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2014-05-28    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


In a post-financial crisis world, it's easy to hate on Wall Street. But what I've been looking for is a rational explanation -- what exactly has gone so very wrong over there?

In Michael Lewis' new book, Flash Boys, the author provides the most compelling answer I have found -- much of Wall Street suffers from a complete and utter lack of mission. The book provides a powerful cultural critique.
我在迈克尔•路易斯的新作《闪光男孩》(Flash Boys)中发现,作者为我们提供了最令人信服的答案——华尔街多数人根本就毫无使命感。围绕这个观点,这本书展开了强有力的文化批判。

John Doerr, one of venture capital's legends, has a memorable saying: He only backs entrepreneurs who are "missionaries" not "mercenaries." This is a key part of his investment thesis.

The difference? Mercenaries are in it for themselves (usually money). Missionaries are in it to change the world around them for the better.

The Bay Area is chock full of mission-driven companies. It's easy to satirize Silicon Valley's over-earnest desire to "change the world." It's also fair to ask if the desire is disingenuous, since "change" doesn't necessarily imply "for the better." But the real question is, does a company's mission actually matter?

One clear way a mission pays off is in helping a company recruit top talent. Despite public perception of how easy it is to win at startups in Silicon Valley, there is not a monetarily rational reason for the accelerating brain drain of some of our most educated, financially well-positioned future executives from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.

Employee compensation at Google (GOOG) (including stock grants) averages about $190,000 at a year while at Goldman Sachs (GS) it's north of $500,000. The odds of striking it rich at an early-stage startup are amazingly low. For talented money-seekers, Wall Street remains a relative sure thing compared to the risks of a startup.
谷歌公司(Google)员工的平均年薪(包括股票期权)约为19万美元,而高盛公司(Goldman Sachs)则超过50万美元。想要在一个初创公司里一夜致富,机会少得出奇。对那些一心想赚钱的优秀人才来说,与充满风险的初创公司相比,华尔街还是一个更有把握赚大钱的地方。

But after reading Flash Boys, the trends we've being seeing lately at some of the nation's top business schools make perfect sense. At the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, for instance, the percentage of MBAs entering investment banking dropped to 13.3% last year from 26% in 2006. During the same period, those entering tech more than doubled to 11.1%.
但在读了《闪光男孩》之后,我们最近在美国一些顶尖商学院看到的趋势就完全能说得通了。比如在宾夕法尼亚大学(the University of Pennsylvania)的沃顿商学院( Wharton School),去年MBA毕业生进入投资银行的比例就从2006年的26%腰斩到了13.3%,而同期进入科技公司的比例则翻了一倍,达到了11.1%。

It's easy to see why Wall Street could lose talent to Silicon Valley. Who would want to work in an industry where the only acceptable answer to the question "Why?" is "for money." Past a certain threshold of earnings it makes rational sense to optimize for more than just money. Another way to look at this: Picture two recent MBAs at Thanksgiving dinner. One works for Google, bringing self-driving cars to the market; the other works at Goldman. Who is going to talk proudly about their job, and who is going to sheepishly avoid the subject?

A company mission provides a purpose; it forms a connection between a company and their customer. Missions make companies worth working for. The most successful Silicon Valley companies almost universally exude a sense of mission (think Apple (AAPL), Salesforce.com (CRM), and Google), while the vulnerable incumbents have lost their sense of purpose (think HP (HP) and Microsoft). Microsoft (MSFT) resoundingly achieved their mission of "a new computer in every home," but must now find a new calling to stay relevant.

In the absence of mission, companies devolve into uninspiring backwaters with no purpose and little connection with their customers. They become the kind of companies that would screw over their customer to make profit in the short term at the expense of everything and everyone else. In the fullness of time, and provided an even playing field, I believe all mercenary companies will be out-competed by missionaries.

There is hope for Wall Street. The story in Flash Boys centers on the improbable founding of the stock exchange IEX. Brad Katsuyama founded IEX with the mission to bring transparency and accountability back to the stock market. The team overflows with Silicon Valley's brand of tech-startup missionary zeal. Flash Boys tells what happens when their business and mission collide solidly with Wall Street's mercenary culture. It's an amazing story.

IEX's journey is an improbable one. Their odds are no better than the average startup. I'd bet on them though, IEX has a powerful mission.

Zachary Rosen is co-founder and CEO of Pantheon, a San Francisco-based company whose professional website platform lets developers, marketers, and IT users build, launch, and run all their Drupal & WordPress websites.

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