Around the Dot

25 June 2005

Madagascar – Giant Fun
I had to tell you about what made my going out plan yesterday night. After a good night sleep, first thing in the morning: Madagascar, the new animated movie produced by Dreamworks Animation.

It’s just amazing. This is the best example of what this studio can do. Whereas I have never found a bad Pixar movie, the other studios don’t have the same track record. Far from ugly or nonsense movies that I don’t bother to see (like Shark Tales, Valliant, The Polar Express or Sinbad) Madagascar is as great as The Ice Age (that I personally prefer to the Shrek serie).

Technically speaking, there is nothing the CG studios can’t do – just look at the 2 or 3 last Pixar movies. In Madagascar, it’s so good that the only time you notice CG is when you notice how beautiful some effects are: the lion’s hair which evolves during his psychological return journey to predation and the surf breaking on the shores. Just beautiful.

I found the voices to be a great plus, especially Chris Rock, David Schwimmer (the hilarious giraffe) and the Lemur King with his Bombay accent.

The gags (visual, dialogues and situations) are exquisite. However, there is still room for improvements on the scenario side. I’m bored with the classical friendship scenario. Pixar dropped it in The Incredibles but the CG genre is plagued by it!

I should post a comment on all the movies I go and see, or maybe just the good ones. I’ll try to do it more often – I’m a big movie fan so it should show up somewhere on my website…

To conclude, go watch Madagascar – I like to move it / move it, You like to?

23 June 2005

It's 25H94 somewhere
In the strange world of media and TV advertising that I'm starting to discover, 23h90 or 25:10 are valid times. This is not an excuse to be very very late to appointments or work more than 24 hours a day to compensate for the 35-hour work week. Nope, that's just for fun. ;)

No kidding, hours are counted from 3 in the morning, thus the "25h" and the 9 is used to signal special slots - hence the "23h90".

Well, I should be working instead of blogging such a futile post BUT I can't: the website of the supplier I am supposed to use to collect data is down due to a storm. I have to tell you because it's a funny story and I've never such a thing before. Nothing to do with the heavy rain or the thunder. They are hosting their web server in their offices which is connected to the Internet by radio frequency. And the clouds are blocking the waves. Ah.... la France. ;)

22 June 2005

I finally got an Odeo account tonight.

I just registered and downloaded the Odeo Syncr application. Very nice interface.

I listened to some shows and subscribed to a few of them. This is pretty straightforward and I guess I'll like it even if I have never been (and will never be) a radio fan.

I have to try it with my iPod (the little geek in me). I'll let you know!

Any MBA podcaster? Hmm I have to find out.

20 June 2005

A Life less Ordinary?
A new old life or a new odd life? That’s hard to tell. I’m back from my first day at work and it struck me in the tube (oops… metro) that I’m back in Paris but in a completely new fashion.

It’s my first job in an established company (Mindshare, a media-planning agency of WPP – not too bad for my start-up loaded CV).
It’s my first job where the female:male ratio is more than one (Vive les media!).
It’s my first job for which I take a train (still in Paris transportation map “zone 2” though - *relief*).

It’s my first job with air-con. A smart move considering France is so hot right now – in a sense, I am preparing for my move to California.

If you read my blog more or less regularly, you will have notice the gap between my last London post and this entry. I haven’t fallen through a space-time continuum breach in the Eurostar (though I considered blogging from the cab and the train on my way back home).

I just chilled out. :) Playing Vice City on the PS2, fixing stuff home, redecorating a bit, finding space (back) for my stuff in the flat… And a nice week-end of cooking BBQ and watching the Godfather trilogy at the family country house.

Anyway, don’t worry, I’ll keep blogging, especially as I need to keep my English to the level I reached – and I like it.

Finally, being back in Paris has great advantages, first of which is living full-time with my wife (are you calling me a hypocrite?) in our flat. It isn’t a life as “new” as I expected but I have faith in my career and location switching “MBA goals”.

Have to leave now – dinner at mom’s (another plus on my list).

11 June 2005

This is the End...
I am not as desperate as Jim Morrison when I say that but there is no denying the evidence:
  • My luggage is packed;
  • My locker is full of the academic stuff (binders, binders, binders) and not so academic stuff (champagne, wine);
  • I just got back from the BBQ & Games on the school lawn;
  • We don’t have the TV or the net in the flat anymore – actually I have to squat a negligent neighbour’s wifi access to blog this.
I’ll be back in Paris tomorrow after almost ten months in London. I’ll tell you more about what’s next when I’ll know more myself - it’s a (prestigious?) marketing internship but shhhhh.

Well, enough with the “Quitting London” series. Last post should be from Paris. :)

10 June 2005

My First A+
The year couldn’t end better. I finally got an A+. Not that I particularly wanted to become a “Dean’s list” student; I guess you have to work more than I did or to be more gifted than I am – Am I? There is no real incentive as the school doesn’t release the grades anyway.

I just wanted one – period.

I have one extra reason to cheer as it is in one of the subjects closest to my heart (if not the closest). Do I have to tell you?

Marketing, of course.

