing the importance of and expanding on instinctive response under stress."
This is one martial arts that uses aggression and annihilation at its core.

Watch this





Saturday, June 3, 2017

Women CEOs make more than male CEOs: S&P 500 Study

In an article titled Rankings Defy Usual Gender Gap, WSJ on June 1st, 2017 acknowledged (finally!) that female CEOs earn more money than their male counterparts at some of the largest U. S. companies.

"Last year, 21 female CEOs received a median compensation package of $13.8 MM compared with the median $11.6 MM median for 382 male chiefs, according to a WSJ analysis of S&P 500 leaders who held the job a full year."
"Women in the corner office of the biggest U.S. firms made more money than men in six of the last seven years, through the gap has narrowed since 2014."
"Three of the 10 highest-paid executives in the overall sample are women, a new high in the Journal study's 28 -year history They are Meg Whitman at HP Enterprises paid $35.6 MM (pay change from previous year +107.5%, one-year shareholder return +54.5%, Virginia Rommety, IBM $32.7 MM up from $19.8 MM previous year, and Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo."

These findings were intuitively known to industry analysts, but have been kept from the public until recently. Why ? Because they run against the common gender pay gap myth.

Is women performance that strong ? In some cases performance is at least partially due to headwinds and macro factors independent of their leadership. Who wouldn't like to get double pay every time the sunshine is out !

Now you know who has been "reaping the rich rewards" all while talking of gender inequality in the workplace.

From the Wall Street Journal:
"Many IBM shareholders consider Ms. Rometty overpaid. About 46% of votes cast at this spring's annual meeting opposed the firm's executive pay practices. Directors will review results of the 2017 shareholder votes 'as they do every year', an IBM spokesman said"
I know of at least one shareholder that's not so proud of IBM's latest performance, Warren Buffet.

Are women doing better than men as CEOs ? That's hard to say, harder to prove or disprove. What's loud and clear is the gender victim card is non-existent and women chase and secure the corner office like a hawk kills its prey.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Motivation is not for the weak

In my post on wire tapping I had a motivational video. A reader wrote me about it : "Why do you have that video on your site ? Motivation is for the weak." I have removed the video, but not because of what this reader said, but because it was out of context.

I'll answer that reader. Motivation is NOT for the weak. Motivation is for the strong. Motivation is what you get when your life partner cheers you up when you come home tired and spent from work. Motivation is what you get from your kid- assuming you have one- when you wake up in the morning and need to get ready to take on the world. The world is not your friend, and you need motivation and inspiration constantly. Key word, constantly. Motivation does wear off,  and it needs constant replenishment. If you have an hour and 45 mins, watch Robbins's performance at Dreamforce last October. Props to Benioff for bringing him in.

If I had the money, I'd hire Tony Robbins today to be my life coach . I don't have that kind of money, but somebody else does and pays it: Ray Dalio and Marc Benioff . If the video of Robbins is free and it moves you, then by all means watch it and watch again. I believe you need a life coach just as much as you need a trainer. You do a better workout supervised, don't you ?


So motivation is not for the weak. The markings of the weak are: complaining, blaming, looking for something good into the dumpster called politics, seeking a magic cure for one's ailments.

If you're like me you need a detox and decontamination from all the assholes in your life. Even if I stayed in the shower for two hours straight after work I still have the stench of my boss on me.

The Wall Street Journal (Vanessa Furhmans, "Some Toxic Bosses Manage to Hang On", March 31, 2017):

"Many people have found themselves working for a nightmare boss at some point, according to a 2015 Gallup study...The Life Meets Work survey suggests working for an abusive or dysfunctional supervisor is even more commonplace: Among those polled, 56% described their current manager as toxic."

"Toxic bosses appear very effective" even as they slowly and surely poison our lives. 

If you are living a toxic nightmare, you might as well smell the benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde acids, the stale stench of decay lingering at work. It smells worse than a clogged public toilet in a bus station where 42 people a hour have urinated on top of unwashed feces.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Art of the Deal

A reader says "I learned more from this blog than from Mark Zuckerberg's speech at Harvard, Dale Carnegie's books and G100 counsel combined. Don't get me wrong, Zuck's not a bad guy, but I don't need him to tell me about the ecosystem and planetary welfare from his pedestal." Thanks, pal. I appreciate it when smart readers take time to write. My readers are the smartest of the pack. They know what they want, and they get it.

Nothing good comes in life by chance. However, when you are a CEO, after you get it, you can tell people it was luck. And they will believe you. That's the prerogative of a CEO, people will believe anything you say.

"The first thing you have to do as a chief executive is to learn to lie. Or if not actually to lie, never to give voice to four basic truths... Any sign of non-enjoyment, or doubt, or lack of faith in the company or individuals is taken as tantamount to admitting that you are unfit for the job." via Lucy Kellaway @FT



The Art of Deal by Donald Trump is a book I read some 20 years ago, didn't read it since. A friend asked me to summarize it in one sentence:

"Give a little, take a lot, and be the center of attention." 

