They Said What?

Another week… some more HBS quotes. Insights this time run the gamut from companies like Harley Davidson and eBay to general philosophical thoughts on subjects ranging from donuts to sex. Thanks to all quote submitters. As always, please forward any outlandish classroom comments by email to

Chris Knop (NH): “For those of you who are not watching Formula One, it is always won by a Mercedes… or by a Ferrari with a German driver.”

Julian Rizo (NH): “When you are at a red light, and you have a Harley at your right, you’re like, ‘Wow, is that a beggar, or what?'”

Marc Zelanko (NH): “I think Harley Davidson might be worried about sex.”

Jenn Taylor: “Don’t you mean gender?”

Zelanko: “No, I mean sex. Exhibit 10 says sex.”

Jenn Taylor (NH): “You can’t park an RV in Cambridge.”
“As an American, I need eight different types of alarm clocks and 35 sweaters.”

Tom Russell (NI): [on selling on eBay in Negotiation] “A lot of people are susceptible to the winner’s curse, and I know that, so I exploit them.”
[on Hillary Clinton’s book deal] Josh Jarrett (NH): “She still gets $8 million even if she writes a crappy book.”

Professor Michael Roberto (Strategy): “Would you rather be a CEO in a great industry or in a crummy industry?”

John Berger (NH): “I would rather be a CEO in a crummy industry.”

Professor Roberto: “Why?”

Robert Kimmel (NH): “So he can fire people.”

Huw Pill (BGIE): “Accounting never tells you anything.”

Corporate Financial Flexibility Professor Tom Copeland, when asked if the real option discount rate captured the risk of something catastrophic happening to the project: “If a nearby star goes supernova – we’re not considering that volatility.”

Channels to Market Professor David Bell: “Why [is Royal Ahold] expanding? In the Netherlands, it takes ten minutes to saturate the country.”
Bell, on whether students are allowed to do the final paper in groups larger than two: “[One group has] already wrestled me to the ground and forced me into a threesome.”

Houman Fardin (OA), on why small business leaders listen to the case protagonist for advice on their companies: “He’s like them. He’s had ups and downs. He’s not sexy.” [The class laughs, and Fardin realizes he is in the room.] “Well, he may be sexy in some ways.”

Professional Services Professor Ashish Nanda: “How did you handle the Morgan Stanley Dean Witter merger?”

Guest John Straus, former head of Morgan Stanley Private Client Services: “Pre-merger, brown hair. Now…” [Points to his silver hair.]

Megan Murray (OE), after describing growing up on Dunkin’ Donuts, eating there with her family every Sunday morning, becoming an expert on donut quality and consistency, and worrying that these prized products might not travel well if Dunkin’ Donuts wanted to distribute them to satellite locations: “Honey-dipped donuts are very sensitive.”

[analyzing Downy users thoughts about the fabric softener] Brett Laschinger (OB): “I thought there was a ‘Sex’ component, and that came out of the ‘Spending Time with Myself’ component.”

Craig Shepherd (OC), on why people are attracted to the Harley

Davidson brand: “I think the Harvard Law School grad said it best. He just wanted to feel a little bit naughty – a little nasty.”

Wendy Ware (OF): “I grew up on the back of my Dad’s Harley, going to Sunday School.”

Carolyn Bockius (OA): “If Yahoo! launches a teen website with streaming media, the teens will want a more exciting adult website when they grow up.”

February 19, 2002
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