WHAT DO YOU THINK OF PODCAST
About What do you think of? podcast | He’s a lawyer, she has an MBA. Ken and Rachel are a couple who’s bored and lucked out, currently stuck in different cities and long distance quarantine. We talk about history, finance, economics, to anything under the sun.
WDYTO Episode List
- 12 – Art of Storytelling
- 11 – 6yo History of the World
- 10 – Harems
- 9 – Marco Polo & Mongol Empire
- 8 – Salsa Dancing
- 7 – Elizabeth Holmes
- 6 – COVID19 Future Business
- 5 – Philanthropy and Altruism
- 4 – a Billion
- 3 – Lessons learned in Business School
- 2 – Lessons learned in Law School
- 1 – Introduction
12 – The Art of Storytelling
11 – History of the World by a 6-year-old
I hope you guys enjoyed this episode as much as we did!
10 – Harems in the Ottoman Empire
9 – Marco Polo & Mongol Empire
8 – Salsa Dancing
7 – Elizabeth Holmes
6 – COVID-19 & Future Business
5 – Philanthropy and Altruism
4 – a Billion
3 – Lessons I learned in Business School
2 – Lessons I learned in Law School
1 – Intro
WDYTO Show Notes
- 12 – What do you think of storytelling?
What is the big deal with storytelling? It’s been the buzz word of the decade, but we have been telling stories for thousands of years. Our aunties do it, our ancestors did it, we have done it when we were kids.
There have been storytelling events, a storytelling community and TED Talks surrounding story.
Everyone can be storytellers. Storytelling is an innately human event. Storytelling is very fundamental to human experience.
However, it seems like everyone has forgotten how to tell stories. We have gotten so used to technology that we have forgotten how to tell stories properly. For example, instead of engaging the public, people just read off the Powerpoint deck.
While PowerPoint is a powerful tool, presenters go into mastering the PowerPoint without first getting competence in the elements of good storytelling and speaking in front of a group.
The person who can tell a story is the most charismatic person in the room. You become the most instantly more likable in an instant.
The reason why stories are so compelling is that they give meaning and memory. There is a two-way relationship between storyteller and listener. As a storyteller, you provide the audience with a sensory ride. You use your readily available tools: self, sound, hand gestures, body language, space and silence.
Storytelling is integral in collective learning. You increase social knowledge by learning from other people’s experiences.
Storytelling allows you to see how you look and understand yourself. It helps people to process their trauma and their past. Verbalizing your experience and seeing how you express it in the narrative form helps you to be at peace with your past.
If you want to change your life, change your narrative.
The world of speaking and writing is very varied and big. Debating (which I often did in law school) is different from compelling and motivating storytelling.
So how do you be better?
- Give the audience a sensory journey
- Be vulnerable (you don’t need to be perfect, but you need them to root for you)
- Give them an emotional ride (oxytocin)
- eAlways dit and practice
- Treat your audience intelligently.
- Don’t spoonfeed the ending.
Story Nights: Cebu and the Art of Storytelling
Story Nights: Cebu is the local chapter of an international storytelling club and live event series dedicated to inspiring, healing, transforming and entertaining people through the art of storytelling.
At Story Nights we can get together for a magical evening of true personal stories which are told live by people from all walks of life! We believe anyone can be a storyteller. Anyone who wants to share a story can do so for 5 – 7 min and tell true tales about life, experiences, passion, goals, taboos, cultures, romance, adversity – you name it.
What is Story Nights?
Story Nights is a non-profit organization that started in October 2015 in Bratislava (Slovakia) by Hon Chong, and has then grown steadily and we now organize storytelling events in Bratislava, Vienna (Austria), Budapest (Hungary), Chandigarh (India), Manila (Philippines) and Cebu (Philippines). Story Nights has created a cross-border live events with storytellers, members and listeners from all over the world.
Story Nights: Cebu is founded by Rachel Arandilla on June 2018, and has grown steadily with Story Nights goers of around 70-90 people per event. Now, it is done on different establishments around Cebu to promote the spirit of stories.
