But it's also neither of those things.
It's actually stunning.
Headline, right column, page 1, Wall Street Journal, 27 November 2006: "Seeking an Edge, Big Investors Turn to Network of Informants. Mark Gerson Assembles Web of Moonlighting Managers."
I suppose in the old days (pre-1995, say) investors or investors' reps could have hung out at bars near plants to ask hair-down workers or even bosses what was going on inside. In fact, there's no doubt they did just that. So "this" is not new—but as usual these days, "Internet Scale" dwarfs all that came before.
In this case it's Mark Gerson, "a networking wizard who has done for professional investors something akin to what Match.com has done for the nation's singles. He hooks up current and former middle managers from hundreds of companies with professional investors desperate for an investing edge." (The Journal reports that Mr G's network includes 180,000 members!)
Needless to say, some employers are duly concerned ... but this is one more genie out of one more bottle that, no matter how intense immediate pushback, is not going to be re-stuffed into said bottle.
Yes, this sort of thing is becoming commonplace. Still, every time I read a story like this, and see yet another barrier to transparency fall, I am both amused and amazed.
Welcome to Web 2.0.
Or Web 3.0.
Or Web 9.83.
What fun it all is!
(NB: Speaking of "transparency," I felt its bite a few days ago. I wrote an email that, I grudgingly admit, contained a "little white lie." Before pushing the send button, I realized that my likely Blog postings would give me away. Fortunately, the hovering finger was withdrawn in time. Yet another "lesson learned, circa 2006.")