Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Owe You This

I try to make a habit of posting everyday and I blew it and missed Saturday. Hey, I was at an Indian Wedding, what can I say. Things got away from me.

So here's your payback, an epic dance off between two college baseball teams during a rainout. Amazing.

Tradition

I had a blast at Kim & Ashish's wedding this weekend. It was a traditional Indian wedding, which was my first. It was half cultural event & half wedding and I loved every minute of it. Devu Gandhi & Amit Singla kindly talked me through everything. Thanks guys!

Below is a shot of Mary Lee's hands with the traditional decorative painting for women.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rise

One of my friends is having a really crappy day, so I sent her this song. 


Hope it makes your day better too.

Hulu Desktop

Classic Onion. I discovered this on Hulu's Desktop Player. Thanks to Graham Mudd . Can't wait til my computer becomes my cable box.

Friday Chill Music (May 29, 2009)

Another great week at Kenny Kellogg. I was a little less verbose this week, but hopefully you enjoyed the things I linked to. Thanks for reading, as always.

First up is a song I found on Gonzo Gal's site by Camera Obscura called Sweetest Thing. This is a pretty sensitive song, but hey, we're all friends here, right. You can play it through the embedded link on her site or click here for Hype Machine.

Next up is a shout out to my girl, Jenny Lewis. I saw her last night at the Fillmore and she was great (and hot) as always. Here's a link to her Myspace profile so you can get a deep sample. I really like Rise Up With Your Fists and Melt Your Heart (in addition to Acid Tongue).

Third is a song called Airplanes by the Local Natives. Thanks for referring Mark McLaughlin over in the UK.

Finally, it's a White Stripe's cover of Jolene. Awesome energy. Apologies to the referrer here, I can't remember where I found it.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hmmm...

Google announced a big initiative called Google Wave, which is basically a big dashboard for data sources on the Internet. I'm sure it will be the next big thing and all, but I couldn't help but notice how much Google has changed.

Here's Google Wave:


Here's Google's Homepage (largely unchanged from launch):

They look different, right?

Blog Maverick & Sports Guy

Great podcast from Bill Simmons, aka the Sports Guy, and Mark Cuban, aka Blog Maverick & owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Lot's of great business tips and sports discussion. Check it out here (it's the top one) or download it from iTunes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Shot

from Bruce Jenkins' excellent 3 Dot Blog :

"Kobe Bryant was watching Game 2 of the Cavs-Magic series on the Internet, and after LeBron hit that epic 3-pointer to win it, Kobe sent him a text message: "A hell of a shot." . . ."

iPhone Art

Chris Lin posted this time elapsed art video from Jorge Colombo showing the making of his cover for this week's New Yorker. He made it with an application called Brushes. Really neat stuff. Cool to see art emerging from new technologies. Plus, I really like the cover.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Feel Good

It's a feel good Tuesday so I'm posting this heartwarming video that Ben McConahey sent over. Cool stuff.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Credit Crisis Tell All

Edmund Andrews of the New York Times wrote a terrific, but brutal, article on his own journey through the credit crisis. It's incredible that a senior economic and business reporter for the Times would fall prey to the sham mortgages and housing bubble like everyone else, but he did. This article is one of the best examples of how widespread the mania was. Read the article because it's amazing how quickly and easily this could happen to someone.

As an aside, I'm struck by how deep the faith in "money printing" is in our country right now. It rivals the faith in the housing market back in the day. The government thinks it can spend its way out of this and we're happy to let it try. While I agree in some deficit spending as a short term emergency effort, printing money will not get us out of this recession long term. We're spending our credibility as a country and in the process, we're sacrificing one of the greatest assets a country ever has had, the reserve currency status of the dollar.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Reblog: Class Struggles at Yankee Stadium

via Mark Lisanti

Scenes From The Class Struggle, New Yankee Stadium Edition


The combination of food and security collided inside the Stadium Wednesday night. This had nothing to do with high-profile broadcasters or players’ wives. This was a rebellion of the rich. In that expensive area downstairs - the one with the empty seats - there are seemingly more waiters and waitresses, serving free food, than there are patrons. On Wednesday, it got so crazy that the fan-elite started tossing ice cream sandwiches over the moat to peasants sitting in the $400 “cheap” seats. This did not sit well with Toastie security forces, who began scolding their most prized customers. The lecture from security prompted a guy in the rich seats to say: “I paid for this food, I can do with it what I want!”

