Joe Finder and Harvard Business School

Recently, Joseph Finder wrote a fiction book called Power Play, and the situation in that book led to the writing of a Harvard Business Review case.

We worked through a number of these when I was in Pitt’s MBA program and it was always interesting to see what the responses were.  Everyone had a different opinion and often, there was no answer given as it was a hypothetic case.  This one is like that.  It brings up an intriguing question, then leaves you to think about how YOU would solve it.

Basically, on her first day as CEO of a major aerospace company, a woman finds out that there has possibly been corruption (slush funds, bribes, etc.) in the company’s dealings.  She wants to launch an internal investigation but that could cause major problems with things like the stock price, the company’s reputation, and so on, and since at the moment it’s pure conjecture, is it worth it to do it?

Read the whole case and weigh in at the HBR’s site!


On Writing

That’s the title of a book by Stephen King.  It is, of course, about writing.

I’ve been learning quite a bit from it.  On characterization:

“The writer’s original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader’s.”

On grinding through it:

“…Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea.  Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing to do is to shovel #$%@ from a sitting position.”

On editing:

“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story…when you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

Good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals:

  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • The Elements of Style
  • Avoid adverbs
  • Avoid passive voice

King writes 2,000 words a day.  Ouch.  Makes my 360 last night feel pretty pathetic!

Anyway, it’s a pretty useful and interesting book and I highly recommend it.


An Evening with Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest

Last night my wife and I went to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation‘s 50 Finest Pittsburghers. Basically they are singles that are making a name for themselves in their careers and they raise money for CFF through this event by getting sponsors. It was a nice evening with bread from Mancini’s, cheesecake from Bucca di Beppo, and pasta and roast beef from the Omni William Penn (the gala was held in the seventeenth floor ballroom).

One of my colleagues, Viviana Altieri, was honored as one of the 50 finest this year. Apparently, the crowd was estimated at around 700 plus people. One of the people that attended was Justine Ezarik of iJustine and tastyblogsnack fame!

Some pics (sorry for the qulaity – I used my Treo):

My Wife and Justine

A proud Viviana!

Some suggestions for next year:

1.) Larger venue

2.) Tables for people to eat at

3.) A better sound system.

We had a nice time, and afterwards we stopped at Mad Mex in Miracle Mile shopping center for drinks and dessert under the stars. All in all, a great date night with my wife!


Implementing the 4 Hour Work Week

Well, actually, I’m a long way away from it, though hopefully getting closer through the Thirty Day Challenge.

Today I wanted to mention that I’ve begun the process of decluttering my life – which Tim does suggest in the book.  Here’s what I’ve done:

1.)  I went through all my papers that have built up over the years.  This includes multiple stacks of printouts, articles I cut out of the paper, etc.  Got rid of quite a few bags full.  Most of it was stuff that seemed important at the time, but years later, it isn’t.

2.)  I collected all the magazines I had, loaded most of them into bags, and dropped them off for my church’s magazine table.  They sell the used ones for a quarter apiece.  I made sure to cut the labels off!  For new ones, I evaluated my subscriptions and let them lapse if I didn’t really read them anymore.  I carefully think about buying new ones, and try just to tear out the articles I want if I do.

3.)  Went through all my clothes and got rid of a bunch that I never wear, or that don’t fit.  I’ve put on some muscle so even if I get back down to fighting weight they won’t fit anymore.  Seven bags to Goodwill or the Veterans.

4.)  Books.  This is the hardest.  First, deciding which ones I know I’ll never read or read again, and then finding a way to get rid of them.  I can:

a) Give them to the library

b) Sell them on

c) Sell them to a used bookstore

And I’m using all three methods.

This will all help when we move as well, since there will be less to pack.  I just keep remembering:

“The more you own, the more it owns you!”


Hot Cars and High Fashions

Yesterday my family and I went to a Maniac Magazine event at the Cochran dealership over in Monroeville. It was a good time and we had a lot of fun.

First, Cochran had all the lines they represent, including, of course, the H2 and H3 Hummers. (I hate that word – in the Army, they are Humvees, after HMMWV, or High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle). They also had the drool inducing Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, as well as others.

The sushi was from Nakama, a Japanese steakhouse on the Southside, and we got to meet Heidi, whobartends there and comes up with some awesome drink recipes like this month’s “Bikini-tini” Also there was Olive or Twist from Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. They offered such goodies as asparagus rolls and a chocolate dessert that was fantastic. It took every ounce of self-control I had to only eat one…

The fashions were from Charles Spiegel and Chick Clothing Boutique. They were of course something that most people couldn’t wear, but it’s nice to see New York style fashions starting to make their way here.

Rob and Christina Cochran were there with their five (!) children. They are super nice. Cochran even arranged for toy hummers for the kids – my son is loving them!

There were representatives there from the Pittsburgh Passion women’s football team and from the Pitt Panthers as well.

These events aren’t just for the rich and beautiful. My wife and I hardly consider ourselves in that category. But it was a nice way to spend an evening, and if you haven’t checked out the magazine, please do! April Hubal and Emily Geyman, who were there with several of the interns, and the rest of the staff including Susie Meister of MTV’s Road Rules, work very hard on each issue and it a well done tribute to Pittsburgh’s up and coming cosmopolitan scene.

Note: My sister has posted her own review of the event at her Livejournal blog.


30 Days, $10 or bust – Making Money on the Web

Currently I’m participating in the 30 Day Challenge, an online ‘course’ that teaches internet marketing with the goal of making $10 THIS month, and hopefully more after that.  I heard about it through Niels Hoven‘s Facebook feed; Niels was a contestant on Beauty and the Geek.

I’ve wanted to start an internet business for awhile, and make some income passively or as close to it as I can get.  This purports to teach you exactly how to do it.  The only sticking point (for ME) that I can see is ideas.  Not that there aren’t a million of them out there; it’s just that I don’t know that I know enough about anything to be able to do it!  So that’s my big task for the month:  to figure out what I can do!

Wish me luck and check it out yourself!