What are telltale signs that you’re working at a “sinking ship” company?

Small-company edition:

When pressured on the business by employees, CEO always starts with, "I need you to stay focused on…"

You have more than one MBA on the team.

You have a Chief Strategy Officer.

Your CTO just came out of a Phd program.

Your CEO sells instead of listens.

You have a launch party, and no customers attend.

Customers hate the product and vision, so the sales guy is fired.

You are not told the terms of the last funding round (5x liquidation preference?)

You never hear how much cash you have in the bank or see board meeting notes.

You complain about how the customers "just don’t get it" and aren’t "visionary."

Your CEO says revenue is coming in in two weeks, just after he gets a meeting with the buyer, negotiates price, gets it approved, agrees on terms, writes up up contracts, negotiates them, signs them, and invoices the customer on net 30 terms.

You add features because board members want them.

Your CEO calls himself a "visionary" in his bio.

The CEO keeps everything secret because, "that is how Apple does it."

The CEO approves all of the design decisions because, "that is how Apple does it."

You are selling a platform.

Co-founder agrees to bring in experienced execs but thinks they will report to him.

You are selling to schools, hospitals, or non-profits.

You are commercializing a technology.

Your value proposition is that you help workers break down organizational barriers and work cross-functionally.

Your business model assume you will become one of the 7 websites that the average user visits every day.

Your site is going to be ad-supported, and you have 1500 users.

CEO avoids eye contact.

It gets really quiet.

You get free lunch but have no customers.

Your free lunch is taken away.

You get asked, "how much do you really need to live on?"

You get a pay cut. Your co-worker disappears.

Your CEO still doesn’t make eye contact.

You get laid off and become a creditor to the company because they didn’t reimburse your last 5 expense reports.

The company declines to buy your unvested shares back.

The liquidation yields 5 Aeron chairs and an espresso machine, and Ashton Kutcher’s stock is senior to yours.

via What are telltale signs that you’re working at a “sinking ship” company? – Quora.

Business School: Group Projects, Where The Strong Carry The Weak

Group work is largely an academic joke, a process where the weaker members of the group rely almost exclusively on the stronger, more conscientious students to carry them all to the grade they want. (Of course, the same “weak rely on the strong” dynamic prevails in real-world group work as well.) Group work serves lazy students and professors quite well — the low-performing students can relax while their peers complete the task, and the professors have fewer papers or projects to grade.

While easy classes and group assignments may do little to further the students’ actual education, that’s not the point, is it? After all, the real purpose of many second-tier (and even some first-tier) public- and private-university business degrees is to provide the mandatory credential required by employers, who then do the actual, on-the-job training the position requires.

This is largely representative of my own experience. Via Business School: Where Education Dies – By David French – Phi Beta Cons – National Review Online.

Dropped Marketing Research

I just dropped the Marketing Research Methodology class. With it, I was taking 9 hours of night classes, which frankly was killing me. How ironic that the one class I wanted most to take, because of the professor, is the one that I should drop — but it was an elective after all, and the other two are required (and required together) for the program.

Fall 2004 Classes Start Tonight

I begin taking classes tonight. I had wanted to start with something, anything, other than the information systems course, becuase that’s all I’ve been doing for five years. But I wanted desperately to take the Research Methodology course from Emin Babakus, who was my boss for a time when I worked at FCBE, and everything else conflicted with that. So information systems it is.

Research Methodology is Tue/Thu, 5:30 to 6:55 pm.

Management Science and Decision Technology is Tue, 7:10 to 10:10 pm.

Information Systems in Organizations is Wed, 7:10 to 10:10 pm.

My God, on Tuesdays I’m in for four and a half hours of classes after working all day. What the hell was I thinking?

Research Methodology had better be worth it. 😉