Story Nights believes that everyone can be a storyteller. Story Nights is created to inspire the community with the stories and inspire others to be storytellers themselves, too. Know more about Story Nights Cebu
- 11 – History of the world (by a six-year-old)
In this episode, I decided to ask my son out of curiosity on how the Earth came about. The simple question ended up to be a fun, random and insightful conversation that spanned from earth, lava, asteroids and even COVID!
You can listen to the episode on the podcast platforms or you can also view the Youtube video:
I hope you guys enjoyed this episode as much as we did!
- 10 – What do you think of harems
Ancient harems captured the imagination of Western writers for centuries. Harems and Eunuchs in Ottoman Empire are both concepts so mystical and strange in the western realm. Is the harem it really the sultan’s sex playground? How much is truth from fiction?
To talk about the harem was forbidden back then. Nobody knew what really went on in the harem, they were closely guarded, and this further ignited the curiosity and imagination of the West for centuries.
The Ottoman harem houses the females in the royal court. These include wives, concubines, female relatives, female servants and slaves. The harem occupies a secluded portion of the Ottoman imperial household and is protected by the eunuchs.
The harem was the ultimate symbol of the Ottoman Sultan’s power. His ownership of women was a sign of sexual prowess, wealth and power.
To get things straight, the harem is more than just a sexual fortress for the Ottoman rulers. By its definition, the harem is ‘a sacred inviolable place’. The harem is probably more akin to a monastery than a sexual playground and orgies for the sultan.
In the Ottoman culture, the nobility can have up to 4 wives and have as many concubines. However enslaving muslims is forbidden in their religion, hence the Ottomans captured Christian girls from the Caucasus or Eastern Europe.
Harems are more a monastery than a sex playground
Harems were initially created to protect the women while men went away in conquest or war.
Moreover, making love to the sultan was exceptionally rare. Very few get to spend the night with the sultan. Majority of the women in harems spent doing laundry, cleaning, chores, watching and rearing children for majority of their life.
Women in the harem can climb the social ladder and better their social status. The women in the harem can improve their status if they become a favored concubine of the sultan.
Hurrem, also known as Roxelana, was the most famous concubine in history. She was able to successfully rise up the ranks during her lifetime to queen and ruler of the Ottoman Empire. This is an amazing feat: she started as a slave captured in the Caucasus region; and she eventually became Sultan Suleiman’s favorite concubine; and finally he married her (even if he didn’t need to) and made Hurrem the legal wife and queen.
Other women in the harem can leave the harem later on. By having them married off to other male relatives, political allies or to lesser nobles.
Eunuchs Protecting the Harem
Access to the outside world is limited, eunuchs fiercely guarded the harems. What are eunuchs?
The term isn’t often used in modern times, but eunuchs have been re-inculcated into pop culture by way of Game of Thrones.
Because eunuchs guard the harem, they had to be castrated. There are two types of castration, partial or full castration. Full castration included the severing of one’s entire genitalia. Partial castration is when only the testicles are crushed or removed. Many of the eunuchs are castrated using the second type, because full castration is too dangerous and often lead to deaths.
There are many accounts of eunuchs having relations with the women. In fact, eunuchs are popular lovers for women because they don’t have to worry about getting pregnant.
I would rather live in a harem…
It would sound controversial now, but if I had a choice, I would live in a harem if I were a woman born during that time. Given the odds of life, I would choose to be in an Ottoman harem than to live in another European empire for survival’s sake.
WHY? There are many reasons for why a woman’s life in the harem is probably better than most women born during that time:
- Harems provided economic safety and security
- Women in harems are provided material comforts: the best food, clothes, music, art, and even education
- Essentially, harems were like an all-female university. Women were taught how to read and write, they were taught various subjects such as language, religion, philosophy, music, etiquette, embroidery
- Generally women in harems are safe from war and disease
- Harems provide women more social mobility
We don’t want to romanticize the harem. It isn’t the ideal place, and most women there live their life bored and lonely. For most of their life they would be living in seclusion, based on the Islam concept of how “a man’s right to keep women concealed—invisible to other men.” Women are possessions owned by men.
