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The Frustrated CFO
New York City
A career CFO who believes that writing is therapy
Interests: Writing, human behavior, books, arts
Recent Activity
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The Frustrated CFO's Preface: Do you remember how in Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia (1993) Denzel Washington's character, an attorney Joe Miller, has the same request for everyone he is questioning: "Explain it to me like I am a four-year-old" (this is not the central quote of this post, by the way)? The phrase is used in a sarcastic, almost mocking, tone. Joe Miller implies that the subject matter is simple and obvious to everyone as is, but he wants to hear your version of it. Basically, it is an equivalent of "humor me" and it is a setup: you either going... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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When NYC's cabs caught up with the 21st century and started accepting plastic for fare payments... [Side Note: I always found it fascinating that the habitual check-out question, "Paper or plastic?" is technically applicable not only to the packaging choices but also to the forms of payment - cash (paper) or credit (plastic).] Anyway, when it happened I was ecstactic: one less reason to touch dirty bills, no more listening to a driver's bullshit how he just started his shift and doesn't have any small bills for change, etc. - many reasons, really. Unfortunately, there was a downside: all Credit... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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"You know, I look at popular music, the stuff that's selling millions of records in America, and it makes me angry, actually... If I see Nickelback I want to kill myself. Okay, I want to kill them and then I want to kill myself, and then I want to kill everybody who listens to them." Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, Tokyo The Frustrated CFO's comment: Oh, my God! My sentiment exactly! Nickelback, and fun., and MAGIC! (what's up with all that stylizing, anyway?!), and the rest of them. And by the way, I love QOTSA and see them every time I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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So, apparently France got themselves into a $2.6 trillion debt hole. This translates into $42,623 of national obligations per each of 66 million French têtes. Of course, the number is staggering. However, I feel obligated to state that this is not as bad as what we have here, in our own beloved country with our very own $17.8 trillion burden pressing hard on 319 million of us with a weight of $55,684 per capita. Still, someone just asked me the other day, how the hell France got itself so fucked. It's not like the country pays $42 billion into IMF... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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Once upon a time (but not very long ago), Kroshka Roo, the quick-witted sidekick of the mighty goddess Shiny Crow, was making a protein potion for himself - to keep his strength and virility at the level tantamount to the demands of his arduous life. The brew, prepared in accordance with a recently unearthed ancient recipe, looked like a swamp in South-Eastern Asia after an especially long winter season of inexhaustible rains: It was muddy-green and thick, with a texture that gave an appearance of something heavy and hairy swimming right under the surface. Kroshka Roo took a sip. "Does... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
Millions of people, both TV watchers and online streamers, have seen the Pantene commercial urging women to stop apologizing. The version embedded below, for example, has 14 million views on YouTube. But what's wrong with apologizing? On average, women are more polite than men - it is known and welcome. And quite a few men (from serious journalists to wackos posting their own videos on YouTube) are upset with this ad campaign "telling women to be rude." Except that these "sorries" have nothing to do with good manners. Watching this ad I've experienced a sharp feeling of inappropriateness: why would... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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Let me explain to the handful of readers who actually noticed my absence from these virtual pages that this is what it takes for a small business to close a $20 million three-year capital financing deal with a global bank (such as Citi): You basically have to put your entire fucking life on hold. That is, of course, if you are someone like me - a CFO who rolls up her sleeves and plunges herself into the nitty-gritty of negotiating every single definition, every single term, every single condition, and every single covenant of the Term Sheet and then the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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Unfathomable! Dead? How can somebody so alive be dead? Is it possible that a person who couldn't remain seated in a chair for more than a minute at a time during talk show appearances stays so still now? Who can imagine this 500-miles-per-hour talking train to be completely silent? Yet, I understand: The mud at the bottom of the depression well must be too thick to move and no scream can reach the surface. There is only unbearable pain. I am terrified imagining the emotional sufferings that led to this. But it's hard to believe - he made so many... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
Yes, somebody did... Three years ago. So, what happened? Things only got worse. What a surprise! Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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The Frustrated CFO's preface: I've been a John Water's admirer for... hell, I don't want to count the years, because the man is timeless and forever, just like the ugly qualities of the human species he saw, recognized, and had the unique brilliance to shove into our faces in the hyperbolized, grotesque fashion comparable to Goya's etchings. I always think of him as a kindred spirit just as frustrated with his surroundings as I am. Anyway, the first time I watched Divine in Pink Flamingos, sentencing Marbles to death for "first degree stupidity" and "assholism," I was captivated. And it's... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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The Frustrated CFO's preface: I'm in the dental office, standing by the payment-processing counter with the endodontist. We are waiting for one of the claim processors to estimate the out-of-pocket costs that will arise from the doctor's suggested course of action. It's one of those full-service dental groups where they have all specialists, either on staff or itinerant. This requires a matching number of assistants, plus administration - in other words, there are a lot of people around. I'm here only for the second time. Yet, I notice every person I've already met, "Hi, Vivien, how are you?" "Hello, Christa."... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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The other day I had a meeting with some big shots from Citibank's commercial landing. Every single person at the table felt disappointed. On my side of the negotiations, everyone was shocked that the bank came up with some really sneaky changes to the Term Sheet we have originally accepted. Citibank's covert operatives were distressed to realize that their maneuvering didn't work on us and, moreover, we are absolutely ready to walk away from the deal. Nobody was disgusted more than me, though: I've rejected other lending candidates in Citi's favor based on the conditions of that damn Term Sheet;... