Saturday, July 10, 2010

Voices Archive

What they're saying at the Stanford Graduate School of Business

A digest of speeches, blogs, videos, and essays from the GSB community.

Returning Employees Pariahs No More

"In the old days, [people who left a company] were treated as traitors who were betraying the organization. … These days, some companies look at them as alumni who know your culture very well. … If they want to come back, companies can say, 'Fantastic, we'd love to have you.' The employees come back with a renewed appreciation for what they have, a good job in a stable company. But they also have had the experience of trying things on the outside, so they have all that learning experience they're bringing with them to the job. They can be very valuable employees."

Henry Chesbrough, MBA '83, in an interview in TMCnet. Chesbrough is currently executive director of the Program in Open Innovation at UC-Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

Who ARE These 21st-Century Kids?

"The Millennials have a much greater integration between who they are and what they do. The applicants today are saying, 'I can't be a person who goes to a job that I don't care about, and then make a difference in my community on the side.' It's the generation that's never made tradeoffs."

Derrick Bolton, MBA/AM Education '98, in a Q&A in the Wall Street Journal. As director of MBA admissions at the GSB, Bolton has an inside track on the generation that came of age after the year 2000.

Funding Is Key to Going International

"No one in their right mind would consider doing two startups in parallel, would they? And yet that's what going international is: A second startup inside your first one. And like any startup, it needs people and money to succeed. ... We mapped out up front all of the work required to make our international startups successful, and assigned a funded budget for it — down to the finance, legal, and HR heads we would need to draw on for tax, incorporation, and compensation advice. The key takeaway to remember is this: If it's unfunded, it's not going to get done."

John O'Farrell, MBA '86, blogging for Fast Company. He is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz and led the firm's investments in Facebook, Twitter, and Groupon.

Houston Rockets' Front Office Talks Real-Life Moneyball

"Sports are actually late to [the] party of using objective analysis. ... From wildcatters to winemakers, Wall Street investing to brand marketing, decisions once entrusted entirely to Don Draper are now made by today's leaders, who decide only after poring over real-time metrics, leaning on statistical analysis, and soliciting the advice of veteran experts. ... In baseball, what started as a small movement with the Oakland A's has become routine. ... While the storytelling genius of Michael Lewis turned baseball's adoption of analytics into a fascinating yarn, the phenomenon is actually just the mundane manifestation of the march of progress."

— Daryl Morey and Sam Hinkie, MBA '05, writing in Grantland about the book Moneyball, by Michael Lewis. Morey is general manager and Hinkie is EVP of basketball operations, as well as chief number cruncher, of the Houston Rockets.

California Redistricting Meets Deadline and Budget

"Some pundits predicted we would not get out of the starting gate. We were a startup, and the strangest oxymoron—a start-up government agency as underfunded as any Silicon Valley startup, but subject to all the rules and regulations of state government bureaucracy. … I'm proud that we were able to eliminate partisan gerrymandering and draw 177 districts for the state Assembly and Senate, Board of Equalization, and Congress on time and under budget."

—Cynthia Dai, MBA '93, writing on the Opinion page of the Los Angeles Times. Dai, founder and principal of Dainamic Consulting in San Francisco, is a member of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

  • More: Dai has been an active pro bono consultant with the business school's Alumni Consulting Team, sharing her expertise with clients as close to her Bay Area home as the San Mateo Public Library and as far away as Uganda.
Japan Needs More Women in Business, Says Hitotsubashi Dean

"In Japan, I'm considered a foreigner first, and no one really notices that I'm a woman. Sometimes I remind people and they look surprised. … Although things are much better than they used to be [for women in business], it's still not a level playing field. … There is power in numbers and we need more women in MBA programs and boardrooms."

—Christina Ahmadjian, MBA '87, in a Q&A with the Financial Times. Dean of the Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, Ahmadjian is Japan's only non-Japanese female dean, according to the newspaper.

Dyslexia Is Integrated, Not Overcome

"People like to say that I have overcome dyslexia. Nothing could be further from the truth. What I have overcome is the mainstream world. A person in a wheelchair overcomes stairs with a ramp. In the same way, I have overcome people who think dyslexia equals lazy. … I made it through a JD/MBA at Stanford, but it was because I have integrated my disability, dyslexia, not because I overcame it. I think of it like my nationality: I am from dyslexia."

—Ben Foss, MBA/JD '03, writing for WISH-TV, Indianapolis. Foss is executive director of the national legal center Disability Rights Advocates and the inventor of the Intel Reader, a mobile device that converts written text to speech.

New York: New Number Two in Internet Ventures

"In terms of consumer internet investment, I see New York as the number two most active geography in the United States after Silicon Valley. Certainly we have more in Silicon Valley, but if you look at the portfolio and the activity on the consumer and mobile sides, New York is where it's happening. … If you're an entrepreneur on the East Coast and you want to stay on the East Coast, I think these days you start that company in New York, not in Boston anymore."

Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, MBA '94, in an interview on Bloomberg television. Ranzetta co-heads the New York office of the venture capital firm Accel Partners.

Endurance Sports Test Both Body and Mind

"Throughout my childhood and well into adulthood, I came to deny and even fear my own vulnerability. Through endurance sports, I developed the courage to be imperfect, and to fail. ...The desire to test our physical and mental limits is a uniquely human trait. ... We yearn for authentic experiences where our courage must be summoned. Some endurance sports fanatics explain that a race like [the Race Across America] demands so much it peels everything away and lays them bare, reconnecting them to their simpler, animal selves."

Amy Snyder, MBA '87, in an interview by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Snyder, an endurance cyclist and triathlete, chronicled the 2009 Race Across America for her book Hell on Two Wheels.

What Entrepreneurs Can Teach Us

"[In venture capital] I worked a lot with entrepreneurs and was naturally interested in the way they think. … I'd never learned how to think using rapid prototyping, iteration, and developing ideas from the ground up. … Creativity is driven by two things: One is discovery and experimentation, the other is having access to broad insight and knowledge and the ability to connect one part of your knowledge base to another. We have to nurture curiosity and the willingness to learn. What is the purpose of education? That's it!"

Peter Sims, MBA '05, in an interview published in Social Enterprise. Sims is the author of Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.

Allison Advises Grads to Follow Their Beliefs

"There is one thing that you should take with you when you leave this campus and, from now on, never be without—and that's your own personal compass. By that I mean a set of commitments to yourself that are grounded in your innermost thoughts about what's important to you, what you want out of life, and how you'll have to conduct yourself to uphold your self-respect. I can assure you that if you live by your own compass—continually using it to guide the choices you make in the days and years ahead—you'll be fine."

Herb Allison, MBA '71, speaking to the business school's Class of 2011 at commencement in June. Allison led both TIAA-CREFF and Merrill Lynch. Most recently, as U.S. Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability and counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury, he supervised the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Influence Beats Power, Says Gordon

"Early on, I learned that I'm better with influence than power. … My sense is that to be a good operator, you need to be power-hungry. You need to care more about power than prestige, and probably more about power than money, and more about power than intellectual stimulation. … There's a cost to having power, which is that the people you have sway over actually own you. … I like having influence. I like being with interesting people and helping them become better and being part of the flow of ideas. … I'm kind of teacher-consultant more than wielder of power."

—Bing Gordon, MBA '78, partner with the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in a Q&A with the New York Times.

Doctor's Advice Is the Best Medicine

"Probably the best favor that anybody ever did for me in my life was done by the Army doctor who … told me [in 1965] that I had diabetes, and then he said, 'I'm going to take the next few days and I'm going to tell you all of the things that you're going to need to do to take care of yourself. You can choose to listen to me and do what I advise, and probably live to be 70 years old or older, or you can ignore my advice and you'll be dead within five years. Your choice.' And he got up and left the room. I did take his advice, and I am now 70 years old."

Gene Thornton, MBA '70, writing in Diabetes Health. Among other blessings in disguise, Thornton credits the diagnosis with changing his career path from the military to business.

