Wednesday, February 25, 2009

my life as a ruthless mogul

Okay, I haven't spoken about myself lately, mainly because I've been extraordinarily busy.

"But Astrid," I hear you say, "what could possibly be keeping you so busy that you can't keep informing me, your devoted public? I love you, I revere you, I demand details of what you had for breakfast today. Also, I may or may not have resorted to going through your garbage to stay caught up on things."

The answer, dear public, comprises the following:

Art stuff
Biotech stuff
MBA stuff
Personal stuff

In other words, I was at the ASC open house and volunteering at the SOC awards. I'm project managing grants and working on new designs for Menssana. I'm gearing up for going back to school in the fall to get my MBA at UC Irvine. I've been hanging out with old friends, and occasionally new ones. As for breakfast, I still haven't been eating it, to the chagrin of my oatmeal-and-grapefruit-oriented parents; I'm just going to be hungry again by lunch, right? Duh.

A little more about the MBA thing: there are so many signs pointing to this being a good idea, it's almost ridiculous. First of all, I'm a naive artist who's been screwed out of more paychecks than I'd care to contemplate, and that officially ends now. Second of all, I know plenty of fantastically talented people with great business ideas and zero business sense who could use my MBA brilliance. Third of all, Menssana's doing well and could use more business help. Fourth of all, being back in school means I get crazy-awesome student discounts on stuff, plus it's a great excuse to talk to lots of different people doing fascinating things and figure out how we can all collaborate.

Astrid's MBA keywords: visual storytelling, technology, health, user experience, clog dancing, constructive social change, entrepreneurship, women's empowerment, Martin Dupont. If you can think of ways I can combine all of these things and make tons of money in the process, write to me immediately. Venture capital seems to be the best bet right now.

Speaking of the Merage School of Business at UCI: Do you know the Paul Merage story? Here are the highlights:

- He invented the Hot Pocket. (You could argue that the turnover had existed well before Merage came along, but he apparently perfected the recipe so that it could stay crisp after microwaving.)

- He sold his Hot Pocket empire to Nestlé for a hot $2.6 billion, which he probably did not stash in his pocket.

- He earned his MBA at UC Berkeley, but did he choose to endow it with $30 million from his Nestlé deal? No indeedy, he gave his Hot Pocket millions to UC Irvine. Why? Did he hate Berkeley that much? Or is UCI really that awesome?

- Some of that Hot Pocket money is going toward an MBA fellowship for a pocket-sized gal named Astrid Phillips. I don't know about you, but the thought of a Hot Pocket MBA fellowship just slays me.

- Mr. Merage also puts a chunk of his change toward a summer film program for high schoolers at Chapman University.

What can we take away from this? I think it's obvious: Mr. Merage loves Hot Pockets, education, film, and me. As far as I'm concerned, the man is better than holograms, SpongeBob, dark chocolate, and sunshine COMBINED. And you know that's some serious stuff.

Take us away, Mr. Dupont:


  1. Does this mean you'll be in Orange County from time to time? I sure could have used you for the Oscars last weekend (gosh, that was a year ago already)....

  2. I will be in Orange County from time to time before August, and then I'm moving to Irvine in August and will be there constantly for at least two years. I take it you live near there?

  3. I guess my cryptic comment of mentioning the Oscars wasn't enough for you to remember driving down here to actually watch them. In Orange County. I'll try to avoid mentions of WPA posters or hula hoops in the future.