Saturday, January 24, 2009

VC Snoman

Been Meaning to post this on the Blog for a while. I think this is a pretty funny video that I heard about while doing the intern thing at VSpring this last summer.

Speed Pitch || Business Plan Competition Event

My team competed in the speed pitch portion of BYU's business plan competition early this morning. That was a pretty fun event. And I learned a lot!

Brock Blake gave a good presentation about what speed pitching is. I took a few notes and I liked his focus on when investment money should be sought. I had never heard it summed so well that it is better to solve a pain than a want when his slide suggested "Pain Killers" not "Vitamins."

So another of my teammates did the first pitch. I think he did an amazing job. Our visual tools were screwed up because the color printer decided to steal my money instead of print my slides. We had only 1 slide of our website printed on a black and white printer.

After that, we watched another student present his idea. This student is someone I respect a lot. I think he is very confident. I have seen him get up in front of class and present some ideas that are pretty out there-- and be serious, and calm. Persuading us that his ideas are very good.

And what did I notice when he was presenting? His hands were shaking! This person who I didn't think could get nervous at all was a little rattled. It made me feel good because if he could get nervous then it was cool if I did............. I was 100% pleased with my presentation.

I've got more to improve on (we've been invited to pitch in the second and final round), but I couldn't be happier with how I performed and the confidence boost that comes from seeing that others are human.

............. and I'll admit some very organized practice helped too.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Landlord's Property caused $1300 in damages to my car

The Story
Friday morning, 1 week ago, I went to get in my car and found that all the snow from the garage's roof had landed on and around my car, denting my hood in beyond repair.

Knowing I'd want him to witness the actual damage caused, I called my landlord, Ryan, and said he should come look at it before I tried moving things. I also took videos and pictures of the car: as it was found and of the damages.

Two different body shops gave me estimates for about $1300 to buy a new hood and install it.

Ryan returned a few hours later to say I was given 1 parking spot and that I was not parked in it so he was not liable. He then used what Getting Past No would classify as a trick and said he'd paid for some plumbing bills involving the kitchen that he felt was our fault and that it was our turn to give.

I thought the plumber arugment was very unlogical, but my wife was the one who let me see it for what it was when she said, "I don't get what plumbing even has to do with this."

I argued back that I was guaranteed 1 spot (wife's car was there), but never told I could not park elsewhere. Also said plumbing was not a good excuse for me to pay $1300 in an unrelated incident. The snow on the roadside necessitated parking in the driveway and no spots were marked as "do not park."

At first I really didn't know how to handle this. But I was able to research a pretty good BATNA in dealing with my car insurance. I wasn't excited to pay the deductible, but they have a team that will work to get my money back--and they have a lot more legal expertise than I could acess for a small amount of money. They said they would fight to get the money back if they felt they should.

The Takeways
Don't start talks until you know what you want.
When I told Ryan I didn't accept his no-liability argument, we argued for a moment and then he asked what it was I wanted. The fact was, I didn't know yet. I wanted to be fair, but I had no clue what fair was yet-- I just knew his suggestion was not. During this time, I noticed frustrations because I didn't have a solution yet, but he was trying to absovle himself of all responsibility immediately.

Next time, I would follow the same tactic of letting him know I didn't consider his suggestion as legitimate but then I would say I was looking into the best way to pursue this still and that I had no suggestions yet.

Sometimes people refuse to negotiate or accept responsibility
Ryan kept asking for free 10-minute advice from lawyer people in his religious congregation. And they kept telling him what he wanted to hear. I quickly saw that this was going to go nowhere. I think in the end, he'll find that he got what he paid for.

Don't feel like you need to negotiate
In the end, I think I am the most happy that I submitted to my insurance. Unless he agreed to pay of go through his insurance I would have come out of this worse than I had to. When I saw that he wouldn't take full responsibility it quickly became clear that there were other forces that would make him.

Really this isn't over yet, I will hopefully get my deductible reimbursed. But really, if he wouldn't accept fully responsibility then I was not getting what I wanted. I think the insurance company will recover it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Getting a little Shut Eye

The Story
The first day of school, I came home exhausted. I have classes 9:30 - 5:00 straight. So after dinner, I decided I was going to take a nap. At the moment I was walking into my room to rest, my wife asked me to take care of some bills related to our daughter's birth (6 weeks ago).

Now, I have been procrastinating working on these bills, I've wanted to ignore their reality. And at this moment of tiredness, I really wanted to ignore it. So I said that I was tired and wanted to rest for a moment, "could I do it a little later?"

She emphasized to me that she really wanted to get this taken care of immediately. I then said we should complete this task when I was done resting. And so we did... the bills were taken care of and I got the rest I desired.

The Takeaways
Ask for what you want
In Getting Past No, on page #21, William Ury says "What you don't ask for, the other side is unlikely to give you." One thing I've learned about myself over the years is that I often know what I want, but I try to get it without the help of others. Often if there is a conflict, I give in because I'm not accustomed to asking.

In the situation above, I asked for what I wanted and got it. My wife also got what she wanted by emphasizing those desires. We both came away happy. I've seen this in other instances in my life--there is nothing wrong with asking and in family it is often easy to setup a quick solution that meets everyone's desires.

What did you learn about the negotiation process or about other people as negotiators
  1. It can be very quick. I didn't realize I was in a negotiation until it was over.
  2. I could have handled it better. My wife may not have needed to be as forceful if I would have said I understand, I'm tired, but I will pick it up immediately when I get back up. This would have been Ury's Step to their Side suggestion.
  3. I probably would have gotten more emotional had the compromise not been reached so easily. I need to use the Go to the Balcony step as well. I did feel guilty that I didn't help immediately. I didn't need to, I knew my motives were good.
Next time?
Situations like this will arise often. In the future, I will quickly address the two steps above. I know one tendency I have is to forget things I'm not looking forward to. I probably would have felt less guilt if I would have put the bills on my desk so I'd be sure to see them when I began working on homework. This also would have helped with the "step to their side" step because I would have displayed behavior showing her position was important to me as well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Negotiaiton Journal

For my International Negotiations class by Dr. Richard Bruce Money (get it? its true.), we have to keep a journal of a few negotiations we enter into over the course of the semester.

Since this is my journal of all I learn (j/k its far less than what is in here) in the MBA program, I thought I would just keep my journal in here. Now you can be there as I negotiate my way to success and millions of dollars!

There, now I've explained what the "negotiations journal" label is---- time to get busy with the journal.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Reasons to Believe

In Dr. Whitlark's Entrepreneurial Marketing Class here at Brigham Young, one of the main principles discussed throughout the course is a "Need to Believe."

I was thinking that a quick way to establish if people are looking for a tool such as you've masterminded would be to use the free services at Trelian. Wouldn't work in all cases, but for some ideas that can be identified in two or three words, you could see if the solution is being sought.

There is more to Need to Believe than just this currently-sought aspect, but I thought this could be useful.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Last Semester -- Woo!

School starts tomorrow. Just wanted to everyone a big "Good Luck" shout out for this semester.

.......... And to all the 2nd years in the BYU MBA program, enjoy this last semester before life starts back up.