Thanks! Hit Our Third Target, On to Our Fourth!

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 626 donors have already invested in our efforts to shed light on the dark and seamy corners of finance. Join us and participate via our Tip Jar, which shows how to give via credit card, debit card, PayPal, or check. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser, what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and our current target.

Thanks to your prompt and generous responses, we’ve met our first three targets: funding for more site improvements, particularly for the user experience; travel/conference expenses and coverage, and ex-post-facto payments to site writers like Lambert and Dave Dayen. And we are more than half way towards our goal of 1000 contributors for this fundraiser.

We are on our way to meeting our fourth target, which is selfish but also necessary: vacation and partial weekend coverage. Some of you probably remember the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments that take place in the past when I would try taking vacations but still kept the blog going. One painful incident was summer 2011, when I was in Maine and the Internet ranged from sucky to non-existent (coastal Maine ex Portland is pretty much one big cell phone dead zone, so if your DSL/cable connection goes down, you are stuck). That necessitated near daily 40 minute round-trip drives to the nearest Starbucks. Longer standing readers may recall past Internet woes when on semi holiday trips (for instance, drafting Chapter 8 of ECONNED and still blogging while in Germany in 2009).

I desperately needed a more of a break than I got last year; readers may recall I was sick for nearly three weeks last winter. And we had to raid the vacation and travel budget to cover for CalPERS litigation expenses and extra tech costs, including the creation of our private equity limited partnership document trove site. That meant less vacation coverage than was ideal; I had to work most days during a supposed short holiday break in San Francisco and my regular end of summer Maine vacation.

So the breaks are absolutely essential R&R if I am to have the energy to keep up with the daunting task of covering a target-rich environment ranging from dubious practices to outright looting, and debunking clever schemes.

Now I could simply follow the suggestion of reader Earl Crockett:

I wish to propose the founding of an “Yves Smith Well Being and Restoration Fund” so you can jet off to the Caribbean Island of your choice on every Tuesday and Wednesday when nothing of substance ever happens anymore [this was during the heat of the crisis, when the cliffhangers inevitably took all weekend].

Your contributions in the last three years allowed me to take holiday as well as every other weekend coverage to Lambert and Dave Dayen (long-standing readers may recall Matt Stoller also performed this invaluable role for us in the past). Since other Serious Blogs pay guest bloggers for coverage in specified time slots (for instance, I was paid when I covered for Felix Salmon when he was at Portfolio in 2007 and in 2011, for Glenn Greenwald at Salon), if we want to keep the caliber of the blog up to your standards when I get some badly needed downtime, it doesn’t come for free. And another benefit of having talented writers on the NC beat is that they are backup in case of disasters (they were prepared to step in if I had lost power during Sandy, for instance).

There are multiple ways to give. The first is here on the blog, the Tip Jar, which takes you to PayPal. There you can use a debit card, a credit card or a PayPal account (the charge will be in the name of Aurora Advisors).

You can also send a check (or multiple post dated checks, if you want to spread out payments) in the name of Aurora Advisors Incorporated to

Aurora Advisors Incorporated
903 Park Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10075

Please also send an e-mail to with the headline “Check is in the mail” (and just the $ en route in the message) so we can count your contribution in the total number of donations.

Our vacation coverage plus every other weekend coverage target is $18,000, and we are already over $300 towards that goal. Thanks SO much for your generous support!

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  1. Mell Pell

    Dear Dr Webber,

    Judging from what I have read, you deserve this more than anybody. However, please try to think of this from the point of view of someone coming in cold, who doesn’t know you or your exhaustive ( and exhausting) work. It seems kind of … awkward. “I like money. Give me money so I can take a vacation! Now!”.

    From a PR standpoint wouldn’t it be more efficacious to solicit donations for … say “staff compensation”. This might include vacations, a personal assistant, janitorial, or whatever.

    Also, this is somewhat off topic, but don’t you run a wall street firm as well? How do you find the time? doesn’t something somewhere suffer? Is the site here your main source of income?


    1. Lambert Strether

      Mell, thank you for giving me the opportunity to say that Naked Capitalism is not about public relations ;-) What you see is what you get.

      The bottom line here, is that blogging is grueling work, especially blogging at a high level, and Yves needs both respite, and the ability to keep the level high when she is recuperating. I wrote in 2012:

      Blogging is an intensely effortful and stressful activity. Effort: Yves has been writing McKinsey-level essays on the most pressing issues in political economy for years on a nightly basis, along with curating the daily Links post, now the front page news for many of us and certainly me. Effort: Moderating a very large and highly informed commentariat that is not without contentiousness. Effort: Working long hours at a computer takes a toll on the back, the heart, the eyes, the hands, the fingers, sleeping patterns, everything. And that’s before Yves gets to email correspondence, finding writers, reviewing submissions, the site chores, refusing to take phone calls from high officials… Readers, Naked Capitalism is a full-time job!

