The Magic of Reputation

By October 28, 2016 No Comments

Steve Cohen’s Tour de Force…

Today’s Fortune story on hedge fund mogul Steve Cohen is a tour de force in the world of financial industry communications. In a career watching the creation and destruction of Wall Street myth and legends, Cohen’s resurrection reminds me of my first success. I was an intern at a small publicity firm when my boss burst into my office to congratulate me on persuading The NY Daily News to print an illustration from a book by one of our clients. Like a priest’s blessing, he pressed his palm to my forehead and said: “You see, we make magic in this business. The client will think you are Merlin.”

In fact, my success that day was modest, but my boss was right. Our business is a little like magic. We create stories for story tellers. They are narratives – fully true to the facts but altogether different from the consensus of common wisdom. We create the improbable, surprising and fascinating. To those who already know the story, our work may seem crude and the results grossly misleading. But everyone will pay attention and some will be persuaded.

Press turns heads.