Skip to main content

Pattern Recognition... the title of another excellent book that I never got around to reading, but has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

The "case method" is an integral part of b-school education. You either love it, hate it or tolerate it, but you definitely can't escape it. The idea is by looking at business problem (typically described in narrative form with supporting data and exhibits at the end, and normally supplied by these guys) and discussing/analyzing it, you learn a particular topic. If the professor uses it well and I've put the time into thinking about the problem, I think it's a powerful way to learn the topic, as well as how the knowledge is relevant in a real-world setting.

Another argument in support of the case method is that since the universe of business problems ,especially when you boil it down to the basics, is fairly small you will learn to see patterns and be able to arrive at the solution. Now while I've seen similar patterns in the cases I've done, I'd never quite had that "aha..this is exactly like..." effect..until last week.

After my very first reading of the case, I intuitively had a sense of what the answer would be. The two cases were in completely different industries and, at first glance, there should have been no similarities whatsoever, but both basically were about companies that were having to make a decision that would lead to a shift in market power and the correct decision for both of them to make (at least according to us) was the same.

It's a pity real life is going to be so much more complicated.:)


Popular posts from this blog

Measure f-ing everything, and assume f-ing nothing!! - Or how mentoring ruined lives :-(

I've been really enjoying the Freakonomics podcast of late. This episode and the lesson we should take a away from it, was a stark reminder of one of the most important things we should be doing - but often don't - in building products or making any decisions: measuring the impact of absolutely everything we do, including the things that seem obviously good.

I recommend listening to the podcast if you have the time, but here's the summary. Stephen Dubner describes the Cambridge Sommerville Youth Study. The impact of social intervention programs in general is hard to measure and so they seldom are. This was the first attempt at measuring the impact over a long period of time.

It's a great story and there are a few good take-aways, but here's the main one: troubled or at-risk youth that received mentoring (good mentoring!) had worse life outcomes across every dimension than the kids that were left alone. Despite the recipients saying that the mentoring was incredibl…

Yup - humans still lack humanity

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.

My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.

She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.

No one did.

The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.

Still nobody moved.

My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn&#…

Whimsy when I changed my profile picture...

I changed by profile picture at work.

Later in the day, two people on my team had changed their profile pictures to these.. :-)

It made my day!

I changed my profile pic again today. Let's see how fast anyone catches on this time. :-)