Should I Drop the Pseudonym? Yea/Nay & Why?

12 Aug

Title says it all.  I’ve debated dropping my psuedonym for quite some time, but now that I’m taking a temporary hiatus from work to go back to get my Masters, it seems this may be the best time, if ever, to do so.

Pros: Likely increased exposure, credibility, get to have my quality (and inevitably, those lacking much quality) posts attached to my real name.

Cons: Potential employers (particularly of the more conservative, up-tight variety) will likely have an issue with my liberal use of colorful language/attitude, opening myself up to inevitable ad hominem attacks, possible exposure of personal information against my will by a scorned acquaintance, etc.

So, friends, what do you think I should do?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Thanks,

Anal_yst (for now)

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20 Responses to “Should I Drop the Pseudonym? Yea/Nay & Why?”

  1. @adamsussman August 12, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    It’s def a tough choice. I went with real name and fake (giant gorrila) picture.
    Will your lady conquests be deleted?
    Either way, I hope you do not end up working for an uptight company.

    @adamsussman

    • Anal_yst August 12, 2010 at 10:43 am #

      I endeavor to abide by a strict policy of never deleting posts/tweets. Have I said some stupid, poorly thought out, hasty, etc things? No doubt. However, I believe integrity is important, and part of that is standing by your word absolutely, even if that means having to apologize or eat said words down the road.

  2. Roddy Boyd August 12, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    You are faced with a stark choice.
    Your commentary and analysis is superior–frankly I’m jealous–so that would argue for disclosing your name and pressing your interests in the clear. You quite clearly could establish a brand and get plenty of work providing clearly written, deeply-reasoned analysis of why youre putting on such and such a spread or shorting XYZ based on fundamentals, why the GSEs should truly be euthanized et al…

    Except, let’s be clear, you probably dont want to work for $40k a year. You twiter and do Stone Street because you find it rewarding, not because you smell a money pie baking.

    You aren’t doing what you do–B-School, the 60-hr weeks and such–based on a desire to be the funny, witty deep-thinker hedge fund analyst. You are working this hard to be a very good HF analyst whose personality and such is allowed to be indulged via tweets.

    Outisde of Dan Loeb, Mr. Pink on the original and great Silicon Investor boards, there is very little precedent for a talented earnest investor sort like you profitably revealing their personality to the world.

    You can generate Alpha by the half-acre and you will still answer questions about your quite valid insight into the penis size of the owner of a Merc from Jersey with the license plate BIGTR8DER in lower Manhattan.

    The hypocrisy is rank: Most guys like to crank back some beers and riff on infomercials and such, but some FOF’er is gonna seize on that and ask bad questions. [That he hasnt done anything in a lifetime to justify his fees other than follow herds and trends–“in first, pull first”–is besides the point.]

    It blows, but I want to see you pull if off and not have to answer HR questions at UBS or Maverick for the rest of your life.

    Roddy

    • Anal_yst August 12, 2010 at 10:41 am #

      Appreciate the kind words & vote of confidence. As you said, the only real concern I have is whether potential employers will be turned-off by my frank commentary, which going forward (especially if Anal_yst is replaced by my real name) will be significantly toned-down.

      I’d be curious what some hiring managers have to say on the manner, alas, I don’t know many via my pseudonym…

      • Kid Dynamite August 12, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

        then again, there’s the old saying “i wouldn’t want to be a part of any club that wouldn’t have me as a member.”

        • Anal_yst August 12, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

          While its true I really have no interest in working for stuck-up conservative types, there’s a non-zero chance that I may not have a choice once bschool is over. So, rather than likely guarantee I’ll never get a job at a not-insignificant number of firms, I think I should probably err on the side of caution. Nothing worse than regret, especially when it’d likely be an steep uphill battle to fix.

  3. @Honest_T August 12, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Anal_yst is a professional brand that you have created and has value and gives you an identity beyond an employer. However, you can better leverage that brand if you attach your identity to it. I don’t think you give it up, but I think you should claim ownership of the identity by attaching your name to it. Example, everyone knows Josh Brown is the Reformed Broker, but beyond his name, he has built a professional identity/brand. I would also create a personal account/twitter feed to use for content that is not “brand building” (or things that may be difficult to explain to future employers/clients/business partners). Good luck @ B school & in future endeavors.

