Monday, March 31, 2008

Jott for Blackberry

I've been paying a lot more attention to Jott now that Mike Walton from Kellogg is there. They've come out with a killer application - Voice to Email. Basically, you can verbally reply to your emails on your Blackberry. I think I'll use this quite a bit.

I'm going to give this a try and I'll let you know. Great job Mike. This is a winning idea.

Reblog from 314 to 206

Reblogging David Hegarty's post about this video.

Totally amazing commercial.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Proud Uncle

I'm a proud Uncle today. I'm already proud of my four other nephews and nieces, but today, my little brother is a dad. I couldn't be happier.

Friday, March 28, 2008


If you are like me, and do dumb stuff sometimes, than this is not good news. :)

FlixWagon is going to let people broadcast live from their phones. Holy cow, that is cool. But it's also pretty scary.

Bonus Song

Here's a great little Friday Bonus Song. It's addictive.

Wilco - Walkin' (SNL 03-01-2008)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Friday Music

We're going with a mix of Chill and Upbeat Music this week. My trip to Austin for SXSW was fruitful and I discovered a bunch of new artists. Plus, I've gotten some great suggestions from readers recently.


I didn't get to see Bon Iver because he played Austin on Thursday night, the night before I got there, but I love this song.
Bon Iver - Skinny Love

MGMT was another band I missed. Luckily loyal reader John recommended them and I've been listening ever since.
MGMT - kids

Eric Becker recommended this oldly but goody. Love Elton John.
Elton John - Levon

I talked up this Sea Wolf song earlier in the week, but can't stop listening to it. Check it out.
Sea Wolf - Middle Distance Runner

Grant & The Fed

Isn't it weird that we don't have a vote for the Federal Reserve? I mean, they can bail out huge banks, spend $30B worth of money on guaranteeing really bad debt, that will eventually be paid for by taxpayers, and yet we have absolutely no say in the makeup of the Fed. Doesn't seem right to me.

If I had a vote for the Fed Chairman, I would vote for Jim Grant. Here's an interview with him where he calls the recent bailout, an "Economist's Nightmare." He also brings up a good point, the Fed is highly leveraged. The NY Fed has very little equity (Jim says $10B) and has taken on a lot of debt. Not a lot of margin of error there. They have taken on a lot of risk, and if they have to write down the value of the bonds, that equity could be wiped out quickly.

My favorite line, "the people who are paying for all this are the Savers...the Saver's have taken a pay cut, as the Fed Fund's rate has been cut, to accommodate Speculators."

Jim Grant nails it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Power of Video & Body Language

TurnHere is a pretty cool video service. They have a network of videographers available for hire. You contact TurnHere, tell them what you want in a personalized video for your business and they make it happen. To jump start the market, they've been doing book promotions with a large publishing house. I saw this video highlighting Tonya Reiman's book on their blog. Great little tidbit and shows how much more likely you are to buy something once you've had a personal introduction through video.

New Slums?

This Atlantic article is about a month old but the real estate slide continues and it's worth checking out. It basically contemplates whether the suburbs that have been so built out in the last housing boom are going to turn into slums. I've heard a lot of stories about house squatters and drug gangs taking over vacant houses. There is a really terrible downward spiral that can happen in a neighborhood. Let's hope it never get's to that point but it's worth contemplating.

Ryan Adams on Tumblr

Ryan Adams is doing some really cool stuff on a Tumblr blog. This is the future for artists. Tumblr is MySpace 2.0. Everyday I ask myself why I'm not writing this blog on Tumblr.

Writing the Hits with Stupid from Ryan Adams on Vimeo.

Finally Some Straight Talk

John McCain made a huge impression on me today. He stood up for personal responsibility, didn't pander to people who made bad decisions who now are demanding a bailout, and I think his statements could have huge ramifications at the Fed where all of these financial problems began.

Nice work John. I got a lot closer to voting for you today.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Scary Cool

Courtesy of Matt Ziser, is the BigDog Robot. This thing is scary cool, except if it was chasing you down a dark alley, which I'm sure it will be doing in 2015.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sea Wolf

Sea Wolf was one of my great discoveries from South By Southwest. Matt recommended them to me right before we left for Austin. I caught a couple songs during my last day of work before the festival but didn't hear anything special. Then I saw them live and everything clicked. I've been listening to them non-stop over the last couple of days. Here are my two favorites.

Sea Wolf - You're A Wolf

Sea Wolf - Middle Distance Runner

Saturday, March 22, 2008


If you want to be a bad ass godfather like me, you need to check out Kideo. My favorite little guy is now the star of his own video. Very cool stuff.


I got this from Alison's Facebook feed. It reminded me of one of my favorite Kellogg classes. It's a nice little reminder that you can become a little too focused. Enjoy.

