Monday, August 31, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Perfect Night in Golden Gate with Pearl Jam

Did I Mention...

...that I'm seeing Pearl Jam tonight at Outside Lands?

Running along the beah in Santa Monica on Friday Morning

Friday Chill Music (August 28, 2009)

This week's music post is inspired by the great article posted by Give Me Something to Read called Grownup's Guide to Indie Rock by DJ Palladino. It's a celebration of all things Indie and a lot of the bands covered appear here frequently (look how cool I am!). My favorite quote:

"What’s maybe best about indie rock is its bargain-basement passions: An “expensive” ticket goes for $20. Even here in town, a show like the recent A.C. Newman appearance at SOhO was $12. Pittsburgh’s Black Moth Super Rainbow charged producers $300 to play I.V. Theater just two years ago. Thus, a turnout of more than 50 kids can be considered a successful show. Beach House played at Muddy Waters, pushing the place to its structural limits with around a hundred kids. Though SOhO’s Zamir said it was a nerve-wracking risk to book some of these bands — she dreamed of bringing Animal Collective — she also admitted that all the bands came close to selling out the 300-capacity venue. I saw Arcade Fire at L.A.’s Troubadour for $15 four years ago, practically standing in the band’s lap, with Beck staring open-mouthed next to me. It was the kind of transcendent experience live rock promises but can’t deliver reliably when the players are millionaires performing in arenas."

Wilco - Everlasting. This has become one of my favorite songs on the new album. Especially the soft, hopeful guitar playing at the end.

The Shins - Past & Pending. A great B-side. I'll never forget seeing the Shins in a beaten down venue in the middle of winter in Chicago. Winter had ceased to be cute and we took a cab from Mercer's apartment to next to nowhere. Inside, the ceiling looked like it would cave in any moment and the coat racks were impossibly full so we through our jackets in the corner and let lose. But we were seeing the Shins first show in support of their new album, and it was amazing.

Fleet Foxes - He Doesn't Know Why. One of my favorite bands of the last few years and magical concerts at the Fillmore and the Fox. Exactly the kind of show the author talks about in the Indie article.

Cat Power - The Moon. I saw her at the Roundhouse in Camden while studying abroad in London. It's a part of town that reminded me of Berkeley, with it's perfect arrangement of clutter and heart. The Roundhouse's smooth circular shape is an architect's response to the chaos of Camden, and somehow it fits perfectly. I waited to hear Cat Power sing The Moon all night and she played it second to last. That's the beauty of Cat Power, of Camden, and of all these Indie bands, you're never sure what you will get, but somehow, they come through for you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lewis vs. Paulson & Bernanke

Great Atlantic article sent in by Taylor Meyer on BofA's Ken Lewis vs. the Government's Hank Paulson & Ben Bernanke. Another must read.


"A moment later, after some reflection, he added, “But it also sounds an awful lot like what happens in a banana republic or in Putin’s Russia, when the captains of industry did favors for the government in exchange for economic subsidies. How do you stop from going down the slippery slope and becoming like Putin’s Russia?”"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Excellent Healthcare Post

Excellent post on Healthcare in Australia by Bronte Capital. It's a serious post and well worth the read. My favorite line cut to the chase though:
"Still – on most measures – the Australian system is a resounding success. The cost (proportion of GDP, dollars) is about half the USA – but the outcomes are better across the board. And that is not diet or lifestyle related. Australians are almost as fat as Americans."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bill Gurley on What's Happening to Venture Capital

Great post by Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital, one of the best VC funds in the world, on what is really happening to the Venture Capital Asset Class (and Private Equity in general). Must read if you are interested in the subject.

Monday, August 24, 2009

MIT's Profile of Me

Really cool Personas App by MIT of "who you are on the web." This is my profile below and it's pretty accurate, although I don't know what Aggression stands for.
Just for kicks, I ran the profile of Kenny Kellogg, my online alter-ego. Here's what it came up with:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Chill Music (August 21, 2009)

Time is short this week so here is a quick mix of stuff I've been listening to this week. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bolt in the 200

Greenback Emissions

Terrific Op Ed by Warren Buffet in the NY Times. He talks about the invisible tax of inflation, and how Congress and the Fed have chosen that route to finance our economic problems. If you look at my Covestor page, you'll see that I have a huge allocation in precious metals for this same reason (note: precious metals are very volatile and I don't recommend this high of an allocation). Inflation is incredibly tempting to policy makers because the root cause is very difficult to trace back to them and because it's a lagging effect. Inflation takes a while to become a problem, so early on when those policies are enacted, everyone is ok with it. We're in that period right now. But soon, inflation will become a problem. Buffet does a great job of explaining it in his editorial. Here's my favorite quote, but read the whole article.

