April 22, 2018

Recently I signed up for a pair of Coursera courses in topics in which I have little background, electrical engineering and robotics.  When I shared this with my wife, she didn't so much as bat an eye as it has become commonplace for me to go off on educational tangents every few months.  Through chatting with her I realized that not only do I never seem to stop learning, but that I'm a bit odd for doing so.  There is something that I find very pleasant in exploring new topics of interest and gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for the world around me.  I thought I'd take a bit of a respite from my normal types of blogs and share some of my tips and insights for continued self-learning for those with an insatiably inquisitive mindset

Benefits & General Thoughts

There is a great deal of research that points towards continued learning and education as being beneficial to your health.  Continued education has been shown to stave off Alzheimer's disease, depression...

April 4, 2018

For as long as I can remember there have been figures in authority positions within my life attempting to instill a sense of fear or concern for the future.  As I have grown older, parents and teachers have given way to business and though leaders with pessimistic views of the future.  During my early years it was the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, the hole in the ozone layer, and threat of a global pandemic.  Since then I have seen an increase in trepidation over the nebulous threat of terrorism, chemical weapons, guns in schools, global warming and many other fears playing on our sense of mortality and lack of control.  At the same time, I have also noticed a rise in anxiety towards technology.

In regards towards technology and the future it is nothing new to have a wide spectrum of viewpoints.  George Orwell’s novel 1984 famously predicted a world in which the ruling elite used technology to spy on their citizens to maintain control, and in 1920’s R.U.R....

March 21, 2018

The Weight Equation

Following on from my thesis (which can be found here) one opportunity which I have continued researching is the potential of additive manufacturing (3D printing) in becoming the foundation for future development and advancement in space.  Currently the main limitation on human exploration of space is The Weight Equation or put simply, the cost per Kg of material lifted from somewhere on the surface of the Earth to a destination in space.  This has historically been prohibitively expensive, for example, the International Space Station is estimated to weigh roughly 925k pounds or 419.6k Kg. 1 

As the ISS is located in low earth orbit (LEO) we could use a reasonable estimate of $10,000 per pound lifted using modern technology (though when much of the ISS was put into orbit that number was far higher) meaning that just getting the ISS or something of equivalent size to LEO would cost roughly $10 billion.  This is a financial figure that is prohibitively expensive for...

March 14, 2018

While sipping my morning coffee I learned that Stephen Hawking passed away last night at the age of 76.  This news has hit me surprisingly hard.  It is not as if I knew Stephen Hawking personally or had any special connection with him.  He was someone I found inspirational, who overcame adversity, and shared his love of physics and space in a way that was infectious.  When I first read A Brief History of Time in high school it inspired me to be more inquisitive and to ask the big difficult questions about this universe and my place in it.  The answers I came up with during my adolescence have driven me to be a better person, to explore the world and live abroad, and to pursue a life of meaning.  In essence, Stephen Hawking’s influence on my life has made me a better person and as such I have put him on a pedestal.

I know that no one is perfect, and I’m sure in the coming weeks the more cynical amongst us will be quick to point out his flaws.  I like to believe h...

March 14, 2018

Thanks for coming back for part 3 of my theory of the Well of Good Will.  In case you missed them, part 1 can be found here, and part 2 here.  For the third and final part of the theory we will be exploring a few (there are certainly others) of the key areas/ways in which a brand can increase the amount of good will they have stored in the well.  We will be looking into the importance of a brand being consistent in their messaging and choosing their topics well.  We will also be looking at a high level into the building of advocacy and encouraging advocates for your brand.  This is a topic which is of special interest to me and an area in which I see myself as a specialist due to my past history and as such I will certainly be writing future blogs on the topic in more detail.  Lastly we will look into the potential for scarcity to have a positive impact on perception of your brand. 

Consistency & The Limits of Authority

Another important part of adding good will...

