Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ramen

Paul Graham runs Y-Combinator, a very successful Tech Startup Incubator. He published a great piece on being "Ramen Profitable" and since so many people who read this blog are budding entrepreneurs, I thought I would repost it. The jist is that you don't have to get profitability quickly, but that you should shoot for "Ramen Profitability" which means the ability to live cheaply on the money your startup is producing. Once you are creating enough to live on, you have a lot of options. Here's my favorite passage:

"Ramen profitability is an unfamiliar idea to most people because it only recently became feasible. It's still not feasible for a lot of startups; it would not be for most biotech startups, for example; but it is for many software startups because they're now so cheap. For many, the only real cost is the founders' living expenses.

The main significance of this type of profitability is that you're no longer at the mercy of investors. If you're still losing money, then eventually you'll either have to raise more or shut down. Once you're ramen profitable this painful choice goes away. You can still raise money, but you don't have to do it now." 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comments are the Best

One of the reasons I write this blog is because I know how many smart people read it. Kenny K is a way to bring a ton of smart people together to share informed opinions and because I know who reads it, I know they are trustworthy as well. I've shared classrooms at Kellogg and CAL with some, worked in tight quarters under a lot of pressure with others, met some on social networks that I participate in and still more have shared their opinions over dinner or happy hour (less trustworthy :)) over many years. This is what makes the blog special for me and I hope you get the same out of it.

You can imagine my delight when I read Colby's comment on my Healthcare Myth's post, which was originally referred to be my Taylor Meyer. I'll post Colby's thoughts below and she references some great resources. I took many classes with Colby at Kellogg and was always impressed with both her intellectual horse power and her ability to compassionately see the other side of an argument, especially in Healthcare, her passion.

Not to be overlooked in the discussion is my friend Shalon's comments from a few days before. I met Shalon on AVMSurvivors.org, a social network that I help run with Ben Munoz. Shalon is an incredibly positive force on AVM Survivors and she is a healthcare services consumer, undergoing precisely the experimental treatment for AVM that might not be available if the healthcare system socializes. Shalon is an inspiration to me and many others, and her comments deserve a lot of thought.

Her are Colby's thoughts:


He has a few accurate points - most notably, as you point out, I definitely agree with him that the US is subsidizing medical innovation for the globe. We'd better be careful about how we mess with the incentives to innovate, because all these smart people will go do something else if no one wants to pay for their research.

However, I do have a problem with people who say that a) our healthcare is expensive because we get more from it, or b) our healthcare system is expensive because of the tort system. We'd like to believe both, but neither are true. We consume more healthcare, but our outcomes are NOT better in the country, and who really wants more drugs, tests or procedures if those things don't create better outcomes? (Not me. Nothing in medicine is riskless.) Also, even combined costs of malpractice litigation and defensive medicine have been shown to be relatively paltry.

You can read McKinsey on exactly where we spend the extra dollars -
http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Health_Care/Wh... - but far more interesting is Atul Gawande's diagnosis of WHY we spend those extra dollars, recently published in the New Yorker, which analyzes the most expensive (to Medicare) town in the US, McAllen, Texas, and compares it to El Paso as well as national averages. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/0... It's worth reading the whole thing, but here's a summary: fee-for-service payment structure creates some funky incentives for physicians. The bad news is that this is an incredibly de-centralized problem, and current reform plans haven't figured out how to address it, which is why Obama is wandering around the Cleveland Clinic looking for clues.

All of this is totally separate from how to meet the challenge of providing coverage for all Americans, which I personally feel is an imperative for an industrialized nation, although I'm not going to weigh in right now on the touchy subjects of how we should achieve that or how to pay for it. Let's just say I'm obviously still a capitalist, but we can have a capitalist approach to getting everyone health insurance and preventative care.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Counting Crows in Berkeley

Last night I was the guest of Alex & Lisa Bain at the Counting Crows concert in Berkeley. Great concert and a lot of good Berkeley memories came back. We were in the 4th row! I was actually nervous Adam Duritz would make fun of me because I was wearing a red shirt, and any CAL fan knows you shouldn't wear a red shirt to the Greek.

Before the concert, I took Alex up to the top of the Greek where we could see all of Berkeley and the Bay. He took this shot looking down on the crowd from our perch.

