March 7, 2014

This “Young Wall Streeters” Dude Was on “The Daily Show”: We Got the Scoop!

At the top. Right up there. At age 26, Kevin Roose accomplished the top item on my bucket list. Being a guest on “The Daily Show.” Yep, he was interviewed by J Stew. Good for him.

Actually, Kevin is a great guy as you’ll be able to tell during this podcast during which I pepper him with questions about what it was like to follow around 8 young I-bankers for three years – as well as a bunch of questions about being on “The Daily Show” (here’s a 3-minute video of that portion of the podcast if you want to share with your non-securities law friends).

Here are the questions that I asked about his new book “Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits“:

– What led you to write this book? How long did it take?
– How would you compare it to “The Wolf of Wall Street”?
– How were you able to recruit young Wall Streeters to follow? Did any of them balk over the three years?
– Which part was the most fun to research? Can you tell us an anecdote from the book that you love?
– The least fun?
– Can you describe the Kappa Beta Phi party that you crashed?
– What do you think should be the lessons learned from it?
– Any surprises in the reactions you have received since it’s been published?

And here are the questions that I asked Kevin about his appearance on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart:

– How did you learn that you would be on “The Daily Show”?
– Were you allowed to bring a guest?
– Did the “Green Room” have a window? Booze?
– Did you meet Jon before the live interview? Did you field questions from the audience after the taping?
– Did they validate parking?
– Have any of your friends tried to snake some items from your gift bag?

Kevin Roose: Top Six Things He Answered on Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything”

For those not familiar with Reddit, they host cool “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) sessions and Kevin recently participated in one. Here are the 6 “Q&As” that I liked the best (so I didn’t cover the same ground on my podcast):

Q: On “The Daily Show,” you were privy to the coveted post-interview lean-in. It happens on all the great talk shows with people like Bono or Jennifer Hudson. After he shakes your hand, the music starts and the camera zooms out, Jon Stewart leans in and tells you some secret information that only celebrities know. Everyone’s dying to know…what do they say during the lean-in?

A: I was too freaked out and nervous to remember exactly, but we’d had a conversation during the interview about his days as a bartender, and when he leaned in he told me some story from his bartending days about Wall Street customers that I’m sure would have been crude and and hilarious if I’d been sentient at the time.

Q: How did the bankers you talked to react to the Occupy Wall Street protests? What were some of their personal opinions on it?

A: That was a fascinating thing. Some of them dismissed the protests. But more than a few were really shaken by them. I remember one Goldman guy saying, “It feels so weird to be on this side of things.” You have to remember that there were 22- and 23-year-old bankers. They had friends in the Occupy movement. And they weren’t so far removed from the real world that they couldn’t feel guilt for taking part in such a vilified industry.

Q: Now that you’re out in the bay area covering tech as well, what are some of the differences you’ve noticed between young tech workers and young wall streeters?

A: Well, I think the groups are blending somewhat. But Silicon Valley is a much more earnest, idealistic subculture. There’s a greed there, but it’s buried beneath ten or twelve layers of do-gooder rhetoric.

Wall Streeters, on the other hand, tend to be more forthright about what their job is (making money). And the young ones tend to be a little more morally conflicted, in my experience, because they don’t have that pillow of saving the world to rest their heads on at night.

Q: Do you think the changes you see in Wall Street and finance are sustainable or will the Wall Street of the future revert back to parts of the pre-crash era? As an adrift mid-twenty year old, it was refreshing to see other twenty year olds – even those that make $200k — hold similar worries. Do you still keep up with any of the people you wrote about?

A: I think parts of Old Wall Street might revert (the size of the bonuses, for example). But I don’t think the culture will ever go back to the Liar’s Poker-era days. It’s a vastly different, vastly more boring financial industry than it was back in the 1980s, or even in 2006.

I do keep up with the people I wrote about. They’re great.

Q: Hey dude, haven’t checked out the new book yet, but I really liked Unlikely Disciple, and dug your NY Mag article. Keep up the great work! What’s the strangest fact you’ve uncovered in your research for Young Money?

A: It’s not really a strange fact, but I learned a fascinating amount about how young bankers try to game Seamless (the lunch-ordering thing). There’s a great article on Fast Company that goes into detail about how bankers use their Seamless allowances to get beer, cigarettes, and groceries for their apartments. These guys are the best and the brightest!

Q: Hey I saw you on the daily show last night! I was just curious as to what the bankers you followed around thought of this book. Were they angry or indifferent towards you releasing this book to the public?

A: Well, they weren’t angry, because I had their full participation from the start. They knew it was coming.

I hope they like it! One of them said to me that reading it gave him PTSD – that reliving his analyst days was really, really, painful, now that he’s gotten to a better place.

What Swag Does “The Daily Show” Give to Guests?

Here’s a pic that Kevin posted of the items in the gift bag that he received:

roose swag.jpg

– Broc Romanek