Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Poems in the doctor's waiting room: you'll never have to flip through an out-of-date Reader's Digest again – Telegraph Blogs

Ben's Friends made the London Daily Telegraph. Very cool. This is starting to happen a lot more often and it's a good sign for 2012!
"I must just mention one other charity called Bens Friends, which does stirling work as an international network of online communities that provide support for people struggling with rare diseases.

 Ben's Friends has 12,600 members globally – more than 38 million people are affected by a rare illness (3.5 million in the UK alone) – and the mission of Ben's Friends is to ensure everyone with a rare disease has a safe place to go everyday and connect with people like them. As we know, communicating with someone who is experiencing the same illness or condition as you are can be very comforting.Ben's Friends was founded in 2006 by Ben Munoz – hence "Ben's Friends" – who suffered from a rare condition called an AVM and realised that a support network would be extremely beneficial.

Like Poems in the Waiting Room, Bensfriends.org runs on a shoe-string budget and is fully supported by donors, sponsors, and advertisers. An army of volunteers helps out, no one is paid a salary, and all donations go directly to funding the networks."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday Brunch

Since it's a holiday weekend, I thought I would put together an extra long list of reading material this week. I don't want to overload you though, so I'll break them up over today and Sunday. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
  • The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011 - I've become really interested in the way data is presented and worked. There is a concept in startup world called Big Data - managing and mining huge datasets - that is making these types of visualizations possible. I think it's the next phase of the web which is heavy on text, video and sound (music) right now. Data visualizations are the next step.
  • Wilco in Chicago at the Civic Opera House - incredible setlist and performance streaming from from one of my favorite bands. 
  • Year End Position Updates - from one of my favorite investing blogs. He's heavy on natural resources and gold, which are big investing themes for me too, so I like to read his opinion.
  • Elephants and Human Evolution - fascinating. I guess it's a case of "whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."
  • Amazon's 7 Year View - I've heard great stories from friends on Amazon's approach to new markets. The mantra, "you aren't losing enough money" is controversial, but it's proven effective.
  • One Acre Fund's Semi-Annual Report - one of the best social impact ventures in the world, started by a Kellogg 06' grad. Many of my friends are on the advisory board. I was blown away by their report. It's detailed, quantitative and proves the money is spent very well. I hope to emulate this with Ben's Friends in 2012.
  • How Fab Raised $40M - another highly quantitative approach to raising money, this time venture capital. This is the playbook for raising money.
  • One Week in Japan - always beautiful photography from Mike Matas. Alex Bain turned me onto him. I believe he was an early designer on the ipod and iphone.
  • The Battle for Control - a wonderful post by Kati of Living With Ataxia, a Ben's Friends network, on her battle to slow down ataxia and remain self sufficient. Kati is an inspiration to me.
  • The Year in Volcanoes - beautiful

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sunday Morning 14

I'm fired up to post my annual Sunday Morning sensitive music playlist. This year it's Sunday Morning 14!

I've posted it through Spotify and I'll try to make it available through CD next week. This year's version is a little faster than past years. Thanks to all the people like Bryan Kenna, Beth Stevens, Matt Ziser and John Hamilton who tipped me off to great, new music in 2012!

I hope you enjoy the new tunes and have a Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Brunch - December 18, 2011

The links are back!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

James McManus on Full Tilt poker and Black Friday - Grantland

James McManus on Full Tilt poker and Black Friday - Grantland:

Terrific article on online poker and what happened withe the federal crackdown. His book, Positively Fifth Street is a must read. It's such a page turner, I think I read it in two days, which never happens with me.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Will Ferrell Asks If He Can Star In Ads For Old Milwaukee Beer Free Of Charge - The Consumerist

Sometimes you need a reminder on where the rest of the world is on technology and the Internet. Poor Old Milwaukee...

Will Ferrell Asks If He Can Star In Ads For Old Milwaukee Beer Free Of Charge - The Consumerist: "The ads are funny, and would most likely go viral — if Old Milwaukee had a YouTube page."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Louis CK - "Buy The Thing"

My favorite comic, Louis CK, put up a show on the Internet for $5. Love his message - "Buy The Thing."

I did, and I'm saving it for my plane ride home.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Jeremy Grantham's Latest Newsletter

Eye opening opinion in Jeremy Grantham's latest letter to investor. He lays it out pretty well and it's a little scary. I wish I could write as succinctly as he does. He's one of my favorite financial people to follow and I put a lot of weight into what he says. Here's a quick quote.
  • "Separate from the “seven lean years” syndrome, the U.S. and the developed world have permanently slowed in their GDP growth. This is mostly the result of slowing population growth, an aging profi le, and an overcommitment to the old, which leaves inadequate resources for growth. Also contributing to the slowdown, particularly in the U.S. and the U.K., is inadequate long-term savings. As I write, the U.S. personal savings rate has fallen once again below 4%.
  • In addition, and sorry to harp on this, the U.S. in particular has rapidly acquired relative deficiencies over the last 20 years that will hamper the effective functioning and growth of its economy. Relative to other developed countries, and an increasing number of developing countries, we are sliding in some key areas that threaten loss of competitiveness:
    • Notably depleted infrastructure
    • Marked fall-off in the effectiveness of education and training
    • Much decreased effectiveness of government, particularly in its ability or even willingness to concern itself with long-term issues."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Brunch - December 4, 2011

The links:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ben's Friends Forever

Loved this photo by JC - a superstar Ben's Friends Moderator. It made my day.

It's apropos too because we're kicking off our annual Ben's Friends Fundraiser using IndieGoGo. Last year we raised $10k and we're shooting for $15k this year. We're 3x bigger since last December - we served 31,000+ patients last month and we have 29 communities now. 

If you're considering a donation, think about it this way - we spent $15k in 2011 ($10k from fundraiser + $5k of our own money) and we're now helping 30k people a month. That's 50 cents per patient.

It's a really good feeling knowing we are making a different. It would be great if you can help us out with a donation. :)