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I have been struggling to figure out the optimal way to inform myself about the news for quite a while. There is a million of issues here: negativity, irrelevance, lack of proper filters, biased views of certain journalists/newspapers and noise, noise, noise. So, it is not easy at all to maintain a conscious sensible information diet without completely stopping reading any news. But in this case it is not easy to remain a well-rounded and well-informed individual with own vision and interpretation of world’s events and trends.

Long story short. I recently found couple of startups that try to tackle this issue and make it at least a little bit easier to get through all the noise.

In addition to strictly curated collection of blogs I read with Feedly (~60%, the main source of content and probably, the best alternative to discontinued Google Reader) and to imperfect social filters, such as Facebook (~20%) here is what I have been experimenting with recently (~20%):

1. Quartz.com daily briefs to stay in the loop (email, no RSS, unfortunately)
It is a curated selection of headlines sent each morning with links to longer articles. I like that headlines are formulated to be informative, not to seduce you to click and read full article. It is mostly focused on business and key events around the globe.

2. Vox.com “understand the news” section to research a given topic
I use it occasionally (rarely?) to get a quick first, but superficial understanding of a given issue that I know nothing of, but do not want to spend a ton of time researching. I like that Vox strives to be impartial.

3. Tweeted times for a couple of headlines popular among my Twitter friends
Daily newspapers are populated with content based on links posted by your Twitter friends and friends of friends. The more people post a certain link the higher it will rank. Assuming that you follow people with similar interests and/or whose judgment you trust, it should be relevant.

4. 10 things to know by BI for tech news (in Feedly)

I usually just skim the above from time to time, certainly not daily. Even this is too much and I would love most of these services to have “top 10 weekly” editions or some custom way to limit the number of items. I also wish most of them went for shorter articles with more data (think The Economist Facebook charts and infographics). New Yorker style long-reads are obsolete in most cases these days, at least as a main type.

Would love to hear your thoughts! How do you stay informed of the most important and relevant stories in the shortest time possible?

PS Related to this. An interesting Quora thread about the reasons why most personalized news startups failed.

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I might risk sounding like an egotistical douche posting my own interview on this blog. But I think some parts of my conversation with Accepted.com might be helpful to other MBA applicants and those who are simply curious about MBA. Otherwise, just skip it.

A small caveat: I am not affiliated with any of MBA admissions consulting companies in any way, including Accepted which just found me a couple of months ago trough this blog. Even though some people might benefit from such help, I believe that it is absolutely possible to plan admissions and prepare independently. So, I am not endorsing the company in any way as I simply do not have any experience and cannot evaluate their services.  Anyway, for those who are interested in MBA journey, here is our conversation:

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What year are you at UC Berkeley Haas? 

Max: My name is Max. I am currently getting my MBA at University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business, in the class graduating in 2015.

I am originally from Russia, Tyumen City. I graduated in International Economics and Business from one of the best regional universities and then moved to Moscow in 2008 for the next five years and then to the US in 2013 to start my MBA.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Haas so far? And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be? 

Max: What I like most about Haas are the people. It is inspirational and fun to be around people who have so much in common with you but at the same time offer such diversity, coming from different backgrounds, career paths and countries. It really makes you reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and widen your perspective. Actually, I recently blogged about things I liked most about Haas, among them are the school’s focus on technology and entrepreneurship, its location close to the Silicon Valley and being a part of large top university.

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Geeky jokes

May 13, 2014

in humor, science

My blog is usually boringly serious, so why don’t we have some fun for a change? I found these quite amusing:

screenshot 2 Geeky jokes
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I have found this idea interesting:

Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds — no more, no less — to write down the most important points. If you always do just this, said his grandfather, and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.

via

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So far, I have only (almost) finished first year of MBA program. But I will try to discuss this question that many ask themselves before buying first GMAT book, then before actually applying, then before making a deposit and before finally buying a one-way ticket.

why berkeley haaas for mba courtyard Is MBA worth it?

  • Obviously, there is no right and universal answer. So, I will simply try to:
    • Focus on my specific case and
    • Share my thoughts on what is a right and a wrong way of approaching decision and thinking through it
  • Obviously, answer also might change with time as the information available at the moment of decision making was different and it is easier to draw conclusions in a hindsight. So, I will try to eliminate this bias, but cannot promise anything.
  • At this point in life I gravitate towards thinking that making this huge leap of faith was probably among top three best decisions I have ever made. Of course, I have not yet started repaying the huge debt and probably have not faced the other difficulties ensuing from this decision, but this is how I feel at the moment. You might actually find it ironic, given that I named many more cons than pros in my post “MBA: pros and cons

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People sometimes ask for my reasons behind choosing Berkeley-Haas among other schools.

