Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
As posted previously, Seth Godin has agreed to contribute up to 15 pages from his newest book Linchpin. Below, is the first page excerpt (two partial pages adding up to one page) from Linchpin. Read below pages from Seth's book before reading this post-Seth's a better writer anyway :)
Since the start of this project, I wondered how to best approach a Free MBA Program. Until I read Seth's incisive insights in Linchpin (see revised Curriculum Page). So now, the Free MBA focuses on solving interesting problems by applying conventional business ideas in unconventional ways. By solving interesting problems, we can leverage the shared knowledge available with a simple Google search, to make new connections that change people, which allows us to challenge the status quo and cause change.
We cut ourselves short. We follow the instructions, focusing on knowing all the right terms and latest business trends, which inhibits us from synthesizing and shipping ideas because we are paralyzed with indoctrinated mediocre obedience.
So we have to learn to stop following instructions. We can learn what is pertinent to solve the current interesting problem. And solve it!
Or we can choose to follow instructions, apply cliched business concepts and terms. Diagonosing sysmptoms without getting to the heart of the problem, and avoiding meaningful change.
So, to solve our dependency on following instructions related to ideas and sharing them (see Poverty Mentality in excerpt) we'll strive to give our ideas away here, the opposite of traditional business concepts, and create win-win situations.
I only want in return the opportunity to learn, and ship my ideas.
Note: Didn't have a scanner for the pages above, so used my camera. Not the most ideal method, but the idea shipped. Also, keeping in line with the free nature of this project, I checked this book out of the library. Learned a lot, and only had to invest my time (not my money).
Saturday, November 20, 2010
On an assembly line to maximize profits, workers need to be complacent and interchangeable to achieve the lowest possible cost ( mainly wages paid to employees). To ensure a ready supply of cheap labor the education system has been designed with an assembly line approach (you know what I mean, all those countless hours memorizing useless facts).
You and me have been indoctrinated with "mediocre obedience" as Seth Godin so succinctly pointed out in his newest book Linchpin:
We've been taught to be a replaceable cog in a giant machine.
We've been taught to consume as a shortcut to happiness.
We've been taught not to care about our job or our customers.
And we've been taught to fit in."
In line with this doctrine, our education has taught us to show up on time, rush through subjects and follow teachers' instructions, don't ask questions or question authority, cram for tests, pass tests, get a diploma, and with the hope of getting that dream job. That seems to be the reason so many people want an MBA. The want the letters, not an education because to them its just another box to check.
The difference between the traditional MBA student and the Free MBA student is that rather than only memorize and regurgitate definitions from a variety of subjects (e.g., economics, accounting, finance, marketing, etc) here we are attempting use modern means to access the same knowledge (why memorize it, when we can just Google it) then use that knowledge to learn to solve interesting problems (more to come) and lead (more to come). Isn't this what companies need, people who can solve problems and lead, rather than complacent works?
We have a choice, to move away from being dispensable to indispensable, which is achieved through becoming a linchpin.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
For instance, you could be the best at everything, and get the best results (the concept of absolute advantage), but while you work on one task there is a cost of what you could have been doing (opportunity cost). So to be truly effective, you have to focus on what no one can do truly like you and then everyone is better off (the concept of comparative advantage). The economics text uses the concept of comparative advantage in relation to trade between two parties, but really, it applies to all facets of our lives. The idea states that two parties can produce more if they focus more of their efforts on what they give up the least to produce, and as a result there is more for everyone involved.
The kicker, of the concept of comparative advantage is that even if you are not the best at anything, you can have an advantage in the market over competitors if rivals give up too much to compete with you (even if they are better!).
Source: Principles of Microeconomics, third edition (Found in pile of donated books), pages 45-57.
Author: N. Gregory Mankiw
Friday, November 12, 2010
So let's start with the purpose. Accounting helps you answer two important questions: (i) how is the business doing, and (ii) what resources do we have to get where we need to be? That simple, anything else is just extraneous.
As we continue through our survey course in accounting 101, we'll focus on the ideas. Once you know the concepts, it's just a matter of layering fancy terms on top of what you know.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
This scenario is my interpretation some my recent reading of a work from a well-known economist, Gregory Mankiw. He defines economics as the study of how society manages its scarce resources, much like the cutting the cheese scenario above.
Recently I came across Mankiw's microeconomics textbook (references below) that was in a pile of donated books near my apartment. His introduction in the book was a refreshing way to look at economics:
How People Make Decisions
Principle #1: People Face Tradeoffs
Principle #2: The Cost of Something Is What You Give Up to Get it
Principle #3: Rational People Think at the Margin
How People Interact
Principle #4: People Respond to Icentives
Principle #5: Trade Can Make Everyone Better Off
Principle #6: Markets Are Usually a Good Way to Organize Economic Activity
Principle #7: Governments Can Sometimes Improve Market Outcomes
How the Economy as a Whole Works
Principle #8: A Country's Standard of Living Depends on Its Ability to Produce Goods and Services
Principle #9: Prices Rise When Governments Print Too Much Money
Principle #10: Society Faces a Short-Run Tradeoff between Inflation and Une
These principles are a great starting point for understanding the field of cutting the cheese (economics) as part of my MBA. I realize this material is Mankiw's intellectual property, however, I wonder if he would donate some social capital to fund this springs enrollment :)
Source: Principles of Microeconomics, third edition (Found in pile of donated books)
Author: N. Gregory Mankiw
Sunday, November 7, 2010
But, the driving force behind this idea is too use modern means (be that scavenging online articles, ebooks, tutorials, etc) to synthesize a truly great business education. So in a sense, these forms of social capital in essence fund my tuition. So from out outset of this journey, it is important to learn from the resources which are available to everyone with an internet connection.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
This project could be the exception Seth spoke about and Rajesh mapped out.
Both two thought-leaders we can all learn from
By the way, looks like people appreciate the project :)
Looking forward, I will outline a one month planned learning regiment, an extension of Rajesh's suggestion in his free ebook (above), which just became part of the curriculum