That's it. I'm not referring to Donald Trump, but to younger generation CEOs. The older generation when they lie to you, they'd be dressed up to the nines over dinner at Peter Luger. This generation they cheat you over with their hands into their pants over appletinis and roquefort cheese.
I call the C-suite the trick suite.


"What we’re building here is the biggest tech company in living memory" via FT. Yes, maybe in the memory of a dying fruit fly.

"Companies rarely die from moving too fast." via BI


Sunday, May 28, 2017

At the breaking point with my boss

I'm taking up another reader email today.

"Hello Max, 

I am fortunate to have found your website, the content is niche and glorious like no other site I have seen. You are helping people though their breakpoints and I am stuck between Scylla and Charybdis. I work at a major investment firm in the City of London. I have a successful career, started as a two year IB analyst and now I am an investment director at a credit fund with a $250 MM book. My boss, Paul, is one of the PMs. He's been faltering in the last two years during the time we've shown a 1.6% gain. He's lost the confidence of his investors and partners and there's talk of having him ousted. I am one of the two contenders for his replacement. Since then he's been on my case, has vetoed some of my decisions. He has made me his enemy. What can I do to fight back ? He's lost his mojo, he should just retire and resign. Before we have been getting along well  for almost six years.

Thanks. -Tim
"

How close is the team to have him replaced ? I assume you're going to buy him out.

Sooner or later when you are successful this is going to happen:

"[Your boss] will make you his enemy."

I look at it cool and dandy, it's simply the price for success. It's natural. Don't fight it. Expect it. So what you are saying is that Paul has made you his enemy since learning you are likely to replace him. This is commonplace not just in financial services but everywhere. Side observation, I don't know the terms of his contract and what terms lead to suspension or dismissal.

Most people go through life with the erroneous belief their bosses love them or something. Until that time comes. Until the time comes when you are named to replace them. They don't have a clear exit option, don't want to leave, and hate to see you in their place.

Tim, you are not stuck between a rock and a hard place ! Your boss, Paul is !

You need to get a hold of yourself buddy. Cheer up ! The Gods of Olympus are smiling on you ! [I am using Greek mythology reference since you were first using it.] This is your time to shine !

"The only way out it through."

Did he mentor or helped your career ? Sometimes the masters hate it when their trainees, "cubs", overtake them.

Here's what can happen,

1. You can have a soft breakup [before a hard one].

Go play gold, cricket, hockey, chess or whatever you and him play, let him first win and then beat him silly. I think of game defeat as a soft breakup. That might bring him to his senses.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Max Cantor on The Way of the Sith, CEOs, and more

I like comics and I am a Star Wars fan. A reader sent me a link to these videos and asked me to comment on what I see fit with the Sith code and compare that with the Jedi order code. Which one is better ? Attached were also some Youtubers comments.




"Peace is a lie. There is only Passion.
Through Passion I gain Strength.
Through Strength I gain Power.
Through Power I gain Victory.
Through Victory my chains are Broken.
The Force shall free me." 
-Code of the Sith from the Book of the Sith

"Through passion, I gain strength". That sounds right. What I see flawed with the Sith is unchecked power. If the Sith are not ruled by reason, they're bound to self destruct.



CEOs act like Sith until they've reach the pinnacle. Once there however, they become Jedis. Once at the top, they turn on the "feel good-do good" spigot. They become concerned with the welfare of others. Once at the top of the food chain, their focus shifts from slicing other people's heads off to maintaining their job. Staying power is achieved with benevolence, service and goodwill. The father or godfather would not wage war on his family, so neither does a CEO that wants his job.

At one time I considered writing a book "The CEO Code" but I don't think it a good idea anymore. Such a book would be earth shattering. The Evan Spiegels, Mark Zuckerbergs would move to ban it. Alas, Donald Trump would buy a dozen and gift them to each of his sons and grandsons ! You can't poke into a pit pf snakes and not expect to be bitten. The CEOs will continue writing their glamorous autobiographies and feed the public "what a wonderful life" tales.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This salad has no dressing

I try to keep off politics, but people asked me: how about Comey and Trump, where is this going ? What do you think ? What do I think ? I think today we've finally seen the markets moving down-logically- and there's still ways to go.

The problem is there are no tapes or "dressing" on this salad. Trump knows that, and I think tapes is what you need for convincing evidence. I don't know what the admissibility standards are for top law enforcement memos. Of course, it is certainly better to have them than not to have them.

I shall stay on my topic, which is boss-underling relationship, and more specifically, WHAT YOU CAN DO with your own Nero, your boss.

1. Tapping phone conversations and audio/video of critical meetings is a vital tool for the underling. You'll need to check your own state/local statutes for how that is allowed. I understand Trump used to tape some of his phone calls as a businessman. Tapping is a very important tool. If Comey had a wire on him at those meetings, Trump's pants would be soiled by now, assuming there is evidence of impropriety.

Landlines phones have a two beep sound every 20 seconds when the record button is pressed thus warning the parties the conversation is being recorded.

