Why I Wanted to Interview Henry Blodget

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Last week I interviewed Henry Blodget about the fallout he experienced when (and after) he was going through the whole Spitzer crusade against him. The interview will be online at Businessinsider.com shortly.  [Update: Here it is] It reminded me of  a few years ago when I was talking to a multi-billion dollar hedge fund manager that Spitzer had also gone after in one of his glorious escapades.

“My secretary told me Spitzer was on the phone,” this guy said to me, “So while Spitzer was on hold I literally got on the  other line and got $60 million ready with my bank just to instantly settle with Spitzer. Who needs the grief?” he said to me.

By contrast, Henry Blodget got grief from Spitzer. Right now he says “there’s nothing personal” but I never believe when someone says that. When someone is trying to kill you and your family, its always  personal. I wanted to interview Blodget to see if I could make him hate someone.

Not to find out what happened. We all know what happened. Blodget was the biggest Internet analyst out there. The Internet went bust for a year or two. Blodget sent an email that differed with the analysis in a future report he put out. So we all wanted to publicly hang him and Spitzer was the sheriff in town to do it.

I didn’t care about the details in the case. We all knew there was a bubble. Anyone who blames anyone else for their investment mistakes (for their relationship mistakes, for their career mistakes, for their parenting mistakes) is a loser.  Heck, there were bumper stickers made in 2000, “please let the bubble last one more year!” We all knew it! I don’t even drive and I would cross myself whenever I saw one of those bumper stickers.

For awhile, we hoped for blood. And Spitzer gave us that. Going for Blodget and then others. But blood doesn’t feed our families and ultimately the taste of it is too bitter. So as a society we moved on. We didn’t care anymore. We found the next thing. And the next. And then the next.

But I wanted to talk to Henry. How did he move on? How did he get out of bed when everyone he had initially called friend now avoided returning his calls. When he wrote a $4 million dollar check to the SEC and then had to avoid going broke when he was banned from the only industry he had ever worked for.

He was an English lit major with nobody returning his calls and his bank account being drained and a family to feed.  The object of public scorn and shame. “I admitted no wrongdoing” but when someone writes a check, you have to ask the question.

I wanted to find out if Henry hated the man who had done this to him. I wanted to find out how he faced his family and friends. How he then started writing again, and (horrors!) analyzing stocks again and then (horrors again!) started a financial media company (The Business Insider!). Why didn’t he run away and hide?

We’ve all been in post-traumatic stress. The 90s are an ancient myth now. Since then we’ve had the dot-com bust. 9/11. The housing bust. The financial crisis. 10% unemployment. Enron. Snooki. As a society, we’re depressed, scared. We lash out.

(Ashley Dupre has also bounced back with a NY Post column)

But most of us can do it in private.  I’ve had my successes, but I’ve also gone broke and lost my home and gotten divorced. Our lives, as a society, have turned upside down in the past decade when money no longer fell from the trees. But again, most of us can go upside down in private.

Henry asked me why I do this blog. Several reasons:

–          To show people they have permission to fail. It’s a fallacy we grow up with that “failure is bad”. It isn’t, unless you let it swallow you and devour you.

–          To show people there are easier ways they can be happy. They don’t have to stress owning a home, or saving money to send their kids to college.  To pretend that working a corporate job is the safest way to happiness. It isn’t. There’s alternatives. My blog is about the alternatives and how to achieve them to get happiness.

Henry Blodget’s life turned upside down in a very public way. His failure and shame were on full display. I wanted to find out how he recovered from that. So after much badgering for an interview, we sat down together. And I found out what I wanted.

[Stay tuned for the full interview at businessinsider.com. I’ll also link to it here.]

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  • http://economicdisconnect.blogspot.com/ GYSC

    I always take full responsibility for whatever I do after I read stuff on the Internets, even buying stocks :)

    Poor Henry got hammered for what happened, while today the Bank CEO’s get huge bonuses. Times change I guess. So glad he came back, I do like Business Insider.

  • NickB

    James, you are the best! Your blogs penetrate the human experience in a way I haven’t seen anywhere else.

  • 1000zahia

    “To show people they have permission to fail.” You are totally right, James. You are doing a good thing here, for all of us, readers! Thanks a lot. I will keep reading your blog. You are an inspiration to me!

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

    Well, wait for the interview. Don’t judge so fast. Its a hard burden to judge people.

  • john

    blodgett lied pure and simple. while our stock investing is ultimately our own responsibility, he was an insider and knew much more than any retail investor, these guys are presented that way to the public and are paid to give advice and he knowingly lied. if we should not listen to these analysts then do away with them. trouble is these punks have friends like you who think they should get off scott free. he is and always will be a loser and a liar!! i only wish he would have done prison time
    and if you think he is so pure and it’s ok to fleece the investing public with no consequence i would suggest you should be his bunkmate!

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Maybe wait for the interview

  • http://marketshotnyc.com MarketShot

    “To show people there are easier ways they can be happy. They don’t have to stress owning a home, or saving money to send their kids to college. To pretend that working a corporate job is the safest way to happiness. It isn’t. There’s alternatives. My blog is about the alternatives and how to achieve them to get happiness.”

    So true, I’m glad this is being shouted from the virtual rooftops!
    I try to tell people these kinds of things all the time, but they still don’t want to believe it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Its true. You can’t tell people these things. But I think with persistence, they begin to get the message.

