Peter Stern CMLS visit at The New School, Manhattan, New York 5.2.11
The day began quite early for Dolly and I as our wake up calls arrived at 5am – which is 3am Denver time, just to note. However, we hit the ground running, or walking rather, as we traversed the 42 blocks south to The New School, trying to blend in with the disgruntled New Yorkers bustling by on their Monday morning commutes, with the taxi traffic wars raging alongside us as horns honked every few seconds.
In the lobby of The New School, Stephen Kimmerling greeted us in dashing, chic NYC attire and directed us to a spacious conference room with murals and a hearty continental breakfast for everyone.
Peter Stern and The New School’s President Van Zandt arrived a few minutes after us and struck up a nice conversation regarding their shared Yale Law School degrees. They had great “stage” chemistry and were able to engage the students for the full two hours.
Peter kicked off his lecture with a survey of the students and President to find out their relationship with the cable industry. He found that almost the entire room had been a client of Time Warner Cable, which has 14 million customers. Customers have been spending ten hours using Time Warner Cable phone, video and high speed data services – more than the average person spends in their bed. While almost everyone put a hand up for being a Time Warner internet customer, only five raised their hand for using video service and only the President still used a land line. Peter said surveys like this are what he spends the majority of his time doing, surveying people’s preferences and figuring out how to increase their interest in Time Warner Cable services.
We left adequate time for Q&A, which could have gone on for a while, but we needed to keep the schedule and completed our successful breakfast conversation. We awarded Motorola wireless headphones to two lucky students, those with the most thoughtful questions; then we followed Stephen to his office for a quick download. After, Dolly and I stopped in a typical New York City diner off 6th Avenue for a quick snack. No time to eat when you’re directing all the moving parts!
We headed back to the hotel for a little down time before our meeting with Nia Batts, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Viacom, located in Time Square. Heightened security due to the news of Bin Laden’s death the night before scared us a little bit, especially seeing police officers with machine guns at the ready on street corners and outside major subway stops, but we arrived to be greeted by Nia in her 51st floor office with a view to die for! Check out the photo in the slideshow. Nia was recruited to help us out with our Masters Forum event, and we wanted to officially give her an overview of The Cable Center’s mission and programs. Nia informed us of Viacom’s outreach projects. One of their programs, “Get Schooled,” was created to encourage high school students that college is attainable and targets freshmen and sophomores, which are the two primary years to get students excited about college and make sure they are on the right track to get there.
We made our way back to The New School for Peter’s classroom visit to Professor Ken Krushel’s graduate strategy class. Peter again began his discussion with a survey; he asked the class if they thought Time Warner Cable has more areas of risk than room for growth or vice versa. The majority of the class voted the company had more room for growth than risks but five students voted the opposite. Peter was very intrigued, and throughout the discussion, the students were very lively, interactive, and challenged Peter and his company’s strategies. After the lecture, we received great feedback from the students and the professors.
Many thanks to our partners at Time Warner Cable and The New School!