Who invented hedge funds: 7 iconic phrases Fortune coined

Sure, Fortune is outdated. The “93-year-old startup” is technically a member of the Silent Technology, predating the invention of not simply the web but additionally zip codes and crash check dummies, to not point out a lot of the Fortune 500 corporations we cowl. In truth, we’ve been overlaying monumental enterprise occasions and the tradition of capitalism for therefore lengthy that we’ve forgotten a few of our contributions to it. Take the phenomenon of “groupthink” or the curious midcentury funding car “the hedge fund.” Fortune didn’t invent both of this stuff, however we have been first to call them.

However how does one invent a phrase or a phrase, anyway? 

With the flick of a wrist and copious time spent round copious time spent in nook places of work, on manufacturing unit flooring, and anyplace else enterprise leaders congregate, Fortune has been producing timeless phrases in our international vernacular for many years. Based within the wake of the Nice Melancholy, the journal has endured by means of 16 presidents, 5 up to date market crashes, and a world pandemic. That makes us just some months senior to Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha himself, whose fashionable nickname could even have originated in Fortune—it was bestowed by former Fortune senior editor-at-large Allan Sloan. Nonetheless, Sloan is fairly certain that he coined the moniker whereas writing a June 1985 article for considered one of our distinguished rivals.  

In a 1929 prospectus for the journal, founder Henry R. Luce outlined Fortune’s model, proclaiming that “precisely, vividly and concretely to explain Fashionable Enterprise is the best journalistic task in historical past.” Here’s a sampling of a few of the most iconic descriptions that Fortune editors have minted over the previous 9 a long time:

Groupthink: 1952

It’s possible you’ll recall out of your Intro to Communication Idea 101 course one vocabulary time period that was to be starred, highlighted, and underlined as a result of it will seem in your remaining examination: Groupthink. 

In our March 1952 problem, editor William H. Whyte Jr. launched the time period, impressed by the phrase “doublethink” in George Orwell’s just lately launched masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Set in a dystopian future model of London, the novel hit bookshelves in 1948 with a robust warning in opposition to totalitarianism.

Whyte would go on to a protracted profession as an influential sociologist and would deliver the voices of many socially minded writers into Fortune’s pages, together with early work by the nice urbanist Jane Jacobs. He described groupthink as a “perennial failing of mankind” during which we copy our mates, household, coworkers, and acquaintances, and fail to hearken to dissenting opinions.  

Whereas Whyte used “groupthink” to explain American tradition and the research and observe of administration within the Nineteen Fifties, the phenomenon remains to be alive and properly in our present-day office. Look no additional than the second-biggest banking collapse in American historical past, the demise of Silicon Valley Financial institution, which featured a as soon as unthinkably quick model of an old-school financial institution run, powered by social media however actually by groupthink at hyperspeed. It solely took 36 hours for regulators to shutter SVB after the primary rumblings of hassle began.

The hazard with groupthink, Whyte explains, shouldn’t be solely that the typical particular person can be influenced by the “social engineers” of the group, however that they’ll change into one other puppeteer themselves and “embrace groupthink because the street to safety.”  

The “groupthinker is taught that one wins by being directed by others — and that a very powerful factor on the planet is to be a crew participant,” Whyte writes. Who in your office is a sufferer of groupthink, or is it even you?

Group Man: 1953


Do your coworkers make their jobs their whole character? That’s removed from a brand new development in company America. 

For our Could 1953 problem, Whyte was at it once more, finding out the rising class of managers who had left their hometowns to start out careers in large cities earlier than settling in suburban communities that match their existence. These staff exuded a robust dedication and loyalty to their employers, and offered the “sharpest image of tomorrow’s administration,” he writes.

“Although it might be the auto vendor and the proprietor of the native bottling franchise who drive the Cadillacs, it’s the group man who now makes the selections that almost all have an effect on the lives of others,” Whyte explains. 

Merely put: Their private life is closely influenced by the corporate that they work for, and the person feels a really sturdy ethical obligation to suit into that company tradition. 

Whyte warned that this cohort was changing into an more and more dominant drive in American society and prophesized a soulless tradition missing in independence, risk-taking, and progress. 

“The long run can be decided not by the unbiased entrepreneur or the ‘rugged individualist’ whom our folklore so venerates; the longer term can be decided by Group Man,” Whyte writes. The idea was such successful that Whyte would go on to additional discover the subject within the bestselling e-book of the identical identify. Within the literature on managerial tradition within the aftermath of “Taylorism,” which launched the idea of scientific administration, Whyte’s e-book was a key pivot level spanning James Burnham’s 1941 work, “The Managerial Revolution,” and John and Barbara Ehrenreich’s coining of “the professional-managerial class” in 1977.

