1/30/2006 10:59:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|

The Groom and the Bride
Originally uploaded by brafury.
John and Leah walked the aisle last Saturday and became the first of my friends to ever get married. It certainly was quite a marking moment for me. I wondered if now that this seal has been broken, every single one of my friends will be getting married in the next couple of years?
|W|P|113869078704825086|W|P|The Groom and the Bride|W|P|1/30/2006 09:33:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|As I was listening to "The Herd" on ESPN while driving to school this morning, I couldn't stop noticing all those true football fans (those that spent time trying to call in to the show) totally disappointed with the Super Bowl venue and the matchup, as a matter of fact. Besides this shared sense of wrongfulness about Super Bowl XL, two other factors called my attention while listening to the show: the first, an act of random bad luck more than anything, was the fact that both teams had transportation issues when getting to D-Town. While Seattle 's QB Matt Hasselback dodged an injury in a fender bender, the Pittsburgh Steeler bus suffered a loss of luggage as one of the buses' cargo compartments opened up in route to the hotel. Near tragedies aside, the second matter and focus of this discussion sets back on my indignation with this year's Midwestern Super Bowl. Truth being told, if there was to be a football game in February, right in the middle of the country, why not pick a true football venue like the Horseshoe, simply the greatest football stadium ever to exist? (Yes, I'm totally biased; that's why blogs are so cool!) Ohh! I know why... Because it's so darn cold over there around this time of the year! So once again, I have to register my dissatisfaction with whoever came up with the "brilliant" idea of having the Super Bowl in the second most depressing place ever. I finish by sharing a great quote from one of this morning's listeners on the Herd: "Detroit is a great town, man... cost of living keeps going up while your chances of staying alive keep going down" . That sort of sums it all up.|W|P|113868645042383824|W|P|Random Traffic Matters Aside, Detroit Still the Wrong Place to Be|W|P|1/29/2006 03:23:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|With the biggest American sporting event of the year being held in Detroit next weekend, I wonder if a possible ratings and popularity disaster can signify the final round in Detroit's recent struggle with the world. Detroit's Recent Personal Hell Starting with Detroit's business scene, we see the melancholic and slow collapse of the kings of marketing myopia, the auto manufacturers, once known as one of the most dominant industries in the world. Car sales have been steadily down these past months so why, shouldn't we also blame D-town for the recent slowdown in America's GDP growth? In the reigns of media and entertainment, the city once known for its Motown sounds and referred by Kiss as Detroit Rock City, has to turn to its new star and prodigal son, rehabilitated and remarried Eminem, to make the headlines in the pop cultural American scene. Finally, as we enter the sports scene, saving the Detroit Pistons, every other professional sports team in the city basically and for lack of a better word really, really sucks (let's remember that Hockeytown had to renamed last year because of the NHL lockout). The Game Since the announcement of the Super Bowl venue for this year, people from all parts of the nation started to ask themselves why in the hell are we having the Super Bowl game in Michigan ? It has been reported in the past few weeks that the city simply did not carry the infrastructure necessary to host an event of this caliber as many people experienced signicant trouble trying to get a hotel for next weekend. However, with a claim of "It will be OK, we have a dome... " to justify the Midwestern sporting phenomena, Detroit supporters said it would be OK to have the game in sub freezing weather conditions. The only response I have to them is that unless Mick Jagger suffers some sort of wardrobe malfunction during the halftime show, Super Bowl XL suffers the risk as being remembered as the biggest flop in the history of the most important American sporting event. Let's just hope for a great football game. |W|P|113842564587060858|W|P|Can Detroit Be Saved?|W|P|1/26/2006 11:35:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|If you were to ask someone who would be considered a potential customer for Burger King, you wouldn’t necessarily expect kids to be the answer. Maybe one could say college kids instead, or people with no time. 99c menu lovers and low-income groups are another couple of options but not kids. We know McDonalds has been a master of such target marketing strategy but Burger King never had a clown, a meal box nor a playground for me to play in (at least at the ones I've ever been to). The truth is that up until now, it didn’t have to have it because its char-broiled burgers were considered of better quality that the ones from the golden arches company. Additionally, although they were considered fast food, the term didn’t relate to the definition that this term gets today and all the bad reputation that comes with it, the food just came in a heartbeat. As the company saw its profits slip however, it realized things were changing. After conducting market research, BK realized what customers had a long time ago: Burger King is nothing more than another fast-food joint, with unhealthy food, depressing scene and robotic service. It also realized that if it were to differentiate itself again from competitors (while also competing with much larger advertising budgets), it would have to leave its current mindset of trying to reach every single person in every single segment of the market. The answer would instead be to focus on a smaller piece of this fast changing market. The results of this change have been impressive, at least in Canada, where even competitors have recognized the success. Some have gone beyond that, expressing envy towards BK’s new strategy. Some people in the other hand, are calling it a truly great deal in advertising for the company. It’s not that this hasn’t been done before (ask Ronald McDonalds), but what is captivating is the fact that the company never went in this direction. Even if this strategy fails, one thing is for sure: the change of attitude gives BK a bold, fresh and revitalized look. The question now is how long will it last?