For those of you who haven’t met Johnny Upside yet, the last time we checked in with him, he was launching a distressed assets fund. Prior to that, he was starting up a fund of fund of funds. Johnny Upside has a knack for showing up wherever the most overheated investing frenzy can be found.
I sat down with Johnny at the dreadful new restaurant Delicatessen in SoHo for a chat…
The Reformed Broker: Hey Johnny, how’s tricks?
Johnny Upside: Dog, I’m rakin’ it in. Lunch is on me, whatever you want, brah.
TRB: Good, the food here is atrocious, I was gonna skip out on the bill anyway. So what are you doing these days? Not the distressed assets fund anymore?
JU: No way, PPIP turned out to be a major bust…the buzz was that it was a bad deal for the taxpayers, but then the pro’s didn’t show up to bid for the garbage anyway, so we wound the fund down.
TRB: How much had you raised?
JU: Confidential, brah…but off the record, the fund was Size-Ola!
TRB: OK, so what’s next?
JU: Funny you should ask. I’m about to become a billionaire. I started a cash-for-gold biz and we’re buying gold by the ton!
TRB: Yeah, I’ve heard about a lot of people going into that business. My dry cleaner asked my wife if she had any gold jewelry to sell the other day. The landscaping company we use also offered to buy our gold for cash.
JU: Yeah, but I’m the real deal. I’ll buy any piece of gold that moves, my friend.
TRB: Ummm, not sure if gold actually moves of it’s own volition…
JU: Look, my crew hits up every PTA meeting in Westchester County, we stalk soccer moms coming out of supermarkets on the North Shore of Long Island. We’re gettin’ at these chicks and buying ALL they jewelry, for real!
TRB: Johnny, you seem to be speaking in a hip hop-esque patois these days? What gives?
JU: I know, I know…something about being around all this gold, I feel like a young Slick Rick.
TRB: You sound like an idiot. Anyway, so once you pay cash for all that jewelry, what do you do next? Take it to a refinery?
JU: Yeah, no. We actually just call up Cash4Gold and sell it to them. We grab a slice in between what we buy it for and how much they’ll pay us. That way, we don’t have to do any actual work other than schmoozing housewives and basic calculations.
TRB: I was going to laugh derisively, but that’s actually pretty cool.
JU: Told ya! I’m a P.I.M.P. now! How much you want for those cuff links, Josh?
TRB: Not for sale. My last question to you would be about your predictions for the price of gold itself.
JU: I honestly could care less. I sell it simultaneously with the purchase. We all know that gold has zero purpose other than to be hoarded. Pays no dividends, has no industrial functions, inedible…basically useless except as store of value or ornamentation.
Some people call it an inflation hedge, I’ve also read that it can be a DEflation hedge as well! How something could be one thing and then the opposite of that thing at the same time is beyond me, but whatever, I’ll buy your gold anyway. Sure about those cuff links, dog?
TRB: Be good Johnny, I’m out.
If anyone would like to contact Johnny Upside about monetizing their gold, he can be found at the Bryant Park Cafe on Thursdays after work, the rooftop bar of 230 Fifth on Fridays nights and he’ll be at whatever the most newly-opened Lower East Side spot is on Saturday evenings.
More Johnny Upside:
Full Disclosure: The above mock interview is based on my conversations with an amalgam of Wall Street/ hedge fund types. It is not intended as investment advice and the views expressed by the fictional character “Johnny Upside” are meant as satire only.