Saturday, March 29, 2014

DirectTV TV Scholarship

Write a 500-1000 word blog post about some way television has influenced your post-graduate career aspirations. It can be about a show, a character, a news anchor, technology—anything!

After my MBA, I want to join a company such as Starwood, Hyatt or Loews as a marketing associate, with the eventual goal of becoming a Vice President of Guest Experience for a hotel brand.  Specifically, I want to help develop products and services for a hotel brand, with the eventual goal of developing my own hotel brand.  An MBA will give me the statistical and operational skills to learn about consumer marketing and branding that combined with my past work experience will give me a solid foundation to make this transition.

One of the reasons why hotels resonate with me is that I like thinking about the different teams and the leadership of those teams required to run a hotel.  I also like thinking about the different customers who come to a hotel, and for a short amount of time, at the best hotels, are a part of a small community.  When I was a kid, hotels seemed like fascinating mini-worlds to me, and interested me as much as the locales we visited.  As an adult, I have continued to be inspired by the teamwork by a hotel’s staff in their efforts to give back to customers to make their experiences uniquely tailored to their reasons for being there.
Similarly, the television shows I enjoy the most feature ensembles with characters who have their own lives and goals, but are members of a solid group that works together towards a goal.  As viewers, we learn about the characters’ unique backgrounds, likes & dislikes and their contributions to each other’s success and goals.

Friends is one such show.  I enjoyed seeing this group of six friends who came in each other’s lives in different ways.  There were some obvious bonds such as Monica and Ross being siblings and Chandler and Joey being roommates, but the episodes I enjoyed the most were the ones that centered on unexpected combinations such as Ross & Phoebe because the viewer truly sees how much support they have for each other.  As a leader of a hotel, I fully expect to bring different people to come together with our own opinions and pre-conceived views to inspire creative solutions.

Another show that influenced my desire to work in a hotel is Lost.  From the outset, I was drawn to the show by the simple fact that the origin is based on travel. But as the show progressed, we learned each character’s reason for being on that plane and what they hoped the outcome of the trip would be.  We learned about each character’s backgrounds and became invested in them.  As a result, when it came to the struggle of surviving on the island, we saw the demons they had to overcome and the reasons for their responses to each the adversities they face.  We also saw how they came together as a team despite their differences.  While a hotel in the real world is not as dire as the deserted island in Lost, the arrival of different types of people and learning their personal stories resonates with me as a hotel can draw the same type of diversity and the best hotels will respond to each guests’ reasons for being at the hotel.

Finally, every hotel needs a strong leader who is focused on both providing hospitality to not only the guests of the hotel, but also the staff.  A hotel’s assets is really its staff and the strength of a hotel comes from the staff’s desire to be part of the team and contribute to the hotel’s growth and success.  One of the first television shows I saw that had a caring leader who constantly gave back is Good Times.  Florida Evans cared a great deal about her family and kept the family together and strong.  When Florida Evans’s husband died, she tried to be strong and not show emotion during the funeral and reception.  Her children were perplexed.  They didn’t understand why their mother was not sad.  Then at the end of the episode, Florida Evans threw down the punchbowl in the kitchen and screamed.  At that moment, her children came into the kitchen and embraced their mother in a group hug.  Their mother had been taking care of them, and now it was their turn to take care of her. That response is the essence of a team.

Television has influenced my post-graduate plans because it has allowed me to care about different characters and root and support for them while they help each other.  Hospitality is all about caring about others as well nurturing each other’s skill to form a team.  Different backgrounds and diversity is not a challenge, but rather a strength and the most interesting television has shown me that the best stories and experiences come from this strength as well.

DirectTV Media & Technology Blogging 2014 Scholarship Entry – Terence Cho

What draws you to various types of technology? What do you take away from them? Are you driven by social, academic, technological or other interests? Write an English-language blog entry of 300 to 1,000 words discussing your interaction with technology and how it functions as part
of your interaction with society.

Dennis Kozlowski once said that, his company, Tyco “will build the pickaxe that you need to mine the gold.”  His point was that Tyco produces technology that serves a practical purpose, and is proud to make products like fire alarm systems, pressure valves and safety products that accomplish unglamorous or undesirable tasks.  While technology can certainly also provide entertainment or accomplish a task that a human could never do, I am driven by technology that fulfills an everyday need and that helps people do their jobs better.

