Showing posts from April, 2007

Quick review: Hot Fuzz

Loved it!
Roeper puts it better than I do, but I was laughing all through the movie. Its swift, witty and irreverently spoofs the entire genre, while still being part of it. The best part about it though, was that till the very end it doesn't become entirely ridiculous (actually works just as action/mystery movie), but when it does decide to be ridiculous, you stop grinning and just start laughing out loud. A reviewer linked off RottenTomatoes put it best.

"If you see Hot Fuzz, you'll never again watch a Michael Bay film without howling with disrespectful laughter."

Three reasons I think the Beeb is cool.

I'm a big fan of BBC radio. I used to listen to the online stream religiously for a while. I learnt two things today this week about the BBC that made me smile
They have an incredibly ambitious Web 2.0 program (slightly negative tone to the paidcontent post though.)Given how much news tend to be over-sensationalized and needlessly analyzed today, I think its kinda cool that in 1948, the BBC radio broadcast said "There is no news today - goodnight." I can't find the link to the Economist opinion piece where I read it, but this a pretty funny spoof instead.:)
They're responsible for the first three seasons of Coupling. Season Four was good, but...

New ChiBus article out this week as well. Wrote it in a terrible rush, but it was the most fun I've had writing an article in a while.

Hmm...everything I'm interested in is relatively insignificant..

As someone who will get a Finance concentration from the Chicago GSB, I've done my fair share of assignments/projects involving valuing companies. (Note: I'm not claiming expertise, merely experience:)) A number of factors make this complicated (hence the need to actually learn it, and the excuse to still struggle with it) but essentially the value of a company is the expected value of its future cash flows.

Acquisitions by companies are a simple way to understand not just what a company is valued at, but also a sense of how much revenue it might generate in the future, in a sense how "big" a part of the economy it currently is.

I tend to be interested in, and get excited by, tech and media stuff, and tend to focus on reading about these sectors. I've always known at the back of my head that I'm ignoring other sectors that may in fact be much larger, and today was a stark reminder of that.

So I've been thinking for the last couple of days: "Google acqu…

What to blog, what not to blog...

... that is the question.

The Grand Canton's recent rant got me thinking. There's been no shortage of people losing jobs, destroying friendships and even being threatened because of what they put on their blogs.

On the other hand, I've had it drilled into my head on numerous occasions that the only truly effective writing, is that in which the writer is being completely honest. The most compelling blog posts I've read are unique because of the author's perspective, and honesty seems like a pre-requisite, or at least essential, to be able to do that.

But what is the cost of that honesty?

What the point of a blog is, even what constitutes a blog vs. a news/opinion website
is a pretty complicated issue, so I'll skip that. But let's assume that most personal blogs are used to communicate personal opinions and experiences. I've often heard the analogy made that a blog post is a one-way conversation, or a speech. Now, that to me is extremely dangerous, because th…

Presentations and Meetings: Everyone has an opinion

I've been following Marketing guru, Seth Godin's blog of late. A couple of days ago he opined on powerpoint presentations, or to be more accurate a really bad slide a particular CEO used. I couldn't help remembering that I actually used a similar one while pitching e-Immunization at a VC workshop once, and got very similar criticism there from Guy Kawasaki. Now, b-school and a summer spent in consulting has meant that I've had ample opportunity to think about presentation and power points in particular.

I agree with Mr. Godin's basic premise: that the main goal at the end of the day is communicating your message effectively and so making an "emotional" connection in a presentation is a great, great idea, but not all products/ideas/situations allow that. For example, he proposes a style where you use pictures etc. to re-enforce your message, rather than detract from it. Jobs, I think does a great job of this, but then he always has great material to work wi…

The Buffett report

Went, saw and came back happy. :)
There was much to appreciate on the annual pilgrimage that is the Chicago GSB Warren Buffett trip.
There was comedy: our first step on the tour was the Nebraska Furniture Mart, the largest furniture store in the USA. We got there at 8:55am, but the doors were closed, so we went around in our trams figuring out how we were going to get in.:) Once we got in though, the entire class eventually sat down in their rocking chair section. That's right; there were enough rocking chairs on the display floor for a 120 Chicago GSB students!

