Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The New York Times on the San Francisco Chronicle

Excellent article on the San Francisco Chronicle and its troubles in the New York Times . Thanks to Matt Belloni for sending it over. Stepping away from the news, paper and ink business for a second, the article says something deeper about the Bay Area.

The Bay Area has no real center of gravity, and San Francisco, at the tip of a peninsula, has no inner ring of suburbs. The city has only 760,000 of the region’s more than four million residents. Nearby counties have far bigger populations, with their own economic bases and urban cores in places like San Jose and Oakland, and their own major newspapers.

"The Bay Area has this extraordinary fragmentation,” said Anthea Stratigos, chief executive of Outsell, a media research firm. “It’s a region of microclimates, and the person in Contra Costa County might not care about San Francisco City Hall.”

This quote explains a great deal of the region's success. Fragmentation leads to experimentation and innovation is the Bay Area's signature. Here, different types of thinkers can find their niche and gestate. In the startup world, the chips and big iron communication providers are in San Jose, the laser and glass guys are in Marin, the online entertainment and web content folks can be found South of Market (SOMA) in San Francisco and Biotech lab rats are clustered in South San Francisco.

Suburban teens can drive to Berkeley and spend an afternoon on Telegraph living out their hippie dreams and urban San Franciscans aspire to spending 4 years on "the Farm" at Stanford. The Japanese Tea Gardens are nestled in the greater Golden Gate Park and the most beautiful park is the Presidio, an old army base along the most spectacular bay in the world.

The region's comfort with fragmentation and experimentation may be causing the Chronicle to fail faster than most other daily newspapers. There are relatively few efforts to prop up the paper and people (including me) don't seem that concerned about it, because we know it will be ok. New news franchises are being formed without the burden of paper and ink, clusters of people are gathering on the Internet in ways never seen before, and a greater degree of transparency then even the great newspapers currently provide will soon be upon us. Your blog reader and the 20 specialists you follow, all inhabiting their own niche, and fiercely competing against the 5 other players in that niche, will be your favorite newspeople and columnists in the future. Watch.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twitter & Importance of Filters

All the publicity that Twitter received in the last few weeks left me with an early adopter hangover. I want all the online (& offline ) services I use to succeed, but I was a little sad to see Twitter go from a secret (relatively), that I was in on, to something the world was rapidly adopting. I've been no better than the guy in the back of the Fillmore crowd who claims the band was "better back in the day." Tonight, I ran through the posts of the people I follow, and found a few cool things.

Bob Dylan is releasing a new disc and his first single is free

Rick Wagoner of General Motors had been fired.

A friend of mine, LatteKelli passed her practice test.

All good stuff, but then I went over to Alex Bain's Favorites on my RSS Reader. Alex posts all of his favorite Twitters and other blog posts or YouTube Videos throughout the day. It's usually some of my most interesting daily reading and today I found a bunch of good stuff.

seth_barnburner: Love when Jay Bilas talks about street ball. He speaks from experience...the mean streets of Bio 303 at Duke.

bhalligan: The Fortune 500 churns at 8% per year. Only 50% of the Fortune 500 from 1995 is still in the Fortune 500. The churn pace is accelerating. 

BestAt: RT @danielle_i: I just had a threesome with these two dudes from Vermont named Ben & Jerry.

ToddDOwl: Obama is acting like a rookie CEO- knowing how to spend but not knowing how to cut. Being able to print money enables the folly.

And it hit me, sometimes I get more enjoyment out of Alex's Favorites than all the people I follow, and it reminded me of a Bob Lefkowitz quote, that Ben, my partner in Ben's Friends (patient to patient support networks), sent me a couple months back: "The person who is going to make all of the money in the future is the person who creates a filter...."

The filtering that Alex provides is very important to me, and I wish there was a way he could make money off of it. Until he figures it out, I'm sure he'll be doing it for the pure joy. I know he brought the Twitter magic back to me. Thanks Alex.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Matt McCall on Wall Street

Great editorial on Wall Street by Matt Mccall of Draper Portage on his blog, VC Confidential. It's titled "Enough Wall Street, Enough," and he captures my thoughts perfectly. Click through for the whole thing, but here is a nice little quote:

"Some of the Wall Street crowd claim that their divisions were highly profitable and, therefore, their groups deserve bonuses. Sounds good to me. You just need to have the groups that hemorrhaged all the losses pay back that capital to the firm. If you can't get this money back, guess what...no bonuses. If you feel that this isn't fair, join the crowd. You are part of a single firm. You rise and fall together as a single firm. You can't keep the positives and ignore the negatives. With hedge funds, buyout funds, real estate funds, venture capital funds and commodity funds, if one partner's deal is a huge hit but another partner's deal tanks and wipes out the profit, no one gets a bonus (carry). This is because the fund's management team rises and falls together. Is it a bummer for the partner who delivered the big win? Yes. Does this mean he/she is owed a bonus? No."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Chill Music (March 27, 2009)

It's been a slow week at Kenny K headquarters as I was knocked out with the flu for 3 days. I'm back though and it's with great pleasure that I start with Pearl Jam's re-release of Ten. Joel Hopman and John Hamilton tipped me off to this AOL streaming link for the remixed re-issue. I especially love Brother, Why Go, and Oceans (Unplugged). All amazing songs in their own right, but these versions are really great.

Next is the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Hysteric. The YYY's are one of my top 10 bands, and I think this is going to be a really great disc.

Another song I discovered via HMG on Tumblr is City & Colour's song called The Girl . It's a little sensitive, but I really like it.

Finally, we'll end with Elvis Perkins - Doomsday. The ladies at I'm All Ears tipped me off to this disc as part of our monthly music club. I'm really enjoying it.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

thanks to Matt Ziser for passing this on via his Facebook feed. It's one of my favorite childhood books, can't wait to see it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gomez Streaming

Gomez is one of my favorite bands and they are streaming their new disc on MySpace for the next couple of days. Check it out!

Lewis on AIG

Michael Lewis is one of my favorite financial writers and he has a good article up on AIG and US Government transfers to International Banks. It's a good article combining finance, politics and good old fashioned human nature, check it out.

Monday, March 23, 2009

TV Time

It's a little slow at Kenny Kellogg Headquarters today but fear not, my new favorite TV show is on tonight. Yes, I've discovered, "How I Met Your Mother." It's basically the new Friends, but funny. (Note: That's not really fair to Chandler and Joey, because they were funny.) Anyways, I highly reccomend it. Check it out. 

One more random TV thought: Does Michael Scott know that Stringer Bell is his new boss? Someone needs to tell him.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


My family has a place in Donner, so I was pretty excited, yet scared to see this report that there is a Wolverine in Donner. There hasn't been a Wolverine sighted in about 80 years in California. Here's a little video with the fuzzy little foreigner.

Reblog: Team AntartiKate

“No matter how far out of first we are, it’s cool. You know, it keeps us from getting shut out at our favorite hotels and restaurant-type places."  — Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Difference Between Texans & Californians

Last night at Jones Sports Bar with Taylor, I realized the difference between a Texan and Californian. Texans drink the real Bud, Californians (gladly) drink the Light stuff. :)

AVM Survivors is Site of the Month

AVM Survivors, one of the networks that make up Ben's Friends patient to patient support sites, was selected as website of the month at Northeastern Center. The folks at Northeaster had some really good observations:

"The kinds of tools and applications that enabled social networking sites to change how people use the web are now available for groups that want to build communities based on a single, common topic, and now we are seeing the creation of these kinds of communities; which brings us to our website of the month.

AVM Survivors Network is a social networking site dedicated to individuals who have Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) and utilizes the social networking concept to provide support and resources for a community of AVM survivors on the web. It utilizes many of the same tools and features that you'll find on MySpace or Facebook.

The site was started by Ben Munoz, an AVM survivor who recognized a need for other survivors to be able to support one another."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Chill Music (March 20, 2009)

Spring is a wonderful time in San Francisco, and we're almost there. I'm optimistic that it started this week. i sampled this photo from Flickr to put us all in the mood.

Let's begin with a great reccomendation by Papilicious  to check out Blitzen Trapper . I really loved the song Furr . Here it is for your listening pleasure.

I haven't been posting much Jack Johnson lately, but I listen to him all the time at home. Just good chill music. I'm particularly fond of this song...and banana pancakes

Gomez is one of my favorite bands, and they leaked the first single from their new album. It's call Airstream Driver and I think it's pretty good. Although my favorite Gomez songs are the ones done by the guy with the really deep voice.

Finally, I've been on a big U2 quick recently and Running to Stand Still is one of my favorite U2 songs of all times. If you're into that song, you're probably into One Tree Hill .

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eqal & Harper's Globe

Eqal, Inc. (a company I work with) released their long trailer version today of Harper's Globe . This is an offshoot of Harper's Island, a show CBS is releasing in a few weeks. My personal opinion, is integrating TV and the Internet is the future of television. This is going to be really freaking cool. Check it out.