|W|P|113826686758741373|W|P|Burger King Canada|W|P|1/12/2006 09:56:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|I was looking for a PowerPoint template for my Apple presentation (Finance class) and ended up stumbling upon this great post written by a venture capitalist who is (literally) sick of hearing long, dreadful Powerpoint presentations. Mr. Kawasaki: I share your pain! As a graduate business student, I enjoy my fair share of long presentations that, given its length, could recite text on its own... exactly like the speaker does (Ahh... if only Windows had a mouth to babble!). I have to admit however, that in the past I have been guilty of not following what he calls: the 10-20-30 rule of PowerPoint. Not anymore. |W|P|113713181451828413|W|P|If only my MS Windows could talk...|W|P|1/11/2006 02:14:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|It seems like Brazil's initiative to expand its ethanol usage as cleaner, less politically charged energy alternative has given a few people some ideas on how to capitalize on the world's need for an alternative to evil petroleum. After the Wall Street Journal commented on Ford and GM's effort to promote flex-fuel cars, it was Bill Gates turn to make a move and capitalize on this emerging opportunity. Mr. Gates investment on Pacific Ethanol (PEIX) got me wondering whether I should too invest on this company by buying a few shares of stock. My idea lost strenght as I realized throughout the rest of my day that my knowledge regarding stocks is quite limited. At least, this quarter I am taking Finance so hopefully by the end of the 14 weeks I'll be ready for online trades, portfolio management and hedge-fund analyses... one minor detail: I make absolutely nothing as a MBA student.|W|P|113701767130149089|W|P|Bill Gates Goes Green, Makes Me Want to Buy Stocks|W|P|1/09/2006 09:53:00 PM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|If Brazil makes the first page of any major American publication, it is usually because its Carnival, the National squad won the World Cup or something really bad happened over there. Not this time. I was cheerfully surprised to read on the Wall Street Journal about a phenomenon that I started to notice a couple of years ago, after my friends came to visit me in the States. They were telling me about their cars. Smaller and less powerful than our average 4-cylinder mid-sedan transportation, the cars Brazilians pay an absurd amount of money to ride resemble a Ford Pinto. Although being quite disturbing, the insane amount of taxes that drive the price of transportation through the roof in Brazil is not the topic of this post. I'd like to note instead, the increased use of ethanol as fuel, in cars that are being produced with engines that take gasoline, ethanol (derived from sugar cane) or a mix of the two. I remember the good, old days when most cars used ethanol as fuel. It was a pain in butt because we had to sit there and wait forever for the engine to warm up. Besides, if something happened to the sugar cane crops, there were terrible shortages we had to deal with (one time, my Dad was forced to use rubbing alcohol to get us through a trip). After a few years, the alcohol lost space and with the opening of the market for imported vehicles, it simply vanished from the marketplace. Now, I've been hearing more and more about ethanol, which gained back popularity because of the Brazilian R & D flex power initiative and consumers' ability to choose which fuel he or she wants to use in the car. Unfortunately, with every rise in demand, there is usually a rise in price. Ethanol prices have already started to climb and the Brazilian consumer has already started to complain and feel it in their pockets. A friend of mine however, says he's quite happy with his "flexed" vehicle and cannot wait for the next generation of flex cars: this one he says, is going to take gasoline, ethanol and natural gas.|W|P|113687241988602106|W|P|Brazil flexes its muscles|W|P|1/09/2006 09:52:00 AM|W|P|BRAFury|W|P|Matt Leinart stayed in school his senior year with aspirations of winning a third National Championship. The result was catastrophic, a heartbreaking loss in the Rose Bowl to Vince... I mean Texas. Trying to prevent a deja vu (and scared sh..less of what the Buckeyes might do to him next year), Vince Young decided to kick his school spirit in the groin and go pro. A wise decision if you ask me. Following his freak performance in the National Championship game, I cannot see his college career reach a higher point. No Heisman? No problem. We all know very well about the Heisman curse, just ask Carson Palmer, its newest victim. And I'm sure the Rose Bowl left the Houston Texans wondering whether Reggie Bush is really the indisputable 2006 NFL Draft Number 1 pick, which would mean big bucks for Mr. Young. It's like people say: it's better to leave when you are on top. Vince: Welcome to the NFL!|W|P|113682916903801884|W|P|Big Bucks over School Spirit|W|P|