A while ago I promised you my take on Bloomberg View [BV], and why I decided to work for them. They don’t know I am doing this post, I don’t in any official or even unofficial way speak for Bloomberg View or for the broader company, and I hope they don’t get mad at me for attempting this brief capsule treatment. And it is fine if you wish to dismiss this as biased pleading, because it is.
One of the most striking features of BV, from my personal point of view, is how many of the writers I was actively reading and following before they started with BV. For instance:
1. A few years ago I tracked down Adam Minter for a Sichuan lunch in Shanghai, to talk with him about recycling, China, the metals trade and used goods, and his general take on things. Adam is one of the very best writers for mastering small, apparently obscure details, based on years of personal travel and research, and then showing how they reflect broader and more important truths. Adam later started writing for Bloomberg.
2. Megan McArdle and I have had periodic lunches and chats since I first met her in 2004 (?), when I was presenting an early version of Stubborn Attachments to Victor Niederhoffer’s Junto seminar in New York City. She was one of the very first economics bloggers, along with John Irons and Brad DeLong. The next time I see her we will again debate when and whether the world is going to end, and whether Panda Gourmet really does have the best cold noodles in Washington, D.C. (yes).
3. I met up with Christopher Balding for a lunch in Hong Kong, as he came over from Shenzhen. I was a fan of his China blog and research, and lo and behold Christopher ended up writing for Bloomberg. Here are his New Year’s resolutions.
4. Cass Sunstein is one of the polymaths of our time, and the #1 cited legal scholar, not to mention a Star Wars fan, and I interviewed him for Conversations with Tyler. I don’t have to tell you where he writes now, or that his favorite musician is Bob Dylan.
5. I’ve had periodic email contact with Stephen R. Carter, of Yale Law School, as the two of us share many common interests and reading habits. He’s now with Bloomberg View.
6. Virginia Postrel is a “dynamist” thinker of major significance, and I’ve been following her work for more than twenty years. I hope she does more with the topic of textiles. Here is a 2014 video she and I did together (mostly her) on the topic of glamour.
7. A few years ago, Noah Smith and I decided to get together at the AEA meetings, most of all to talk about Japan (Noah is fluent in Japanese and lived there for a good while). He was then still a professor before he made the decision to work for Bloomberg full-time. Last year, I took a long Uber ride to meet Noah for Thai food in Berkeley.
8. Conor Sen started blogging, and I thought: “This guy is awesome and has unique perspectives rooted in finance and housing and demographics and Atlanta.” Soon enough, Bloomberg hired him. Conor deservedly made this list of the year’s most interesting people.
8. I was a fan of Stephen Mihm’s work on history and economic history, before he started with BV.
I don’t mean to neglect all the other people who write for Bloomberg View, as this list is determined by whom I knew before there was any Bloomberg connection. As for some of the others, Leonid Bershidsky is an amazing polymath, the “every column is full of information” Noah Feldman has a new and wonderful book on James Madison, there is Joe Nocera and Justin Fox and Barry Ritholz, and I am trying to schedule a Conversation with the great Matt Levine, who always knows more than you think he does, even after taking this clause into account. When I met Matt I simply uttered: “Matt Levine, only you can do what you do!” Is any other greeting required?
One day I woke up and realized these people write for Bloomberg View, or that people like them were going to, and then it occurred to me that maybe I should too. And there are still Bloomberg View writers I haven’t really discovered yet. (By the way, one reason all these people are so good is because of the consistently excellent editors.)
What is the common element behind all of these writers? I would say that Bloomberg View tends to hire reading-loving, eclectic polymaths, with both academic knowledge and real world experience, and whose views cannot always be predicted from their other, previous writings.
Over the last year, I think I would nominate Ross Douthat as The Best Columnist. But overall I think Bloomberg View has assembled the most talented and diverse group of opinion contributors out there, bar none.
On top of all that, BV is perhaps the least gated major opinion website.
In addition to the writing, I also very much enjoy working for a great company. Not all media outlets can offer that.
Anyway, forgive the biased rant, that is my take for today! They also serve nice snacks and have an amazing art collection in the NYC building.
We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.