Were there Egalitarian Societies in Ancient Societies?
If not a concubine in a harem… were there other places that were better for a woman?
There were, but they were exceptionally rare. Women are beneath men for most of history: even most of ‘civilized’ European empires and the democratic Ancient Athens. Some of the more egalitarian societies include:
- Ancient Persia – no slavery
- Etruscans – a meritocracy, egalitarian society
- Egypt – women can divorce and rule
The more nomadic a society, the more egalitarian or gender equal it is. The more advanced the agricultural society, the more rigid the social classes.
In a nomadic society, everyone has to contribute accordingly–to gather berries, to hunt, etc. In contrast to an agricultural society where the community can now support a large population due to production surplus.
The more advanced the agricultural society, the more it evolves towards patriarchy. Agriculture has designed women to focus on childcare, while men are tasked to lead.
Women can reproduce more often, having more support in food and resources. Mothers can now support having several children through cow’s or goat’s milk, versus before they have to space their children every 5 years due to the slow lactation periods.
- 9 – Marco Polo and the Mongol Empire
Everyone is familiar with Marco Polo, to some degree.
Marco Polo’s name is often shouted by kids’ in a children’s game, and his life story has been shared everywhere–from high school history class, to PBS documentaries, to a now defunct Netflix series.
Marco Polo is a world-famous explorer but do you know that many people doubt the veracity of Marco Polo’s tales during his lifetime? In fact, when Marco Polo was on his deathbed, his own family had pleaded to him to tell the truth and renounce his lies and he could go to heaven.
Marco Polo famously responded: “I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed.”
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant in the 1200s and traveled to China and back during the height of Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan’s rule. Upon his return and after his release from prison, he published ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ where the great wealth of the Mongol Empire was shared to much of Europe for the first time.
How about The Silk Road?
The Silk Road was named after the most precious commodity of the time, silk, which originated in China. The SIlk Road was more than just a road–it was an intricate trading route or network that spanned across East Europe to the whole of Asia.
The Silk Road held great importance in trade and commerce, not only integral in the exchange of goods, but also in the exchange of ideas.
If Marco Polo is to be believed, their party arrived in China during Kublai Khan’s rule; after destroying the Sung Dynasty and establishing the Yuan Dynasty. Kublai Khan is the third generation and the last of the great Mongol emperors.
Merchants don’t really travel across the whole Silk Road. Most of them just go back and forth in between two towns or villages, as it is also extremely dangerous to go to unknown territory where it is full of danger, peril and thievery. Since Marco Polo, his dad and uncle were to return to Europe safely by having golden passports, authenticated by Kublai Khan himself. The passports allowed them to travel along Silk Road routes safely and unbothered.
Who are the Mongols: Truth vs. Fiction
The Mongols have long been depicted by history books as villains–brutal savages who have caused the deaths of an estimated total of 40 million people in the Eurasian region.
The Great Mongol Empire was born when Genghis Khan, also known as ‘The Great Khan’ united all of the Mongol tribes on the steppes under his umbrella control. In his lifetime, he went on to conquer Eastern Europe and most of Asia.
The feat is amazing in itself, and to be able to conquer in a short span of time, in under a century. The Mongol Empire is credited to have spurred many great nations such as Russia and Korea.
Another feat is his genetic legacy. Genghis Khan has some 16 million progeny alive at this point in time. (It helps a lot, that the Mongols had harems and did not kill off their non-ruling male descendants, unlike the Ottoman Turks, and more on that on the next episode)
The Mongols are known for brutality. Their reputation precedes them–in fact when villages hear that the Mongols are on their way, they cower in fear and surrender. “Surrender or die”, that was the only option.
The Mongols, however, are more than just ‘bloodthirsty savages’ as the history books defined them. The Mongol Empire is actually quite advanced and complex. Pax Mongolia promoted trade and the mobility of people, goods and ideas.The Silk Road greatly flourished under their rule because they greatly valued trade–since they can tax them.
