Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Angel

Snow Angel II, originally uploaded by jen_m_stewart.

Lots of snow in Boston these days...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


One of the things I've enjoyed about being a doctoral student at MIT has been the UROP program in which we have a chance to work with undergraduates on research. One of the undergrads who has worked with me the past 2 semesters stopped by my office today and in addition to asking for a letter of recommendation for Master's programs also spent some time chatting with me about career decisions more broadly and why some people are more successful than others post-graduation.

As often happens, I had more thoughts about the conversation later in the day while walking home which I wanted to try to capture in this post. Overall, I think it is a really difficult decision of which career path to head down for all but the lucky few who just feel extreme passion for one particular calling and never really face the question. For everyone else, I think either facing this question of what to do with one's life either causes both anguish and great character development, or they take shortcuts (doing what their parents tell them to do, or doing what everyone else around them is doing) and miss out on both. I was mentioning to her that I felt like one of the keys is to try to be focused and persistent when the going gets tough and you found that you've taken a wrong turn or life has thrown a curveball or obstacle at you. After graduating from undergrad, there is a lot less structure to life and so a good deal more self-discipline and self-motivation are needed to continue to excel/work hard when it is the case that many people experience some level of disillusionment or uncertainty along the way.

On the walk home, I was thinking how life's a bit like an obstacle course, where you have to follow what you're passionate about but also recognize that there will be times when that passion wanes. The trick is knowing when to use self-discipline to just power through those periods and when to recognize that you've hit an obstacle or gone down a wrong path and need to really change course. I think at least for me, I've been lucky to have always thrown myself into whatever course I was walking down 100%. I think that generated some kind of momentum that I could then use to change directions slightly while keeping ambition high compared to others who may have gotten discouraged and gone through periods where frustration set in and made it difficult to stay motivated or resulted in periods of disillusionment.

I was also thinking about how being driven toward some goal is relatively easy early in life, but then the flip side of it shows up later. The flip side of being driven is having to make sacrifices. Of course for those with talent or passion the sacrifices seem smaller, but nonetheless, doing anything extraordinary requires making some sacrifices made deliberately or unconsciously in terms of friendships and relationships. So I think being a driven person requires more and more conscious choices later in life where we have to weigh the long-term career goals against sacrificed time/energy for relationships and friendships. I think this is probably easier for guys than for girls to navigate. In the end, I think success in life is probably about many things, of which getting to certain career goals is one part, to be weighed in the proper context of the balance of life. Problem sets and analytical skills we get in spades at schools like MIT, but help and guidance in navigating these softer but much more important life decisions is rare and probably best exchanged among friends and mentors, but this leads to a certain inevitable character of the blind/in-experienced leading the blind. Maybe that is why each generation ends up making some of the same mistakes and learning many of the same life lessons of the ones that have gone before. So in the end, I'm not entirely sure what makes some people more successful in life than others, but I think some of the ingredients are here in terms of passion, focus, perspective, balance, persistence, self-discipline, momentum and friendship. All broad concepts but I think ones that show up in the particular stories of our lives.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

INSEAD - Europe Campus - Fontainebleau

INSEAD - Europe Campus - Fontainebleau

I will be staying here for two nights Jan. 4-5th when I give my talk at INSEAD. Looking forward to it!

Fontainebleau is a picturesque French town steeped in history and named after the fresh water spring that gave rise to it. It is a name that immediately conjures up images of Forest and Castle.

With 15 million visitors a year the forest is one of France’s major tourist and leisure activity attractions. It is particularly known for its unique rock formations and soft white sand that makes it the Mecca of Rock climbers. It has been described as simply “the best bouldering area in Europe if not the world”.

In 1998 the Fontainebleau Forest became the 356th Biosphere Reserve within a global network of more than 90 countries. It is 250 km2 of temperate forest - composed mainly of oak, Scots pine and beech - heath lands, open rock areas of sandstone and wetlands, semi-permanent ponds caused by rainfall and the sandstone’s impermeability.

The castle is the 12th century Château, initially a hunting lodge and then the summer residence of many French kings. François I, a great supporter of the Renaissance, rebuilt it in the 16th century combining the Renaissance and French gothic styles to create a new one and invited artists like Leonardo da Vinci to improve on it. It was here that the Mona Lisa was exhibited for the very first time! In the 17th century it was the turn of the Sun King, Louis the XIV, to add his touch to the royal residence. The gardens of the Château are the work of his chief landscape designer, André Le Nôtre. The 18th century brought Marie-Antoinette to Fontainebleau. Her apartments were later remodelled and used by the Empress Josephine when Napoleon Bonaparte made the castle his main residence. Before leaving for the island of Elbe on April 20, 1814, he gave his farewell speech in the courtyard which is now called the “Cour des Adieux”, the Farewell Courtyard.

Today INSEAD is one of the Château’s preferred partners and is a benefactor to the restoration of Queen Marie Antoinette’s Turkish Boudoir. Some of the school’s big events, like the Summer Ball and the PhD Graduation ceremony, are held in halls of the Château that are not open to the general public. This collaboration is a tribute to the beginnings of the school, for it was here, in a wing of this 12th century Château that INSEAD was born half a century ago.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stuck in Hotel During Mumbai Terrorist Attack, Prof. Escapes - The Tech

Stuck in Hotel During Mumbai Terrorist Attack, Prof. Escapes - The Tech:

"On the night of Nov. 26, Sloan Professor Eric von Hippel SM ’68 was awoken by explosions and gunshots from his room at the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, India. Von Hippel experienced and survived the terrorist attack that devastated one of India’s largest and most developed cities.

Terrorists attacked several iconic spots around South Mumbai in a three-day siege that finally ended on Saturday. Among the sites attacked included the Oberoi Hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel near the famous Gateway of India, and the historic railway station formerly known as the Victoria Terminus. Police reported nearly 200 deaths and over 300 wounded from the string of coordinated attacks. According to the New York Times, about 30 died at the Oberoi Hotel where von Hippel was a guest.

After escaping the attack site, von Hippel penned an e-mail to friends and colleagues describing his survival story during the terrorist attacks.

When he was awoken at 10:30 p.m., von Hippel did not know what was occurring. He heard people smashing the hotel’s windows in an attempt to let out smoke, which was entering their rooms through the bottom of the doors."

Thursday, November 27, 2008


IMG_0553, originally uploaded by eesley.

I spent last week at Duke visiting Jie as well as catching up with Kim and Virginia. I also met with some professors who I used to work with at Duke Med Center and the Health Policy group.

It was a great trip and included a hike at the Eno River (picture) which is one of my favorite places to go for a walk.

I'm just having a relaxing Thanksgiving here in Cambridge today and resting since I've been sick the past few days. I've got some travel coming up with job talks at London Business School Jan. 12th and USC Jan. 14th. Exciting times and I am eager to see where I will wind up for next year.

I'm also very thankful/grateful on this Thanksgiving holiday, most of all for my wonderful friends and family as well as all the tremendous opportunities I've been given.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008


chuck_seminar, originally uploaded by eesley.

A photo from my presentation for the department seminar today.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Halloween

DSC_0072, originally uploaded by SP Photofile Chair.

Walden Pond

IMG_0534, originally uploaded by eesley.

I biked to Walden Pond with Yoojin on Sunday. It was a beautiful day. Unfortunately, instead of taking the Minuteman Bikeway, we took a shorter, but much, much more hilly route. So it was quite the workout but made the picnic once there that much more enjoyable.

I had wanted to visit Walden Pond ever since reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau in Mrs. Eddy's English class in High School.

I was inspired then and re-inspired by his words once confronted with life's many choices in undergrad. This particular quote still strikes me and it was printed next to the site of his cottage near the pond.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

I was a bit disappointed though to learn that the site by the pond where he stayed was only a 30 minute walk from his parents house!

p.s. Unlike some of the photos I've posted recently, I actually did take this one. It was a beautiful fall day in New England.

Monday, October 20, 2008

how.pdf (application/pdf Object)

How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time by Hal R. Varian UC Berkeley


IMG_0517, originally uploaded by eesley.

Sending in my absentee ballot tomorrow...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Krugman wins Nobel for economics

Krugman wins Nobel for economics

An MIT alum has won the Nobel Prize for Economics.

I first read one of Krugman's papers when studying for my General Exams. One section on my reading list was on regional variation in entrepreneurship and theories of why we see clusters of entrepreneurial firms or more innovation in some areas. The work that Krugman won the Nobel for was on international trade and economic geography. It seems a further signal of how hot international research and economic geography have become. Krugman's NY Times article is a bit strident for my tastes at times, but I'm still happy to see him win. Usually the MIT Econ dept. runs a poll (sort of like the NCAA basketball bracket) to try to predict the winner. I seem to have gotten out of the loop on that one this year.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

STATA Center

I got to give a 1 hour guest lecture tonight, here in the STATA Center for a freshman seminar on Entrepreneurship in China. It brought back memories of the freshman seminar I attended at Duke with Prof. Boynton, one of the pioneers of biotech.

I accidentally tried to fit way too much material into the presentation. Next time I will have to calm down and remember to focus more on just a few main points.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Guest lecturer

IMG_1313, originally uploaded by eesley.

I'm guest lecturing for a class here on Entrepreneurship in China Tuesday evening. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

MIT dome

MIT dome HDR - attempt #1, originally uploaded by mitwalter.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Credit Crisis: What’s Happening and What the Government Should (and Shouldn’t) Do About It Some faculty perspectives from the Chicago GSB “lunchroom”

The Credit Crisis: What’s Happening and What the Government Should (and Shouldn’t) Do About It Some faculty perspectives from the Chicago GSB “lunchroom”

Just read this in the Tech Review

extraterrestrial.pdf (application/pdf Object)

When water was discovered on Mars, people got very excited.  
Where there is water, there may be life.  
Scientists are planning new missions to study the planet up close.  
NASA’s next Mars rover is scheduled to arrive in 2010.  
In the decade following, a Mars Sample Return mission might be launched, which would 
use robotic systems to collect samples of Martian rocks, soils, and atmosphere, 
and return them to Earth.  We could then analyze the sample to see if it contains any 
traces of life, whether extinct or still active.  
Such a discovery would be of tremendous scientific significance.  
What could be more fascinating than discovering life that had evolved entirely 
independently of life here on Earth?  Many people would also find it heartening to 
learn that we are not entirely alone in this vast cold cosmos.
But I hope that our Mars probes will discover nothing.  It would be good news if we 
find Mars to be completely sterile.  Dead rocks and lifeless sands would lift my 

Friday, September 19, 2008

What Happens When We Die? - TIME

What Happens When We Die? - TIME

Because we're pushing through the boundaries of science, working against assumptions and perceptions that have been fixed. A lot of people hold this idea that well, when you die you die, that's it. Death is a moment, you know you're either dead or you're alive. All these things are not scientifically valid but they're social perceptions.

However, ultimately what matters is, What's going on to a person's mind? What happens to the human mind and consciousness during death? Does that cease immediately as soon as the heart stops? Does it cease activity within the first 2 seconds, the first 2 minutes? Because we know that cells are continuously changing at that time. Does it stop after ten minutes, after half an hour, after an hour? And at this point we don't know.

I was really into this type of question during college.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sternwheel Festival

When I grew up in Marietta, OH, the annual fall Sternwheel Festival was a major event. This photographer has some spectacular photos of this year's fireworks display.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Back home

IMG_0404, originally uploaded by eesley.

Enjoying being back at MIT after a trip down to Duke and then out to Stanford for a conference on tech. entrepreneurship. Also got to see Kristin and Michael while in San Francisco for a night.

Will be here and busy on my job market paper for a while, but then probably at Georgia Tech in Nov. for a conference and back out to San Francisco Jan. 2-5th for the AEA.

This is a photo from a great picnic in Duke Gardens!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

singing beach

singing beach, originally uploaded by Corry-G.

I went to Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea on Sunday with Yoojin. I bought a pretzel, put it down to pull out my blanket and the next thing I knew, a seagull like the one in this photo was trying to fly away with my lunch! It was too heavy for the bird and I got it back, but only after he had dropped it in the sand and slobbered all over it. Mmm.

20 mins later a huge thunderstorm rolled in and we had to leave the beach! Bummer. But it was nice while it lasted and I finally got to the beach this summer. Definitely want to head back to this beach at some point, but I think Walden Pond is next on the list for my limited free time these days.

Heading to Anaheim, CA on Friday, then up to the Bay area on the 13th for a few days.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Costa Rica

IMG_0265, originally uploaded by eesley.

Had a great time in Costa Rica last week. Went ziplining, enjoyed the hot springs, saw the volcano erupt and the lava flow every night, went for a hike through the rainforest. I highly recommend Costa Rica, it was great and lots of fun practicing my espanol there!

Right now I'm swamped trying to get my dissertation and job market paper in order.

Headed to Anaheim, CA Aug. 8-13th then San Fran Aug. 13-19th then back to Boston briefly before a trip down to Duke and then back out to Stanford.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boston evening

Boston evening, originally uploaded by bespam.

Boston in the summertime is really nice. (Not my photo, but again, thank you Flickr). Just had a nice day, biking up to Harvard and back and then dinner (very good Korean food) at Yoojin's place. I biked back and the view over the river was great.