Trader Joe Knows It's All About the Name

"There are a lot of products that have no branding. We put our name on it. We were the first essentially to sell frozen fish. We went down to San Pedro, and we'd buy it and freeze it and it was a huge success. [We broke] the price on things that had been too expensive. Wild rice — we found that farmers around Sacramento were starting to grow wild rice, and we broke the price on wild rice. And supermarkets didn't pay any attention to capers — we broke the price on capers. Supermarkets don't have the imagination, and that's OK, because they're trying to be all things to all people."
—Joe Coulombe, MBA '54, the original Trader Joe, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Support the Next Generation of Women

"We Baby Boomer women have been aware of gender discrimination and fought for its end since going through high school and college in the '60s and '70s. We worked hard and followed all of the rules. … Working hard was supposed to lead to equity. And it hasn't. … [Our daughters] were supposed to have better choices than we did. We have seen improvement, but to our daughters the walls still look high and the journey difficult. … It is time to make this our cause. Let's help them. Remember, sisterhood is powerful."

—Christine Jacobs, MBA '78, writing in the Forbes blog "85 Broads." An operations executive for 30 years, Jacobs is a part-time consultant for Core Risks Limited and cofounder of the Leading Women Project.

Linbeck Calls for Decentralized Health Care Management

"In my mind there's no question health care is something for which we feel a responsibility to others—at the family level for sure, and probably others in our local community. But the further out you get from that core, the more diluted that feeling gets. … The system was a mess long before Barack Obama was an elected official. It is a bipartisan mess created over decades. The problem with the president's attempted fix is that it expands centralized control. Ideally, health care decisions should be controlled by people in consultation with their physician, definitely not in Washington."

Leo Linbeck, MBA '94, in an interview by the Texas Tribune. Linbeck is vice chairman of the national Health Care Compact Alliance, which advocates managing health care at levels determined by the states rather than by the federal government. Linbeck, a Houston builder, lectures at the business school.

You've Got Mail. And Mail. And Mail.

"Time-management training is stunningly ineffective. If it weren't, everyone in your organization would be a paragon of efficiency by now. So, what's the problem? What happens is this: After learning the fundamental principles of time management, participants go back to their natural habitat with new tools, high hopes and grand intentions—and promptly get steamrolled by their email. Within days they're back to reading and responding to email as it arrives, being reactive instead of proactive, and fighting fires instead of having time to think, plan and solve problems. The ship of time-management ideas runs aground on the rocks of their reality, the unforgiving email inbox."

Daniel Markovitz, MBA '92, writing in Human Resource Executive. Your company may not be able to eliminate email, Markovitz says, but he suggests ways to manage it. Markovitz, the founder of TimeBack Management, is a communication coach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Clean Energy Can Power the Economy

"As an investor, I look for the biggest growth markets. So that's why I'm a clean energy investor right now. I don't sit in an ivory tower or a think tank. … I figure out where to create value in this economy. … We need to start competing and get out from behind our computers where we write op-eds, stop resting on our laurels, stop wimping out about how China is going to cream us. Is that any way to win a match? … Clean energy is the next growth market for the U.S. … Clean energy will drive our economic recovery."

—Kassia Yanosek, MBA '06, speaking on the NPR show "Intelligence Squared." Yanosek is founding principal of Tana Energy Capital and cofounder of the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance.

Poverty as Much a Barrier as Race and Gender

"There was a point in time when I realized the biggest barrier I had to my success was the class I was born into and not the color of my skin and not my gender. So it was really about poverty. Because of poverty I didn't have certain experiences that made it easy for me to engage in certain social circles, … and I didn't have the background to engage in certain intellectual discussions. … Here at Stanford, I remember thinking, 'Boy, this doctor's daughter, we just have nothing in common!' … I thought a lot of things were my race or my language, but later on I realized it was really my class."

Miriam Rivera, MBA/JD '95, speaking at a forum at Stanford with Princeton professor Cornel West. Rivera is cofounder and managing partner of Ulu Ventures. In 2008 she was elected to the Stanford Board of Trustees and received the Jerry I. Porras Latino Leadership Award from the Hispanic Business Students Association at the business school.

Connecting Social Networks to the Middle East revolutions

"The core of our mission is to make the world more connected and enable people to communicate and share. When individuals see that opportunity – [people] who had no voice can now speak for themselves. All of a sudden to see people to be able to do that around the world, it's ... very sobering."

—David Fischer, MBA '02, vice president for advertising and global operations at Facebook, in an interview by Advertising Age. Fischer was asked to reflect on the connection between social networks and revolution in the Middle East.

TGIM at Tiny Prints

"One [thing we do is] look forward to Mondays. We like to have fun. I mean, we really have the attitude that if we're going to work a lot of hours, we sure hope our employees will look forward to what they're doing. Some of the things that we've instituted include taking the celebrations that would typically happen in other companies on Fridays, and we do them on Mondays. We had an Olympics where all the teams competed against each other and did crazy stuff. And that was on a Monday. We have lunches on Mondays and we play bingo."

—Laura Ching, MBA '00, cofounder and chief merchandising officer of Tiny Prints, in a Q&A with the New York Times. Her classmate and cofounder Ed Han is CEO of the company, which makes personalized paper greeting cards. Seven-year-old Tiny Prints is not so tiny anymore; it has 250 full-time employees, all of them, presumably, looking forward to Mondays.

Westly Says Tech Execs Privately Impressed with Obama

"It was a private exchange, as you know, … but I think everybody in that room was impressed with how conversant [President Obama] is with business issues. … I think you're going to see the president very committed to job creation, very committed to the full-on innovation agenda, to workforce retraining, and the other issues that we know are so important in Silicon Valley."

Steve Westly, MBA '83, in an interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch" the day after he and other Silicon Valley executives attended a private dinner with the president at the home of venture capitalist John Doerr. Guests included Stanford University President John Hennessy and Google CEO Eric Schmidt, like Westly, a former lecturer at the business school. Westly is founder and CEO of the Westly Group, a venture capital firm that invests in clean technology.

Former Congressman Kolbe Speaks Out About Political Polarization

"I've been very disturbed by the polarization of our American political scene. … We need to have a more civil discourse. We need to understand that people in political office, while we disagree with them, they're trying for the most part, they try to do their very best, and that we need to have some respect for those who are willing to put themselves out there and run for political office. ... I think the polarization of our system is such that it's very shrill on both sides, … and I do think that we need to lower that tone. … [However,] I think it's quite inappropriate and wrong to suggest that there's a connection between that and this particular incident."

— Jim Kolbe, MBA '67, in an interview by National Public Radio a few days after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Federal Judge John Roll, Ken Dorushka, Sloan '90, and 16 others in Tucson, Ariz. Kolbe represented Arizona's 8th Congressional district for 22 years. He was succeeded by Giffords in 2007.

Smith Offers Advice to Potential Investors in Education

"Listen closely and carefully to what education's stakeholders — parents, students, educators — want and need, and focus all your energy on creating better long-term outcomes for kids. … Create incentives for quality. … Put some real capital toward helping them measure results with real, robust, and useful assessments, and either change or discontinue programs and policies that just don't work. At the same time, be patient. Progress in education [takes] longer than in other industries. Education is a huge market with great potential for return, but it isn't a great market for investors looking for businesses that are built to flip."

— Kim Smith, MBA '98, co-founder of the New Schools Venture Fund, currently is CEO of Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit consulting organization that works to improve educational opportunities for low-income students. Her interview appeared in TriplePundit.

Magical Moment Arrives for Stanford Navy Vet

"He shook my hand and thanked me for my service, and I thanked him for his leadership on this. … I was a little nervous. I was trying to break up my own tension. So when he was actually signing the document—he does one pen per letter—as he was doing the 'R,' the third letter, I just sort of jokingly whispered to him and said, 'Make sure you spell it right.' And he laughed, and Speaker Pelosi laughed, and it was a really magical moment."