Legislators will correctly perceive that either raising taxes or cutting expenditures will threaten their re-election. To avoid this fate, they can opt for high rates of inflation, which never require a recorded vote and cannot be attributed to a specific action that any elected official takes. In fact, John Maynard Keynes long ago laid out a road map for political survival amid an economic disaster of just this sort: “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.... The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

About that board meeting yesterday

from Fake Steve Jobs. This was so funny, I teared up.


About that board meeting yesterday: "So we're supposed to figure out who should replace Eric Schmidt on our board, and every fucktard in the world has an opinion, including this guy at the TheStreet.com, who says we should get an outsider, someone truly independent. Yeah. That's gonna happen. So anyway we met yesterday, the deal was we were all supposed to bring in a name of someone we'd recommend and put our name into a hat and the old guy from J. Crew would draw them out of the hat and then we'd all say what we thought of that person. As expected, most of the board had written the name 'Tim Cook,' except Andrea Jung, who continues to go rogue at every opportunity. She'd written down 'Larry Summers,' which I guess was supposed to be provocative because, like, Summers would dare to talk back to me or something. And also Andrea just read 'Outliers' and now she's using the word 'outlier' all the time and trying to be all 'outlier' about everything she does. Whatevs. Larry Summers has as much chance of getting on our board as I have of being named to replace him as president of Yale. Not gonna happen.

Frankly I don't even think we need to replace Eric, and if we do replace him, I really don't care who we get, as long as it's someone who's a good fit with the rest of the board, meaning someone who does whatever the fuck I tell them to do and signs off on my options grants and jumps under a bus if El Jobso gets in trouble. Since I'm the boss, I got to put two names into the hat instead of just one, and mine were 'Harry Potter, Esq.' and 'Chuck E. Cheese.' Campbell laughed -- it's what he gets paid to do -- but the old guy from J. Crew said he'd never heard of 'this Cheese person' and is he an academic or something? Andrea Jung got all pissed off and said I wasn't taking this seriously at all, and I commended her for having such tremendous powers of observation. She asked me if I'd like to try again, and this time make a serious recommendation, and I said, Sure, I'd like to recommend
Diego, my gardener. Andrea told the old guy that she wanted to file a formal complaint against me, and I said I was disappointed that Andrea was opposing my motion regarding Diego, and I wondered whether this was simply because Diego is Mexican, and if that's the case, then I would like to have an official complaint of racism placed in Andrea's HR file. Andrea responded that I should print out that complaint, roll it up into a ball, and insert it into my rectum.

I was actually starting to enjoy this, but then my iPhone buzzed and I said it was really important and I had to step outside to take the call because it was my doctor, even though actually it was Katie doing our pre-planned bail-out call. I went outside and pretended to be talking about medical stuff and kind of wandered down the hall and never went back.
"

Pearl Jam's New Video Short

Thanks to John Hamilton for the post (& Joel Hopman for a link too) on this awesome Pearl Jam short movie. It's introducing the new album. The song Just Breathe sounds like a more produced version of an Into the Wild song. I loved Into the Wild so that is a major plus. I also love the look and feel of these Pearl Jam videos. The aesthetic dates back to the Single Vide Theory:


Anyways, here is the new Pearl Jam video. It's awesome.

Pearl Jam - Backspacer Short

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just Because

Education at the crossroads

Loved this Seth Godin post on Education. I've always loved learning and during summers in my childhood, I would read book after book. But because my parents didn't get 4 year degrees, the whole Higher Education system was a mystery to me. My closest brush with the academic big time, while growing up, was when I was selected to apply to a UC Berkeley advanced summer program when I was 10. I didn't get in, a hilarious story that I'll share with you sometime, and that was it. No other options outside of the books at the local library, which was too far to ride my bike to. No Internet learning, no eBooks, no Berkeley or Stanford classes on iTunes or YouTube, nothing. How's that for access?

The world has completely changed for kids nowadays. If you're curious, the world is at your fingertips. I think Seth Godin is really onto something here, because I know I would have taken advantage of these types of programs, and I think kids nowadays are no different. If you take the time to create a class filter, record classes yourself or help out with some of these programs, there will be a market for you. Amazing.


Education at the crossroads: by Seth Godin

Actually, there isn't one, there are three choices that anyone offering higher education is going to have to make.

Should this be scarce or abundant?