Thurs. I am headed to Costa Rica for a conference. Up to Arenal/Fortuna to see the volcano and then back to San Jose for the conference. Can't wait!

Sylvain and Corine arrive tomorrow afternoon from Paris for about 3 weeks and then Aug. 8-19th I head to California for the Academy of Management in Anaheim and to visit the Bay area again.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Big Paycheck or Service? Students Are Put to the Test - The Tech

Fascinating debate . . . maybe Harvard should hit up alums for donations to non-profits (Gates Fdn) instead of these "seminars".

Big Paycheck or Service? Students Are Put to the Test - The Tech

A prominent education professor at Harvard has begun leading “reflection” seminars at three highly selective colleges, which he hopes will push undergraduates to think more deeply about the connection between their educations and aspirations.

The professor, Howard Gardner, hopes the seminars will encourage more students to consider public service and other careers beyond the consulting and financial jobs that he says are almost the automatic next step for so many graduates of top colleges.

“Is this what a Harvard education is for?” asked Professor Gardner, who is teaching the seminars at Harvard, Amherst, and Colby with colleagues. “Are Ivy League schools simply becoming selecting mechanisms for Wall Street?”

Monday, July 7, 2008

Boston Fireworks - July 4th, 2008

Boston Fireworks - July 4th, 2008, originally uploaded by nuudl.

Not my photo, but oh well, thank you Flickr...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chinese universities

148.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Great article in Science on China's efforts to create world class universities.

Monday, June 16, 2008

NY Times article

Very interesting NY Times article...

I've always thought it should be completely 50/50 or choose to live childfree, with my strong preference being for the latter option. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008


IMG_0241, originally uploaded by eesley.

Lucia and Nikolas visited Boston this weekend. This photo is at Harvard in front of the John Harvard statue.

Peas in a pod

IMG_0240, originally uploaded by eesley.

My first experience with fresh English peas. Very interesting.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Photo_041208_002, originally uploaded by eesley.

Finally got around to uploading some cameraphone photos from the past few months. This one was from the restaurant we ate at during the CCC conference in Pittsburgh, PA back in April. Nice few of the bridges and rivers of Pittsburgh. Bonus points to anyone who can correctly name and spell them . . . or explain how there are 3 rivers in this photo.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Witch company?

Photo_060108_001, originally uploaded by eesley.

At the CDG airport in Paris. :) Not speaking French, I really shouldn't poke fun, but it is funny.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Meera's trip

My good friend from growing up in Ohio who I used to trade notes with all through middle school and party with sometimes in high school, Meera is taking a long trip this summer after graduating with an MBA from Berkeley and is blogging her trip. She's currently in Vietnam.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Arenal Vulcano

Arenal Vulcano, originally uploaded by Luís Louro.

In other news, July 18-22nd I'm headed to another conference in Costa Rica! I won the SASE conference student travel award, so I just have to pay for the hotel while there.

More photos

SNV33615, originally uploaded by eesley.

Just posted a bunch more photos to Flickr that my friend and colleague Sung Joo took while we were at the British Museum in London.

I also got back from UNC - Chapel Hill late last night. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos but I had a great time visiting Kim, Michael, Joy, and especially kayaking in Wilmington and hanging out with Jie while there.

Trying to catch up on both rest, laundry, and work here now!

Saturday, May 31, 2008


IMG_0185, originally uploaded by eesley.

I bought this brie sandwich and apple and sat in the park next to the Tour Eiffel yesterday for lunch. The girl behind the counter made fun of the way I said "Brie" when ordering the sandwich. She laughed and repeated "Breeeeeee" in a slightly twangy American accent which sounded like a caricature. I still don't know how to pronounce the word in the French way . . . ah well!

In the afternoon I mostly read and worked on my dissertation. I headed to the Musee Louvre around 6pm on Friday and walked around almost all of the museum. I guess I either walk too fast or don't spend enough time looking at the art. Either way by 8:45pm I had seen all the highlights including Aphrodite and Mona Lisa as well as walking through every major branch.

I took the metro to meet Claire and her friends for the party they were having. They told me it was a typical "Parisian" apartment and party. The apartment was in the center of this kind of courtyard type thing several floors up, full of plants and lots of candles under the night sky. The food was incredible, pies, pizzas, cheeses, fruits and people were gracious to speak English with me until late in the night. At about 2:30am we caught a cab back home and I fell asleep easily once in the apartment, having drank my fair share of red wine throughout the night.


IMG_0223, originally uploaded by eesley.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Tour Eiffel

IMG_0184, originally uploaded by eesley.

