Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

Weekend Dog Blogging

February 27, 2009
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Went to my buddy’s place a few days ago and attempted to snap a couple photos of their dogs.

Mac didn’t come out so well:

Hard to catch a dog on an iPhone camera

Hard to catch a dog on an iPhone camera

And Stella (black lab):

Easier to get Stella

Easier to get Stella


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Peru Guest Blogging

February 27, 2009
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Today marks the beginning of our Spring Break. Woohoo! I’ll be taking the week off and heading out to California to visit some family and friends. Fortunately I’ll have plenty of time to do some light blogging.

However, you’ll also see some guest blogging this week from a group of 15 MBA candidates who are traveling to Peru for 10 days. They will be doing community service activities as well as digging into microfinancial issues affecting the country. The group will be staying in Trujillo, Peru. Hopefully we’ll be getting a few updates and some pictures to go along with the stories. I’m excited to see what they produce, and I hope you enjoy reading about their experiences as much as I will.

Friday Morning Quick Hits

February 27, 2009
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Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic activity, fell 6.2% in the fourth quarter of 2008, the largest decline since 2008. Economists had expected the number to come in at 5.4%.

The U.S. takes another step towards nationalizing CitiGroup by taking a 36% stake in the troubled bank. The government is also expected to shake up the board room (good riddance to those guys/gals).

Facebook is set to upgrade and relaunch its Pages utility. Pages allow companies and other organizations to interact with Facebook’s huge user population. Here is the Page for the MBA program as well as one for this blog.

Dell’s net earnings fell 48% marking another blow for major tech companies coming to grips with the recession.

Stocks are set to drop sharply this morning between the poor GDP report, the increasing nationalization of Citi, and an increasingly poor economic horizon.

Video Blogging

February 26, 2009
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Ignite Social Media’s Kailee on why companies should video blog:

This is something we’ve been experimenting with at NC State. Here are two videos we’ve put together since I started the blog.

The MBASA Year-End Holiday Party:

A quick interview with two of our international students:

NC State also has a YouTube channel with several more videos. Included are talks by Dean Ira Weiss as well Associate Dean Steve Allen. Other large companies such as Yamaha and Johnson & Johnson also have their own YouTube channels. Start-ups have also been using YouTube for years, hoping to create viral videos that hit millions of eyeballs for virtually no cost.

Thursday Morning Quick Hits

February 26, 2009
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President Obama is scheduled to make remarks this morning on his first proposed budget. Details include an additional $750B of aid to the financial industry, and a deficit pegged at $1.75T for the year. Obama has pledged to cut that number in half by 2012.

General Motors continues to struggle as they reported a greater than expected $9.6B loss this quarter. The company managed to burn through more than $5B of cash and is expected to ask for more bailout money from the government.

The unemployment crisis continues as jobless claims hit a new record… again, topping 667,000 new applicants. Continuing recipients topped 5M for the first time in history as well.

Apple’s board is coming under fire from shareholders about withholding information regarding the health of Steve Jobs.

In the tech world, Salesforce crossed $1B of revenues for the year, while also posting quarterly net income of $13.7M. This is the first time a company based solely on web applications has reached that threshold.

The Dow fell yesterday, following Obama’s non-State of the Union, State of the Union, but has opened this session up despite the tough job numbers and the announcement from GM.

Light Blogging Ahead

February 25, 2009
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We have a fairly intense operations final tomorrow at 1:30 pm. I’ll be able to get up the usual morning quick hits tomorrow, but blogging will be light for the rest of the day and tomorrow as a result. Normal posting should resume on Friday. We’ll also be having some guest bloggers during our spring break next week, which I’ll blog in more detail about later!

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Wednesday Morning Quick Hits

February 25, 2009
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Obama’s next challenge: Figure out how to control a ballooning federal deficit. Just add it to the list

Beware the revenge of the shareholders, particularly within financial institutions.

Ford executives are stepping up to the plate and will take a 30% cut in pay.

San Francisco might become the first city without a major daily printed newspaper. The SF Chronicle has been bleeding millions and is just the latest sign that print continues to be hurt by the rise of the internet.

The Dow finished up 236 points yesterday, but are set to open down this morning.

Summer Internship Crunch

February 24, 2009
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CNN publishes a story this afternoon that many of us here in graduate school could write in our sleep: For students, summer jobs are harder to come by. Well first of all, Duh. Of course summer jobs are harder to come by, the economy is in an awful recession and jobs are being slashed across the board.

However, the article does go on to note that while the banking industry and MBA’s in particular have been hit hard by the downturn, other graduate students are also feeling the burn: “At the law school, “everybody is scrambling,” according to Littman. “The phone has been ringing a lot from people who are worried.”

Everyone is feeling the crunch right now.

Customer Service in a Web 2.0 World

February 24, 2009
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There’s a nice blog post up today over at Ignite Social Media outlining how companies can use Web 2.0 to engage their customers whether it’s to promote awareness or encourage loyalty. The author focuses primarily upon Twitter as a means to communicate with customers, but there are other means for a company to engage.

For example, last night I was doing a bit of online shopping, and when I browsed through a website, a chat window popped open. At first I was surprised, but then I realized there was a live person on the other end. Our conversation went something like this:

Customer Service Agent (CSA): Hello

Me: Hi, is this a real person?

CSA: Yes, yes it is. How can I help you today? Do you have any questions about our products?

Me: Yes, can you please tell me about…

Now obviously this won’t be practical for large corporations that are receiving tens of thousands of hits to their sites every hour, but for start-ups and small businesses using an internet-based distribution model, this has real potential. How nice would it be to have that one to one interaction with a representative of that company every time we shop? Isn’t that a primary reason we get off our butts and go to a store, to receive that personal attention if we have questions?

Bernanke Acknowledges Depth of Crisis

February 24, 2009
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Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke came out with his strongest statement yet on the severity of the recession this morning.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he’s hoping the recession could end later this year, but he cautioned that a full economic recovery will take “more than two or three years.”

The head of the central bank said a turnaround will only occur “if actions taken by the administration, the Congress, and the Federal Reserve are successful in restoring some measure of financial stability.” He also acknowledged the recovery might not go as well as hoped.

Note the key passage, “if actions taken… are successful in restoring some measure of financial stability.” That is as of yet unknown, but it’s one reason I’ve supported both the stimulus package and the foreclosure plan presented by the Obama administration. Both pieces of legislation are direct action aimed at staunching the recession.

President Obama will address the nation tonight in a quasi-State of the Union address. He’s expected to continue presenting short-term solutions to the economy, as well as tackling longer-term issues such as health care and entitlement reform that need to occur before the national deficit can be brought under control.

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