Cyclical perspectives 14.11.05
On Friday evening, I attended a nostalgic company funeral. I worked for Arthur Andersen (AA) for five years, then when the Enron case broke out, AA was assassinated by a reputation risk in a few weeks, and in Geneva we were bought by a competitor and then became Bearingpoint, a consulting firm. Due to global issues, local markets, strategic changes and local management mistakes, the company was liquidated and last Friday was a close-of-business party. I left Bearingpoint 2 years ago, but for some alumni purpose I was invited to share some drinks and food with some people I worked for or with, and some new faces who joined after I had left. I spent the evening and an important part of the night talking with people who have left at around the same time as I did. Most of them are now working at new firms for over 2 years. Discussions were similar to what we were talking about a while ago. “More money, not exciting job anymore, corporate problems, want to move.” This is so much cyclical. Me: I like my job a lot, what I do is really what I wanted to do. But for one reason (being the fact that a top Wall Street CEO took a few millions bucks out of the balance sheet of a newly IPO trading company) we are facing some difficult time. It reminds me of Enron and what I experienced a while ago. Still confident, though. Before everything else, I am an Historian. IT, Finance, Investment, all this came after I had graduated studying what went wrong in the world over the last centuries. History is cyclical, as accounting fraud seems to be. Put in place all the barriers to avoid it to happen again (corporate governance, Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II,…), but still it happens. One never really learns from the past and does the same mistakes again and again.
I like this photograph, because it goes straight to the point and does not care about cyclical perspectives. When I took that shot with my friend Makoto from Across the Street Sounds (http://across.mniijima.com/), I was concerned about oil prices and felt that having a pipeline delivering oil directly right into your house would be a good way to get rid of intermediaries and taxes. I and Makoto-san could not figure out what this pipe was carrying into the house, which looks like a normal house, not an office. My photographer friend took a similar shot and I am eager to see his work on it. Shinagawa, Tokyo, August 05.
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