Alcohol was a big part of the culture at the firm as

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Alcohol was a big part of the culture at the firm, as it is on Wall Street in general. Getting smashed with your clients was a regular occurrence. The key was knowing how far to go. At Daffey’s party, one associate got very drunk and kept telling everyone how hot he found the new female analyst, who was standing a few feet away. Even though I was also pretty hammered at the time, I remember thinking, Holy crap! This guy is embarrassing himself, perhaps irreparably . Drinking with colleagues was tricky, but there seemed to be a completely different standard for senior people when it came to alcohol. If you were a junior person, you didn’t want to be perceived as a stick in the mud; you needed to show people you could hold your own. At the same time, it was important to strike a balance. Senior people simply had more license. I’ve seen some very senior people get ridiculously drunk, slur their speech, and then pretend the next day that nothing happened. They kind of get away with it—they’re the bosses, after all. Daffey was one of those Aussies for whom alcohol only heightened his natural exuberance and seemed to make him more charismatic. At his farewell party, he was calling people over one by one
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and giving us each a minute to say goodbye. When it was my turn, he made the usual crack about South African rugby, then turned serious. “Dude, keep at it,” he said. “You’re the kind of guy who I think could do any job at Goldman Sachs—I would put you in any seat, trading or sales.” He then lost his train of thought and moved on to the next person. The next morning he called me and thanked me for being DJ. Then he left for London. ——— After Connors made it through his rough early days at the firm, it was clear that he had some significant skills. He was about as good as anyone at getting to know clients, showing dedication to them, understanding their problems, and helping them work toward solutions. Clients loved him. Sometimes the solutions he found were very profitable for the firm, but Connors would have to work hard and long to get these trades to the tape. They were not quick wins. Hedge funds may be able to trade “on the wire” (immediately) in response to an idea you give them, but as a general rule, institutions such as pension plans (both corporate and state), sovereign wealth funds (governments such as Abu Dhabi, China, Hong Kong, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore), insurance companies, and mutual funds (e.g., Fidelity, Wellington, T. Rowe, Vanguard) take much longer to work toward executing on a solution or investment idea. Sometimes this is because they are being thoughtful and have a long-run horizon. Other times their slowness could be a result of bureaucracy and the size of their organization; at worst, it could be because of lack of sophistication.
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