Whyte’s speculation stands true immediately, as America continues to be dominated by giant corporations with management concentrated within the arms of the nation’s elites. The COVID-19 pandemic and Nice Resignation ushered in a brand new tradition of hybrid work with an emphasis on worker happiness and selection, permitting staff to reinvent their each day schedules, parenting duties, and work environments, however return-to-office mandates on the largest corporations, together with Goldman Sachs, Disney, and Amazon, exhibit the prevalence of that rigidity between particular person alternative and organizational conformity. 

Fortune 500: 1955 


Editor Edgar P. Smith known as it a “lightbulb second,” saying on the time: “I feel that our readers simply could be on this record.”

The Fortune 500 record has catalogued the rise and fall of America’s largest corporations ever since, however the iconic nature of the record is evident from how the rating itself has change into synonymous amongst enterprise leaders and publishers as a shorthand for large and profitable. 

First gracing our cowl within the July 1955 version, the “Fortune Industrial 500”—later shortened to Fortune 500—was first printed at a time when the U.S. financial system was “colossal in measurement and the envy of the world,” in keeping with the legendary Carol Loomis, who was then a rookie reporter on the journal’s workers. 

Over time, greater than 2,200 corporations have graced the Fortune 500 record. This yr’s rating collectively generated a file $16.1 trillion in income and $1.8 trillion in income.

Hedge fund: 1966

{Photograph} by Marvin Newman

Carol Loomis gained many awards all through her lengthy and illustrious profession, and even served as the professional bono editor of Warren Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders, however her largest contribution to the language could have been when she coined the phrase “hedge fund.” In April 1966, Loomis profiled the millionaire investor Alfred Winslow Jones (who would later change into a Fortune contributor himself), and whereas he’s credited for being the daddy of the hedge fund business, Loomis turned the one who named a complete sector.  

By pooling buyers’ cash and short-selling shares, hedge funds use leverage to maximise their returns, however in addition they threat intensified losses. As she chronicled Jones’ prosperous way of life and profitable profession, Loomis outlined this sort of fund because the engine of his success. Such funds use capital that’s each leveraged and “hedged,” which places the investor ready that “partially shelters him if he misjudges the overall development of the market.”

The primary benefit to those funding automobiles, in keeping with Loomis, is that the hedge fund investor’s brief place allows them to make selections with “most aggressiveness.” 

After a crash within the Seventies, hedge funds benefited from a resurgence within the go-go ‘80s and subsequent growth within the ‘90s as managers developed new methods for investing. Using the excessive of a bull market, the business grew from $38.9 billion in 1990 to $536.9 billion in 2001, in keeping with Hedge Fund Analysis (HFR). 

In the present day, hedge fund managers are navigating macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges from rate of interest hikes and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however the business general has surged from Jones’ day to ours. Jones’ agency launched with $100,000 in belongings whereas the business was $3.83 trillion in measurement as of the fourth quarter of 2022, in keeping with HFR. That yr additionally noticed the best revenue in hedge-fund historical past: $16 billion from Ken Griffin’s Citadel. And to suppose, as soon as it was a twinkle in Alfred Jones’ eye and a tickle in Carol Loomis’ mind.

Trophy spouse: 1989

It’s probably not okay to explain somebody as a “trophy spouse” anymore. Usually a derogatory phrase, it might probably simply indicate {that a} girl married to a rich, profitable partner has little to no private benefit aside from her bodily look. 

Within the late Eighties, throughout a time of rising acceptance of divorce amongst company America’s energy elite, Fortune senior editor Julie Connelly not solely coined the phrase however outlined its rise.

As Connelly writes within the August 1989 problem, “it took the roaring Eighties to make divorce absolutely respectable.” In spite of everything, the last decade started with the election of America’s first divorced president, Ronald Reagan, who was remarried to his second spouse, Nancy Reagan, when he moved into the White Home.

“If the CEO of america may shed and rewed, why not the CEO of a Fortune 500 firm?” Connelly posited. 

Connelly surveyed the rising prominence of a partner “a decade or two youthful than her husband, generally a number of inches taller, lovely, and fairly often completed.”

This associate “certifies her husband’s standing,” Connelly mentioned, however she was certain to notice: “this trophy doesn’t cling on the wall like a moose head—she works. Arduous.”

Trophy husband: 2002


Because the outdated adage states: “behind each nice man is a superb girl.” However that quote wants some updates. 

After coining “trophy spouse,” Julie Connelly later documented the growing variety of girls leaders climbing the company ladder whereas sharing parenting duties with a “trophy husband” at residence. 

“Name him what you’ll: househusband, stay-at-home dad, home engineer,” Connelly writes. “However credit score him with setting apart his personal profession by dropping out, retiring early, or going part-time in order that his spouse’s profession would possibly flourish and their household would possibly thrive.”