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Are You Aware of This?

Dear How I Met Your Mother Fans,

Are you aware of this video of Robin Sparkles? I was not until my roommate Kristy showed me yesterday. We watched it many times in a row. Wow!



For you HIMYMF newbies, Robin is a character on the show and she's from Canada. It turns out she was a teenage pop star in Canada called "Robin Sparkles" and to this day, is scarred by the summer she spent touring malls in Canada singing her 1 hit, "Let's Go to the Mall."

If you are not watching HIMYM, start immediately. You are missing out...big-time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Chill Music (May 22, 2009)

It's a quickie today for Friday Chill Music.

I love all things Fleet Foxes including this new side project by the lead singer, called White Antelope. The ladies at I'm All Ears tipped me onto this. This guy's voice is so amazing.

Here's an underrated Fleet Foxes song called Drop in the River  to remind you how awesome they are too.

I saw the Kings of Leon last night in SF and they were mind blowing. Now that is a rock concert. My favorite songs of theirs are Manhattan, Revelry and Notion. Here's Revelry, but basically the whole new album is good so just go buy it.

Finally, if you missed it, I linked to Wilco's new song, You and I, with Feist earlier in the week. People keep telling me how much they love this song and I'm sure it's destined for every hour play on KFOG. Check it if you missed it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happiness

Read an incredible article from The Atlantic called "What Makes Us Happy" over the weekend. It resonated with me in a bunch of different ways.

Since I don't have the juice to give a lot of commentary, here's a video on the article I found on James Hong's blog.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

You And I - Wilco

I'm down with a really nasty flu bug. Posting will be very light for a couple of days. In the meantime, here is one of my favorite songs off the new Wilco record, You and I. Yep, that's Feist's voice.

If anyone wants to write a guest post, email it to me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Economist on California

California's budget is a complete disaster. We're facing a $20B deficit that comes due in a few months. Arnold is trying some last ditch efforts that could get the deficit to $15B, but even if those measures succeed, we'll still be in a huge hole. The economist wrote a great article isolating the factors that create an unworkable budget process. Here's my favorite quote, but read the whole article. We need to understand the problem before we can fix it.

"Those voters, moreover, have over time “self-sorted” themselves into highly partisan districts: loony left in Berkeley or Santa Monica, for instance; rabid right in Orange County or parts of the Central Valley. Politicians have done the rest by gerrymandering bizarre boundaries around their supporters. The result is that elections are won during the Republican or Democratic primaries, rather than in run-offs between the two parties. This makes for a state legislature full of mad-eyed extremists in a state that otherwise has surprising numbers of reasonable citizens."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

#b2b

The only disappointing part of my trip to Chicago was missing today's Bay to Breakers in SF. Here are some typically amazing pictures from the race done by the San Francisco Chronicle. This is the first year the race was held with broad Twitter adoption though, so for an even funnier view, check out hashtag b2b or "#b2b" on Twitter Search. Funny stuff, and a great introduction to Twitter's most useful feature - Search.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

TripIt Magic

I'm in Chicago this weekend for a bachelor party. It's so great to get back to Chicago where I have so many friends and great memories. I'll be taking in a game at Wrigley and will of course have a Murphy's Bloody Mary before the game.

A couple of days ago, I got an email from a Kellogg student named Lylan who I have met with a couple of times. I didn't tell him that I was coming to town, but he saw on my TripIt feed that I would be there. He sent the following email to me:

Hi Scott, I see on TripIt that it appears you will be coming to Chicago this week.  Do you want to meet up for a coffee or a beer?

This was really impressive to me (and flattering). We won't be able to meetup, but we're going to catch up by phone. It's a really smart move for someone trying to network their way into a job. And it's all possible through the magic of TripIt, quietly making connection after connection.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Chill Music (May 15, 2009)

This weeks episode of Friday Chill Music is pretty darn simple, it's the new Wilco album streaming at Wilco Headquarters. Check it out. It took me a couple listens but now I'm really digging it. The quality of the record has me even more fired up to see them June 26 at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. Please join us if you're in the Bay Area.

Incidentally, the new album is titled Wilco (the album). Bryan Kenna had a great observation, is this a reference to Spaceballs (the movie)? Remember Yogurt? 