Once a village surrenders to Mongol rule, they are allowed to freely practice their religion and even enjoy great trade benefits. Since the Mongol empire was very large, it’s the same as the benefits countries get by joining the EU which is a large free trade zone–kind of like an ‘ancient NAFTA’ but with some blood and warfare here and there.
Key Characteristics of Mongols as peoples:
- Mongols are primarily a nomadic society, which is why they are very comfortable in being mobile across geography. They moved according to climate or food supply. They were tough warriors but keen tradiers, and because of frequent travel they also had higher immunity and more resistant to diseases.
- Mongols are highly tolerant towards other people’s beliefs. The Mongols themselves are originally shamanists but they open up to different cultures and religions depending on the locale. In fact, their tolerance led them to blend into cultures that they are almost no longer recognizable after one generation.
- The Mongols are uninterested in art or architecture. Sure, a grand palace or marble statue can last forever, but the gert can go wherever.
Key characteristics of Mongol governance:
- Appointing rulers based on merit, not based on kin
- Empire was so large so how did they keep things together and prevent or address revolts? They appointed foreigners as administrators in each region. E.g. An Arab muslim would govern in a Chinese province while a Taoist Chinese would govern somwhere in the Middle East.
- The lack of national affinity between administrators and subjects discouraged bribery. The foreigner-administrator had nothing to gain from revolts. The foreigner-administrator also brought fresh ideas from an outsider’s view.
Key characteristics of the Mongol military:
- Always expanding; always on the offensive.
- Speed in attack; mobility over armor. They had a lot of horses!
- Archers could shoot with great accuracy while mobile, riding on horse.
- They could build technology on the battlefield
- Use of higher positions in the terrain so they could see what was happening and communicate clearly their strategy.
- Mongol military organization is highly flexible and adaptable. They adopted war techniques from enemies by interviewing war prisoners, e.g. using gunpowder from China, ships to attempt conquer of Japan, etc.
…So how true were Marco Polo’s stories?
Even today, the veracity of whether Marco Polo really traveled to China is still doubted by many historians and experts. Some even believe that he only masterfully wove all stories he heard from various travelers and claimed them as his own adventures.
Dead men can no longer defend themselves; but Marco Polo was indeed quite accurate in describing the lives of the nomadic peoples in Kushan (modern day Afghanistan); and tales of how in Tibet parents offer their virgin daughters to foreigners like the young Marco Polo in order to increase their social status and repute. Marco Polo has even accurately described the practice of foot binding in China, a practice that lasted until the early 1900s.
Still, Marco Polo also seemed to have missed out a key detail in China: The Great Wall. It would have been impossible for him to miss out that formidable detail, and yet he did.
To Advance Learning, see:
- Read The Travels of Marco Polo by Marco Polo
- National Geographic Documentary – Marco Polo with Michael Yamashita
- Crash Course History – The Mongols!
- Crash Course World History – The Silk Road and Ancient Trade
- 8 – What do you think of salsa dancing?
Salsa dancing is an amazing way to get cardio, meet people, and have fun! What do you think of salsa dancing?
I first learned Cuban salsa in Cebu in 2014 with Cebu Salsa Club. Back then, the salsa scene in Cebu was still nascent, almost non-existent.
Salsa nights, or salsa socials, often play a whole range of Afro-cuban music: salsa, bachata, kizomba, zouk and merengue.
There is a salsa scene in almost every major city in the world, and some of the cities I have danced in are: Philly, NY, Barcelona, Paris, Barcelona, Manila, Cebu, Singapore, Taiwan and Bali!
Fundamentals of Salsa Dancing
The most fundamental part of salsa is the “clave”. ‘Clave’ is a Spanish word that means ‘code’ or ‘key’. Clave is a rhythmic pattern that plays on 3-2 or 2-3 beat. It is the ‘law’ of salsa, and of many Afro-Cuban music. Clave is more a feeling, and less the instrument. In salsa, people should be ‘clave conscious’
Timing. There are actually two types of timing in salsa dancing: on 1 and on 2.
