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Case Rip Cord

We bring to you, Dear Reader, some interesting quotes from the cases seen by September cohort this semester, in alphabetical order.
Apple Computer: Steve Jobs named the new Apple computer “Lisa” after his daughter. Apparently the lesson of the Ford Edsel was lost on him. Could CEO John Sculley save Apple like he had Pepsi? No, of course not. Didn’t you see the case nimbly foreshadow his doom when they mentioned his affiliation with a lesser MBA program in Philadelphia?
Bell Atlantic and the Union City Schools (C1): Project Explore: “The three met at the International House of Pancakes in Union City for what became an historic two-hour breakfast meeting.” Ah, yes, the Union City IHOP, world famous meeting place of power-brokers, just like Hobee’s in Palo Alto. Look in bookstores soon for the Memoirs of Ricky Ayers, Scattered and Smothered: The 3AM Waffle House M&A Talks.
Gucci Group: If I started my career at a law firm named “Patton Boggs & Blow,” I’d try to land a gig at Gucci to improve my image too. If you’re thinking of choosing a nom de plume, how sad is it that “Faith Popcorn” is already taken? And once again, Professor Pete Coughlan’s favorite line, “Muccia Prada was a college radical with a doctorate in politics, who reluctantly entered the family business after training as a mime.”
The Offshore Drilling Industry: Beavis and Butthead’s favorite case, as it appears the case writer moonlights as a screenwriter for the soft core porn industry. “Hey babe, at what rate can I hot-stack your jackup?”
The Origins of National Income Accounting: Quite a quote from Vladimir I. Lenin, “Socialism is first of all accounting.” Now we see why HBS, the bastion of capitalism that it is, names our Accounting course “Financial Reporting and Control.”
Progressive Corporation: “By engaging in mouth-to-mouth referrals, a non-standard customer was, in a sense, turned into a `distribution channel’ for Progressive.” Progressive has, with much more than a “sense,” crossed the fine line between a quick response from their insurance adjusters and Ambulance Chasing. We hear their plans for vertically integrating into the paramedic industry are progressing smoothly. All of this brought to you by their CEO, “a rock star without any musical ability” who collected Andy Warhols of Mao. This case wins the award for cheesiest closing line, “As [the CEO] glanced around…looking for guidance, Mao Zedong was giving him only a quizzical look-not only once, but ten times.”
And let’s not forget our reading notes:
An Essay on Bargaining: “If a man knocks at a door and says that he will stab himself on the porch unless given $10, he is more likely to get the $10 if his eyes are bloodshot.”
Please send your favorite quotes to jkayloe@mba2002.hbs.edu. Quotes from all cases in all classes welcomed.

February 12, 2001
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