They opened with a Van Morrison cover which was awesome and closed with Mr. Jones and then a cover of This Land. Great show.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Healthcare Myths

Interesting opinion on Healthcare reform forwarded to me by Taylor Meyer. I think the author's points about how the US subsidizes Med Device & Drug development are right on. While everyone wants cost containment, it will make developing new treatments much more unlikely as investment dollars dry up in the system.

The author goes a bit off the rails mid-way through so I don't endorse his more extremist political views, but I think the points he makes earlier in the piece are worth posting.

Health Care Mythology height="500" width="100%" > value="http://d.scribd.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=17687393&access_key=key-1qxye78rp5hqvb4ymbs1&page=1&version=1&viewMode=">    

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cooler Version of Tron

Where better version of the trailer.

Friday Chill Music (July 24, 2009)

The Summer rolls on with another installment of Friday Chill Music. Hope you enjoy.

First up is a cool video of Blitzen Trapper playing Black River Killer. I saw these guys before the Fleet Foxes and they were only ok. I had been expecting big things but was a little disappointed. In the video below, they sound awesome, so I guess it was me that night. I found this clip via the Sports Guy on Twitter.



One of my favorite new artists, Bat for Lashes, did an appearance on KRCW in LA. It's a great session, with about six songs including Daniel & Pearl's Dream, my two favorites. She also talks with a British accent, which is pretty awesome. Walm, can you weigh in on the "poshness" of the accent?

Great Neko Case song, People Got a Lot of Nerve, I just don't get tired of listening to her.

Next is a song from I'm All Ears blog, called Walkabout by Atlas Sound. The song just works. It's not a blockbuster, but it's a pleasant listen.

We'll end with a great Stone Temple Pilot song, the Big Empty. I loved this song when it was released and still do. Plus, it was played during the movie, The Crow. It was dark, mysterious and seemed deeper than I could understand at the time. Kind of like Stone Temple Pilots in the early 90's.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tron Legacy

Excuse the SciFi Nerd Interruption, but this looks badass even if it's from a grainy mobile cam...


News & HBO

"What worked for HBO won't work for the news because HBO is fiction, and news is not." - Dave Winer via WarrickT

Metrics

Cool Wired article on how Nike (& Apple) are pioneering "personal metrics" in exercise. I'm find myself paying more and more attention to metrics these days, whether it's how many times I've played a song on iTunes, the traffic to this blog, a link I post using Bit.ly, or my Covestor portfolio of stock market returns on actual investments. This article dovetails nicely with a post Seth Godin put up earlier in the week too.

The Nike article is a great read. My favorite quote:

"The gist of the idea is that people change their behavior—often for the better—when they are being observed (which is why it's sometimes called the observer effect). Those workers at Western Electric didn't build more relays because there was more or less light or because they had more or fewer breaks. The Hawthorne effect posits that they built more relays simply because they knew someone was keeping track of how many relays they built.


When you lace up your running shoes outfitted with the Nike+ sensor and fire up your iPod, you're both the researcher and the subject—a self-contained experimental system. And what you're likely to find is that the Hawthorne effect kicks in. You're actively observing yourself, and just that fact not only provides information you can act on but also may modify your behavior. That's the power of Living by Numbers."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Adderall Diaries

A few weeks back I got an advance copy of Stephen Elliott's new book, the Adderall Diaries. It's a memoir about his own struggles with drug addiction, mixes in his difficult childhood, his love life (which is racey - adult audience only) and a Bay Area murder and trial. I can only imagine how difficult it was to write this book. He puts it all out there.

Stephen, who founded the Rumpus.net - an online magazine for "people who aren't challenged at work," has started an innovative book lending program in advance of release. You can get a copy for free here on the Rumpus. All you have to do is mail it to the next name and address he sends you after you are done.

The book I received was in great condition and I read it in one day, just couldn't put it down. I reccomend the book whole-heartedly but you must be ok with graphic adult content. Great read and a cool book sharing program from an author I greatly respect.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This Must Be Watched

via "Best Wheel of Fortune Contestant Ever" - Dave Holmes Blog

as Holmes says, "This man is an inspiration to all who hope to do nitrous and go on Wheel Of Fortune."

