It’s been a while since anyone paid much attention to Deutsche Bank’s new New York office. The pictures of executives in helmets have stopped coming, things are back to normal after the lockdowns, and except for Thanksgiving, the folks at DB are hard at work and enjoying their balcony overlooking Central Park.
However, Metropolis Magazine has not forgotten. Metropolis Magazine has this week a full spread inside the Deutsche Bank NYC office with its green walls, spiral staircases and daytime entertainment lounge and nightly billiards lounge. It is a “prophetic” place, it springs forth. When you’re at Deutsche’s New York office, “work is not just about the desk.” Green walls give vitality. The spiral stairs take a turn.
There are also other futuristic elements. The new office has its own ‘Internal Bluetooth-enabled GPS system, which employees can use to simplify orientation as they move through the floors.’ There are sensors under the desks to check when they are used. Traders will one day be able to travel from one seat to another by virtue of having their trading desks in the cloud; they will be able to meet and mentor new people.
It all sounds very 2025 and probably a prelude to what’s to come in London, where Deutsche Bank is opening a new office on Moorgate shortly. However, anyone familiar with the office technology debate may notice some familiar and controversial tropes. Desktop scanners, for example, have long been a source of complaints from employees who believe they are used to spying on the amount of time they spend sitting at their desks. Barclays tried to introduce them to London a few years ago and was forced to withdraw them when people objected. JPMorgan was subject to numerous allegations of employee spying (mainly from Business Insider) earlier this year under something called a “Workforce Activity Data Utility” that monitors office usage, among other things.
It’s not clear if there have been any complaints at DB, but in the wrong hands, the ‘The internal Bluetooth-enabled GPS system could likely be used to track how long employees spend in the bathroom or how often they visit the coffee station and how fast they walk across the floor.
This will not be happening. Just as JPMorgan’s new system is simply about collecting data on “physical facilities, equipment and systems and support efforts in relation to business efficiency” according to the bank, Metropolis Magazine says Deutsche Bank’s sensors are just about the space management. That’s a good thing, because they’re the kind of thing that is sweeping across the industry and will soon be coming to a desktop near you.
Separately, it reflects the tension between Sam Bankman-Fried’s public persona of a simple guy in shorts with a bean bag for a bed and his private persona of a megalomaniac with multiple luxury properties in the Bahamas and an assortment of women. Semi-harem-sounding math. in the dietary details imparted in the latest article on his lifestyle, this time in the Washington Post.
When a Dubai video blogger visited SBF in its sterile ‘incredibly opulent penthouse’ with a grand piano and gleaming balcony, he noticed that the FTX CEO liked to hang out next to a fridge full of vegan egg whites. says the Post. But SBF also hosted private parties serving the ‘lobster feast’ and apparently liked to ingest stimulants and downers in the style of a 1950s housewife. In 2019, for example, tweeted that success was due to “stimulants when you wake up, sleeping pills… when you sleep,” plus naps on the office bean bag to stay in “work mode.” There are suggestions that the coach/therapist at the office helped get girlfriends to make things easier, although the therapist tells us this was not true.
While SBF treated life like a video game and food like mushrooms in Mario Brothers, investors were totally misled.”It stood out in the right way, like, ‘Oh, I’m so disheveled. I’m coding all day. I don’t even have time to put my pants on,’” a crypto VC tells the Post. If they had paid more attention to their curious diet, they might have realized that something was wrong.
In the meantime…
If you want to work for Elon Musk, you have to tweet something that supports his Ultimatum “extremely harsh” on Twitter. (The edge)
Okay, the London stock market is now bigger than the Paris one again. (Bloomberg)
It’s not easy being Masa Son at Softbank. He’s he racked up a liability of more than $3 billion for his employer in two funds. (F.T. Alphaville)
The new cost of being a father: you need to buy a house for your son. (Bloomberg)
If you have a UK postgraduate and earn between £100k and £120k, you will pay a marginal tax rate of 77%. (Bloomberg)
Actually, there was no error in Excel that led to mispricing in an Icelandic privatization deal. (Euromoney)
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