What Is It With Goldman Sachs and Voicemail?
Senior Editor, CNBC.com
The disclosure by Lloyd Blankfein that he rarely uses email, preferring to check the daily profits and losses at Goldman Sachs over voicemail, is a reminder that at the highest levels, Goldman is still a “voicemail” shop.
Former CEO Hank Paulson once told Fortune that he had never used email. Instead, he sent and received hundreds of voicemails a day. He was famous for returning almost every call that came through to his office.
As almost anyone who has worked in an office knows, voicemail is a seriously time-consuming way to communicate. It takes far more time to review voicemails than read emails, and the response time is slower as well.
But voicemails do have one advantage: They're much harder for regulators, historians or outsiders to track. Many voicemail systems automatically delete messages after a set period of time. It’s also far harder to forward voicemails to outsiders than it is to forward an email.
I find something almost creepy about the way Goldman Sachs CEOs avoid emails. Is it just that they're a bunch of Luddites trapped in 1992? Or is it that they they worry too much—naturally raising the question, what are they worried about other people discovering?
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