Case Rip Cord Remembers the Excellent 80s

The Case Rip Cord’s gonna go in reverse alphabetical order today, because it’s almost the end of the year.

Yahoo!: In the spirit of full disclosure, the Rip Cord admits not reading this case. You see, last year it was pulled out of the Strategy course at the last minute and exchanged for (yet another) one on eBay.

Something about Meg Whitman being in town, and Dean Clark wanting her to see that an eBay case was being taught. Regardless, the Rip Cord hopes you liked the case, and thought you’d enjoy seeing this photo of Jerry Yang from the Stanford Freshman Face Book. Sweet moon-head ‘do, eh?

And just to show Uncle Jordy’s a good sport, you get to see one from his youth too, complete with middle-parted Midwestern mullet.

WebMD: “The health care industry received an average score of only 2 out of 10 in ratings of ‘customer friendliness.'” Does this really say anything about the people involved? Because a doctor can be the friendliest person in the world, but if he sticks a chunk of cold metal into a human orifice, doesn’t he automatically lose at least 5 out of 10 on that scale?

The Textile Corporation Building: The protagonist in this real estate case likes to buy old, run down office buildings and refurbish them. “In renovating one major building, he had taken out the old-fashioned marble dividing partitions in the toilet areas and replaced them with new metal partitions. Then he had the marble repolished and reused to create an elegant marble entrance lobby. Imagination was an important factor in remodeling.” Umm, some may call that Creativity or Imagination, but others might use words like Stingy or Thrifty.

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’s in the case. Lieb then names his company Kingsley Management after the Allston bachelor pad party house in which he lived. At least there’s some redemption for current residents Drew Hykes (OF), Brendan McGeever (ND), Brendan Strong (OC), and Brian Tockman (OD). Wait, it looks like are three slots opening up-get on board while you still can.

Keurig: This coffee brewing company forced its founder to resign because he was a bad businessman, yet they kept the company name he picked the out of a Dutch dictionary because it means “Excellent.” Could he have picked a word that’s more confusing to pronounce in English? They should have thrown some misplaced umlauts in there too, like Ha„gen-Dazs does. Luckily they have a sense of humor, calling themselves “crackpots” and making jokes about needing a cup of coffee. And it’s good to see that casewriter Jeremy B. Dann is a devout Seinfeld fan. When disguising the name of a Keurig supplier, he uses the name “Vandelay Industries.” How is old George Costanza doing there at Vandelay? And is HBS Publishing paying royalties to Castle Rock Entertainment for use of that name? To the tune of four cents a case, perhaps.

Friona Industries, L.P.: This case refers to a company called “Oscar Meyer.” Guess the TV ads back in the 70s that went “My baloney has a second name, it’s M-A-Y-E-R” were lost on this casewriter. So sad.

European Monetary Union: After learning about the Franc Forte (strong franc) in the French unemployment case, the Rip Cord wonders why the European Monetary Union established its central bank headquarters in the German city of…Frankfurt. Coincidence? The case calls Maastricht “a small Dutch town.” There are now over 150,000 Dutchmen whispering, “Keurig. No more tourists from that uppity HBS place, where any town smaller than Boston is considered puny.”

Please send comments on your cases to

April 29, 2002
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