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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As my readers know, years ago I've made a career choice of avoiding large corporations and their tall organizational structures. I prefer small and mid-size companies allowing opportunities of direct interactions with business owners - the very people responsible for recognizing one's efforts and allotting rewards. It's not for sissies, of course, because in this environment you cannot hide your incompetence or laziness in a mass of indistinguishable drones - you and your work are on the spot and in full view all the time. Even for a highly skilled professional with a strong work ethic it's not easy to... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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"Each language is a special tool, with a particular capability. It is more than a means of communication, it is a system of thought... Think of a language as the contour of a watershed, stopping flow in certain directions, channeling it into others. Language controls the mechanism of your mind. When people speak different languages, their minds work differently and they act differently... The question arises: does the language provoke or merely reflect... Which came first: the language or the conduct?" Jack Vance, The Languages of Pao, 1958 The Frustrated CFO's comment: Maybe not the most mind-blowing science-fiction opus of... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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"Any collocation of persons, no matter how numerous, how scant, how even their homogeneity, how firmly they profess common doctrine, will presently reveal themselves to consist of smaller groups espousing variant versions of the common creed; and these sub-groups will manifest sub-sub-groups, and so to the final limit of the single individual, and even in this single person conflicting tendencies will express themselves." Attributed to the imaginary author Adam Ostwald of a hypothetical tractatus "Human Society" Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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For many years Cipriani restaurant at 55 Wall St. (aka Cipriani Club 55) has been a staple location for Financial District's lunchers with company-paid expense accounts: classy, convenient, prestigious, comfortable, and moderately tasty (not enough to distract you from a business conversation, yet sufficiently to leave you and your guests satisfied). And, of course, the drinkers can tease themselves here with famous Bellinis, that pre-war invention of Giuseppe Cipriani - a mix of Prosecco (the Italian answer to Champagne) and peach puree; the only coral-pink drink in a flute I've ever seen straight men drink. Being tied up in Midtown... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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There are smart people out there who always place their personal interests ahead of everything else. I wish I could be like that, but I'm not. In my life, other people and things end up claiming higher priorities than Me. I'm one of those schmucks who get overwhelmed by the sense of Responsibility, as in guilt (familial) and duty (professional), and push their private matters aside. I know, I know - at the end of the day by abating those feelings I essentially attend to my personal needs anyway, but that's a psycho-philosophical issue we can contemplate. In real time... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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From an actual email: "Frankly, I left our meeting here on Monday with the conviction that you attended under duress but would otherwise rather have been doing pretty much anything else. PNC is a month behind every other bank, and we used up considerable goodwill with these entities to secure you and Alberto a seat at the table. No other bank has been treated so deferentially, which PNC earned by being our lender in the past three years. However, watching you play with your phone in your lap during our meeting and appearing otherwise bored suggested to me that there... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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Yesterday was the deadline for reporting first quarter fiscal results: I filed financial statements and supplements with lenders and such; various US government agencies released their data to the public. Everyone was on time. The difference is that I take my job seriously and can substantiate every single digit I report, while the national economists have nothing better to do than look at the numbers in front of them in total bewilderment and spit out funny bullshit. The Wall Street Journal's online edition titled its summary of quarterly results U.S. Economy Starts Year With a Whimper - a great title... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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Of course, it's our (I mean, parents') fault that the world is fucked up and our grown-up children are... well, the way they are. But, boy, did Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein pinned them down just right! It makes you laugh and cry all at once. Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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General public, constantly bombarded by advertising campaigns from TV screens, Internet sites, pages of periodicals, billboards, transportation exterior, etc. is rarely aware of the fine correlation between the commercials it is forced to absorb and the economic nature of the products being promoted to them. The majority of consumers don't realize that Mad Men, both real and fictional, are after the largest chunk of their disposable incomes - the money spent on what's known in the economic science as "normal" goods, i.e. every-day necessities with a moderate income elasticity of demand. In plain words it means that when people's wealth... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
I could've written thousands upon thousands words on the subject, but the creative studio Gentleman Scholar commissioned by the Gates Foundation managed to compact the organization's message on family planning as a crucial necessity for the world's well-being into a 1 minute and 44 second gem with a self-spoken title Where's the Controversy in Saving Lives? Thank you, Bill and Melinda Gates! Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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"Without the hookers of 42nd Street on display as a reference, the women of NYC have forgotten that a bandeau top, a skirt that barely covers your ass, and 6 inch heels are not sexy fashion statements. They are part of a uniform. A hooker uniform that allows men to recognize the ladies for sale. And the rest of the world takes their fashion cues from New York, hence women everywhere have lost their gauge for what's appropriate." Yana Alexandra Crow Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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In a small business with a flat organizational structure, where every exec performs 10-15 jobs, there is always a possibility of timeline conflicts. It's like cooking ten dishes on a four-ring range: eventually you run into a point when the same burner is needed for two pots. Which one to put on? There is really no such a thing as a right decision at times like that - you must simply follow your instincts. Let's say your are in the final stages of negotiating a Credit Agreement renewal with your main institutional lender. It's Thursday, 03/13. You have scheduled a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO