Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Malcolm Gladwell on Bruce Ratner and the Barclays Center - Grantland

The NBA lockout fascinates me and Gladwell's article about how the New Jersey Nets used eminent domain to secure a lucrative piece of property in Brooklyn made it even more interesting. I highly recommend reading the whole article.

Another thing not discussed in any of the NBA Lockout articles is how the salaries players receive are subject to advantageous tax depreciation rules - meaning those salaries become huge write-offs and can shield a lot of income from affiliated businesses. This has profound net present value implications for buying a franchise. Buy a franchise and sign a star player to a big contract and between the interest expenses on the acquisition financing and depreciation expenses from the player salaries, you aren't paying much in taxes. It's a great business if you are trying to shield other income and you get an asset for very little cash down that has a long track record of appreciating in value.

Malcolm Gladwell on Bruce Ratner and the Barclays Center - Grantland:

"Bruce Ratner's original plan for the Atlantic Yards site called for 16 separate commercial and residential towers and a basketball arena, all designed by the superstar architect Frank Gehry. The development would be home to roughly 15,000 people, cost in excess of $4 billion, total more than eight million square feet, and make his company — by some calculations — as much as $1 billion in profit. To put that in perspective, the original Rockefeller Center — one of the grandest urban developments in American history — was seven million square feet. Ratner wanted to out-Rockefeller the Rockefellers.

Ratner knew this would not be easy. The 14 acres he wanted to raze was a perfectly functional neighborhood, inhabited by taxpaying businesses and homeowners. He needed a political halo, and Ratner's genius was in understanding how beautifully the Nets could serve that purpose. The minute basketball was involved, Brooklyn's favorite son — Jay-Z — signed up as a part-owner and full-time booster. Brooklyn's borough president began publicly fantasizing about what a professional sports team would mean for his community. The Mayor's office, then actively pursuing an Olympic bid, loved the idea of a new arena in Brooklyn."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Painted Turtle 2011 Benefit at Bimbo's

It's time to buy tickets to the Painted Turtle Benefit, one of the best nights of any year. Tainted Love rocks the house at Bimbo's and it's a total blast. The Painted Turtle is a Camp for Kids with Cancer that can use the dough. I worked at its sister camp called Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut and also Camp Okizu in NorCAL. They are really special places and help kids more than you could ever imagine. Hope you'll join us at Painted Turtle on November 12.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Update on Ben's Friends

We've been busy creating new networks for Ben's Friends and doing more publicity on Facebook.

  • If you "Like" our Ben's Friends Facebook Page - you can enter into a promotion to win a beautiful Sugar Paper Print. Also, anyone you invite and who Likes our page gives you another entry into the sweepstakes. We're publicizing our Facebook presence much more because about 25% of the new patient members find us there now, and that % is increasing very quickly.
  • We started a Hepatitis C support group recently. One of our ace Moderators, Michael "Bones" Jones is running the group. Bones recovered from the condition and really wants to help others.
  • Another new network is the United with Disabilities Support Group - this is a more general group than we have started before, but JC, another ace moderator, felt strongly there was a need.
  • Our new ADHD Support Group has been growing nicely with Eric & Larry Becker's help.
Please help us by Liking our Facebook Page and spreading the word!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Other Artistic Liberties Taken by the Moneyball Movie - Hollywood Prospectus Blog

Mark Lisanti is the funniest.

Other Artistic Liberties Taken by the Moneyball Movie - Hollywood Prospectus Blog:

"After budget-conscious owner Steve Schott began charging $1 apiece for formerly free clubhouse sodas, the real-life David Justice never set up a cardboard cut-out of a naked Schott covered in sticky dollar bills, peeling them off one by one to pay for each satisfying, post-victory Coke."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Boycotting...

Correlated
Based on a survey of 116 people who have collected unemployment and 506 people in general.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Scott Orn shared an Instagram photo with you

Hi there,

Scott Orn just shared an Instagram photo with you:


view full image

"Bon Iver - Hopmans' Wedding Present :)"
(taken at Greek Ampitheatre Berkeley)

Thanks,
The Instagram Team

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Giants Season


This says it all about the Giant's Season:


KERSHAW VS. LINCECUM
March 31 @ LA (opening day): Dodgers 2, Giants 1
July 20 @ SF: Dodgers 1, Giants 0
Sept. 9 @SF: Dodgers 2, Giants 1
Sept. 20 @LA: Dodgers 2, Giants 1


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Dozen Things I Learned From Watching Two And A Half Men - Hollywood Reporter

Tim Goodman is the best...

A Dozen Things I Learned From Watching Two And A Half Men - Hollywood Reporter:

"Since there was bound to be a curiosity factor in play as Ashton Kutcher took over from Charlie Sheen as the star of Two and A Half Men, and since CBS's promotions for the "new" show have been ubiquitous, then fine, you win. Here are the 12 things I learned while watching the newly revamped Two and A Half Men:

I’ll never make that mistake again.
It was as predictable and unfunny as ever.
It’s not true that we get the television we deserve. We get the television we choose -- and this series is a fantastic reminder to vote with your remote."



