Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ben's Friends 2013 - Building Patient Support Communities | Indiegogo

It's been another great year on Ben's Friends Patient Support Communities. We've passed 25,000 signed up members and there are thousands more who enjoy the sites without signing up. On an average month, we have 35,000 people visit the sites.

We're doing a lot of good on very little money. We spent $30,000 in 2012. We'd really appreciate it if you would consider supporting us again. Below is a link to the donation site and I've included Ben's Video. On the donation site, you will find a lot more info about what we accomplished in 2012 and an update on Ben (spoiler alert - he's in Med School at Baylor now). Thanks a bunch for making this possible!

Ben's Friends 2013 - Building Patient Support Communities | Indiegogo:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Annual Chill Mix for 2012 - Sunday Morning 15

I'm very proud to post my Annual Chill Mix for 2012 - Sunday Morning 15.

One quick caveat, do to limitations by Spotify, I had to swap in the Acoustic Beth/Rest Bon Iver performance instead of the iTunes performance (which is epic). Also, the Eddie Vedder Blackbird song doesn't appear in the Spotify list, but you can find it here.

Update: I just noticed that Daydream by Youth Lagoon is missing too.

If anyone knows a better way to share the playlist, please let me know!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cutting Wrapping Paper

I Love Charts

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tweet from Modern Seinfeld (@SeinfeldToday)

Modern Seinfeld (@SeinfeldToday)
After a video of Festivus goes viral, a greeting card company attempts to co-opt the holiday. George's father goes to war with Hallmark.

Download the official Twitter app here

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In Spain, Having a Job No Longer Guarantees a Paycheck -


For Spaniards, Having a Job No Longer Guarantees a Paycheck

" Over the past two years, Ana MarĂ­a Molina Cuevas, 36, has worked five shifts a week in a ceramics factory on the outskirts of this city, hand-rolling paint onto tiles. But at the end of the month, she often went unpaid.

Still, she kept showing up, trying to keep her frustration under control. If she quit, she reasoned, she might never get her money. And besides, where was she going to find another job? Last month, she was down to about $130 in her bank account with a mortgage payment due.

"On the days you get paid," she said at home with her disabled husband and young daughter, "it is like the sun has risen three times. It is a day of joy."

Mrs. Molina, who is owed about $13,000 by the factory, is hardly alone. Being paid for the work you do is no longer something that can be counted on in Spain, as this country struggles through its fourth year of an economic crisis."

How the Giants, the Niners, the A's, and even the Warriors made the Bay Area our sports city of the year

A love letter to the Bay Area and our sports. I agree with every word of this article. 

"Sergio Romo's not from the Bay Area — he's from Brawley, near where California bleeds into Mexico — but he became a kind of local folk hero this year. He took over for Brian Wilson after the eccentric closer went down for the season, bringing an excitable, beardo charisma to the Giants' bullpen. But more important, Romo seemed to embrace the meaning of playing in the Bay Area. Fans want to win, but they also want their heroes to respect what it means to play here, to understand our values and beliefs and history. Romo showed up to the parade wearing a T-shirt that read "I JUST LOOK ILLEGAL." In the past, he's worn another shirt that boasts, "Made in the USA with parts from Mexico." 

 It's the kind of gesture you can imagine happening only in a tirelessly liberal place like the Bay Area. It's an easy place to caricature, and having moved away long ago, I find those things funnier than ever...You might disagree with Romo's quasi-political, ethno-hippie statement, and it's doubtful that anyone in Northern California went to the polls a few days later with his provocation on their mind. But Romo reminded us, if for a moment, of the unpredictable effects of feeling high or low based on how successfully a bunch of strangers defend a patch of grass — and of where all this might take you. "Look at the diversity," he explained to a reporter when quizzed about his shirt, "the different faces from different places, the different strokes. We all had one, how do you say, dream." Every photograph of him that day showed him flashing a different grin. "You should be very proud. I am very proud." It was a reminder that an athlete might do something that hundreds of thousands of people with little in common other than the coincidence that they all live near a bay would never forget. And in return, that place might change him, too."

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

MAILBOX - Super Awesome Email App

I met Gentry, the CEO of MAILBOX, a few months ago via my stepdad Jack. He gave me a test run of this app then and I was blown away. So excited that he's launching it and I get to use it. Congrats Gentry!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Good Advice: Some Quick Sage Advice for Young Employees Early in Their Careers

Lot's of good advice here for building a career.

Some Quick Sage Advice for Young Employees Early in Their Careers:

"Be humble. Nobody cares where you went to school or how great of a student you were. Get over yourself. Don’t be arrogant. Don’t try to act like a managing partner from day 1. It’s OK to be junior. Nobody expects you to be managing the whole division. In fact, they’ll resent you if you try to act like you are."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Everything is my fault | Derek Sivers

Words to live by.

Everything is my fault | Derek Sivers:

"It felt so SO good to realize it was my fault!

