Air Quantum

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I drove my Lucid Air (see Risky Business) to watch:

Air is a 2023 American biographical sports drama film directed by Ben Affleck. The film is based on true events about the origin of Air Jordan, a basketball shoe line, of which a Nike employee seeks to strike a business deal with rookie player Michael Jordan. It stars Matt Damon, Affleck, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker, and Viola Davis.

The movie (Rotten Tomatoes 92%) was pretty good. The opening montage was a collection of notable events from 1984, including scenes from:

Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Martin Brest, starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who visits Beverly Hills, California to solve the murder of his best friend. It had a box office of $316 million on a budget of $13 million.

In fact, I saw its sequel (in a theater) before I saw the original (on TV) and liked it more:

Beverly Hills Cop II is a 1987 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Tony Scott, starring Eddie Murphy. It had a box office of $276 million on a budget of $27 million.

Now to MJ. I came to the US in 1986, stayed in Schuyler House in my first year at Cornell, and was instantly enamored by Michael Jordan, watching him on TV in the common room every game that I could – against New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons (among others) with such fierce competitiveness and great personal accomplishments – and marveled at his persistence although the Chicago Bulls more often lost the games. Also, the iconic poster of him winning a Slam Dunk competition adorned my desk as a PhD student for many years, surprising several faculty members who walked by. Many years later, as a young faculty member at CMU, I saw him play live, several times, in Washington DC once and in United Center (in Chicago), at least twice, including in Game 6 (against Utah Jazz) where he scored, seconds before the buzzer, to win his sixth NBA Championship. Easily the most exciting sports event I had been to until 2009 when I saw the SuperBowl in Tampa (Steelers beat Cardinals).

Last week, I also had a wonderful visit to Princeton (54 minutes wheels-up to wheels-down, on a Hawker 400, 47 minutes return, just enough time to savor a Bacardi and Diet☺️)  presenting Quantum Operations Research (see also our new survey paper, led by PhD student Claudio Gomes, A Systematic Mapping Study on Quantum and Quantum-inspired Algorithms in Operations Research), a reprise of my Distinguished Lecture at Lehigh the week before. In both visits, it was enjoyable meeting up with PhD students, post-docs and faculty, many for the first time, and a couple after nearly 20 years (Tamás Terlaky at Lehigh, who was then the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of OPTE Journal, and Christos Maravelias, who was a summer intern at SmartOps when he was about to graduate from CMU, and is now Chair of Chemical Engineering Department at Princeton). As for making new friends, at Princeton, it was fun to have dinner with Christos, Jonathan Eckstein (who attended my talk, as Rutgers is on strike😳) and, especially, Bob Vanderbei, as he was Eugene Dynkin’s PhD student at Cornell, and reminisce about him (see Trillion Dollars of Inventory). At Lehigh, it was a treat to have dinner with Sean Kelley and Luis Nunes Vincente, Department Chair at Lehigh, as he is an even more of a movie buff than I am! Indeed, he sent me a list of some of his favorites the next day, and I easily checked off many that I have in common. including:

Once (2007). A Separation (2011). Haute Cuisine (2012). Locke (2013). Blue is the Warmest Color (2013). Cold War (2018).

The movie Air is about the business of shoe sales, and the game changing (pun intended😏) revenue sharing contract between Nike and MJ. As you know, one of my most memorable, satisfying  and profitable contracts while CEO of SmartOps was the gain sharing contract with Deere (see OR paper here). I am a strong believer in sharing the upside benefits for co-creating value in presence of risky outcomes. Indeed, an active Venture Capitalist industry fuels many startups, and I was happy to hear from ClimateAI (see AI. Solar. SPAC. Women) that they successfully raised a $22 million Series B round this past week. Looking forward to being at in-person the 2023 Annual Neotribe Investor Meeting next month, after three years of zoom.

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