Monday, September 19, 2011

Netflix: Is this a Johnson & Johnson Tylenol Moment?

I woke up to a nice email from Netflix's CEO explaining the company's decision to bifurcate the DVD & Streaming services. It's been a pretty rocky month for Netflix, a service I use and a company I admire. What was most striking about the email wasn't the plan, but the humble language and acceptance of blame that came from the CEO. It reminded me of a legendary business case: Johnson & Johnson's recall of Tylenol in 1982. That turned out to be a terrific branding moment for JNJ. It's not exactly the same situation, but I wonder if Netflix aggressive communication and acceptance of blame will create another inflection point.

Tylenol made a hero of Johnson and Johnson - The recall that started them all - NYTimes.com:

"James Burke, the company's chairman, was widely admired for his leadership in the decision to pull Tylenol capsules off the market, and for his forthrightness in dealing with the media. In a news conference only a month and a half after the tragedy, he gave a full chronology of what the company had done. "He looked in complete control," said Tortorella.

The moves were costly. Johnson & Johnson spent more than $100 million for the 1982 recall and relaunch of Tylenol. A much smaller recall in 1986, and a second relaunch also ran into millions of dollars.

But Johnson & Johnson's shareholders were hurt only briefly. In 1982, the stock, which had been trading near a 52-week high just before the tragedy, see-sawed in panic selling but recovered to its highs only two months later."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Article: The 2 Billion UBS Incident: 'Rogue Trader' My Ass | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone

The 2 Billion UBS Incident: 'Rogue Trader' My Ass | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/the-2-billion-ubs-incident-rogue-trader-my-ass-20110915?print=true

But the reality is, the brains of investment bankers by nature are not wired for "client-based" thinking. This is the reason why the Glass-Steagall Act, which kept investment banks and commercial banks separate, was originally passed back in 1933: it just defies common sense to have professional gamblers in charge of stewarding commercial bank accounts.





Article: Bloomberg to Congress: U.S. Riots Ahead

Provocative but probably true...


Bloomberg to Congress: U.S. Riots Ahead
http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2011/09/bloomberg-to-congress-u-s-riots-ahead.html

Bloomberg to Congress: U.S. Riots Ahead

By Paul Kedrosky · September 16, 2011 · ·

I have forecast that we'll see economically-driven U.S. riots by 2013. It seems I've been joined in that belief by Michael Bloomberg:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned Congress Friday, saying members should expect riots if the nation's rate of unemployment remains above 9 percent.

"We have a lot of kids graduating college, can't find jobs," Mr. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show. "That's what happened in Cairo. That's what happened in Madrid. You don't want those kinds of riots here."

via Michael Bloomberg to Congress: Time to expect riots | The State Column.



Friday, September 16, 2011

Prohibition by Ken Burns

Can't wait for this...

Documentary film by Ken Burns about Prohibition? As Aaron Cohen said, "twist my arm".

PROHIBITION is a three-part, five-and-a-half-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed. Prohibition was intended to improve, even to ennoble, the lives of all Americans, to protect individuals, families, and society at large from the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. But the enshrining of a faith-driven moral code in the Constitution paradoxically caused millions of Americans to rethink their definition of morality.

First part premieres October 2 on PBS.

Tags: Ken Burns
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Friday Chill Music - September 16, 2011

This week we're going with some rocking Pearl Jam videos from the past because the new Pearl Jam: 20 Documentary is coming out next week! Thanks to John Hamilton, I'll be there on opening night!

Blood - PJ's hardest rocking song. This is old school.

Betterman - at Madison Square Garden, with the "Runaway...Save it for Later" ending that is my absolute favorite to this song.

Leash - another one of my old favorites and a rocker. This is from PJ's VS. album. I remember listening to this song before high school basketball games to get pumped up! Eddie does some serious damage in this clip.

Thumbing My Way - chill song to take you out on.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Grantland Network Podcast: Reality Czar David Jacoby, Bill Simmons, and The Challenge's Johnny Bananas - Hollywood Prospectus Blog

This is quite possibly the funniest podcast I've ever heard. It's a behind the scenes from Johnny Bananas (from the Challenge) on what really happens on the sets of reality shows. The best part? It's so funny you don't even have to watch reality shows! I've never even seen the Challenge. Check it out for a good laugh.

Grantland Network Podcast: Reality Czar David Jacoby, Bill Simmons, and The Challenge's Johnny Bananas - Hollywood Prospectus Blog:

Grantland Network Podcast: Reality Czar David Jacoby, Bill Simmons, and The Challenge's Johnny Bananas - Hollywood Prospectus Blog

This is quite possibly the funniest podcast I've ever heard. It's a behind the scenes from Johnny Bananas (from the Challenge) on what really happens on the sets of reality shows. The best part? It's so funny you don't even have to watch reality shows! I've never even seen the Challenge. Check it out for a good laugh.

