Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Himmelsbach's Social Impact Panel at SXSW

My buddy, Mark Himmelsbach, is putting on a panel at SXSW to discuss Social Impact and I'll be on the panel to talk Ben's Friends. We need people to vote for us to be assured of a panel slot so please click through and vote for us. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Headlands Open: Mystical Photography by Frederic Larson

This is what San Francisco has looked like lately. It's cold and windy, but it's really beautiful. Love the Herb Caen quote at the bottom.
Headlands Open : Mystical Photography by Frederic Larson:

A similar photograph of this setting was published in my book Mystical San Francisco, in which Herb Caen wrote, "A real city, the kind they don't make any more. Nowadays the so-called metropolitan areas are horizontal, stretching to infinity, a pall of malls." The headlands are now open (for us photographers) to capture these angles once again. Looking at the city from the Marin Headlands on a summer evening, I photographed this scene with a Mark II Canon digital camera, using a 200mm lens set at f/22 and shooting with a 30-second shutter speed."

Sunday Brunch - August 28, 2011

Sunday's links:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My TheDailyLove Post on Sugar Paper & Entrepreneurship

I wrote a post about my friend Chelsea Shukov and how she founded Sugar Paper for TheDailyLove. The founding of Sugar Paper is such a wonderful story about Chelsea finding her passion and her mom helping her along the way. Here is my favorite part but check out the whole thing:
"Six months into the job she was unhappy and designing after work was the only thing keeping her going. She fell into a funk and knew she needed to make a change, so she quit the office job. Although she wasn’t making a lot of money, she was designing for friends’ events on the side to keep her spirits up.  Those were tough times for Chelsea and she would talk to her mother nightly.  One night Chelsea made an off- hand remark about how much she loved letterpress printing.  Her mother was listening and decided to do something about it. Her mother began scouring eBay for a used, antique letterpress, and to Chelsea’s surprise, a printer magically appeared in her apartment. The rest is Sugar Paper history."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Chill Music - August 25, 2011

Last night YouTube wasn't playing nicely with Blogger and it made making a playlist really difficult, so today I decided to try out a Spotify playlist. It's all the rage and it's so much easier than broken embedded widgets and Youtube links.

Here's this week's playlist called Spotify Care by Matt Ziser. You'll have to sign up for Spotify which is really quick and easy. You're going to be doing this anyways sometime down the road if you haven't - Spotify is that good - so just take the extra minute now and enjoy Ziser's great playlist.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mark Lisanti on Starbucks

All the Alex Bain you can handle! — Tuesdays with Tim Cook

Great story from Alex Bain from his first go around with Apple. My dad used to tell me that the best way to get more playing time in sports was to always stand by the coach. It's some of the best advice I've ever been given, and it looks like Alex received the same advice.

All the Alex Bain you can handle! — Tuesdays with Tim Cook:
I was just a kid, but I liked being the voice of truth. Tim Cook sat at the end of a long table, and I’d try to get there early and sit as close to him as I possibly could. Most folks had more skin in the game than I did, and tried to sit far away, so wasn’t exactly taking someone else’s seat.

For a while, I was focused on the education market, which tends to sell in large clumps, and has big swings up and down. Some weeks were bad enough that they could put the whole quarter meaningfully in jeopardy.

I knew when I joined Apple that Steve Jobs had a reputation for being quite vocal, at times screaming in frustration. I was surprised to see in these meetings that when Tim Cook was disappointed or wanted to get a point across, rather than getting louder and louder, he’d get quieter and quieter. Not like a wimp would, but like Jack Bauer would.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told, Starring Morton’s Steakhouse | Peter Shankman

The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told, Starring Morton’s Steakhouse | Peter Shankman:

This is pretty an awesome customer service story forwarded me by the Walm. Check out the full post.
“There’s a surprise for you here.”

I turned to see that the driver was standing next to someone else, who I just assumed was another driver he was talking to. Then I noticed the “someone else” was in a tuxedo.