MIT and Stanford are starting to make classes available for free online. The marginal cost of this is pretty close to zero, so it's easy for them to share. Abundant education is easy to access and offers motivated individuals a chance to learn.

Scarcity comes from things like accreditation, admissions policies or small classrooms.

Should this be free or expensive?

Wikipedia offers the world's fact base to everyone, for free. So it spreads.

On the other hand, some bar review courses are so expensive the websites don't even have the guts to list the price.

The newly easy access to the education marketplace (you used to need a big campus and a spot in the guidance office) means that both the free and expensive options are going to be experimented with, because the number of people in the education business is going to explode (then implode).

If you think the fallout in the newspaper business was dramatic, wait until you see what happens to education.

Should this be about school or about learning?

School was the big thing for a long time. School is tests and credits and notetaking and meeting standards. Learning, on the other hand, is 'getting it'. It's the conceptual breakthrough that permits the student to understand it then move on to something else. Learning doesn't care about workbooks or long checklists.

For a while, smart people thought that school was organized to encourage learning. For a long time, though, people in the know have realized that they are fundamentally different activities.

The combinations...

Imagine a school that's built around free, abundant learning. And compare it to one that's focused on scarce, expensive schooling. Or dream up your own combination. My recent MBA program, for example, was scarce (only 9 people got to do it) and it was free and focused on learning.

Just because something is free doesn't meant there isn't money to be made. Someone could charge, for example, for custom curricula, or focused tutoring, or for a certified (scarce) degree. When a million people are taking your course, you only need 1% to pay you to be happy indeed.

Eight combinations of the three choices are available and my guess is that all eight will be tried. If I were going to wager, I'd say that the free, abundant learning combination is the one that's going to change the world.



"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mad Men Season Three: The Power Rankings

More Mark Lisanti...

Mad Men Season Three: The Power Rankings: "


Now that Mad Men's much-anticipated premiere has come and gone, leaving us as conflictingly ravished as a freshly fingerbanged comedian's wife in the bittersweet, panting moments after a lantern-jawed, emotionally detached ad man has had his way with us, Movieline would like to pause to reflect upon the happenings of last night's Season Three kick-off episode before we all return in earnest to our lives of quiet desperation. (I.e., toiling in workplaces which discourage hard-won alcoholism by cruelly refusing to provide well-stocked, in-office bars.) As everyone's favorite newly corporatized advertising agency is a place where one's status is always rising and falling, we thought it appropriate to take an inventory of where each of our Sterling Cooper Repertory Players stand following the premiere's developments, and thus are born our Mad Men Power Rankings.

"

Bolt 9.58 in the 100m

via Paul Kedrosky: Bolt 9.58 in the 100m:

This is a mind blowing performance. Since Heavyweight Boxing is such a joke now, I think the 100 yard dash is one of the purest forms of human athletic achievement we have. Race starts around the 5 min mark but I liked the buildup.

More commentary from Kedrosky below.

Meant to post this earlier today, but here is Usain Bolt from the Berlin track & field world championships setting a new world record of 9.58s in the 100m. While there was a following wind of 0.9m/s, it is still an astonishing run from someone for whom superlatives seem insufficient.

By the way, Bolt’s start in the final, while good, wasn’t his best at this year’s meet. Consider the following chart, which shows reaction times out of the blocks in the 100m final. Of the 8 sprinters, Bolt was third-slowest, making the outcome even more remarkable.

blocks

More here from Ross & Jonathan.



"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Playing Bones at Sam's

Next Great Bailout

This article by Fortune's Allan Sloan get's into the nitty gritty of Social Security and demonstrates the gigantic problem we'll have on our hands in about 10 years. Most people don't know that there is actually no money in the Social Security Trust. The U.S. Government has been spending that money for many years and has been issuing IOU's to the Trust to take the place of the cash collected from our taxes. The system is totally broken because when it comes time to pay the money owed to the current generation, the Treasury Department will have to make good on those IOU's by selling more debt to investors like China or Japan. This assumes that foreigners will be willing to fund us into perpetuity, a common assumption made by the government in its bailouts of the Financial, Auto, Insurance industries along with the existing national debt. This is not a prudent assumption and will hurt us badly someday when foreigners stop buying.

Here is my favorite quote. This is an important article in my opinion.


