Business

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When U.S. regulators charged Goldman Sachs last year in a civil fraud case, the first comments from its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, came not via email, but in a company-wide voice mail. Blankfein may head the most sophisticated Wall Street firm, but low-tech voice mail is his communication tool of choice. Last week, testifying at an insider-trading trial, he said he typically receives daily profit-and-loss statements by voice mail. Goldman is known for its voice-mail culture (former CEO Hank Paulson once said he voice-mails a few hundred times a day). But it’s not unique. Starbucks chief Howard Schultz told Fortune that he receives sales results via morning voice mail, and he called email “a crutch that hinders person-to-person communication.” Voice mail may offer a more personal touch than email, but it has strategic advantages, too: it doesn’t leave a paper trail when regulators come knocking and can’t be easily leaked to the masses like an errant email.

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