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Case Rip Cord

Today’s Special comes from the Finance 2 Course Platform: “Due to anticipated weather conditions, the time window for doing on-line Exercise 2 has been extended… To avoid weather-related remote connection problems you are advised to take the exercise on campus.” They forgot to add, “Yes, Off-Campus Students, the slim chances your electronic umbilical cord will go out make it well worth ignoring all regard for life and limb and weather-related travel problems to get to the safe confines of the Shad basement. There will be cots awaiting your arrival. MBA Services will provide cocoa and oatmeal, and the SA-sponsored Karaoke contest commences at midnight.”

Anasazi Exclusive Salon Products, Inc.: The Artistic Director decided to name the company after an ancient Native American tribe because of their innovative artistry, oral tradition, and social awareness. He neglects to mention that this tribe disappeared suddenly and without a trace around AD 1300 for reasons still unknown to archaeologists today. Perhaps the VCs would want to know such a fact if the founders are planning to pattern themselves so completely after the Anasazi? Also of note is that Anasazi is a Navajo word meaning “ancient people who are not us.”

Cox Communications, Inc., 1999: Blue Ribbon Winner for Cheesiest Opening Theme. The case starts out “Summer in Atlanta.was usually quite warm, but the summer of 1999 was especially hot.” The final statement of the opening section reads, “The heat outside the Cox headquarters was nowhere [near] as blistering as the heat within [the Treasurer’s] organization as his people worked late into the night.” Apparently the Research Associates are watching Silk Stalkings and other sultry shows in their hotel rooms again.

On the same day that we’re trying to figure out “How to grow Cox” in Finance, our BGIE case on China details a strategy of “Grasping the big ones and letting go of the small ones.”

Dividend Policy at FPL Group, Inc.: Don’t worry, non-native English-speaking classmates. No native English speaker has any freaking clue what the indented quote on page one actually says either. The Merrill Lynch analysts seem to be expecting, not choosing, not entirely securing, believing, suggesting, feeling, and suggesting again. Apparently they didn’t get the HBS crash course in getting off the fence and defending a position. Luckily this entire case is made much more comprehensible by the use of an innovative half-spacing line separation, a type setting technique that results in the savings of…absolutely no paper, judging from the three blank pages at the end of the case.

Russia: Exhibit 10 shows the Duma Final Elections Results by political party for the elections of 1993, 1995, and 1999. Now multiparty elections are great, but only one of the fifteen or so parties in contention in these three elections survived this six-year period-the Communists. Some of these other parties have great names though. Best of Show Award goes to the “Power to the People!” party, followed closely by the “Our Home is Russia” party. No Russian has been able to provide an explanation as to why Yavlinsky named his party “Yabloko,” which means “Apple.” And who wouldn’t want to attend a meeting of the “Women of Russia” party? At last check, there are billboards all over the Mediterranean coast of Turkey advertising their topless Wednesday night planning sessions . This case also has great, simplistic study questions:
1) What went wrong in Russia?
2) Who is to blame?
3) What is to be done?
Why beat around the bush?

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

March 12, 2001
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