Last Sundowners
Today was the last day of class (just one exam). On my way back from Sundowners (our weekly socialising drink) which was organised just after our exam, the Sun was actually down and the sky over Lisson Grove was beautiful. I couldn’t help thinking this was the last time I was “officially” taking this road – I’m leaving my flat on Sunday and have no reason to live around there again*.

Sure, drinking didn’t help – especially as my study group decided to pop the champagne bottle we won for the Economics debate. But still, there are some people I might not see again in a class room. For instance Amanda & Neelay are both going on exchange in the first term while I’m going in the second with the idea of finishing before the 3rd term (to look for a job in the US).

I guess there was a general feeling the year is over and something has passed. I should actually wait until tomorrow for that to be completely true as students taking the Finance 2 Elective have an exam tomorrow. So I guess there is still an evening to celebrate, even if it isn’t exactly the same without Sundowners.

For those joining the school next year or with plans to do so in the future, Sundowners is clearly a great selling point for the School. You don’t have to be at all of them but failing to join regularly during your time at school (and I guess beyond) is missing a part of the experience (plus, tip: networking = drinking, but shhhh – this is an MBA secret).

*: Don’t get me wrong: give me a great well-paid job and I wouldn’t mind leaving around Maida Vale, Abbey Road or Little Venice. And convince my wife. :)

Tough Neighbourhood
A lengthy but really interesting entry by Gary Rivlin for the New York Times highlights how important emulation is to the entrepreneurship frenzy in the Silicon Valley.

I don’t buy completely the I-want-the-Ferrari-too or I-must-have-it-all-including-Rock-Star-Fame attitude but I think there is definitely something that would be worth a behavioural study – let’s not use big words as psychological.

This article includes great gems – I can’t report them all but I can’t resist quoting some of them either:

Mark Pincus (serial entrepreneur):

“For entrepreneurs like me,” he told me, “I'd say we're happy the boom busted, that the majority of M.B.A. carpetbaggers went B2B and B2C'' -- back, that is, to banking and consulting. “We're now left with real entrepreneurs who will continue to make bold bets, sometimes right and more often wrong, having a ton of fun in the process -- especially when they're right.”

These words might sound strange in the mouth of an HBS graduate but I see his point – London Business School entrepreneurship classes are filled with people waiting for the next bubble too, yet few have real experience or true appetite for innovation. :)

Sunil Paul (partner of Mark who sold Brightmail, to Symantec for $370 million):

“We are not ready to stop changing the world.”

I just need to find one of these “Please God, Just One More Bubble.” stickers now... ... and get back on preparing my Managerial Accounting (yerk) exam which is in less that 3 hours now.

05 June 2005

The (Half) Graduate
Even if there are officially one more exam, a class presentation and a take-home paper between me and the end of the year*, the atmosphere on and off campus is quite relaxed.

I have secured a project for the summer (more on that later) which adds to the mood. As the academic year comes to its term, I am having thoughts and discussion with some fellow students about the whole MBA thing. I particularly feel it’s the end of something (yes the first year, if you want to be pragmatic) as I am leaving London for the summer to head back home.

Part of the experience for me was living the student life abroad (as I guess it is for most at the London Business School). My second year is full of promise for more of that (one term in London and one term in Los Angeles), but it isn’t going to be the same. This is me and my “sentimental” nature. I guess watching The Graduate tonight is not helping – Paul Simon’s fault.

Anyway – I am not that melancholic! Sure there has been some hassle (selling my furniture to my landlord, managing the return of my stuff to Paris…) but the end of the year is also great fun: the French Club picnic, the Asian Clubs “Silk & Spice” party, the Open Week-end for the MBA 2007 (for which I was very glad to perform with the band). Not counting what’s ahead in Paris.

Maybe the best word to describe my current state of mind is Confusion. It’s odd but I guess I like being confused? This blend of mixed feelings is always a great source of questions and inspiration for me. Will I work on a new venture project? Get back to music with my Paris friends? Work on a screenplay and a movie idea that’s developed while I’ve been in London?

A very self-centred piece… hmm I hope it can help future students: this is a better view of what is coming than any advice about Finance or Consulting careers.

* Oh! And this damn shadowing project – feel free to e-mail me to volunteer! ;)

Note: Dustin Hoffman was 29 when he stared in The Graduate. I’ll be 29 (depending on the graduation date) when I’ll graduate. I hope I’ll have had the same kind of success by then!

Note two days later: I learned today that "Mrs Robinson" (Anne Bancroft) died on the very same day I wrote this post. Sad coincidence...

Sitcom Diet: Run that Seinfeld again!
There is good news (at last?) for TV networks! Based on the conclusions of a recent study, it seems coach potatoes with a bit of overweight should add more sitcom to their TV habits. Apparently, 15 minutes of good laugh burn 50 calories. Hence, a good Seinfeld episode can burn up to 100 calories.

What is the catch? Hmm…

10-15 minutes of genuine giggling can burn off the number of calories found in a medium square of chocolate

So you better be frugal while watching your favourite comedy.

And for the fans of Desperate Housewives and other lower LPM* shows, here is an argument in your favour: “fatter” women have a better life expectancy than “skinnier” ones. This should be interpreted with care as I believe being really fat or really skinny is not really the healthiest anyway.

Note: I never thought I would be blogging about health. :)

* (laugh per minute – a trademark of G. Rigal)