Berkeley Is MBA worth it Why Berkeley Haas

Shortly, these are the reasons:

  • It is a part of bigger top university.
    • For instance, I do not think I would enjoy going to Dartmouth Tuck or INSEAD as much. These are great schools, but they are not part of top universities.
    • There is something special about being on campus with ~30 thousand smartest students from all over the world who also major in fields other than business.
    • For example, UC Berkeley is currently top 1-2 in Computer Science, top 1-5 in Physics and top 1-3 in Mechanical Engineering.
  • Location, location, location. Not only because it is sunny California, but because being close to Silicon Valley opens many career opportunities that are highly germane to my vision.
  • Focus on technology and entrepreneurship.
  • Believe it or not, but the I find the defining principles personally appealing.
  • Great brand and good rankings do not hurt as well.
    • But in particular I liked the fact that Haas ranks well on the “Student evaluation” axis, it is #2 in “Students’ evaluation of career services” and quite high overall “Student rating of program (out of 5)”, 4.56, according to The Economist 2013 rankings.
  • I really want to add “people” to this list of Berkley-Haas strengths, but this would be probably unfair as I cannot compare to other schools as I could not know it for sure before starting the program.

The list could go on and on and on, but these are probably the main ones top-of-mind. Of course, there are drawbacks as well, but no one schools is perfect.

Let me know what you think!

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I am reaching the end of my first year of MBA program, so I decided to quickly go through the courses I took and share my experience as memories are still fresh. I will try to quantify it in the same way as we actually did in school when doing student evaluations:

  • If class is as about as good as all other classes (which means very good!), it gets get 4.
    But I cannot promise that all my the numbers will average out to 4 though icon wink Best Berkeley Haas MBA courses
  • If it is better than others it gets 5 to 7
  • If it is no at good as others, it gets 1 to 3

It seems complicated, but otherwise I would give good and excellent rankings to all the classes. Comparing with average (which is, as I said, very good!) forces one to be more critical and objective.

berkeley haas best courses Best Berkeley Haas MBA courses

Of course, I am highly biased and my personal interests and goals will affect the rankings. Also, they are highly dependent on who was teaching a given class. Usually there are two different professors per class, so half of students are taught by one professor and half by another.

I would certainly advise you to waive courses that you have a lot of experience with. I should have waived marketing, for example. Not because it was a bad course, quite the opposite. But simply because I have been dealing with the similar issues for years on a completely different level.

Let’s get started!

Fall-A core courses

Data and Decisions (Statistics for business) by Lucas Davis

  • Overall: 5 – excellent
  • Practical applicability: 4 – very good
  • Teacher: 7 - superb
  • Strengths: Initially, did not expect stats class to be interesting, engaging and practical, but it was!
  • What could be improved: learning some to apply easy-to-use software tools to solve problems we are likely to face would be great
  • Best professor in the Spring!

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If you missed the buzz about Spritz startup this week, let me tell you about it. The guys behind it developed an interesting technology that might help us all read faster without an extra effort. Key idea is to eliminate the unnecessary eye movement my properly positioning words.  Unfortunately, there is nothing to download so far, but I think  a lot of cool apps will be developed soon.

spritz devices Technology to make us read faster

Update 2014.03.26: 

Squirt.io - browser application.

Here is how it works:
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Talking of pivoting…

Here are few interesting facts.

4244171 original Some less known products of well known companies

An electric rice cooker was the first product of Sony. Closure of factories in post-war Japan dropped the electricity prices and this, in turn, created a demand.

4244654 original Some less known products of well known companies

Aside from paper manufacturing, Nokia also produced rubbers.

4245274 original Some less known products of well known companies

Samsung used to sell groceries.

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2013

January 19, 2014

in books, films, life

Hell of a year. There were a lot of happy events. From getting married to getting admitted to the top MBA program and moving to the US. But personal difficulties made 2013 the most challenging year in life with more stress than in previous almost 28 years in total.

I travelled: Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Italy and a little bit of France, America.

Sometimes blogged: Self-reflective speech MBA exercise, America, 2, MBA: pros and cons, America, 1, Thoughts, pictures, music, Memrise, Quora, 2012.

And enjoined…

listening to: Jon Hopkins, Tycho, Brian Eno, Boards of Canada, The Beatles, Donovan, Jens Buchert, Paul Kalkbrenner, Dave Brubeck, Carbon Based Lifeforms, George Harrison, The Rolling Stones, Youandewan, Jethro Tull, Herman’s Hermits, Deuter, Bob Dylan, Kings of Convenience, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Minilogue, Miles Davis, Johann Sebastian Bach, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ulrich Schnauss, Emancipator, The Who, Simon & Garfunkel, Blackmill, Orange Crush, The xx, Big Bud, LTJ Bukem, Helios, Don Mclean, The Kinks, Franz Ferdinand, Moby, Sun Glitters, Paul McCartney, David Helping, Jonas Mantey, Claude Debussy, Lusine, Tosca, Christian Löffler, Paul Desmond, Joe Pass, Jim Hall (list is a courtesy of last.fm);

reading: Best of Quora 2009-2012, David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, New Rules of Lifting Supercharged, Sum by David Eagleman, Supple Leopard by Kelly Starret, The Homeland by Cory Doctorow, What is mindfulness by Shiznen Young and a lot of MBA-related books, cases and articles;

watching: BBC Horizon – The Creative Brain How Insight Works, Before Midnight, Intouchables (1+1), Samsara 2011, Something Ventured, Startup Kids, The Man from Earth, The Pirate Bay – Away From Keyboard, Before Midnight and a lot of conferences and interviewees on Youtube.

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