Advantage: Internet

The best part about publishing on the Internet, is that when you have a hot story, like, oh...I don't know, "People breaking into passport files of presidential candidates," your story picks up more steam and get's more distribution.

When you are newspaper, this kind of thing happens, and your distribution is retarded.

DJ-ing with Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke of Radiohead did an excellent guest DJ spot on NPR's All Songs Considered recently. I loved hearing him talk about working through "new gear" and how it inspires him to write. The songs he chose were really telling. You could hear where In Rainbows, their latest album, came from when he played the tracks with heavy beats. He also talked about the role technology like Garage Band plays in Radiohead's writing process. Another thing that I enjoyed was hearing him talk about how the band has to get away from the record once it's done, because all they can hear are the flaws. It must be a killer to work so hard on something and have that feeling.

Check out the interview and In Rainbows if you haven't already. See my previous entry on In Rainbows for a few songs to listen to.

Dealing with Criticism

Shaq teaches us how to deal with criticism. Hilarious if you aren't Bill Walton.

Novita's Birthday

Today is Novita's birthday. The sun is shining in SF and it will be even brighter at her party in Tiburon at Sam's. Unfortunately, I can't make it so we did a little birthday breakfast at Ella's.

I love Ella's. It's my favorite breakfast place in SF and I live almost on top of it. Good news for me.

Happy Birthday Novita!


I love to laugh, pure and simple. Last night's dinner at Frankie's with Colby, Mike and Meghan, had a lot of it. Mike was on a roll and I'm pretty much the best audience ever, so we had a blast. I've never really thought about where laughter comes from, but I came across this great article in the Sf Chronicle today. Steve Winn explores laughter in his article, What's so Funny? It's a great read and I loved Paula Poundstone's remarks at the end. It's like she was sitting at our dinner table last night.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fleck on the Markets and Economy

Bill Fleckenstein is one of the best market pundits around. You'll rarely find him on CNBC because his views are typically Bearish (believes the stock market will go down) and that doesn't jive with CNBC's always Bullish (market will go up). Funny thing about CNBC though, their ratings cratered during the 01'-02' period and they realized that average joe only cares about the market when it's going up. CNBC has responded by becoming more of a stock cheerleading channel than a reliable news source.

Anyways, I've been reading "Fleck" for many years. He's one of my biggest investing influences and he wrote a great article for MSN on the current mess we are in. You can subscribe to his newsletter for $100 a year. It's the best $100 I spend every year.

Here is my favorite quote from his MSN article:

The post-Volcker Fed has changed all that. Ever since it bailed out Wall Street during the Long-Term Capital Management crisis in 1998, the financial system has become more leveraged and less transparent. In the ensuing 10 years, not only were interest rates not tightened to prevent a recurrence, the rules were loosened as the Glass-Steagall Act, which had regulated banks since 1935, was repealed. The Alan Greenspan-led Fed fomented a bubble in stocks, then chose to shortcut the aftermath by creating a housing bubble. That has left us far, far worse off today, and I suspect there are no bubbles left with which to temporarily bail us out.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Friend at SXSW

I made a new friend at SXSW, courtesy of an introduction from K-Fed. Her name is Kristine, she writes under the name Coco Velocity and she's a big music person. She wrote up a detailed blog post on bands she liked and didn't. I was there for a few of them and totally agreed with her, especially about the Shout Out Louds.

Check out Coco Velocity.

Dave Egger's Speech

The TED Conference released Dave Egger's speech on the Internet today. I posted an article on it about a month ago. Check the speech out. My friends have volunteered at one of his centers and loved it. It's really great and inspiring.

I Remember...

I remember when CAL was good at hoops...

Enjoy the tourney today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You Get What You Pay For

I always tell my dad to be very careful watching CNBC. He loves the action of the market. It makes him feel like "he's in the game." However, in my opinion, stock market investing is a game for professionals. It's difficult to tell what kind of ties the anchors have to the firms they are endorsing. Plus, it's just plain hard picking stocks and pundits are often wrong. Here is a great clip courtesy of Marc Andreessen's blog.

Word to Your...

Courtesy of longtime reader, Jorgie...

Word to Your... is another great picture site. Love it. Slightly gross though.

I'm noticing a lot more of these simple pic sites. I think the ease of sites like Tumblr are making this possible. Fail Dogs and Word to Your to Your look like they are running on a Tumblr back-end. The web is getting easier every day.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

One More Wire Post

I truly loved the Wire. Right about now, on Sunday night, is when I would normally watch it. It's over though. Here's a fantastic interview from the creator. He talks about missing those characters now. I'll miss them too.

