Sunday, March 27, 2005

How to Create A Blog Post

d. Blog: STRATEGY TODAY

As a way to increase the relevance to you of the strategy class, I am starting a new experiment: a class blog. The blog will be located at http://www.strategytoday.blogspot.com/. You will be expected to write, in a group of 3 people, 2 blog entries over the course of the term. These blog entries should deal with a current issue affecting business Strategy in the news. For example, the entry could be “General Motors to purchase Ford”. It would have the following broad structure:

- You would discuss the news, preferably recent but not necessarily from the previous couple of days, with some links to newspaper accounts of what you are talking about.

- You would then discuss the reactions by business analysis (in I-Banks or in the press)

- You would then add a discussion/analysis of some issue that is overlooked, or some personal take on the issue. Are the analysts on the right track? What is wrong with the conventional wisdom? The premium should be on being provocative and leading people to pose questions that they had not thought about, rather than on making a boring on the one hand on the other hand analysis (you are not economists here!).

This would add up to a 700-1000 words piece roughly. To see good examples of what I have in mind, go to Slate.com (www.slate.com) and check out what people such as Jack Shafer and William Slatan or, on business matters Daniel Gross. For example: http://www.slate.com/id/2115217/ is a great example.

Other students are welcome to post comments on your post. I will evaluate the 2 contributions of each group; they will count for 20% of your grade. But I will not grade you on the comments/responses etc. you may post on other students’ articles; you may write them, and that will be fun for all of us, but this part is not obligatory.

Writing and Submitting your Contribution

Here are some specific instructions on how to go about this:

1. Write your posts in Microsoft word, and then send the files as an attachment.

2. Your analyses are due by 7pm Monday-Thursday and 5pm Friday. You hand them in by e-mailing the file to my TA in charge, Rachel Soloveichik. Her e-mail address is rachelsoloveichik@msn.com. She will post all files handed in the morning of the next day to the blog. Be sure to check regularly on the blog site, to read what is going on. Feel free to comment and discuss on others’ contributions as the term advances.

3. Give your analysis a catchy title that captures the substance of what you want to say. See the Gross article above for example. He wants to say that Investment Banks are purchasing physical assets in the energy industry. He does not title: “New strategies for Investment banks” that is a really bad title. A good title but less catchy would have been “Investment banks pursue asset heavy strategy”; a genius title is the one that he actually chose: “The New Enrons (and we mean that in a good way)”.

4. Your analysis should include links to the articles you are referencing. To do this, proceed as follows: suppose you want to make xxx a hyperlink to www.google.com. Type xxx in, then highlight xxx and right click. In the middle of box is the option hyperlink. Select that option. You will be offered the option to type in a url that xxx will link to. Type or paste in www.google.com. Now if you click on xxx you will go to Google. Note: many papers require registration: WP, NYT, Chicago Trib; some papers require subscription for the online edition—WSJ, FT. To the extent that the actual content is not important to your argument but just the factual news, try to rely on open news sources, so that everyone can click and follow the links included.

5. Put the names of all the writers at the bottom of the text. If your name is not included you will not receive credit for the assignment. Your names will be included in the post.

6. Be careful when you write your assignments: on the Internet everything lasts forever and can be searched. Thus no profanities, insults, discriminatory, sexist or racist language is allowed. Be careful also with the spelling and the grammar—this will be ‘published’ for everyone to see (maybe your mother and grandmother?) and you want it all to be clear and cleanly written.

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