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Case Rip Cord

Aravind Eye Hospital: This may be the first case we’ve seen written in the first person, and it’s actually a refreshing change of pace. In a couple instances the text actually reads “I (the casewriter).” Who would “I” be besides “the casewriter?” The case states that the protagonist wants to franchise eye hospitals like McDonald’s and Burger King. After showing a video of up close and personal eye surgery in class, Course Head Professor Paul Marshall cut right to the chase and asked Section NF, “Do you think of McDonald’s when you see that film?”

Plum Creek: While half of the Negotiations sections were busily learning about Canadian auto unions, the other half read a case with the comment “Within the industry they’re considered the Darth Vader of the state of Washington.” A footnote explaining the comment stated “Darth Vader is the powerful villain in the George Lucas film series Star Wars. He is a leader of the New Order, a dictatorship based on fear and terror, and he ruthlessly employs torture and brutal violence to achieve his objectives. He uses a red light sword to strike down his enemies.” (Beth Howe, NC)

Ryanair: British Airways hired a new chairman named John King, “a self-made millionaire with experience in the ball-bearing industry.” King cut the labor force dramatically by 1985 to prepare British Airways for privatization. 1985 also saw the production of a classic comedy called Fletch, in which Chevy Chase’s character explains defiantly to an airplane mechanic, “Do you need a refresher course? It’s all ball-bearings these days.” This line does not appear in Gregory McDonald’s 1974 Edgar Award winning book upon which the movie was based. Coincidental ad-libbing by Chase, or a timely prediction of the rise of the Brothers Ryan? The case also states that Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus diversified in the late 80s, and got into hospital management in Baghdad. If they’re the ones who decided to install anti-aircraft guns on the roofs of these hospitals during the Gulf War, it’s no wonder a couple of upstart twenty-something lads could figure out how to scuttle their business.

Singapore: John Andrews wrote in The Economist: “Singapore was doomed to live on the wits of its people. They were not a promising mix.” That’s not very nice, and this guy probably chews gum. Glad they proved this him wrong.

Technical Data Corporation: Jeffrey Parker is selling shares of his two-person company, and at the end of his plea, he describes the background of his co-worker and investors. The Vice President of his company is a woman named Jody Morse, who “was associated with Mr. Parker at Fidelity.” One would think they might want to be a little more specific about Ms. Morse’s expertise when trying to attract investors. No matter, Ms. Morse’s home address is given on the next page for those who want to build their own “associations.”

Tracmail: Exhibit 8 gives the pros and cons of using a wondrous technology called “E-mail” to respond to customer service requests. “Ideal for lengthy and detailed questions–but can spread interactions over several hours or even bad days.” How does it know how to differentiate from the good days?!? (Michael Polay, ND).

Please send your favorite quotes with commentary to jkayloe@mba2002.hbs.edu.

March 5, 2001
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