U.S. Cash is Trash

The Fed officially said they are going to monetize Treasury Debt yesterday. That means the Fed will print money, then hand it to the Treasury in exchange for bonds that the Treasury will pay back over time. Unfortunately, they are both part of our government, so they are just passing money back and forth, and hoping nobody understands what is happening.

Monetizing Debt = Printing Money = Debasing the Currency.

It's a really sad day. The U.S. has owned the reserve currency in the world for a long time, which is a huge advantage. And yesterday, we started the process of handing it to someone else, or maybe something else (gold, oil, etc).

This chart from Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed summarizes it well. The dollar is going down .

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

David Foster Wallace: The Unfinished

Amazing New Yorker article on David Foster Wallace, called The Unfinished. Foster Wallace committed suicide a few months back. The story retraces his life, his accomplishments and downward spirals. He was one of the most talented authors I've ever read. My first introduction to his work was the unbelievable McCain article in Rolling Stone in 2000. Then I read his Federer article and was equally blown away. Next I bought Consider the Lobster.

Hopefully this article starts you on a similar journey through his work.

Not So Fast Carbonite

I got an email from Carbonite (online backup) telling me about this new feature they're introducing. You'll be able to access your backup logs remotely if you need to pull a file from a different computer than the one you're working on. Sounds cool. I know I'm extremely unlikely to ever use it, but no big deal.

But then they zap you with the, "With the addition of this feature, we’ll be adjusting our price to reflect the increased value of our service. Beginning March 15th, a one-year Carbonite Online Backup subscription will cost $54.95."

Wait a second, you're raising the prices on me because of a feature that I don't want? Just make it a $5 upgrade (or better yet, $10 upgrade) for people who value it. I'm sure they wanted to raise the price of the service and had the bright idea to tie it to the introduction of this feature. The problem with that strategy is that all the people who don't care about the new service, feel a little twinge of resentment at the link in pricing.

This is a no win situation for the company, but I would have tried the, "we're kicking ass at Carbonite. You've never lost a piece of data while using us. Because we're kicking ass, we want to raise the price a bit to make our business more sustainable and assure that we can keep delivering great service to you."

False linkages between new offers and price increases are going to be a lot harder to justify in the digital world, because we all know it would be just as easy to sell an upgrade. Marketers are going to have to get more creative.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Morning Jacket Video

If you aren't a My Morning Jacket fan yet, hopefully this get's you over the hump.

My Morning Jacket from Tugboat Productions on Vimeo.

Reblog: Go Tribe

via the Gonzo Gal.

Andrew Miller, a Kellogg & CAL Classmate and Cleveland Indians dude, get's some airtime (3:30 mark) around the new Spring Training complex the Indians built. Big congrats Andrew!

Twitter NCAA Basketball Bracket

I love Alex's (@Bain) idea to hold an NCAA Basketball Tournament for people on Twitter . I think this bracket could get huge. I'm signed up as @ScottOrn. Pass it on!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ben's Friends: Patient to Patient Support Networks

Long-time readers know that Ben Munoz, a friend and Kellogg Business School classmate, and I have founded 3 patient to patient support networks. Guess what, Ben has started blogging and it's like a blast of Chicken Soup for the Soul everyday. Before I talk about his blog, here's the quick back story for newbies:

The first patient network was AVMSurvivors.org, which Ben heroically founded himself as a response to his life threatening AVM aneurysm. Ben felt isolated, lonely and information deprived, so he did something about it, and today there are over 600 people providing support, tips and friendship on AVM Survivors. 

Together Ben and I founded LivingWithTN.org and LivingWithAtaxia.org, because we saw the power of patient to patient support networks and wanted to help other folks. Today, those networks are about 150 people strong each, ranging from the casual information seeker to the amazing people who administer them daily (Ro, Sarah, Maeve, Alan, Shalon, Kati, and many others).

Ben started writing a few weeks ago and I would love for you to read it. He talks about his experiences but even more powerful, he samples some of the thoughts and quotes from the people on the patient support networks. These people are so inspirational, I can't do them justice. One day it's an inspirational story about finding support when you felt lost, or a simple phrase that puts everything into perspective, or staying upbeat as you teach yourself to walk again, or a simple observation that makes you realize that you are slowly getting better.

Ben's Friends is going to be a great read, because of the emotion and the inspiration that those stories can provide. I hope you follow along everyday. 

One more thing. If you, a friend or family member suffer from a rare disease, and you would like us to start a patient to patient support network for them and their disease, please email us. Thanks.