This is way better than forgiving. When you forgive, you’re still playing the victim, and they’re still wrong, but you’re charitably pardoning their horrible deeds.

But to decide it’s your fault feels amazing! Now you weren’t wronged. They were just playing their part in the situation you created. They’re just delivering the punch-line to the joke you set up.

What power! Now you’re like a new super-hero, just discovering your strength. Now you’re the powerful person that made things happen, made a mistake, and can learn from it. Now you’re in control and there’s nothing to complain about."

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ben's Friends — Hello Everyone, I hope you all have had a...

Beautiful post from a Moderator on Ben's Friends. She wrote it after getting together with a few members of Chiari Support, the site she helps run. Really touching. Click through for the whole thing.

Ben's Friends — Hello Everyone, I hope you all have had a...:
"On the way back I had arranged to meet a Chiari Malformation Member for lunch. I had never met this lady and am so blessed to have taken the time out of my day to reach out not only to a fellow Chiarian, but to actually hug someone that honestly understood and has been in the same trenches. I only wish you all had this opportunity.  It definitely makes your mission clearer ; path straighter. To see and hear first hand how we helped them by nothing more than a kind word and honest conversation."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Google-Funded Drones To Hunt Rhino Poachers | Mother Jones

Good for Google!

"thanks to a five million dollar grantawarded by Google on Tuesday, the organization is expanding its use of unmanned aerial vehicles to track and deter criminals who illegally hunt endangered animal species around the world. "

How UrbanSitter Works on Vimeo

I'm lucky to be friends with the Ladies & the Man who work at UrbanSitter. :)

Here's how it works.

How UrbanSitter Works on Vimeo:

How UrbanSitter Works from UrbanSitter on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A VC: Rethinking Mobile First

Thought provoking article by Fred Wilson on Mobile vs. Web App development. This is a really good article if you're into this kind of stuff.

A VC: Rethinking Mobile First:

"All in all, mobile service apps turn out to be a horrible place to close viral loops and win at the retention game. Only a handful of apps have succeeded mobile-first: Instagram, Tango, Shazam, maybe 2 or 3 others."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some early December links

Nice post by my buddy Healy Jones. Lot's of good info here for budding entrepreneurs and Internet people.

I've been making an effort to share more on Twitter (Follow Healy Jones on Twitter if you want.) Some of these tweets have been popular:
Not too surprising that a lot of the clicks are on VC/seed investing topics. I'm happy that people seem to like mobile as well – I probably spend half my day thinking/doing mobile related marketing, so it's good to know that my tweeps are aligned with my interests that way as well.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

You don’t have to be local

Interesting prospective below. I can relate with Ben's Friends. 

Derek Sivers

"Then two years ago, when I moved to Singapore, I decided to do the opposite. I wanted to get to know my local community. I met with over 400 people, one-on-one, went to every conference and get-together, and said yes to every request. I spent most of the last two years just talking with people. And I really got to know the Singapore community.

But something never felt right. After a day of talking, I was often exhausted and unfulfilled. Two hours spent being useful to one person who wants to "pick my brain" is two hours I'd rather spend making something that could be useful to the whole world (including that one person).

Then people around the world email to ask why I've been so silent. No new articles. No progress on my companies. Nothing.

So there's the trade-off. By being so local-focused, I'm not being as useful as I was when I was making things online.

So I'm finally admitting : I'm not local."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Get Startup Ideas

How to Get Startup Ideas:
"Most programmers wish they could start a startup by just writing some brilliant code, pushing it to a server, and having users pay them lots of money. They'd prefer not to deal with tedious problems or get involved in messy ways with the real world. Which is a reasonable preference, because such things slow you down. But this preference is so widespread that the space of convenient startup ideas has been stripped pretty clean. If you let your mind wander a few blocks down the street to the messy, tedious ideas, you'll find valuable ones just sitting there waiting to be implemented."

Terrific article by Paul Graham on How to Get Startup Ideas. One of the smaller, but most important points he makes is how embracing messy or tedious solutions for an unsolved problem is a great way to have a startup. This is the very essence of Ben's Friends Patient Support Groups. No one in their right mind would build something for people with rare diseases. It's unprofitable, the space is super fragmented so you can't get scale anywhere, and it involves a lot of people who are in bad shape and who need extra attention.

However, that's the very essence of the opportunity, and it's why so many people support us financially and why so many patients become Moderators. They clearly see the hurdles that we are overcoming. And once we overcame those hurdles on the first few support groups, we proved to our sponsors and the members of the sites that with a lot of help, we could make a huge impact in the lives of thousands of people.

And that is where the emotional payback comes in. Solving a problem that is too difficult for anyone else to even try has a huge emotional payback. And getting 30 thank you notes a day from members who without Ben's Friends, had no other option, has huge emotional payback.