Cellphones, unfortunately, have no "recording" button to tap. Some people download an app (i.e. TapeACall, CallRecorder) or use an external voice recorder.

2. Every email is a record. Treat every email you receive from your boss like potential evidence. Anything that smells of recklessness, malfeasance or any type of wrongdoing should be saved. Despite the controversy with the phone tapping, more CEOs lose their jobs over email missteps than over phone indiscretions. Boeing CEO Harry Stonecypher was forced to resign after an extramarital affair became known out of his emails.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Scaling up your career

As you may have already figured out, I do not write for CEOs. These guys and gals they've got it made. They don't need me to fluff their buttermilk pancakes.

I write for the up-and-coming folk who is rising to the top and is ready to rock the boat. If you don't know how to rock the boat, you'll not only suffer reprisals but will end up worse than you are.

There's one ex-CEO, however, that's inspirational. If you haven't read Carly Fiorina : "From Secretary to CEO" bio you should. It's a powerful life example

Fiorina went to Stanford, got a liberal arts degree, then went to law school and dropped out. "When she broke the news to her father, he responded: “I’m very disappointed. I’m not sure you’ll ever amount to anything,” she wrote. She got a job as a receptionist at Marcus & Millichap." She worked there for a year, she quit, married her college sweetheart and moved to Italy to teach English.

Does that sound familiar, is it a life that many people relate to ? Yes, I thought it is. Keep reading.


After graduating from Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, Fiorina got an AT&T sales rep job. She was promoted several times so that by 1985 she was District Manager, overseeing AT&T’s largest civilian government account, the General Services Administration (GSA).Eventually, AT&T sponsored her for a fellowship at the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She then became Director of International Strategy and Business Development for Network Systems, and then promoted to Vice President of Strategy and Marketing. Source: From Secretary to CEO.



How many are still hanging on that plot? Not many ! Keeping up with the Joneses suddenly got hard. You got lost somewhere.


Friday, May 12, 2017

He made my life a living hell

We're going to read an e-mail today:

"Max,

My name is Sam and I am a software program manager. I've been with my company for six years. I manage testing and commercialization of connectivity programs. I do nerdy stuff: establish routine update, update status, schedule trends vs. baseline, risk management, mitigation and recovery actions.

Six months ago, I got a new boss whom I'll call Mr. Stumpt (for you gamers out there, no connection to the characters Ash, Rik, Price, and Jas). He is 6'1", strong built. He looks like an action movie actor, like Tom Hardy.  Now picture me, I am short (5'6") and weight only 140 pounds.

From the week he got started, Mr. Stumpt started taking me apart from the group, with one-on-one "lap talks" (at least that is how I call them). In these talks he would snap his fingers, put his arm around me and tell me: "No, really, did you think I wasn't going to see that ? and "I watched you, and frankly, I was not impressed". As our private talks became more frequent they reached this progression: from annoying to nuisance to dreadful. We had bi-weekly department meetings he started like this:

"We're talking Sam today. Sam and his his little routine update management is the work we need to pay attention to." So he brought me up at every meeting, even though I'm sure he could see I was a little more than uncomfortable with it and there's no apparent reason for doing it.

At another of our lap talks: We need to show a little extra work, Sam. He then gave me the work of three. I started staying late at work, past 9 o'clock. My work became my life, without a life.



I was coming home exhausted and when I fell asleep I had dreams about Mr. Stumpt. "Sam, we're depending on you." We're counting on you, Sam. Does this rhyme with you, Sam ?"

Tell me, Max, is it anything I can do before he fires me ?"

Answer:


Sam, thanks for writing. As you know, I don't give advice. What I can do is express an opinion, which may or may not work for you. Unfortunately, bad bosses are very much a rule, not an exception.

You have two choices: hand over your resignation or fight. If you don't want to go willingly, you should fight only after you "laid things bare":

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Option B: "Since I don't want it you can have it"

I was reading Adam Grant's April 23rd '17 post on Linkedin "When you get fired or fail big, this is how you bounce back" when I realized how flawed his advice is.

Professor Grant talks about Sarah Robb O’Hagan, who bounced back from apparent misfortune in her early 20s to become global President of Pepsi brand Gatorade and more recently CEO of Flywheel. Grant is saying O'Hagan's success is due to her realization that what was bad in her early days failures was neither hers nor her boss's fault, but the fault of the "relationship" between her work and herself.

"When we get fired or fail at work, we typically have one of two reactions. The first is to blame our boss. He was out to get me. She was threatened by me. The second is to blame ourselves. It was all my fault." -Adam Grant
"Most of the time, when someone fails, it’s not because there’s a bad apple spoiling the barrel. It’s because the barrel is a bad relationship."

Blaming a bad relationship with the workplace, huh ?


1. Early stage careers are almost guaranteed to hit stump blocks, so O'Hogan's travails are not unique, but rather typical. Ms. O'Hagan's stumbles, or anyone else's engaged in an ambitious career, are to be expected. Dealing with adversity early on in life is character-building. I will go as far as saying it is necessary.

