The Sound of Silence

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Enjoying a delicious Carmenere – a gift, from a couple, both Tepper MBA alums, now living in Chile, he a CEO of a Telecom company now (was previously at McKinsey, joined upon graduation), a subsidiary of Liberty Media (founded by John Malone) when they visited Tepper last week – I came across this WSJ article over the weekend:

Luxury Car Makers Drive Formula One to Survive.

Here are excerpts that grabbed my attention:

The recent global wave of interest in the motor sport has taken even longtime fans by surprise. In the U.S., some of it has to do with a Netflix documentary called “Drive to Survive,” which has attracted a younger and more diverse audience…John Malone’s Liberty Media bought Formula One in 2017 for $4.4 billion from British billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, who over four decades built up a portfolio of rights to organize, broadcast and sponsor the sport’s Grand Prix races. As Liberty Formula One, one of Liberty Media’s three “tracking stocks,” the valuation has ballooned to $12.6 billion…The 2026 season is when a meaningful change in engine rules takes effect. The principle is that the sport should be greener and simpler, while preserving the noisy spectacle fans enjoy…The irony is that EVs could flatten traditional performance differences between brands. Many upscale car makes grew up near the Alps in southern Germany or northern Italy, with engines tailored to mountain curves. How will they maintain their prestige when even basic EVs can match their acceleration?

Indeed. From Ferrari Needs to Bring Supercar Pep to EVs:

They say the superrich are different, and the same goes for their favorite sports-car maker. Ferrari, which launched a new strategic plan Thursday, must keep it that way….It is sometimes assumed that all EVs will feel similar to drive, given the greater simplicity of their powertrains. Luxury brands would then have to differentiate themselves through other factors, such as cabin comforts, services and styling. With its singular emphasis on driving experience, Ferrari has more at stake than any other car maker in proving the conventional wisdom wrong. As for the thorny question of engine noise that is so central to the brand, the company said only that its EV would produce a “unique Ferrari sound.” We will have to wait and hear.

Now you know why I titled this post:

The Sound of Silence, originally The Sounds of Silence, is a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel.

Later, it was featured in:

The Graduate is a 1967 American romantic comedy-drama film, grossing $104.9 million worldwide (on a budget of $3 million). It received seven nominations at the 40th Academy Awards including for Best Picture and won Best Director. Adjusted for inflation (as of 2021), the film’s gross is $857 million, making it the 23rd highest-grossing film in North America with inflation taken into account.

The first plug-in that I test drove was Fisker Karma, sometime in 2014. I decided to pass. A few years later, I drove a Tesla. Warmed up to EV, I would say, but not enough to buy one. Earlier this month, I stopped by a Lucid showroom in Short Hills Mall (in NJ), and test drove one: 800 hp, 0-60 in 3 seconds (comparable to my Ferrari and McLaren), and kept accelerating, to 85/90 mph in just a few more seconds, thanks in part to an impressive drag co-efficient of 0.21, effortlessly and noiselessly, negotiating a curve without squealing too much, with 516-mile range on a charge (with a supercharging capability of 300 miles in 21 minutes).

I felt that it was worth doing more due-diligence on it.

Lead Time quoted to obtain one? 2-5 months. Out of sheer curiosity, I asked the sales person, why there was such variance (he did not know that I am an OM professor whose papers are on Quoting Accurate Due Dates and on buffering against Lead Time Uncertainty and such)? I was happy with his honesty:

We don’t have much predictability in our production process. We don’t know about raw materials and component availability. We don’t know how many other orders will come in before yours, and for what models. We have been told to quote this wide range to prospective customers.

Talking about OM, unfortunately, I could not travel to Munich this week – I have always enjoyed my visits to Munich, several of them I made because I was doing Executive Education for McKinsey (see Meditation on McKinsey), both in Munich itself, and also because it was logistically the most convenient way to get to Kitzbühel (in Austria), where McKinsey did many of its educational programs and executive retreats – and so had to miss the MSOM Conference that is taking place in-person there.

Munich is a 2005 historical drama film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. It received five Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Score. The film made $131 million worldwide on a budget of $70 million.

However, my co-authors are there in person to present three of our papers. I have discussed Split Liver Transplantation (including our paper on Ethics of SLT) in To Split, or Not to Split where I mentioned these two (both to be presented by Savannah Tang):

Split liver transplantation: An analytical decision support model

Multi-armed bandit with endogenous learning and queueing: An application to split liver transplantation

In that post, I had also mentioned a related work, with UCSF physicians (including Sarah Bernards and Neil Mehta) seeking (gender) equity in liver allocation, where we proposed giving additional (‘exception”) points based on height. We also participated in the OPTN Public Comment portion (back in March) indicating our concerns with an alternative (called MELD 3.0) being considered, in addition to making it part of my presentation to the NASEM Committee on Organ Transplantation. A couple days back we received this from American Journal of Transplantation (AJT):

Re: Awarding additional MELD points to the shortest waitlist candidates improves sex disparity in access to liver transplant in the United States

I am pleased to inform you that your manuscript is accepted for publication in AJT..

Now that the transplant community finds our analysis publishable, the real question is, obviously, whether they choose to adopt our (the very easy to implement) proposal. We have to see.

What is third presentation (by Andrew Li) on? As I have also previously mentioned in Holy Grail of Holy Grail:

Toward a liquid biopsy: greedy approximation algorithms for active sequential hypothesis testing

Beyond Octoberfest, what is an attraction (to car lovers) in Munich, is the BMW Museum. I was a pretty satisfied BMW owner for many years, but I must say that the 530e – plug-in hybrid – has been a bit meh. With a total range of only 350 miles (with 21 miles on battery), they seemed to have designed the worst of both worlds of electric and gas? And, it is not an Ultimate Driving Experience either.😒

As I was wrapping up this post, I received a request from NPR:

Dear Dr. Tayur,

We are interested in speaking with you on NPR’s Morning Edition about the supply chain crisis and the impact of the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act on various industries and, ultimately, on consumers. Do you have availability this week or early next week..

For those who are not aware, OSRA is a bipartisan bill that passed unanimously in the Senate (and had strong support in the House) and at a record pace, reminding me of a quip by George Carlin:

  Bipartisan usually means that a larger than usual deception is being carried out.😏

On a serious note, I think OSRA has many positive aspects that will help American exporters (and in the case of grains, like Wheat, where the US exports 50% of our production, it should als benefits the countries that import them in the wake of the Ukraine crisis). Not just NPR that is interested in supply chains. The first call I have tomorrow morning is with CNN (you know my involvement on this topic from Three Men and Baby Formula):

Hi Sridhar,

Deidre McPhillips with CNN is working on a story about baby formula stock data from the market research firm IRI that shows formula stock rates (as of June 19) have not yet improved. More than a quarter of the formula that the White House has committed to import through Operation Fly Formula has already arrived – so why are the stock rates not budging? What more needs to be done?

PS. (1) Just received word that our paper that I playfully showcased in True. No Lies! won the 2022 M&SOM Journal Best Paper Award. (2) Here is the CNN article.


  1. Hi from MSOM. We miss you. Congratulations on your best paper award!! Cheers!!

    1. Thanks Kathy! Wish I could have been there.

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