Zoe Dunning, MBA '93, in an interview with CNN, describing how she reacted when President Barack Obama signed the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, allowing gays to serve openly in the armed services. For 14 years, Dunning, a retired U.S. Navy commander, was the only openly gay member of the U.S. military.

  • More: Dunning was interviewed by Stanford Business about her battle to remain in the Navy after she publically declared herself a lesbian in 1993. She came out when she was a second-year MBA student and a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
Capital Standards for Banks Not High Enough

"After a massive and incredibly costly financial crisis, we seem to have a financial system that is more consolidated, more powerful, more profitable and, yes, as fragile and dangerous as we had before the crisis. How did this happen and what can we do? Here are some questions on which the confusion is staggering.

• "Is 'too big' the same as 'too big to fail'?

• "Do capital requirements force banks to 'set capital aside for a rainy day' and not use it to help the economy grow?

• "Are banks different than non-banks in that high leverage is essential to banks' ability to function?

• "Would terrible things happen if capital requirements were to increase dramatically? …

• "I answer an emphatic NO to each of the above questions."

— Anat Admati, the George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics, writing for the blog Baseline Scenario. Amati argues that the capital standards announced in 2010 by bank regulators meeting in Basel, Switzerland, set banks' equity requirements too low, allowing them to be dangerously leveraged.

New Rule: Giving Is Good

"I take a lot of pride in being part of my community. It has nothing to do with being a 'master of the universe,' but it does have a great deal to do with wanting to be a good citizen and a good community member. … I think anyone who doesn't give credit to the system that they are born into is taking an awful lot onto themselves. I mean, I really think that people have sacrificed a lot more than a little tax money to make that system available for all of us."

— Hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, MBA '83, responding to a pointed question from the host of ABC-TV's "This Week," in an episode that featured billionaires who have pledged to leave half their fortunes to charity. "The invitation to me [to sign the Giving Pledge] was a phone call from Warren Buffett," Steyer said. "If he thinks it's a good idea, I start with the assumption it is a good idea."

Work-Life Balance: Men Need It Too

"The past 40 years have seen extraordinary changes in our workplaces and families. Women have entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers and improved their earnings relative to men. At the same time, men have begun to share women's traditional family roles, and men and women have both increased the time they spend with children. Also, as life expectancy has increased, … it has become necessary for both women and men to balance employment with time to care for their elderly parents. … Companies and other organizations that want to continue to attract and retain superior talent — men as well as women — need to develop policies that allow their employees to be successful both at home and at work."

Myra Strober, professor of economics (by courtesy), writing in US Banker. Strober is a labor economist whose work has focused on the economics of work and family.

Managing an Endowment, Big or Small

"The first principles we used at Yale are universal no matter what size endowment you manage. You want to make sure you run a diversified portfolio with exposure to lots of different kinds of assets that behave differently in different economic conditions. … You want managers with high integrity and transparency. [At Wesleyan] we are rebuilding operations from scratch so we have the luxury to adopt best practices, and we don't have legacy operations that we have to change. For example, we will be able to adopt the best software for performance tracking rather than having to live with an older system."

—Anne Martin, MBA '91, the new chief investment officer of Wesleyan University's investment office, formerly of Yale, explained similarities and differences in managing a $16.5 billion endowment like Yale's and a $500-plus million endowment like Wesleyan's. She was interviewed by the Wesleyan Argus.

Facebook Investor Defends Decision

"[Investing in Facebook] was not an easy decision for our partnership. We were mocked publicly when we announced it. It was a risky call at the time and, knock on wood, it appears to have been a smart one. … The best opportunities are often ones where you're being contrarian. That doesn't mean being contrarian for contrarian's sake, but it means you're thoughtful about the risks of following the crowd. The story of Google is just when everyone concluded that a search engine would never make any money, everyone backed out of it, and Google walked into that vacuum and dominated."

— David Sze, MBA '93, is a partner in the venture capital firm Greylock Partners, which invested in Facebook in early 2006 when it was still a closed network, limited to U.S. colleges. Sze was interviewed by the New York Times.

Muslim Student Finds Hope in Common Values

"The would-be ‘Times Square Bomber' ruined the accepted profile of Muslim terrorists as being from some foreign country. He was an American citizen with a wife and kids and a good job, so now people think that any Muslim – even their friendly, mild-mannered neighbors – could be part of a covert sleeper cell. … If there is a silver lining here, it's that today's rage and intolerance provides an opportunity for reconciliation. … Inclusiveness and tolerance are core American and Islamic values, and Muslims come from the same religious lineage as Christians and Jews. Realizing our commonalities is ultimately what will unite us in the fight against global terrorism."

Fareeda Ahmed, MBA Class of '12, a New York-born, Pakistani-American Muslim, was interviewed by, the voice of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, shortly after she arrived at the Stanford Graduate School of Business this fall.

TARP Overseer Allison Calls Program a Success

"TARP has proven remarkably successful at stabilizing the economy and laying the foundation for future growth. … Because of the enormity of the challenges we faced, unemployment is still unacceptably high, and growth has not yet reached an acceptable pace. But we're on the path to recovery. … Many of those who supported TARP have decided that, politically, they need to be against it. But removed from the pressures of a November election, these individuals should be proud of the hard choices they made to help save our economy from a devastating collapse. And perhaps someday they'll say what is now, for them, the unspeakable: TARP was a success."

Herb Allison, MBA '71, was assistant secretary for financial stability at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program. He wrote "The Untold Story of TARP" for the Huffington Post.

California's Economy Needs Green Environment

"We have plenty of problems in California, not least the huge unfunded liabilities confronting the taxpayer. But we will only compound our problems if we abandon our aspirations for the quality of our environment. Our future is with a knowledge economy, and there is one thing we know for sure: Knowledge workers have lots of choices where to live, and they like to live in environments with clean air and green spaces. 'Silicon Valley' did not sprout in Silicon Valley by accident."

George Shultz, Jack Steele Parker Professor of International Economics, Emeritus, in an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. Shultz and Farallon Capital Management founder Tom Steyer, MBA '83, are co-chairs of "No on 23: Californians to Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition."

Role Reversal for Bottlenotes Spells Success

"This role we were playing—as a wine marketing firm helping wineries and importers market their wines directly to consumers—in many ways was limiting our success. I realized we had the model backward. Where we had looked at the shipping of wine as really the profit center, and the media business as a cost center, what would happen if we reversed the model? … I think all businesses need to come up with and develop their social media strategy. All those targeted verticals have to interplay with the Facebooks of the world and the Twitters of the world. You can't create this silo and not interact with social media and the rest of the community."

— Alyssa Rapp, MBA '05, the founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, reversed the company's model in 2008. Now, reports Success, 46% of the company's revenues come from advertising on the site, 42% from wine-tasting events, and only 12% from e-commerce.

More: Stanford magazine called Bottlenotes "the Netflix of wine" in a short profile of the company and its founder.

Traditional Book Publishing Stuck in the Past

"The book industry does a great, fabulous, miraculous job of doing what they needed to do in 1965. Great jobs for good people. Ethics that matter. Good taste. Products to be proud of. In terms of responding to changes in the world, I'm at a loss to think of one thing the book industry does well in 2010 that it wasn't already doing in 1990."

Seth Godin, MBA '84, profiled in Media Bistro. A prolific author in several venues, Godin has given up on traditional book publishing.

The Case for Long-Term Tax Cuts

"Extension of [tax cuts] is not really the solution to the problem. If you extend the tax cuts for one year, but we know they are going to end the tax cuts, that's not much help. Investment depends on long-term returns and not on one year's worth of returns. … We need to create an environment where businesses know their investments will pay off and pay off generously in the future."

— Ed Lazear, the Jack Steele Parker Professor of Human Resources Management and Economics, in a Q&A on CNBC's Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo.

More: Lazear was chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors under President George W. Bush.

