Friday, June 29, 2007

My First Golf Class

No no! Don't get this wrong. It's not my new MBA character surfacing - lol. It's just that Golf turned out to be an addictive game. If u spend 30 minutes and at least get one ball right u r hocked, u r in it for some time.

I remember i made an attempt back in Alex a few years ago but I gave up after two failed strokes. But a couple of weeks ago i went with Nicolas, my French friend, and he managed to get me to hit my first golf balls high in the sky, and it felt good :).

Now here at Stanford, if u like a sports u'll have no problem watching it, learning it, or practicing it, and u won't have to pay much either. So here i am today taking my first beginners class.

It was funny to find a few of my MBA classmates out there as well. But still this had nothing to do with MBA ... lol.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

2 Weeks @ Yahoo!

Yesterday I had completed my first two weeks at Yahoo! It was interesting to see the CEO changed two days after being there. Since then i had a few chanced hear Jerry speak - to the company, to our business unite, and to the interns.

I also had a chance to hear David Filo as well as a couple of the key executives. This was very good to get the thoughts of the company's top leaders.

Aside from that i was encouraged to have one-on-one meetings with different people in my business unit. I talked to several people at different levels which gave me some sense of the dynamics of the mobile industry.

I spent my last Monday at the beach with my business unit, because "they" had worked hard for the past few months :). I also had a chance to sit in feedback sessions that was held to key in people's concerns and that was very insightful.

I also had a chance to listen to a couple of outside speakers addressing marketing related issues. One was focusing on the mindsets of teens/tweens and the other was more focused on the marketing organization and its role.

So far It's Great! I have a challenging and fuzzy project on my hand that i hope i would nail down.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

How close did i get to Startups & VC's @ the gsb - A reflection on my 1st yr

Much closer than I would have imagined 2 years ago, BUT not as close i could have or would have liked.

The closest i got was once having dinner with a founding partner of one of the big VC firms in the silicon valley, and the other was having dinner with a partner of another reputable VC firm, this time with a group of his portfolio companies. These dinners allowed for a deep discussion of how they think as VCs and what they are looking for in a startup.

I attended a handful of panels or presentations made by entrepreneurs, VC's, or both. Although those featured entrepreneurs with very catchy startups - Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, SimplyHired, Meebo, and others, they weren't as insightful as dinners, and didn't have the one-on-one feeling.

One thing i wish i did was seeing VCs and Entreprenuers in action. One chance to do this that i missed was this program that allows GSBer's to audit startups pitching their ideas to VC's. I should try to get into a similar thing next year isa.

The "Numbers" courses @ the GSB - a relection on my 1st year

Financial Accounting, Finance, and Managerial Accounting are the "numbers" classes @ the GSB.

Financial Accounting was the first course, it is mainly about insights on how managers manipulate financial statements to reflect a certain image of the companies operations. Of course to reach that point u have to understand the language of financial statements, and sometimes it is mentally challenging.

Finance was the second course. It finally brought me close to the mysterious world of investors and financial markets. Investment decisions and pricing of stocks were among the first step, but it started to get really interesting with stock options, and even more interesting with pricing of Real options and Debt financing.

Managerial Accounting was the third course. More about real accounting vs manipulative one.we dealt with in the first course. It mainly dealt with how to allocate costs and what measures can you use for long term decision making.

Of the three, Finance was the most intellectually challenging despite having a young professor who wasn't very good at running the class. Accounting is a must have, i enjoyed that class the most, and the professor did a good job. Managerial Accounting is a good to have, unfortunately i didn't put a lot of effort in this class, had i put such effort I could have benefited more.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Probably everyone already knows about this book - Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It's a very nice book to read, it helps u make sense of viral spread of products and ideas and Who doesn't want to make sense of that?!

The book is very smooth, with many stories that help u grasp the author's point, and has very interesting research studies - u can just read it for those.

One of the thoughts i got of the book is that viral spread is about a spread multiplier. If it is 1, nothing happens, if it is 1.000001 it will grow exponentially and if it is 0.999999 it will die exponentially. That's were the tipping comes from.

Another thought is not all viral agents are as useful, and its is not those at the center of a network that matter, but it is more of those that connect networks.

The one thing that Malcolm doesn't address is the effect of number of users/patients on the multiplier. His approach was that the multiplier is more a function of the stickness of the idea/product.

I looked for Malclom material online, he seems to be a very interesting speaker , check his videos on YouTube at TED and with Charlie Rose.

An Israel's Appeal to an American's Dream

John: David, I am in a very difficult situations because of what u've been doing for the past years

David: What difficult situation are u talking about?

John: I am getting criticized every where for ur practices that defy all the laws of humanity

can u be more specific?