At my job, I have to filter, analyze and organize millions of records of data.  Previously, we hired an army of contract staff to read the data, and then brought their insights together in later stages that involved reading the data over and over again, until we found the key data needed for our project.  This process is tedious and prone to human error, but it’s an increasingly necessary process for companies across all industries.  Companies need to protect their data, yet at the same time, companies’ data is growing exponentially every second of each day and outpaces humans’ ability to effectively manage it without technology.

For a recent project, I convinced our executives to invest in a new technology that analyzes and makes data decisions for which we previously hired humans to do.  This technology organizes vast amounts of data, a process that would have taken our team a year to do.  When I pushed for this technology, I did not see it as a replacement for our staff.  Rather, I wanted the technology for our group to help us perform analyses more intelligently, get our results faster, devote more time to craft our story and defend our results with solid data-driven evidence.

I led the rollout of this technology, and it was a resounding success.  Objectively, we saw a 25-30% drops in our costs and number of quality-control fixes.  But more importantly, the technology brought our team together into a dialogue and made us communicate and share more with each other.  We were able to speak more critically of our past process and lay out a well-designed plan that integrated our past errors, our needs and our new tool.  This level of communication across people from different roles, functions and backgrounds was made possible by this new technology.

As someone who is passionate about studying peoples’ experiences with technology, I am driven by technology that fills a real need that everyone has with a creative solution.  From my experience, with using a new technology at work, I have seen not only the expected benefits of the technology in performance and speed, but also unexpected and intangible benefits in improving our own skills, education and communication.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Just stopped by for some inspiration while I write my business school apps.  How is everyone doing?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Have I Gone There?

Why does my blog show a random advertisement for the L'Ermitage Hotel in LA?  Well I am going to LA in a few days...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Step 2 In My Return: Some of My Old Friends Are Gone From The Blogosphere

Apparently has gone out of business, which made my blog appear to be possessed by some sort of devilish internet worm.  At any rate, Blogger now seems to have its own "Blogroll" functionality, which I have been happily filling out today with some blogs of old friends, as well as a few new ones.

Sadly, some of the blogs out there that I used to follow no longer exist and joined me in those who could no longer list "Blogging" under my Facebook activities.  Looking around at some blogs, and revisiting some old favorites, I realized how truly old-fashioned my blog is.  I mean, I have a link to Friendster on my blog!

Anyhow, I won't go as far as to promise that I'll be blogging regularly soon, since we all now how that worked out last time.  But I'm kind of getting back into this and as a published "journalist" (in London, no less), maybe my writing juices have started flowing again.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

I've Succombed to Twitter

So I've started a "lazy man's blog" over at some site that everyone's been talking about, Twitter. I have to admit that sometimes, making my thoughts less than 140 characters can be a bit of a challenge, which is probably a sign that I have a lot to say and maybe should come back to this blog as an outlet.

At any rate, click here to check out my new Twitter feed. And who knows? Maybe I'll come back to the blogosphere.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A New Era

I just started my 4th job in my professional career. I really hope that this one won't consume every waking moment of my existance, and maybe I can finally resurrect this blog here (even though blogs are a bit passe now.)

Feel free to say hi if you are still checking on this.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Up Late

Up late now and was just thinking that I should rescue my blog and start writing again...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Spilling Adventures from T. Cho

Have you ever spilled hoisin sauce all over your beige rug? Let's just say that it looks like I have a dog who isn't house-trained.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Herbal Hair.

Flat-leaf parsley is my favorite herb. I add it to almost everything because I love the little flecks of green, and I also like the grassy and fresh herbal taste it gives.

Speaking of herbs, I bought basil one time at Fairway with the roots still attached. I stuck it in a pot after taking off some leaves. A couple weeks later, I had a veritable basil TREE in my apartment. It stunk up my whole apartment, and I couldn't stand it anymore. So I made a whole bunch of pesto and then threw the pot away.

Anyhow, tonight I made a British style meat pie and threw in some parsley. I was reading some of the comments to the recipe online and read that British people call "curly parsley", "afro parsley."

Maybe my basil just needed a new hairstyle.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Hate It When This Happens

I realized shortly after my 10AM meeting today that I forgot my hair product. Crap. I wish I was one of those guys who could go without it, but my hair, I have to say, looks like a hot mess right now.