Hedge Fund Founder Welcomes Transparency

"[Among] the biggest risks markets face are the lack of understanding of the regulators and for them changing rules inappropriately. … I'm not actually so upset about transparency [regulations] because I think it's a trend we should all expect. … We typically take positions and tell our investors about it, and tell the world about it. The question is whether or not the people are going to believe our views. We don't mind if they know what we own or what we short."

John Burbank, MBA '92, founder and CIO of Passport Capital, referring to the regulation that requires institutional investment managers to report their holdings each quarter to the SEC. He was interviewed by Benzinga.

India Minus the Adjectives

"Terminologies like 'incredible India,' 'emerging giant,' et cetera, sometimes hide the reality that many of the social and health indicators are abysmal and embarrassing. These are some of the issues that will come back and constrain India from fully emerging. It is going to be a giant, it is a giant, but whether it is going to be the global presence it aspires to be or just a plain giant is the question. It all depends on health, education, and investment on people, especially those who are at the bottom."

Jessica Seddon Wallack, PhD '04, is a professor at the Institute for Financial and Management Research in Chennai, India, and the director of IFMR's Centre for Development Finance. She was interviewed by

Retailing Calls for Sophisticated Managers

"When I got here, most faculty found theoretical research more interesting and worried the school would lose its academic purity with an applied science like retailing. … That's changed because the industry has grown so big. Data mining analysis opened doors to retailer supply problems that used to be manufacturer problems. It takes more sophisticated managers to handle today's HR challenges, managing the bottom end of a labor force that is far more diverse and deals in multiple languages. The notion of working your way up from a 16-year-old part-timer on the sales floor won't cut it anymore."

Bart Weitz, MBA '67, PhD '77, is director emeritus of the David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research at the University of Florida. He was interviewed by the St. Petersburg Times.

Lacob Buys Golden State Warriors

"[Buying the Warriors is] a great, great feeling. I live in the Bay Area and have for almost 30 years. I'm a Warriors fan. A season-ticket holder. A Stanford basketball guy. This is a dream come true. … We think it's a very good opportunity as a business enterprise and the potential is there. But this is all about winning. We're going to change the course of the franchise."

Joe Lacob, MBA '83, a minority owner of the Boston Celtics, recently became majority owner of the Golden State Warriors. His interview was published in the Contra Costa Times blog "Inside the Warriors."

Reaction from Boston Celtics Owner

"Joe [Lacob] has been a world-class partner at the Celtics, honest, team oriented and knowledgeable. … His record is identifying and building winning teams. He loves basketball, and is a real competitor. He is a great fit for the Warriors. I told him good luck, but we will try to kick his tail for the next few decades."

Wyc Grousbeck, MBA '92, majority owner of the Boston Celtics, commenting on the purchase of the Golden State Warriors by Celtics minority owner Joe Lacob, MBA '83, as quoted in the Contra Costa Times sports blog "Inside the Warriors."

More: Wyc Grousbeck, Lacob, and three other business school-related owners of the Celtics — Stephen Luczo, MBA '84; Mark Wan, MBA '92; and Professor H. Irving Grousbeckwere on hand to celebrate the team's championship in 2008.

The Russian Connection at NBA's New Jersey Nets

"My role is to bridge the gap between the management here in the States and the Moscow office. … The main thing is I'm not here to meddle. … I'm very involved in all the strategic and financial decisions, and I'm excited to see the results of my work translate into a better team and a more fun experience for our fans."

— Irina Pavlova, MBA '97, recently named president of Onexim Sports and Entertainment, in an interview published by The Russian-owned Onexim Group bought the New Jersey Nets in June. Pavlova, who grew up in Moscow and Washington, will be Onexim's liaison with team management and oversee the building of the Nets' new arena in Brooklyn.

Grove Explodes Silicon's Valley's Garage Myth

"Startups are a wonderful thing, but they cannot by themselves increase tech employment. Equally important is what comes after that mythical moment of creation in the garage, as technology goes from prototype to mass production. This is the phase where companies scale up. They work out design details, figure out how to make things affordably, build factories, and hire people by the thousands. … The scaling process is no longer happening in the U.S. And as long as that's the case, plowing capital into young companies that build their factories elsewhere will continue to yield a bad return in terms of American jobs."

Andy Grove, in a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story, argues for a "job-centric economic theory — and job-centric political leadership" to grow American jobs. Grove, a former chairman and CEO of Intel, is lecturer in management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

More: Grove received the Arbuckle Award in 2004. In his acceptance speech he challenged Stanford to "lead the way … for putting rungs back in the ladder of the American Dream."

He'll Have a Bud With That

"If you are doing anything that you think a consumer would not be willing to pay a premium for -- think twice before doing it. That's why a chauffeured car for me doesn't make sense. I come to work by train. I tell the guys, 'Being efficient is what our consumers would do.' When I travel with my family, I don't go for five-course meals, five-star hotels. ...When I'm watching a sports event, I'll enjoy a Budweiser. If I'm out having dinner, I might order a Stella Artois or one of our other Belgian beer brands.

Carlos Brito, MBA '89, CEO of international beer company InBev, was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

More: Brito elaborated on his management style during a View From The Top speech at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Today's World Needs Transformational Leaders

"The system is broken. It's time for a reboot, and transformational leaders will have a leg-up on transactional leaders. In general, companies like transactional leaders or managers who make the trains run on time. But, when the world is in the midst of change, when adversity and opportunity are almost indistinguishable, this is the time for visionary leadership and when leaders need to look beyond the survival needs of those they're serving."

— Chip Conley, MBA '84, the founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hotels, in an interview with

More: Conley recorded a series of nine videos for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program Entrepreneurship Corner based in part on the theories he outlined in his book Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow.

Advice for Entrepreneurs

"Passion and humility—if you want to command the respect of the people you want to help you become an entrepreneur, those are two things you need. At Foursquare, I walked in and said, 'I will do whatever you want for a month for free. If I deliver, let's talk.' And it worked out for me."

Tristan Walker, MBA '10, in an interview with Vibe. Walker is head of business development for the social media company Foursquare. He worked for the company throughout his entire second year as an MBA student.

Change Makes Sense

"People don't hate change, even though our culture tells us that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. People get married every day and people look forward to the birth of their first child. If resisting change is your goal, having kids is a deeply dumb decision. The real paradox is: Why do we embrace change in some situations and resist it in others?"

— Organizational behavior Professor Chip Heath in a Q&A with Canadian Business magazine. Chip Heath and his brother Dan Heath are authors of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.

More: Stanford Business discussed the Heath brothers' books Made to Stick(2007) and Switch (2010).

Jeff Skoll's Financial Advice to Business Grads

"Most all of you are already successful according to conventional definitions. But while you're thinking about making money, make sure you're also thinking about making meaning. Money without meaning can be an unfulfilling life. … For me, being part of the creation of eBay was a fantastic experience and gave me the resources to live my dream on a scale I had never imagined."

Jeff Skoll, MBA '95, to the 2010 graduates of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Skoll, the first president of eBay, created the philanthropic Skoll Foundation and the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund, which focuses on global problems such as such as climate change, nuclear proliferation, and pandemics. (The entire commencement ceremony is online; Skoll's speech begins at 0:26:46.)

  • More: Skoll's Participant Media invests in films that both entertain viewers and engage them in social action. Among them are Syriana, North Country, and Good Night, and Good Luck.
Bottled Water Not Always Bad

"The work of … nonprofits on the international scene unintentionally contributes to the misconception that dirty water only exists in the developing world. Dirty water is all around us in California—and some people drink it because they don't have the means to buy bottled water."

Robyn Beavers, MBA '10, right, and Bernadette Clavier, associate director of the Center for Social Innovation, in Good. They reported on a student group project that asked: "Is Bottled Water Always the Enemy?"