  • Anon

    I was indicted by the SEC and targeted (but never charged) by the US Attorney’s office after the tech bubble burst for financial fraud. Many of my friends (and former colleagues) are in jail. I went to an Ivy league college, grad school, etc. During the long process of negotiating, posturing with the SEC and USAA the stress was crazy. I never went to bed before 3am. My marriage suffered (to say the least) but survived thankfully. To this day I have not moved on 100%. Its not the scarlet letter it once was; in fact, maybe only I can still see it. Several years ago I started reading Henry’s blog when he just started out – it was alley insider or something. It was all about google basically. I have an incredible admiration for him. His comeback has been inspiring for me. And James, despite my instinct not to like your writing, I think its great. Keep it up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Anon thanks. I hope you check out the interview on Henry’s site. I know its a daily process but I bet you are moving on more than you thought you would’ve been able to 10 years ago.

      And why is your instinct to not like my writing!?

  • KA BOOM!

    altucher, you are a true scum bad. Spitzer was the best man fighting for Main Street this nation has seen in decades. Blodget should be in prison for life for causing millions of people to lose billions in retirement funds due to his fraudulant dotcom ratings. Why are you discussing the fact that no one from the dotcom fraud went to jail? Why arent you discussing the fact that none of the Wall Street crooks have gone to jail for the fraud they committed that destroyed this global economy? I’ll tell you why. Because these idiots that waste time reading your online diary are too stupid to realize the fraud, so they don’t demand it from you. The average IQ of your followers cannot be higher than 87.

    Why dont you discuss your relationship with Cramer and other Jewish crooks in the financial industry?

  • Altucher get real!

    Here is Altucher kissing Henry’s dirty butt because Henry promoted him on the complete garbage Tech Ticker so many times, which allowed James to develop a following of brainless idiots on this site. Hey James, when are you launching a book? It’s obvious what yo are up to. You are just like all of the rest of the scum bags in the media who exploit people with your hidden agendas. I see right through you.

    Instead of telling the story of how Wall Street screwed millions of investors during the dotcome scam, you actually turn Henry the crook into a hero who “triumphed” from his stress etc. You are pure scum. The saddest thing is seeing these idiots on your site fall for it without stopping to criticize you as I have done. That just goes to show who here has a brain and integrity and who does not.

  • Anonymous

    every time i think i know u there comes a post like this that peals another layer off the onion that is J. Altucher.. great post dude.

  • http://www.facebook.com/r0ckwell Farhod ‘Rockwell’ Shahrezay

    I just discovered your blog, and I have to say your stuff is really brilliant. I’m a year out of Cornell and trying to make it as an entrepreneur, so your words are both entertaining and enlightening. Keep up the good work and thank you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

      Thanks ‘Rockwell’, – what are you working on right now?

  • zzen321

    I enjoyed your interview on businessinsider. Henry Blodget has my up most respect; I’m glad things worked out for him.

  • http://www.howardlindzon.com howardlindzon

    great post and angle of attack at the interview. Henry has tremendously thick skin. I could not do it.

  • Steven L Goff

    How he got started again > easy > He called up some of his friends he help make rich back then and they took care of him >>> In the true “cronyism ways” that is and always will be >> Wall Street >>> and the super rich. I dont feel sorry nor inspired by him or this story…..good luck to ya!
    If in 5 years the word “cronyism” is not in the thesaurus next to > Wall Street and college….I will be shocked!

  • Steven L Goff

    I got to be frank w/ ya ….and it’s not personal ;)….I just wanna string up the rich and the lawyers in this country and start from scratch again! The best thing that can happen in the USA forward > is a complete economical and societal breakdown and rebirth.

    “here I have called the bank and have the $60 mil payoff and dont bother me money ready”….LMAO and people can’t even feed themselves today….lol

    Long of pitchforks and torches…I say

  • Steven L Goff

    be a hooker and fuck a Governo r= ya get a PAID weekly news column….LMAO


    I have finally figured it out….why I am stalled in life > because I am not a fraction of the crazy I was in my past.

    It just pays to be a fucking nutcase nowadays. It is where our society is at (degeneration wise)

  • Steven L Goff

    this is what happens to hookers who dont get to fuck governors >
    Atlantic City woman begged for help before being fatally stabbed in a convenience store
    ATLANTIC CITY- Before Deziree Vivian fell to the floor of a convenience store Thursday night – after being fatally stabbed- {{{{she implored the employees who had watched her sell her body on Pacific Avenue to save her…}}}}

    my reply :

    And they wonder why Atlantic City can not attract Fortune 500 company investment! >>>> “after being fatally stabbed- she implored the employees who had {watched her sell her body on Pacific Avenue to save her}”…………Lets pack up the wife and kiddies and go there for vacation……….No Way Jose!

    Them store owners/workers weren’t going to help her >>> now steal a pack of Twinkies off that shelf in store >>>and they will tackle you in the street and beat you with sticks and brooms! >>> It’s all about the Dollar Bills and nothing else!

    It’s a shame….and if she has family…my sincere condolences go out to them. Along with me saying to YOU>>>>>> you’re a peice of crap for letting your daughter or sister sell her body to feed or house herself.

    • Steven L Goff

      where is her weekly news column?….didnt think so

  • tw

    Just got to this today.

    Spitzer was using the template provided by Guilianni in his witch hunt of Milken and others. Daniel Fischel documented it in his book Payback using the court documents. It is an eyeopener.

  • werbtheherb

    WOW. The posts by Steven L Goff are just fascinating. Human psychology is just fascinating.