After my Zoom evening class in Service Management, I was savoring a nice red wine and enjoying The Music of Time (Poetry in the Twentieth Century), last night, when I received this email from a student:
Hope you are doing well. Thanks for the great lecture today. I really enjoyed reading both the SAP and SmartOps case today. It is rare to hear from the case protagonist and it was a joy to learn about what actually happened.
Additionally, I have received an offer from McKinsey and Amazon and I was on the fence about the consulting offer as I want to be in the tech industry long term. However, I heard your experience working with people from consulting and particularly folks from McKinsey and it made the value of pursuing consulting very clear. Thanks for that.
Thanks for the great class. I look forward to seeing you next week.
You are welcome (McKinsey!). 😏
In 2008, when I last voted in Pennsylvania (as we lived in Massachusetts 2009-2017), I drove to Sewickley Heights History Center (in my Ferrari), about a mile from my house. As I came out after voting, a reporter (writing for a South American newspaper) asked me if I would answer some questions:
Who did you vote for, may I ask?
That is very surprising. I thought Sewickley Heights is solidly Republican. Are you a Democrat?
No. I am an Independent.
Is it because of his domestic policies?
His foreign policy?
Is it because it will be history making if he wins?
I like John McCain, a lot, actually. When he calmly corrected an ignorant woman, during his campaign, that Obama was not an Arab, it confirmed that he was fundamentally a decent person. But, he chose Sarah Palin as his VP. That is simply unacceptable.
Now to 2020.
I decided to mail in the ballot (like many, many others, it appears). For good measure, for old time’s sake, I drove to the Post Office in my Ferrari!
As the counting continues, it is surreal to see the updates from Georgia and Pennsylvania, especially as the mail-in ballots are the ones largely remaining to be counted.
The first time I heard this Ray Charles’ song was in 1990 (I think), at the first Church Wedding I attended, of two Cornell ORIE PhD students (Alisha, Lance). I was amazed at how short (and quiet) such weddings are, especially in contrast to traditional Indian weddings! At the reception following the ceremony, the first dance by the couple (Alisha is from Georgia):
The whole day through
(The whole day through)
Just an old, sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
(Georgia on my mind)
Many years later, I saw the movie Ray (with Jamie Foxx), and it was pretty good.
Thinking about movies, and songs from movies, brings me to Flashdance, set (and filmed) in Pittsburgh, and What a Feeling (by Irene Cara):
First when there’s nothing
But a slow glowing dream
In a world made of steel
Made of stone
Take your passion
And make it happen
What a feeling
There have been many movies shot in Pittsburgh, some of them also set in Pittsburgh (others are set in NYC, or Gotham in the case of Batman, although it was shot not far from SmartOps office in downtown Pittsburgh!), such as Wonder Boys and Concussion.
Wonder Boys (directed by Curtis Hanson, who also directed LA Confidential) was being filmed outside Posner Hall, sometime in 1999. As I finished teaching, and was leaving the building, I saw Michael Douglas (who plays a fictional English professor at an unnamed Pittsburgh University) walking up the stairs, and I simply could not resist a handshake, and cheekily ask:
Do you want to meet a real CMU Professor?
Can the real CMU Professor show me where the rest room is?
Concussion (2015) is particularly meaningful to me, as it is about Dr. Bennet Omalu (played by Will Smith) who took on the NFL, who was not only a student at Tepper (and in my class), but we are co-authors of Healthcare Operations Management paper, based on material I covered in my Operations Management Core class:
Will we ever stop obsessing about the pollsters and their forecasts?
Why Poetry? John Burnside, The Music of Time:
Poetry is a way of ordering experience, of giving a meaningful order to lived time…..a playful and serious attentiveness to the dailiness of life that refuses to relinquish everyday pleasures..
More generally, I suppose I agree with Jonathan Franzen:
Writing is a sort of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us.