- Places that are majority on 1: Cuba, Europe, Los Angeles, Philippines
- Places that are majority on 2: New York, Singapore, Australia, Japan
Several Great Reasons Why You Should Go Salsa Dancing:
- It’s an easy hobby to take! You don’t need a lot of equipment, just need your dancing shoes.
- You can do it anywhere when you travel, again, just pack your dancing shoes in your luggage!
- It is never a sausage fest (at least in the Philippines) Read: Salsa Socials in the Philippines
- Men, hear this: this is one of the few rare occasions that the woman will actually listen to you.
- Also, to women: never apologize. It is always the man’s fault.
How to Get Better at Salsa Dancing
- Watch yourself, take a video, and be critical in evaluating yourself.
- Watch others dance and salsa videos.
- Master the clave.
- Dance with different leads, especially if they are new. Don’t be too comfortable and settle on dancing with one or a few guys only.
- 7 – What do you think of Elizabeth Holmes?
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley is a documentary chronicling Elizabeth Holmes, founder Theranos, with an invention that promised to revolutionize blood testing.
In 2015, Forbes had named Elizabeth Holmes as the world’s youngest and welathiest self-made billionaire in the United States, heralded as the next Steve Jobs. In less than two years, her net worth is zero and her multibillion-dollar company was dissolved. Fortune had named Holmes one of the World’s Most Disappointing Leaders.
People want to buy into the story of the young person who wants to change the world. Elizabeth Holmes created her self-brand as the female version of Steve Jobs, her idol.
Some of her backers include General James Mattis, Henry Kissinger and George Schultz to publicly support Theranos. She got the Walton Family, Carlos Slim Helu and Rupert Murdoch to invest in Theranos. She has several high-level people supporting her who aren’t qualified in blood testing or biochemistry is some sort of a warning sign. Steve Jobs did not even have this kind of support from high-level people at the start of Apple. The founder and the product were so hyped up by the media. Meanwhile, no one asked “does it work?”
In fact, there have been whispers about Elizabeth Holmes’ comprehension of her own invention. In one article, her explanation is defined as ‘comically vague’:
Thing is, people only see what they want to see. Such was in the case of Holmes and Theranos. Elizabeth Holmes’ image fed into the Silicon Valley myth of the young genius who drops out from university; further exacerbated by the fact that Holmes is a unique character in Silicon valley: a female startup founder, and thus a unicorn of her own.
Such as is the hyper-optimism of Sillicon Valley. Nowadays, entrepreneurship has morphed into merely selling promises, and getting the trust of important people who are willing to fund you. The culture of ‘fake it til you make it’ defines American entrepreneurship has created people like Elizabeth Holmes and Billy McFarland.
I wonder what the future is for Elizabeth Holmes will be like. Will she change? Will she have a “second act”?
Read more about our Favorite White Collar Criminals
- 6 – How COVID-19 will affect Future Business Trends
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world and how we run our lives, business and economy. So what do we think of how the coronavirus pandemic will affect future business trends?
Here are some points on How COVID-19 will affect Future Business Trends:
Increase in Value of the Creative Industry
There’s a lot of consumption of creative content (music, TV, video porn) during the quarantine lockdown. There is huge demand in the industry nowadays, and with the rate of churn there will be massive pressure to produce new content to replenish used creative content.
Interior Design and Home Improvement
All of a sudden everyone knows what their colleague’s houses look like! There will be less reliance for shared spaces and be more self-reliant in many things, from gym, work, food, even food production (gardening or aquaponics), and it can even challenge the shared economy as a whole.
Less Reliance in Global Supply Chains
There will be production hubs per region and accelerate homegrown or bringing production closer to home.
End of Budget Airlines?
Budget airlines will have to rethink their business model. how COVID-19 will affect future business trends in travel? Particularly, how the common man travels? Warren Buffett has sold all their position in the airline industry (BBC), it doesn’t seem that he is optimistic in the industry, as well.
Telemedicine, remote medical consultation, as well as OTC doctors and checkup kiosks to check your BP, temperature, small machines. Wearable diagnostics and detectors.
While Grabcar is down, Grabfood is soaring. Restaurants are down but caterers and food delivery services are thriving as we changed our dining habits from eating out to dining in. Products that are sold online and have access to transportation providers will survive. E-commerce is here to stay and will keep on growing.