There was mild amusement: That's right. I said trams. We rode around Omaha in old-fashioned trams with wooden seats. Omaha proved to be surprisingly more hilly than I thought it would be though. I also learnt that there was a mattress called "The Warren"
There was realization: That office parks, whereever they are, look identical. The ones we visited in the heart of the MidWest were clones of the ones I was used …

Militant atheism...just great...

Argh! WSJ last week had an article on the rise of a more, active brand of atheism. One of the reasons I kinda sympathized with atheists was they didn't have a missionary zeal. Take that out of them, and they're just another religion....just one that doesn't believe in God, instead of its particular understanding of God.

I understand their reasoning for this newfound activism. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." As long as its non-violent, I understand the need for organizations/people to try and convert the world to their view. Its obviously in their interest. The problem is with their reaction when this conversion that they strive for does not happen. The greater their level of organization, the more likely it is their reaction will be stronger and eventually violent.

For no rhyme or reason...

Inspired by the Spankmaster, I'm going to start posting stuff I wrote way back on the site.
This is a link to poem (loosely defined), that I wrote 3-ish years ago, just after listening to a audio book of the Canterbury tales. It the prologue to what I thought might be a much longer piece of fluff titled the "Legend of Shaktishali" .

I just realized that it's harder to follow if you don't know hindi, so I tried defining some stuff.

What's on the Buffett menu?

For some reason I ended up signing for the Buffett trip tomorrow. Given my general inertia towards this kinda stuff, I'm not sure what prompted this, but I'm looking forward to being in the same room as the Oracle of Omaha.
Apparently that's the MBA thing to do.

Ended up killing time earlier today with this Buffett video.

Favorite comment:
"If I was teaching a course in business school, I'd ask the students to value an Internet company for the final. Anyone who turns in any number for valuation, will fail the class."

Mahna mahna :)

I was watching an advertisement on TV and the background song was the muppet show "mahna mahna" song. So simple, but pure genius.:)
The original clips are below

Also, new ChiBus article this week.

Update: I'm wrong on the origins of the song. Here's the wikipedia entry.


Sigh...yet another post, yet another excuse.

I was pretty sick all of last week and it started exactly on last Monday. I could feel something coming on, but that didn't prevent me from over-doing it and going and watching a movie. Yes, I'm stupid like that.

Apparently a sure way to be really sick, when you suspect you're going to be sick is to sleep even less. I averaged 3-4 hours between Sat and Mon, which meant my approach to valuing a company during my study group meeting on Tuesday was adding another $100 million for every degree above normal body temperature that I felt and just getting done with it. Cough and a cold followed the fever, and despite the required, moderate pill-popping to get me through the day by Friday I think it was officially the second time since I got to Chicago that I had no option but to spend the day all at home. Spent the weekend mostly bundled inside except for a study group meeting or two or three.

Anyway enough complaining. Highlights of the w…

Now THAT is a recommendation.

Nice going, Ken.:)
Incidentally, saw both the recommender and recomendee at the Becker Brown Bag Series this week.

Quick Review: Meet the Robinsons, Blades of Glory

Meet the Robinsons

This one was fun. Borrows from a lot of movies and stories, but keep you engrossed. My biggest motivation to go catch it was that I hadn't seen a 3-D movie in ages (since the re-release of Chota Chetan.)

Blades of Glory
Me likey. It was silly; Will Ferrell played himself, Jon Heder played a socially awkward skater. The cast, the jokes and the premise were funny enough. Works for me..:)

I got my spacebar back!

Friends know that the spacebar on my DellInspiron laptop hasn't been working for the past 3 or 4 months. I spilt some milk on my keyboard and well let's just say while the other keys recovered, this one didn't.
My experience with Dell customer support had been so annoying once before (my laptop casing still has a couple of dents in it. If my laptop was a person, it would be in therapy) that I decided to see if there were options. I knew there had to be, and was surprised to find just one that seemed to do the trick.

Thanks to the people at Swapkeys, I substituted the "[" key for the spacebar (choice of key based on ease of pain on fingers and redundancy of key.) It worked pretty well and had the unforseen side-effect of making my keyboard absolutely unusable by anyone else. I was surprised by how quickly I adopted to the new keys. Unfortunately the remapping didn't seem to work for all programs (over a unix prompt, the command line etc.) so it did place some l…