Soup Kitchen Photo

A few of my friends, Papilicous & Loose Lips Sink Ships, posted photos of a homeless guy (presumably) taking a cell phone picture of Michelle Obama in a soup kitchen. They were a little angry that the homeless guy had a cell phone (presumably because it was expensive). I totally get the frustration, but lost in the immediate response, is the fact that cell phones keep those folks tethered to society. It's easier to get a job or apartment, because they can be called back. They can call the police if they are in danger.
Communication is a basic human need and it can help get these people back into a productive life style.

This is How You Market

This story belongs in a class at Kellogg. My friend Molly, of MollyMutt, apparently sent TheBloggess, a famous woman blogger, a MollyMutt doggy duvet. But she did it in a crazy creative way and got a humongous post out of it that will be ready by thousands of potential Molly Mutt customers. Go to the post and read it. It's fantastic and I can't fit it here.
Thanks to Katie from I'm All Ears for sending me the email to tell me about it. Congrats Molly.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Social Media Makes Real-Time Important

I completely agree with Chris Lin's quote

"i am not letting myself login to my twitter feed or facebook until i have watched the season finale of top chef!! who knew that social media would incent people to watch television live? interesting point of opportunity for the networks…"

I actually stopped watching the Oscar's on Tivo delay so I could get the snarky Twitter comments in real-time (my favorite is Mark Lisanti ). I think entertainment is rapidly converging on participation, and there are very few companies who are targeting this. One company is Eqal , who I have a business relationship with. They are coming out with Harper's Globe pretty soon. That is going to be awesome. Check out the TechCrunch article on the new onlines series. Eqal, or someone like them, is going to break this open. Participation is the future of entertainment and it's going to be cool.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bernie Madoff & ScanCafe

A company I work with, ScanCafe , came out with a great promotion today. They want you to send in any picture you have ever taken of Bernie Madoff. They are going to construct a giant timeline of Bernie Madoff in picture form. Genius!

For those of you that don't know, ScanCafe will scan in all your old pictures, touch them up, and then save them digitally for you. I've done it with my whole high school and college picture collection and it's unbelievable. The price point is very affordable and those memories are protected forever. Now, the entire world's memories that include Bernie Madoff will be assemble.

Friday Chill Music (3/13/09)

I had a long but fun week in LA at an investment conference. I left the conference incredibly bullish on the future. Yes, the economic headlines suck right now, but there are so many people doing so many cool and interesting things...AND they are having success with them, right now, in this terrible climate. I can't wait to see these companies explode when things get better. Here's a picture I took on my blackberry while jogging along Ocean Ave. I love Santa Monica.

I was at a bachelor party last weekend and this song, "I Love College," played non-stop I'm not sure college kids even like it. I do know that 30 to 35 year old, white, ex-frat guys love it.

Here's another excellent song off the Dark was Night disc, called Gentle Hour by Yo La Tengo. This has an excellent shot at being on Sunday Morning 13. The song is hosted at LuvvBuggBlog . Did you know that you can listen to a string of continuous songs on LuvvBuggBlog ? Click the bar at the bottom of the screen and it streams about 60 songs. I post a song there everyday. Get in the habit of checking it out, and you'll be doing me a favor.

After the conference on Wednesday night, I got to hang with Jessica P, Kathryn C and Matt Belloni. We did a lot of catching up at a divey bar that had a great soundtrack. This song, Kings of Leon - Sex On Fire, was playing in the background. 

Finally, here's a great song by the Shins that came on my iPod when I was jogging and took that picture. The Shins - Gone For Good
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


This site, Thru-you.com  is pretty awesome. It's basically a mashup of a bunch of different YouTube clips. I love it. I found it through Chris Lin's Twitter stream (@chrislin182 )

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Charles Hudon's iGames Summit

I just bought my ticket to Charles Hudson's iGames Summit. It's a half day conference so folks in the investing and startup community can get up to speed on the gaming world, specifically games built for the iPhone. I'm really looking forward to it because the guest list is great, and my friend, Charles Hudson, always puts on great conferences.

If you read this blog, and want to go, enter the coupon code - SCOTTORN - and save $60.

While you are at it, you should read Charles' blog.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fun Recession Facts

You know those nice grooves or indentions in the back of soap bars? It looks like a scoop has been taken out, but it actually makes it look a little nicer?

Well, the main reason soap has that scoop taken out of the back is that it saves money. Yep, you can save 15% of the raw materials costs on soap when you scoop out the back.

With this little fact in mind, I chuckled when I saw the soap in my hotel bathroom. Check it out. Looks like they are saving more than 15%. :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reblog: HMG

from HMG Blog

i'm a huge Atlas Shrugged fan.

