Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Evaluating startup offers and comp packages

The guys from Venture Hacks just posted regarding how individuals can evaluate job offers from startups. There are two parts (Part 1 and Part 2).

I thought this post was interesting because this past year I fielded similar questions from classmates who were evaluating opportunities with startups versus bigger, established companies. One thing I have seen fairly frequently in the past (and something I myself have done) is people who over-value their options. Most startup companies do not sell for Google or VMware-like prices, so you have to assume a moderate outcome (and therefore a moderate payout). Heck, some of them never sell and just go under. Just the nature of the game.

BTW, if you are really fired up about going to work at a startup after school, you might think about taking a VC class. It helps you understand the financing side of the startup world, and also comes in handy when you are thinking about how to value a startup's offer of employment.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tech careers post-CBS

There was a comment made on my last post and I thought I would devote a post to the comment. (Thanks for reading and for asking the question, mystery commenter! :)

Here is the comment:

Hi John,

How are you doing Big Daddy? I have few questions about CBS. I am a technology professional working in West Coast. I want to apply to CBS for fall 09. I am looking to move into business development in Technology firms. I am fascinated by CBS for its New York location. Any inputs on "how often do you see CBS students pursuing career in technology? even if they write technology in essays, does adcom suspect that applicant is seeking an admit through back door and finally wants to go to IB because we are in NY?"

And here is my response:

Big Daddy is doing great, thanks for asking :) We're at 32 weeks and counting.

CBS does have a strong, core group of folks who are pursuing careers in new media and technology. Admittedly, that group's size does not rival the number of future i-bankers and management consultants, but it is a pretty vibrant group and one that in my experience is very passionate about the sector.

I can't really comment on what the adcom is thinking related to your admissions essays, but I would recommend to just be yourself and be truthful about what you want to do once at CBS, and afterwards. If you're able to tell a logical account of "why CBS, why now, and why the future career path given your past experiences" I think you will be fine.

What you end up seeing the 1st year is that many people decide that what they came to school to do (i.e. in their app they said they wanted to become a management consultant) was not as exciting as something else they were exposed to early in the 1st year (i.e. they change their mind and decide they want to work at a hedge fund). I think that potential for change is somewhat expected and understood, although you definitely want to go in with a fairly defined vision and plan of what you want to do at CBS in your application.

There are a variety of classes that are tech and new media focused as well as activities (like the Silicon Valley Trek) that cater to applicants and students who are interested in taking that kind of career path.

Does this help? Feel free to post some follow up questions in the comments and I'll try to answer them as best I can.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fall 2008 Media Electives

One of the club officers in the Media Management Association just sent out an informal list of the Fall 2008 Media-related electives at CBS as well as within the broader university. I hope you find it useful!

Mediaphiles --

Something that seems potentially helpful is a list of the media courses that the B-School is offering, so that you don’t have to search everywhere for them.

Please note – this isn’t an “official” list – just something I threw together based on various resources in hopes of helping other people navigate the bidding process; it’s possible I missed classes or inadvertently left one out that could be deemed media-related; no slight intended. I’ve also added courses from other grad schools that might be helpful. Please see this guide for information on cross-registration.

Please let me know if you have any questions … and I’m willing to bet that professors would also probably welcome questions about the courses.

Media Metrics, Analytics and Economics
Tuesdays (A term)
5:45-9 p.m.
Professors Scott McDonald, David Poltrack, and Horst Stripp

This is a half term course taught by the research heads of CBS, NBC Universal and Conde Nast. This is an updated version of a popular class taught for the last 10 years called “Measuring Media Audiences” and is taught by senior media execs who are on the cutting edge of these issues.

This course analyzes how media companies use audience research both to establish the economic value of media for advertising and to select and develop products. Subjects include methods to collect audience data for the various media (primarily TV, print, Internet, radio); how they are analyzed; the use of data for media planning; program testing and strategic planning; and the impact of digital technologies on audience measurement systems and on the economics of the media marketplace.

Strategic Management of Media
Wednesdays (Full term)
5:45-9 p.m.
Professor Jonathan Knee

The course will be concerned with the economics of strategic behavior as applied to the Media Industry. This course is designed to reinforce and develop student abilities to apply the concepts of industry analysis and game theory to that were introduced in the core course in Business Economics (B6005). The important distinction will be between the nature of content provision on the one hand and distribution on the other. The course will cover telecommunications, digital networks, local theaters, and varieties of retail on the distribution side; and film, program production, books, magazines, newspapers, and databases on the content side. Coursework will be evenly distributed between lectures, cases, and guest speakers.

