Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Indra Nooyi

Today Indra Nooyi, President and CFO of PepsiCo, Inc, came to speak at Sloan. I really liked her, but found her talk to be a bit more mixed. The topic she was supposed to be speaking about was "Diversity in Action." I kind of felt that the talk that resulted was like an Atkins diet sandwich: two really crappy pieces of bread surrounding some real quality stuff in the middle.

I did not like what she said about diversity (or, for that matter, the number of times she used the word "diversity.") She spoke at length about how PepsiCo tries to hire a diverse set of people, with at least half being minorities or women. I cannot stand demographic creation such as this. As a woman, I would rather not be hired than be hired because I am a woman.

For example, I once had words with a supervisor because I felt he did not treat women with equal respect as men. He told me that he feels very strongly about his women, and goes out of his way to hire and protect us. In that very statement, he revealed his different standards for treatment of the genders. While I appreciated that he thought he treated women well, the idea that he had to differentiate showed that I was still viewed as a woman, not as an engineer.

Anyhow, on to my bullet points. Like I wrote, I really liked Nooyi. When she spoke about her personal experiences, she was an engaging and intelligent speaker. She gave five C's that are essential for being a good leader:
1. Competency: What do you do best? Are you the "go to" person for this skill? Once you have this skill, never stop fine-tuning it.
2. Courage and conviction: Without these, you are not a leader; you are just another competent person.
2a. Confidence: You will find confidence comes from role models. She cited her mother as one of hers, having always believed in her. She then told a wonderful story about a bad suit-buying trip which resulted in her wearing a sari and being herself for an interview, which resulted in an offer from Booz Hamilton.
3. Consistency: This is about efficincy. Leaders erode trust when they waffle. There must be a logical reason for all choices.
4. Compass: Each of us has an internal compass which should know "true North." In other words, know yourself and your direction.
5. Coaching: Find supportive, encouraging, and blunt mentors. Mentors usually choose their mentees, so be sure to show off your other C's in your every day doings.

Hmmm...then my notes have such enlightening tidbits as "this diversity stuff is crap." I really don't like the whole affirmative action thing (at least as it pertains to myself), if you can't tell =) I just think it gives others the right to assume that I am where I am today, or that another minority is where he is today, due to our gender or ethnicity. I do think that a way to solve this is to be sure to recruit equally...that is give people equal opportunity to get the job, just don't hire or promote any differently.

Okay, this isn't a rant about my feelings, so back to the talk.

One thing I really liked is that she said that her competency is her problem solving. She has the ability to demystify the most complex situation, to assign others to it, and solve it. She said she was perceived for being like a dog given a bone once given a problem.

Her closing words were also very intelligent. She said there is no such thing as a work-life balance at her level or ones similar to it. Work becomes life, life becomes work. One must make tradeoffs constantly. One might not feel like he or she is good at anything, but one needs to be comfortable with who he or she is.

So, in short, a great speaker, but too bounded by the topic assigned for her speech.

Call me Lewis....or Clark...

I successfully navigated the MIT tunnels today from the West side of campus all the way to the East! (Okay, Lewis and/or Clark in reverse then) I'm so proud of me =)

In other news, Cowboy Mouth was on Ellen this morning. They are one of my favorite bands, and I'm really happy for them. On the other hand, now their concert in Boston next week will likely be crowded. Dammit!

Friday, February 24, 2006

KFC + Disruptive Tech

This article details an advertising strategy by KFC that encourages users with DVRs to watch their commercials at a slower speed in order to decipher a hidden message. Very interesting way of dealing with a technology which most other advertisers have tried to ignore.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

PDD Advice

Our lecturer today just gave great advice: When one sees duct tape on an existing product, it probably represents a latent need.

Funny, but true!

Like, totally, gag me with a spoon

From today's Daily Quickie:

"Johnny Damon's arrival at Yankees' spring training confirms that he might give Derek Jeter a run as the team's most popular player."

EW. Ew ew ew!

