My Essays

These are some of the essays written by James Mitchell.


General


Favorite Quotations


Personal Management and Responsibility


Dating, Love and Romance


Computers and Information


Business


Leveraged Buyouts


Politics


Law


Personal Essays


General

The Mitchell Unconventionality Index

Here is a humorous index of how conventional or unconventional you are.

The Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory

The Myers-Briggs personal inventory (“MBTI”) is the most popular inventory in the world, with over 3 million people taking the profile every year. This describes the MBTI.

The Ideal Invitation System

A checklist of the features the ideal Web-based invitation system would have


Favorite Quotations

Various Sayings by James and Others

Some of my favorite sayings, as well as many others I am fond of.

Quotations of Winston Churchill

Quotations of Alex Kozinski


Personal Management and Responsibility

On Time Management and David Allen

Think of time management in three generations of thoughts. The third and most advanced generation is David Allen, who argues that the point is to have your mind be free (what he calls mind like water), and he describes how to achieve this Zen-like state of being in the moment.

Some Financial Advice

Some common sense advice about personal finances

What is the Most Appropriate Form of Communication?

Humans crave communication with other humans, yet so many people regularly regularly choose the wrong form of
communication.

Total Cost of Interaction

Business executives analyze total cost of ownership when purchasing goods and equipment. I argue that in choosing friends and lovers, one should analyze the total cost of interacting with them.

The Process Should Go Smoothly

Your first experience with someone, particularly if unfavorable, is almost always a good indication of what they will be like once you get to know them better.

Responsiveness and Dependability

A discussion of responsiveness and dependability


Dating, Love and Romance

How to Date Intelligently

Some advice on figuring out what you want out of dating, and then how to intelligently do it

Why E-Mails are Useless in Judging Connection

With on-line dating, a lot of people, particularly women, want to have an extended series of e-mails before they have a phone call. This essay explains why this is a really dumb idea. It also explains why setting up a meeting without at least a short phone call is equally dumb.

The Thirteen Stages of Romantic Disillusionment

What’s Wrong with Online Dating Web Sites

Almost everyone agrees that on-line dating does not work very well. In part it’s because the sites are not well designed. Here’s how to improve them.

How to Write a Personal Ad

Most personal ads are terrible. Here’s how to write a good personal ad.

The Ideal Matchmaking Service

On-line dating clearly does not work well. This describes how a high end matchmaking service would work, and work well.

Visit our Dating & Romance section


Computers and Information

Some Advice on Computers

Some useful advice on computers

The Apple Macintosh

A discussion of the pros and cons of the Apple Macintosh, by someone who has no axe to grind

Why the Macintosh is Unsuitable for Businesses

The Apple Macintosh has become popular again. The Mac is an acceptable, if mediocre, computer for personal use. But so many individual users are also small businesses, working in virtual teams, and there the Mac becomes a ridiculous choice

An Index of Computer Skills and Knowledge

Do you think you’re good at computers? Here’s an index you can use to judge how good you are, from the perspective of Microsoft Windows, Office and Visual Basic for Applications.

What’s Wrong with E-Mail Software Packages

E-mail software packages — even the better ones such as Microsoft Outlook and Eudora — are not designed to handle workflow. Here are several suggestions to improve e-mail packages.

How to Improve the Internet

I propose several ways to improve the Internet.

On Spam

All of us are familiar with spam, but I’m willing to bet that few can come up with a good definition. What the heck is spam anyway? What makes it different from ham (good e-mail)? And what can you do about it? I discuss in detail Bayesian spam filters, which one trains to distinguish ham from spam. Such filters provide extraordinary accuracy, both in false positives and false negatives. For those who don’t want to read my essay, but want to know which spam filter to use, if you are using Microsoft Outlook, I recommend InBoxer.

How to Intelligently Regulate Microsoft

The anti-trust prosecution of Microsoft by the U.S. Government and the states that joined in such litigation was one of the great missed opportunities in history. The government was represented by one of the most talented civil litigators in the world, and the judge simply thought that Microsoft’s Chairman was untruthful. The essay analyses how one could intelligently regulate Microsoft if one understood new economic theories and the computer industry.