I'm very lucky to be staying at Colette's place in Passy in Paris since it is about a 2 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower. So last night after my dinner and a glass of wine I walked over with my camera to get a few shots of it all lit up. Every half hour or so they turn on the twinkling lights that you can see in some of the shots.

It was very nice, but kind of a strange feeling being at the Eiffel alone. You're surrounded with romantic couples both of the younger and older varieties and with bus loads of school-age children visiting on some type of trip. Some of the couples had brought glasses and bottles of wine. It's almost like you're viewing life from some odd angle where you've slipped into a place at a time when you're not "supposed" to be there. It was very nice to appreciate the view and then be able to walk back home, but it definitely makes me appreciate that what is really special about this location is being there with a romantic partner.


IMG_0164, originally uploaded by eesley.

After 7+ days of eating out in London and Paris, I was ready for a nice, cheap, home-cooked meal last night. I went to a market nearby and picked up some spagetti and sauce. To go with it, I managed to use my broken and limited French to buy some fresh bread and a couple bottles of wine. The nicer bottle on the left is reserved for a party I'm going to tonight.

I didn't actually have the yogurt with dinner, but I'm fascinated by the Europeans' obsession with different types of yogurt. I've been having these with the pastries that Colette left me for breakfast.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Making Friends (and Dinner) in Paris - Frugal Traveler - Travel - New York Times Blog

Making Friends (and Dinner) in Paris - Frugal Traveler - Travel - New York Times Blog

I've been enjoying my posh little neighborhood in Passy the past couple of days.


IMG_0153, originally uploaded by eesley.

Yesterday I had a relaxing day. Did a bit of reading in the afternoon and then met up with Claire, walked along the Seine river and went for dinner at an alternative kind of restaurant then walked a bit more to grab a couple drinks and took a cab home.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


IMG_0149, originally uploaded by eesley.

Punting on the river Cam

Originally uploaded by eesley


I took the Eurostar train from London to Paris Monday evening and met Sylvain at the station in Paris. Tuesday morning I headed out via the metro to meet a few friends who are management professors now as well as Colette at La Flor - a croissant place in Paris. We had pastries and espresso and chatted until noon while sitting out on the street.

I then met Sylvain at his university for a nice lunch and then to present, along with 2 other professors some of my research on entrepreneurship in China. After my presentation, Sylvain and I met up with Colette for dinner at a little restaurant with one guy who acts as waiter, chef, host, and dishes guy. The food was great and the guy was hilarious - talking to himself in the back to make it sound like there were more people ("Hi, pass the plate, please!").

I am staying at Colette's place now with a view on the Eiffel Tower and getting by alright with a few sentences of French. I am enjoying the food and relaxing a bit today.

Monday, May 26, 2008

London Day 3

IMG_0136, originally uploaded by eesley.

Yesterday I met up with Erin, a friend from a few years back when we were both instructors in Duke's TiP program. We went to Shakespeare's Globe to see a play and then walked around London.

We went to Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey as well as Trafalger Square before grabbing some dinner in Chinatown.

Today I'm preparing for my talk in Paris and then taking the train there this evening, arriving late at night when my friend Sylvain will meet me at the station.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

King's College (photo)

IMG_0114, originally uploaded by eesley.

My friend Sung Joo and I left Cambridge (the old one) this morning and took the train to London. After dropping off my stuff at the hotel, we had lunch and headed for the British Museum. There was an enormous amount of pollen falling from the trees and between that at the pollution my eyes were burning. One we got there though, the museum itself was very nice.

After grabbing a quick bite for dinner, we headed to Her Majesty's Theatre to see if we could get tickets for The Phantom of the Opera. We did manage to get two seats and the show was great.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cambridge, UK


I arrived in London on Weds. and met up with a couple of friends there then took the train to Cambridge in the afternoon. I gave my presentation at the conference today which went fine I think. I didn't practice so I rambled a little, but it was ok.

Yesterday, after a full day of conference presentations on Open Innovation, we had a glass of champagne and dinner at St. Catherine's college (one of the many colleges in the University of Cambridge system here). Then Ethan, Sung Joo and I went out in search of thai food and wandered around the city. Eventually we gave up on the thai restaurant and found our way to the Eagle Pub which was where Watson and Crick had a pint after discovering DNA. We didn't make any discoveries but it didn't stop us from having a pint there too.