Progress for working girls is gradual however measurable: This yr, for the primary time in historical past, girls CEOs ran greater than 10% of corporations on the Fortune 500

Co-parenting duties are nonetheless evolving, too. In the present day, most Individuals don’t assume working moms will keep at residence with their children, in keeping with a current survey of greater than 2,000 U.S. adults performed by The Harris Ballot on behalf of Fortune.

As an alternative, greater than half (55%) of respondents consider the guardian making much less cash must be the one who stays residence with the youngsters. 

Moreover, the variety of stay-at-home dads has elevated barely in recent times, in keeping with the U.S. Census Bureau, although that definition doesn’t absolutely encapsulate the complete scope of fathers together with those that are single or determine as LGBTQ+.

In keeping with Pew Analysis Heart, an estimated 2.1 million stay-at-home dads have been residing within the U.S. in 2021. That’s up from 1.1 million stay-at-home dads recorded in 1989, the identical yr Connelly coined “trophy spouse.”

HENRYs (Excessive Earners, Not Wealthy But): 2003

How about that $4 cup of Starbucks?

It’s a spending alternative symbolic of a selected demographic: The one that spends cash as quickly because it hits the checking account, resides in a metropolis with a excessive value of residing metropolis, and normally neglects their month-to-month finances. When you earn six figures however don’t have sufficient in financial savings or investments to be thought-about “wealthy,” then this could be you.

You’re a HENRY, a “Excessive Earner, Not Wealthy But.” 

Fortune author Shawn Tully, who remains to be on workers immediately, having first been employed as a researcher in 1978/79, first launched the world to the “HENRYs” in 2003, and revisited the topic in an article within the November 2008 problem that described people incomes over $250,000 yearly however getting taxed to “excessive heaven.”

On the time, then-presidential nominee Barack Obama and different congressional Democrats continuously referred to those excessive earners because the “wealthy” and the “wealthiest Individuals” in a push for extra tax will increase, however that’s debatable, as Tully explains. 

“Not like tens of millions of Individuals, most HENRYs don’t want to fret about making the following mortgage or bank card fee,” Tully explains. “Nonetheless, HENRYs are getting a foul rap from those that lump them in with America’s conspicuously rich.”

Largely members of two-income households, HENRYs interviewed by Tully mentioned they have been strapped for money primarily on account of rising federal, state, and property taxes, “plus the knife of the [Alternative Minimum Tax].” They blamed the squeeze on investments of their kids, together with paying for personal faculties, day care, and personal classes, like “dance, tennis, or gymnastics.”   

HENRYs are nonetheless alive and properly immediately, and are additionally nonetheless feeling the strain from falling residence costs from a world correction along with rising rates of interest, identical to the early 2000s. Nearly all of immediately’s HENRYs are millennials, who’re saddled with unprecedented ranges of pupil debt and have weathered two historic recessions earlier than the oldest of them reached the age of 40. However who can actually resist a Starbucks in a time of stress?

The "paypal mafia" photographed at Tosca in San Francisco, Oct, 2007.

Photograph by Robyn Twomey for Fortune

Earlier than America’s richest particular person constructed rocket ships destined for Mars, designed implants for the human mind, and nicknamed himself “Chief Twit,” Elon Musk was a member of the “PayPal Mafia.”

Fortune’s Jeffrey O’Brien profiled the leaders behind the net funds firm’s monumental rise within the November 2007 problem, introducing the world to not simply Musk however different future tech luminaries corresponding to Peter Thiel. Whereas O’Brien reported this coinage, he didn’t create it; the supercharged roster of founders and builders together with the likes of YouTube cofounders Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim gave themselves the identify “PayPal mafia.” Like American organized crime within the postwar interval, the merger of a number of rival fee startups made all of them richer, and the title of “don” on the then-fledgling firm was reserved for enterprise capitalist Peter Thiel. 

Now a Fortune 500 firm, PayPal was as soon as a “brainchild” of Max Levchin and Thiel that “would change the course of the Web.”

After promoting out to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002, most of PayPal’s key staff left the corporate however stayed in contact.

Altogether, these PayPal veterans have gone on to work with unicorns, startups, and Fortune 500  corporations together with YouTube, Affirm, Tesla, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, Palantir Applied sciences, SpaceX, and Yammer. 

“A lot of PayPal’s early hires matched a particular profile: very smart workaholics who have been good at math. No frat boys, MBAs, or, God forbid, jocks,” O’Brien writes.

Extra just lately, nonetheless, financial headwinds have halted PayPal’s historical past of breakneck progress, leading to layoffs, slumping shares, and a CEO exit. 

Bonus: Fortune’s First Cowl


The very first problem of Fortune that was distributed to subscribers starting in February 1930 featured the Roman goddess Fortuna together with her wheel on its cowl. 

Nonetheless, that wasn’t our first-ever cowl.

In a letter to advertisers in September 1929, Time co-founder Henry Luce proposed a brand new journal (trace: Fortune) and included it in a prototype problem,  “Quantity One, Quantity 0.”

The remaining is historical past.