Cocktail Party Problem

Great post by 37 Signals on the Cocktail Party Problem.

Click through but this is my favorite excerpt:


"A small, intimate dinner party among old friends is a different story, though. There are genuinely interesting conversations and heated debates. At the end of the night, you feel like you actually got something out of it.
Hire a ton of people rapidly and a “strangers at a cocktail party” problem is exactly what you end up with. There are always new faces around so everyone is unfailingly polite. Everyone tries to avoid any conflict or drama. No one says, “This idea sucks.” People appease instead of challenge."

Funny Take on Fast Food

via MollyMayhem

Monday, July 20, 2009

500 Days of Summer

I went to the Kabuki with Coles & Steph Mann on Sunday night. We were all set to see the Hangover, but somehow this long into its release, it was sold out. Holy cow. Probably another couple of weeks of not being able to participate in Hangover Movie Line male bonding.

But...we did see 500 Days of Summer, with noted crush, Zooey Deschannel. She was awesome. Actually, the movie is pretty much a commercial for how awesome it would be to date her, except for the pesky fact that she is acting to a script designed to further my crush.

The movie surprised me though and it was really good. Matt Belloni wrote a great review of it in Esquire this month and this quote from the story summed it up.


"It's the least-romantic romantic comedy of the summer, and it works precisely because it refutes everything romantic movies stand for."


I emailed Mat from the theater for his take because I wasn't sure I wanted to see it and he had a good point: 

"its a unique romantic comedy because it's from the guy's perspective."


 He has a good point, most romantic comedies are designed to appeal to women and from a women's perspective. 500 Days is a winner that guys will enjoy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lisanti on the Harry Potter Stars

Mark Lisanti wrote a funny piece on MovieLink imagining where the Harry Potter stars will be in 20 years.

'Why did he keep the mohawk? It suits him, he says. " - about the future Ron Weasley

Btw - I'm a huge Harry Potter book fan but not so much with the movies. However, friends who have seen the new movie say it's good, so I'm going to give it a shot. Let me know if you're hitting it up in SF any time soon.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

True Love

My new true love, Bat for Lashes.

The Healthcare Debate

Excellent article in the New York Times today on the Healthcare costs debate. My buddy Hegarty posted it on his blog along with the lead graphic that I've replicated.


Although I believe some drugs and treatments really are too expensive, I responded to his post with this comment:

"My grandma's life was saved by Rituxan in 2003, a biologic drug developed by Genentech that is very expensive. She's lived 6+ years since and we joke that she has the energy of a teenager. Since 2003, she has had 7 great grandchildren come into this world, provided care to my grandpa during health problems and has greatly enriched many lives.

Sometimes it's helpful to put a face on a debate."

Wal-Mart Goes Green

Lauren Novita sent me a great article about how Wal-Mart will mandate suppliers calculate the environmental cost of products. Very progressive move by the big dog. Love seeing it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Chill Music (July 17, 2009)

Excellent week in the books. I'm looking forward to a weekend at home after all the recent travel. Sure it was fun, but there's no substitute for your own bed, right?

First up are the Silversun Pickups with Lazy Eye. I love this band and need to check out their newest album. Lazy Eye is off their excellent last album.

Next is Neko Case's cover of Bob Dylan's Bucket of Rain. I'm still not quite over seeing Neko in concert a few months ago. She released an iTunes Original album this week. She does a bunch of songs in their studio and it's excellent.

My newest album purchase besides Neko is the Dirty Projectors. It's awesome. Here's a quieter song from their new album called Two Doves.

The Shins are one of my favorite bands and her is a great mellow song called Past & Pending.

Finally, just an outstanding song by Bob Seger called Night Moves. I'm a huge fan, hope you are too.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Evil Queen Magda

Mark Lisanti turned me on to a funny blogger named Evil Queen Magda about six months ago. Her tagline used to be "Now with 30% More Evil," which I found hilarious. I typically reblog her commentary on her dating life for the LuvvBugg Blog. Here's one of my favorites about "how not to pick up a girl jogging besides you."

Every once in a while she mixes in a short story and she's been doing it much more frequently lately so I thought I would give you, Dear Reader, a heads up. It turns out she's a professional writer and she knocks out some really good stuff. I liked her most recent piece, Exit Aisle and I'll reprint it below. She had another good one, among many, called Terminal which you should check out too. Enjoy!