Grantland Network Podcast: Reality Czar David Jacoby, Bill Simmons, and The Challenge's Johnny Bananas - Hollywood Prospectus Blog:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Easton's CAL Baseball Video

I'm a total CAL homer but I loved this video by Easton. It's a little taste of what the baseball team accomplished last year. The baseball team was on the verge of being eliminated but the players and coaches hung with it and made it all the way to the College World Series.

<iframe width="500" height="311" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/I2EvhR7TaJU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

PJ20 “Daughter” Teaser – The Uncool - The Official Site for Everything Cameron Crowe

PJ20 “Daughter” Teaser – The Uncool - The Official Site for Everything Cameron Crowe:


As part of the 20 Days of Pearl Jam Countdown, we are pleased to present an exclusive clip from Pearl Jam Twenty. I’ll let Cameron set it up for you:


“A hint of promise – Stone and Eddie on the tour bus, working out a rough version of what would become “Daughter” (then “Brother”), the germ of which began the night before in the band’s Holiday Inn hotel room. Thankfully George A. Webb III was there to capture this work-in-progress, a band milestone in the making.”



Colby Buzzell's New Book: Lost in America

My buddy from high school, Colby Buzzell, wrote a really great book called Lost in America. It's Colby at his best, bumping around from town to town and painting a realistic view of everyday America. Colby struggles with his mother's death as he hits the road to Salt Lake City, Cheyenne and Detroit. I found the Detroit section the most interesting and moving.

For those that don't know, Colby wrote a terrific piece for Esquire on Banksy before Banksy was world famous. I also really loved his story in the SF Chronicle called Return to Sender.



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Better, Faster, Stronger - Tim Ferriss, Silicon Valley's Self Help Guru

Better, Faster, Stronger - Tim Ferriss, Silicon Valley's Self Help Guru


"Ferriss’s books appeal to those for whom cheese, per se, has ceased to have any allure. “This book is not about finding your ‘dream job,’ ” Ferriss writes in “The 4-Hour Workweek.” “I will take it as a given that, for most people, somewhere between six and seven billion of them, the perfect job is the one that takes the least time.” But Ferriss doesn’t recommend idleness. Rather, he prescribes a kind of hyperkinetic entrepreneurialism of the body and soul, with every man his own life coach, angel investor, Web master, personal trainer, and pharmaceutical test subject. One’s body can become one’s own laboratory: with “a few tweaks,” Ferriss suggests, its performance can be maximally enhanced—just as in the movie “Limitless,” but without the nasty withdrawal symptoms. His books seem to have a particular resonance for Wired-reading, Clif Bar-eating men—those whose desire to improve their abdominal definition may not be so great that they will subscribe to Mens Health but who find in Ferriss the promise of heightened braininess complemented by an enviable degree of brawniness."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wilco's New Album "The Whole Love" is Streaming...

...on their website at Wilco World. The "Art of Almost," the first song, is really cool and a great way to start an album. Speaking of albums, how cool is the spinning record on the site?


The Patent Pledge

Excellent idea by Paul Graham. I don't think this will solve the problem but it's a first step.

The Patent Pledge:


"I've never been 100% sure whether patents help or hinder technological progress. When I was a kid I thought they helped. I thought they protected inventors from having their ideas stolen by big companies. Maybe that was truer in the past, when more things were physical. But regardless of whether patents are in general a good thing, there do seem to be bad ways of using them. And since bad uses of patents seem to be increasing, there is an increasing call for patent reform.


The problem with patent reform is that it has to go through the government. That tends to be slow. But recently I realized we can also attack the problem downstream. As well as pinching off the stream of patents at the point where they're issued, we may in some cases be able to pinch it off at the point where they're used."



Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Chill Music - September 2, 2011

This week's Friday Chill Music is a preview of the new Wilco album. I found it via the Fuel/Friends blog and she directed me to the collection of new songs at Wilcognizance.

Wilcognizance has collected a bunch of songs from YouTube and Sound Cloud so you have to click through to listen. Can't wait for the album to come out next month.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

HP’s Valuable Lesson « Building Strong Brands

I love Professor Calkin's Marketing Blog.

HP’s Valuable Lesson « Building Strong Brands:

"When it comes to marketing strategy, there are three critical steps. The first step is developing a powerful strategy. The third step is executing well. The second step, however, is sometimes overlooked: selling the plan.

HP CEO Leo Apotheker recently demonstrated why selling the plan is so important. On August 18, HP announced that it was embarking on a bold new strategy, exiting the PC business and acquiring a major UK software company.

One can debate the merits of the plan, but HP clearly did a terrible job of selling it. Business analysts quickly attacked the moves and investors fled."