A taste of fun!

MBA applications and whole B school gimmicks start sounding too serious at one point. But here’s something to cheer up the applicants. It is the clip from the talent show video that my study group did as a part of PreTerm orientation and I would let it do the talking for we had a phenomenal time producing it. It is the story of Mario going for an MBA.

I would say that Stern’s two weeks orientation is one of the longer ones around and they put a hell lot of money and time planning it. It’s an intensive drinking, networking, time managing and enjoyment exercise. Its also designed to force you into team mentality right away and with the deafening cheers we heard from each block in the closing ceremony, I had no doubt that the school had achieved its purpose. Apart from putting us on a liquid diet for dinner, they took us to Mets game, US Open evening session and a breath taking sunset cruise around Manhattan. Phew.

All I can say is ‘what a start’!

How to HDR: Vintage Cab at Times Sq

Vintage Cab at Times Sq, originally uploaded by eterniti.

I have been playing with HDRs and Photoshop for a significant time now and yet, I keep discovering something novel on the power of digital enhancement. And I suppose that is why I love this picture I created so much. It is a reasonably good shot of Times Square but accentuating the old fashioned yellow cab in middle of the frame gives it a totally surreal feel. I had to spend few hours on this one. The actual process went something like this-

  1. Pick the right RAW shot.
  2. Create few HDRs with different level of smoothness and luminosity. I picked two: one with plastic and animated feel for the cab, second with more realistic blending and less contrast.
  3. De-noise both HDRs in Photoshop.
  4. Desaturate the more realistic HDR on bottom and mask the full comic book layer on top except the portion displaying the cab.

And, voila!

To heck with any modesty, it almost felt like I turned a pro with this 🙂

The real trick here lies in the effort to make the cab stand out by using a subdued background. If I had just desaturated the rest of the dynamic plastic layer, the whole image would have been loud taking the attention away from the cab. For demoing the difference, here is what I am talking about:

Loud version of vintage cab
A simpler effort would have resulted in this.

Now, I know some people overdo HDRs and the resulting pictures look oversaturated artificial posters. I like HDRs to be vibrant and wider in range but not overbaked. I think its a subtle yet make or break step. And if you start playing with HDRs, don’t forget to retouch in Photoshop esp removing noise. Lastly, try out some new experiment – the ultimate beauty of a picture or painting lies as much in knowing what to and not to highlight as it does in the original composition.

Startup 2010

I am all excited to be volunteering for Startup 2010 on May 20 in NYC. The lineup of this one day conference cum business plan competition is just phenomenal.

So join us on May 20 at the NYU Stern School Auditorium, in NYC.  We’ll start the day with an interview with Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, the hottest company in the universe right now.  And later we’ll be joined by Bob Bowman of Major League Baseball, Justin Shaffer of Hot Potato, Eric Litman of Medialets, and other titans of the emerging mobile world.

Another name to capture my attention was Scott Galloway, NYU Professor and an entrepreneur. I am sure all MBA applicants and students are familiar with this Internet popular email exchange story but for those who aren’t, read it here. I think Galloway’s response was pretty awesome to say the least. No wonder immediately after this campus sensation of a story, Stern students were sporting t-shirts with Galloway’s beloved phrase – get your shit together.

xxxx, let me be more serious for a moment. I do not know you, will not know you and have no real affinity or animosity for you. You are an anonymous student who is now regretting the send button on his laptop. It’s with this context I hope you register pause…REAL pause xxxx and take to heart what I am about to tell you:

xxxx, get your shit together.

Getting a good job, working long hours, keeping your skills relevant, navigating the politics of an organization, finding a live/work balance…these are all really hard, xxxx. In contrast, respecting institutions, having manners, demonstrating a level of humility…these are all (relatively) easy. Get the easy stuff right xxxx. In and of themselves they will not make you successful. However, not possessing them will hold you back and you will not achieve your potential which, by virtue of you being admitted to Stern, you must have in spades. It’s not too late xxxx…

Again, thanks for the feedback.

Professor Galloway

So, anyways I am looking forward to this joint effort on Mobile Revolution by Silicon Alley Insider and NYU Stern. But more than anything, I want to see the participants and their investment pitches in this business plan competition. I hope the weather turns warmer by then, for God’s sake its May!

More on NY Tech Meetup, web domains and startups

I got to see a lot of very interesting stuff at the NY Tech Meetup last week. If you are even slightly interested in technology, startups, venture world and upcoming web stuff, this is the best resource you could get in NY. And its amazing how fast one can get outdated. If you haven’t heard about foursquare yet, then you already are.
Continue reading More on NY Tech Meetup, web domains and startups

MBA Media and Entertainment Conference

MBA MEC

Feb 26th, the scheduled date for MBA MEC 2010, happened to be another snow storm day for NYC. But because it was NYC and the panelists could just take a cab or subway, the conference was not canceled – big kudos. The MEC is one of the most prestigious events for Media fraternity and attracts elite industry names and MBA students from around. I found students from New York, Boston, Philly, Duke and even Arizona. Such conferences are a good way of sampling the industry’s best and relevant topics. Some of the things that lingered on in my memory-

  1. I happened to attend back to back entrepreneurs and VC panels. It’s a delicious contrast as to how entrepreneurs are all about energy and creativity – marketing for them is just a gimmick to convince investors. VCs, on other hand, boast about recognizing the potential diamonds blah blah. It is a fun ecosystem where they supplement each other. Another awesome thing about these – they are fun, energetic young people. I commented, “what is it about this industry that people look younger than they are.” Someone said, “because they left Investment Banking behind.”
  2. Dan Rosensweig (Guitar Hero & Chegg) commented, “I come from a time when music was paid and water was free”.
  3. Most impressive was Amish Jani (FirstMark Capital). He said students come to me and say I am passionate about VC and want to join your company. I ask them how Google generates its revenue and they blank out. Is that passion?
  4. Emil Rensing (Epix) was one of those kicksmart witty panelist. But he slipped out a comment, “I don’t have children, I don’t like children”. The lady moderator from McKinsey glanced at him coldly. Emil tried to make amends “I guess that was a bad joke”. Sorry, too late. Lesson: be smart but not an a**.
  5. A current student told me most of the students here are over-achievers and it can work against them more often than you think. So, do what you want and dont ask who did what. Best and most frank opinion I could expect.