Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nopa in San Francisco

Took this shot Saturday night outside one of my favorite San Francisco Restaurants, Nopa. Vanessa and I went to dinner with Dan & Katherine before seeing Jackie Greene at the Fillmore. Nopa's food is terrific (we had burgers), the cocktails are refreshing (Noah's Mill on the rocks for me) and the atmosphere is city cool.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sonoma Wine Tasting

On Friday I took a trip to Sonoma Wine Country with three lovely ladies.

We went to Gary Farrell, which I think makes the best Pinot Noir around and enjoyed the incredible view from the tasting room. I blew it by not taking any pictures there. You'll just have to go there yourself.

Then we went to Yoakim Bridge, a family owned winery run by Virginia. She's a ton of fun and Yoakim's wine is a reflection of her and husband. My favorites are Yoakim's Cuvee and Zinfandels but everything they make is really good.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

jakeandamir: Sometimes I think about my amazing family/friends and I get so happy... Then my fantasy football team loses by 2 and that all goes away.

Alex's "favorites"

TGI Friday's, the first singles bar

Loved this article. Great example of a little cultural innovation that made everyone a little better off. 

Over at Edible Geography, Nicola Twilley has a fascinating interview with Alan Stillman, the founder of TGI Friday's and Smith & Wollensky. Stillman started Friday's because, essentially, he was interested in meeting girls.

I wanted T.G.I. Friday's to feel like a neighbourhood, corner bar, where you could get a good hamburger, good french fries, and feel comfortable. At the time, it was a sophisticated hamburger and french fry place -- apparently, I invented the idea of serving burgers on a toasted English muffin -- but the principle involved was to make people feel that they were going to someone's apartment for a cocktail party.

The food eventually played a larger role than I imagined it would, because a lot of the girls didn't have enough money to stretch from one paycheque to the other, so I became the purveyor of free hamburgers at the end of the month.

I don't think there was anything else like it at the time. Before T.G.I. Friday's, four single twenty-five year-old girls were not going out on Friday nights, in public and with each other, to have a good time. They went to people's apartments for cocktail parties or they might go to a real restaurant for a date or for somebody's birthday, but they weren't going out with each other to a bar for a casual dinner and drinks because there was no such place for them to go.

Blueberry Pancakes

Polkers on Polk St makes the best blueberry pancakes.

Dr. Brian Baker turned me onto them. Thinking of you buddy. Hope Atlanta is treating you well!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

No Problem Donna

Another month, another patient support network on the Ben's Friends network. This time for Psoriatic Arthritis Support. Donna heard about us and emailed two weeks ago to see if we would start a network for her condition. No problem Donna. :)

btw - we're writing a blog post about patient support every couple of days. Add us to your reader and follow us if you are on Tumblr. :)

Friday Chill Music (Saturday, November 27, 2010)

In my hurry to relax over the Thanksgiving break, I forgot to post Friday tunes. Luckily my good buddy, Kenna at TwoNiner on Tumblr, posted an epic road trip playlist titled GL to FL. No doubt he was driving home to Florida from Atlanta.

Kenna - I hope the bathrooms were clean, the roadside coffee strong and that Trucker slept the whole way.

When you criticize my choices...

Awesome post by Seth Godin. I need to do remember this.

"Far more effective, I think, to congratulate the judgment of your prospect based on the information they had at the time, or the goals they had at the time or the resources they had at the time. In fact, it's almost certainly true that given the information, goals and resources they had when they made the decision, they did exactly the right thing.

Then, because things change, it's totally okay to make a new decision based on new information, goals and resources.

Tell me about how things changed. Don't tell me I was an idiot."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Earning The Turkey

Brilliant ride this morning with Hegs and Vanessa. Felt like we were on top of the world but it wasn't easy to get there. San Francisco couldn't look any better than from the Marin hills.

Btw - Happy Thanksgiving! Appreciate the readership and all the comments and ideas.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nels Cline Singers

Terrific live guitar jazz session by Nels Cline Singers on NPR. Nels Cline's day job is to be the lead guitarist of Wilco and he is amazing at it. This session was a departure from his usual blistering solos. Just a bunch of smooth jazz guitar-ing. It's a delight to listen to.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The XX

Just cause...

