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Guitarra española Manuel Rodríguez

01. Introduction


This interactive case will drive the student through an immersive musical journey along a premium quality hand –made Spanish guitar. The student will have the opportunity to follow the story of Manuel Rodríguez Junior, a daring and unstoppable serial entrepreneur. They will be able to follow his world trip and understand the reasoning behind his actions.

The work of an entrepreneur like Manuel Rodriguez, operating within a 100-year-old family business context, is varied and continuously evolving. Both personal and family values that define Manuel also guide him through certain experiences and decisions he has taken along the way.

Using Manuel Rodríguez as a focal point, students will have the opportunity to put themselves in the position of a serial entrepreneur, constructing their own entrepreneurial journey of discovery alongside Manuel Rodríguez Guitars. Each individual student´s decisions and experiences throughout the multimedia case will get digitally stored so that they can be returned to as the basis for class discussion.

Key decision-making points, drag-and-drop interaction and other activities make up the student journey, which are based on foundational entrepreneurial frameworks and business models used to understand entrepreneurship.

The entrepreneurial journey of discovery

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust

The core concept

To be entrepreneurial is to act by investing time and talent in pursuit of a desirable yet uncertain future. The entrepreneurial journey is a series of actions organized in a recursive, or "kinetic" loop, where the outcomes of prior actions affect present and future actions.

Our actions are shaped by our perceptions of the present and future. As entrepreneurs we also must consider that we act in a world of other purposeful agents. In between our actions, the world does not stand still: it reacts to our actions and pursues its own purposes. We thus have to consider the consequences that constantly pop up.

Each action we take is "sandwiched" between perception and consequences. This means we cannot get consequences without acting and cannot get new perception without consequences.

Perception, action and consecuences
  • Some actions will make good sense only in the light of the consequences that follow them.
  • Some perceptions will make good sense only in the light of the actions they enable.
Our thinking regulates:
  • How our perception responds to the consequences following our actions.
  • How our action responds to the nuances of our perception.

This means our ways of thinking makes us responsible for our perception and actions. This multimedia gives you the chance to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur.

Life – and entrepreneurship – is a journey. It is lived in steps and each step brings surprises, jubilations, and disappointments.

Being the "agent" of an entrepreneurial journey is not about steering toward a pre-charted course as you would as a project manager, but rather it is about taking bold steps and being attuned to the possibilities that each step opens up.

The recursive loop of perception-action-consequences is journey that unfolds in succession, whereby action at one stage bring in new information that enables deliberating further actions in its light. This means thinking represents a focal point in the present tense, dealing both with past outcomes and new information while at the same time affecting future developments through the possibilities and actions it elicits.

The "entrepreneur" serves as the principle agent of action as they pursue an "opportunity" which has uncertain, ambiguous, and often unknowable characteristics. It is when facing new situations such as these that entrepreneurial thinking is critical. Determining what action to take and then decoding the consequences is at the core of the entrepreneurial journey of discovery.

Faced with mounting pressure on overall profitability—especially acute on the low-end line of MR guitars—Manuel was considering what action to take to try and improve his overall competitiveness and bolster the bottom line.

The factors shaping Manuel´s perceptions of the challenge included the following:

  • The heritage of the family name and the MR guitar brand around the world.
  • The quickly eroding profit margins and overall competitiveness of the lower-end guitars which was being impacted by the following factors:
    • Unfavorable exchange rates—especially between the Euro production costs of manufacturing in Spain and selling in US dollars to customers in the United States.
    • The relative high cost of his Spanish-based guitar “craftsman” which were vital for the brand and premium line of guitars, yet were hampering his ability to compete in the basic guitar market.
    • His responsibility to Fender and Guitar Center —two critically important partnerships— to deliver a full range of Spanish guitars for the US market.
    • The potential consequences on the perceptions of MR guitars if he were to manufacture part of his line of guitars outside of Spain.

What action should Manuel take?

Perception, action and consecuences