News

Case Rip Cord Warms Up

Global Climate Change: Russia and the Ukraine are refusing to commit to reduce emissions to prevent global warming. No shit-like they don’t want it ten degrees warmer? Hell, they probably want to put out as much methane as they can if it’s gonna make Moscow as warm as Washington, and are most likely researching ways to get their cows to procreate like rabbits. “Cardiorespiratory mortality and illness are likely to increase due to a rise in the frequency and intensity of heat waves.” So all the people who retire to Florida and Arizona are actually decreasing their life spans, and the label “God’s Waiting Room” is really true? “Some economists argue that a positive social discount rate should be used, but that it should be less than the private discount rate.” What’s a “social” discount rate? Do we get to learn about it in second year Finance class? And Michael Polay, ND gives the Mea Culpa Award to the casewriters for the final footnote in the case. “Professors Michael McElroy of Harvard’s Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, and David Moss, Julio Rotemberg, Richard Vietor, and Louis Wells of Harvard Business School, offered very helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of this case. The casewriters alone are responsible for any remaining errors.”
Kingsley Management: Not sure what to make of Kingsley Management CEO Matt Lieb. He joins the US Army, goes through elite Ranger school, and ends up with an infantryman’s dream assignment at the 82nd Airborne. Within months, he’s submitted his papers to get out of the Army and come to HBS, apparently so he can fulfill his real lifelong dream: entering the family car washing business. OK, maybe there’s more to it than what we see in the case. Lieb then names his company Kingsley Management after the Allston bachelor pad party house in which he lived. Redemption.

Lawyers and Leases: First off, Michele Lutz wins the Best Casewriter Award for keeping things short and to the point. But why is she hanging out with a guy who tags “Esquire” onto the end of his name? Maybe it’s not his fault, and HBS is just being formal, like they are when they talk about “William Jefferson” Clinton in footnotes of the Global Climate Change case? Regardless, there’s some nice stuff in the lease at the end of this case. One of the terms says, “The fixed rent shall be adjusted.” Now what does George Christodoulo, Esquire, have to say about that verbiage? The floor plan shows the office comes with a bathtub. `Cause you never know when that will come in handy. Finally, there are plenty of new terms to learn when you come to business school,like incent, incentivize, due diligence, tariffication, recruitment, Newellization, and WACC. This lease introduces the new winner: arrearage.

Return Logic, Inc.: More good work from Michele Lutz and George Christodoulo, Esquire. Shannon Ward gave her HBS sectionmate Andrew Chan an equal share of equity in their company, and now she’s ready to screw him out of it. Where’s the Section Love?
Tyco International: The Case Rip Cord reported a few weeks ago that Disney CEO Michael Eisner might not really be sure what the word “synergy” means. But here Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski pulls off unrelated diversification, which the academics say is “wacko.” Maybe Kozlowski just figured out that “synergy” is actually synonymous with “bullshit.” Kozlowski also says about his conglomerate, “It’s boring. It’s not as glamorous as other things to tell someone you make fire hydrants and sprinkler heads. … In the meantime, we’re quietly grinding it out in Rust Belt America. … Fortunately there aren’t a whole lot of people bothering us in our markets, and it’s a real advantage.” Hey, don’t sell yourself short. This is a great business, you’re not wacko, and this is a great case. And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m from Cleveland, At least not as far as you know.

April 17, 2001
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