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On the Jefferson Reading Seminar

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One of my favorites here at Darden for several reasons. Some of books that we read –

1. Jefferson and his time – Jefferson the Virginian

2. Jefferson and his time – The Sage of Monticello

The above books are part of a 6 volume biography by Dumas Malone. They are the word on Jefferson – One downside, they are long and every page is quite dense.

3. John Adams – Biography by David McCullough.

– Phenomenal book

4. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose

– A Beauty, fascinating details

5. The Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis

– I liked all the books we read but this one takes the title. A fabulous book which through its series of anecdotes portrays the character of Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, and Hamilton among others. Probably the most unbiased account (if there can be one).


Written by internesia

February 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Posted in MBA, thoughts

Coffee cup size mystery

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The coffee cup size has always been a mystery to me. Laziness has prevented me to look into this matter till yesterday. I bought a brand new coffee maker, a Capresso 455, among the big daddies of coffee makers. It is pretty darn good I must say and saves a lot of money as well since I drink “10” cups a day, even though it set me back by a cool $325 including taxes. So far, I highly recommend it. Coffee is one of the few things where I can distinguish between the grades ( 1-5, whole numbers).

Coming back to the size of the coffee cup again. A cup that you will find in the kitchen would be about 8oz. Anything less would be considered puny. It defies logic that coffee makers continue to fool the audience by marking 2-10 cup coffee machines when their coffee cup sizes are closer to 5 oz. I established the above by doing a scientific experiment last night (I used a sample of 2 high end coffee makers to derive this conclusion, but some googling confirmed this hypothesis). The only reason I can see them do this is to drum up the size, since in this land of hummers and ford expedition hybrids which give you 17 mpg, size does matter.  

Written by internesia

November 13, 2007 at 10:23 am

Posted in commentary, thoughts

Is warranty an innovation?

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Not for the engineers. I saw the new Chrysler commercial recently which talks about how Chrysler was the first company to some of the biggest engineering feats (first wind tunnel, power steering, muscle car(?)). The commercial ends with a note that from the company of firsts, now comes the first limited lifetime powertrain warranty.. Now, how sad is that? These companies have to be really screwed up to not understand the markets and its needs.

From my experience big companies take a long time to react and some can never adapt due to the levels of management entrenched in them. This is not about a lack of talent but a lack of direction and vision at the any given hierarchical level, of which there are many.

I don’t want to proffer advice to fix Detroit but one thing is for sure, doorknob polishing won’t do it.

Written by internesia

September 4, 2007 at 7:54 am

Posted in thoughts

Queens tow pound

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My parking luck ran out yesterday. This is NY and I had outlived the average time between parking tickets. I parked in a spot where there is no standing 4-7pm at around 3:30pm. Did not notice the sign but I DID feed the meter! Come back at 4:12 and the car is gone. Took 15 mins to locate the car (311, connected to 911, no luck -> Google 411, which does not understand my accent -> 411 -> Manhattan tow pound -> voicemail -> 411 -> Brooklyn tow pound -> Queens tow pound). No biggie since I located it. Getting there was a pain as no cab driver comes to Jackson heights to pick a passenger. They come to eat. Finally, we get one and get there.

The Queens tow pound is a masterpiece. It is under the Kosciusko bridge (I cannot still pronounce the damn thing) in front of a cemetery. The bridge is a heavily used. It is high and very old. It was a rainy day and rain was coming down steady. It is one of those scenes which you get either in an indie move when the actor is going through the roughest time of his life or in some horror action movie like seven or silence of the lambs. So we get there and are greeted by a ‘rookie’ guard. He clearly did not fit into this place. Too cheerful and too eager to help. I would like to see him in 5 years if he is still there. The others had clearly put in their time and given up. You go into this shack where you line up behind a clearly marked line facing a tiny window. I line up and wait for my turn. When I come up, I ask the rough looking dude behind the counter if my car was there (I knew it was but to reassure myself) and he says ‘she sure is.. and enjoying every moment of it’. He hands me a slip to take to the guard outside. We are asked to wait for a shuttle that will take us to the car, from which I will get the papers. So, we wait. After 5 mins, the shuttle arrives. A big guy is driving this and is in hurry whatsoever. He drives around the relatively small area (definitely not requiring a shuttle) and stops and watches me intently as I get out and get the things from my car. Imagine the life of this guy driving around in a 200 yard circuit all day in this forsaken place. So, back to the window again. This time a guy transgressed the line and was tailgating another guy at the window. The rough dude blew off. Took some time to settle down and then I paid the $185.00 fees and got another slip to get the car. Back to waiting for shuttle and the slow ride to the car and finally out of the pound. I also got a $115.00 ticket for parking in a no-standing zone. All for a $7.00 meal of a goat curry and 2 nans at kabab king diner.

I was with Kiran and we both kept wondering about the three characters, the rookie, the driver, and the fine collector. If I had a bad day, these guys are having these days everyday under a old rusty bridge in Maspeth, NY in front of the laurel hill cemetery. Do they think about things in perspective? But perspective of what?

Written by internesia

August 22, 2007 at 10:00 am

Posted in commentary, sights, thoughts

Phyllis Diller and Object Oriented Programming

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Now, this seems a little far-fetched. Phyllis Diller is 90 and a comedienne. She was on ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me‘ on the ‘Not My Job’ section of the show. She does not sound like she is 90 though. She was asked why she always referred to her husband as ‘fang’ in her acts and explained that in her real life she had more than one husband but ‘fang’ was the stage persona representing them all. That way she changed husbands she did not have to change her acts. Now, that is something!

I definitely want to read her autobiography sometime.. ‘Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse

Written by internesia

August 6, 2007 at 2:51 pm

Posted in thoughts

Why MBA?

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One of the questions that every student that wants to get into business school has to answer is the reason why he wants to get that degree. It is not too much to ask especially since it is in the candidates best interest to understand whether his investment of time and money makes sense (after all this is business school). It is said that this reasoning should be logical, the candidate is not held to their word about pursuing the goals that they outlined in their application. If logical reasoning and eloquent writing were the only things being judged, there are better ways of doing this. I agree with the idea that a lot of thought needs to go through for me to take that step, and it is in my own interests that I think through all those aspects before I step in. Why is there an enforcer that makes sure I have done that? Once someone steps into the school, the reputation of the school carries them into the places they want to go and do their job (given the objective criteria most schools look at with regard to academics and test scores). Doing the job is not enough, you should have the potential for the top job. And the process is all about picking those from the pile, and the enforcer makes sure that they pick the one with the highest chance to make the upper echelon. You could already be in the upper echelon, or have the utmost desire and competence to get there.

One thing that is looked down upon is the use of admission consultants. I wonder why. They don’t write your essays, they help you organize your thoughts and write them. So, it makes a good economic decision, if anything if you think it will help. This is like staging a house before selling it. One of the downsides to that, and I am not sure if that is what is being discouraged, is that if someone needs help dressing up and presenting himself, they will need that even more later on when they have to present themselves and the organization that they represent. That would be a tragedy. There is something to be said about being self-made. Anyway, this practice continues and I know a lot of people who spend the money and get in. How many will eventually become successful, who knows. Besides, success could mean different things to different people.

Written by internesia

July 24, 2007 at 10:40 am

Posted in MBA, thoughts