19 Feb, 2012 | by

Several years ago, I was chatting with a friend who was laboring under an almost six-figure undergraduate debt after attending a prestigious, top-tier university and then becoming a public school teacher.  We had both paid particularly close attention when our most trusted high school mentor, an alumnus of such illustrious schools as Holy Cross and Brown University, told us sagely that when it comes to college, “You get what you pay for.”  The schools we chose to grace with our attendance were both pricey, well-regarded institutions of higher learning, but the difference between us was that my education was almost entirely paid for with scholarships and grants.  My friend, on the other hand, had to finance his degree.  He had reached the end of his deferment eligibility on some of his student loans, and he was feeling the pressure.  I could see that he was beginning to panic.

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21 Jan, 2012 | by

After tying up some paperwork to officially bring the engagement to a close, I walked the client’s hallways to say good bye to the friends and colleagues I had made over the previous five months:  “Rich, it was an absolute pleasure working with you.  Do make sure you keep in touch.  So, what’s next for you now”?  To which I almost always reply:  “That’s a good question.  I have no idea, but I’ll be sure to let you know when I land.”  After a few hearty hand-shakes and a couple of heart-felt good-byes, I turned in my security clearance and exited the building.  Before entering the taxi standing by to whisk me away, I closed my eyes and took a brief moment to contemplate the experience.  Shortly thereafter, I opened my eyes, let out a deep sigh and thought to myself:  “It’s time to move on to the next challenge.”  “Where to sir?” replied the patient taxi driver.  “Airport, please.  I’m eager to get home”. continue reading »

30 Sep, 2010 | by

Just as Google is synonymous with search, anyone remotely plugged into the now will tell you that Facebook is synonymous with social networking.  Or even “The Social Network”, according to the new Columbia Pictures film.  One thing is for sure: Facebook is here to stay, whether you like it or not.

The evolution of Facebook since its inception back in 2004 has been nothing short of miraculous.  A service once focused exclusively on connecting college students has grown into a virtual community used by practically everyone.  I mean everyone!  Have you ever taken a moment to ask yourself:  “Just how big is facebook?”  Well, the following five statistics may provide some meaningful perspective: continue reading »

30 Aug, 2010 | by

The following article is an extension of The Resilient Consultant (Part 1 of 2):  Five Steps to bounce back from failure.  It’s a logical spin-off to cover what I believe to be an extremely vital topic, which will most assuredly help you obtain some perspective.  It will provide five key steps to minimizing future engagement failures and protect your personal brand in the process.  I’d like to point out that these steps go beyond a standard methodology for managing an engagement.  There are plenty of materials out there that cover that space, so you won’t find that here.  What you will find are proactive steps an individual can take across the full range of the sales life cycle, from pursuit to execution, that better position him or her for success.

However, just like any other methodology, the following guidance will not guarantee that you never encounter a bad engagement again.  In fact, I suggest that you accept the absolute certainty that you will be confronted with bad engagements at some point, so please save yourself the suspense.  Some of the most dramatic personal growth I’ve achieved in my career has come directly from bad projects.  Don’t be afraid of the challenge; embrace it.  Just be mentally prepared to take on anything and get ready to adapt.  continue reading »

11 Apr, 2010 | by

market-psychology

A friend of mine once told me Positive Attitude is the MANTRA for success.

Now some may say being positive is good but one has to be a REALIST too. Isn’t that just COMMON SENSE or maybe not. I believe human psychology plays a very important part in whatever we do as humans. And I do mean everything relationship, business, career etc.

Let us explore this more shall we?

Most of us who operate in the market or just watch the market have witnessed the markets going UP on bad news and vice-versa. And sometimes the strength of these irrational or unexpected moves will make you want to lose all your foresight, judgement, wisdom and commonsense. You will be tempted to abandon your own view and just follow the trend.  There are some who do follow the trend. And there is nothing wrong with that. You don’t need to beat the market consensus but just profit from it.  But sometimes bucking against the market consensus does pay well in the end.  We all know that the markets have a habit of getting either too optimistic or too pessimistic and this has a lot to do with the market psychology.  continue reading »

30 Mar, 2010 | by
Topics: M&A, Strategy

post-merger-growth

A close friend and colleague of mine, Mehdi Farhadi, recently dropped me a line to say hello.  He simultaneously passed along one of his recent publications and asked if I’d be willing to share it on mybusinessmusings.com.  Without hesitation, I said YES.  You see, Mehdi epitomizes what it means to be a guru in the field of mergers & acquisitions.  While working together in Germany, back in 2008, on a major global transaction we frequently pontificated and debated various M&A concepts.  Strangely enough, it was a field of interest we instantly bonded on.  I vividly recall one particular discussion, which revolved around organic vs. inorganic organizational growth.  It was one of those pleasant conversations where we 100% agreed on all fronts.  Ironically enough, several years later, Mehdi has put together a great piece that took that discussion to a whole new level.  This article will actually appear as a chapter in a book he will be releasing in the near future called “Value in Due Diligence”.  Give it a read as the perspective is invaluable.  I especially love the chart he’s put together as it really tells a significant story.  Enjoy everyone and thanks for sharing Mehdi:

Business leaders strive for growth. Growth is essential to the well-being of companies. According to Ansoff (1957), “just to retain its relative position, a business firm must go through continuous growth and change.” Most companies consider external growth through mergers and acquisitions (M&A) – both asset and share deals – as one of the quickest ways to fulfil business growth objectives. Corporate marriages help companies to sustain profit growth and gain greater market share. continue reading »

