Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nipple your toast?

This logo has been around since 1939, when a very clever and perverted artist named Jess Betlach decided to subliminally put nipples on the kneecaps of the Indian maiden, resulting in generations of adolescent American boys cutting up butter boxes to reveal the woman as pictured in the second image. Remove the box of butter she holds and put the same picture behind her, sliding it up but deviating neither left nor right. Tell me this wasn't intentional.
Ok, my friend Ken just admitted to doing this when he was a kid. Too funny. Read the post here. Don't forget to read the comments.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Motorola Internal Tech Strategy Case Competition

The case was about Ford's announcement of partnering with Microsoft to bring Sync to the market. Sync is Ford and Microsoft's collaboration on in-car communications and entertainment - a service developed by Microsoft to be made available on Ford cars that will enable you to sync your handheld device with your car using Bluetooth technology. The service is upgradeable, fully-integrated and provides seamless connectivity from outside the car environment to within. We were asked to provide recommendations on how Motorola should respond to this announcement in light of other developments in the automotive connectivity space - Apple's iPhone, Motorola's partnership with BMW and even GM's OnStar.

We didn't make it. We made it to the finals but were not chosen to represent BU at the International Case Competition. I didn't see the other two teams present so I don't know wot they were selling but here are a few thoughts on why I think we were not picked:

We sold the vision of seamless mobility. A world where you can use multiple handheld wirelessly connected devices that will speak to each other and provide pervasive intelligent interactions. For a complete idea of seamless mobility, read Motorola's white paper on the subject. Our recommendation was something called MotoLife. A comprehensive vision that will seamlessly (and across protocols) connect your mobile phone with your car, your refrigerator, your garage door opener... your anything. True seamless mobility in the theoretical sense of the word practically achieved with one device. A truly smart phone. Bolstered by software written on an open collaborative online platform. Strengthened by Telematics Location-based Services. All coming together to bring you MotoLife. Your true personal digital assistant that senses its you and automatically opens your garage door, reminds you to pick up your dry cleaning when you're driving by the store, finds you a restaurant you will like in a foreign city and even sends your wife flowers on your wedding anniversary - and here's the kicker - all without you having to remember to tell it to do that. MotoLife. Seamless mobility for your life.

Here's why we didn't win - we couldn't quantify the ROI on this vision. Three very prominent and excellent judges (one IT strategy professor, one marketing professor and a BU alum) decided that you can't sell a vision. You can only sell a product, or an idea that has been done before that has hard numbers to back it up or a direct competitive short-term response in the shape of a new product that is exactly the same as your old products but just branded differently. But you can't sell a vision. Because nobody would buy it. Because you can't quantify it. We didn't show the ROI. We didn't convince them that the market was as large as the number of people in the world. They didn't think anybody would buy it or that companies will not partner with it or that developers will not write code to make it work. Because there is no ROI on that slide up there.

The team that won was accused by one judge to have "fanciful numbers".

We addressed a strategic directional issue - not a short-term solution to a problem. We came up with a way that would make Motorola aggressively competitive and stay on top of the competition for at least 2 years. In the words of Mr. Teng, my esteemed associate, "When Steve Jobs created the iTunes and iPod... did he have to produce an ROI for his people? When Bill Gates created DOS and the Wintel platform, did he calculate his ROI to be 200000000000000%?"

Therein lies the difference between professors and an academic environment that is looking for a product development solution and CEOs of companies that seek innovative blow-you-out-of-the-water enterprise IT strategy.

So here's a tip for your case competition for when you go to b-school. Make sure you define the ROI. Even if they're fanciful, make sure you have numbers.

And I think here's my tip for real life. Make sure I sell how to win a battle before I try to sell how to win a war.

