Top Billionaire Hedge Funder Sees Himself As a Hyena Devouring Wildebeests
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Most management meetings and department meetings are recorded, both the business and tech side, as are individual quarterly reviews or any meeting at managements discretion. Often if a manager or Ray thinks something is worth educational value they will email out a meeting recording company wide, these usually involve the individual getting shredded publicly for the greater good of the company. An example would be like when former COO Hope Woodhouse was shredded in front of the management committee and the sessions were sent out to the company to learn from (she was brought to the point of crying in the recording). Everyone is encouraged to given open and honest feedback so meetings often resort to public shaming and the demolition of people. 360s end up being everyone’s chance to totally dig on and destroy other individuals and say whatever things all year you’ve hated about people, 90% of feedback received in 360s is negative.
From the outside people think it’s a nice wholesome principled place that wants to cut through the corporate BS but it’s anything but. Ray’s hyper realism (in “Principles”) is insane. Once you read it you’ll get the idea--it’s all about adherence and indoctrination.
One of the secrets to Bridgewater’s success is that unlike most hedge funds, Dalio’s avoids wealthy clients in favor of public funds: teachers retirement funds, public and private pension funds, central banks, endowments and the like. In other words, this hyena avoids costly scavenging fights with other predators, in favor of easier kills—that is, us wildebeests. Sure, it may not seem fair that the billionaire’s hedge funds have been decimating pension funds over the past decade with unfulfilled promises of high returns, levying shocking fees and expenses, all tainted with accusations of bribery, kickbacks and corruption. But you have to look at it through Ray Dalio’s eyes, you’ll see that it’s all just cruel nature at work, and anyone who thinks differently is just a weakling, or worse, a wildebeest.
What makes this all so goddamn humiliating is how banal and comical this is. Ever since the early 1980s, metal heads and computer-science libertarians have been riffing on this same pimply-faced Social Darwinism—joined by the Ayn Rand Trekkies and all the other misfits. Who would have thought that the Revenge of the Nerds would look this absurd—and this awful? It’s such a cliché that it’s become the butt of sitcom jokes on NBC’s “The Office,” with its Ayn Rand libertarian dweeb Dwight Schrute. Even Dwight’s boss, played by Steve Carrell, gets in on the Social Darwinism act when he decides he’s Going Ray Dalio on a rival family-owned paper company. Here’s how Carrell describes the same philosophy that Dalio swears by: “In nature, there is something called a food chain; it's where the shark eats a little shark. And the little shark eats a littler shark. And so on and so on. Until you get down to the single cell shark. So now replace sharks with paper companies and that is all you need to know about business.”
But Dalio has no idea he’s just a parody of himself. And it does us no good at all that he’s a parody—because this parody of a fascist is still plundering America’s wealth. So when Dalio parrots the parody, it’s not all that funny, not to us anyway. He doesn’t even care about the billions he’s plundering—it just makes him feel strong, that’s all:
... people who have made a lot of money typically never made making a lot of money their primary goal. Instead, they typically engaged in the game or craft of what they were doing, got very good at it and society rewarded them because it valued what they were doing. In other words, I believe that the way “reality” generally works is that it is the pursuit of self-interest that motivates people to push themselves to do the difficult things that are required to produce what society wants, and society rewards those who give it what it wants. That is why self-interest is a far more powerful force for good than mercy and charity, though mercy and charity are certainly natural and beneficial forces in some cases.