Communications, Internet and Media (Master Class)
Wednesdays (Full term)
2:15-5:30 p.m.
Professors Robert Atkinson and Eli Noam
Limited to 36 second-year students

The course consists of supervised team projects of students with companies. It begins with weekly lectures on the business dynamics, drivers, technologies, and policy framework of the telecom/internet/media industries. There will be analyses of notable success and failure stories, with the participation of industry insiders, in order to provide teams with a sufficient basis for their consulting assignments. Teams interested in entrepreneurialism will focus on the internet, new media, and content projects. Teams oriented to finance and strategy will work with established telecom and media companies that are trying to adapt to new challenges. In the aggregate, the projects will provide understanding and skills for dealing with management challenges in a sector characterized by rapid change and boom-bust cycles, and to integrate the MBA curriculum with management practice in a feedback loop. Teams will be asked to account for the MBA tools they have utilized in the process. Each consulting team will deliver a report and presentation to senior management at the company, and to their fellow students.

Integrated Communication and New Media (Master Class)
Mondays (Full term)
5:45-9 p.m.
Professor Jeremy Kagan
Limited to 36 second-year students

The Integrated Communication and New Media Master Class will allow students to work with senior executive teams from client companies and their advertising agencies to develop strategic marketing recommendations for integrating new media marketing channels into their advertising, sales, and customer communications channels. The course will be offered in the fall to mesh with the strategic planning cycle of client and agency teams for 2009 brand and company marketing strategies. Students will develop a strategic marketing plan for presentation to client decision-makers integrating new media into corporate and brand strategic marketing plans, including advertising campaigns, customer communications, and brand communities and customer service. The student teams will review the competitive landscape and devise operational recommendations using a variety of interactive channels and new media strategies to reach overall strategic goals and support traditional media buys, “brick and mortar” retail efforts, and customer relationship management (CRM) plans.
Plans will include:
· Interactive advertising plans including search, OLA, social media, branded entertainment, and microsites, etc;
· Customer communications strategies encompassing email, blogs, branded communities, and life cycle management, where appropriate;
· Research and metrics for success recommendations including both primary and secondary research, to ensure success guidelines and a focus on measurable return on investment;
· Thorough reviews of the competitive environment and best-in-class marketing as it applies to the client.

Marketing Arts, Culture and Entertainment
Mondays and Wednesdays (Full term)
9-10:30 a.m.
Professor Joseph Plummer
The course applies the marketing discipline to the Arts, Culture and Entertainment environment. Key areas of focus are

· Similarities/differences between other businesses and the ACE arena

· The discipline of marketing planning in an ACE environment

· Marketing tactical implementation — how to apply marketing in ACE

Other classes of interest:

Developing Strategies for High Tech Firms
Mondays (Full term)
2:15-5:30 p.m.
Professor Raul Katz
The purpose of this seminar is to explore strategy development and implementation, with a specific focus on international high technology industries (e.g., telecommunications, content distribution, software, electronics and semiconductors). Strategy formulation in global high technology industries requires in-depth exploration of sector-specific dynamics with a tailored set of tools to ensure successful implementation. Issues driving complexity range from national/regional markets segmented by different stages of technological development to national regulatory frameworks constraining industry evolution, amplified by the management imperative to achieve competitive advantage in a global world. In other words, the frameworks for industry analysis, the assessment of competitive advantage and the formulation of strategy warrant specific analysis and focus.

Film School:

The Business of Film
Schedule unknown
Professor Unknown
Film R6004 section 001

The Role of the Producer
Professor Ira Deutchman
Schedule unknown
Film R6027 section 001

Journalism School:
No relevant/open courses posted thus far; typically, related fall courses include Media and Contemporary Society and Social Impact of Mass Media

Law School:

Comparative Mass Media Law
Professor Richard Winfield
Wednesdays, 4:10-6 p.m.

Law, Media and Public Policy
Professor Patricia Williams
Tuesdays, 2:10-4 p.m.

Law and Internet Society
Professor Eben Moglen
Thursdays, 4:10-6 p.m.

Law and the Music Industry
Professor Fred Koenigsberg
Mondays, 4:10-6 p.m.

Law and Sports
Professor Robert Kheel
Wednesdays, 4:10-6 p.m.

School of Arts and Sciences:
Mass Media In American Government and Politics

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Another MBA applicant resource from Marquis

This post from Marquis details a new resource for those of you who are starting the application process. It's a guide authored by a Stanford GSB 2005 grad although it covers the other 'usual suspect' schools as well (HBS, CBS, etc).

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Some big news to report

After much consideration (and interviewing!) I have accepted an offer with a venture capital firm here in NYC, L Capital Partners. I will be focused on investments and portfolio companies in the wireless, IT, and digital media sectors.

So what's with the picture you might ask? It's one of the catchphrases that an artist in our neighborhood (De La Vega) often uses. It rang pretty true for me given that I've been working for a long time to reach this point.

While I'm philosophizing, here is another one of his quotes that I really like:


I am glad I didn't lose sight of mine, and thanks to everyone who helped me to keep it in focus.