And he was carrying a Morton’s bag."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kellogg Social Enterprise Alumni of the Month

We've been on a roll at Ben's Friends patient support networks with our huge traffic growth and the launch of an ADHD support network. I thought now would be a good time to reflect on where it all started, at Kellogg School of Management. A few months back I was featured as Kellogg Social Enterprise Alumni of the Month for my work on Ben's Friends. At Kellogg I was exposed to the concept of a social impact organization, a group that does something to help people outside of Non-Profit status. I had never contemplated that before. Of course, at Kellogg I also met Ben Munoz, my partner, and the rest is history. It's been a great ride and there is a lot more fun ahead. Thanks Kellogg!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Nature of Grift by the Last Psychiatrist

Very interesting article by the Last Psychiatrist on the nature of grift and how the US immigration is purposely set up for gamesmanship. I read the New Yorker article on asylum she is referring to and it was a little unsettling but I couldn't pinpoint why. She explains exactly what is so unsettling about it, but then makes the case that it's set up that way on purpose. More accurately, it's setup to reward liars but not financial bribers. Fascinating article, I recommend reading the whole thing.
"The system wants Caroline, the system wants there to be a way for "intelligent" and "hard working" and "church going" resourceful people to game the system. All of those words mean "taxpayers."  It wants the kind of person who sticks with this tedious bureaucratic process even if it is all a lie; it doesn't want the person who doesn't bother to try to get legal.  And, most importantly, when you establish the grift as based on the best "rape narrative", it therefore isn't about the most money.  That's what you want to avoid, because Caroline has none of it, and MS13 has lots of it.  
What distinguishes this grift from the overt kind-- of Greece, Mexico, Pakistan-- is that in the former case the cheat occurs top down, while in the latter case the cheat occurs bottom up.  In Greece, you want a permit?  You have to know who to bribe.  Bribery may go "all they way to the top," but importantly your bribe has to start from the bottom and move to the top.  
In the case of American asylum seeking-- and everything else-- the grift is at the top and it lacks a human face.  This story is in The New Yorker, right? So it's hardly news, hardly investigative journalism.  So at minimum, everyone in the business knows the score.  Novick knows that, in general, much of what he hears is a lie, even if he isn't sure/ignores that he is being lied to right now.  Unless you piss him off personally, or flaunt your lying, he doesn't care about the veracity of your claim exactly, just the internal validity of it.
That's the system.  The system favors narratives over truth to avoid the terrible reality of reflexive human corruption."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Chill Music - August 19, 2011

Another awesome playlist from Bryan Kenna. I embedded the playlist but if it doesn't come through, click through on the link.

3x3 August:
A couple new things I’m listening to … not bought. I’m full on with Spotify right now and digging it. Wish I could embed the playlists, but I’ll keep doing the Grooveshark thing for a while I think while also posting the Spotify links (e.g., 2011.08.08 3x3).

Washed Out - Within and Without

I loved the intro song to Portlandia and discovered Washed Out that way and this new one is good background music working around the house, in the office, etc.

WU LYF - Go Tell Fire On The Mountain

I’m a big fan of this somewhat hyped album and love the big guitars and build up song structures (some of it very Explosions In The Sky sounding even). Only question: is it wrong to play an album by a band whose name stands for World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation while playing with my two kids on a Saturday morning? Am I going to pay for that later somehow?

Explosions In The Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

At this point all EITS music blends together, but I’m okay with that b/c it all sounds so good. This is no exception.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Best. Roommate. Ever.

Hilarious Craigslist message below. It's just a sample. Click through. 

It also reminds me of the great babe explosion of 2000 in San Francisco.  The tech market was scorching hot and every new grad across the country was moving to Silicon Valley for a job. Just like the guy below. An influx of new grads meant an influx of babes and for one wonderful year before the tech bubble burst, San Francisco was the epicenter of babe-dom. 

Those were the days.Glad to see another generation is taking advantage of the too hot tech market and moving to SF.

"Konichiwa bitches. Are you looking for the most kick-ass fucking roommate that ever lived? If so, look no further. You fucking found him. I'm a 25-year-old professional marketing agent with experience at bad-ass companies in New York Fucking City. That's right! What you know about experience? I graduated from Auburn University in Alabama, and moved to NYC at the ripe, tender age of 22. After deciding that New York was a stinky shit-hole, I moved back to Alabama to cultivate more professional experience. Why? So I can make millions of dollars and not have to post shit like this on Craigslist. "

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our Crazy Remote Control

Remember that episode of Modern Family where the family struggles to learn how to operate a crazy complex remote control? Well my family has one of those at our cabin. It's basically unusable and of course leads to mini-fights because people get pissed off when they can't watch their TV.