1. I actually like Derek Jeter. An absolute class act.
2. I actually do not like Johnny Damon. He was never among my favorites. Touting stupidity ain't exactly my thang.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Running with Scissors

I know I have been pretty bad about blogging lately. I still feel absolutely wiped out. I know, I'm such a wimp. =D

Yesterday, I somehow managed to find a needle I had lost after stitching my comforter....by putting my hand down on it and having it go pretty darn deep. Thanks to BT for the first aid. =)

The big news of today was that my backpack strap got stuck in my car's cup holder thingy. I had to walk into work holding my laptop like a schoolgirl with her books. Eventually, I got to school, parked at Sloan, and came up to SDM to get scissors. Some people are scared to run with scissors; I don't even want to walk with the darn things.

So I walked through the SDM building, through the corridor to a Sloan building, down three flights of stairs, and out to the parking lot holding the scissors facing downwards, safely protected by my fist, just like we learned in kidnergarten. I cut loose the backpack, and I was free!

Anyway, that should give you people enough ammo on me for a while. Now it's off to CEO perspective: Corporations at the Crossroads.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Absolutely disgusting

Just when I thought I couldn't feel any sicker, I came across this article. Please tell me that somehow, in some parallel universe somewhere, this whole Rev Phelps crowd is just a sick, sick joke.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Busy Day at Work

I had a very busy day today at work, with the exception of a quick jaunt over to the doctor for a strep test and to make sure that I wasn't contagious enough to be infecting my co-workers.

I bounced among three projects today: Ruby backend Oracle, J2EE backend eXist, and J2EE backend Oracle. Pretty cool. It's like being a multi-lingual translator sometimes. =) Then I got really tired, considering it was the most I'd been awake since Thursday.

Okay, brain sleepy. Me go now.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cold --> Sore Throat

So my cold progressed into a nasty sore throat. Instead of meeting with Jonathan about joining his 50k team, I stayed at home, napping, drinking tea, and watching really bad tv. Fun thing about being sick: my normally brief attention span shortens itself even more, so homework is pretty much a waste. (Yeah, I used the same excuse as a kid.. ;))

Anyway, the day was not without some merit. This page I found through StumbleUpon is pretty darn funny.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Classes this Term

I have to say that my classes so far this term have been excellent. I was not expecting much from a couple of them, but am impressed with all of them. I also have great teams. Here is what I am taking by order of class (i.e. Monday-Friday, 9-5, etc)

Systems Optimization: This class is interesting so far. Students last year raved about the quality of the class and instructor. So far, they are correct about the instructor. Simchi-Levi is excellent. A 9-12 class is a bit harsh on the ol' attention span, but I try. The first homework was tough, but hopefully the second will be better now that I have learned the tool (Solver in Excel)
Team: Joe, John Haj, maybe Yaming and Yuhong

Disruptive Technologies: Excellent. Utterback is a great and engaging lecturer (as I wrote earlier this week. Not much more to say than that.) As for the team in this class, it seems as though it will be good. We all had to choose a disruptive technology for the possibility of presenting before the class. I chose Open Source, and was among the 25 out of 60 to present my technology. I had planned on joining Sam's team, but found a number of people asking me about joining up after class (we were given time to make teams).
Team: The only ones on the team that I know so far are Kevin B and Rajiv. Both are SDMers that I have not worked with as of yet. The other three members are Sloanies. We temporarily had Paul B, but he was stolen by Sam's team. (You boys just wait til basketball....elbows will be flying!)

Product Design and Development: I was not expecting much from this class at all, but find myself really happy with it. In this class, we need to design and product a product (see Sorin's blog for more details). I am very excited about my product and team (no details yet =))
Team: Rachael, Paul W, and Biju.

Corporations at the Crossroads: The CEO Perspective (auditing): I'm excited for this class, but have only been able to attend one of the two lectures as I was sick last week. Apparently, Sloanies call this course "Clapping for Credit" (thanks, Dave!), but I'm not taking it for the credit, just for the clapping.

System Safety: This is probably not a course I would have taken if Nancy Leveson was not teaching it. I took her Software Engineering Concepts last term and loved it, so figured I would try this one out. It is actually very interesting. She details accidents such as the Challenger and air contamination in Bhopal, and talks about what could have been done to stop them. This class is Friday 1-4, so is at a bad time. However, Leveson realizes this and gives us ample breaks; we had two on Friday.
Team: Paul W and a woman from Lincoln Labs.

Okay, now that I have detailed each class and used the word "excited" more times than a third-grader would in his "What I Will Do with my Summer Vacation" essay, I guess I should go do some homework.

