Here's a sick sight: Roger McNamee, the fabulously wealthy venture capitalist responsible for countless layoffs, wearing an "Occupy Wall Street" t-shirt at an invitation-only conference at a Ritz Carlton in Arizona. Silicon Valley's most obnoxious, sanctimonious caviar socialists have found their poster boy.
Like other Silicon Valley money men, McNamee poses as vastly more redeeming than the reckless financiers of Wall Street. Beyond the Occupy t-shirt there's his tie-died rock band, stocked with paid bandmates, pushed by embarrassingly ineffective promoters, and fronted by McNamee under the assumed identity of a pothead named Chubby Wombat. There's his dubious prognosticating on technology. And there's his "investment" firm with rock idol Bono, Elevation Partners, which represents McNamee's second big go around in the world of private equity.
Artist/hippie pretensions aside, McNamee is a havoc-wreaking one percenter just like the boys on Wall Street. His $1.9 billion fund is believed to have made upwards of $750 million flipping Facebook shares, and sold videogame maker BioWare to Electronic Arts, but otherwise has made a hash of the money state pension funds entrusted it with. Nevertheless McNamee presided over waves of layoffs at Elevation holdings like Forbes, which has cut staff at least four times, and at Palm, where there were at least two firing rounds under Elevation's ownership. Elevation investment Move.com was similarly troubled.
Of course, maybe that's precisely the problem: It's not that McNamee opposes heartless securities flipping, he just hates coming out on bottom. The t-shirt probably isn't the end of it. At this rate, no one from Wall Street is getting invited the next time McNamee rents out the zoo and makes Bono sing him happy birthday.
[Photo of McNamee, right, via Facebook]