Tech and Business Pearls

Investment Banks Fake Sincerity

I think Investment Banks do some good things for the world. I disagree with how they sometimes view the world and interact with people. They can become dishonest and empty.

I received the e-mail below from JP Morgan today. It’s a standard invitation to apply to one of their leadership programs. I’m probably on some big list of theirs. This is all fine, except that this recruitment manager claimed she “wanted to personally tell” me about the program. This is a lie to feign sincerity. There is nothing personal about this message.

There are several telling clues. First and very obviously, I’m not in the To: line. In fact, there is no To: line. That’s because this manager probably BCC’ed a huge list of students. The point of BCC is to not let the recipients know to whom else the message was sent. She wants to hide the massive number of people she personally invited. In a personal e-mail, you would never BCC the recipient.

Second, it doesn’t say Hi Joseph, Hi Mr. Perla, Hi Joseph, or any variant thereof. It’s the generic “Hi” you use when addressing a large group. Adding my name would have been pretty easy, but it seems she didn’t even take the trouble of this modicum of effort.

Finally (fixing this would be really putting forth extra care), the body of the message says nothing specific to me. Nothing about my major, nothing about my interests. I’m glad she looks forward to seeing me on campus, but I’ve never met her. In fact, she wrongly assumes that I could be having a good semester (I’m taking the year off).

Now, maybe I-Bankers have a different definition of “personally”. Maybe, I-Bankers define personally inviting someone as mass-mailing an indefinitely large group a short generic message plus an attachment from their own Outlook. “I used Outlook myself on my computer. I didn’t have my secretary do it: it’s personalized.”

Personally, I have a problem with that definition.

from: [employee]”
date: Sep 24, 2007 11:06 AM
subject: JPMorgan Launching Leaders Scholarship. Apply by November 15th

I wanted to personally tell you about JPMorgan’s Launching Leaders scholarship. The details are in the flyer attached below. Please feel free to share this with your friends. For more information and to apply go to Hope you are having a good semester. Looking forward to seeing you on campus soon.


over 12 years ago on September 24 at 3:44 pm by Joseph Perla in entrepreneurship, school

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Hi, my business card says Joseph Perla. Former VP of Technology, founding team, My first college startup was in the education space. My second was Labmeeting, a cross between Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook for scientists. I dropped out of Princeton (twice).

I love to advise and help startups. My code on Github powers many websites and iPhone apps. I give talks about startup tech around the US and also internationally at conferences in Florence. incubators in Paris, and startups in Budapest.

Twitter: @jperla

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