This afternoon we went "punting on the Cam" which means going for a little boat ride along the Cam river. It was very nice and beautiful weather. Tomorrow Sung Joo and I will go to London together and visit the British museum.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Other side of the pond

This post will be short since I haven't slept in over 24 hours and the keyboard is all British, but I've landed, had a quick breakfast near the British Library (where there was a line to get in at 9:20am), and found my way to Lourdes Sosa's office at the London Business School.

So far I'm puzzled by the toilet paper which comes out 1 sheet at a time (WTF?!) and my HSBC global ATM card which doesn't want to work at the airport, meanwhile the American Bank ATM card, of all things, worked just fine. Oh yeah, i think I spent half the morning getting through the immigration line which was massive and waiting for my bags which came to the wrong Baggage Reclaim (I guess re-claim makes sense) carosel (probably due to the hours spent in the immigration line).

Off via train to Cambridge this afternoon.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Blogging has been slow as I've been keeping busy. Here's a quick update.

The dissertation is making progress, I've been TA'ing an undergrad class on entrepreneurship, still working part-time with Flagship looking and (and passing on) medical device opportunities. I've also started this consulting firm for life sciences, It's been fun.

I think that's about it. I'm headed to Cambridge, UK and Paris next week for about 10 days (vacation and to give a couple of talks on my research). Then down to UNC to present a paper June 3-7th. Also, probably headed to South Africa to give a presentation at a conference this summer (July 27-31st). Then to Anaheim, CA Aug. 8-13th for a conference and up to the Bay area Aug. 13-19th.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Once (2006)

Once (2006)

I saw this movie on Friday evening after Yoojin cooked a nice dinner. I highly recommend it. It reminded me of nights back in high school when Chris Madine, Buddy, or Rick Hanf would play guitar at Angel Emerick's or some sketchy campsite we had picked out that weekend.

At Duke also I had friends who were more musical and would play guitar from time to time such as Connor Briggs (now Connor Desai and check out her album on iTunes!) or Dan Purdom.

At MIT, things have changed and between the workload and hanging out with economists, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, those more musical nights of listening to CDs or live music are fewer and farther between. This movie was great to watch with the music reminding me of Ida, Nick Drake, Smog, or Devendra Barnhart.

Friday, April 25, 2008

MIT Club of Boston

Thurs. evening I was on a panel on Venture Capital hosted by the MIT Club of Boston. The other panelists were Trent Yang, David Miller, and David Berry.

Dead Address Book Entries

Dead Address Book Entries

This happened to me a couple months ago with Anoopa. I made the opposite decision though.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happiness in the US: 1972-2004

I just finished reading an article on Social Inequalities in Happiness in the US, 1972-2004: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis, which was just published in the April 2008 American Sociological Review.

It was very interesting as one of the most rigorous explorations of happiness across the life course and over time.

Essentially the findings are that the biggest determinants of happiness are being married and in excellent health. They find that the chances of being "very happy" increase about 5 percent per year across the life span, suggesting that as we mature we tend to become happier. They suggest this is due to smaller differentials in older people between achievement and aspiration levels. Being white, wealthy, retired, highly educated, religious and having no children are all associated with higher happiness levels.

If you want a copy of the paper, just let me know and I can email it.

Sorry Eric, they didn't have a variable for Vipassana meditation practitioner or not. :)

Here is the abstract:
This study conducts a systematic age, period, and cohort analysis that provides new evidence of the dynamics of, and heterogeneity in, subjective well-being across the life course and over time in the United States. I use recently developed methodologies of hierarchical age-period-cohort models, and the longest available population data series on happiness from the General Social Survey, 1972 to 2004. I find distinct life-course patterns, time trends, and birth cohort changes in happiness. The age effects are strong and indicate increases in happiness over the life course. Period effects show first decreasing and then increasing trends in happiness. Baby-boomer cohorts report lower levels of happiness, suggesting the influence of early life conditions and formative experiences. I also find substantial life-course and period variations in social disparities in happiness. The results show convergences in sex, race, and educational gaps in happiness with age, which can largely be attributed to differential exposure to various social conditions important to happiness, such as marital status and health. Sex and race inequalities in happiness declined in the long term over the past 30 years. During the most recent decade, however, the net sex difference disappeared while the racial gap in happiness remained substantial.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Patrick McGovern

Tonight I met and got to speak briefly with Patrick McGovern about his experience investing in China and about my research there. I spoke with him at an MIT E-Lab CEO Reception networking event on campus at the MIT Faculty Club.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon, originally uploaded by hotwaxforever.

I spent the weekend at Carnegie Mellon and gave a presentation at a conference there.

Hamerschlag Hall, the most recognized landmark on the Carnegie Mellon campus.