March 10, 2018

For more details on the overarching theory at play in this piece, please see part 1 which I posted earlier in the week.  This blog will be focused on the practical application of the theory as described in part 1 and will provide a framework for measuring customer perception.  Meanwhile, part 3 will be focused upon key areas for adding good will to the well.

Measuring Industry Perception

The first step is to identify how your industry as a whole is perceived by consumers?  Is your company in an industry such as Oil & Gas, or Insurance which tends to skew towards a more negative consumer perception overall?  If you are looking for a rough benchmark you can look at average net promoter scores by industry to identify where your industry falls in the list.  Please do keep in mind this isn’t necessarily the best way to track overall perception towards your industry but is likely the most cost effective as NPS data is easy to come by and understand.  Second word of warning on this is that ofte...

March 6, 2018

Why do Some Businesses Succeed Inspite of Their Response to a Debacle Where Others Fail?

In September of 2015 allegations came to light against Volkswagen that they were using software specifically installed to cheat emissions tests done by agencies such as the EPA.  A staple of automotive engineering and “the people’s car” of Germany has since faced massive fines, penalties and no shortage of bad press.  This led to a massive fall in share price of ~30% in 2015 and €23 billion being set aside by Volkswagen, of which $4.3 billion was paid in fines to the US alone, to cover settlements, legal fees and restitution.  However, instead of damaging car sales or profit margins, Volkswagen went on to sell 10.3 million automobiles in 2016 and posted revenue of €217 billion, up from €202 billion (7.4%) in 2014.  1

How do we account for this disconnect between investor and consumer confidence?  How is it that inspite of the way that Volkswagen handled this fiasco that they have gone...

March 22, 2017

In early 2016 I made a very important choice for my life, I decided to go back to university and pursue an MBA degree.  I’d been out of school quite a bit longer than most of my future peers, 12 years, and would not only be leaving a position in which I was comfortable, but a company that had a great culture and work life balance.  In essence, there was nothing about my current position that was overly negative or really pushing me towards higher education, instead I was two things; curiosity about topics that I had only a cursory understanding, and not feeling challenged in my current role. 

I realized on reflection that I had not felt truly challenged in a long time.  By truly challenged I do not mean in the sense of not having enough minutes in the day to accomplish everything in your to-do list, this is a pressure everyone feels, instead the kind of challenge that stretches your skills and abilities in a way that forces you to grow.  This was partially my own fault for hav...

February 27, 2017

This was originally posted on the Imperial College Business School Blog which can be found here: https://wwwf.imperial.ac.uk/business-school/intelligence/student-blog/ethical-business/

To some, the title of this blog might appear to be oxymoronic.  We seem to be living in an age of sweatshops, insider trading, & white collar crime which potentially has created a general opinion that to rise in through the ranks of the business world one has to forgo their personal ethics.  Meanwhile we search around us for strong leadership to guide us, akin to how the North Star guided our ancestors.  As an MBA student, this means that we need to ask ourselves some difficult questions.  What sorts of leaders will we become?  Will we be able to make the difficult decisions needed to navigate the oftentimes murky delineation between right and wrong in the business world?

Recently here at Imperial College, we took a break from our studies to ask ourselves some of these difficult questio...

November 9, 2016

**I am writing this after a long night of watching one state after another cast their delegates towards a Trump Presidency.  While that may have been the catalyst towards me putting down these thoughts, there is a wider issue I am attempting to raise and highlight that is becoming increasingly prevalent.**

A different kind of glass ceiling was broken today. The glass ceiling that kept xenophobic narcissistic extremists in check has been shattered paving the way for future "leaders" who create their own world view sans evidence and rationalism, who repeatedly abuse and harass others and demean our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends of different ethnic backgrounds. Today the world has changed and is a poorer place for all of us who inhabit it.  

This ceiling already contained cracks.  In central Europe anti-immigration and neo-Nazi party affiliated leadership had already rose to power.  In the United Kingdom, from where I am writing this blog, only a few months back a divisive decisio...

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Vincent Marsland is an American born MBA graduate, marketing and management expert who is passionate about how best to use new technology to improve lives.

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