NPR's Fresh Air Interview with David Simon

Bear Goes for $2

While I was gone for the weekend enjoying the epic South By Southwest music festival, the financial markets almost melted down. Bear Sterns was rescued today by JPMorgan after the Fed stepped in Friday. Things got pretty nasty. Here is the 5 year chart on Bear Sterns stock price. JPMorgan bought them for$2/share, so this chart effectively goes to $0 tomorrow. Ugly.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ugliness with Leverage

Carlysle group had to liquidate a big debt porftolio today. Demonstrates how ugly things can get with too much leverage.

Marc Andreesen had a great post on it today.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Reblog: How Many Music Exec...

Incredibly funny!

Reblogged from Seth Godin:

from Dan Kennedy's very funny new book:

First of all, before we change anything, is the light bulb really burned out? Maybe we just need to breathe some life into it; repackage it, maybe the light bulb could do a duet with somebody (Sheryl Crow? Tim McGraw?) in hopes of getting some crossover appeal, maybe it could be in a beer commercial, maybe we could get it out on the road with a brighter light bulb. The other thing to think about is that this summer, Honda is rolling out a 100 Million dollar campaign for a new car aimed at thirty-somethings who consider themselves adventurous/spontaneous but can't really afford something like a luxury S.U.V. and it might be a perfect campaign to tie this light bulb into, at least it would be the perfect demographic, in terms of age.

Also, and this is just an idea: what if we found out what video games are being released in the third quarter and maybe pitched the idea of having our light bulb make an appearance in the video game at some certain level of completion; like, you get to a dark cave, let's say, if it's an adventure game, and if you have enough points you can get the light bulb - and it would be our light bulb, obviously - and then it's easier to see in the cave. The other thing is this: worst-case scenario the light bulb is, in fact, burned out. Is that really the end of the world? I mean, maybe that's actually of more value to us in the long run: Picture this for voice over: "The light bulb is dead. . . but the legend lives on. . . re-released, re-mastered, revealed. . . the light bulb. . . IN STORES NOW." It almost makes more sense than taking the time changing it, plus, if it's dead we can sell it without dealing with it, you know what I mean? No demands from it, no hotels, no road expense, no delays in the project from its end, etc. But, like I said, I'm just thinking off the top of my head here, just brainstorming, and none of this is written in stone. But the first thing we should do is figure out how we want to handle this, because the light bulb's manager is a total nightmare and we're going to have to take a meeting and listen to him sooner or later, and we should know what our plan is before we sit down with him. And let me tell you right now that the first thing out of his mouth is going to be, "This light bulb should be the brightest light bulb in the world, and it could be the brightest light bulb in the world, but you need to support the light bulb, you need to give the light bulb TV ads, you need to be more active in giving the light bulb tour support, we need to have some promotion from your end!" and on and on. And in that meeting, if you're in it, the only answer from our side should be that we're obviously very excited to be working with the light bulb, that we don't think it needs to be changed, that the only problem is people haven't seen how bright the light bulb could be, and our plan is to do everything we can to make this light bulb happen.

I'll send out an email to everyone before the meeting to remind people of our position on this, but the bottom line is we don't have the budgets right now, and basically we need to see something happening with the light bulb before we go throwing good money after bad, but obviously we can't have the light bulb's manager hearing that. I can tell you all that I'm personally very excited to be working with the light bulb, I think it will light up very brightly, and we're not going to stop working the light bulb, in whatever ways budgets will permit, until it does, in fact, light up very brightly. . . the light bulb is a very big priority for us from the top of the company to the bottom. Period. We can talk more about this when I am back from Barbados next week, and I'm going to need everybody's help on this. I know we can do it, but we need everybody working hard.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Band Rec from Dutch Evans

Things are a little hectic at Kenny Kellogg World Headquarters so I thought I would point you in the direction of Dutch Evans and his latest band recommendation - Bon Iver.

Dutch swears it would be great for Friday Chill Music and I agree.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Reblog: Exposing Michael Lewis

reblogged from Paul Kedrosky's blog:

Falken Blog exposes Michael Lewis.

I thought this was an interesting point. I love Michael Lewis and think Moneyball is an incredibly important book, and it just happens to be written about baseball players. However, if you've taken a few finance classes, at least Professor Petersen's at Kellogg, you quickly learn that Black Scholes is an option valuation framework that works well in a perfect world. We don't live in a perfect world so it's foolish to depend too much on it.

My guess is that people in finance take risks and when those risks backfire, they look to blame a framework rather than their own judgment.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seth Godin is Very Smart

Seth Godin is one smart dude. I got this offer today - buy his new book, and you get to listen to a 1 hour conference call.

Shouldn't this be what musicians do? Authors are facing the same type of piracy pressure that bands are facing. This is Seth's responsive, provide a little more value add, something personal, and charge for it. I hadn't planned on buying the book but hearing him talk pushed me over the edge.

I'd shell out for a 30 minute call with Jeff Tweedy, Jim James or Eddie Vedder. Personalization makes all the difference.