The University states that Andrew Carnegie’s original plan for the layout of the campus was to form an “explorer’s ship”, in search of knowledge. The ship would point towards the Carnegie Museum and Library, and inadvertently, the University of Pittsburgh. The helm of this ship is Hamerschlag Hall.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Simon Johnson's Blog

Simon Johnson's Blog

A former professor in our group is now the Director of Research at the IMF. He has recently re-started posting to his blog.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's not you...

Essay About Love and Literary Taste - Books - Review - New York Times
It’s Not You, It’s Your Books

Published: March 30, 2008

Some years ago, I was awakened early one morning by a phone call from a friend. She had just broken up with a boyfriend she still loved and was desperate to justify her decision. “Can you believe it!” she shouted into the phone. “He hadn’t even heard of Pushkin!”

Half Moon Bay

IMG_0080, originally uploaded by eesley.

Hiking in Half Moon Bay last Sunday with Eric Case and his mom.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Mike and Allison.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I guess I've been too busy to post much recently.

Just a couple of quick updates and travel plans. Last weekend I took the Greyhound over to NYC and crashed with Mike and Allison. Had a great time since Curtis and Ashley are now in New York and Michael and Susannah drove up from New Jersey. Went out to dinner with everyone Saturday night and had a great time. What a blast to hang out with the old gang from Marietta in New York. I left Boston with the snow coming down hard and it was actually surprisingly warm in New York. On Sunday Mike and I went to Chinatown and had some great dumplings and then Chef Mike put together a nice dinner that evening.

This weekend (for spring break) I'm headed out to the Bay area to visit Eric, Kristin, Michael, Ali, Natalie and everyone. I'm also visiting some VCs and start-ups in the area. Looking forward to it.

April 11-13th I'm headed to Carnegie Mellon to give a talk.
May 21 I'm going to Cambridge, UK for a conference on Open Innovation and am hoping to use the opportunity to spend a couple weeks in Europe before heading back to the US.

June 3-7th I'm going to Chapel Hill, NC for a conference at UNC.

But for now. . . back to work!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Life Dinner

Life Dinner

Brad Feld's pre-arranged routines and patterns for achieving work-life balance area very interesting...

Monday, February 25, 2008

How to Cut a Mango | Simply Recipes

How to Cut a Mango | Simply Recipes

So that's how you do it!

Love these guys, had no idea there were so many varieties.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Quote of the week

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”

Hugh Downs

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rossi Pasta

Rossi Pasta, originally uploaded by eesley.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Purely Undemocratic

Minnesota Monitor:: Who are the superdelegates?

Who are the superdelegates?
by: Andy Birkey
Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 11:29:05 AM

Presidential candidates from each party are vying for delegates at caucuses and primaries throughout the country this winter and spring, but some delegates cannot be wooed by courting caucus-goers and primary voters. In the Democratic Party they are called superdelegates, and in the Republican Party they are unpledged delegates. Unlike pledged delegates, many are not selected by the voters in each party.

In the nomination process, the presidential candidates spend considerable time attempting to garner the support of the superdelegates and unpledged delegates as well as the popular vote.

The best explanation I've seen for superdelegates came from The Tahlequah Daily Press in Oklahoma last week. "The essential purpose of superdelegates is to maintain some control of the nominating process by establishment party elites," said Northeastern State University political science professor Dr. Ron Becker. "It is purely undemocratic, but the reasoning makes sense because primary elections and caucuses are dominated by party activists, as the typical voter does not turn out to vote.

"[I]f the Democrats nominate a candidate too far to the left, or the Republicans nominate a candidate too far to the right, this candidate will lose the general election to the more mainstream candidate," he said. "So the idea here is to have the establishment party leaders maintain some control over nominations."

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Two Income Trap

Tonight I started reading The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke, which is an interesting book by a Harvard Law Professor and her daughter. The book debunks the myth that Americans are going bankrupt in ever increasing numbers due to over-consumption. Instead the authors propose that the problem is largely a bidding war over houses in neighborhoods with good schools along with ever increasing demand and tuition costs for college.

Here's a great quote from the book:

"The concept of public schools is deeply American. It is perhaps the most tangible symbol of opportunity for social and economic mobility for all children, embodying the notion that merit rather than money determines a child's future. But who are we kidding? As parents increasingly believe that the differences among schools will translate into differences in lifetime chances, they are doing everything they can to buy their way into the best public schools. Schools in middleclass neighborhoods may be labeled "public", but parents have paid for tuition by purchasing a $175,000 home within a carefully selected school district."