Please Consider Donating to Ben's Friends

71 people have donated $7k+ to our rare disease patient networks so far. If life is good for you, and you have a lot to be thankful for, please consider donating. We are running 24 networks now and the costs are considerable. We need to raise $15k to get through 2011. A donation would really help us 

Professor Busting Class on Cheating

Pretty intense video from kottke.org of a Professor busting his class for cheating after doing a bunch of stats on the test results.

"Using statistical analysis, University of Central Florida professor Richard Quinn determined that dozens of students had cheated on a test, told them in a lecture (video below), and over 200 students confessed after the lecture."

Monday, November 22, 2010

How Much Equity in a Startup?

Terrific article by Fred Wilson on how much equity an employee should get in a startup. This is a question that I get a lot from friends who are going to startups. It's always really tough to answer, especially because my age group is typically at the Senior Manager, maybe Director level. There's less visibility into equity grants at those levels and often the company hiring them won't say how many shares are out or what the valuation of the company is.

Fred's methodology relies on "equity dollars at work" and it's pretty solid. Read his post because it's a little too complicated to summarize here. Again, some of these inputs will be hard to get if you are interviewing but push for them. You should be able to get some ballpark figures.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Chill Music (November 19, 2010)

Some old favorites this week. Hope you enjoy!

(P.S. that's Bono singing with Eddie on Rocking in the Free World)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Your Highness Trailer

Looks ridiculously funny and Natalie Portman makes an appearance in a g-string. I will be there opening night.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Great Line on Entrepreneurship

Great line below on coping with fear and uncertainty in entrepreneurship by Matt McCall. Loved the whole piece but I think this was the best advice.

"appreciate and accept the possibility of the worst case...the Samurai's would accept death first and then enter battle with no fear."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meet the New Enterprise Customer, He’s a Lot Like the Old Enterprise Customer

Excellent post on selling to large organizations. This quote jumped out at me because it explains the value of good salespeople. However, the whole article is a great read. 

"Often these processes are so complex that almost nobody inside the company knows how they work. Excellent enterprise sales reps will guide a company through their own purchasing processes. Without an enterprise sales rep, many companies literally do not know how to buy new technology products. A top notch enterprise sales person not only knows her customer's process better than the customer, but will be skilled at characterizing the value of her product to each decision maker independently. This will involve product demonstrations, proof of concepts, complete return on investment analysis and even competitive positioning. The sales rep will work with the various constituents to help characterize the value proposition their management teams."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

San Francisco From My Roof

Alone in Tokyo

Cool video and the music adds a lot. I love videos like this that capture traveling and foreign places in a really creative way.

Alone in Tokyo HD from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fred Larson's Mystical Photography

Article: 1.0 Is the Loneliest Number — Matt Mullenweg

Just a fantastic blog post. Must read if you are an entrepreneur in any industry. 

1.0 Is the Loneliest Number — Matt Mullenweg

Usage is like oxygen for ideas. You can never fully anticipate how an audience is going to react to something you've created until it's out there. That means every moment you're working on something without it being in the public it's actually dying, deprived of the oxygen of the real world

(via Instapaper)

Article: Why Making Dinner Is a Good Idea | Wired Science | Wired.com

Fascinating article on effort in food preparation and how it affects consumption.

Why Making Dinner Is a Good Idea | Wired Science | Wired.com

"But maybe we're not just consuming more calories because they're available at such a low cost. Maybe we're also consuming more calories because each calorie gives us less pleasure. The lesson of those lever-pressing mice, after all, is that when we don't work for our food — when it only requires a single press, or a few whirls of the microwave — it tastes much less delicious."

(via Instapaper)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sivers & Jobs

Fantastic post by Derek Sivers on the Day Steve Jobs Dissed Him. It's great on many levels. Check it.

