Friday, October 29, 2010

Steve Perry Sing-A-Long

Some good San Francisco pride here. Steve Perry of Journey leading the crowd in a sing-a-long of "Lights."

Friday Chill Music (October 29, 2010)

Stuff I've been listening to lately, with a big tip of the cap to Kenna for some good suggestions.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Off & Away

Quick plug for a new travel site, Off & Away. My buddy, Mike Walton, is one of the founders and he was kind enough to invite us to his fundraising party a few weeks back. We had a blast and I'm so excited that he has a long cash runway!

For Off & Away newbies, the way it works is you buy bids to participate in an auction for ultra cheap, but nice hotels. It's a "loss leader" of sorts. If you win the auction, you just got an incredible deal. If you lose, you can apply the $'s you spent on bids to your next hotel purchase. So you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

Warning, these auctions get really addictive. I spent 45 minutes in a Subway in Indianapolis, bidding like crazy against another person. Not easy to pull yourself away!

P.S. for you psychobiology nerds out there, Off & Away is an application of one of Cialdini's Principles of Persuasion - Committment. I highly recommend you read this book. One of the most important concepts I was introduced to at Kellogg.

Boba Fett's Invoice

Reblogged from Undefeated, better known as Cameron from JibJab.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rent Control in SF

I feel bad for my landlord. Because of San Francisco rent control laws, he's only able to raise my rent 0.1%, or $1.65, this year. Wow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mark Cuban on Aggregators vs. A La Carte

Amazing observation by Mark Cuban on Internet Business Models and what that means for TV.

"Look at the most successful business models on the net. All aggregators of content of one type or another.
Now take a look at all the folks who want to be able to just want to watch what they want, when they want to watch it , where and on the device they want to watch it. They want TV Networks to go ala carte.
Look at the companies who want to try to disrupt TV. What are they all trying to convince the TV networks and content providers to do ? They are trying to convince them to go ala carte. They are trying to convince them to go to a business model that assures their destruction.
Explain to me why they would want to do that ?
My Rule Of Thumb for disruption in the digital world:
Aggregators disrupt ala carte . Aggregators don’t disrupt Aggregators, they compete with them."
P.S. The reason that Aggregators on the Internet beat a la carte is 1) Aggregating has low costs because everything is a bit, and 2) Aggregators almost always subsidize their business with a revenue stream that is unreachable by the A La Carte provider. It's very hard to charge someone something directly on the Internet, but aggregating a crowd makes it easy to find a subsidy that can be very profitable.

Seth Godin on Politics

Really interesting observation on politics and candidates from Seth Godin.

"Thus, as media moves from TV-driven to attention-driven, we're going to see more outliers, more renegades and more angry people driving agendas and getting elected. I figure this will continue until other voices earn enough permission from the electorate to coordinate getting out the vote, communicating through private channels like email and creating tribes of people to spread the word. (And they need to learn not to waste this permission hassling their supporters for money).

Mass media is dying, and it appears that mass politicians are endangered as well."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Neat Vacation Film

Blown away by the creativity in this vacation film by Mike Matas. The soundtrack is great too. Don't be afraid to click through so you see it as big as possible.

Morocco & Spain from Mike Matas on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bridge School Benefit 2010

Pearl Jam Walk With Me with Neil Young Bridge School 2010

Favorite song of Bridge School Benefit last night. Goosebumps moment at the end with Neil. (video picture isn't great but sound is fine)

What We Look for in Founders

Another great Paul Graham article. One of many terrific quotes in his latest editorial. 

This has turned out to be the most important quality in startup founders. We thought when we started Y Combinator that the most important quality would be intelligence. That's the myth in the Valley. And certainly you don't want founders to be stupid. But as long as you're over a certain threshold of intelligence, what matters most is determination. You're going to hit a lot of obstacles. You can't be the sort of person who gets demoralized easily."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cool Photos

I have about five really cool photo blogs that I read regularly but I'd like to double that number. If you enjoy photoblogs and have a few recs, would you mind leaving the URL's in the comments. I'll share the recs down the line.

P.S. love this picture via Daily Dose of Imagery

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Insight or a Benefit?

Reading Tim Calkins latest blog post on Microsoft's new Windows Mobile commercial made me feel like I was back at Kellogg, in a good way.