Poofy Shirts

I'm wearing a really poofy shirt today. It caught the attention of my co-worker and I got some good natured ribbing. It quickly became called "the pirate shirt," a Seinfeld episode reference.

He claims this is what the shirt looks like, from this site.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What Has Biotech Ever Done for Bald People?

I came across this article in the SF Chronicle, Biotech Turns to Hair Loss Research. Five lines in I read the sentence "What Has Biotech Ever Done for Bald People?" and knew this would be a good one. Have fun with this read.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday Chill Music (March 7, 2008)

Friday Chill Music isn't going to be all that chill and will be a bit eclectic today. In case you missed it, here is my loose itinerary for SXSW.

First up, music-wise is My Morning Jacket. I just heard that they will be previewing their new album next Thursday night. This is a major problem for me because I don't get until Friday. Darn it. I'll have to settle for Jim James. Here is one of my favorite MMJ songs to pump you up. Turn it up.
My Morning Jacket - One Big Holiday

Second, I'm crazy about Kimya Dawson and can't wait to see her in Austin. I think it's the playfulness in the music that I really love. This song feels like a fun, inside joke, that I get to be a party of.
Various - Kimya Dawson / Loose Lips

Third, I'm excited to see M. Ward. He put out a cool album with Zooey Deschanel (the actress) and it sounds kind of classic. Here's a song I like. Feels a timeless, like it could have been big in the 50's (in a good way).
She and Him (ft. Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward) - You Really Got A Hold On Me

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Kid Rock

Check out this kid, video courtesy of Jesse Brandl. I'm stepping up guitar lessons for my god son. :)

Hype Machine SXSW Tool

If you are going to South by Southwest like I am, then you need to check out this scheduling tool the Hype Machine put together. It's going to make finding your favorite band so much easier. Last year, Matt and I would be running around trying to figure out who is playing where. This year, less stress and more cold beers and good music. Thanks a bunch Hype Machine.

Here is my concert schedule feed:

Matt's feed:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Foreshadowing on the Wire

This type of foreshadowing on the Wire is what makes it great. You can look back at something two or three seasons earlier and see how they had the whole thing mapped out. A show with a million amazing moments...

Fail Dogs

Alex Bain found Fail Dogs, a site devoted to pictures of dogs not winning.

I think it's the funniest site I've seen in months. Holy cow.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Death of the Newspaper

I'm a huge fan of the San Francisco Chronicle. It breaks my heart when I see cost cutting like this. It hurts the paper and the worst part is that it's just a drop in the bucket. They need wholesale changes or they're in big trouble.
"Beginning today, the paper will institute three changes intended to reduce printing costs without compromising news-gathering resources or news space....On Mondays and Tuesdays only, the Sports and Business sections will be combined, with Sports starting from the front and Business from the back."

SF Outside Lands

Clear your calendar people, the Outside Lands concert is going to be ridiculous. Radiohead, Tom Petty and Jack Johnson...stop it. I can't think of a better lineup and it's in Golden Gate Park! I saw Jeff Tweedy there this summer and it was great.

Loyal reader, Ben Munoz, passed this onto us. We're lucky to have such great readers (and talented - look at what Ben built for a community of people who share a medical condition he has - AVM Network)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Drink JetSet

Many of you know that I've dabbled in the beverage industry. I'd love to make Crux, the drink we developed at Kellogg, a success someday. Right now it's just a dream for me but a recent Kellogg alum, Wyeth Goodenough, is making it a reality. Wyeth is COO of a drink startup called JetSet that was profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle. His drink is much more than a cool name, it's a line of mixer drinks (soda water, tonic water, etc) with a caffeine boost. Think Red Bull meets a basic mixer. Jetset is distributed all over the country in Safeway's and Beverage and More's. It's big in the Bay Area bars and growing.

Next time you go to a bar and are looking for a boost, help an entrepreneur out and order a JetSet and [fill in the blank].

Drink JetSet.

Red Phone Moments

Great editorial in the NY Times recently on Clinton and Obama. I'm moving towards Obama. This quote really got me thinking...

“Senator Clinton had her red phone moment. She had it in 2002,” Mr. Plouffe said. “It was on the Iraq war – she and John McCain and George Bush all gave the wrong answer.”

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dave Eggers' Wish

Apparently, Dave Eggers gave a great speech at TED yesterday. He asked that we all engage with one public school near where we live. I'm a big fan of his book, A Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius, and I know Ananda and Schweifler have volunteered at his 826 Valencia Street project. They had an amazing time tutoring a bunch of kids in Chicago. They helped the kids construct a story and then the kids acted it out. Their smiles were a mile wide when they got home.

I'm going to try to grant Dave his wish, and so should you. Check out his bio and see how you can help. Let's check back in with each other in a month and see what we've accomplished with a local public school.