"By iTunes saying they wanted everything, then their competitors needing to keep up, we were in! Since the summer of 2003, every musician everywhere can sell all their music in almost every outlet online. Do you realize how amazing that is?
But there was one problem.
iTunes wasn't getting back to us.
Yahoo, Rhapsody, Napster and the rest were all up and running. ButiTunes wasn't returning our signed contract.
Was it because I posted my meeting notes?
Had I pissed-off Steve Jobs?
Nobody at Apple would say anything. It had been months..."

Friday Chill Music (November 12, 2010)

Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shirky on Paywalls

Awesome article by Clay Shirky on The Times paywall. It's a great read by one of my favorite tech writers and there is lot's of good stuff about newspapers and newsletters, etc. However, my favorite quote is really a throw away comment on Twitter & Facebook.

"As of July, non-subscribers can no longer read Times stories forwarded by colleagues or friends, nor can they read stories linked to from Facebook or Twitter. As a result, links to Times stories now rarely circulate in those media. "

Twitter & Facebook have now achieved what Google's Search Engine achieved - The Distribution Channel is more powerful than the Content. For a long time, those services needed the Content so that they would be viable. NY Times articles in your Facebook Feed again and again taught the user to believe that they could get their news from Facebook. The Internet services piggybacked on the Content but now they are too powerful to opp out of. That was always the Newspapers' problem with Google. If you blocked Google from crawling your site, you killed your site because Google referred the most traffic on the web. Even worse, Google just pushed that traffic to one of your competitors. Well, that's the new reality with Twitter & Facebook, so now the 3 biggest traffic referrers on the web (I think they are top 3 but if not, they will be next year) have channels that 1) Demand free, and 2) You can't opt out of.

In a few short years, things have actually gotten worse for Paid Content.

P.S. Apple is the only Referrer (I'm using this loosely) that is not free and still likes transactions.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adam Carolla's New Book

Alex Bain turned me onto Adam Carolla's podcasts and I even went and saw him live last year. He was amazing and I've been hooked ever since. The podcast is free and he has only a few sponsors so I wanted to buy his book to support him. If you click through this link to buy the book, you'll support him and any affiliate fees I get will go to Ben's Friends Patient Support Sites.

Same with Me

“I didn’t really have any aspirations except to be really good looking. And that was accomplished years ago, and it’s still the mainstay.”

Zach Galifianakis

Reblog: Why Ping Matters

"Was there any urgency? Hasn’t iTunes been just fine as-is? Yes, but it had pretty much run out of tricks. I suspect someone at Apple finally realized how lucky they are that Facebook hasn’t started selling music yet. 500 million connected users talking constantly about what they do and don’t like, even “Liking” official band pages and sharing videos. The only missing piece is commerce. Is Ping a threat to Facebook? Not really. But Facebook Music would be a massive threat to iTunes. By striking first, Apple doesn’t need Ping to be amazing on day one; just good enough to make would-be competitors think twice."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

BensFriends.org Leader & Community Moderator John Stamler featured in GoLocalProv.com http://bit.ly/avN9Au Tomorrow's the big day!

More pub...

BensFriends.org Leader & Community Moderator John Stamler featured in GoLocalProv.com http://bit.ly/avN9Au Tomorrow's the big day!

On a Clear Day You Can See the U.S. Dollar

Well said by Paul Kedrosky  disapointed in the FED's action last week. trashing the dollar. 

Paul Kedrosky

Some choice quotes forwarded by Paul Brodsky at QB Asset Management on this fine Fed day:

"…the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the U.S, government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to raising the prices in dollars of those goods and services. We conclude that, under a paper-money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation."
-          Ben Bernanke, November 21, 2002

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Mobile Work Station

Latest improvement is wireless keyboard.

MyTies - Group Texting

Neat little app called MyTies launched by my buddy Dave Shreni. It's for group texting and incorporates your location.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Giant Celebration on Polk!

Some fun videos I took on Polk & Green right after the Giants won!


Let's Go Giants (apologies for the sideways view)

Halloween 2010 Pictures

Awesome Halloween at the Schweiflers. Ananda suggested we do a white elephant gift exchange. Everyone brought three articles of ridiculous clothing and we went around choosing what would become our costume. Here are some funny pics that I doctored up a bit using Instagram.