2. Blaming worker-workplace relationship, if it absolves individual responsibility, is a path to failure. Fortunately it seems O'Hagan didn't follow Professor Grant's advice and owned her failures, otherwise how can I explain her self-blame for her second-firing and the more recent "Extreme You" movement. Why is wrong to blame that relationship ? It's wrong simply because it places the locus of control outside yourself.

Of course, Grant is out there selling the book he co-authored with celebrity COO Sheryl Sandberg, Option B [I have not read it]. Option B might be a good book to learn about recovering from personal loss or tragedy, but I wouldn't read it for getting wealthy or for getting the C-level career.

Sheryl Sandberg talking about how to overcome income inequality it's like Donald Trump talking about how to stave off hunger when you go hungry to bed.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The boss who took my home and left me broken

I'm posting another email today... This is a sad one.  It makes me wonder why do we keep these people, why do we give them leverage over our lives...I'm talking about bosses here.

"Max,

You seem to be the only I know of that talks about the bad bosses in our lives. My name is Steve and I am a 42 years old data scientist, now divorced. I have a seven year old son not living with me. I am going to tell you what happened to me with the most devilish whirlwind boss I've ever had. I hope no one has to go though this like I had. I've lost my home, my family, and I sleep and live in a flop downtrodden hotel downtown. My room is 8X8 with holes in the walls and there are mice inside those walls. The residents in my hotel are the unlucky and the druggies. The room number on my door is part written in a sharpie. The shower has mold everywhere and only cold water flows. My next door neighbor, Tina, is a 50ishs crack lady who sleeps during the day and starts going out at night. at 11 PM- 12 AM. This is worse than Bates Motel.

I'll start two years ago while I was working as Director of Analytics at Company X. When my new boss, James, came on board I knew he had it in for me. He started saying things like: "Have you run those projections for me yet ? Steve, what's with you ? He started texting me: what you're doing, Steve,  Have you been able to do this, Steve ? and this and that ? One day, he invited me and my wife [I was still married at the time ] for dinner at his place. I thought I should not refuse him, so we went. When he met my wife he was going bazookas over her. [He was divorced]. I tried to play it down tactfully. At the dinner table, he was talking things that were close to my wife's interests. My wife, who is a high school educator, had always thought that her school had a problem with the students that scored lowered and weren't getting enough attention, with the quality of remedial classes at her school. He was saying things that he was giving away 4% of his income to his School District Fund. Does Steve do that ? Well. I did not. James was there caring about things that I did not, looking better than I was .

So my wife thought we should invite him over to our house in reciprocity. I thought it was a bad idea. Went along with it anyways. The evening he came to our house -a relatively modest three bedroom, as he came in, he stood tall in there and said: "I can go along with those crown moldings". "Your terrace is just the way it is supposed to be. Isn't it wonderful ?" As he was saying that, he was looking at my wife.


Image: Traveltips

That night I had an argument with my wife explaining to her that James was a awful boss who liked to put me on the spot. That we needed to stop giving him any fuel. That his arguments were smoke.

At work it got from bad to worse. James put me out at our department meetings for "lack of cooperation and poor performance". He fired me 7 months after that. He was "we need to shake things up" here. "Where where's going we don't need any dead weight".

At the firing meeting, which lasted less than 15 minutes:

"Steve, what's wrong with you ? Are you having any problems ?
-No, I didn't say I have a problem.
You're always on the defensive, aren't you ? You are letting us down. You work just isn't what it was.
-What are you talking about ? I'm doing just fine.
Isn't that your defensive voice speaking ? Look at these [he pulls my latest graphs] If that's work well done, then you tell me... I'm sorry Steve, but we're just going to have to let you go." I warned you twice before already. The writing is on the wall. You've let us all down. You did this on yourself."

Since my wife was earning very little and what she had was going towards paying family debts (her family had a money losing business), about 10 months after that I lost our house unable to make the mortgage. My wife stopped talking to me and filed for divorce. She took our son with her and moved in with a friend of hers. And I am now living in this dump. For the final nail in the coffin, I heard now my former boss is buying my house !  This is my story. What did I do wrong? What is it that I can do ?"

Max responds:

Before I get into this, let's take a deep breath and listen to Weightless, "(the most relaxing song that can reduce anxiety by up to 65% when listened to for 10 minutes "(Business Insider,  Inc ) from British trio Marconi Union.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I slept with my boss and this is what happened [boss's tale]

What is about the forbidden fruit that makes it so sweet ? Is is because it's forbidden ? Is it because is breaking an ethical rule ? The forbidden is getting the excitement women crave for ? Is is the pear shape fruit that makes it so appealing ? -The anatomy of the female breasts, if the're not round, some of them are pear shaped. And so are the buttocks. "According to Matthew Schulman, women's bottoms fall into five categories. They are either square, V-shape, A-shape, round or upside-down heart"- Daily News. Lingerie experts identified 9 types of breasts: athletic, relaxed, round, east west, slender, side set, bell shaped, slender and tear dropped.- Daily News NSFW

Let's have this e-mail speak, 

[made changes to the names to protect the innocent]

"I thought affairs happen to other people. More importantly I thought this never happens to a career-minded independent woman who has been happily and I stress, happily, married for over 8 years. I love my husband ! His name is Larry is a well respected member of the community who's integrity is never in question. He is on the Board of our local Children's Hospital. I'm in my thirties and I keep myself in shape, I exercise five days a week. The Soul Cycle studio is my second home. Besides Soul Cycle sweat sessions I have equipment I use at home.