Soooo sick....

The cold I've been fighting has progressed into a sore throat. I forewent a weekend ski trip in favor of catching up on homework (that, plus it was going to be way too cold for me to be skiing). However, my illness-induced fogginess is making homework very cumbersome, so I'm blogging.=)

I am trying to rally for a pub crawl this afternoon with Jamie, Alisha, Liz, Lauren, et al, but don't know if I am going to make it. Dangit. I was really looking forward to it, especially after seeing everybody at our Valentine's Day girls' night in (which i just realized I never blogged about =))

Friday, February 17, 2006

Thursday, February 16, 2006


How about a Rose of the Prophet Mohammed to go with your Freedom Fries?

Product Design and Development Presentations

Today in PDD, we had the initial product idea presentations. Teams were supposed to showcase a need, the market, and the mission statement. I am very impressed with the innovative thinking exhibitied by my classmates. We also got to meet the RISD students for the first time. They will be available to help with industrial engineering.

I am actually getting pretty excited for this project. I have a great team so far in Rachael, Biju, and Paul W. I can't share any ideas with you yet, as they are still top secret. ;)

The Quickie does it again

Today's Daily Quickie cartoon is hysterical. It really summarizes the problem with the swimsuit issue. It used to be a decent publication: as a woman, I could look through it and see swimsuits I might want to buy. When I got this week's issue, the first bit of text to catch my eye was "Heidi Klum Wearing Nothing But Paint." Hmm...certainly won't be wearing that this year.

Besides, where's my issue with Tom Brady in a fig leaf?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ilana being Ilana

This morning I went to get in my car as I quite often do. However, it would not have seemed to the casual observer that I had ever gotten into a car in my life.

I somehow managed to hit my neck against the door. Hard! Like, right under my ear. It's been killing me all day.

There was nothing different from usual other than the fact that I am feeling slowed down by a chest cold.

Dude, how do I do these things?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"The way to the professor's heart is to bring in a unique lightbulb."

Professor Utterback just gave an absolutely excellent lecture on lightbulbs while wearing an apron with an image of a lightbulb on it given to him by his daughter.

He had an assortment of antique lightbulbs in class, and demonstrated the health of a few of them by putting them in a lamp his father had built in high school shop class. Utterback was very animated and obviously enjoyed the topic very much.

It was both interesting and inspirational. I can see why this class comes so highly recommended.

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all! I love Valentine's Day. Any holiday centered on chocolate and telling people how much they mean to you is good with me. =)

Sooo sleepy...

I am so sleepy today. I couldn't fall asleep last night and am dragging today as a result. I am in between classes right now; Systems Opt ended at noon, and Disruptive Tech starts at 2:30.

Hmmm....perhaps a powernap on the SDM couches?

For those who think they miss snow...

(Keith) This is a picture of my car in winter of 2003-4.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Of course when I tell you I'll give ya more...

...I write less.

Anyway, my weekend was great. It started off on Friday evening with cocktails and snacks at the MIT Museum. Every time I go to that place, I promise myself I will return soon. Hopefully, this time I will make good on that promise =)

Saturday I went shopping and for lunch with the mom. We had a great time, buying out much of Costco and eating at the Kebab Factory. That night, I went for dinner (thanks, Rachael and Chris!), then to a party at Gilon's. Both were a lot of fun, but a couple of hours into the party, I was exhausted and headed home.

Any outdoor plans for Sunday were shot due a blizzard we got up here, but I had an excellent time inside, watching the blizzard, being lazy, and finding new and different ways to avoid homework. ;)

Yup, I'll be paying for it tonight.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Expect a lot of random posts....

Now that school has started back up, I have homework to do. Since I am not quite in the swing of things as of yet, I am trying to perfect my procrastination techniques. I will therefore probably be posting a lot of nonsense.

Here is a link detailing the history of my softball team in Atlanta. I find it quite entertaining (certainly more so than my system optimization homework =D)

I know my classmates' shower habits

During an entertaining Product Design and Development lecture, the guest lecturer discussed how firms discover the habits of their clientele using a bathroom accessory company as an example.

I now know who in my class faces towards or away from the stream, who thinks they close or open their eyes, and who likes a cold or hot surge at the end.

