Spring 2005

Spring 2005

Cover Story

  • Marketing 100

    Wharton’s Marketing Department Reaches an Anniversary Milestone

Featured Stories

  • Retail

    Retail Research Takes Off

    Baker Initiative Director Blazes own Path, Real-World Research Bridges Academia with Industry

Articles

  • Working the Crowd: Peter Yawitz, WG’86

    By Elisa Ludwig When he’s giving a seminar, New York-based corporate consultant Peter Yawitz, WG’86, can really work the crowd. “I usually know where I’ll get the most laughs,” he says. It’s a skill he has fine-tuned onstage in nightclubs, in his semi-secret double life as a cabaret performer. While few of his corporate clients are aware of his second career, Yawitz’s day job features prominently in his one man show, “A New Man.” The show, which chronicles his experiences in and out of the office, recently won him the 2005 Nightlife Award for Outstanding Musical Comedy Performance from the New York City cabaret, jazz and comedy critics. The challenge of juggling business and “the biz” is nothing new for Yawitz, who performed regularly in extracurricular theater through high school and college. After completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Princeton University, he started looking at graduate programs in real estate and finance. His sister, then an undergraduate at Penn, was the first to tell him about the Wharton Follies. “That really may have been my primary reason for choosing the school,” he says, laughing. After graduating, Yawitz moved to New York and began working as an investment manager at Lincoln Realty Capital, getting his showbiz fix after hours by performing with the St. Barts Players. In 1989, Lincoln Realty Capital went out of business, and Yawitz decided to try acting fulltime. He ultimately found the uncertainty of the lifestyle too difficult and returned to the business world, founding Clear Communication, a consulting firm that specializes in communication strategy, message identification and speech coaching. But as his business grew, Yawitz had less time and energy for his theatrical pursuits. After a few years, he found himself missing the spotlight. “About five years ago, I was really starting to drive my […]

  • Keep on Parody-ing: Gregg Spiridellis, WG’99

    By Robert Strauss For a comedian, an election is usually a dream come true, a never-ending supply of gaffes, flip-flops and barbs swirling between oh-so-sincere candidates. But 2004, with the nation at war and no end in sight, seemed destined to seriousness. “It was such an unfunny year,” says Gregg Spiridellis, WG’99. “It was the year Comedy Central became the prime political network.” So Spiridellis and his younger brother Evan set out to change all that. They decided both sides of the political spectrum needed a kick in the funny bone and used their Internet-based animation and creative marketing firm, Jibjab, to do it. The brothers created a song parody of the Woody Guthrie standard, “This Land Is Your Land,” and put it up on their Website, www.jibjab.com, to see if it would find an audience mid-campaign. More than 70 million hits later, with that song and another September-made parody of “Dixie,” the Spiridellis brothers were an election-year phenomenon. “Really, we were motivated strictly to make people laugh,” said Gregg Spiridellis by phone from the Jibjab studio in Los Angeles. “That and to get the Jibjab name out there and get some buzz for our small studio.” That buzz has turned into millions of laughs. “This Land” began with George Bush at a map singing, “This Land Is Your Land” and misspelling John Kerry’s home state, “Mass-Uh-Chew-Sits.” Soon Mr. Bush was smiling and brandishing weapons, singing, “”I’m a Texas Tiger. You’re a liberal wiener. I’m a great crusader. You’re a Herman Munster.” A somewhat more dour and patrician-voiced Mr. Kerry then got to have his rejoinder: “You can’t say nuclear. That really scares me. Sometimes a brain can come in quite handy.” Politicians of all stripes got their comeuppance in “This Land” and “Good to Be in D.C.,” the “Dixie” […]

  • CEO_Path

    Knowledge@Wharton

    The CEO’s Path to the Top: How Times Have Changed

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