Video's Future Is Online

"Online video's days as a stand-alone concept are numbered. It's an endangered species. Why? Because in the future all video will be online. Video will be faster, more powerful, and more global than ever before. And you can be sure, it will connect and change the world. So sit back, grab your 3D glasses, and enjoy what's on next."

Hunter Walk, MBA '00, writing in the Huffington Post. Walk is director of product management for YouTube.

Tech IPO Market Waits for Life-Changing Companies

"There are probably 40 to 45 IPOs on file. They are not the category-defining, earthshaking companies the market wants to see. The market wants to see Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, LinkedIn, Skype. They want to see the companies that are changing the way we live."

Frank Quattrone, MBA '81, cofounder and CEO of Qatalyst Partners, discussed the current state of the IPO market at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference.

Clean, Green, and Economic

"My view of clean is that … everything has to make economic sense. … I won't do irrational things just to be green. We do green a disservice when we subsidize it so uneconomic technologies come into the market."

Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, MBA '80, has raised $1 billion to invest in clean-technology startups. He was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal.



Cloud Computing Fuels Startup Dreams

"It used to be said that dreamers have their head in the clouds; today, clouds are actually making their dreams possible. … I am witnessing firsthand how the cloud is transforming the entrepreneurial landscape and fueling a strong start-up culture. In fact, nearly three-quarters of the companies we invest in are now launching on the cloud. … Cloud computing is here to stay. And eventually, it's going to be virtually everywhere we look."

—Ping Li, MBA '99, a partner at Accel Partners, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, writing in the Huffington Post.

Leadership Coaches Play Role in New Curriculum

"My role as a leadership coach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business [is] an unusual job title and, as far as I'm aware, no other business schools have similar teams of practitioners like me and my colleagues to help MBA students develop their leadership and interpersonal skills. … I graduated from the GSB in 2000, and today the school offers a much wider range of classes and activities that emphasize experiential learning and critical thinking, and those disciplines now form two cornerstones of the school's new curriculum."


Ed Batista, MBA '00, a San Francisco-based change management consultant and executive coach, has been a leadership coach at the business school since 2007. He described his Stanford coaching job on his blog.


Derivatives Not at Fault for Greek Crisis

"Some have raised concerns that speculation with credit default swaps is responsible for raising the borrowing costs of Greece, California, and other issuers of government debt. There is no evidence of this, and there is good reason to believe that this is not the case. The net amounts of credit default swaps referencing these issuers is a small fraction of the amounts of their debt outstanding. Even if all of the CDS trading is purely speculative, there is just not enough of it to move the needle very much."

—Finance professor and derivatives expert Darrell Duffie testified before a congressional subcommittee about the role of derivatives in government debt and their possible role in the Greek financial crisis.

Video on Product to Protect Premature Infants

"What can you hold in the palm of your hand? An infant's future."

—A video by Karla Gallardo, left, Aastha Gupta, center, and Lavanya Ashok, all MBA Class of 2010, promotes the Embrace, an incubating sleeping bag for at-risk babies tiny enough to, literally, fit in the palm of your hand. The students created the fundraising video, according to the San Jose Mercury News, as a team project for The Power of Social Technology, taught by Jennifer Aaker. A student team that included Jane Chen, MBA '08, developed the incubator in a design class taught by James Patell.

IT Should Integrate with Business

In the IT world, you hear a lot about aligning with the business. That's a fundamental problem, because IT needs to be integrated with the business, not aligned. There's a big difference. Integration requires trade-offs: One system is chosen over another, and therefore one person loses to another. Alignment is often just about trying to make people happy."

Jack Bergstrand, Sloan '95, in an interview with CFO. Bergstrand is CEO of Brand Velocity, an Atlanta-based consulting firm. Previously, he was vice president, business systems, for Coca-Cola and, earlier, CFO.

Costco Gained Brands During Recession

"One thing that I believe has made us a strong retailer during these tough economic times has been our ability to procure a variety of additional high-end brands that previously were unavailable to us. In the fall of 2008, when traditional high-end retailers were cutting back on merchandise commitments, we became a viable option to take that merchandise. Many of those manufacturers are now selling Costco direct for the first time."

Richard Galanti, MBA '82, was interviewed by the Wall Street Transcript. Galanti is Costco's executive vice president and CFO.

More: Galanti gave the Arjay Miller Lecture at the GSB in 2002.

AARP's View of Health Care Reform

"There are many benefits that we get from the passing of the health care bill. I'd be the first to say we've been advocating for more, … but we believe that there are very good things [in the bill] that change the shape of what you can expect for your own health care and security."

— AARP Chief Executive A. Barry Rand, Sloan '72, MBA '73, spoke about the national health care reform bill at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club.

Stanford's Value-Added MBA

"I do think that when you see Stanford [on a resume], the person who selected Stanford has selected it. People who go to Stanford aren't there because they didn't get into Harvard. It's a choice and a philosophy and a point of view. So I am positively predisposed to the kind of person that that will be."

— Rachel Braun Scherl, MBA '92, president of Semprae Laboratories, on what difference an MBA degree from a top business school means to her when she is recruiting for her company. Scherl was one of several recruiters interviewed by Business Insider for its ranking of "The World's Best Business Schools." (Stanford was #2 on the list of 50.)

Acquisition a Roller Coaster

"I'd say one word describes best what the acquisition process was like: roller coaster. (Wait, is that two words?) In completing an acquisition, there are so many moving parts. … Through this process we learned the importance of understanding the goals of each party, highlighting the areas where there is alignment, and speaking frankly about areas where there isn't. That's where the real work is … getting to alignment, if not in goals, then in acceptable outcomes. And it's through these difficult discussions that we often realized whether a prospective acquirer was a good fit or not."

— TuitionCoach founder and CEO Monisha Perkash, MBA '03, MA Ed '03, recently completed the sale of the college-finance guidance company to SimpleTuition, where she is VP of advisory products. Perkash was interviewed by the blog Astia Notes.

Duffie Defends Financial Speculation

"Those who call for stamping out speculation may be confused between speculation and market manipulation. Manipulation occurs when investors 'attack' a financial market in order to profit by changing the value of an investment. Profitable speculation occurs when investors accurately forecast an investment's fundamental strength or weakness. … Speculation is not necessarily harmless. If a large speculator does not have enough capital to cover potential losses, he could destabilize financial markets if his position collapses. The Over-the-Counter Derivatives Markets Act, which could come up for a vote in the Senate soon, will hopefully reduce such risks. It would be better for our economy to enforce anti-manipulation laws, and require that speculators have enough capital to cover their risks, than to attempt to squash speculation."

Darrell Duffie, the Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, writing "In Defense of Financial Speculation," in the Wall Street Journal. (Subscription required.)

Health Care is Hurting Democrats

The majority party normally loses seats in midterm elections, but the Republican resurgence of recent months is more than a conventional midterm rebound. The culprit is the unpopularity of health reform, and it means that Democrats will face even worse problems later this year in less liberal places than Massachusetts say Professors David Brady, Daniel Kessler, and Douglas Rivers in an op ed piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Persistence Pays in New Zealand Startup

"You'll need lots of fortitude to make your business a success. You need to be strong-willed, bloody persistent, stay true to your vision, have enough capital for several years until you can achieve profitability, a passion in what you are doing, and a large target market for your products and services. Plus a very understanding partner and family!"

Leslie Preston, MBA '93, is cofounder and general manager of Bachcare Holiday Homes in New Zealand. She was interviewed by the New Zealand Herald.

Entrepreneurs in Golf

"I received some bad news in today's mail. An attorney representing the owner of the Swing Groover trademark objected to us filing an application for 'SwingGroove,' claiming that it was 'confusingly similar' to Swing Groover. He demanded that we rescind the application. This objection may have some merit because the Swing Groover device is also a golf-training aid. I don't want to spend time and money fighting a battle that I'm likely to lose. … Bye-bye, SwingGroove."