Exit Aisle

She heard the electricity crackle and looked up at the wires. It was unexpected; she associated this crackle with some place rural. Some place where telephone poles interrupted the landscape. In the dark, the hum drew her attention to the space above and she winced as the base of her head met the top of her shoulders.

She had woken with a headache behind her left eye so strong that it had muscled into her dreams. It was a typical plane-going-down-everyone-into-the-life-rafts scenario, but she awoke more alarmed by R’s presence than the (recurring) theme of near death. It seemed that her subconscious couldn’t be trusted. The conscious, at least, she could beat into submission, beat like the tiny mental box into which she placed her feelings. This imaginary box was metal with latches, and she’d hit those latches with a metaphorical hammer so that they would be too mangled to pry open. Except, it seemed, in case of emergency. When the plane was going down, those latches would spring open and out he would pop. The Jack-in-the-box of things better left unsaid.

The left side of her head still throbbed. Pain, thick like dish soap, rolled through her skull as she stared at the wires. Maybe they were the culprit. Maybe those nutjobs who believed that people should live in yurts, as far away from microwave rays and cell phone radiation as possible, were onto something. Maybe she could blame the electricity for her headache, could blame the tangle of wires for the way the latches malfunctioned.

She briefly considered taking an axe to the telephone pole, but that was the irritation of the headache talking. Instead, she resolved to replace the metaphorical hammer with a metaphorical axe.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Whales & Humans

Fantastic article in New York Magazine by Charles Siebert on Whales and the way they interact with humans. I've always been fascinated by Whales and it's really interesting that their brains have the capability for cognitive thought, much like humans. The kicker is they got there 15 million years before we did.

I highly recommend the article, one of the best I've read this year. My friends Alex Bain and Papilicous posted on the article with Alex writing an insightful bullet point breakdown of the article.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Paychecks

"The paycheck has returned as the primary source of spending." - Mort Zuckerman, editorial in the Wall Street Journal.

What a novel concept? No more asset bubbles to borrow from the future against. It's paycheck time and I think that's really good for the long term future of the United States.

This is a great editorial. Another part I liked was when Zuckerman discussed the phantom jobs the government often adds to the Employment Report.

"- June's total assumed 185,000 people at work who probably were not. The government could not identify them; it made an assumption about trends. But many of the mythical jobs are in industries that have absolutely no job creation, e.g., finance. When the official numbers are adjusted over the next several months, June will look worse."

It's based on what they call the "birth/death" model, where the goverment basically adds or subtracts jobs that don't exist based on where they think we are in the business cycle. Lately, the birth/death model has been adding about 200k jobs a month, greatly minimizing the Unemployment problem we have in the country. Just another statistical trick thought up by a government agency that makes real problems harder to recognize.

Ill Conceived Home Loans

Funny stuff that I found on Bain's Favorites:

"Thanks, Americans. Your years of massive, ill-conceived home loans have made it impossible for me to get a massive, ill-conceived home loan." - ScottSimpson

A Softer World

There's something about the A Softer World photo blog that just works. The photo's are cool and interesting and the captions drop some knowledge or make you think.
I've been posting a lot of them on the LuvvBugg Blog (which you should check out daily and even submit funny articles or comments to - LuvvBugg@tumblr.com). But I wanted to give A Softer World some Kenny Kellogg love because it's legit and it usually makes my day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Chill Music (July 10, 2009)

Due to the technical difficulties at Kenny K this year, we're a little slow on the Friday Chill Music.

First up is John Hamilton's cool summer mix. There is a lot of new music on it and I really liked a lot of the stuff. I'm listening to it right now as I type.