First the commercial:

Then a portion of Calkins' analysis:

"In the new spot, Microsoft highlights a basic problem with smart phones; they are simply too engaging.  People with smart phones have a tendency to tune out the people around them.  This can be incredibly frustrating.  Almost everyone has had the experience of talking with someone only to have them look down in the middle of the conversation to check the phone.   This is a rather deflating moment.  The clear message:  my phone is far more interesting than this conversation.  The feeling is captured beautifully in the spot: “Really?” 

There is a difference, of course, between an insight and a benefit.  An insight is a bit of knowledge about how people think and act.  A benefit is a reason to use a product or service.
The big question now is whether Microsoft can use the insight to deliver a benefit.  I think this will be hard. "

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paul Graham on the VC Industry

Fascinating article on the venture capital industry from Paul Graham of Y Combinator. I highly recommend a read even if you are nowhere near the startup or technology ecosystem. A lot to learn here.

"The fact that super-angels invest other people's money makes them doubly alarming to VCs. They don't just compete for startups; they also compete for investors. What super-angels really are is a new form of fast-moving, lightweight VC fund. And those of us in the technology world know what usually happens when something comes along that can be described in terms like that. Usually it's the replacement."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Acoustic Vanderlyle, Crybaby, Cry

Terrific video of the National playing an acoustic version of Vanderlyle, Crybaby, Cry to finish out their Denver concert. Courtesy of I Am Fuel, You Are Friends blog.

Monday, October 18, 2010

U.S. About to Overtake China in Treasury Holdings

graphic via paul kedrosky.

The only thing worse than having China own most of our Treasury Bonds is having the Fed print paper to buy them. This is pure, unadulterated money printing. It's not good.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Chill Music (October 15, 2010)

One of my favorite features of is that after you finish listening to your mix, you roll into another mix. I've discovered some cool mixes this way including this one, called "Two Voices are Better Than One", which I'm making this week's Friday Chill Music.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Common Cold

Terrific article linked to by Alex Bain on the Common Cold and our immune response to it. This is interesting to me because I get sick A LOT. It's common knowledge among my friends and family and I take a lot of ribbing for it (and have a lot of unwanted downtime). I've always thought it was because I had really bad asthma as a kid and maybe my immune system was compromised (or maybe the compromised immune system led to asthma?). This article gave me hope though. It seems to be saying that maybe I'm more susceptible to colds because my immune system is actually active. Pretty neat if it's true. There are some doctors who read this blog, what do you think?

"Here was a new insight in cold science: the symptoms are caused not by the virus but by its host — by the body’s inflammatory response. Chemical agents manufactured by our immune system inflame our cells and tissues, causing our nose to run and our throat to swell. The enemy is us.
Indeed, it’s possible to create the full storm of cold symptoms with no cold virus at all, but only a potent cocktail of the so-called inflammatory mediators that the body makes itself — among them, cytokines, kinins, prostaglandins and interleukins, powerful little chemical messengers that cause the blood vessels in the nose to dilate and leak, stimulate the secretion of mucus, activate sneeze and cough reflexes and set off pain in our nerve fibers.
So susceptibility to cold symptoms is not a sign of a weakened immune system, but quite the opposite. And if you’re looking to quell those symptoms, strengthening your immune system may be counterproductive. It could aggravate the symptoms by amplifying the very inflammatory agents that cause them."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dr. Mark Savant Helping Out

My amazing Doctor, Mark Savant, helping us out with video messages to the Ben's Friends Network.

P.S. We're raising money for Ben's Friends patient networks. The excuse is John Stamler's NY Marathon, which he is running 6 months after open heart surgery. If you can spare a little cash, we'd appreciate it. For what it's worth, we've already had $1,400+ of contributions. Many of these donations have been anonymous so I can't thank you directly. Please know that I'm so grateful and so are the people on the networks. I get 5 -10 emotional thank you's a day just because they exist. I'll figure out a way to pass them onto the anonymous donors. Thanks again!

Banksy on the Simpsons

In case you haven't seen it, Banksy, the Graffiti artist, made a really cool intro to the Simpson's on Sunday night. It actually get's a little sad, but it's worth seeing, and I thought it was brilliant. Especially the Unicorn.

The NY Times followed up with a really neat interview of the Simpsons showrunner on how they found Banksy. Thanks to Alex Bain Favorites for the tip.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Marco Arment on the Pipeline Podcast

Terrific podcast from the Pipeline interviewing Marco Arment. He's the creator of Tumblr (which hosts the Ben's Friend's Blog) & Instapaper, two of my favorite Internet services. He says some really profound things about commuting and office work and bursts of creativity. He believes they're often at odds with each other and I can relate.