Yup, I'm blackmailing all y'all ;)

I would not have made it through elementary school....

I cannot believe they suspended this kid for sexual harrassment. I know y'all will find this hard to believe, but when I was in first grade, I spent all of recess chasing boys and trying to kiss them. This continued at lower levels through the third grade (and sometimes between classes today at MIT, but that's a whole other story....)

I would have been suspended at least once a week.

Sign from Above: Sox Fan on Billboard

I found this article to be very touching. It discusses parents' reaction to a son's posthumous appearance on a Red Sox billboard.

Yet another reason sports are important to society: the joy on the man's face is unmistakable.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Kornheiser on MNF!!!

ESPN has added Tony Kornheiser to the MNF football crew. If you read this blog, you know I am not a bid fan of John Madden. Anywhere they went not including that man was a step in the right direction for me.

I really like the choice of Kornheiser (who will be teamed with Theismann and Tirico). He has a very sharp wit, but a little more common-mannish than Dennis Miller. I'm seriously pumped about this. YAY! This can even improve PTI, as Wilbohn can take little jabs at the Monday Night commentating. Ooo...this is going to be fun.

I guess NBC--Madden's new home--will be the only station I will be muting next season =)

From today's Daily Quickie

Only thing missing is the blindfold on the referee....wait...unless they gave it to Pittsburgh on purpose! =O

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Okay, I think I have found perhaps the most ridiculous procrastination device yet. Playing sad/happy greasemonkey!

FireFox users may have the monkey installed, and his little face shows up in the bottom right-hand corner of the browser. If he's sad, click on him, and he's happy! If he's happy, click on him, and he's sad!

Happy greasemonkey
Sad greasemonkey
Happy greasemonkey
Sad greasemonkey
Happ--oo!--Sad greasemonkey
Happy greasemonkey!

Fine, fine. I'll go do my reading and stop playing with the monkey's emotions (and script enabling).

HEeeeelllooooo...la la la!

They just had the Seinfeld "Talking Belly Button" episode on television. I have been walking around all day saying, "Hellloooo! La la la!"

Ha! Now you will, too =D

Great term ahead

Today has been a wonderful day of classes. My morning class was System Optimization with David Simchi-Levi. He started off the class with an anology of the costs of producing and returns on beer vs. ale. We then used Excel to produce spreadhseets which helped to decipher data. Very cool.

Next was Disruptive Technology with Jim Utterback. I sat in on the first class last year, but opted for Complex Engineering: Engineering Apollo instead. That was an excellent class that has served me well at school and at work, but I am very excited to be in Utterback's class this year.

Okay, gotta run to Product Design and Development. They moved the classroom. =) More later.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ok, that's it. I need more girls' nights out

I think hanging out with almost all men at work (90% male) and school (also 90% male) is beginning to have a profound and disturbing effect on me:

You Are 40% Boyish and 60% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.

Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.

You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.

You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.

You're lucky you like pink so much, or we'd swear that you were a dude (okay, I added this part in because I think I'm funny...another male attribute =D)

Then again, it could just be the fact that I am a complete slob who doesn't remember her dreams in the morning (or, for that matter, where she put her keys....)

First day of school jitters!

Like the night before classes start every semester, I have insomnia. I've been like this since I was a kid. Back then, I'd be so excited for school to start I couldn't sleep. Now I toss and turn as I think about fitting my homework and classes into my work schedule. When's recess?

Code black!

Eve just reminded me of our delightful text conversation last night. There is no reason we should be the only two privileged enough to read it:

Eve: "if this is about aliens I'll be pissed!"
Me: "I am laughing my ass off at your comment. I think it's ebola"
Eve: "What's ebola?"
Me: "Most deadly virus. Ok gotta watch now."
Eve (after we hear there's a bomb in the building: "alien bomb baby"
Me: "I love you =)" (really, what more was there to say? sistahs rule!)

Good Pear

I just had an excellent d'anjou pear. It's really amazing how happy good fruit makes me. I guess it's because with something like chocolate, one is pretty much guaranteed a positive experience. However, fruit gives no such guarantees. A mealy apple can look as appetizing as a delicious one.

So far today, I have had a good peach, apple, and pear. I have had no bad fruit as of yet (knock on wood). Yay!