Five months ago a young man got hired at work. His name is John, he is 25 years old, started as an Inside Sales Rep. He has blue eyes, dark hair, is deep-voiced and well -spoken. He came to me one day with a question on editing a report in the newer Salesforce  internal chatter, as we were communicating between departments. I am a Chief Engineer. He said hello, and afterwords invited me to join him for lunch which we took outside the building on the grounds. He he had recently broke up with his college girlfriend and was living at home with his parents. He then asked if I ever went paddle boarding, which I didn't. He started to hold my hand and invited to me on Saturday to go paddle boarding. Then he said: Race you to your desk ! and he raced me to the 5th floor where we work. I won. I never took the stairs before.

On Sat. I went to meet John and we paddle boarded ! I fell of the board five times and he caught me every time. How did such an Angel came into my life ? We made plans to meet at night and go to a dive bar or something. The problem is that I had to tell my husband something. So I told him I was going out shopping for a lamp I needed, and that I'll be back in the hour and 15 minutes I max had. Be back before 9 PM, because that's when the store closed. Imagine even as I met him, I still had to come back home with a lamp ! I met him, and in a hurry we started kissing outside the beer bar, and it went from there..in my car. Then rushing over to the home goods store that sold lamps to buy one.

Have you ever had a crazy Sat. like that ?

After that day, we me got intimate in many occasions. Mostly public places. One night I could take my baby to my house when my husband Larry was away. It was the best night ever. At work, my lips are tight and try not to show my affection for him, However, he does show off. So this is another riddle I have, him showing off at work while me trying to control it.

What do you think ? John wants me to divorce Larry and marry him. I broke Larry's trust ! I can't look at Larry like before ! What can I do ?

Max responds:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Greenlight Capital Q1 2017 Letter

Most of you have seen this already, I am pinging back of Valuewalk.

Highlights:
  • Painful shorts with a big position in Tesla (TSLA) :
"Our shorts generated losses but added alpha, and gold gave us a small profit in macro. Apple (AAPL), Chemours (CC) and gold were the biggest winners; the bubble basket, Rite Aid (RAD), and a short position in Tesla (TSLA) were the biggest losers."
Notwithstanding the loss, the market's short interest is TSLA "is now $9.2 billion, up from $7.2 billion at the beginning of the year."
  • Einhorn is happy and dandy with Apple (AAPL), Cemours (CC) and gold.
  • The bubble basket is having its Spring momentum. [The Dow today topped 20,000].
"the market has regained enthusiasm for profitless companies that aren’t at risk of paying taxes. A number of these stocks are back in full-blown momentum mode. Analysts continue to raise “target prices” which the market treats as news. The bulls explain that traditional valuation metrics no longer apply to certain stocks...With holders reluctant to sell, the stocks can only go up – seemingly to infinity and beyond."
  • New longs: Xerox spin-off Conduent (CNDT) and manufacturer of private label OTC Perrigo (PRGO)




Sunday, April 23, 2017

Harvey Specter: close, but not close enough ?

Those that never watched "Suits" may wish to pause this one. Harvey Specter is a lawyer in the Suits series obsessed with winning. He's not even a hard-ass but he is pretty good. How good do you think he is ? Please go though the survey below and answer it !





Create your own user feedback survey


Selected best users Survey comments [updated 04.23.2017]:



  1. The only thing I like about Harvey is his paycheck.
  2. I'll pass on Harvey. My boss is better than him, he is first at happy hour and the drinks are on him !
  3. Vote No on Harvey. I'm afraid that Harvey might steal the lunch my wife packed me.
  4. I won't swap Harvey for my boss, but I'll swap my girlfriend for his.
  5. Harvey is overrated. I like Patrick Bateman [American Psycho] better.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Infrastructure investment needed in airports

There is talk about Trump's infrastructure investment plan but the details are sketchy.  When we talk about infrastructure we need to see investment in our airports.

The estimates show 86% of the world airports are owned and operated exclusively by a government. While having a small 14% share of global airports under private ownership, that share is responsible for 44% of worldwide expenditure in 2014. (BCA, Feb. 2017)

In Europe, 53% of airports were publicly-owned as of 2016, a much lower percentage than in America.  Europe has the highest percentage of privately-owned or operated airports. It is time America privatized its airports ! 

