Short Sellers – according to Kathryn Staley

“Short sellers are odd people. Most of them are ambitious, driven, antisocial, and singleminded. As individuals, they are not very likely to own a Rolex watch or a Presidential springer spaniel or any other symbolic trapping of success; they are likely to have a wry, slightly twisted sense of humor. As a group, short sellers like to disagree, and they like to win against big odds. Typically, they have an axe to grind, a chip on the shoulder. As in the general population, some of them are cretins and some are not, but they are all smarter (most of them, in fact, are intellectual snobs) and more independent than most people.  Contrary to popular wisdom, they do not form a cabal and bash stocks senseless. They normally are secretive and slightly paranoid. And they are frequently irreverent in their regard for business leaders and icons of Wall Street. Dana L. Thomas summed up the breed in this statement:

Professional short sellers usually have a zestfully unbiased attitude toward men and affairs. They are often men of biting humor. After all, their stock in trade is an ironic transubstantiation of values – a satiric commentary on the standards of men.” 

— The Art of Short Selling by Kathryn F. Staley

If Kathryn Staley’s description of short sellers is apt, these characters seem far more compatible with the hedge funds of the 1980s-1990s, then they do with the sterilized, institutional counterparts that prevail today… in fact, I’d venture to say that short sellers are more culturally similar to the characters found in Silicon Valley…

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