Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Interesting encounters - "Sniper"

It seems that you can meet a lot of very interesting people on you travels. When me and the case study team were in Vancouver we came across an interesting man with an interesting demeanour and a few missing teeth who had acquired the nickname of "sniper" due to his previous involvement with the Canadian army. He was a very interesting man... (thats him in the far right)

Sniper it seemed had lived an incredibly interesting life, if what he said was true, however some of his stories seemed a little unrealistic. One of the more normal people we met in the hostel, Pete from Australia, (thats him with the laptop) took it upon himself to keep a record of some of the classic sniper moments.

Here are some of the good ones.
Yeah, I was stationed in England with the Canadian Army. I was a sniper instructor. My second day in the army I aced the shooting test. (comparison of hand steadiness ensues. Pete: I'm pretty hungover. Sniper: I'm hungover too, AND I've had 11 cups of coffee this morning.)

You know Ted Turner? The guy who owns CNN and used to be married to Jane Fonda? Well, he's the largest single land-owner on the planet, he owns like, a third of the US, all prairie, and he leased it back to the farmers on the condition that they take down all the fences. So now he's got the largest bison herd in the country. They were all endangered but now there's like, 3 billion of them. That's a lot of ‘illions! But they had all these gophers, and you can't have the gophers because the bison step in their holes and break their legs, and when you're dealing with an endangered species you can't have that, you need that gene pool. So I was getting paid a dollar a gopher, just going out with a long 22 and ping! Ping! I was getting like 150 dollars a day, and no 15 year-old should be making 150 dollars a day, you know?

As much as he scared me, he was quite the story teller.

Murder - the ice cream connection

We were told a rather interesting fact during my last Strategy class.
Did you know that in New York City there is a strong correlation between the amount of ice cream sold and the amount of people murdered? Well, believe it or not it’s quite true, very predictably when ice cream sales rise, so to do the amount of chalk outlines on the street.

So, what could be the reasoning for this high correlation? You could reason that either
a - Ice cream actually whips (no pun intended) people up into a murderous rage

or
b - murdering people increases the appetite for a nice ice cream based treat.

The answer is... of course neither of those options and the reason for the correlation is actually the summer weather and the accompanying heat which seems makes people a tad more murderous than when it is cold.

The moral of the story, two sets of figures correlating may not tell much of the story.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Coming to an end...

This week has signalled the end of my college-going days. *brushes tear away from eye* It was weird to say goodbye to the business school and its plush seating, but I suppose it has to be done in the interests of not being a "lazy" student all my life.

This last Monday also brought my days at a teacher to 1st year students to an end, it really was a great experience and has taught me many more useful and important lessons than many of the subjects deemed worthy of being on my curriculum. Accounting I'm looking your way.
At the end of the class, all the nice guys and gals gave me a round of applause for my efforts, better payment than any sort of financial compensation...

The next exciting milestone will be putting down my pen after my last ever exam, although I think at the time I will be so overjoyed that the ballpoint in question might find itself thrown across the exam hall.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tall Irish man visits Starbucks, is happy

While I was in my travels to Seattle I decided that I should call down by the first ever Starbucks, everyones favorite coffee chain. (yep thats me out side it)


It was pretty cool to see where the whole thing started off all those years ago, and the original shop is a distinctly modest affair located at Pike Place market in downtown Seattle. Starbucks were launching their new "Pike place blend" that day so I got me a teeny tiny free cup of the stuff, but of course proceeded to buy a large coffee anyway (damn caffeine addiction).

Two Starbucks facts that you might not have known:


  1. The logo that you see on every street corner today is quite a bit different from the the one that hung above the door from day one. The pic to the right shows the original logo in its full former glory.
  2. The growth rate of Starbucks has been what I like to describe in technical terms as "rediculous". I made this nice graph for our case presentation (also on Starbucks) to illustrate the levels of growth... crazy

Friday, April 18, 2008

Impressions count?

In marketing class we often discuss how a business needs to carefully craft every aspect of its physical environment to attract customers and create a positive image in their head.

For a retail shop a great deal of attention is paid to the shopfront. The picture above was taken by a friend of mine on his travels around Vancouver, more specifically on the street I was staying, Granville St. (it was a nice place... really it was)

I'm not sure the inclusion of this announcement does much for the appeal of the shop, or indeed that area of town!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sleepless in Seattle

(Me, the team and our ambassador Tina)
Well I'm finally back after my somewhat epic journey to the continent of North America, and I am very tired indeed.
We didn't win the competition in the end but definitely put in a strong performance.
Lessons learnt while there...

  1. It REALLY is the taking part that counts not the winning, some of the teams decided to lock themselves away for the duration of the competition and maintain a policy of no communicado with the rest of the participants. The best part of these competitions is enjoying being in a new place and meeting new people. If you come to the competition only to win, and you lose, then the competition was a complete waste. If you wanted to win, tried hard, but also had a great time then the whole trip was a brilliant success, so by that logic.... I won the competition...

  2. People need sleep, and with that I must sleep for the next 4 days
This was a view to be had on campus in University of Washington