Models of privatized airport (from BCA )

  • Freehold -full private-sector ownership and management.
  • Listed companies -full or partially listed on the stock exchanges.
  • Concessions or leases -good for a limited time, include BOT [built-operate-transfer] schemes where the private sector finances and builds projects and has contracts with public sector governments to purchase those assets at a later time.
  • Management contracts - private sector manages but doesn't own those assets.
  • Government-owned companies -participation of government-owned companies in other airports as private investments or for a fee.
History

Congress passed the Airport Privatization Pilot Program in 1996. However, little has been done under that pilot project. The path ahead to privatization is long and arduous. In a future post, I will explain what a PPP is and how they've been successfully used for large infrastructure projects.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

When the boss is sabotaging you

This is an e-mail I received:

"Hi Max,

My name is Tom. I am an Executive Director of Information Technology at a known brand company, have been in this position for about three years. I am asking for your opinion on a touchy work issue that has me upset. I sleep poorly and have started having trouble with my health-my asthma. I feel trapped. My department head, the CTO, is a woman who detracts my work consistently; everything she does is office politics and somehow I don't fit in. She knows close to nothing about IT architecture and procedural improvements, yet she has built a reputation on the results of people such as myself. She recently hired a friend of hers from her college days and is trying to get her my job. Pretty soon everyone around her is going to be a friend of hers. Recently she embraced the adjective of "efficiency guru" but the laurels rest on people like myself. She's not giving the credits to those that deserve it.

It is our company policy not to discuss compensation at work. Despite my high quality work I haven't been given a raise in the last three years while my peers have gotten raises ! I am afraid of touching the subject with her, because she is looking for ways to remove and replace me."

Answer:


I understand she has been digging your hole for three years. You shouldn't have given that much time for the situation to deteriorate.

I've heard about those "efficiency gurus" that are praised in Silicon Valley: for the most they are bull***t artists. For those that don't know, "efficiency gurus" are people who claim to take a company 10X [or 14X or whatever] in a relatively short period of time. Efficiency gurus have a 90% failure rate coming in a new industry, and for those that do succeed the results are independent of their making. I call efficiency gurus "moon kangaroos" [the moon landscape is similar to Australia's deserts and you could make high jumps because of low gravity on the Moon, there are no kangaroos on the Moon, anyone can jump high].

Bosses that want the workplace filled with "buddies" are not new.

What you can do:


1. Face your worst fear and face her. Call her out. Have a private meeting where you confront her. The outcome: she either fires you or you[r situation] will improve in some way. Transfer to another city if you can. The confrontation, however, would be coming in late and the odds are not in your favor.

2. Report her to her superiors, but make sure you collect evidence. You can't do anything without evidence to back your claims.

3. Protect yourself by following the company's codes of conduct to the letter. Under no circumstances you should make sexist remarks, because a woman will unscrupulously turn this against you and accuse you of sexism. Women often paint themselves being the victims to the default -female- sexual harassment standard.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cocktails party do's and don'ts: party with the rich

Place: Star Island, South Beach, Miami

Time: Wild, wild mid. 20's

Occasion: Fundraiser

Price: the right price

Estimated Crowd: 70 +


So I walked into this foyer with a marble flooring starring down the Biscayne Bay aquamarine waters.

Task Number 1: Get a drink. Eat good food with minimum caloric intake. I'm looking around the tables, there's crab cakes, lots of cheese cubes, Beluga caviar, smoked salmon. I'm thinking to myself: I'm doing some damage to their caviar, no crackers or cheese. Raw caviar, after all, I'm a fish lover.  I end up eating way more than I though, couldn't resist dried fruit.

Onto drinks: I picked a Martini. For those that don't know, it's gin with a sprinkle of vermouth. Stirred with a spoon, no James Bond bullshit. For a nice guide to drinks, go to The Guide to The Good Life (GAYOT).

I introduce myself to the bartender: My name is Sprinkles. She: really ? Me: yes, really.
What happened, for the rest of the night not only she remembered my name, she was happy with me. Probably having something to do with cupcakes, ice cream toppings or cats.  Try it sometimes: if you wanna pick up a bartender, tell her your name is Sprinkles.

Task Number 2:  Meet the host and hostess, get introduced, introduce myself, cut through the butter. "Cut through the butter" is my expression of getting to the people who I wanted to meet. The moneybags. Things have changed over the years, used to be the moneybags were the oldest people in the room, now they are the youngest. At a cocktail party you can always tell who the bosses are, everyone is gravitating to them. Since I didn't have a friend there, I decided to introduce myself, with a vague reference to my employer. The guy can't just back out, he'll look like shit to his fans.

Another thing you can do if you don't know anyone at a party is to spot the "social engineer", the life of the party. Use that person to introduce you to the host and hostess. Or introduce yourself to the hostess first, hostesses are often very graceful women. If you brought a gift, that's easy to do. Women oblige and understand it is their role to lube up the party. The only thing a woman needs to get your attention is a generous compliment. If a woman is older, I like to say: "Were you a dancer, a performer ?" If it is young girl, I tell her I race horses. 9 out 10 she has never met someone like that. If she has, I say my horse is sick so me and her can commiserate together.

Task Number 3: Pretend I can dance (although I don't really). Dancing is like a foreign language: if you don't practice it, you lose it.

Task Number 4: Try not to get drunk. If you get drunk, you've lost. It's that simple. The logic of going to a cocktail party is to stay sober.