“ ‘Mr. Rearden,’ said Francisco, his voice solemnly calm, ‘if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders - what would you tell him to do?’
‘I… don’t know. What… could he do? What would you tell him?’
‘To shrug.’
-- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Reblog from Evil Queen Magda

found at Evil Queen Magda's blog.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Internet Famous

I was Internet Famous a couple times last week. First, Beth Stevens posted a cool graphic showing how I had become friends with her high school friend, Molly Mundt, who is the maker of the world famous Molly Mutt Doggey Duvet. I then introduced Molly to a bunch of my friends (who Beth also knew), and it formed a cool little Internet triangle (or square). Beth's article was called, "I heart the Interweb's" and you can see the graphic here.

The second brush with fame came when I was cited in a blog post by Mike Weiksner called, "Why Celebrities Love Twitter." Mike and I had a nice talk in downtown Palo Alto and he shared the insight that Celebs love Twitter because they can control the message. US Weekly is superflous in the new world. They just go right to the fans. I had never thought of it that way, but it made perfect sense. There's a lot more meat on the bone when you click through to read Mike's post. Mike is working on a cool Internet application called Social Feet. Check it out.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Chill Music (3/6/09)

Kenny Kellogg Headquarters is empty this fine Friday as I'm in Scottsdale for some Spring Training and a bachelor party. About the time you'll be reading this, we'll be hanging with Andrew Miller, an old Kellogg friend, discussing how good the Giants will be this year.

Here's your blast of Friday Chill Music.

Grizzly Bear - Deep Blue Sea -  Found this on the excellent Dark was the Night disc. There will be many more quotes from that album in future Chill Musics.

The New Pornographers - Hey Snow White  - this is one of my favorite songs that have come along recently. Love it. What a great band, they always deliver. Another great song from Dark was the Night.

Finally, an epic Yeah Yeah Yeah's playlist put together by Mr. Derek Leedy. Big thanks Leedy.

yeah yeah yeahs - blitz

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reblog: The Show

“ Yeah, I was in the show. I was in the show for 21 days once - the 21 greatest days of my life." - Crash Davis

Jon Stewart on CNBC

Finally, someone exposes CNBC.

Reblog: The Half Million Dollar Prank

via Alex Bain , one of the best pranks captured online ever.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Digger Has Moves!

Courtesy of Scott Fausel - Digger Phelps at the CAL vs. UCLA game last weekend.

Outside Lands August 28 - 30

The email that brought this picture made my day. Time to make your travel plans. Definitely build in a day for Napa in case it's foggy in SF that weekend. See you at Outside Lands in August.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Down Under

I just went through the pictures from Bryant & Mary's vacation in Australia and New Zealand. This one stuck with me. I really like it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Raising Money the Right Way Part 2

Here's another great example of someone putting a lot of effort into fundraising. Aaron Schweifler  is training for an Iron Man and put together this video to explain why and how he's doing it.

He's a funny guy and the clips he picked were great. His demeanor is a little different in the video. He told me he was being "ironic."

Here's his donation page, if you are inspired.

The Himmelsblog

Mark Himmelsbach is blogging! You can find him at Himmelsblog.tumblr.com and he changed his Twitter handle to Himmelsblog as well. Mark is one of my funniest friends and he works for PHD Networks, a sub of Omnicom, so he has a lot of great ideas on digital marketing. I can't wait to see the stuff he posts.

One of the more interesting initial ones was Ashton Kucher's video blog post catching the paparazzi calling his wife,"a crazy bitch." It's a great window into celebrity life.

It's good to have "the Bach" blogging.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Reblog: Kedrosky - Y2k, The Credit Crisis...

Reblogging Paul Kedrosky's excellent article on crisis and people acting.

"So, why didn't the worst happen? In part what happened is this: People acted. While they were late, slow, stupid, and error-prone, they did what people do when a big enough alarm bell is rung loudly and long enough: They tried to figure out what they could do in the time they had to reduce their risk, and they did those things. They didn't think other people would get there, but they knew they would."

Reblog: Kedrosky - Y2k, The Credit Crisis...

Reblogging Paul Kedrosky's excellent article on crisis and people acting .

"So, why didn't the worst happen? In part what happened is this: People acted. While they were late, slow, stupid, and error-prone, they did what people do when a big enough alarm bell is rung loudly and long enough: They tried to figure out what they could do in the time they had to reduce their risk, and they did those things. They didn't think other people would get there, but they knew they would."

Google Never Forgets

Excellent post by Seth Godin .