Fintech developments and market penetration will accelerate because cash can carry germs and viruses. We are moving into a cashless or even check-less society, accelerated by the pandemic. This is how covid-19 will affect future business trends.
VR / AR Educational Gaming
Educational Game Development in VR and AR. As remote learning is becoming a norm, this will accelerate especially in its educational applications. Game developers should team up with universities to create gamified courses. The problem of online education so far is the zero to minimal social engagement and students lose interest quickly and drop out.
Game developers understand how to get people addicted to games. Games incorporate competition, level-ups, rewards, teamwork and collaboration. VR and AR are in its infancy in terms of educational applications. With VR you can travel back in time and see what it was like in Ancient Athens.
- 5 – What do you think of philanthropy and altruism?
In 2017 a crowdfunding scam unfolded when a couple, Katelyn and Mark, along with Johnny Bobbit, concocted a fake story about a homeless man giving the last of his $20 to a woman to help her with her gas. The couple posted this heartwarming story and created a GoFundMe campaign to repay the kind homeless man and get him a place to stay.
The GoFundMe campaign was a huge success, having raised $400,000 from 14,000 people. In a few years, the ‘homeless man’ Johnny Bobbit sued the couple alleging that the latter did not give him his fair share. The couple used the money for their own end, and worse, they even posted their new BMW, trip to Vegas, gambling, shopping on social media.
What is Philanthropy and Altruism?
Philanthropy is an institution to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.
Altruism is a state of mind concerning the well-being of others and a truly unselfish act. Is altruism a purely selfless act though? There are always positive externalities. We donate money because we feel good. We feel better. There are great tax benefits.
Basically, philanthropy is a social construct, altruism is not. Think Mother Teresa for altruism, and Oprah Winfrey for philanthropy.
Indeed, philanthropy is associated among the wealthy. If you aren’t wealthy, you can call yourself charitable or generous, but it seems pretentious to call oneself a philanthropist. Philanthropy is a social technology used by the wealthy–it confers tax benefits, social capital and a boost in public relations.
- 4 – What do you think of a billion?
However, few businesses and industries are soaring right now because of the pandemic. among them is the Zoom video conferencing app. Its founder and CEO Eric Yuan just earned $4B in just three months with a huge spike in the use of his service as everyone is working from home nowadays.
Everyone aspires to be part of the three-comma club. There’s even a Bruno Mars song about it. But what does it mean to have a billion? How can you quantify that and will you be able to spend it all in your lifetime? What is a billion anyway and what does it really mean to have a billion? Is it a lot? Is it too much? Is it enough? And how are you going to spend it?
Turns out being a billionaire is extremely rare, given the following stats:
- 2000+ billionaires around the world
- 540+ billionaires in the US
- 800+ billionaires in China
- Only 1 in 3.5 million people are billionaires. To give you context on how rare billionaires are, there is 1 in 700K chances of someone getting struck by lightning. That means you are 50x more likely to get struck by a lightning than becoming a billionaire.
- If you are a billionaire, you are wealthier than 10 of the poorest countries combined
- All 2,000+ billionaires are richer than 60% of the world’s population
Read more: What does it really mean to have a billion?
The status of billionaire invites questions: 1 -How did they acquire it? 2 – What are they going to do with it?
It is worthy to note that most of the net worth of billionaires are tied to shares of stock. Most billionaires become billionaires by taking their company public. Being a billionaire does not mean one has a billion dollars in cash. But in our hypothetical ‘what-if’ scenario, we set the parameter to have a billion dollars in cash. What would we do if we have 1B in cash?
Having a billion dollars in cash is a lot of money. If you spend 1,000 USD everyday (365K a year), it will take you 2,739 years to consume all of it–that’s two millennia, spanning even way before the time Jesus was born! If you do want to consume all the 1B in your lifetime, you need to spend 40K a day for 70 years.
