News

They Said What?

Once again, Professors Frances Frei, Andre Perold, and Richard Tedlow have reached deep into their bag of tricks to provide the headline acts for another week’s amusement. We also bring you a new opening act this week featuring amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.
As always, please email all quotes to quotes@mba2003.hbs.edu.

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Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com founder): “Read the customer reviews of the Oxo Salad Spinner. They read like a sexual experience. People who do not like salad like the Salad Spinner.”
—-
Ari Haseotes (OH): “I had to fire all of the employees except for one.”
Professor Frances Frei (Managing Service Operations): “Were you the one?”
—-
Shashank Singh (NG): “I was wondering whether someone could explain the process of calculating debt betas.”

Professor Kohlberg (Finance-I): “Does anyone have experience with this?”

Shashank: “I do.”
—-
Mark Bradshaw (FRC)
[addressing Favorable and Unfavorable volume variances]:
“So does everyone know what I mean when I say “F” and “U ?”
—-
Rob Metcalf (NE): “I can speak on that. I was a History major. Well, the Civil War ends in 1965…”
—-
Frei: “When you see something that looks non-linear, put in a squared term. If that doesn’t work, seek help.”

“I brought my favorite book to class: Calculus Made Easy. Why are you laughing? This really is my favorite book. The author passed away in 1916. It’s the best math book and the best book in my opinion. I love this stuff.”

“Whenever you do calculus, you worry about fleas, but not fleas’ fleas.”
—-
Professor Andre Perold (Investment Management):
“It’s hard to have inside information on the whole market.”

“What’s the worst case scenario? Lose everything. That’s always the worst case scenario.”

“Back in the 80s, when there was a negative earnings surprise, a disappointment, you had weeks before the market would react. You could just lie on the beach, write a little note for a trade order, stick it in a bottle and float it off.”

“Your job is to think, otherwise you’re just a parrot, and you don’t want that job.”

[on the difficulty of being a successful large institutional investor] “When you walk through a forest, and you see that an elephant has knocked down a trail of trees, it’s not hard to find the elephant.”
—-
Jennifer McCoy (OG): “I am very risk averse. I was an accountant.”
Perold: “I’m not sure that holds these days.”
—-
Professor Tom DeLong (Managing Human Capital):
“I think I want to be just like Michael Porter. No, I take that back.”
—-
Professor Richard Tedlow (Coming of Managerial Capitalism):
“The goal of this course is not only to be about the past, but also about the present and the future. This is not the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.”

“I once heard the definition of tenure is never having to smile if you don’t feel like it.”

“I hope you will watch this video, but if you can’t make it, you can’t make it. If you don’t watch this video, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But the next day, and for the rest of your life.”

“This will be on the exam. When you go to work, and there is nothing there – no desk, no nothing – that is a BAD sign.”

“Thomas J. Watson Sr. was free with a dollar bill, unlike Sam Walton who would squeeze it until it shrieked.”

[on the fact that comparative advertising was non-existent in the 1950s]“Brand X must have had a huge market share in the 1950s, because that was all you saw on television.”

December 9, 2002
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