Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Foundations of Business Strategy

Foundations of Business Strategy

Learn how to analyze an organization's strategy and make recommendations to improve its value creation by building your strategist's toolkit.

About the Course

In this course, we will explore the underlying theory and frameworks that provide the foundations of a successful business strategy.  We will develop your ability to think strategically by providing you the tools for conducting a strategic analysis. Strategic analysis is critical for analyzing the competitive context in which an organization operates and for making reasoned and reasonable recommendations for how that organization should position itself and what actions it should take to maximize value creation.  Aspiring managers, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, analysts, and consultants all may find value in mastering these fundamentals.

Subtitles for all video lectures available: Portuguese (provided by the Lemann Foundation), English

Course Syllabus

Week One: We will introduce the concept of strategic analysis plus explore the impact that competitive markets have on business success.  Will include a case discussion of Google.

Week Two: We will explore how industry structure impacts competitive outcomes and learn how to analyze industry forces.  Will include a case discussion of the microbrew industry.
Week Three: We will learn how to analyze firm capabilities and how they may provide competitive advantage. Will include a case discussion of Apple. 

Week Four:  We will learn how to analyze competitive dynamics; the interplay between businesses as industries evolve. Will include a case discussion of the game player industry.

Week Five: We will combine our learnings to date to determine how an organization best positions itself competitively to create value.  Will include a case discussion of Piaggio.

Week Six: We will extend our analysis to consider how businesses compete in multiple markets and will learn how to analyze firm scope.  Will include a case discussion of Disney.

Recommended Background

No background is required; all are welcome!

Suggested Readings

We will be referencing readings in the book The Strategist's Toolkit, which was created specifically for this course by the instructor.   Course participants will be given complimentary access to select chapters from the book. You may purchase the book in its entirety from either or Amazon.com or Darden Business Publishing. The book is available in both print and electronic forms. 

Course Format

The class is divided into weekly modules.  Each weekly module consists of an introductory video, a reading from the strategist's toolkit, a series of video lectures, a quiz, and a case where will apply our toolkit to a business to illustrate points in the lectures.  The course will culminate in your submission of a strategic analysis of an organization of your choosing.  This will serve as your final exam.


  • Will I get a certificate after completing this class?
    Coursera will issue a Statement of Accomplishment if you meet the grading policy course requirements.
  • What resources will I need for this class?
    For this course, all you need is an Internet connection, copies of the cases (which will be provided for free), and the time to read, discuss, and analyze business strategy.
  • What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?
    The ability to think strategically about leading businesses as well as organizations that you may be involved. 
  • Camelbak

    Oxygen Choices

    Land Vehicles

    Life Changes

    Too Late To Start? Quarter Life Crisis and Late Bloomers


    Doctors Suggest That Marijuana Can Protect You From Ebola

    Doctors Suggest That Marijuana Can Protect You From Ebola.

    Not a day has gone by in the last few weeks without a mention of Ebola. Having made its way into North America, Ebola has become reached the top of the “to fear” list, making many worry that it will only be a matter of time before the disease dominates the continent. Effective vaccines and treatments for Ebola have yet to be discovered, though one may be hiding in plain sight: cannabis.

    Cannabinoids in marijuana have gained more and more of a reputation as a way to control and aid one’s immune systems, specifically with diseases that target a body’s natural defense measures against viruses, like HIV. Dr. David B. Allen, medical director of Cannabis Sativa, Inc, and Brad Morehouse, founder of NewCure.org, both believe cannabis can combat Ebola in the same way.

    First, a rundown on what Ebola is and does, so everyone understands the argument. Ebola is a virus that targets the RNA (which creates proteins) in cells, takes over, then begins to replicate itself. The virus is able to hide itself from virus killing cells by creating indivisibility cloak-like surface proteins, which makes fighting Ebola especially difficult for the body.

    Another consequence of Ebola being an RNA virus is that it makes each strain unique to the individual infected, thus making the creation of a widely applicable vaccine incredibly difficult.

    What makes Ebola deadly is the way in which one’s immune system reacts as time goes on. Aside from creating hemorrhaging and leaking between cells, Ebola primarily kills when a person’s body releases a massive amount of enzymes (a cytokine storm) and an overabundant, and fatal amount, of immune cells being activated.

    That’s where marijuana comes in as a potential saving grace to those afflicted with Ebola. As Joe Martin points out, cannabis is contains natural antiretrovirals and is also an anti-inflammatory able to reduce the harm to the body caused by a cytokine storm.

    Dr. Allen also notes that cannabis has already become a legitimate regulator of immune system processes for those infected with HIV, with the same processes being applicable to Ebola. Being a natural virus killer, Allen also notes how cannabis can prevent the other harmful consequences of Ebola, namely hemorrhaging and cell leaking.

    Strong evidence suggests that cannabis can be a positive treatment for those suffering from Ebola, but all of which should be taken with a grain of salt. These are hypotheses, based on research involving other viruses, and not proven fact. Still, the argumentation is enough to warrant a clinical trial. Worst to worst, Ebola sufferers will smoke a bit of weed, which won’t make things worse…we hope.

    Read the entire article at http://www.mtlblog.com/2014/10/smoking-marijuana-can-protect-you-from-ebola/

    Wednesday, October 01, 2014

    15 Amazing Islands

    Amazing Islands I need to see

    Coffee Routine

    15 new coffee drinks I should try

    But Before You Quit Your Job..

    In his new book Smart People Should Build Things, the founder of Venture of America Andrew Yang offers up advice on how aspiring entrepreneurs can begin getting their startup dream off the ground.

    Source : http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231130

    Quit Your Job

    Quit Your Job and Find Your Work

    Common Characteristics of Entrepreneur

    Some 25 common characteristics you can find on Entrepreneurs

    Full article at : http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/200730

    Startup (How to start) - Sam Altman

    Sam Altman and Dustin Moskovitz start off the How to Start a Startup Course. Sam's topic is "Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution, Part I" and Dustin's is "Why to Start a Startup".

    See the slides, readings, and more, at startupclass.samaltman.com

    View the annotated transcript, and add annotations of your own, on Genius: http://tech.genius.com/Sam-altman-lecture-1-how-to-start-a-startup-annotated and http://tech.genius.com/Dustin-moskovitz-good-and-bad-reasons-to-become-an-entrepreneur-annotated.