Task Number 5: Understanding the cocktail party effect

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dating: The importance of the redpill

I briefly touched on relationships before, but I never articulated the importance of going "redpill" for men that are dating or that are in any kind of  an amorous relationship.

This week The NY Post had an article "Why I won't date hot women anymore". by Christian Gollayan. In this article, a PE executive is quoted as saying:

"Beautiful women who get a fair amount of attention get full of themselves,” he says. Eventually, I was dreading getting dinner with them because they couldn’t carry a conversation.”

.The man in question eventually stopped dating bikini models and found a compatible girl he is now engaged to, who is the VP of her mother's company. He is "enthusiastic" about giving up "high-maintenance hotties". The articles tries to put women on the same level  playing field, giving the example of a girl who gave up a "hot" guy for the same reason the male banker did, suggesting hot men are much alike their hot women counterparts.

What does it mean going "redpill" for men ? It is seeing women as their are rather then how they want to be seen and how they are made in cultural programming. Women are, by far and large, "flighty, selfish and vapid", each to a degree. That degree is exacerbated in the "hot looking" category. Women are driven by their solipsism [self-fixation] and hypergamy [seeking higher status in men]. So a "hot" woman with a lot of options will inevitably be divisive, manipulative and narcissistic. To expect otherwise is to live in the unreal world of the consumerism society where women reign supreme. Dan Rochkind -and countless others- would have saved himself a lot of heartache and money had he understood this early on. I will incorporate three Max Cantor truths that will hopefully make men and the women they date at ease with themselves and their expectations.

Women, not men, control most of the world resources.- Max Cantor redpill truth #1


That's right. Women sit atop the consumer pyramid and consume more resources (all things being equal) than men do. That includes everything, not (just) purses and clothing, but all basic commodities: oil, gas, food and services: education. Everything and more 9i.i. black market economy) that makes up the GDP of a state or nation.

All things being equal, a woman, not a man, will get a high paying (i.e. "corner office") job.-Max Cantor redpill #2.


How so ? By playing the "minority" card, the woman will get a pass a male will not. Hard to prove, and let's be serious, 99.99% of males are not living life at their full potential as yours truly. They won't initiate an inquiry or even whisper about it.

Back to the original issue of dating "hotties", what should a man do ?


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Looking for a good logo

I was thinking what would make a good logo for my blog. In the animal kingdom, an obvious choice would be the bull, but the bull is everywhere and its image has been sullied by a "fearless girl". Would a lionheart or a lion do ? What about a saber-toothed tiger ? The wolf ? The wolf is overdone, there are even [financial] firms named Wolf Capital and variations thereof.

I think the best and down-to-earth symbol is the American pitbull. Ferocious. Pure bred (and not always). Active listener. Boss killer. Foot soldier. Goes where no one has gone before. Does what no one has done before. Really strong teeth. Loves blood sports. Goodwill ambassador.

From the pictures below, please select which one you like the best. Thank you !

-Max

Note: In order for the polling vote to become visible, you'd need to exit the secure SSL view mode (https:http://wallstreetfinancier.blogspot.com/2017/04/looking-for-good-logo.html)

1. Graph clipart



2. Red nose pitbull



3. Other graphical art



4. Standup guy




Saturday, April 8, 2017

HBS: promoting money, greed and immorality above society’s needs ?

There is a new book coming out "The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite" written by Duff McDonald to be published by Harper Business on April 25, 2017. "To the author, who spent two and one-half years reporting and writing The Golden Passport, HBS is an institution that promotes money, greed and immorality above society’s needs, a school whose teachings are complicit in the moral failings of Western capitalism. It is the most critical work on HBS since the publication of the New York Times’ bestseller Ahead of the Curve by Philip Delves Broughton who chronicled his two-year experience as an MBA at the school." (John A. Byrne)

Harvard Business School apparently didn't cooperate with the author in allowing him access to their archives, and chose to regard his work as critic towards the school, even though the largest portion of the book is dedicated to the school's history. From John A. Byrne's interview with McDonald:
"The school did not do a good enough job at providing a sense of values to the masters of the universe they trained. They didn’t have a full course on ethics until 2003 or something."
In that same interview McDonald says that the case method (pioneered at Harvard but now widely used nationally) warps everything around the money narrative. MacDonald passes on a critique of HBS guru Michael Porter, a familiar name to all business students.

John A. Byrne calls Duff McDonald the "Barbarian" at Harvard Business School's gates. McDonald himself thinks he has written a book on constructive criticism.



Criticism, in general, accomplishes very little. And "blame is a tool employed by the weak-minded".-Max Cantor quote. Criticism of what ? Of building an elite factory ?

