The New Citigroup

As part of its ongoing PR-ification of the financial crisis, Citigroup has posted the hilariously tautological “A Safer Approach to Risk“.

Here’s a quote from the article:

For our society to function efficiently, capital needs to flow. But the attendant risk must be better managed. That’s why we’ve strengthened our commitment to responsible finance.

And here’s another notable quote from recent history:

“as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.”
-Citi Chief on Buyouts: ‘We’re Still Dancing’, DealBook, July 2007

Exactly how much of that culture has actually changed? You can revamp how you do business, but it’s not just Citi that’s broken. It’s the entire culture and machinery of top-tier capitalism. They may be chagrined, but that is only temporary.

Profit through obfuscation. Profit through leveraging the power that money provides. Profit through PR.

Why not profit through generating value? How about that for a change? Sheesh. I’m sick of financial companies that treat business like a giant card trick.

In other words, I remain to be convinced…

Ode to an Exit Row

I just authored this on a plane, while sitting in an exit row, in honour of Exit Rows everywhere.

I’m 6’6″ / 200cm. You get the idea.

Happiness is an Exit Row

Happiness is an Exit Row
With knees not shifting to and fro
With aching not felt from below
Nor seat-backs crushing hips-to-toes
I do so love you Exit Row

Happiness is an Exit Row
With room to stage a puppet show
While dressed as Edgar Allen Poe
With daughter cousin wife in tow
Oh! How I love my Exit Row

Happiness is an Exit Row
Should you steal it, you’re my foe
The handle pulled, the door I’ll blow
Released your belt and out you go
I’d kill to have my Exit Row

Oh, how I love my Exit Row!


My good deed for the day was marshalling at the Walk against Warming, whose near-illegible (but otherwise inspiring) outcome was to write the words “Safe Climate – Do it!” using people on a bridge.

After a day of herding rallyers into the shape of a single sentence, I have newfound respect for the organisers of the Beijing Olympics. Rounding people up is HARD!

Red ink added by me. Click to view full size.