Tom Cannon, Sloan '87, blogging the ups and downs of an entrepreneur's workweek for Cannon, who holds more than a dozen patents, is collaborating with Sidney "Skip" West, MBA '80, on the golfing aid, which is now called BonusYards. The two alumni met at a Stanford entrepreneurs group dinner in Washington, D.C.

Switching Chairs at GM

"[When I run meetings] I always sit at a different chair. … When I was in different roles in this company, I saw a lot of leaders sit in the same chair, think the same way, and talk to the same people. And I said to myself: 'When I become a leader, and I have a big team, I'm not going to play favorites.' I think … not always being predictable is healthy."

Susan Docherty, Sloan '04, asked in a Q&A by the New York Times if there is anything unusual about the way she runs meetings. After filling several chairs at GM, Docherty was named the automaker's vice president for U.S. vehicle sales, service, and marketing in December.

Challenging Assumptions Toward National Security

"Going to war always challenges our assumptions. One assumption that urgently needs to be revisited is whether it is necessary, or wise, to impose [a standard of 100% assured protection of military information], which made eminent sense when our enemy was the former Soviet Union. Back then, we faced a large and technically sophisticated nation that had the will and means to penetrate the smallest crack in our information protection. Our current enemies haven't the skill or resources to mount large-scale attacks which [military and government] reviews were meant to protect against."

—David Kahn, MBA '79, in HSToday, a journal about homeland security. Kahn is CEO of Covia Labs, which develops software platforms for unifying communications. He says military personnel use personal smart phones and other less secure consumer communication devices because formal U.S. information security requirements are too stringent.

Stanford Doc Hails Haiti Volunteers

"There are always a few people more interested in citing their credentials than in getting the work done, and media people looking for the sensational angle, but they stood out in stark contrast to the dedicated and tireless people who rolled up their sleeves coming in and hugged going out. Take it from someone who was, as someone suggested to me, in the belly of the beast that when the memories finally register, they will be indelible and life-altering."

—Dr. Paul Auerbach, Sloan '89, blogging in from Haiti. A professor of surgery at Stanford Medical School, Auerbach and six other volunteers from the Stanford emergency department landed shortly after the January earthquake. As more help arrived in Port-au-Prince, Auerbach coordinated the medical activities of nongovernmental agencies.

Online Life Morphing with Real Life

"More of how we live our lives in the real world is morphing into our online social identities and how we use both established and emerging social technologies. … The result is an even richer life … both online and off."

Gina Bianchini, MBA '00, cofounder and CEO of Ning, writing in the Huffington Post.

ICANN a Virtual Switzerland
"There are certain things [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers] can do in cyber-security and certain things we absolutely cannot do. We're fundamentally a bottom-up, community-driven organization [with] a special focus on the domain name system. ... There's cyber-defense and there's cyber-offense. We have nothing to do with offense anywhere, and we have to remain as neutral as Switzerland ... protecting our domain name system through and with our partners."

--Rod Beckstrom, MBA '87, president and CEO of the international nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, discussed the past, present, and future of ICANN during a 30-minute interview on C-Span.

To End the Recession, Think Jobs
"Using GDP growth alone is a very weak and misleading indicator of true economic vitality. The only measures that really matter are, initially, the months before net job growth reemerges and, ultimately, total employment itself. ... It is imperative that the Executive and the Congress focus their full attention on unemployment and on charting a clear path to finding those millions of missing jobs."

--Leo Hindery, MBA '71, writing in the Huffington Post, suggests seven steps to recover jobs in the United States. Hindery is chairman of the U.S. Economy/Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation.

Social Networking According to the Talmud
"People from all over the world can meet and interact virtually on IMVU. It reminds me of a wonderful saying from the Talmud: 'Who is wise? He who learns from all people.'"
-- Cary Rosenzweig, MBA '88, is CEO of IMVU, an online community whose 45 million registered users create avatars and interact through them. His avatar (pictured) is named CaryJay. Rosenzweig was interviewed by the New York Times.

Coupling Growth with Climate Control
"The world's major challenge is to devise a strategy that encourages growth in the developing world, but on a path that approaches safe global carbon-emission levels by mid-century. The way to achieve this is to decouple the question of who pays for most efforts to mitigate climate change from the question of where, geographically, these efforts take place. ... A crucial corollary of this strategy is large-scale technology transfer to developing countries, allowing them both to grow and to curtail their emissions."
--Former Stanford Business School Dean Michael Spence, in the second of a series of opinion pieces in the online forum the Project Syndicate. Spence's essays about "The New Wealth of Nations" appear monthly.

The Road to Stanford
"I had never been out of South Dakota. ... The memory that comes back is driving out to Stanford with the U-Haul trailer, being in the fast lane in traffic and horns honking, people pointing and screaming at me. I asked myself, 'What the hell did I get myself into?' I mean, literally I didn't even realize that there was a fast lane and a slow lane! Once I got on campus, it was very, very easy to adjust. ... Stanford put an emphasis on prior work experience, and so I was able to learn from my classmates as well as the professors. The whole experience was, I'd say, crucial to any success I've had in my business career."
-- Gary Pechota, MBA '74, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, is part owner of DT Track Consulting, a business involved in Indian health care. Pechota reflected on his career for Winds of Change, a magazine that focuses on education and career advancement for Native Americans.

Don't Tax Efficiency in Health Care
"Instead of promoting prepayment and integrated care with the right incentives, the best long-term strategy for keeping coverage affordable, this [tax proposed by the Senate Finance Committee] moves us in the wrong direction, toward fee-for-service. ... If it proves to be absolutely necessary to raise revenue by taxing some part of health insurance, it would make more sense to lower the thresholds at which the excise tax on high cost insurance would apply, adjusted for age and other risk factors, thus strengthening the incentive to choose economical care."
--Professor Emeritus Alain Enthoven in an opinion piece.

Advice for Obama's Jobs Summiteers
"Let's focus on developing jobs in America that will make us stronger coming out of this Great Recession than we were going into it. So, how elusive is the solution to America's unemployment spiral? One part of the solution is not elusive at all. It is innovation. ... As the proceedings begin, it is my hope that the participants will share a sense of urgency and a common belief that out of this extraordinary challenge, we can create jobs for today's workers and our next generations. We can innovate our way to a prosperous future."
--Robert Holleyman, SEP '98, CEO of the Business Software Alliance, writing in the Huffington Post on the eve of President Obama's Jobs Summit.

Redirect Pakistan Aid
"The United States should invest both funds and skills in market-oriented solutions with the power to capture the imagination of Pakistanis who, themselves, are looking for a way to change their own lives. ... If even 10% of the annual $1.5 billion [in additional development aid to Pakistan] were devoted to investments in sustainable and expandable innovations for meeting basic needs of the poor, we could see greater trust between Pakistan and the United States, and ordinary people themselves could start to believe in a partnership of change."
--Jacqueline Novogratz, MBA '91, CEO of the Acumen Fund, writing as a guest blogger on Novogratz calls for a redirection of aid to Pakistan -- moving away from top-down "solutions" toward entrepreneurial, market-oriented investment in the poor.

Back From the Brink
"What happened in the world economy is something that happens every 100 or 120 years; it was completely unexpected. ... If what you did was an error, there has to be a change in management. But if it was an act of God, and it wasn't your fault, why? I believe that in many companies [fired execs are] sacrificial lambs, to make it look as if you're doing something when you're not. When you're in a crisis, changing management is a false move."
--Lorenzo Zambrano, MBA '68, longtime chairman and CEO of Cemex, in a Q&A with Business Week, his first since he brought the world's third largest cement producer back from last year's financial crisis.

I-bank Lesson Learned

"We predicted that six out of ten of these investment bank acquisitions by commercial banks would not work. We were wrong. Nine out of ten didn't work."

--Dick Kovacevich, MBA '67, chairman of Wells Fargo, reflecting on this and other lessons he's learned since business school. He appeared at Stanford as part of the View From the Top speaker series.