The bubble is going to burst

Sales have opened for residential units in Emirates Financial Towers at Dubai International Financial Centre, according to the developer. The $160m twin towers project is selling apartments, and has office and retail space. The buildings will have 1,200 automated parking spaces designed by the US' Robotic Parking Systems.
Article here.
A minimum of 125,000 residential units will be released on to Dubai's property market by 2009, according to a report by Shuaa Capital and Colliers International and cited by Gulf News. The report predicts that more than 70,000 units will be released this year, with a further 40,000 next year. It is thought demand will not keep pace with supply and prices will soften, especially in the high-end apartment sector.
Article here.
Major delays to the completion dates of Dubai's real estate developments are undermining confidence in the sector, reported Gulf News. Investors are facing delays of more than six months in many instances and currently have no recourse to compensation. Some experts have suggested an imposition of a fixed fine of up to 1.5% of the value of a property for every month's delay beyond an agreed date.
Article here.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Motorola International Tech Strategy Case Competition

BU's Internal competition is on. 22 teams wrote essays to get into the Internal BU Competition. Team Unwired came up with the best idea (as reported by an insider). 12 teams received a case Saturday morning at 9 am with a 24-hr turnaround time to present their analysis. Now 3 of the 12 have been chosen to advance to the final round. The winners will represent the best of BU to compete in the main International Competition with some of the best teams from the best business schools around the world. Team Unwired presents at 2:40 pm. The judges panel comprises of the top professors at BU's GSM. The heat is on.

Team Unwired is ready to bring it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"I Wear A Wonderbra And I Don't Read 'The Economist'"

What exactly is this ad saying? I have breasts so I'm not smart enough to read The Economist? I show a lot of cleavage so I don't have to be smart to get what I want? I wear a Wonderbra so every man is at my beck and call? I'm a stupid female that thinks my breasts are more powerful than my brain? OK, maybe that last one's kinda true for some but still. Perhaps Linda Foster is just so cool for wearing a Wonderbra that intelligence like The Economist are just beneath her. Maybe the Wonderbra is so effective it makes her breasts so huge see can't see over them to read the magazine. Please. Explain this ad to us.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Warning: This video is very silly

What I want to know is how much did Rosie O'Donnell and the View get paid for this wonderful product placement.

My favorite part is when the toilet paper and the wipes chest bump.

Agencies Push For Value Pricing Over Time-Based

One trend that's been bubbling around in agencies for some time now might, aside from its other important benefits, may result in the elimination of the most dreaded operational activity: filling out time sheets. In recent history, following the shift from old-school 15 percent compensation, agencies have based revenue on the time it takes to complete a project mapped against the cost of hours to accomplish the project. There was then a shift to performance-based marketing that tied campaign performance to agency revenue. Now, the notion of value has been added to the compensation equation with several agencies, including Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Anomoly, setting fees based on the perceived value of the work they do for clients.
Wait a minute! Wait just one goddamn client squeezing minute! This means I can't bill my 30% PM overhead cost?! Not fair! That gap between delivery and performance was the sole reason I went into client servicing.

Good thing I'm into consulting now.

Monday, January 22, 2007

An ode to soup

What is it about soup that makes you feel instantly better? Even the process of making soup is therapeutic. Here's today's cold combating recipe:

1 packet Macaroni elbows
2 Bullion cubes (beef, chicken or veg - your choice)
1 tin mushrooms (I like whole buttons)
1 tin corn kernels
A few sausages (do not underestimate the power of hot dogs)
Green onions
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (just because you're sick doesn't mean you have to compromise on quality)
Soy sauce

Take large pot of water and bring to boil. Put all of the above ('cept the onions) in. Boil until macaroni is al dente. Thicken with cornflour. Switch off. Let cool to drinkable temperature. Garnish with green onions. Serve in large bowl with toasted pita bread.

Chicken for sausages.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I got a cold

I have a fever. My nose is on its way to being blocked. My tonsils hurt. I had a strange dream about Arjun and Harry Truman and Abraham Lincoln and people being bludgeoned to death by golf clubs. Very bizzare.

