One of the greatest things about Haas is not what goes on within, but what happens just a stone’s throw outside of campus. I came to Haas to switch careers, with the goal of moving from consulting to technology. There are plenty of ways to explore new fields, understand industry trends, and make alumni connections. I’ve joined the Haas Technology Club and the Digital Media & Entertainment Club (DMEC), enrolled in speaker series, and plan to take classes in the Management of Technology (MOT) program.
But let’s not forget that the Silicon Valley is in our backyard. And last Friday was a great reminder of this. With the Bay Bridge closed, a bunch of Haas students braved the crowded BART trains to the Virtual Goods Summit. The summit brought together leaders in this emerging space for conversations about the state of the virtual goods ecosystem as well discussed growth opportunities. Projected to be an $1B US industry this year, it’s growing at an incredible pace.
Having walked into the conference with only a general knowledge about the space, I felt as if I was drinking from a fire hose. I realized that much of what we discuss in class: demand curves, willingness to pay, price discrimination, and… even statistics are being used real-time by companies trying to monetize on digital content. The key difference is that shifts in policy don’t take months, years to bring change; change can take place in a matter of hours. To dip into the pool of insight, check out a presentation from Bill Grosso, CTO and SVP of Product, Live Gamer.
I left the summit with a head full of information and had the opportunity to network with thought leaders in the industry. Most importantly, the energy from learning about such a kinetic and growing industry made the 20 minute BART ride home seem to flicker by in 20 seconds.
Haas @ Virtual Goods Summit 2009
One of the things I really enjoy at Berkeley is that I can take a break from my MBA experience every once in a while. Yes, there are a million assignments (Only four, but I assure you it feels like a million), but my brain can only process so much.
So, I headed out to the Marina yesterday to catch some action by the Blue Angels. For someone who’s grown up watching Top Gun and Pensacola: Wings of Gold, it was exhilarating to watch the squadron’s six demonstration pilots fly the Boeing F/A-18 Hornets. They did a variety of maneuvers and formations, including the Delta and the Diamond. All this in spite of a seemingly cloudy day that may have canceled the performance.
Here’s a video footing from youtube
I couldn’t have asked for a better break from my assignments.. which reminds me… I got to get back to them.. sigh!
One of advantages of studying at Haas is that I can live in the city during the two years of my MBA. That’s quite different from the quaint little place where I went for my undergrad in India. More of that later. Now, I am absolutely in love San Francisco – The place I will call home for at least the next two years of my life.
Many writers and poets have expressed in much more profound ways about their love for “the city” (Yes – No one in Berkeley refers to it as SF or San Fran or San Francisco.. It’s just “the city”). What I like most over here is the diversity. The city is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, night life, tourist spots, hills, beaches and bridges! I can’t help but mention the bridges because I literally cross one every day.
If there were any concerns that I had about going back and forth between 2 places, they’ve evaporated pretty quickly since the 2 weeks I’ve been here. The City and Berkeley are very well connected – both by the BART and the AC Transit (F Line). While the AC Transit drops me off right in front of my school gate, the Downtown Berkeley BART station is on Shattuck – which is about a 20 minute walk to campus. I sometimes take the “Bear Transit” to get around in Berkeley. The Bear Transit is UC Berkeley’s shuttle system, which provides convenient transportation between campus, servicing both the campus and vicinity. Both the AC Transit and Bear Transit are free for students! It also happens that I’m not the lone soul in the city. Several MBA students stay in the city and carpooling is one of the most encouraged green initiatives. The city folk actually maintain a separate email list where we’ve discussed carpooling, the best options for public transit and he routes with the least traffic. Yes, you see – the collaboration never stops!
So, as I look to and bridge the gaps, and explore newer avenues with my MBA, I can’t help thinking how a bridge has always been something associated with the cities I’ve lived in. Some coincidence!
The Howrah Bridge, Kolkata (The place I used to call home)
The Bay Bridge, San Francisco (The place I now call home)