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Who has been running this classified ad for more than ten years? (workingwithwords.blogspot.com)
64 points by radagaisus on Nov 6, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 38 comments

I think the answer is in the comments: "6/4/08 - Just saw this and googled it, of course. If I had to guess on hedge funds, this sounds like something D.E. Shaw might try for recruitment. They're big on the whole "just be brilliant" bit in order to recruit talent. Additionally, I noticed in their own recruitment posts on CL the respond-to e-mail address is Craig-Gen@career.deshaw.com while that one is gencraig@spsfind.com. Coincidence?"

Blog author's reply: "Aha! At long last, after nearly four years, I believe Jennifer may have finally cracked the mystery. This seems pretty plausible. I only wish her link carried me somewhere that I could thank her. Here's hoping you come back and take a bow, Jennifer. Thank you all for taking part in this bit of distributed intelligence exercise. I loved watching it all unfold. And of course, I'm not discounting the distinct possibility that it will continue to unfold in ways I couldn't have guessed."


Very interesting and I wish to say thank you. Pat C. in Texas

For anyone else who was confused by this submission:

-The second part of the blog post ('Coming Across This Line [...] no better than its woods." Indeed... ') appears to have nothing to do with the first part (the quoted classified ad) and can be ignored.

-The blog post's comments section chronicles various sightings of this ad over the years. Unfortunately, the site only shows the time the comment was posted, not the date. The first comment is from around 10 years ago.

CTRL + F "Tue. Nov. 24th 2009" on that page. Apparently someone got into the Gmail account of one of the emails used for that ad and found various references to http://deshaw.com, as well as the various other people mentioning D.E Shaw in the comments.

I guess that's the end of the mystery? Or am I missing something?

>CTRL + F "Tue. Nov. 24th 2009"

Off topic, but is there a linking service where the reader can be directed to an arbitrary location within the page? In this case we could just click on the link and it'll directly take us to that particular comment?

I'm just surprised that there's still no way for me to link someone to a particular paragraph within a Wikipedia article in the year 2014.

You can click the time of each comment to get a permalink: http://workingwithwords.blogspot.com/2004/08/gee-i-wonder-if...

Wikipedia articles have the same functionality: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML_element#Anchor

You can link directly to the an element in a page if it has an id attribute: http://example.com/index.html#foobar will jump to the foobar element in index.html-- and foobar can be anything, a paragraph, a div, an image, etc.


I wouldn't recommend using it for anything that needs longevity, but this has been around for a free years:


I used to use a service called "yellow hilighter", but it died and all my links broke, so fair warning :)

Let's say you're reading the Land Rover (automobile) Wikipage and you want to share the 'Timeline' section with someone.

Here is the wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Rover

If you click this one below, you will be brought straight to the 'Timeline' section http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Rover#Timeline

Just append your URL with the selector for a DOM Element with a unique ID. In this case, the 'Timeline' div has a unique ID of 'Timeline', so I've simply appended that to the URL.

Welcome to 2014 :)

I'm trying to link to arbitrary paragraphs i.e. paragraphs without DOM selectors.

There is :-)


I don't think that's technically possible.

Just needs browser support. A Chrome or Firefox extension could do.

yes, just stick XPath at the end in a "hl=q".

I did that for some reason I don't remember many years ago, but it's quite fragile. OTOH if you do it based on text content it somewhat resists better to htm changes but not to content changes. It's tricky.

Someone hacked their email, and send them his resume? Isn't that a felony?

Depends on your jurisdiction.

Nope, that's the end of the mystery. That was pretty quick.

The answer is obvious and simple to anyone who has worked for "one of Wall Street's most successful entrepreneurs."

These assholes churn through assistants like you wouldn't believe. Most quit, in spite of the high pay, out of basic self-respect. The others are fired during a tantrum.

Most of these jagoffs have a few pending wrongful termination lawsuits at any given time. Just ask them, they'll probably brag about it.

As someone who has no idea what the working environment is like, I'd love to hear some stories. What's day-to-day life like in that sort of job? I guess I'm just curious what the owners do to make it so unbearable to work there. And why they don't care.

It's super high risk, super high reward, super high pressure, basically the tech industry except the people don't pretend not to be douches. Hedge funds are the same as startups, 5 guys with 5 billion dollars who opened business two weeks ago.

Like the don't hire an asshole rule would be hire only assholes, and once in a while they'd hire someone who wasn't.

That said if you don't mind working with douches at least you'll be working with douches who aren't trying to pretend their running a 'family' as a company, which is refreshing when you're used to hearing about how the founders aren't really in it for the money but really want to 'change the world'. Financiers want to change the world too, namely, turn it into change and put that change in their pockets.

I worked on the outskirts of the finance industry, it was still pretty insane, but nothing like the guys actually in it.