Quite frankly, I'm not surprised. I had a feeling I'd be getting sick soon. It's a combination of no sleep, temperature changes and the fact that Meg has been incubating the apartment with germs for two weeks now. Plus, Khan had a cold and prolly sneezed all over my pillows, blast him.

Right leg is acting up again. It was the entire leg for most of the night but now it's better. Only the hip hurts now.

Made lovely red bean soup for lunch. Ate a few lovely Irani dates. Soft and syrupy. Very nice. Bit too sweet sometimes and can't eat more than 2 at a time but very nice. Dates are a good source of Vitamin C and energy you know. They're also good for sore throats and colds. Strangely enough, you can grind up the seeds and add them to coffee. Now that's bizzare.

It is nice to veg out on the couch all day but I'm starting to get a bit bored. I shall watch Nova.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Peas sir, can I have some more?

Dear Mingus Khan,

I would like to extend my sincere condolences on the sad, yet timely, demise of all the fried peas. These lovely orbs of delight are now no more. Mostly because I ate them all this morning for breakfast.

I understand that you may be feeling something akin to anger, shock, disbelief, despair and sadness but I must ask you to compose yourself to read what I have to say in my defence. Most importantly, you must not feel regret. Regret that you didn't eat more the last time you came over. Regret, perhaps, that you didn't steal a few in your large black overcoat that needs to be drycleaned.

You, more than anyone else, know the power of the fried peas. Their inherent crunchiness combined with the light, yet spicy, flavor of their preparation was too tantalizing to resist. I am, after all, a hungry woman. If it makes you feel any better, my jaw does hurt from all that crunching.

I know that the fried peas (of which there was only one packet) are irreplaceable but may I offer you jam sammiches and cashew nuts in lieu of said snacks. I promise you that it will only be a few days before you are leaping about my room in your characteristic bear-like manner joyusly singing in the happiness of being in my company. After all, one must keep one's perspective straight.

Best regards,
Belko Barzini

P.S. They weren't good for you anyway.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hello darlings

I'm back. Have fixed myself and am back in Boston. Have fixed computer and am back online. Have not yet fixed jet lag so am very zonked out but there it is. Can't have it all you know.

Dubai was lovely. I did nothing. I didn't even make my own bed that's how much nothing I did. The trip back was lonely and boring and remarkably uncomfortable. Boston is cold and rainy. Speedy Zippy (my trusty laptop) was down with a nasty virus this past week so I spent the better part of yesterday and today (in class) fixing it. It's fixed now. Classes have begun. I've been sleeping for two days but I'm still jet lagged. My henna is fading and I'm already behind on coursework. Have had two classes and realize that the brain is a little rusty from all that inertia and watching Bigg Boss on Zee TeeVee all day (stupid show if you ask me). But soon. I shall be back in gear soon. Now I have to go buy $250 worth of course material and wade through all that email.

So, didja miss me?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Un homme qui maltraite sa femme, apprend la violence à ses e

You don't have to understand French to understand the message conveyed in this PSA about violence against women. The kicker of the message is a literal one and a powerful message that children do take after the examples their parents set for them. Young & Rubicam France created the spot.
Don't ask. Just click.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I've (almost) completly switched off

Looking back on the posts from Dubai in 2005, I find them hilarious. Everyday there was something strange and obscure and funny to write about. These days, there are still some strange and obscure and funny (and characteristically poignant) things to write about but I've completely switched off. Almost. I check my email every 3rd day but I ignore all the desperate pleas from people asking me to do work. I check it out of sheer curiosity. I really couldn't care less, quite frankly. My other email is up to 189 emails now. I really don't want to check that box. I'm a bit afraid.

So you see, this is why there have been no posts. Although, it's really quite nice of you to keep coming back every couple of days to take a look *hug bug nug*. But I'll post when I get back stateside. Which will be in a week. Maybe someday I'll tell you about the New Year's Eve Party with the Bollywood dancers and the drunken heirs to large empires making complete asses of themselves and other interesting goings-ons.

Until then, pip-pip!