Another One Down...

I promised myself that I wouldn't buy any new video games until I had gone through and completed all of the ones I already have. There are a handful of games down here in the basement that I've played up to a point, and then either got distracted, frustrated, or lost interest in for one reason or another. Tonight I put one of those games to bed. Metroid Prime 2 is one I received for Christmas, so it really hasn't had much time to collect dust. I received MP:2, and Paper Mario this holiday, and Paper Mario won out for my play time first. Once that was done, I switched over to MP:2. The game plays identically to the first Metroid Prime game, and so it was very easy to jump right in. For some reason, this one just didn't grab my attention like the first one did though. With the first one, I was amazed at what Nintendo had done wth the GameCube both in terms of graphics and gameplay. First person shooter type games are incredibly difficult to pull off without a mouse, but Metroid Prime did a great job with its targeting system. Metroid Prime 2 was just as good, but it wasn't better at anything over the first one. I suppose I sort of expected progress. Not that I was disappointed with the game, I loved playing it and really enjoyed it from start to finish.

I still have some others to finish up. I'm taking a business trip to St. Louis later this month, so I figure I can finish up Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem on the GameBoy during that trip. Until then, I'm pretty close to finishing Neverwinter Nights. I've had this one for a little over a year now. It is a really engrossing game. I would sit down to play for an hour and end up spending four or five. I think that is why I quit playing for a while, it was just too much of a commitment to sit down and play. I had to rebuild my laptop (re-install the OS, all software, etc.) over the weekend, so while some of the installs were running on the laptop I played NWN on our home PC. I really started to get into it again. I think I'm on the final chapter, so I'll make that my next game to complete.

Speaking of finishing things up, my MBA is getting close to the finish line. Last week was the final class for Advanced Mangerial Economics. I really got a lot out of that class. It was an eleven weeks course, one of the longer ones in the curriculum, and it provided a lot of good information on pricing, competition, and... well, economics. Today I'll be starting on Organizational Development. I had an Organizational Behavior course as part of my management minor at Purdue, and it was the biggest blow-off class I ever took. I'll be going into class with low expectations, so hopefully I'll get a pleasant surprise and learn something. This one is only six weeks, and then another six weeks for International Business. Once that one is over, my classwork is done and I begin work on my final paper. The final paper is sort of the equivalent of a thesis for the program, since a thesis is not required. I'm not really sure what they are looking for yet, but hopefully I'll learn more by the time classes finish up.

I'm also reading several books. I have three books for class and two for work. I'm about half-way through reading "A Stake in the Outcome" by Jack Stack for work. I really don't care for Jack, but the information in the book isn't all bad. The author has a really attitude about formal education. In short, he thinks it is worthless. He advocates getting a bunch of moderately educated folks in a room and using group think to guess at the correct course of action over formal education on the subject at hand. I take real issue with that approach. He also talks about the ideas of employee ownership programs, business mini-games, and tips for anyone running a business. Not all of it is bad, and some of the tips can be useful. However, I think that anyone who reads this as the gospel on how to run their business will be "entrepreneurially dangerous". At work, we have a term for folks we meet at manufacturing sites who have a base knowledge of computer systems but consider themselves experts. We call them "technically dangerous", because they have just enough technical knowledge to get themselves way in over their heads. I think Jack Stack's book would create a cadre of business folks that are equally entrepreneurially dangerous. One example that really got to me was when he spoke about a sales organization he formed. He spent page after page talking about how perfect his plan was for this sales organization. His plan was so perfect in fact, that they couldn't fail. The sales organization failed mightily though, and rather than look inward at the structure he created (which was the ultimate cause of failure) he instead blames the people he hired to fill the roles. That, and my previously mentioned comment about his stance on formally educated business people, really turn me off to his book. The conference I'm going to in St. Louis is put on by his organization, so hopefully some of the other folks he is associated with will improve my opinion of him and his work.

Aside from that book, I'm also reading "21 Irrefutible Laws of Leadership" by John C Maxwell. Maxwell worked as a minister here in Indiana for a time, and was in Indianapolis last year for a conference. The book isn't breaking any new ground in the leadership world, but it is always good to reinforce your knowledge on the subject. That one is for class, along with a text book and a set of example articles. Another book I'm half-way through is also for work: "Collaborative Manufacturing" by Michael McClellan. This one is fairly interesting, and it reminds me a lot of my marketing class. It deals with tightening up the supply chain by allowing more freedom of information. Suppliers, vendors, manufacturers, warehousers, and retailers all working together in a highly trusting collaborative environment. It is a nice idea, if a bit utopic, and presents a good case for unified standards in supply chain management systems.

Wow, this turned into a much longer post than I had expected. I sat down to toot my horn about beating Metroid Prime 2. Hope I didn't bore you too much!


Jade Mason