April 23, 2009

My Reputation Recedes Me

Filed under: School — Robert John Ed @ 4:15 am

Every year the school puts on Follies, an event to celebrate and have a few laughs.  A couple of good friends made a video for it, I couldn’t make the shoot due to family being in town, but it’s good.  I also can’t be at Follies due to South Korea; this is a bit of a spoiler as it won’t air until tomorrow night.

Normally, this site is relatively suitable for all ages.  But this is NSFW (depending on where you work), and it’s pretty damn funny, especially if you’re a Carlson student:

This could be one of those “any publicity is good publicity” moments.  Big ups for Trip, Marky Marc, Westipher and Gabby; nice work.

Update:  This wasn’t processed when signing off, hopefully its done by tomorrow.  If not I’ll redo after getting to Seoul.


April 22, 2009

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 10:18 pm

Tomorrow is the big day. I’m leaving for Seoul, South Korea at 3:15 and arriving Friday night at 9pm or so (you lose 12 hours on the way East).  I haven’t actually travelled since senior spring break of undergrad; this is long overdue.  A good friend of mine is over there teaching English and another friend is visiting simultaneously, so it’s a perfect situation.

Well almost perfect.  Setting up the pre and post work for school has been challenging.  I have a lot of work to do on the plane ride over (good considering it’s a 12 hour flight here to Japan, plus 2 more from Japan to Seoul).

I’d initially planned on studying abroad in France for a semester.  After looking at the program offerings, I decided what I was looking for and the classes weren’t really a good match and decided to stay in MN.  The cost of studying abroad is significant and so the expense associated with that I’ve decided to put towards other trips while in school, of which this is the first.  It should be a blast; I’ll see you all when I get back!


April 21, 2009

Dorkiness Defined

Filed under: Marketing Philosophy — Robert John Ed @ 4:59 pm

Why on Earth would I write so often about the same topic?  Why is it such a driving force for me in terms of business?  The answer is a two parter:

1.  I’m a dork.

2.  My perception is that most people, in business or out, don’t think about marketing in ways that are conducive to winning the game in the long term.  And it is a very long  term game we are talking about; longer than any of our lives, longer than any consumer spending cycle.  The vast majority of people think of advertising when you tell them you are a marketer.  “That must be so fun, I’d love to make advertisements.”  It would be fun, but that’s not typically a marketing persons job.  That usually goes to advertising agencies.   Those few marketers who do oversee the creation of advertising are relatively few and it’s likely one small component of their responsibility.

In a world where most products can be commoditized extremely quickly, marketing is the only thing that really separates you from your competition.  Marketing is your competitive advantage, or your competitive liability, depending on your situation.  There are certainly companies that do have a inimitable (shout out to my Strategy Prof, Aks Zaheer) abilities, but they are difficult to find.  More likely, your brand and consumer experiences are propagating revenues.

People don’t often discuss this in business school.  At least I’ve not yet been privy to it.  The idea that thousands of business students aren’t being explicitly explained these things; rather expected to implicitly derive where value is added and potentially duplicate, is disconcerting to me.  It warrants mention beyond any school frame of reference.  Maybe I’m too dense to see that people naturally “get it,” maybe I’m overly concerned with mastery of where I deem true competitive advantage is consctructed and maintained, but maybe not.  Either way, I’ll keep on, despite others’ apparent bafflement for reasoning.  The idea is to reflect and teach oneself, while hopefully providing fodder for those distinguished cannons within earshot.

April 17, 2009

Ford and The Eventual Upturn

Filed under: Marketing Tactics — Robert John Ed @ 4:40 pm

I’ve maintained over the course of this “economic crisis” and the difficulties for automakers that Ford was doing the right things.  NOT taking government cash will win people over in these times and they are already paying off a lot of long term IBD to get a stronger balance sheet less exposed to interest payments and business risk, which is off the charts for their industry now.

Marketing wise, this is the second time I’ve seen Ford’s CEO, Alan Mulally use Twitter to answer questions.  Even if only for a half hour, this is a VERY good thing for their company.  Many social media marketers cheer on this stuff for selfish reasons, which is ridiculous; the market accepts what it wants when it wants.  But Ford is obviously aware of what’s happening and moving early on.  It’s a good thing, but not necessarily because the CEO seems like a nice guy and takes the time to speak with all us serfs.

What’s important is that they are staying afloat and doing it their way.  Ford is my pick to continue on as a staple of American auto manufacturing, and has been for the last six months.  Time will tell if I’m right or wrong, but as of now I like their moves.