      UPDATE Adding, I have taken you up on your suggestion. And a hat tip to Tony for getting the thermometer title not to hyphenate. Not to bore you with details, but that wasn’t quite as easy as it should have been….

    2. trish

      Allow me to get a bit excessive in this quick post.
      Naked Cap exposes a lot of the odious and vile behavior in this world. And a respite from it, as well. An odd juxtaposition, perhaps, but for me its attraction.

      It offers the facts about many important issues and odious behaviors/happenings in this world, amid intelligent and often wittily sarcastic commentary (ie Lambert). Provides a sort of vicarious vent for me.
      It provides an onslaught of news of the depressing onslaught, and offers a bit of hope, too. That fighting it is possible. Naked Cap is good journalism, a news site with a strong moral compass.
      And on top of that it links you to good pieces you might otherwise miss, exposes some of the dopey (or worse) commentariat- and some of the good. And it has an intelligent (and oft rather amusing) array of commenters.

      I gave a very modest amount because I simply don’t have much to give. But I gave, even if it’s paltry, because I so appreciate the site.

      Yeah, these guys want vacations, respites. So what. Who doesn’t. Holiday is unfortunately not available to all in this country. It’s something that should be…but that’s part of the whole big picture Naked Cap works to expose and discuss….

      A bit long-winded, but for what it’s worth.

      1. hunkerdown

        Give vacations so that someday they can circulate through the political economy back around to us. Trickle-*around* (aka karma) really works!

        1. Lambert Strether

          Up here, I see people “pay it forward” regularly. Not every day, but often enough to notice. It takes the form of paying for whoever is behind you in line. And now that it’s the first of the month, I’m going to do just that!

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      I am not a Dr.! But it is a flattering mistake.

      The only Dr. in my immediate family is my recently deceased uncle, who got a PhD at the age of 74 in marine biology. We joked that he got a PhD in lobsters.

      More seriously, we tell readers what our various goals are so they have an ideas of why we need money and where it will go. If you have run a business, the cost of providing for vacations and sick days is a significant cost. Even businesses that think they don’t pay for it (by hiring part time workers or contractors) do in other ways, via all the cost of higher-paid managers in schedule-juggling and dealing with the higher rate of staffing emergencies (more staffing moving parts results in more problems). And that’s before you get to the fact that having a less permanent work force usually means more turnover, which means more management time hiring and training. In other words, there is no free lunch here, although some businesses like to delude themselves that there is.

      Here the tradeoff is having the site go dark when I take time off (ever other weekend is WAY less than most people get) or having it be a 365 day operation. Readers clearly want the latter, hence the latest goal.

      1. CB

        You’ve referred to your lobsterman uncle before, his doctorate in his seventies and his shock at discovering he couldn’t work the manual winch in his eighties and had to give up lobstering. Runs in the family, then. But he’s still a PhD up on you!

      2. Mell Pell

        I call everyone Dr. It is an easy work around for the Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms swamp. It also flatters most people and makes them more receptive to your point of view. In particular if you are addressing someone on the web who’s name is “Yves Smith” it is helpful to have a gender neutral term of address. You see, English does provide a gender neutral pronoun. Try it some time.

        Like I said above, you deserve a vacation. Just don’t ask people for money so you can take a vacation. You are in effect asking your “boss” for a raise or a more accurately, interviewing for a job. Ask them for money for salary. Much the same as your example of the vacation time being rolled into the cost of outsourcing.

    4. Clive

      I think the way that the current funding request is detailed goes right to the heart of what Naked Capitalism is all about. There was no spin, no sleight of hand, no obtuse language. Yves wants the site to produce high quality output. The site wants to be about staying on top of events and not, unless absolutely necessary, miss a day’s output and letting those days’ stories go unreported. Yves and Lambert can’t be expected to be on standby 24x7x365. If gaps need to be filled, you can’t expect talented writers to go completely un-rewarded. So there has to be a fund to provide cover for the core writers. Money is needed to allow them some essential down time. That’s the deal. That’s how this was clearly explained.

      Sometimes I wonder if we’re so conditioned now to receiving a consistent diet of PR-newspeak that we finch when we see a rare example of unvarnished candid “this is what it is” explanation of something…

  2. Kokuanani

    Glad to donate, especially to the Tropical Island Fund.

    BTW, headline should be “hit OUR third target” [not “out”].

    Looks like you need that vacation.

  3. Kurt Sperry

    Gave what I could right now. This is one of the few times I somewhat wish I’d gone down the money grubbing path instead of the artistic one. Basically I don’t care about money–to me it’s just s@#$ to pay bills with–but I’d love to have been able to be more philanthropic with good causes like NC.

  4. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    Phooey. I should have waited until this segment to donate instead of “guest writers.” Oh well, live and learn.

    Thanks, Yves and Lambert!

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