"The cash that Social Security has collected from my wife and me and our employers isn't sitting at Social Security. It's gone. Some went to pay benefits, some to fund the rest of the government. Since 1983, when it suffered a cash crisis, Social Security has been collecting more in taxes each year than it has paid out in benefits. It has used the excess to buy the Treasury securities that go into the trust fund, reducing the Treasury's need to raise money from investors. What happens if Social Security takes in less cash than it needs to pay benefits? Watch.
Let's say that late next year Social Security realizes that it's short the $3,486 it needs to pay my wife and me our Jan. 1, 2011, benefit. It gets that money by having the Treasury redeem $3,486 of trust fund Treasury securities. The Treasury would get the necessary cash by selling $3,486 of new Treasury securities to investors. That means that $3,486 has been moved from the national debt that the government owes itself, which almost no one cares about, to the national debt it owes investors, which almost everyone -- and certainly the bond market -- takes very seriously."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sad Hipster

Further proof that Mark Lisanti is a comedic genius.

Friday Chill Music (August 14, 2009)

It's been a nice August as the pace at work has slowed with half the world on vacation. I've been posting a lot because I've had more time to write and more importantly, read everything I can get my hands on. I hope you have enjoyed more material on Kenny Kellogg.

I've also begun to think about Sunday Morning 13, my annual chill music disc that I produce for friends. Throughout the year I stockpile songs I like and listen to them all the time. This year's list of potential songs is already in the 70's so there will be a lot of editing to get down to the inevitable 15 best. It's a lot of fun to put the disc together and you'll be getting it in early December.

Enough about me, let's get to the music.

Blind Pilot is a band I've discovered lately. Great mellow toons and I'm just starting to get into the lyrics. Here is one of my favorites, Poor Boy.

Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town is one of my favorite PJ songs and I'm ramping up my PJ listening in advance of Outside Lands. I'll be there and I hope you join me on Friday night.

Bands Like Girls With Bangs is a new music blog written by my friend Sarah. She's in the I'm All Ears music club and is on the cutting edge. I've never hear of Ha Ha Tonka and I'm not even sure why I like this song, I just do. It works.

Bone Tired is one of my favorite new Gomez songs. This guy has an amazing voice.

I've been jogging more and Closer by Kings of Leon is a great track to start a run with. It builds slowly and pumps me up in a deliberate, mysterious way. Hope you have a deliberate, mysterious weekend!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cat vs. Man

"There comes a moment in every man’s life when his cat’s blog is more popular than his own, and right now, I’m living out that timeless cliché. I’m dealing with it well, I think, but it’s served as a wake up call that I need to read more interesting articles, take great pictures in more interesting places, and perhaps ask Furio to plug my site on his from time to time."

Neverland

Great editorial by Molly Ringwald. Thanks to Matt Belloni for the heads up. My favorite quote:

"There’s a scene in “Sixteen Candles” where my character, Samantha, and Michael’s character, “the geek,” have a heart-to-heart talk. The scene lasts all of six minutes, but it took us days to film because we were all laughing too hard. John, too. He sat under the camera — his permanent place before directors retreated to the video monitor — while the assistant directors stood around rolling their eyes waiting for him to stop laughing and reprimand “the kids.” But how could he? He was one of us."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mad Men Recap

courtesy of Tim Goodman's Blog

PJ in London

Thanks to Katie from I'm All Ears for sending in this Pearl Jam article, complete with two embedded YouTube clips. The first is a rocking version of All Along the Watchtower and the second is this song, "The End", the last song off the soon to be released album.

Featuring America

In her free time, my friend Gil runs an online literary magazine called Featuring America that publishes works from emerging writers. I've found some great stuff on the site so I wanted to recommend it to you. My favorites of the current issue were Rehabilitation and Revenge. Both works focus on loss related to crime. Rehabilitation is a poem written by Mrs. Boxer about her slide beginning with abuse, going through drugs and crime and into a choice: Death or Recovery. It's written by an inmate that Gil tutors as part of her full-time job running an adult literacy
group. It's touching and I found the presentation in the form of a scanned piece of notebook paper even more impactful.
Revenge is by Mark Spinrad and explores the relationship between a mother and her son's killer. It's powerful and I highly reccomend it too.

