Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Two More Days...

We had our final presentation for our Strategic Product and Services Development class yesterday. Marty and Karen (our Deptarment Chair and CMTEL Lab Director from Art Center) came by to see it. They seemed to respond very well to it our presentation, which went over without so much a problem considering the hell the twenty-four before was. Group work is a painful learning experience encapsulated in a shell of miscommunication, clashing minds and horrible time inefficiency. Of course, if you have the proper tools of process, respect and a twenty inch nutcraker, the learning experience might be revealed without the pain, suffering or frustration. I plan on doing a much more detailed write up to present to our resident advisor Todd Belle and possibly Marty and Karen as well about the entire experience so far. Until then, I have two more days of school left in the first period here at INSEAD. Then I have to figure out where I am going to go for the break, because its two grand for a round trip to Nepal, and there are no available hotels in India. Next stop, Laos or Brunei, we'll see...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Medical Response

I was eating lunch by myself at the Hawker Stand across the street from school. I was minding my own business, eating roti prata, when a crowd started to gather around a man. He was sitting in a chair, sort of slouched to one side, his chin to his chest. A woman was standing next to him, slapping his cheek to wake him up, but he just sat there, non-reactive with his eyes shut. A critical mass started to come around, so someone finally called the Defense Force (I guess they act as the medics over here, not a bad idea I think). Before the clean cut guys in uniforms showed up, a woman with a stethoscope was over the man, taking his heart rate (where'd she come from?!). Some of the guys standing around took the man from his seat, and laid him down on the ground. The woman then started to do a chest massage to the guy (the pushing part of the CPR process). No reaction still.

I couldn't really understand exactly what was going on because they weren't speaking English. Four people from the defense force showed up and started getting to work. They pricked his finger to get some blood. Put a pulse reader on one of his fingers. After a while, they put a oxygen mask over his face, and even decided to insert an IV into his arm. The whole process by them seemed to be somewhat disorganized. After about ten minutes of all this, some police officers showed up, and they collectively decided to lift him up onto a stretcher. Which again, wasn't a seamless process. They sort of paused when he was half way on the stretcher to take a break, before moving him entirely on there. Maybe his condition didn't merit it, but they didn't seem to be in any rush.

After this was all over, I asked the people at the Hawker Stand where I got my prata if they were going to do anything with the burlap sac they had sitting on some vegetable oil cans. They said they were just going to throw it away. So I asked if I could have it, and now I have another souvenir. I must note, I didn't take any pictures of the incident, I had left my camera at school. It might be for the better, because it forced me to write and interpret the incident myself, rather than passively accept digital capture of the moment.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Business Model

Today was a good day in classes, because they made sense and I was able to follow along quite well. I could see the value in understanding a business model, and why it is important to look at past models. To learn from their successes and failures at the very least. Another value is to use them as analogies for the creative application of a plan from one area (say internet book selling) to another (say online groceries). Well, it doesn't always make a successful transfer (online groceries failed for the most part), but that is part of the value of looking at business models. Now I feel that I have a stronger tool to justify concepts that I come up with in design. "X may work because of reasons A, B, and C. Here are some business models D and E which are quite similar. Further more, here is the roadmap for this plan, with milestones at points F, G, and H. I could use these as markers of success. Finally, there is further value by connecting this consumer to this producer in this way. All we need is this cool speedform which I'm about to design to tie it all together" My future presentations may go something like that. Prepare to be completely baffled. INSEAD was actually able to cram a lot of information into my head in a short amount of time, AND! I've managed to retain it. Score on multiple levels. I actually finding myself wishing I had taken some of their core classes, because it would help me to digest some of the information being presented to me now.

I had some freetime this weekend, and went to some Wetlands and Orchid Gardens. It was a enjoyable half day of an adventure. Pictures are up on my flickr account. The biggest take away from that trip would have to be the relaxing ability to explore at my own pace. Groups are great, but sometimes you get lost keeping up or waiting around. A take away about Singapore maybe... this is small island. It took less than 2o minutes to go from my apartment to the wetlands on the opposite side (north side) of the island. And then I could look out from the Wetlands and see Malaysia. It would have been a good bike ride.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Settling Dust

So, things are finally really settling down to a certain state of normality and everyday drudgery. Classes have become less exciting, and have slowly moved to a level of tediousness. More so because I've realized I want to travel, rather than anything of the classes particular own doing. The courses are all teaching me wonderous facts of knowledge that I would not have had access to back at Art Center. My vocabulary is slowly adjusting to this business lingo, and its getting hard for me to sort what I knew before and what I have learned now as it becomes part of my everyday speak. I particularly enjoy condensing down titles and phrases down to their letter abbreviations (you don't call the class Venture Opportunities in Business Management, you call it VOBM). And with that, it is almost over, sixth week begins next week, and periods here are only seven weeks long. Oh, I'll still get to go through all this again after a good long week break (in Nepal). It still seems like there was barely anytime to start this before it ended though. Starting a whole new period is going to drain me so much.

Just as things got to get normal though, I found this amazing little Organic Food Shop in the market area near our house. Literally a five minute walk from my door to their door. On top of that, I went in with a recipe for a Singaporean desert, and owner (?) noticed and was more than happy to help me out. He even said to bring him future recipes days in advanced so he could get all the ingredients together for me. The store was barely the size of my living room at home. I was blown away by his dedication to customer service. I'll definitely be going back there on a frequent basis.

I also had one of the three greatest dishes I've eaten while in Singapore today (well, one of the was in Cambodia, so I am merely referring to the trip in general). It was Seaweed with Ginger. I don't know what else was in there, but the combination blew me away. It was in this odd little place that called themselves "Vegetarian" but served numerous dishes with fish, and possibly some with chicken. I won't complain too much, because the Seaweed with Ginger was amazing. Now what I really need to find is an amazing dessert place here. Or maybe that will be up to me in combination with my new friendly neighborhood shopkeep.