28 Feb, 2010 | by

businessman_jump

My heart was beating through my chest, and my mind racing.  The same thought kept replaying over and over again within my cerebral cortex:  “I’m not prepared for this meeting.  How did I allow myself to get into this situation”?  After my colleague and I entered the client’s palatial office, I calmly sat down and distributed the packet of information that we would be reviewing.  I was confident with the early part of the presentation but was struck with an escalating sense of foreboding as the conversation progressed.  His eyes said it all, but his words would remove any doubt:  “I was expecting something very different.  I am now stuck in the unenviable position of having to make a difficult decision…Either postpone tomorrow’s board meeting, yet again, or trust that this presentation will be properly fixed by tomorrow morning”.  His comments, coupled with my senior colleague’s less than stellar support, shook me to my very core.  I was thrown under the proverbial bus, and I knew there was no coming back from it.  Less than two weeks into a new engagement, I was surreptitiously rolled off the client.  Just like that…I was done. 

Never in my career had I experienced such a profound sense of failure and anger, in both myself and the project’s leadership team.  I cannot put into words just how deeply my confidence had been shaken.   In many cases, a consultant’s effectiveness is directly tied to his ability to exude confidence.  Had I lost my Mojo?  Had my personal brand been tarnished?  How could I recover from something like this? continue reading »

4 Feb, 2010 | by

exit-strategy

Although the economists still can’t agree on the real quantative impact of various stimulus packages that were adopted by economies from around the world but one cannot dispute the fact that the size of the stimulus did matter and did work in most cases.

To investigate this further let us look at the various stimulus packages that were adopted during the CRISIS.

Obviously by the sheer size and percentage of National GDP China’s US $ 586 billion stimulus Package which accounts for above 12.9% its GDP stands out from the REST. It is possibly followed by Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and the mother of all STIMULUS thrown by United States under its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which is the largest by any measures (US$ 787 billion).

At the time there were market pundits who were debating the pros and cons and some even doubted if the stimulus packages will deliver and I am glad to admit that some of us including myself had a different view. Based on my judgement and commonsense I concluded in a piece that I wrote in March of 2009 titled “ Getting the Patient Out of Intensive – The Economy “ that it should deliver and put the US and the world economy back to growth. But having said we should have no illusion that the road ahead is still bumpy and uncertain. continue reading »

31 Jan, 2010 | by
Topics: Economy, Politics

democratsrepublicans1

I tend to shy away from politically focused posts as the feedback is generally overly intense, sometimes irrational and usually futile.  It’s almost as bad as trying to discuss the perennially hot topic of religion.  The discussion always begins amicably enough, but it inevitably seems to devolve into senseless argument.  I think Oscar Wilde said it best:  “Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing”. 

After watching the recent State of the Union address (embedded below; please watch it if you have not…It’s worth it) I felt compelled to share a few thoughts, given that much of the  focus of the speech is centered on the economy.  A harsh reality is that politics and business are firmly joined at the hip, whether you want to believe that or not.  A clear example of this would be the special bond between corporate entities and career politicians.  How many times have you heard of “gray-area” reciprocities that have transpired over the past few decades alone?  You know what I mean – transactions that just didn’t seem to pass the common sense test.  Remember the cozy relationship between Halliburton and former Vice President Dick Cheney?  Wiki “Political scandals of the United States,” and you’ll get a flavor of just how extensive the list is. 

I know, I know … you’re probably thinking I’m heading down the path of “all politicians are criminals” stereotype.  That’s really not my intention here, so please bear with me.  We all know that political malfeasance is much more commonplace then it should be.  When was the last time you had that following thought running through your head after news of a scandal broke:  “Wow, I can’t believe he or she would do something like that”?  It’s almost expected these days.  The only questions are:  “How egregious is the act?” and “Will the public ultimately accept the indiscretion for what it was?”  It’s that simple; however, variables that dictate the public’s appetite for forgiveness is not.  Blagojevich = Bad, Clinton = Not so bad or even good.  Go figure. continue reading »

10 Jan, 2010 | by

 3d-glasses

By now, you probably know a friend or a friend of a friend who has seen the blockbuster movie “Avatar,” a film that undoubtedly touts the creative genius of James Cameron, with a plot that seems to be universally appreciated, visually stunning cinematography and cutting-edge 3D technology that puts the proverbial cherry on top. Anecdotally, it just seems that moviegoers are actually excited about going to theaters again, a trend of which Hollywood is keenly aware.

As the “Avatar”-sparked 3D revolution continues to build momentum, I find myself asking a profoundly simple question: Is it sustainable? 3D has been around for a very long time. Yes, the technology itself has evolved in tremendous ways, but the original concept goes back over fifty years, not to mention there have been 3D resurgences in both the 50s and 80s. However, the spikes in usage during those periods were seen as gimmicks that quickly lost popularity.

In the January 6, 2010 Yahoo News article “Blockbuster ‘Avatar’ to accelerate 3D revolution”, the author states that “[a]ccording to organizers of a recent 3D film festival in Belgium, more than 150 3D films are currently in various stages of production. Among them is the long-awaited movie adaptation of comic-book hero ‘Tintin,’ directed by Oscar-winner Steven Spielberg and tentatively scheduled for release in 2011.”
It’s clear that Hollywood sees the current 3D revolution as an opportunity to accentuate the moviegoer experience and glean profits in the process. But I for one feel that the 3D zeitgeist will pass and ultimately succumb to one irrefutable principle: Technology without substance or meaningful content is destined for failure.
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