Next is a cool video from Bon Iver's performance at Outside Lands last year. The song featured is the Wolves and the chorus goes, "What might have been lost..." The Author of Fuel for Friends, Heather Browne, posted this clip because Bon Iver was able to get the whole audience to sing a long. Pretty cool stuff and can't wait to see them in Oakland in September. Btw, Sasha Frere Jones of the New Yorker nails what is so cool about the chorus, "what might have been lost":

"The recorded version doesn’t approach the ruckus that Bon Iver made that evening; as we all sang along, the band pounded harder and harder, blending in little eddies of feedback and clatter. Those words are what get me—joined with melody, they seem like a summary of the entire album, especially with that highly conditional “might.” Trying to keep track of everything lost? Or celebrating what wasn’t? When the band was done, and the crowd had filed out, I was still in my seat." - Jones


Finally, the ladies at I'm All Ears posted two new great songs. The first is called Embrace and it's by PNAU. It has an amazing beat and it just feels right. The second is a new Jim James song, (or Yim Yames) as they call him. It's mellow and I listened to it a couple of times last night. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Apologies for the Tech Difficulties

Unfortunately KennyKellogg hasn't been available the last 24 hours. It took me a while to figure it out and Ashish finally found the problem for me. Apparently Google changed their hosting methodology and yours truly, not exactly a tech pro, had to figure out how to change the hosting address. Through trial and tribulation, I got it done and KennyKellogg is back up and running.

Thanks for your patience, sorry about the hassle.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mayer's Human Nature

Call me sensitive, but I liked this.

One Sequinned Glove

via Matt Belloni who is covering the funeral

Life. Support. Music.

PBS is featuring musician, stroke survivor, and AVMSurvivors.org member Jason Crigler in their POV series. The film is called Life. Support. Music. and it should be airing on Tuesday, July 7th but check your local listing for times and this PBS site for details.


Eric Metzgar, the filmaker, tracks a New York musician (Jason Crigler) as he remarkably recovers from a devastating (AVM) brain injury. In Eric's words, "the film speaks to anyone facing a difficult medical crisis."


I've pasted in the trailer, which looks really cool, in below. Here are some quick reviews:


"Phenomenal" - Boston Globe

"Miraculous" - Aspen Post

"Transcends one's perceptions of medicine, music, and even miracles" - indieWIRE

"A film that has caught the fancy of critics around the globe...an inspiration to thousands" - Concord Monitor



Monday, July 6, 2009

The Times on Tweedy

Thanks to Matt Belloni for sending along the NY Times on Jeff Tweedy & Wilco. Great article. My favorite quote was:

"At the Wiltern, Wilco demonstrated that its two main threads of musical tradition — roots music and full-tilt experimentation — make for a grand live act. Watching the current lineup kick into gear is like seeing an enormous steam shovel rear to life. During a sprawling two-and-a-half hour set Mr. Tweedy seemed to be having it both ways: loping singalongs framed by over-the-top shredding, reverence alleviated by goofiness."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The 4th

From the Sports Guy via Alex Bain's Favorites:

"The 4th of July is like one super-slow home run trot around the bases as the English stare us down from the mound. Suck it, England!"

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Jack Handey's The Plan

It's 4th of July weekend and I'm chilling in Donner so I thought I would post this funny article called The Plan by Jack Handey. I found it via Dick Costolo's twitter feed. Funny stuff.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Chill Music (July 3, 2009)

Off to Tahoe for the holiday weekend and can't wait. Last week I got to see one of my favorite bands, Wilco, in concert at the Greek and they played one of the best setlists I've ever seen at a concert, by anyone. Here's a great photostream I found on Flickr from the show.

My favorite song on the new album is One Wing. I wish it went on for another 2 minutes. Maybe as they get used to playing it live, they'll stretch it out a little bit.

Muzzle of Bees is one of my favorite B-Sides and it was the second song they played. So smooth and I love when the guitars kick in. When they played this, I knew it would be a great show.

Thirteen is a song they didn't play but I really love it.

Wilco the Song is another great new one. The guitars are really sharp.

California Stars is always one of the best sing-a-longs. There's something magical about staring up at the stars at the Greek and singing this with Tweedy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wide Awake

Sensational interview with Paul Samuelson, a legend in Macroeconomics. One of the best interviews I've read this year. My favorite quote:


"By the way, I don't want you to think that I think that everything for the next 15 years will be cozy. I think it's almost inevitable that, with a billion people in China wide awake for the first time, and a billion people in India, there's going to be some kind of a terrible run against the dollar. And I doubt it can stay orderly, because all of our own hedge funds will be right in the vanguard of the operation. And it will be hard to imagine that that wouldn't create different kind of meltdown."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009