We took a major step forward last weekend as my mom actually sketched out on a piece of paper (see below) how it should work. The drawing solved our problem. It's just a shame we didn't think of this 6 years ago. :)

btw - it's worth nothing that this is our second crazy complex remote. The one before is the exact one featured in that Modern Family episode.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What Happened Between the Neanderthals and Us? : The New Yorker

What Happened Between the Neanderthals and Us? : The New Yorker

I absolutely loved this article. It turns out that modern day humans actually mated with Neanderthals and that about 4% of our DNA is attributable to Neanderthals. Lot's of interesting facts and thoughtful questions in this piece.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Guest Post on The Daily Love

I wrote a guest blog on The Daily Love about Entrepreneurship, my mom's influence on me and how it led to starting Ben's Friends. I hope you like it

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wilco - Almost

New Wilco

Sunday Brunch - August 14, 2011

This week's links of my favorite articles:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Japanification of the West

I've long thought this would happen to the U.S. I remember when Japan was tanking and people made fun of the way they tried to paper over their problems. People here would say, "that will never happen to us, because we deal with our problems, we're capitalists."

Turns out not so much. Just like Japan, we are trying to paper over our issues and there is no political will to tackle the tough stuff. 

Paul Kedrosky

The Japanification of the West continues — high debt, low growth, and low yields — as treasuries plumbed record lows this week. Felix Zulauf weighs in on same in Barron's, saying the following:

Providing liquidity isn't the solution, but if we don't do it the system will break down. Providing growth is a difficult task. I don't know how to do that. Long-term, we have begun the Japanification of the Western World. If we are unable to bite the bullet, our problems will grow bigger. Eventually, after many years, some central banks and governments might lose their nerve and go completely in the wrong direction, ending up like Zimbabwe.

As circumstances would have it, Richard Koo of Nomura has out a new report on Japanification. Here is a residential real estate graph from Koo's report:


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"Genentech called, asking him to help it demo a new in-house app. ” I was floored,” Lisagor says. “I..."

I totally agree with Alex on Adam Lisagor's work. Wonderful stuff. He has influenced the way we try to communicate about Ben's Friends and

All the Alex Bain you can handle!
"Genentech called, asking him to help it demo a new in-house app. " I was floored," Lisagor says. "I threw out a figure that was larger than any amount of money I'd ever made at once. And my contact said, 'Oh. I could probably just expense that on the credit card.' And I knew I'd made a huge mistake.""


Adam Lisagor Is The Quietest Pitchman | Fast Company

I LOVE watching his videos, even though they're technically ads.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rwandan Cyclists

I absolutely loved this New Yorker story about a team of Rwanda cyclists pulling themselves out of poverty and giving their country an identity. Terrific writing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Forget the stock market...

Forget the stock market, look  ( growth! Changing lives of patients w/rare diseases! 

@nickbilton, 8/10/11 12:22 AM

Wow, check out the video. 

Nick Bilton (@nickbilton)
8/10/11 12:22 AM
I would NOT want to be one of these cops in England. Scary video:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gold vs. The Market

This chart tells you all you need to know about the confidence in our government and federal reserve. It makes me sad. I hope this is as ugly as it get's and the folks in charge finally start to address our problems. It's not going to be easy and it certainly won't be popular, but it needs to happen.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reporter Predicting the Debt Ceiling Debacle

I like Obama but this is kind of sad, a reporter predicting the whole debt ceiling debacle 8 months ahead of time. Start at 3:55.

BabbaCo Raises Capital

Huge tip of the cap and congratulations to Jessica Kim, a Kellogg Grad and founder of BabbaCo, who just completed a financing for her startup. BabbaCo makes apparel and gear for babies. I couldn't be more happy for Jessica who has been building her company for a few years. I talked to her 2 years ago when she was trying to figure out where to take her company.

Congrats Jessica!