The man behind @GSElevator

May 30, 2013: 7:27 AM ET
goldman sachs elevator
The anonymous man behind the popular twitter handle @gselevator tweeted about CNN to prove it was him talking to CNNMoney.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

There's very little known about the man behind the Goldman Sachs Elevator Twitter persona @GSElevator.

The account, which is followed by more than 450,000 people, tweets bits of over-the-top chatter allegedly overheard in the vaunted bank's elevator.

Since 2011, @GSElevator's tweets have been giving followers, from super model Kate Upton to Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, juicy snippets about five-figure bar tabs, Rolexes and bed-hopping -- the kind of glitz and greed on Wall Street narrative that people have been eating up since the financial crisis.

To many looking into this world from the outside, Goldman Sachs has been the main protagonist of that storyline.

Goldman Sachs (GS) spokesman Andrew Williams said trying to figure out who was behind the Twitter handle is a "popular guessing game" at the bank. It's a game that's not without consequence, he added, saying that the Twitter exposure has made elevator conversation in the building a little boring.

@GSElevator agreed to a phone interview with CNNMoney on the condition that he wouldn't reveal his identity. (We can confirm that it is a man, or at least someone with a seriously deep voice.) The ostensible reason we spoke to him was his new partnership with a celebrity-curated shopping site that will raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

In order to prove he was @GSElevator, we asked him to tweet something about CNN. He did, and deleted it once we saw it because it "wasn't his style." Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Ex-Goldman exec: Firm deceives clients

Q: How did you get started as @GSElevator? How do you stay anonymous?

A: My background is investment banking. I started at a bank other than Goldman, and I worked in New York, Hong Kong and London. I moved to Goldman a few years ago. I'm very careful. There is only a handful of people who know who I am -- my agent and a couple of friends know. I don't tweet things that I know I'm privy to. I'll wait nine months to tweet something if I know it was only said to a few people.

Q: You said that people send you submissions of what they hear. How do you vet if they are real?

A: There's a famous Tim O'Brien quote, which goes, "Sometimes there's more truth in fiction than there is in fact." (Editor's note: We couldn't find this exact quote, but ones with a similar sentiment exist.) Maybe a submission seems true but it's completely fabricated. If it rings true, then I don't have a problem putting it out. I tweet one or two times a day at the most. I have strange habits, so I can tweet late.

Q: What are your strange habits?

A: Well, I work late, I travel a lot and I am up at odd hours. I'm an avid backgammon player. I've been playing since I was four years old and I spend 20 hours a week playing. There are a couple of friends I have -- one guy in Hong Kong and one in London -- who I play online with. On the weekends, I meet friends in a bar and play. I got my set in London, in one of the shopping arcades off of Bond Street.

Q: You have a fiancée. Does she know? What does she think of it?

A: She knows, but she doesn't get the humor. She's not from the industry. It's hard. It's like I'm on a desert island and there's no one to do something with. Occasionally, you want to share things with someone and it's frustrating that she doesn't appreciate this Twitter celebrity status.

Q: If you were actually stranded on a desert island, what would you bring?
A: Assuming I'm not allowed to bring Kate Upton or my dog, then I'd probably bring my trusty volleyball Wilson. In all seriousness, I would just keep it simple and bring a survival knife. With that, I'm confident that I'm smart enough and competent enough to figure everything else out.

Q: Do you have a personal Twitter account? How many followers do you have?

A: I do. I love it. I was on Twitter very early. It's a phenomenal news filter. I'll follow the bond market or British soccer. I have probably 10 followers. I don't post stories or photos. I have a Facebook (FB) account, but I probably haven't posted on it for four years.

Q: If you could be in an elevator with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

A: That's easy. Tupac Shakur. I've met a lot, a lot of people -- the Queen, George Bush, Gorbachev, a real mix of people. [Tupac] had a certain energy that just lit up a room. Wait, scratch that. Alexander Hamilton would be first. Tupac would be second. Hamilton founded the idea of a central bank, and founded the bank of New York. He was a prolific thinker and writer.

Q: Who's your dream retweet?

A: It would be great to see Howard Stern get engaged. But I don't sit around with my fingers crossed. I'm not sitting all day looking at who's following me.

Q: Favorite follower?

A: This morning, I noticed that Megyn Kelly from Fox follows me and that's so random. Jim Cramer and Marissa Mayer, too.

Q: Have the famous followers influenced what you tweet?

A: At the advice of my agent, I've stopped tweeting things that could be construed as slightly misogynistic or racist. Now I think, if I were to tweet something offensive, would I lose Marissa Mayer as a follower?

Q: Do you think Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein knows who you are?

A: Yes. Goldman has decided not to acknowledge me.

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