The Big Picture Café

If you have been reading the Big Picture for any length of time, you know I have a pretty good eye for spotting insightful writers, talented analysts, and smart commentators. Many of you have written me to say that a number of your regular blog reads were first discovered at the Big Picture.

I always wondered, wouldn’t it be great if I could pull together a group of very talented people all in one place? Mind you, not 100s of random authors you don’t know anything about, or 1000s of anonymous people you have to sift thru — but simply a small, concentrated group of extreme talent. The goal was to separate the wheat from the chaff, and offer you the Crème de la Crème of financial writers and bloggers.

Hence, the Big Picture Café.

I think we’ve accomplished that. We’ve put together a fantastic list of guest writers, some of whom are going to be regular weekly contributors to the site. I am going to keep this a tight list of contributors, all of whom I have personally selected and whose work I have been fond of for a long while.

Every Saturday, John Mauldin’s weekly piece will appear here. This week’s Electing the Janitor-in-Chief was posted yesterday morning. And on Sunday, the terrific weekly wrap up from my South African friend, Prieur du Plessis’s  Words from the (investment) Wise will show up. The week that was (Oct 27 – Nov 2, 2008) is already available for your reading pleasure.

You will also meet Chris Whalen, a former NY Federal Reserve trader, who was an investment banker (years ago) for Bear Stearns. He now runs Institutional Risk Analytics, and has been one of the few voices of sanity warning about the coming Banking crisis for the past few years. Wanna talk about inside baseball? Chris’ dad was a senior policy advisor for the Nixon and Reagan adminsitrations, and was instrumental in getting Paul Volcker appointed as Fed chairman. Be sure to read his Roundtable: Fed Chairmen and Presidents.

One other regular who you will become familiar with is Marion Maneker. He is the Managing Partner at Colle, Hochberg and Grey, publishers of the Art Market Monitor. He is also a former editor at New York Magazine, and the Publisher at the HarperCollins business imprint. Marion has been observing the political and economic scene from a vantage point within the financial press for many years. Marion is going to be our Financial Media critic, covering the various print and electronic journalists that cover the markets. Be sure to read his post Mayor Mike Bloomberg for Treasury Secretary, as well as the sequal, Department of Follow-Up Dept.

Lastly, I wanted to take this a step further. Not just bloggers, but several wall street pros who don’t regularly publish for the public — and who are not allowed to publish/blog by their firms. They are all well known to me, and their work product is excellent. They will be also contributing here, some in their own name, and some anonymously. Talk about the unvarnished, straight dope — we’ve had to meet with attorneys to decide our response for if and when we get sued by either their firms or the companies they cover.

I want the Café to evolve into a special place. What it won’t become is a Seeking Alpha or a TheStreet.com — they are very different sites, far more comprehensive and encompassing than I want the Café to be. They have a specific purpose in the world, and I am not seeking to compete with them. Instead, I want to serve a different purpose, more like a tiny winery: Limited production, carefully grown and mixed, hand selected, delightfully refreshing.

I hope you find the writers here and their work as thoughtful and stimulating as I do.

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