Following closely behind Matt Taibbi’s analogy between Goldman Sachs and a giant bloodsucking squid, New York Magazine has another article on The Firm, asking whether it’s really a bad place, or simply too good at what it does.
Alongside comments about Goldman’s involvement with AIG and the atmosphere when Goldman’s stock price nosedived in October 2008 (they were “freaking out”), NY Mag offers an interesting perspective on what it describes as Goldman’s “groupthink,” which is says is the product of a “giant hive mind.”
It’s not just about attracting the best and brightest but transforming them into a giant, perfectly synchronized trading machine. Staffers tend to socialize together, reside in the same apartment buildings in Manhattan, have summer homes around the same ponds in the Hamptons, send their kids to the same private schools. Fitting in is of the utmost importance. Subtle social tics-a bow tie, a mustache, a colorful personality-can eliminate you from the club.
Goldman PR Lucas Van Praag is also quoted in the article, skillfully neither explicitly confirming nor denying that working at Goldman Sachs is akin to being an extra on the Stepford Wives.
“The cult of the individual, which I think has been a disadvantage to so many of the firm’s competitors, really doesn’t exist here,” he says. “The more you have acceptance, the easier it is to be effective.”