15 July 2008

Passion for Business Learning

Anyone that knows me will also knows that I have a passion for business and marketing. In fact, if you were to ask my best friend, Maura, she would tell you about one post-ER drive where I was hopped up on morphine. (I promise, this story is going somewhere) We were driving back to her parents house in Farr West after visiting the hospital, and we passed by one of those electronic bank signs that tell you the time and temperature. I don't remember the phrasing of the ad that was displayed after seeing 2:42 a.m., but I do remember commenting on how and why the advertisement was effective. I ALSO remember Maura and Cole laughing hysterically at me. Only I would be analyzing an electronic bank advertisement in the wee hours of the morning while overpowered by hospital drugs. I can guarantee, though, that my analsis was very insightful.

Knowing that little tidbit of personal information, you may not be surprised to know that I was also entirely intrigued when my BzzAgent FrogPond showed a link to HarvardBusiness.org. Harvard has one of the top MBA programs in the country (of course that would make sense since they are one of the most prestigious schools in the U.S.). In fact, the current president of BYU - Idaho is the former dean of the Harvard Business School. Must be why the Harvard Business program is so excellent! Or it may have something to do with the school's focus on student case studies. In either case, Harvard Business Reviews are known as a great resource in the business world. The publication provides real-time facts and helpful tips to improve your business by studying great businesses and leaders from around the world.

My visit to the Harvard Business Publishing site grabbed me from the start with the home page featured article. This article, written by a certain Jeff Stibel, highlights a contest initiated by Netflix to improve the online, video rental company's recommendation system. Computer geeks universally used complex algorithms in attempt to resolve this problem and win the prize. However, it was not until an unemployed psychologist took on the task that victory was found. The psychologist used his knowledge of the brain to create a program that would more accurately recommend movies that one might enjoy based on similarities to other movie watchers/recommenders. The author of the article compares this discovery to facts in a recent top-seller, Blink (one of my favorite books on marketing and the brain). With such an inspired recommendation system, I am now excited to start my four-month queue on Netflix, given to me and Scott as a wedding present from a very dear and corporate-hot friend!

If you have a chance, you should visit HarvardBusiness.org and see what it has to offer. You may even become just as enthused as I am about brainy Netflix and digital bank signs.