Marco also has some great perspective on product design & simplicity. He said something to the effect of, "I really enjoy a few things, and I try to be a power user in the things I enjoy," which I thought was a great mentality. If there is something you really enjoy, you should evangelize, give feedback and generally make an effort to improve this thing that you enjoy. Pretty neat perspective.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Please Help Support Us

"at times a feel cheated, and wish i could be someone else, its hard knowing that there is no cure and life carries on...

all i can say, is the support on here is what keeps me going, and not so alone, i wont to start a coffee group in my home town, for people with brain disorders, as there isnt any support for people here, and just to help eachother, have a sounding board, have backup support system for people who dont have anyone to turn to."

A note sent to me from a Chiari Support Member. I find it inspirational that in the darkest of times for some people, they only think about helping other people.

We're raising money for Ben's Friends Support Groups. We've grown so quickly that we're having hard time supporting all the networks ourselves financially. If you'd like to contribute, here is another amazing person that is raising money for us. We'd be grateful for the support and so would the 6,000+ patients we serve.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

generic1: The World According to San Francisco. I was...



The World According to San Francisco.

I was distractedly editing this in a coffeeshop and a guy leaned over and said, "I'm going to Cocaine this week."

I was so confused for a second.

Sent with Reeder

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Chill Music (October 8, 2010)

Sorry it's so late this week. I took these songs directly off of my Pandora station, which I've been listening to a lot lately.

From My Roof

Steve Perry on KNBR

Awesome interview with Steve Perry from Journey on KNBR today. It's safe to say that the Bay Area has Giant's feaver. Especially after last night's game. Steve Perry goes to a ton of games and is a huge fan. Last week he led the crowd in an impromtu version of Don't Stop Believin'. I loved this interview. Go Giants!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Seth Godin's Present to Me

Regular readers know that I love reading Seth Godin's marketing blog and that I read his books immediately when they come out. In fact, Tribes was the catalyst for the Ben's Friends patient support networks. At the time, Ben and I were messing around with one network (AVM Survivors Support) when I read Tribes. I sent the book to Ben in Austin the next day. He called me back 48 hours later and said, "let's do this." The next day we decided to start two more networks and see how many we could start. We owe a lot of it to Seth.

But Seth keeps giving. Yesterday I came home to find a package on my doorstep and in the package was this book by Lisa Gansky called The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing. Seth enclosed a letter that said (paraphrasing), "Hey Lynchpin (a term for a go-getter in his last book), I was thinking of you and thought you would like this book by my friend Lisa. If you like it, pass it on, then ship (produce) something."

Well, I can't wait to read the book, but Seth, if you are reading this, I have good news. We are already "shipping" something. We're changing a lot of patients' lives for the better, all because you wrote Tribes and I was lucky enough to read it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Slow News Day

Not sure if I've been busier so there has been less time to read, or I just haven't come across interesting things recently, but it's a slow news day here at Kenny Kellogg Headquarters, so i'll just post one of my favorite current songs.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Procrastination in the New Yorker

Fascinating article on procrastination by James Surowiecki in the New Yorker.

"Dan Ariely, a psychologist at M.I.T., did a fascinating experiment examining one of the most basic external tools for dealing with procrastination: deadlines. Students in a class were assigned three papers for the semester, and they were given a choice: they could set separate deadlines for when they had to hand in each of the papers or they could hand them all in together at the end of the semester. There was no benefit to handing the papers in early, since they were all going to be graded at semester’s end, and there was a potential cost to setting the deadlines, since if you missed a deadline your grade would be docked. So the rational thing to do was to hand in all the papers at the end of the semester; that way you’d be free to write the papers sooner but not at risk of a penalty if you didn’t get around to it. Yet most of the students chose to set separate deadlines for each paper, precisely because they knew that they were otherwise unlikely to get around to working on the papers early, which meant they ran the risk of not finishing all three by the end of the semester. This is the essence of the extended will: instead of trusting themselves, the students relied on an outside tool to make themselves do what they actually wanted to do."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Giant's Did It!

It's been a really fun season to be a Giant's fan. So glad they made it to the playoffs.
Click through the picture to get to the video of the Giant's clinching it, courtesy of my buddy Scott Barrett who was at the game.

Friday, October 1, 2010

JibJab's Halloween Rap

Amazing. My nieces love JibJab

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Great Salt Lake

Still riding high from last week's concert. This song was my favorite. The guitars are magical.

Friday Chill Music (October 1, 2010)

Some picks from Sunday Morning 11. If I do my math right, I made this mix in 2007.