In Investing, Two Heads Are Better Than One
"In a complicated task involving critical decisions, working with good partners and listening to them is almost always better that working alone. Somehow, the group process ensures that most bad ideas are weeded out, even if their owners shout and cajole, while ideas that make sense influence the group's opinion, even if their owners speak softly."
--Avner Mandelman, MBA '76, director of Venator Capital Management, writing in the Globe and Mail about applying a lesson he learned at the GSB to his investment strategy.

After the Wall
"I was helping Fox News produce a documentary marking the 15th anniversary of [Reagan's] Berlin Wall address. After the day's shooting, [anchorman Tony] Snow and I walked through the Brandenburg Gate to the former East Berlin, a place that once appeared drab and lifeless but now pulsed with color and energy. In a building that had once housed a branch of the old Communist government, Snow and I discovered a particularly vivid demonstration of the victory of free markets: a Rolls-Royce dealership."
--Peter Robinson, MBA '90, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and former presidential speechwriter, reflecting in Forbes about the speech he drafted for President Reagan, urging "Mr. Gorbachev" to "tear down this wall."

Business Recovery Tips
"Is it possible that we have weathered the worst of the storm? While there is no doubt that times will remain tough for a while, smart business leaders are beginning to think about what will come next, and how to be ready to make the most of it."

-- Paul Staelin, MBA '01, vice president of Birst, a provider of business analytics software, writing in destinationCRM about business recovery in 2010.

Anything Goes?
"When does something splashed on Facebook or broadcast via Twitter become bad for my company? The problem is not with my staff but with me. Specifically, photos that I posted on my Facebook page [pictured at right] in September after returning from Burning Man, the weeklong anything-goes festival. Yes, I know it isn't the typical CEO getaway. That's part of the problem."
-- Chip Conley, MBA '84, CEO and founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels, asks readers of BNET a burning question about corporate behavior in an era when anything goes -- or does it?

Americans and Their Leaders
"Americans still believe in the power of leadership. If they have lost faith, ¼ it's about the current crop of individuals in leadership roles that seem to be driving their disenchantment and dismay -- not the idea that leaders can make a difference."
-- Roderick Kramer, the William R. Kimball Professor of Organizational Behavior, in the Washington Post blog "On Leadership."Kramer is currently a visiting professor at Harvard.

India's Slums Are Key to Economic Success
"It may be precisely the fact that India's rich and poor live side by side that makes many Indian urban areas such productive drivers of economic development, in contrast to many areas in the West where the poor live in economically segregated neighbourhoods or even 'projects' set up in the name of urban renewal."
-- Saumitra Jha, GSB assistant professor of political economy, in an opinion piece for the Indian Express.

Engineering, Regulatory Framework Key to UK's Future
"In recent decades, the UK has moved away from high-volume manufacturing and towards specialised high-tech manufacturing and knowledge-based services. ... Engineers can help ensure that the economy exploits this evolution. ... But the government must play its part. ... We need a robust but enabling regulatory framework to encourage the development of new industries. We need encouragement for investors to keep the ideas, businesses and skilled people here in the UK."
-- Lord Browne of Madingley, Sloan '81, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, writing in the Engineer.

Nobel Laureate Alumnus on Corporate Governance
"I have no doubt that the economics of governance is influential in significant measure because it does speak to real world phenomena and invites empirical testing. ... All feasible forms of organization are flawed, and ... we need to understand the trade-offs that are going on, the factors that are responsible for using one form of governance rather than another, the strengths and weaknesses that are associated with each of them."
-- Oliver Williamson, MBA '60, professor emeritus at UC-Berkeley's Haas School of Business, in his first interview after learning he would receive the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences "for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm."

Country Built on Entrepreneurs
"Our prosperity depends on innovative thinking. Instead of bailing out behemoths that are 'too big to fail,' we must remember that mom-and-pop businesses, garage start-ups, and small ventures are the reason we succeed."
-- Amy Wilkinson, MBA '02, blogging in USA Today. She was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center until August 2009 and is now a senior fellow at Harvard.

A Different Kind of Government Bailout
California "requires retailers to purchase beer and wine from single sources, i.e., monopolies that set prices and delivery schedules. . . . We do not need bailouts. What we need is bail to set us free from the overabundance of laws that bind and imprison us in inefficient, arcane, inequitable and costly regulatory constraints and mandates."
-- Lennie Copeland, MBA '79, in the Redding Record Searchlight. Copeland owns theOno Store and International Cafe in rural northwestern California



The Harsh Truth About Startups
"I can't tell you how frequently teams of three business school students tell me they're going to start the next great consumer internet company. When I point out that they're all business people and wonder who's going to build the product, they almost always fall back on 'we'll get a couple of undergrads to do it,' or, 'we'll outsource it.' If I hear either one of those, I know the startup's already dead. Sorry, folks. Harsh, but probably true."
--Seth Sternberg, MBA Class of 2006, blogging about how to do a startup, on TechCrunch. CEO Sternberg is one of three cofounders of Meebo. He's the business guy; the other two are techies.

A Conservative Argument for Amtrak
"Passenger rail, Amtrak in particular, has been a conservative whipping boy for decades. This point of view needs serious reexamination, because national transportation strategy is an issue of U.S. national competitiveness, and passenger rail has a significant role to play. ... In the passenger transportation world, conservatives have lost their way with the libertarian mantra of 'let the free market work,' as though this absolves them of wrestling with the real details of real problems."

-- Former Amtrak CEO, Alex Kummant, MBA '90, writing in the internet publication "American Thinker"

Management by Blogging
"It seems we learn over and over with new communication channels that human behavior is strikingly constant. People who misbehave are the exception rather than the rule, no matter the medium."

--Becky Bermont, MBA '05, vice president of media and partners at the Rhode Island School of Design, in a Aug. 26, 2009, public blog about a private management blog at the school

New Orleans Incubator
"As someone who cut his teeth in the Bay Area during the dot-com boom, it's my opinion that we have an opportunity in New Orleans to recreate what we saw there in the late 1990s, or what Austin or Seattle has done. We're creating a mecca for entrepreneurs."

-- Michael Hecht, MBA '98, is president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc., a nonprofit economic development initiative, and one of the minds behind the Intellectual Property, a New Orleans Warehouse District office building that Entrepreneur calls "a hub for an entrepreneurial culture that is bubbling up all over the city."

Class Reunion Sharing
"I stumbled into my 25th Stanford Business School reunion over the weekend somewhat chagrined by the fact that my pockets are relatively empty a quarter of a century after I graduated from this august institution."

--Chip Conley, MBA '84. But he found that "misery truly does love company" and left the reunion feeling "a surprising dose of gratitude." Conley is the founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality and an occasional blogger for the Huffington Post.

"What will I say if my daughter asks me, 'How can I make sure my life is financially secure?' I would have to pause before I answer. I would have to consider that in all likelihood she won't live to see true workplace equality. But her life matters now. So I will have my own Orwellian answer for her and offer it with a hefty dose of irony, 'Apply yourself at school and at work. And to cover all your bases, marry a man with money.'"

Daniela Drake, MBA '98, full-time primary care physician and co-author of Smart Girls Marry Money, writing for Reuters' "The Great Debate" blog.

Hackers Pose Threat to New Technologies
"Now, with the advent of what some technologists call the 'internet of things,' we are encountering a new wave of hacking, one that encompasses not only wired computers and networks, but also intelligent devices including smart phones, routers and switches, printers, smart grid components, supervisory control and data acquisition systems, and even medical devices. . . . It is becoming clear that hacking's latest surge will almost certainly include terrorist cyber strikes against the smart grid, which is a danger that can no longer be dismissed as a spy movie scenario."
-- Kurt Stammberger, Sloan '05, in the September 2009 issue of Embedded Computing Design. He is VP of marketing at Mocana and chairs the security working group for the IP for Small Objects (IPSO) Alliance.