Pornography on the Internet

How pornography should be dealt with on the Internet

Minimizing Total Cost of Ownership in Information Systems

Purchasing computers is a small percentage of the total cost of owning a computer, particularly when you’re talking about a local or wide area network. This essay describes how to minimize the total cost of owning computers.

Microsoft Office

This provides a technical discussion of some of the features of curren version of Microsoft Office, as well as various purchasing strategies. It is not a full review of Office, but you may nonetheless find it useful.

Pages versus posts in WordPress

WordPress is probably the most popular content management system (“CMS”), and the one I use exclusively. I have always found it difficult to decide when to use pages as opposed to posts, or vice versa. So I asked my WordPress/PHP guru, James Coletti, to write an essay on this topic.

Microsoft Acquires England


Business

Statement of Mission

This is a 500+ page memo I wrote. It covers leveraged buyouts (“LBOs”), the difference between venture capital and LBOs, project and team management, time management and David Allen, knowledge management and intellectual capital, one-firm firms, professional development, and lot of other topics. This is my “Magnus opus.”

The Importance of Secretaries

There is a trend among U.S. businesses to curtail the hiring of secretaries, as more and more managers are having to do more basic work themselves. This essay analyzes why this trend is foolish.


Teams, Projects and Knowledge Management

A Checklist for Successful Projects

If you’re attempting an ambitious project, here’s a “wish list” checklist for evaluating everything one needs to maximize the success of that project.


Leveraged Buyouts

Differences between Venture Capital and Leveraged Buyouts

Private equity consists of venture capital and leveraged buyouts. Many people who do not work in private equity — including many business executives — do not understand the difference between the two.

Fifteen Steps to Consummate a Rollup

If you’re ever crazy enough to attempt a rollup, this essay describes the 15 steps one would go through.

What do Position Titles Mean in a Leveraged Buyout Firm?

One offers hears that “Tom is a Financial Analyst at Bear Stearns” or “Sarah is a Managing Director at KKR.” What do those position titles mean?

Write Your Own LBO Model

Anyone who joins a leveraged buyout firm would be expected to be able to write an Excel model of a financial transaction known as a leveraged buyout. For those who have not written such a model before, this page outlines some simplistic assumptions one could make to write a very basic model, simply as a learning exercise.

Professional Development for a Career in Leveraged Buyouts

If you’re considering a career in leveraged buyouts, here is some useful advice about how one would prepare for such a career.

Suggested Courses for MBA Students

MBA students often ask me for advice on which courses to take in business school if they want a career in leveraged buyouts. These are my thoughts.

Those who are interested in leveraged buyouts may want to visit Kensington Partners’ Web site, which contains a lot of information on LBOs.


Politics

Why Sarah Palin is Not a Brilliant Choice

My close friend Jack McMullen argues that John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was a brilliant choice. I could not disagree more. Palin has extreme pro-life views, she has no familiarity with issues at the federal level and she has no foreign policy background or experience. McCain’s selection of Palin makes me question his judgment, particularly when he had two excellent alternatives.


Law

Guidelines for Legal Counsel

Managing lawyers and law firms is usually a challenging task, particularly since so many of them are clueless about looking at things from the client’s perspective. These are guidelines I have developed. I can’t say that I’ve always had great luck in achieving compliance.

Using Partnerships as Acquisition Vehicles

This describes why partnerships structures (such as limited partnerships (and after we wrote this essay, limited liability companies) should often be used as legal entities for operating companies, as opposed to their more traditional use as investment vehicles. Today this analysis is commonplace, but when this essay was written, it was one of the first to explore this topic.


Personal Essays

James’ Biography

Every person on my invitation list is expected to write a description of themselves. This is my description.

James’ Profile

This is a long Internet dating profile I wrote.

Girlfriend Job Description

I’ve always thought that dating is somewhat similar to looking for a job, and this ad takes this thought to the extreme.

Looking for Miss Right

James’ EHarmony Responses

For about three weeks I was on an Internet dating site called EHarmony, which does ask some good questions. Here are my answers to those questions.

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