Anyone thinking the same thing?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

WSJ on Chrysler Bankruptcy

Great editorial in the Wall Street Journal that was passed on to me by my friend Warrick on Twitter. The article is titled: Chrysler and the Rule of Law, and covers the pressure the Obama administration is putting on Chrysler creditors. The secured creditors (senior position - first in line) are being asked to take 30 cents on the dollar while the union, who is unsecured (second in line) is getting 50 cents on the dollar. This is not the way bankruptcy works...ever. The company satisfies the senior position and the remaining proceeds goes to unsecured. This is why senior debt (typically bank debt or bonds) is far cheaper then sub-debt, because there is a higher recovery value so you are not taking as much risk.

I don't have a big problem with the administration trying to put some PR pressure on the creditors, as long as the creditors can say no. Yes, they'll lose the PR war but they'll get what is entitled to them. They're big boys and girls and tough decisions and some heat come with the territory. However, there is a second part of this process that could hurt the creditors and that is a quick asset sale to Fiat. The Government wants the quick sale to keep the company together a little better, make the problem go away faster and because it's a leverage point with the creditors. In a drawn out bankruptcy, the creditors will be able to jockey and fight for their rights, and will get a much larger piece of proceeds than what the administration is offering. If the forced sale is pushed through, the creditors get a sub-optimal return. That is the threat right now to creditors. Hopefully the Administration does the right thing and takes some time to sort out the mess, and respects the rights of proceeds that come with lien position. It's a really important component of the lending world and needs to be respected.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An Awkward Tour de Force

You must check out awkwardfamilyphotos. Here is my favorite one out of many, many pictures that made me laugh out loud. Thanks for posting to the Himmelsblog and to Ariel for sending to me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Seth Godin on the New Model

Below is Seth Godin's talk at TED this year. I read his blog everyday and I'm a true believer in his ideas. Ben Munoz and I used his ideas to start 3 patient to patient support networks that are flourishing. This quote stuck with me:

"We're in this new model of leadership. Where the way we make change is not by using money or power to lever a system, but by leading."

Check out the full speech.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Grantham on the Market

Jeremy Grantham wrote another incredible piece last week on debt, the market and where things are heading. It's fairly dense and I had to read it twice, but it's really well written. As a refresher, Grantham runs a highly quantitative money management business, and tends to think in terms of standard deviation and returning to the mean. He is the guy who was on the cover of Barrons in late 06'/07 saying that the market was going to plunge and that was the greatest Bear Market Trap in history. He took a ton of grief for it and it turned out he was write. I've been reading him for 8 years and he's made me way smarter.

Thanks to Todd Ammons and Jeremy Hartman for sending this in.

Jeremy Grantham Q1 2009 Quarterly Letter height="500" width="100%" rel="media:document" resource="http://d.scribd.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=15058321&access_key=key-2najktwdbobtufhfl7i1&page=1&version=1&viewMode=" xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/searchmonkey/media/" xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/terms/" > value="http://d.scribd.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=15058321&access_key=key-2najktwdbobtufhfl7i1&page=1&version=1&viewMode=">     Jeremy Grantham Q1 2009 Quarterly Letter hblodget
   Publish at Scribd or explore others:                quarterly reports              cvtx 8k      

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Reblog: Gossip Girl Bugg

My buddy Will, a new blogger, gave LuvvBugg Blog a shout out. It's a blog I play around with as we build the LuvvBugg dating service. It's fun, keeps us motivated and we've been building some decent readership at 25 to 30 uniques a day. Find LuvvBugg Blog here.

Will's a fan and even texts or emails in suggestions from time to time. His post was about the parrallels between the blog and Gossip Girl. Makes sense to me.

Btw, definitely check out Will's blog. He includes a lot of photos and is experimenting with other types of posts. He's a thoughtful guy whose day job is running money in the stock market. Hopefully he'll post about that too.

Healy on Investment Memos

My buddy, Healy Jones, is on a roll at his Startable blog. There are a lot of entrepreneurs, or budding entrepreneurs, that read Kenny Kellogg, so if that's you, check out his terrific column on Investment Memos. He spells out the components of a good internal memo, and in the process illuminates what investors really care about. Once you know how they think, you can tailor your pitch or presentation to them. Answer their mechanical and process oriented questions before they ask them, and you can save a lot of time for those key points that make you special.