I like teh musics (2 Favorites)

Filed under: Music — Robert John Ed @ 1:28 pm

Music is an obsession for me, I buy about $50 per month worth of CD’s I’d say, give or take.  A few nuggets of inspiration for you this morn:

First up are EPs.  EPs are great in my opinion, they offer an eclectic offshoot of an album, some derivative work that wasn’t worth of an entire LP, a mixture of artists in a quick shot, a prelim to a band you haven’t purchased and don’t want to cough up too much for initially, etc.  There are a lot of good reasons to buy EPs, but often it comes down to fulfilling a collection.  Smart artists that want to sell more music or increase their viability will do splits and EPs continually to diversify themselves.  Coming out with an album every two years is kind of mundane if you ask me; would it were the case I’d put out music pieces as small collections or even as one song at a time.  Who cares?  CD’s and albums are just ideas dictated by mediums, which makes us victims of logic and circumstance.

Don’t get me wrong, I love albums.  Albums offer us a complete point in time of an artist, including stylings and thought processes.  But a more continuous flow of music from artists would give us a better understanding of their growth or deterioration in style, ability and thought processes.  Imagine that.

Anyhoo, I like a lot of EPs, and I should get around to listing out my favorites.  But for now I’m going to recommend this Neva Dinova/Bright Eyes split which continually amazes me months after purchase.  The funny thing is that Neva actually owns the offering, they have four songs and three out of those four are ridiculously good.  Better than the one full length of theirs I picked up (I have a newer one on the way), it’s impressive.  The two Bright Eyes tracks are VERY good as well.  Overall this is a very chilled out and meditative CD.  It’s a thinker.  It’s amazing, actually.


Next is easily my favorite soundtrack of all time.  There are probably a lot of good soundtrack albums out there that I’ve yet to listen to, but this one is without a doubt the best in the world.  I saw the movie “I’m Not There” two years ago and have watched it probably 20 times since then, it’s an artistic account of the many lives of Bob Dylan, yes the walking musical deity, Bob Dylan.  This soundtrack consistently blows me away with the depth and intricacy of which most artists take on Bob’s songs, from all genres.  What’s truly magnificent is that most of his popular songs are left out and the obscure lyrical genii (made that word up) are taken on from indie rock songs.

Check out the track listings.  Do it.  The Black Keys hit Wicked Messenger really hard.  Cat Power adds her personal touch to Stuck Inside of Mobile.  Sufjan Stevens does a great job with the religious (big surprise) Ring Them Bells.  Eddie Vedder’s All Along the Watch Tower is really powerful and fall somewhere between Hendrix and the Byrds.  Mason Jennings‘ Death of Hattie Carrol is almost up there with Bob’s, and that’s saying something.  Los Lobos’ Billy is even better than Bob’s, but is quite distinct in sound.  Mira Billotte is amazing in her interpretation of As I Went Out One Morning.  Actually, in retrospect, one of my favorite Dylan albums, John Wesley Harding gets a lot of play in this as five of the songs on the album are presented.  The list goes on, that’s maybe half of the truly astounding tracks here.  There are a ridiculous amount of great artists on this CD and most are really adding value to these songs in one way or another.  The young Marcus Carl Franklin‘s When the Ship Comes In is impressive too.

For the love of all things good, if you like Dylan at all or indie artists at all, this is worth the $16.  Pony it up, you chincy slag.  :-)  Have a great weekend everyone.


April 16, 2009

Public Speaking

Filed under: Personal Branding — Robert John Ed @ 6:16 pm

Speaking itself isn’t much of a problem for me, public speaking is a little more difficult.  I’m “hosting” the first MILISA case competition tonight and as such have to give a formal address.  It’s completely understandable how people fret over this.  It’s definitely not a fun thing to do, but it’s an honor nonetheless.

The ability to speak in front of audiences, to describe the ideas and actions and inform is very important.  Regardless if it’s a formal event or merely speaking over a cup of coffee, the ability to communicate effectively is paramount to a great deal of jobs.  Perfect practice makes perfect, so when opportunities arise in which you can develop this skill, you should jump on them.  Even if it is a little disconcerting initially.  The highest positions within companies, government or other areas are highly contingent on networking with extremely diversified personas and often on addressing large groups of people in many settings.  These skills translate into leadership in the long term.  Not everyone wants to be a leader of that magnitude, but everyone should be able to stand up and say something at their relatives wedding or another important event.  For those of you out there looking for practice, Toastmasters is a good start.


Light Posting

Filed under: Blog Explanations — Robert John Ed @ 12:54 pm

Really busy week, hosting a case competition tonight and our work for consulting enterprise has been in overdrive.

I’ll try to get back on track here sometime soon.