“If I had 1B in cash, would use 500M for useless things for myself – mansions, cars, travel and gifts for others. For the other half, I would invest it. Even absolutely no-risk 10 year treasury bills with a 1% annual interest will give me 5M a year so you can essentially just live on interest.”Rachel, WDYTO
Sacrifices for Great Wealth
There is, however, a dark side to being extremely wealthy.
Many those who have gotten rich quick without even earning that lose it just as quickly too–such as lottery winners. You know what they say, with great money comes great responsibility (to paraphrase Spiderman).
Your life will never be the same again. There’s a big difference between getting a billion dollars and losing privacy versus getting a billion dollars in secret. Maybe it’s better to get 20 million dollars in secret versus getting a billion dollars and it gets published.
Wealth makes you an instant target to predators. Money will turn your life upside down and your life will never be the same again.
“I’m going to buy an investor’s visa in Monaco or NZ and buy a house there until I become a citizen there. I would be wise to get out of the country to stay private, and keep myself from contact with would-be criminals, politicians, moochers and users.” – Ken
Wealth makes you an instant target to predators. Money will turn your life upside down and your life will never be the same again.
What would I buy with the rest of the billion dollars?
- commercial real estate and condos in big cities around the world
- farmland, wineries and cattle and horse ranches in South America, Australia and NZ (i would kill myself if I am forced to live in a farmland)
- big tech stocks ( BRK-A)
- 3 – Lessons I Learned in Business School
Rachel accomplished her MBA a few years back, but still many of the Lessons I Learned in Business School have stuck in her head and she continues to use it in her business and in her life. Here are some of the lessons I have learned in attending business school:
Assets – Liabilities = Equity
The basic A – L = E formula (Assets less Liabilities is Equity). While this point was really an inside joke between us, the simple learning of what goes into the balance sheet has been important for myself and how you can work on your net worth.
Stupid as it is, but I was just an art teacher, I thought HNWI (High Net Worth Individuals. By the way, you will learn that MBAs LOVE their acronyms) or billionaires all have billions in cash. Later did I realize that a lot of it is really locked up on shares of stock or other more illiquid assets.
Importance of Leverage
I used to think all debt is bad and the fastest lane towards poverty. However, you realize that it’s not that bad and leverage is a quick way to scale business and reach profits. Of course, it is worthy to note that not all debt is created equal and terms and conditions vary. There are loan sharks that are meant to enslave people, preying on the poor and the unbanked.
The Art of Negotiations
I urge all MBA students to take this elective, and non-MBAs to take this course when you have the chance. I learned many valuable things here. I used to think the art of negotiations is all about ‘winning’. Rather than being self-focused, you have to be other-focused, and create a situation that is win-win for all parties.
To be able to negotiate right, you have to do your research and understand the other party. Know what is cheap and what is expensive for them. Most of all, identify their BATNA (Best Alternative to the Negotiating Agreement). Make the first offer to create the anchor, especially when dealing with a purchase or making a price offer.
Economics taught me how economies work, and behavioral economics taught me why people do what they do. These concepts become especially useful in marketing. Choice architecture enables you to nudge consumers towards the choice you want them to make, from the website layout to survey questions.
Organizing my Thought
In Asian Institute of Management, all our classes are taught using the case method, where a huge part of our grades is determined through CP (class participation). As there are 74 of us in a 60-minute class, we need to be able to have some air time to have a good grade. Our business school professors are not particularly the most patient, and you could lose your chance at CP if you waste their time.
Because of this type, we need to make quality air time by saying our point in as concise a way as possible.
Value of Networking
It’s not about knowing a lot of people, it’s about knowing the right people. In business school, especially in my US experience, you have so much free time. It is up to you how you make the most of your time, by applying for jobs, indulging in extracurricular activities, sports and hobbies, or going to networking events. By choosing a unique set of activities, you are able to enrich and individuate your MBA journey.
I have had the amazing opportunity of having my educational experience in both Asia and the US, it gave me a glimpse of the differences of East and West thinking, of Asia-centric and US-centric, collectivist and individualistic way of thinking. The thought processes, mindset, world view are different, which we will discuss in a separate episode (East vs. West Thinking)