Great job Gil!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Neandertals Article

Fascinating article on Neandertals and their relationship to modern humans in Scientific American. My favorite quote (of many):

However the Neandertals obtained their food, they needed lots of it. “Neandertals were the SUVs of the hominid world,” says paleoanthropologist Leslie Aiello of the Wenner-Gren Foundation in New York City. A number of studies aimed at estimating Neandertal metabolic rates have concluded that these archaic hominids required significantly more calories to survive than the rival moderns did.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Living With Trigeminal Neuralgia Video

I'm happy to announce that Ben Munoz and I have created a video explaining our work on the patient to patient support networks for rare diseases that we (& many others) have built over the last few years. We've been working very hard behind the scenes to help get the word out. We now have four sites:
The video below is meant to tell our story and also hopefully reach people on YouTube and other video sites who are looking for support groups for people with rare diseases. Ben did a fantastic job making it with the help of some talented professionals. This video is for Living with Trigeminal Neuralgia but there will be more coming. Enjoy the video and if you think it's good, please log in and rate it in YouTube, that will really help. Also, if you can reblog it and post it (only if you think worthy), that will be a big help too. Thanks. 
We'll have more announcements in the future about ALD Support and a new team member that has joined to help build the networks.

Jobs

“I feel like somebody just punched me in the stomach and knocked all my wind out. I’m only 30 years old and I want to have a chance to continue creating things. I know I’ve got at least one more great computer in me. And Apple is not going to give me a chance to do that." Steve Jobs via Jacks

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bonobos Primate Swimwear

The guys at Bonobos are marketing geniuses. I think they are the single most effective brand at marketing on the Internet today.

Click through to their Primate Swimwear promotion that introduces their new swimwear line for guys.

Friday, August 7, 2009

John Hughes

A tribute film to him in 1981. via Matt Ziser

Also, a touching blog post from a longtime pen pal.

Friday Chill Music (August 7, 2009)

The highlight of my week was actually last Friday when I saw Gomez play a great show at the Fillmore. It was great to watch it Andrew & Wilcox because we used to see Gomez together in our early 20's. A reunion of sorts, you could say. Corynn & Crazy Jenny were good sports as well and put up with our commentary. A great time all around.

I used 8 Tracks to put together a playlist inspired by Gomez and the bands I'll be seeing in the next month. If they're on the list, I'm seeing them.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wowsers

Longtime readers know of my crush on Christina Hendricks. Esquire profiled her this month.

Cool Quote

Great quote from Taylor Meyer via Hegs.


"You want your business partners to become friends, not your friends to become business partners."
-- Taylor Meyer, Texan

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Someecards on Cash for Clunkers

If you read my Twitter today, you know I'm pissed about missing the mile per gallon limit on the Cash for Clunkers by 1 mpg. When am I going to get a piece of the government bailout? :)

Kelli Aitchison sent this card to brighten my day, and it did.

Death of Journalism

Excellent article by Ian Shapira from the Washington Post on how aggregators are killing journalism. I'm sympathetic to the problem. The author really brings it home when he is talking about all the legwork it took to get a story and then Gawker says it took about 30 minutes to cut and paste the parts it liked.

I wish I could see a way out of this but I can't. Newspapers are partially to blame for this because they didn't invest online enough, but they also had brands that might not translate. What newspaper man outside of Rupert Murdoch would embrace the Gawker concept on a white board? Not many.

I'm all ears if people have ideas on solving the problem. One is for the Post to buy sites like Gawker, which seems the most natural. However, they may have waited too long, as their cash reserves are beginning to dwindle, witness the NY Times' sale-leaseback of their headquarters, and they're stock prices have been crushed so stock is not a good acquisition currency. They may be too far gone.

Would love to hear people's thoughts.

Stop Motion

This looks really cool. Via Molly Mutt

Monday, August 3, 2009

JibJab-ing My Roomy

If you aren't using JibJab, you are missing out. I customized it with Kristy, my roomate. This had us going crazy in our apartment.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Video

Papi posted an awesome video from his friend's wedding. It's amazing camera work and really captures the scene and emotion. This is really well done.

I post it because 1) I'm sensitive and think the content is cool, and 2) to demonstrate that there is going to be a mountain of digital video content coming online now that everyone has a Flip or iPhone. This looks professionally shot and edited, but I think it still demonstrates a huge opportunity in shooting and editing video. Huge opportunity.


/////SARAH&KURT * SDE////////////////// from Casey Warren | MIND CASTLE on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

More from Paul Graham

Another great editorial from Paul Graham. This time he uses Segway as an example of an overfunded company that had so much capital it didn't have to listen to customers.


"Curiously enough, what got Segway into this problem was that the company was itself a kind of Segway. It was too easy for them; they were too successful raising money. If they'd had to grow the company gradually, by iterating through several versions they sold to real users, they'd have learned pretty quickly that people looked stupid riding them. Instead they had enough to work in secret. They had focus groups aplenty, I'm sure, but they didn't have the people yelling insults out of cars. So they never realized they were zooming confidently down a blind alley."