The founder of the world’s largest hedge fund may not want to live forever — but he hopes his management style will in cyberspace.
Ray Dalio, the 67-year-old head of the $160 billion Bridgewater Associates, is having software engineers at the Westport, Conn.-based company create an algorithm that mimics the kinds of decisions he and his top managers make, it was reported Thursday.
The project would fully automate the almost cult-like company’s brutal work culture, where most meetings are videotaped for detailed review, managers have to take personality tests and the 1,700 employees, from the lowliest to the top, are encouraged to be critical of colleagues’ every decision.
It’s “like trying to make Ray’s brain into a computer,” a source told The Wall Street Journal.
If successful, the project would dictate how to do everything from trade to make phone calls. It is being led by David Ferrucci who joined Bridgewater in 2013 after leading the development of IBM’s Watson computer.
Ferrucci is reportedly analyzing data collected from the firm’s employees and using the management rules spelled out in Dalio’s manifesto, called the “Principles,” to come up with an algorithm called the Principles Operating System (or PriOS) that can run the company on its own, the Journal reported.
The extreme move to computerize the company’s management comes after an unusual failure.
Although Bridgewater has, according to the Journal, earned clients twice as much as any other similar investment company, it’s main fund was down 12 percent at one point in 2016.
That came after Dalio — who made $1.4 billion last year — ceded day-to-day control to take more of a mentor role. But he decided to return to the top and soon laid off 10 percent of the staff — who are said to face so much pressure under the company’s culture that they are regularly seen crying in bathrooms.
Among Dalio’s beliefs is that human emotions get in the way of work performance and that people should be trained to work like machines.
“Every organization works like a machine to achieve its goals,” he wrote in “Principles.”
The 123-page manifesto, which employees are expected to know intimately, uses the term machine 84 times, the Journal reported.
Dalio is reportedly frustrated that the outside managers he brought in to handle the fund in his absence did not perform as well as he wanted, the paper said.
PriOS would help the company function without Dalio, who spent time hanging out on his submarine-quipped yacht when he temporarily stepped down from the company six years ago, the Journal reported.