They propose a well-designed voucher program as one way to decouple the relationship between where one lives and where the kids go to school as a way to "eliminate the need for parents to pay an inflated price for a home just because it happens to lie within the boundaries of a desirable school district."


IMG_0067, originally uploaded by eesley.

Took this photo of the moon, big and low in the sky, while I was in Durham, NC the other week. Kim spotted this beautiful moon one evening.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Panels and Presenters :: Duke Career Conference

Panels and Presenters :: Duke Career Conference

I had a great time on Saturday participating as a panelist in Duke's Alumni Career Fair on the entrepreneurship panel. It was really fun to meet the other alumni and current Duke students interested in making a difference via entrepreneurship.

My good friend Kim came with me to the conference and was on the Heath Care panel. We took in all the changes at Duke since we left and also wandered around Duke Gardens remembering our college days!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lobby 10 Consulting

"Lobby 10 Consulting is a boutique technology consulting firm specializing in the fields of:


Lobby 10 is dedicated to providing competitive advantage through technological innovation. Our technology insight and focus on innovation ressult from strong ties with the world's leading academic research institutions. Thus we strive to create value and build trusting and long lasting relationships with clients."

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Well, I'm back in Cambridge after the holiday trip to Ohio for Christmas and then a trip last week out to San Francisco.

Hard to believe it's a new year. I was talking about New Year's resolutions with Tracy Binegar while back in Marietta and I like her approach of trying to make improvements all year long but then using the opportunity at the end of the year to do a review and get rid of what's not working and think of new approaches.

I think overall work/life balance is probably the area to try to make improvements in for this year. I'm starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel of this PhD program and that makes it exciting to work harder towards finishing. But I also sense that there is still a long road ahead to be done so I do want to keep some balance and perspective. It's hard to know though whether to try to balance better or whether to just be "ok" with the balance being more towards work for right now.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Democrats: More Than Health Care - New York Times

Democrats: More Than Health Care - New York Times

Democrats: More Than Health Care

Published: January 2, 2008

Perhaps you have heard that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have come up with different health care plans. Hers would require every American to own health insurance. His would not.

That difference is the only one between the two candidates on any domestic policy that has received much attention. (Think about it: can you name another?) Outside of health care, the campaigns — and we in the media — have focused on more exalted concepts, like experience, change and judgment.

But there really are some other important differences between the candidates. When you look at their policies as a whole, you see that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama have actually laid out two competing economic philosophies. The fight over health insurance is just one part of their disagreement.

Compared with all the other candidates — Democrat and Republican — Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama occupy roughly the same place on the ideological spectrum. They’re both somewhat to the right of John Edwards, who favors a more muscular brand of government intervention to help the middle class. And they are well to the left of every Republican.

But the differences between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama can’t be neatly captured with the standard language of right and left.

The easiest way to describe Senator Clinton’s philosophy is to say that she believes in the promise of narrowly tailored government policies, like focused tax cuts. She has more faith that government can do what it sets out to do, which is a traditionally liberal view. Yet she also subscribes to the conservative idea that people respond rationally to financial incentives.

Senator Obama’s ideas, on the other hand, draw heavily on behavioral economics, a left-leaning academic movement that has challenged traditional neoclassical economics over the last few decades. Behavioral economists consider an abiding faith in rationality to be wishful thinking. To Mr. Obama, a simpler program — one less likely to confuse people — is often a smarter program.

Bending Ears on Economics as ’08 Nears - New York Times

Bending Ears on Economics as ’08 Nears - New York Times

Bending Ears on Economics as ’08 Nears

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama and John Edwards are aggressively pitting themselves against Hillary Rodham Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. But when it comes to something as fundamental as economic policy, the lineup quietly shifts: It is Senators Obama and Clinton against Mr. Edwards.

The shift is evident in the candidates’ senior economic advisers. While both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama have turned to moderately progressive advisers to help them elaborate their own preferences, Mr. Edwards is charting a different, more populist course.

“If you want to have some esoteric debate about economic theory, you end up justifying free trade or supply side economics,” said Leo J. Hindery Jr., a cable-television entrepreneur now engaged in private equity who is serving as Mr. Edwards’s top adviser on economic issues. “What we do for Edwards,” he said, “is give him policy advice based on specific concerns that he has.”

This is not the 1960s, when Walter Heller famously instructed John F. Kennedy in Keynesian economics, or the late 1970s, when Arthur Laffer popularized supply-side economics as Ronald Reagan ran for office — each gaining fame as a teacher of presidents.