April 13, 2009

Memories of MKTG (Competition)

Filed under: Marketing Philosophy, School — Robert John Ed @ 2:21 pm

In the years prior to attending school, marketing consumed a great deal of my time.  Those days are out the door with the aggregation of other class work, consulting projects and reading.  Today the majority of my time is spent learning about consulting and building an effective Powerpoint deck, building financial models that accurately describe incremental cash flows for stock holders, studying basic managerial anatomy and physiology as well as researching the market I’ll be working in (intravascular ultrasound for peripheral arteries and a few niches within).

Marketing isn’t really my focus now, despite having market research and brand management classes.  What’s more, I used to read about what was happening in the space (especially interactive) ALL the time.  Books, magazine articles, blogs, tweets, publicized memos on effective practice, anything was fodder.

I really miss those things now; the great part about having to analyze and communicate a value prop to a market is that it’s competitive, and if it’s not yet, it will be soon.  So building products and services that have the potential for overarching value in the market eyes is really what drives marketers, the other things I’m learning now will supplement that drive, but they can’t replace it.  Getting back to the real world where you can “get the cash, get the cash, get the cash” for a company will be nice.  I didn’t really think about it before coming to school, but work is something I’d become accustomed to and greatly miss now.  That’s just plain weird.  Of course, the work here is substantial.  It’s just not the same type of competition that a constantly changing market offers.

April 12, 2009

Easter: A Great Time for Finance

Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 4:14 pm

Unfortunately, today I’ll be spending most of my time pouring over a 10 page finance test due on Wednesday, instead of going home and enjoying some time with my family.  It’s times like these that make you question everything about school.  Is it worth it?  Will you back and be happy you did a test instead of getting home?  Probably not happy about it, but it’s a necessary evil.  As previously mentioned, finance takes me two times as long to do as other subjects (it’s give and take, I can write a ten page paper extremely easily whereas some students dread a 1 page write up) and making sure I take the time to do this correctly is really important in the long term.  Doing tests such as this are actually a large part of the overall learning process.

It’s still a bummer.  Getting home is always nice, even if it’s only for a few hours to kick it.  The great aspect of this program is that it’s only 21 months.  So yeah, I have to a lot of sacrifices over those months, including missing family events, hanging out with friends and getting to do a lot of fun events I’d otherwise be all over.  But it’s worth it.  I’ve already learned a great deal, I have an incredible internship over the summer for a company I’d love to work for full time, I’ve met a grip of cool new people and feel emotional growth and understanding of how to work with all types of personalities has been very strong as well.

I’m very much looking forward to a so called “normal” life again though, school at this level is just an odd animal altogether.


April 10, 2009

Financial Modeling & Conceptual Understanding

Filed under: School — Robert John Ed @ 6:40 pm

I have a take home financial test this weekend as well as a Managers Anatomy & Physiology.  I don’t sweat the latter.  The former is going to be similar to pulling teeth.  It’s relatively high level stuff, leveraged buy outs, calculating beta coeffecients and whatnot.   These are the kinds of things that I’d never even heard of before school.  It’s likely that I learn more from finance than any other class for a few good reasons.  First, it has the best teacher in the school.  Second, it’s unfamiliar territory.  If you landed on a new continent and continually were introduced to new terrain and ideas, it’s inevitable that you would learn more than treading the same weary paths.

What strikes me during this class is how easy it is to understand the concepts of the ideas, yet how building a model in calculating it is so incredibly difficult.  The differential in students and their ability to solve such problems is very distinct.  Of course, some have experience in such activities whereas I do not, but that’s not really the point.  The point is despite their experience, their minds are have an uncanny ability to feel at ease with numbers.  They find comfort there.  My mind doesn’t work the same way, or at least isn’t similarly at ease.  I’ve often stated that there is almost no chance I’d be expected to build a model for a company out of school, if it was expected of me the role or company isn’t doing itself favors.  Still, the importance of the subject is not lost on me.  What’s more, viscerally the subject makes sense, so there’s an odd dichotomy between feeling at ease with the conceptual matter and a turbulence toward the modeling.  My hopes are that having a solid understanding of the principles governing the use of NPV, APV and option based managerial project valuations will be enough to add value to a cross functional team from a marketing perspective.  I have a feeling it will.

Unfortunately, I still have the test to do this weekend.  It takes me ridiculous amounts of hours to complete a model which is regardless inevitably incorrect; it’s hardly something to look forward to for a Saturday morning/afternoon.  What’s truly depressing is that I place enough weight on this knowledge that my future includes another advanced course and potentially financial statement analysis as well.  It’s like signing yourself up for an ongoing tutorial in banging your head against the wall in hopes of strengthening neck muscles.  Bah.

Older Posts »

Blog at