"Financiers want to change the world too, namely, turn it into change and put that change in their pockets."


After reading these other comments, I Googled David E. Shaw and found this: http://mathbabe.org/2012/04/05/it-sucks-to-be-rich/. (WARNING: Not sure of the validity of these stories, but they're interesting.)

> First example: David hires a Ph.D. in English literature (he has a thing for “geniuses”, even in the mail room) to test mattresses for him. So that person’s job is to sleep on 15 different mattresses, for 8 nights each, and draw up a report to tell him the pros and cons of each mattress. This is to avoid him having an uncomfy night’s sleep. That’s what the risk was that we were avoiding with that.

> Second example: David wants to be sure his trip to California goes smoothly, so he hires a Ph.D. in Something to take the exact same trip – same car service to the NY airport, same flight (same seat on plane!), same car service upon arrival, same hotel, exactly a week before his trip (due to understood seasonality issues of air travel) – to make sure there are no snags, and to draw up the report that presumable explains how much leg room there was in his plane.

As an aside, their research group encouraged me to apply for a position shortly before I graduated college. The application asked for things like SAT/ACT scores and (number of) lines of code written in various languages. I thought my application looked pretty good, but I guess my ACT score was too low for them to consider me (even potentially!) brilliant. I still feel kind of bitter about that.

I commented earlier that I thought about applying to that classified job in 2007 - as it happens, in 2008 I briefly worked as the personal assistant to a personal assistant at D.E. Shaw. I was working alongside Harvard business school types, but doing the most trivial things. I literally had to run across midtown to deliver a six pack of Diet Dr. Pepper to one of Shaw's executives at one point. Half the people I met there were humanities PhD dropouts. I applied to humanities PhD programs while working there and sort of did the reverse.

Despite the absurdity of the reports, all i can think of is: DUDE, PUBLISH YOUR DATA.

The second service can be extremely useful to autistic person.

sounds like "The devil wears Prada" book/movie

You'd think that if the turnover was so bad that they had to have the ad literally 10 years running, at least one of the burnt assistants would've explained what's going on.

I'm sure many would talk privately, but not publicly. Not if they're hoping to get paid from their lawsuit or if they got paid to sign something. Or if they want to work for another firm, and have to worry about false rumors being spread.

They also know first hand how litigious and vindictive these guys get. My friend nearly killed himself as a result of being repeatedly dragged through the courts. He was forced to burn his life savings on lawyers, after his two asshole employers predictably turned on each other. And he was just a witness in the cases, a pawn, subject to torture by two of Wall Street's most successful entrepreneurs. They blew millions on lawyers and ruined lives, just to fuck with each other.

Here's an example, from the latest New York Review of Books: http://www.nybooks.com/classifieds/

I thought that ad looked familiar! I'm almost positive that I thought about applying to it when I graduated college in 2007.

At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, the experience was just as weird and intriguing as the ad itself. First off was the reception area. The cathedral ceilings throw scale completely off, dwarfing the visitor... http://tiny.cc/ne5pew It does convey a sense of power and high-tech savvy, but it also seemed dated. A young, very polished woman took my jacket. I looked her up later and she'd been a child actress in at least one film that I'd seen. Everyone was very nice in kind of a cult-y way. I was led to an office in the middle of a floor full of empty workspaces. The guy who interviewed me was a lawyer and said he still worked part-time on the side, and that that was an accepted part of the culture. Mr. Shaw had basically unlimited money thanks to the success of his hedge fund, but he did not have unlimited time. To create more time, they were staffing up for personal assistants who could handle everything from getting Knicks tickets to making dental appointments. We both figured out it wasn't a match early on, so we had a nice conversation instead. And somewhere in that building I guess my resume still sits...

edit: The thread started by yesprocrast2 covers the topic further. I guess working among geniuses for one of Wall Street's winners isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Perhaps this is a slightly more sophisticated version of the "Make $10,000 a month working from home" scheme used to recruit mules for money laundering.

_that_ is what those announcements are for? I always assumed they were scams of the "send us 100$ to start" kind.

Maybe we'll never know...


I saw the ad in hardcopy in The New Republic sometime in the 1990s. I replied but got no response. Sometime five or six years ago I applied directly to D. E. Shaw and came up empty. I believe that that these days Shaw himself spends his time on research in tool building for computational molecular biology. Has another company for that.

Well, if you go to spsfind.com, it 301 redirects to sps-app.com, which seems to be a social positioning app, in Hebrew. Doesn't seem to be related to D.E. Shaw, though.

A return address for a spy ring?

Well, given that it seems to be confined to the NYRB and has been consistently going for so long, could it perhaps be an in-joke of theirs?

EDIT: Well, I guess not. Looks like the resolution was far more anticlimactic.

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