  4. Bankrchick, New York August 12, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Color/expression/attitude is exactly what this place needs in my opinion. Admin/HR are big boys and girls. You could drop it now and use it in the future. Once you get your foot in the door and people get to know you, you may bring it up at that time. Will surprise people helping to build your credibility, so you could keep it in your back pocket and use it at the appropriate time.

    • Anal_yst August 12, 2010 at 10:52 am #

      Agreed, but disagreed on the HR being big boys/girls. In my experience they’re quite the contrary. Frankly, I have little-to-no interest in working at a bulge bracket or even one of the other global ibanks; too much bureaucracy, red-tape, b*llshit you have to deal with. I’d much rather work at a boutique bank/advisory or a fund. My inclination is that such places would be less judgemental/more open-minded than the big guys, but I don’t know for sure.

  5. Rob Zidar August 12, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    absolutely you should. might as well build your brand

  6. David Merkel August 12, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    I’ve always been above the radar, so I live with it. But if you want to be employed in the future, I would keep the pseudonym. It keeps things separate.

    • Anal_yst August 12, 2010 at 11:57 am #

      Alas, it seems that most likely, I have to choose between my career in Finance and my extracurricular blogging activities, sigh…

      • rob Z August 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

        but it’s not really separate

  7. perrymecium August 12, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    I’ll be the contrarian voice here. You shouldn’t reveal your identity.

    Behind your pseudonymous identity, you can be frank and honest in your commentary. Can you be criticized as being cowardly for not attaching your name? Possibly, but at the same time, you will have employers who will attach your personal opinions to your work quality. As a young guy who is still hoping to climb the ladder, you have far too much to lose.

    Most of the big bloggers that you’re probably thinking about as attaching their names to their opinions are at the tail end of their career and have accomplished enough that they no longer have anything to prove. Paul Krugman can be a political hack because he has a PhD and a Nobel Prize to his name. Did he express these kinds of opinions as a ramen-stuffing grad student? Hell no.

    Part of me wants you to reveal your identity so I can attach a name and a face to the posts. But if you do, you’ll either need to become just a regular blogger writing extraneous details about your spare time or risk becoming a financial journalist rather than a guy in finance.

    • Anal_yst August 12, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

      Good point. I don’t have a trust fund or enough connected friends that I can live well without a career, and the downside of risking it this early-on I may regret the rest of my life if it goes wrong.

      • WTF August 13, 2010 at 2:49 am #

        Don’t do it. Jay, David, and others make good points.

        Given the crap you get flung at you by whatever weirdo you’ve pissed off at DB, just as an example, you’ve got empirical evidence that your pseudonym is attached to a reputation of its own.

        Keep the pseudonym, and if you like, blog elsewhere, in a brand new forum, with your real name. Your professional hiatus provides a window in which to also expose a less colorful persona. Use it, if you like. (not that I, an older guy, have any problem with your existing persona, or that it would matter if I did)

        • Anal_yst August 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

          like your view, and frankly that’s the one I’m going with. I’ve already started a new twitter account under my real name and reserved a url under the same. look around, in the next few weeks I’ll start posting there and for The Atlantic.

  8. Ben Lindstrom August 12, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    I dunno – its a tough choice Anal_yst. On the one hand, what is the point of building your brand if you don’t intend to leverage it at some point?
    Of course you risk being unfairly judged by some HR tool, but I doubt they dig that deep. And if you’re that well known by the time you’re looking for a job, then maybe you don’t need a job that cant handle that.
    I think you should drop the pseudonym

  9. Jay@MarketFolly August 12, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    Some other commenters bring up a very valid point. I can’t think of a time when someone younger transitioned over. The majority of people who have done so are older, own their own businesses, or have very established careers. So, on that note, I think your future is the most important thing to consider. While they’d have to google “anal_yst” to find all your stuff, it could still be found once there is a connection made between the two.

    The main question is: would everything anal_yst has done be seen as detrimental in any way by future employers? Sounds like you want to work boutique anyways, so maybe transitioning would actually help you get there. As with everything in finance, seems this is all about risk/reward.

    @marketfolly

    • Anal_yst August 14, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

      Exactly. While I want to work @ a more liberal boutique or fund, certainly if I were to get a job offer from a bulge bracket or top boutique (Evercore/Greenhill/etc) or fund (Harbringer/Highbridge/SAC/etc) I’d certainly take it. On one hand, I don’t want to work for a conservative, stuffy firm, but who knows what the job market’ll be like in 2 years. I think its likely better to err on the side of caution and take the next 2 years to post my best work under my real name and everything else under my pseudonym.

      Thanks for the response!

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