Markets Emerge and Grow
"The term 'emerging markets' is obsolete. They represent half of the world's economy; their financial markets are large and liquid, with volatility, corporate governance, and government policies very similar to those of developed markets. . . . There is, however, one measure that highlights a clear and continuing distinction between emerging and developed markets: growth."
-- Marco Dimitrijevic MBA '85, in the Financial Times. He is founder and chief investment officer of Everest Capital.

Country Built on Entrepreneurs
"Our prosperity depends on innovative thinking. Instead of bailing out behemoths that are 'too big to fail,' we must remember that mom-and-pop businesses, garage start-ups, and small ventures are the reason we succeed."
-- Amy Wilkinson, MBA '02, blogging in USA Today. She was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center until August 2009 and is now a senior fellow at Harvard.

A Different Kind of Government Bailout
California "requires retailers to purchase beer and wine from single sources, i.e., monopolies that set prices and delivery schedules. . . . We do not need bailouts. What we need is bail to set us free from the overabundance of laws that bind and imprison us in inefficient, arcane, inequitable and costly regulatory constraints and mandates."
-- Lennie Copeland, MBA '79, in the Redding Record Searchlight. Copeland owns theOno Store and International Cafe in rural northwestern California



The Harsh Truth About Startups
"I can't tell you how frequently teams of three business school students tell me they're going to start the next great consumer internet company. When I point out that they're all business people and wonder who's going to build the product, they almost always fall back on 'we'll get a couple of undergrads to do it,' or, 'we'll outsource it.' If I hear either one of those, I know the startup's already dead. Sorry, folks. Harsh, but probably true."
--Seth Sternberg, MBA Class of 2006, blogging about how to do a startup, on TechCrunch. CEO Sternberg is one of three cofounders of Meebo. He's the business guy; the other two are techies.

A Conservative Argument for Amtrak
"Passenger rail, Amtrak in particular, has been a conservative whipping boy for decades. This point of view needs serious reexamination, because national transportation strategy is an issue of U.S. national competitiveness, and passenger rail has a significant role to play. ... In the passenger transportation world, conservatives have lost their way with the libertarian mantra of 'let the free market work,' as though this absolves them of wrestling with the real details of real problems."

-- Former Amtrak CEO, Alex Kummant, MBA '90, writing in the internet publication "American Thinker"

Management by Blogging
"It seems we learn over and over with new communication channels that human behavior is strikingly constant. People who misbehave are the exception rather than the rule, no matter the medium."

--Becky Bermont, MBA '05, vice president of media and partners at the Rhode Island School of Design, in a Aug. 26, 2009, public blog about a private management blog at the school

Privatization Urged in Gulf Cooperation Council
"Many of the major companies in the Gulf continue to be government-owned despite a few successful privatisation initiatives. Governments would do well to open more of their prized assets to private capital in order to benefit from enhanced accountability and efficiency that comes with private sector involvement."

--Fawzi Jumean, MBA '05, executive vice president for the lower Gulf region at Amwal AlKhaleej, a Middle East and North Africa private-equity firm, writing Sept. 6, 2009, in the UAE National

Software to Rate Employees
"Human resources people don't want to be weenies. We help them quantify who the true performers are and who are not. ... Separate the losers from the winners -- that's what we do."

-- Lars Dalgaard, Sloan '99, is the CEO of SuccessFactors, which makes employee performance management software. He was interviewed by's"Intelligent Technology" blog. (7/29/09)



What Speakers Had to Say

Liquidity Traps and the Credit Crunch
"In the economic current crisis, the Keynesian response of stimulating aggregate demand through easy money and loose fiscal policy is correct to a point," says Stanford Economist Ronald McKinnon in an essay in The Financial Times. "But flooding the system with excess liquidity that drives short-term interest rates to near zero is a mistake."

Guaranteed to Wake You
If you've ever wondered why anyone would swim the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay, meet Joe Davis, MBA '88, who puts in an hour each morning, up to seven days a week, often from a favorite beach near the Golden Gate Bridge. The president and CEO of Coremetrics considers his morning dip part of his job, "to take care of my brain and my body so that when I come to work I'm 100 percent." Davis was interviewed on site by Forbes Video Network's "Personal Best."

Cutting-Edge Barbershop
Two African American entrepreneurs are taking a risk in bootstrapping an unusual startup in recession-hit San Francisco, says CNN. The network featured GSB classmates Kumi Walker and Sean Heywood, both MBA '06, on its series "Black in America." Walker and Heywood opened MR., a cutting-edge, membership-based barbershop plus bar and lounge, despite the difficulty in finding a landlord who would rent to two young black men. As for the current economic outlook, "We're fighting to drive, not survive," Heywood said. "Kumi and I decided not to participate in the recession."

Opening Remarks
"We must never forget that this financial crisis isn't just about banks, credit, and lending -- it's about the day-to-day effects the crisis is having on the American people.... These real-world harms are the reason Congress has given the Office of Financial Stability the mandate it has, and I will ensure that combating these human costs remains the focus of the office."
--Herbert Allison, MBA '71, in introductory remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing for the office of Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability.

A Family Affair
"When you are entering the diamond industry, everyone assumes that your family must be in the industry,"
--Eric Grossberg, MBA '04, co-founder of Brilliant Earth, told Bloomberg TV's "Venture" in an 18-minute interview. Diamond industry outsiders Grossberg and co-founder Beth Gerstein, MBA '03, had to establish trust with insiders before their nontraditional, eco-friendly jewelry company could succeed.

Context is Key
"There is a mistaken belief that people, or for that matter organizations, can be 'context free' and objective in their choices and judgments. But we and the places where we work are very much products of our history and past decisions -- we are, in a phrase, 'path dependent' -- a consequence of the particular path traversed to get to where we are."
--Business School Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, PhD '72, writing as a panelist on the Washington Post forum "On Leadership."

Good Deeds Require Good Management
"I believed that management experience, business experience, is the way to solve big problems of poverty at the end of the day, that while traditional aid works in some cases, in many cases it was failing the poor, and markets alone were often not reaching the poor."
--Jacqueline Novogratz, MBA '91, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Acumen Fund, explained to Charlie Rose on his eponymous television show why she took time out from her career in microfinance to go to Stanford Business School.

A Champion of Women Returning to The Work Force 

Brenda Barnes has broken a lot of stereotypes as the CEO of Sara Lee Corp., including making sure corporate America is aware of the hidden talents of women who once stayed at home but who today want to re-enter the work force.

Today’s Market Behavior Shouldn’t Be a Surprise Says Joseph Stiglitz 

The Great Depression taught lessons about financial market behavior that were forgotten says economist Joseph Stiglitz who blames both Wall Street and mortgage lenders for the current economic chaos.

Gates CEO Jeff Raikes: Have a Plan But Be Flexible 

Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes has taken a circuitous path to lead one of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations. He started out on the farm then fell in love with software development. As his father advised, he’s flexible.

Colombian Vice President Santos Urges Investment, Free Trade

Colombia still has problems with drug cartels but a dramatic drop in violence and greater government investment in education, health, and democratic institutions makes it a good country for corporations to invest, Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos told a Business School audience.

Reflections on a Meaningful Life 

George Shultz recounted his experiences
as a college football player, an economist, a Marine during World War II, a secretary of labor and the treasury in the Nixon administration and President Reagan's secretary of state during Harry’s Last Lecture, reflecting on leading a meaningful life. 

Financial Institutions Caused this Crisis Says Wells Fargo’s Kovacevich 

The current financial crisis was caused by financial institutions themselves, not by their customers, Richard Kovacevich, MBA ‘67, chairman of Wells Fargo, told the day-long program organized by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research on March 13.

An Optimistic Picture for Developing Countries 

"There is, perhaps for the first time in history, a reasonable chance of transforming the quality of life and the creative opportunities for the vast majority of humanity," says Dean Emeritus Michael Spence, describing the report of the Independent Commission on Growth in Developing Countries, which he chaired.

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