Mar 062008

Hilary term, aside from exams and about 25,000 words of writing, is almost over. It’s flown by in an incredibly short amount of time, filling us all with hope, fear, and god knows what else.

It’s been really good.

Saw Underworld with Ed and Jane last week, and took no pictures, but did get to feel all adult-y and hang out with non-MBA friends outside of the wee world which is Oxford.

Last night, rather than going home and doing more work, I went to three of the events of which there are too many to do in Oxford.

First, went to see a speech at Exeter College, Oxford by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, a book about uncertainty, forecasting, prediction, statistics, surprise, and the lack of surprise. And other things. It was fascinating and difficult to describe. I think I’ll be reading this book on the way to LA. After exams.

Following that, I was going to go get some food, but instead Joe, Alyson, and I grabbed food in the dining hall back at SBS and went to see one of the founders of Innocent Smoothies speak (and try to recruit some of Oxford’s best and brightest undergrads). He and a couple of his friends did their undergrads at Cambridge, wanted to start their own business, but went to work for regular old jobs. They came up with the idea of doing smoothies and decided to give it a go– at one music festival. Partway through, they put up signs over their trash cans saying “Should we quit our jobs and do this full-time” with one bin as “YES” and one as “NO”. At the end of they day the YES camp had its way and they quit that week. Now they’re turning over £185m a year and growing, and doing it all with an enormous social push (Fair trade/high quality fruit, putting profits into charity, pioneering recycling in bottles, etc.) Inspiring. And got me thinking on the entrepreneurship front.

After that, Joe talked me into running over to the Oxford Union to see Samantha Power speak. She’s just written a book called Chasing the Flame, about one of the big go-to guys in the UN who was in Bosnia, opened up Cambodia, talked down Milosevic, and tons of other stuff. It was pretty fascinating, especially as she started talking, spoke for 50 minutes without seeming to take a breath, and didn’t once say “um”. She also serves as one of Barack Obama’s Senior Foreign Policy advisors, and drew a clear line under something that I’d been really keen to hear but hadn’t quite articulated: In one of the debates, Obama said that he would meet with Raul Castro as POTUS, which Hillary attacked pretty quickly. And this was the thing that Dr. Power spoke about: A particular assumption of dignity for all people. Barack suggested that meeting with POTUS was not an honor to be doled out upon our friends, and he got that, particularly, it’s important to talk to your enemies– keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

In any case, enough about politics. It was a crazy night except for the being-up-past-midnight-again part… Alas. And another 6 weeks of Democratic uncertainty…

As of today, I have finished all my Hilary term courses. Here working on my blog instead of my EP, but that’s to be expected.

And that, for now, is all. Except for this picture of me with a giant cheque:


No, the bank doesn’t cash it

And my supercool UCLA team.


Lookin’ good… Workin’ hard

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