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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The One where the quarter ends

So the best time in the quarter is when it ends! And you are basking in the California sun in the spring/summer/winter break! Yeah, welcome to CA baby, its sun-shiny all year round. Weather news apart, its interesting to see how the classes that i took this quarter designed their last class of the quarter in a real fun way! So the three courses I took were (in short), Databases(CS245), Global Entrepreneurial Marketing (MSANDE 271) and Intro to Biomedical Systems Design (BMI211/CS271).

CS245: So Hector has this real kewl idea of having a joke-break in the middle of his classes - just to wake people from going into deep slumber. The class is usually in the afternoon so people cant sometimes help going to sleep. The thing is that one guy has to volunteer to tell a joke, of course its not necessary that one do it, and in that case Hector comes prepared with his own list of poor jokes, but usually some or the other wise guy cracks a very smelly and geeky joke. Anyways, at the end of the quarter, the guy with the best joke gets the Stanford InfoLab Tshirt (pretty much a collectors item as larry and sergey were both part of the InfoLab here - though it was called the DB group then). And yea, yours truly won a Tshirt this quarter. But yet again, I was second best, Hector had 2 prizes, 1st and 2nd. Ushah won the first prize, so I am happy that both prizes stayed in Allahabad! So I am the official comedian of the class, and judging by my grade in that course, I probably was just that - a comedian!

GEM: The last class just blew me over, if you have got access to SCPD, you better watch this class - coz it was by far the most i have laughed in a class here at Stanford. All the teams (about 8 of them) had to come prepared with a 2 minute thing (could be anything from a song, a skit, a youtube video...) to present as a lessons' learnt exercise in class. And by God the teams did a jolly good job of it. Here are a few excerpts:

By Rachel Dyke and her team:

Wallace: Sons of GEM, I am Donna Novitsky.

Young soldier: Can’t be - Donna Novinsky is 7 feet tall.

Wallace: Yes, I've heard. Raises money by the billions, and if VCs were here she'd win them over with only a 2 slide DDART and an economic analysis from her arse. I am Donna Novitsky. And I see a whole army of entrepreneurs here ready to TALC any product. You have come to cross the chasm, and chasm crossers you are. What would you do with the marketing toolkit? Will you market?

Veteran soldier: Market? With only the toolkit? No, we will join the Fortune 500.

Wallace: Aye, market and you may fall into the Chasm. Give up and take your offer. And collecting your pension many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our competitors that they may spend their millions, but they'll never take our market share!!!

Wallace and Soldiers: GEM Forever! (Scotland forever!)

REAL VERSION:

Wallace: Sons of Scotland, I am William Wallace.

Young soldier: William Wallace is 7 feet tall.

Wallace: Yes, I've heard. Kills men by the hundreds, and if he were here he'd consume the English with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse. I am William Wallace. And I see a whole army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What would you do without freedom? Will you fight?

Veteran soldier: Fight? Against that? No, we will run; and we will live.

Wallace: Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you'll live -- at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!!!

Wallace and Soldiers: Alba gu bra! (Scotland forever!)

(Probably wont make much sense unless you have taken the course).

Grant and our team did this youtube video(final version differed from this one):


Of course the last presentation the teaching team made was such an inspiration and I totally recommend this class.

BMI211: Amar has always been great and brought good people to speak in his class, but this last lecture he got a former alum of the class to come and speak on CPOE systems from San Francisco, who has his own startup and he gave a really inspiring talk. Left a lasting impression.

So all in all, my take away from the last quarter:
  • Jokes win TShirts
  • A successful business is a Tango - it takes 2 - product and product marketing
  • Speak few words but speak convincingly like you totally believe in it

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