Cucuhouse blog

Stories from cucurulla street in Barcelona district 01 and the continuation of the killed blog "Güten tag rhine"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Challenging but achievable

Yesterday I read an interesting thing about "supply and demand". Back in 1990, an imaginative guy called Julius Lowenthal did a very interesting experiment that I am going to explain. By the way, according to wikipedia, Julius Lowenthal it is also te name of a company that manufactures high-end cigarette lighters and other luxury gift items....such as the Golden Gun that appears in the James Bond film "The man with a golden gun". Do not confuse with The man with the golden finger, or goldfinger, or with the man with the golden eye, or goldeneye) We will go back to james bond later, lets focus now.

Mr. Lowenthal wanted to explore the supply of "check cashing", so he sent checks of $1.11 to 58 of the wealthiest Americans, including entertainers, entrepreneurs, sports figures, writers, politicians...There are rich people in almost every profession you know. Of the 58, there were 26 who took the trouble to cash the check. These 26 were then sent checks for $0.64. Now only 13 cashed their checks. Each of these 13 was sent a final check for $0.13 and only two guys cashed that check. Their names are Donald Trump and Adnan Kashoggi.

My idea is that they sent some poor guy to the bank to cash it, but it is also true that those guys love every cent they can earn probably a bit more than what is normal (that is one reason they have become quite rich). I argued with my Grandmother not long time ago because she tried (and managed) to pick a 5 cents coin from the floor in the street during a painful couple of minutes, risking her back and having a bad afternoon without being able to stand up properly. I am sure Donald Trump would have helped her (and probably run away with the coin!). If you are thinking I am an asshole because I did not helped her, I was at some distance and when I realized (promise) I just had time to shout: please, die another day!

The other guy who increased his wealth by $0.13 was Adnan Kashoggi (and now we close the circle of connections), whose sister was the mother of Dodi Al-Fayed, Diana's...(I love wikipedia). Ok, it turn out that this man had a kind of crazy money-spending life, commemorated in Queen's album The Miracle, on which the second song is titled "Khashoggi's Ship", for his super yatch "Nabila". A very good place to enjoy or live the daylights. Just this small boat you can see below.

Do you know who bought the yatch at the end after it was bought and sold couple of times in a quasi-all debt operation and $0.13 of free cash?? Yes, you are right, it was Donald Trump!! The world is not enough....big.

The best is that the yatch appeared in a James Bond film (Never say never again). It is a shame that the film was not The man with a golden gun. That would have been really a signal to Mr. Julius Lowenthal, the inspirer of this post.

This short story tells us that when the reward for something is small, relatively few people take the effort of going for it.
Another input from class yesterday, related in some way with supply and demand, is that thanks to Salvatore, we could hear a couple of adjectives to decide how to set some objectives for yourself or for someone else. "as we used to say in my company", an objective has to be...Challenging but achievable.
I think this can be applied to almost everything we should go for, not only in the professional life, but also in our private life. In fact, that is what everybody likes, something that is too easy to get is not so attractive to our eyes. The best example is with (como no) men and women realtionships (Although I think it is more applicable to women). We may go for something challenging, but of course, if it is not achievable....well....there is a sentence that says that seduction starts with a "no" but I am not very sure about that. Depends which kind of no.
To finish the post I think it is fair to go back to James Bond (James Bond girls I mean). Good example of challenging but achievable? It is curious that since "Dr.No" they haven't been able to find such a good James Bond (Sean Connery), and such a good James Bond girl (Ms. Andress).
Readers, For your eyes only:

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

The king at school

The other day I saw the king of Spain in person for the first time. Nothing has changed in my life, and I did not go to any event as a fan of the kings to shout "JuanCarlos y Sofía, os queremos!!" That was not the case. They came to IESE for the innauguration of the new building and we had the "opportunity" to wait standing up for around half an hour under the sun while everybody else (hundreds of alumni, politicians, professors, and other powerful people I guess) was enjoying a good cocktail. During the waiting time, the waiters were literaly attacked by a crowd of starving MBA students in their way to the cocktail room. Fortunately for the people inside the building, IESE allocated a team of 2 extra-waiters in order to protect the food and the champagne (sorry, cava I mean) from us. After a long waiting time, the kings came, they were 30 seconds in front of the group for the official picture with MBA students that you can see in the king's blog, and they left. Then we decide that it was time to eat real stuff instead of trying to steal more small pieces of food.

Here you can see the students with the king, just in the moment when a spontaneous person was mooning from a window in front of the group. Our king has a great sense of humour.

In the evening news I saw the king having lunch same day in Madrid with some politicians, and at 2pm he was in Barcelona with us, no wonder he left so fast!

For me, the most curious thing from the event, that by the way we students could follow only from a high-technology classroom, was the speech of the Associate Dean of Harvard Business School. He emphasized the reationship between HBS and IESE, and then he said that the year our king studied there was very important for HBS because they graduated two kings that year, the king of spain, and the king of swing: Benny Goodman. I don't know what to think about this sentence. I found it funny at beggining, but sincerely, I think it is not really appropriate, although I have a lot of respect for the king of soul. And now that I think about it, because of that sentence I have been listening a bit of Benny Goodman this week. At least Benny Goodman has some glamour and well, can be used in the sentence I guess, imagine that in 20 years they say to the future king that they were very proud that year because they graduated two kings, the king of spain and the king of pop, Michael jackson. I can't imagine Michael at HBS graduation ceremony. Same for other kings of music.... (sorry I had to include M.Jackson in this post somehow).

Here Benny, the good man. I like this surname. Is there someone called Badman also?

What else, my smoking tendencies are under control. It has been some time since I was a smoker and actually I feel pretty good, very good. I am happy I haven't smoked. However, I have to say that if in 15 or 30 days I have the same sensations when I think about smoking a cigarrete while enjoying a beer at night with friends...I may go back!! Seriously, this 2 or 3 minutes of craving are quite bad. But we will resist!!! The only problm that ceasing tobacco has caused in my life is that nerves are pretty altered in my family lately. My father took the same decision this new years eve, so now, the two of us combined have stooped to consume around 500 cigarretes per week. A direct consequence of that is that at some random time during the day it is better not to even talk at home. When the nicotinic receptors in your brain cells stop receiving the positive input of some mg of that substance every ertain period of time, well, some effect can be noticed, and mine is quite small compared with my father. However, my mother is so happy that we are a healthy non-smoking family now that counteracts all the negative energy that can come from the drug-addict behavior.

The grumpy dwarf is a good example of a recent ex-smoker after having his after-lunch coffee. There is also a personality theory that associates you with one of the seven dwarfs (and you have the same one either you smoke or not). I may be the grumpy dwarf.....or not. Not losing time now to figure it out. I know myself pretty good.

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