John: For one, u've been expanding the occupied terroritory and building settlements all over the place. U've been voilloting international laws and the international community

Hey Jo!! U can't be serious. We're expanding those settlement in uninhabited land, the only difference between that land and the ones the Early Western Settlers the build the US is that ours is that we're expanding into desert. I wonder what the international law would have said about that.

John: Things change David. Other than that, those masacars that u've had over the past 60 years and not helping either. The ruthlessness by which u handled the natives of the occupied lands in unacceptable.

David: Natives as in Native Americans. Come on Jo!! u more than anyone else know how ugly and savage the natives can be if u don't show them a red eye. But guess what, we started providing them citizens from the very beginning, i don't remember how many generations of native americans had to wait until they had similar privelages.

John: Yeah! i kind of agree with this one, those natives really forced us to be cruel to them. But the problem that even with the citizenships, u discriminate against those u give citizenship.

David: Look!! i promise u that in less that the 200 years that it took u to abolish slavery and give African Americans equal rights, we'll solve this problem. After all, we didn't treat them like animals at any point and didn't pile them in loads into ships.

John: You know what. I guess ur right. Now i think i understand Ur dream it is not any less than the American Dream. The 48 war was nothing less than the war of independance, and the wars that followed are not different than our Mexican war.

David: U see my friend. Give us 200 more years and we'll be as good as it gets.

John: God Bless U David

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Even worse than i expected :(

I just got my Spring results which don't look so good. I knew that was a bad quarter, but results were even worse than what i expected - I got an LP for the first time.

Although grades are not that important at the GSB, I know that this drop in performance is not just in grades, but in mostly everything - in class and out of class, at school and at out of school.

I feel so pissed off at myself. I can't blame this on the difficulties i had in my personal life. I helped screw things up, I was weak, irresponsible, and didn't maintain self respect.

Now i need and ask God for forgiveness. How many times have I done that? How long will it take me to do the same mistakes again? I start work tomorrow, a new context, new relations, how will i behave? how will my mind behave?

"Same7ny Ya Rab... E'3ferly Ya Rab"

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Inspirers at the GSB - A reflection on my 1st year

When thinking where to start in my reflection on my first year at the GSB, professors come first to my mind. This is because they can have this long lasting inspirational effect that transcends what you can learn in text books.

I had for 17 different professors (associate professors) this year. Out of these three names had this kind of effect; Charles O'Reilly, William Barnett, and Christian Wheeler.

Prof. Charles O'Reilly taught us how leaders can play significant roles in sky rocketing organizations and how they can take them into a downward spiral. His experience coupled with the depth of his teaching made his class one of the best.

Prof. Barnett made us think as CEOs. He taught us how to evaluate strategies at a birds view level, how to manage change, and how to think about corporate leverage. Besides his obvious exposure to different business he was so much fun - very theatric - in class.

Christian Wheeler made us understand what the mindset of a marketer should be. It is not enough to describe your customers needs, u need to live their thoughts. The rest is detail. Besides being very talented, he's very witty, dedicated, and raises the bar of student's participation, and about all he loves his job.

The rest of the professors left different impressions. Professor J. Patel seems to be of the top league but the subject matter of his class (modeling) put me off. I enjoyed the teaching of Ian Gutman (accounting), Peter Henry (Macroeconomics), and Peter Oyer (HR).

The teachings of most of the other professors (8) were normal, not bad but not inspirational either. Out of the 17, two were very disappointing.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reflection is due

I've just finished my my last final exam as an 1st year MBA. What had it changed in me? What did it take away? Some reflection is due.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Judging Vs. Judging

"You are judging me!". That's a big no no for many people. These people expect u to limit ur judgement, if at all necessary, to actions and not extend them to judgments about people. If u see someone cursing another person, u should think cursing is a bad thing, but u should not say this person is offensive.

I wonder if they are separable, at least on the long run. After all judgement about people are nothing but a statement about their most likely behavior.

Bad Quarter

It's last day in classes and first year is almost over except for two take home exams. This quarter was not as good. Considering how marriage played its last chapters, it would have been a surprise if it was. This exacerbated the too heavy load i took while every one else was enjoying the sun, it's California after all. So, I wasn't very apt in classes, didn't prepare for some, and missed a few. Most frustrating, I ended up making unbelievably stupid choices for next year's classes - can u imagine having a chance to take a class with Eric Schmidt and not applying for it!!!

This is not to say there was nothing good, Macroeconomics was an eye opener, and the facebook case was interesting.
This said, things need to get back under control.

Monday, June 04, 2007

If not for THIS, then for what?

If I'm to spend my career in business, that's what can make it exciting!!!

This video is from Microsoft surface. Although similar technology was introduced 6 months @ TED, "hats up" for Microsoft for they'll bring it to market.