The "Inside Goldman Sachs" Twitter handle that has amused and infuriated its 600,000 plus followers for three years turns out not to have been riding the Goldman Sachs elevator after all. The tweets, which take a populist bite out of Wall Street culture--especially crony capitalism and lack of empathy among the wealthy--often seemed like a very public audition for Jon Stewart's writing team. Either that or simply a steady stream of buyer's remorse from someone who, after a Wharton MBA, found the castle of finance was made of rocky sand with bits of glass. Goldman executives however, perfectly in keeping with the humorless Goldman portrayed by @GSElevator, apparently were not amused. The Times reports that the wanton employee--when it was still suspected he might be an employee--was the target of an ongoing internal investigation at the firm. Goldman found the Tweets disturbingly acerbic--too close to home?
The @GSElevator Tweets, of which SNL text mastermind Jack Handy would have been proud, hit a certain knowing sweet spot--and got retweeted almost as often as Goldman made money. Probably the most famous read: "I could watch fat people getting out of cars all day long." And even this could be interpreted, by the incessant watchers of all things finance. Did he mean fat cats getting out of town cars? Did he have a window view of an Appleby's with a lunch special? What did it mean for the price of grain, or pork bellies? Though the @GSElevator author, John Lefevre, didn't work at Goldman Sachs (he almost did, but that's another story), he was a bond trader and so knows the territory. No one believes, apparently, that working for a different voracious banking operation--where executives are equally out of touch--makes Lefevre's story less legitimate. It could have been JPMorgan's elevator, really. Jamie Dimon may like watching people in cars too, who knows? Lefevre got a book deal out of it, and so we'll get to see another experiment: whether the ephemeral nature of the wisecracking tweet can translate into book form and remain compelling. He certainly knows how to build an audience--and where to aim a barb. Finance folks can rest easy about one thing: if the book starts to hit, Goldman Sachs will somehow figure a way to be long the publishing house and make some money. Look, Goldman Sachs led the underwriting of Twitter. Sure they enabled their enemy, but they got $60 million for doing it.
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