I'd like to emphasize Healy's coverage on the importance of milestones. Lighthouse, the fund I work for, is a little different than Atlas or other VC's, but we think long and hard about the milestones a company is trying to hit. Common milestones include a number of users (or paid users) for a Web business and Software companies typically need to have a beta release and 3 referenceable beta customers, give or take, to get to Series B. The reality is that it's Management's job to hit the milestones and that is how you are graded. When you are not hitting your milestones, the company typically requires more capital. That means more dilution for Management and while the investor is writing the next check, she is going to be asking herself tough questions about the company.

Before I go, I'd like to take a moment to thank people like Healy who share the innerworkings of their industries with everyone else. They make us all smarter, and who knows, maybe the knowledge gained from reading his post will get an entrepeneur funded.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome became my browser of choice last weekend. It's way faster than Firefox and the aesthetic is really clean. I still miss a few plugins that aren't available on Chrome yet, but the speed more than makes up for it. 

I liked this commercial so I thought I would share it with you.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Bonus Music (May 8, 2009)

In the comments to Friday Chill Music below, John wrote the following in response to the version of Indifference from Bridge School:

"This version of indifference rocks. When you considering the timing of this bridge school show (less than 2 months after 9/11) there was so much energy and emotion with everyone (pearl jams set was ridiculously intense). But, this particular moment in the show captures the emotion swirling around not just with the audience, but with the artists. I think everyone was literally asking themselves "how much difference does it make?"  And Ben Harper's yelp on, "i'll swallow poison until i grow immune." wow." -- John Hamilton
I remember this show vividly and the same feeling John references. I was nervous to be going to a large concert in the aftermath of 9/11 and everyone in the crowd needed an emotional release. The song before Indifference was the high point for me. It was a new song called I Am Mine, that I think Eddie wrote after 9/11. It was really powerful and brought me up to a 9 on the sensitivity scale. Here it is, enjoy.

Reblog: Manny's the New Star...

Excellent piece by Ray Ratto in today's SF Chronicle on Manny Ramirez and the steroid problem. Here's a quote I liked, but read the whole thing.

"It's a universal tale in that everyone who pays attention to sports has lived it, and it's perennial in that we will live it time and again. It will remain so until athletes, coaches, parents and associates understand all the reasons performance enhancers are the third rail of competition.

It's not the damage to the record book, either, or the hole in the Hall of Fame. It's the public-health issue. It's the notion that athletes would ingest or shoot up illegally obtained drugs made in uncontrolled conditions, in typically unsanitary conditions, without a licensed physician delivering them for a legitimate medical reason. And it's the notion that people would think that was all right as long as the home runs, the world records, the game-winning touchdowns kept coming."

Friday Chill Music (May 8, 2009)

Yet another week in the books and it was a good one. Spring seems to be back after a two week vacation.

I found this song by Armoured Cars  on the I'm All Ears blog. They hosted an excellent Music Club this month, highlighting Papercuts . I've only had the chance to listen to the CD once, so I don't have a song to reccomend yet, but if they highlight it at Music Club, odds are the band is worth listening to.

John Hamilton put together his usual solid midweek playlist . His blog is worth subscribing to just for that. He highlighted Pearl Jam's Corduroy and the fact that they are playing a couple shows in Chicago this summer. I can't wait to see them at Outside Lands!

Another cool band I came across this week is Bat for Lashes. Their song Daniel is pretty cool. Check them out.

Finally, I was listening to some acoustic Pearl Jam on Thursday and came across this great version of Indifference by Pearl Jam with Ben Harper. I was at that show and it was magical.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Carsala Commercial

My friend Raif started a used car buying service called Carsala. You tell them what you want, they find it and negotiate the deal for you, saving a bunch in the process. They just put out their first commercial and I thought it was pretty funny.


The Monty Hall Dilemma

Cool article in the Financial Times discussing whether High IQ is a burden. The article traces the lives of some really interesting, high IQ folks. My opinion on IQ is mixed. I think it's great if you have one, but really, we should all be measured by what we actually achieve - whether it's career success, love of one's family or whatever else (or any combo) that truly makes you happy. It's cheesy but that's how I feel.

My real reason for posting this article is the brain twister they embed at the end. It's called the Monty Hall Dilemma and traces back to the old Let's Make a Deal game show. There is a good explanation below of the dilemma and I won't paste in the answer so you can give it some thought. The Walm and I debated this endlessly for a couple of days. It was a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy it.

