Check

Images34My life is turned in to one long to do list, with items waiting to be checked off.

  • pay the visa fee before July 31st — check. Another £63 gone.
  • get my passport photos taken for my visa application — check (as a complete aside: how come no one ever looks good in passport pictures? I look like a common thief having a mugshot taken, this way I’ll never get my visa.
  • get travel guides to NYC — check (after long deliberations, and yes, in my case they are long deliberations, I am a qualified book historian, anything concerning books goes through thorough preparation and much thought, I decided to splurge on the Not For Tourists Guide to New York City (see also their webpage here, which has a pdf copy of this guide), and the City Secrets to New York City. One eminently useful, the other very inspirational. Still wondering if I should pick up a half price copy of the Rough Guide…)
  • spend last Sunday alone in London in a proper fashion — check. Did my chores, and wandered around London on foot and on bus in absolutely fabulous weather. God I love this city.
  • worry about where I’ll live in NYC – check. Got an email on Friday saying that it’s unlikely I’ll get a spot in the NYC dorm. So I have to go out and find something on my own. Or preferably with my friend who’s also going. Anyone have a nice two bed for a nice price in Manhattan or Brooklyn they want to sublet to nice blogger and blogger-friend?
  • worry about my shadowing project — All first year students at LBS have to complete a shadowing project, and although in theory I think it’s a great idea, in practice I’ve been too busy with other things to worry about this. But now the deadline is looming near and I’m starting to get worried. So the idea now is to find someone in NYC to shadow. I think.
  • travel down to Kent to work on a business plan — check. I mentioned this one earlier I think, as a part-time gig I am helping a composer out with a business plan. He recently moved to a beautiful house in the middle of nowhere in Kent, and I went out yesterday to see it with my own eyes, and we spent the whole afternoon working on the plan.
  • seriously think about setting up my own business — check. One of my friends is going through the Entrepreneurship Summer School and she’s having a great time developing her business idea. And it’s infectious. I’m now seriously thinking about my business idea. I think I’m suffering from entrepreneurship-envy.
  • buy extra big box of plasters to put on fingers to prevent cutting myself — ok, I didn’t do this. But I am extra worried about cutting my fingertops and not being able to get my US visa sorted this Tuesday. What can I say? I’m obsessive sometimes.
  • [edit: introduce new SEMBA2008 blogger — check. Check out My SEMBA2008 Experience.]

Ain’t no mountain high enough

Images33Ain’t no valley low enough…One of my dearest and oldest friends in the MBA program is called Nick Wai, and he’s from Hong Kong and Australia. We met at the Open Weekend last year, where we happened to sit next to each other at dinner on Friday night. We got chatting and discovered we both love art, and I think we were secretly both relieved to find that there were ‘normal’ people in the MBA ;-)

Nick is doing the most amazing shadowing project, shadowing an LBS alum who runs Racing The Planet, and Nick’s writing about it for the FT (how cool is that!), follow his story via this link and the introduction here. I am proud to call him my friend and I love that he’s got such a good shadowing project! Go Nick!

How to become a VC

ImagesIf you’ve always wanted to be a Venture Capitalist, here’s your opportunity. Kiva according to their pressrelease is  " the first microlending Web site designed to provide individuals with the ability to connect with and make personal loans to small businesses in developing countries. Founded in 2004 by Matthew and Jessica Flannery, Kiva’s goal is to reduce poverty in developing countries by giving entrepreneurs the ability to build their businesses through flexible loans with six-to 12-month terms. Kiva allows individuals to act as a "micro VC" by loaning directly to entrepreneurs with feasible business plans. Kiva is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. For more information about Kiva, please visit www.kiva.org (see also a Businessweek article on Kiva for more information. I think this is a brilliant idea!).

[edit, on BBC I found an article, which mentions another peer-to-peer VC site called Global Giving.]

Happy dance

SmileyIf I had a happy dance (and maybe it’s about time I invent one, so many good things have been happening in my life lately) I would be doing one right now. I just got an email from Prof Rao, informing me that I’ve been accepted for the Creativity and Personal Mastery Course next year summer (see also Futureguru’s excellent post on this). This course is a bit of an odd one out at business school (although I would argue that this is right where it belongs and every b-school should have one), since it deals with creativity, leadership, discovering your purpose in life and doesn’t come close to doing a WACC or determining the optimal production capacity. Students who take the course rave about it, and for me, this was the most important course on my list. When else will I have the time to spend a fair amount of my time to devote to figuring out where I stand in life, where I want to go and what matters most to me. But whilst I’m very excited, I’m also scared…raving students (slightly cult-ish?), airy fairy concepts, what if I’m too cynical for this course? For now, though, I am incredibly looking forward to this course and I can’t wait to get started. There are 6 books on the pre-reading list, and I’ve already read 4 out of the 6 books on the list (although I have the feeling I might want to re-read them), so I’m well on my way.

To find out more about this course, have a look at the website that goes with the book Prof Rao has written, Are You Ready to Succeed , where you can also find a reference to the syllabus.

[edit: taken out the direct reference to the syllabus, since I’m not sure if that infringes copyright issues or not.]

