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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: 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
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From an actual e-mail of a corporate COO, an HBS alumnus, blind-copied to several bankers, who lost their bids for the company's business, as well as to a few other addressees: "As you know, we analyzed several competing offers. One has been accepted and a good faith deposit paid. All banks were quite detailed and specific in their term sheets. In order to make both a proper and fair comparison, any uncertain items had to be discounted. While it might have been useful to fully clarify all conditions and parameters, we made a decision not to allow banks to tweak... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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I've said it before and I'll say it again: all entrepreneurial bosses are the same. Of course, I don't mean it literally - they are not stamped figurines. Yes, they are the same in their principal qualities (aggressiveness, single-mindedness, drive, vision, impatience, arrogance, callousness, etc.), but they are also different people with their own psychological makeups, individual quirks, and human peculiarities. Some can be informal and approachable, others are aloof and snobbish. Some can be intellectuals, while others are simple and limited. Some of them are religious conservatives, others are broad-minded libertarians. Some are healthy and others suffer from an... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
The Frustrated CFO's Intro: Just a tiny bit of magic, a very cool synchronization app, and some undeniable truth about deception as an integral part of human nature - voila, a very entertaining TED Talk! (And how about the strength of that bluetooth connection!) Enjoy! Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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Oh, boy, World Wide Web! You are 25! So young, yet so much happened to you already! You are like a fucking child rock star! When you were born, I was still in my 20s; so were Madonna and Michael Jackson; Brad Pitt was 25 (he just turned 50 - the jury is still out on whether you are good at math or not). Now I run to you to roll time back and see people who witnessed your birth being young and alive - you keep them all and more inside your multitude of brains. In only a quarter... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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Sometimes when you open a certain topic, it becomes hard to move on to the next one. So, again about bankers and genders... When we hear the word "discrimination," the first thought that comes to our mind is "unfair." Indeed, in it's most common definition of the last 150 years, discrimination is understood to be an unfairly different treatment of a specific group of people. We think: race, ethnicity, gender, social class, origin, sexual orientation, wealth, etc. This is the type of discrimination that I just fucking hate. And I am not saying this to be politically correct: I truly... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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Those who have read it may remember that I specifically noted in that post that the possibility of diminishing number of the Confused Liberal Hipsters who misguidedly uphold Lena Dunham in high esteem as their feminist hero can be just my wishful thinking. Still, I feel obligated to tell my readers that yes, indeed, it was nothing more than a momentary slip into an illusion that people may be getting a little bit less stupid. I cited New York Magazine's long-time silence about Girls and its creator as a hopeful sign. Well, I spoke too soon: In the current issue... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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"And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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Ever since this company made into a couple of 2013 national lists of the fastest growing entities, we have been accosted by a slew of various business services offering their assistance and support: insurance brokers, real estate brokers, HR management providers, marketing consultants, etc., and most notably for me - bankers. The troubles that befell the banking industry a few years back resulted in its consolidation. The competition among the diminished number of the key players in the field of institutional finance has stiffened. They are fighting for clients with proven records of steady profitability, growing equity, and assets with... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO
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"The popularity of a bad man is as treacherous as he is himself." Pliny the Yonger 62 AD - 112 AD Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2014 at The Frustrated CFO