Monty Hall Dilemma
Marilyn vos Savant’s column gained national notoriety in the early 1990s, thanks to her response to the “Monty Hall dilemma”: the make-or-break decision facing contestants on the game show Let’s Make a Deal that was then hosted by Hall. The question was posed by Craig Whitaker, of Columbia, Marinaland, on September 9 1990. “Dear Marilyn,” wrote Whitaker. “Suppose you’re on a game show, and you’re given the choice of three doors. Behind one door is a car, behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say #1, and the host, who knows what’s behind the doors, opens another door, say #3, which has a goat. He says to you: ‘Do you want to pick door #2?’ Is it to your advantage to switch your choice of doors?”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Reblog: Teen Wolf

Reblogging from the great Himmelsblog. This is a parody of an NBA marketing campaign, and I love it.

Participating Preferred

My buddy Healy Jones wrote an excellent post on Participating Preferred Stock, which is an investing instrument in startups. Participating Preferred basicly means that the venture investor get's their initial investment out, and then participates pro rate based on ownership percentage on everything after. This compares to regular preferred where proceeds are divided based on ownership percentage from the very first dollar out. It's a heavily negotiated term and something many entrepeneurs don't fully understand. 


"Anything that provides extra return to a VC at an exit takes return from the founders, so it is important for entrepreneurs to understand participating preferred stock and its impact on the exit value of the common stock."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Gladwell on David vs. Goliath

Great New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell on David vs. Goliath, and how David wins when he changes the rules of the game.

"David’s victory over Goliath, in the Biblical account, is held to be an anomaly. It was not. Davids win all the time."


This resonated with me, because everywhere I look in my life, this is happening. There's never been a better time to be a David.

Monday, May 4, 2009

AVMSurvivors.org at AVM Foundation's 4th Annual Awareness Walk

I had the pleasure of attending the AVM Foundation's 4th Annual AVM Awareness Walk  in San Francisco early Sunday morning. Sports Basement hosted the event (and a small get together the night before - thanks!). It was fantastic meeting some of the people on AVMSurvivors.org in person. You'll recall that my friend Ben Munoz started the site after AVM threatened his life. I heard a lot of stories and was blown away by the sense of strength coming from the survivors and their family & friends. These are some of the finest people I've had the pleasure of meeting in my life.

We all showed up early Sunday in our AVM Awareness t-shirts and I took a video of the walk below (when viewing click the HD button in YouTube). My favorite part comes at the end when Jaclyn, a 9 year old girl from Pennsylvania, who has endured 4 operations offers advice to everyone with AVM out there. Inspirational isn't a strong enough word...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Condi on Torture & Foreign Policy

Interesting YouTube video on Condoleezza Rice answering questions at Stanford about foreign policy and torture. It get's pretty heated but it's a great Q&A because it's so raw. She makes some great points about the pressure they were under after 9/11. She could have done without the condescenion about doing your homework though and just because the president condones something, doesn't make it right. Her unwillingness to answer the question of whether waterboarding is torture tells you all you need to know.

The whole torture thing really bothers me. I can't the government officials actually condoned this and the rest of the population let it go on.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Burma VJ

Last night I went to the San Francisco International Film Festival  with Jennifer Basile  and we saw Burma VJ. It was one of the most touching movies I've ever seen and I can't stress enough that you should see it. It's the story of the 2007 civilian uprising in Burma (Myanamar). The country is ruled by military dictators who have not been challenged since 1988 when a student uprising threatened to topple the government. The military responded by slaughtering 3,000 protesters at point blank range and the protest was controlled. 

Fast forward to 2007 and the another uprising is gathering strength. The government controls all media in the country but a small group of video journalists who use basic camcorders are busy reporting to the world, at the risk of their life.

The trailer is below. It's an incredibly inspirational movie and reminds you of everything we have in the U.S. Definitely see it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Chill Music (May 1, 2009)

It's with great pleasure that I introduce Jeremy Downs and his new blog, The Sink. Jeremy is a long time friend from San Francisco who is a startup guy, so it's fun to talk technology with him.

He also has great taste in music. We often exchange emails over the songs I post on the blog and he usually has a couple rare tracks or similar artist suggestions for me. His new blog promises to be very music centric, and he'll have a recurring music theme called, In Case You Were Curious. In honor of his new blogging adventure and because he picked such great music, I'm referring to his mix for this week's Friday Chill Music.

I'm embedding it here for convenience, but don't forget to click through to his blog, The Sink. 

Welcome Jeremy, it's great to have you.