Here is how Harvard, and any other large institution of higher ed works: the school receives money from corporations that have the largest percentage of alumni. So HBS and its endowment investors and grantors are former alumni with the largest share of wealth -you can download the Wealth X Billionaire Census 2017 here. "Harvard has the highest number of billionaires with 52 and the largest number of UHNW individuals with 2,964. That group has $622 billion in net worth. The University of Pennsylvania, which has 1,502 UHNW graduates with a total of $242 billion in assets, is a distant second in aggregate UHNW assets. Of the top 20 universities in the world ranked by the number of UHNW alumni, the three that aren’t in the U.S. are the University of Oxford with 401, the University of Mumbai with 372 and the University of Cambridge with 361. (WealthX, 2013 Report).

Reinforcing money and raising moneymakers is not unique to Harvard. In fact, all institutions do it. There is only one reason, I suppose, to single out HBS: their disproportionate share of wealth, worldwide. It's what the "golden passport status" title of this book is about. To even think that HBS is interested in teaching anything but profit logging is to be thick as two short planks. HBS alumni push for hire from the school to the exclusion of the weaker, less known schools graduates. It is called my tribe, building a close knit community of influencers and powerbrokers.


"I don't have a shot at this job at -[Silicon Valley co name omitted]- because I didn't go to an elite top 20 school" -that's an email I got.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Real CEO talk exposé

A few years back  I was on the 9th Green at Pebble Beach Golf Course (link) playing a heavy hitter. When he introduced himself I found out he was a major company CEO. I recall specific moments of that conversation because the guy spoke of what it takes to be a CEO. Back then, I was frustrated, my downswing was horrible. I shanked the ball because I was hitting from the outside instead of the inside.

Where did you NOT learnt it ?" he asked me.

-I took some lessons last summer at Edgewood.

Guess what: If you don't know where your head, is you lose it. In golf, like life: you need great balance, focus. If your mind narrows to the path ahead, you lose concentration.

-So, coach [I started addressing him affectionately by "coach"], what does it take to be a CEO ? Other than balance and walking confidently on any path, no matter how narrow?

How many can you take with one hit.

-What exactly do you mean ?

Having meetings and people coming in saying their things. Obviously I can't go each way everybody wants, so I'll chose the one way that works for most. Not all. 

-Let me guess: yours is the loudest voice around [in meetings, A/N].

My voice is not only the loudest, but the surest. I have to clear the air of all the fluff and smoke and mirrors.

-And who's bringing all the smoke and mirrors ?

All the bull***t artists. The leadership management experts. My point is slow and steady wins the race.

-I think there is a place for all the Mckinseys of the the world...

These are gamers who've never build anything in their lives. These people introduce self doubt, they are dream killers. Anybody who has ever done anything exceptional has issues and roadblocks, to think otherwise is foolish. They think if sales are down you are going to fade away. Foolish ! 

-???

I've had thousands in my life saying NO to me ! You can't do it ! You can't get there ! What separates a real CEOs from the rest is drive that he has, the patterns and the choices. I get more done than others, that's why I run a company.  I can get any resources I need before anyone else does. That's why I have my title.

-Ok, can I buy you lunch ? -I said

Yes, you may.

-Can I write a book featuring you and title it "Real CEOs are not the pussies you read about",  or "Anti-pussy CEOs" ?

No, you're not.



Monday, March 27, 2017

The C.I. and the target dance

On March 23, 2017 a Bloomberg Business Week feature brought to the spotlight the issue of confidential informants (C.Is.) in financial crimes, the handling of CIs by law enforcement personnel and in this case, agents being duped by an [alleged] criminal who "went rogue" and wiretapped his case agents in an effort to compromise them.

The case screams of idiocy in handling the CI, a guy who was hyping dubious stocks in a foreign jurisdiction (Bahamas). A main issue in developing informants: Is the CI vulnerable to recidivism ? A CI should never be allowed to fall back into criminal behavior while working undercover.

During that period, the agents were letting him suggest his own "targets". Sounds like agents dumb and dumber were on the However perverse it may sound, it is not unusual for agents to "fall in love" with a CI they established a close camaraderie report with. These agents even let the CI "make his own game", get his own targets [based on what, his nosebleeds] ? Finally the turncoat turned on them recording 100 calls, trying to prove they acted unethically and inconsistent. In the end they couldn't convict him because the statute of limitations had run out.

I'm not just showing the poor judgement on part of law enforcement who let a criminal run amok in this story.

How can you fast detect CIs - if you ever deal with one.

The CI and the target "dance"



  • Stress test the individual. CIs have two identities: they can only keep one of them up for so long.
  • The weakest link is the family. Family in distress or incommunicado could mean somebody has turned into a turncoat.
  • Breaking the prearranged meeting sites (diner, coffee house) where the environment allows for easy surveillance by their handlers.
  • If the target disappears for a month or two, what will the CI do ? Retreat or pursue ?
  • Emphasis is placed on wires CIs wear recordings that can be used as evidence. These wearables, while being inconspicuous, button/lapel size are RF transmitters. You can buy a signal bug detector (like these) to detect if the CI is wearing a wire.
  • Of course, a phone -any phone- can be bugged and also used as a recording device. People need just two to three minutes with that phone. 


If the CI is a long known co-worker or employee how do you tell they've turned ? Kevin Mitnick looks at defendants docket "traffic"analysis.