Autumn Quarter Courses

To celebrate the kickoff of Autumn Quarter this week, this is a little overview of what lays ahead in my calendar:

Core classes:


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Summary of Smooth Sloan Summer

With our Class of 2013 Stanford Sloan program went from 10 to full 12 months for the first time by introducing the 2-month Summer quarter. This change has been definitely good: we’ve had a nice gradual start of the year and gotten 13 units worth of core classes out of the way. Getting into the rhythm of academic life feels great, especially coming from work life full of meetings, travel and rare luxury of time to read anything more than diagonally. Thoughtfully reading and writing stuff yourself for a change, not by delegating is gratifying. The pace has been busy, but not shocking.

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Week 9: Kant, Golden Balls, Nash and Jack Bauer

Stanford GSB Sloan Study Notes, Week 9, Summer quarter done

Pages assigned for reading: who cares now? 🙂

And this is it, one quarter of our year here is done already, with an awesome Ethics crash course finale competing with TechCrunch Disrupt SF (not part of official curriculum, but stealing a lot of attention from most of the class anyway, esp with their sweet -90% student discount) and all culminating with our last exam, Microeconomics this morning. In which, as you can see from the picture of the scoring table below, I am quite confident to bring home at least 5 points:

Yes, we have been warned about this year passing (too) fast, but I still didn’t expect this blink… And here’s what we learned in the last summer week, before the MBAs stormed the campus for their Week Zero and took most of the spots in the lunch line at Arbuckle:

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Week 8: Eating Dogs, Price Meddling and Whitegoods

Stanford GSB Sloan Study Notes, Week 8, Summer quarter

Pages assigned for reading: ~135

This was also a week of Strategy Beyond Markets exam (24 hours to answer ~10 questions in “hopefully less than” 3 hours and 16 pages; took me 5h and 10 pages -we’ll see…), a very inspiring guest speaker session with Phil Libin of Evernote (with a surprising amount of cultural parallels to early-days Skype) and series of visiting friends on campus, with Ott actually surviving an entire Microeconomics class (photo courtesy of another guest, Silver):

Usual format of study notes follow, with maybe more than usual further reading / viewing links in the end.

GSBGEN259 – Ethics (prof Krehbiel)

  • Four less-than-adequate, yet popular basic theories for right conduct:
    • Ethical egoism: an act is right when it best promotes the individual’s long-term self-interest
      • Challenge: a murderer and resisting victim are both morally right and neither could be judged
    • Ethical relativism: right and wrong are a function of the moral teachings of a particular society
      • Challenge: based deeply on tolerance (an universal moral value), yet it followed through, would require one to also tolerate a deeply intolerant society militantly enforcing its values on another society. E.g no external judging of genocide if it is considered right by one side?
    • Religious/Revealed Ethics: ethical guidance and instruction derived of a particular religious tradition and sacred texts
      • Challenges: diversity of religious disciplines. Virtually no sacred scripture or teaching is self-explanatory and needs interpretation (independent rational basis of judgement). A statement that a God is “just and loving” is based on… the ordinary human meanings of these terms (infinite loop if right is defined as the “will of God”?)
      • Most religious/revealed ethics are a superset of, and thus largely compatible with secular/rational ethics (e.g most condemn violence, theft, dishonesty, etc)
    • Right as conscience alone: right defined by “internal dictate” alone, with nothing more said
      • Challenge: personal moral judgement should a reflective and reasoned act, seeking to understand and decide weather a course of action is right or wrong. Isolation and lack of dialogue make “conscience” an impenetrable back box anyone can use to justify any conduct.
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