The final score:
Steelers (and referees): 21
Seahawks: 10

(Code black!)

I'm not saying the Steelers would not have won if they hadn't had the refs on their side, but damn! those were some one-sided, no-make-up calls.

(Code black!)

Also, since when is a gyrating 62-year-old sexy? Ew! Whenever they showed the drummer in the purple shirt, my stomach turned. Ew! The whole thing seemed like some weird performance recorded in a rest home.

(Code black!)

My favorite commercial by far was the FedEx dinosaur one. Magnifique!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Wow! Did you know Jerome Bettis is from Detroit?

Oh, you did? You must have listened, read, or watched some form of media over the last three weeks. So *not* as major a story line as the media is making it (I know, shocking...what else can they grab onto?)

I'm really not looking forward to this game, with the exception of close-ups of Ben Roeth(etc) and Shaun Alexander. Oh, and the commercials and company watching the game. But the game itself? Ick. I miss the Pats. =(

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Jewelry and dinner

I had a great time at Laura's house at the jewelry party. I saw her sister Christina, and met many of her friends. When introducing me to one of her friends, Laura said, "You two know each other." When observing our quizzical looks, she added, "We went to the beach together." Still nothing. "The year after we graduated from high school."

That was 14 years ago for those playing along at home. ;)

Afterwards, I went home so my parents could take me out to One Bistro for my birthday. Dinner was delicious, and the company was great. =) My parents know the chef through one of my father's coworkers, and he came to greet us, later sending us dessert at the end of the meal.

My parents seemed to know about 25% of the people at the restaurant. We ran into a couple they knew from several years ago, who--upon meeting me--said, "Where's the husband?" Excellent. Thanks for that. I then greeted a former classmate's parents. Same line of questioning: "Are you married? Are you seeing anybody?" Okay, that's it. I'm sticking to the city where older singles are more accepted, even expected. =D

Things I have done today....

...instead of working on my thesis:

1. My taxes: start to finish, state and federal, including e-filing.
2. Shredded old papers (we're talking from Atlanta banks here, people).
3. Finally found a link to the Mohammed cartoons.
4. Blogged
5. Leaving soon for jewelry party.
6. Misspelled "jewelry."
7. Caught misspelling by looking it up at websters.com.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Thanks, Sam!

Last night Sam cooked an absolutely amazing dinner for a few friends, including me. It was so good I got a little carried away at about the fourth course and proposed to Sam. =D I'm afraid it might not work out though; I really want a Vegas wedding while Sam seems to be perfectly happy with City Hall and Foxwoods. Hmph. If Elvis ain't in attendance, it ain't happening! =D

The only entity to enjoy the meal as much as I did was my shirt, which insisted on sampling everything. Nothing says "fashion" like argyle with currant sauce.

Afterwards, I stopped by the Thirsty Ear quickly to visit with the 06's and see if they were singing any karaoke. They were not, and I found myself entering the serious stages of a food coma, so left after about 20 minutes.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sox Tix Arrive

I got a wonderful surprise in my mailbox at work today: 20 tickets to the Sox vs. Oakland game on July 13. There is little better in this world than seeing 20 Red Sox tickets. They are truly a thing of beauty.

Those 06's Can Party

I continue to be impressed with the SDM 06's. They go out in big groups and always seem to have fun. Last night there were about 15 of them at Warren Tavern. We had a great time, closing the place down.

Thanks, guys, for letting this weathered old 05 join your fun! =D

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

First laugh out loud of the term

Exactly 11 minutes into this term, Jeff L had me laughing outloud due to a well-timed Grampa Simpsons quote. Good job, Jeff!

On a different note, whenever I have a really bad professor at this school, it reminds me of seeing a really ugly guy with a really beautiful woman. You know there's got to be some positive quality you just ain't seein'.

Took me 11 minutes to laugh, and about 6 to tune out completely. What a waste.

New semester starts

Spring semester has started with Product Design and Development. I have been warned repeatedly about the levels of quality and applicability of these lectures.

The professor just told us he doesn't "do names anymore." Way to endear yourself to us! This is going to be GREAT.

OOOoo...he just said that unlike last year, he will not be repeating what is in the book. Exciting, no? Graduated 05's?