Cultish Hedge Fund Buffs Image With Confessional Videos

By
Ray Dalio. Photo: Patrick McMullen

Bridgewater Associates, the $94 billion human behavioral experiment that doubles as a Connecticut-based hedge fund, has given its public image a shine in the wake of several articles — including one in this week's New York — about its hard-driving culture. The company's website now features a dozen videos of Bridgewater employees praising founder Ray Dalio and his doctrine of radical transparency — because nothing says "not a cult" like gushing confession-cam testimonials.

So, for example, there's John, who says that feedback from his Bridgewater colleagues made him realize that he's had a reliability problem since he was 8 years old, but that now he "wants to be the guy you give the ball to on the two yard line."

There's Russell, who was shy and passive-aggressive with his subordinates until Dalio told him, "you have a problem with confrontation" and sent him searching for his inner Trump.

There's Jim, a besweatered former corporate lawyer, who says, "You're channeling me" when a recruiter describes Bridgewater's emphasis on total honesty and accountability.

And there's Annie, who is brought to tears when she remembers the way her colleagues supported her during a medical emergency. "I can't say enough how much I love the people I work for," she says. "It doesn't feel like work anymore."

The company also edited "Principles," the 110-page manifesto that governs life at the firm, to strip out the ominous subtitle, "That May Be Right or Wrong, For You to Take or Leave." We were also sad to note that Dalio buried what was once the document's inspirational kicker — an approving mention of Lee Ann Womack's song "I Hope You'll Dance" — in a footnote.

The Bridgewater Tapes [AR Magazine]