July 20th, 2004

Acadia

.Wharton | Day 11

So, another loooong week at Wharton. Thankfully, we only have 3 of those total, and the one remaining one will be the International Study Seminar (more on this later).

Trying to remember how to study. It's been a while, but I used to be pretty good at it. Guess, it's the same as any other skill - use it or lose it. Right now I am feeling something similar to what I feel on the dance floor - I know I used to be able to do this and that, but now I either can't or am much worse at it! It is getting better, though, and I have 1.75 more years to practice.

Management - it's interesting how many of the cases are intertwined with real life. This morning we had a case about Automated Travel Systems, an end-of-the-nineties startup. The developers were holding the founder and then the CEO hostage asking for higher and higher raises or threatening to quit. And they weren't paying too badly - the chief programmer (chief, but still programmer, not manager) was getting $180K plus equity! The company was trying to build an engine to search for the best price for airline tickets, with customers like LowestFare.com and Priceline.com. Incidentally, nevsky works for their direct competitor, so I was somewhat familiar with the industry, which was fun to share. After about an hour long discussion of the case, the professor said that we had a guest in class, who turned out to be the company's founder! Here we were, a bunch of know-it-alls talking about solutions to his problems and he was just sitting there listening all this time. It was quite humbling and yet very insightful to talk to him. Seth Perelman started the company at age 20, after having dropped out of Brandeis, and now, with ATS gone (it was sold on not very good terms in the summer of 2000), he has started another company, which he hopes to be much more successful, building on his prior experience. I mentioned nevsky's company again, and he said that competition was one of the motivating factors at the time - his chief programmer was a CMU grad working against a bunch of MIT grads up in Boston. Guess, MIT won!

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