Old Blog

The Fish Stinks from the Head

This kind of retrospective is worth bookmarking:

So, a bank which can subsume individuals into a cohesive mass, which can preserve and encourage the development of internal and external networks, and which can build a stable platform has a long-term advantage. Maintain a stable platform, and you remain in the flow of information and deals over the long term. Remain in the flow, and you build a credible and trustworthy brand. Do it long enough, and you just might become Goldman Sachs.

Of course, Goldman Sachs is not unique in the history of investment banking for having developed a distinctive and stable culture. A long litany of culturally distinct and successful organizations graces the rolls, including such standouts from my early days in the industry as JP Morgan, Drexel Burham Lambert, First Boston, DLJ, Salomon Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers. The distinguishing feature of almost all of these firms, however, is that they diluted, destroyed, or squandered their distinctive cultures through a series of ill-advised mergers or acquisitions, in the benighted industry-wide pursuit of growth.

Source: The Epicurean Dealmaker