Weird but wonderful

Ph2006071700533 This is definitely the weirdest form of advertising I’ve come across in a while: advertise on an egg (if it were April 1st today, I’d think it was a really good joke). According to the Washington Post, US TV network CBS will use on-egg advertising to support its TV shows… Have a look at Eggfushion, the company that provides this service for more details (my favourite quote is ‘think of the egg as a new media vehicle’). I can see whole new avenues opening up for on-food advertising: Heinz advertising on carrots, cucumbers with an advertising message from the country-of-origin’s tourist board, mushrooms with their use-by date lasered in sponsored by P&G…

It is hot

Images31The BBC weather forecast for London for the next 4 days: sunny and 32 degrees on Monday, sunny and 33 degrees on Tuesday, sunny and 35 degrees on Wednesday, sunny and 30 degrees on Thursday. I work in an office without airconditioning. And I take a tube and a train to work, neither of which are airconditioned. Ouch. So if I don’t post for a while this week, that’s cause I’ve melted away. Whoever says global warming isn’t happening, should spend the next few days in London ;-)

Last week I went up to Nottingham to help out with a series of workshops for one of our clients and those were good fun. To keep them in the right spirit and to help the ideation process, we had one in a country hotel, one in an empty house and one on what must be one of the most beautiful golf courses in England. Very interesting and I learned a lot about how to set up a good ideation workshop and what a difference a good facilitator makes. Plus I learned that I don’t like the Ikea Swedish meatballs (for the empty house workshop we had to buy some flat pack furniture and we decided to have dinner at Ikea… the meatballs were lousy). All very useful knowledge to have.

On Portal, our LBS intranet system, the incoming first years’ are becoming more and more pronounced, which is making me feel very nostalgic for those good old days of anxiety about financing, selling my lovely apartment, finding a place to live in London, worrying about remembering 324 names and accompanying faces… And the Class of 2009 application questions are already out!

One of my friends at School is involved with a band, and I promised I’d put a small plug on the blog for her (on the condition that I thought they were any good, and I think they are): check out this MySpace page for some cool music.

Look what we found!

What a weird day today. A year ago today, 52 people got killed in the 7/7 bombings in London. I remember that day very vividly, it was just so surreal. And this morning on the tube, it was eery. The free newspaper, Metro, had photos of dead people on the cover, and people were reading that ON the Tube. Again I was struck by the senseless-ness of it all. And how short life is sometimes. My thoughts are with the victims’ families and all those affected by this tragedy.

Product_09Life moves on and next thing I know, my thoughts are filled with trivia again. For my internship, I had to go out today and buy loads of stuff to use
as stimulus in a workshop next week. My kinda job, getting paid to
shop! As I was browsing a supermarket (that was more for lunch by the
way, but I figured it might be interesting to see if they had some
stuff I could use), I saw these sauces by a company called ‘Look What We Found‘.
I love the name, the sauces looked awesome, aren’t too pricey (£3.99
per pack), and I think the packaging is brilliantly done. Plus they have that word-of-mouth quality, something your friends would say (‘oh, look what i’ve found!’). Next
dinnerparty, I’m going to have to give them a testdrive.

Oh, I wish the British Postal Service implements this soon!!! No more email, all my correspondence would go through snail mail ;-)

I subscribe to about 200 feeds on Bloglines, so there’s always something interesting to read. Sometimes, though, stories come in that leave me shaking my head. Here are some examples.

There’s this one, on the Church of the Customer blog, a post about how big companies sometimes COMPLETELY be utter idiots when it comes to blogs and Web2.0 technology. A blogger writes about an upcoming film in a positive way, generating buzz, posts a picture and then gets summoned to take the image dwn by the company. Hello… wake up call. This guy was doing you a favor. Without you having to pay or prompt him. Because he’s a fan, an evangelist. And then you slap him in the face? Ouch.

Who knew that good old GE was into developing Web2.0 applications? Well, I suspect they’re not, but they have created this awesome online collaboration tool. You can use it with others to work on designs, and it is incredibly nifty, my favourite feature being the chat function that goes with it. This means you can chat at the same time you’re creating something on the workscreen. Try it out, preferably with a friend so you can see the full thing in action. Doodling… I love it! Now, if they only add functionality so you can import images, that would make this a supertool.

Turn down the heat!

Afb0026_1It’s official, we’ve just come out the other end from a heatwave. And man, is this city ill equipped for a heatwave! It doesn’t get this hot (>30 degrees centigrade, dunno how much Fahrenheit, although I suspect I will have to learn how to convert before I head out to NYC) this long very often, so not all offices are air-conditioned (mine isn’t; and I’m on the second floor under a flat roof.. ouch), the Tube hasn’t got aircon (gotta love getting your nose stuck in someone’s sweaty armpit in rush-hour), in short: minor disaster. But it looks like the heatwave is over, and at least I don’t have to go into work all dressed up! And it is true: the English weather always gives you something interesting to talk about.

I finished up my London Business School elective portfolio for next year, by handing in my essays for the Creativity and Personal Mastery (CPM) course (the only course for which you have to apply, the others you just choose) and finalizing my elective portfolio. I’ll hear in a month’s time if I got my first elective choices, keep fingers crossed. As with the NYU portfolio, I’ve tried to find a balance between inspiration, CPM, and practical application, stuff like implementing marketing strategies. One course I forgot to mention that I’m taking at NYU is Entrepreneurial Selling, something I’m looking forward to.

I’m still enjoying my internship, maybe a little bit too much. 10 days in and I’m already busting my b**t big time. Which is I a good thing I think. I tend to become quite workaholic though, when I like doing something, that’s not good. I’m getting involved in a lot of projects, and I’m given a lot of freedom combined with just the right amount of guidance, which is nice and allows me to learn a lot. And the commute allows me to catch up on my reading and listening to podcasts. I try to keep up with the Tour de France too over Dutch radio 1 online (Radio Tour de France… brings back memories of hot endless summers and Erik Breukink winning stages), which I find MUCH more interesting than this whole worldcup thing.

Last but not least: congrats to the LBS R4 applicants who got in last Friday (or the week before? I can’t remember…anyway, recently)!