You can analyze a startup's "market opportunity" and "profit potential" and "where this business could go in five years", but the most meaningful projects solve something messy, and the people involved are usually doing it for emotional payback first. They want to right something wrong in the world. If they make money along the way, like many entrepreneurs do, that's great. But if you ask them, it's that emotional payback that's most important to them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tablets are waiting for their Movable Type

Great point. This would be huge. 

Signal vs. Noise

"Remember the web before Movable Type? If you wanted a blog you had to program one. You had to know databases and webhosts and PHP or Perl. If you were "just" a web designer, or a writer with ideas, you had to hire an in-demand web programmer to make it happen. Publishing was expensive and hard.

Apps like Marco Arment's The Magazine give me flashbacks to that time. Wouldn't it be awesome to publish my own magazine on the iOS Newsstand? People could read my articles on their iPad Mini, pay without typing in a credit card, and automatically receive new issues as they come."

How quickly Gangnam Style became the most viewed clip on...

How quickly Gangnam Style became the most viewed clip on...:

How quickly Gangnam Style became the most viewed clip on youtube.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

New Yorker's Article on Being a Deadhead

One of the best articles I've read in the New Yorker in a long time. It captures the greatness of the Dead, but also tells the story of the band, warts and all. But what the author does above all is show what it's like to be a super fan of any band. There are so many great quotes, anecdotes, and the author's own commentary is superb.

Loved it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Better remote collaboration will make protectionism harder by David of 37signals

Nice article on remote workers and how traditional attempts at protectionism won't work. I think this is one of the under-rated reasons why there is a job crisis in the U.S. Remote workers are so fantastic and cheaper, that you can't beat the value prop.

Better remote collaboration will make protectionism harder by David of 37signals:
"When the geography of labour ceases to be an important part of production, attempts to keep foreign workers out of a country become counterproductive. Workers who stay remote will be subject to remote expenses. If those are lower, it’s harder to compete."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

You Just Have To Do Something | Jonathan Moore

Read the whole post. There is great advice in it.

You Just Have To Do Something | Jonathan Moore:

"The moment I opened the trash in the kitchen I heard my wife scream outside. It wasn’t an ordinary scream. I look outside right at the moment she was diving into the water. Racing outside I was certain that she was being attacked by the aggressive bees.
 I made it to the edge of the water right when she was coming up. My heart sank. In her arms was our little boy, blue and lifeless."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twitter's Descent into the Extractive

"But objections be damned, the Twitter lords marched on. After all, they knew the billion was growing restless and the minions in their lair equally so. Turning back now was not on the table, lest they risk the anger and fury of the billion.

So it went that the extractive provisions were rolled out quicker and wider. The initial feigned attempts at covering new rules and restrictions with "it's in everyone's interest" fell further by the wayside with every new decree from the lords."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There's Shrewd, There's Genius, Then There's Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria - The Triangle Blog - Grantland

The Florida Marlins traded all their good (and expensive) players away 1 year after getting a tax payer funded stadium. It's really mind blowing how much their ownership group took advantage of the local Miami politicians.

Hopefully this puts an end to tax payer financed stadiums. It's such a waste of resources.

There's Shrewd, There's Genius, Then There's Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria - The Triangle Blog - Grantland:

"In getting a stadium built in South Florida, Loria succeeded where his predecessor John Henry failed. Of course, Henry won control of the Red Sox as part of the same merry-go-round that landed Loria in Miami, despite not submitting the highest bid for the Boston nine. Cartel membership has its privileges. The total cost of the bonds the county will need to pay off over the next 40 years is estimated at $2.4 billion."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chuck Klosterman on the David Petraeus scandal and living a CIA conspiracy theory - Grantland

I tweeted about this on Friday. Pretty great to see Klosterman's own account.

Chuck Klosterman on the David Petraeus scandal and living a CIA conspiracy theory - Grantland:

"I had an interesting weekend. Maybe you did, too. It's always a mixed bag, you know? Some Friday nights are drunken and exhilarating; other Friday nights are empty and reserved. And then, of course, there are those Friday nights when random people believe you accidentally forced the resignation of the head of the CIA. 
We've all been there."

Monday, November 12, 2012

» Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Clay Shirky

"If Napster had only been about free access, control of legal distribution of music would then have returned the record labels. That's not what happened. Instead, Pandora happened. happened. Spotify happened. ITunes happened. Amazon began selling songs in the hated MP3 format.

How did the recording industry win the battle but lose the war? How did they achieve such a decisive victory over Napster, then fail to regain control of even legal distribution channels? They crushed Napster's organization. They poisoned Napster's brand. They outlawed Napster's tools. They one thing they couldn't kill was the story Napster told.

The story the recording industry used to tell us went something like this: "Hey kids, Alanis Morisette just recorded three kickin' songs! You can have them, so long as you pay for the ten mediocrities she recorded at the same time." Napster told us a different story. Napster said "You want just the three songs? Fine. Just 'You Oughta Know'? No problem. Every cover of 'Blue Suede Shoes' ever made? Help yourself. You're in charge.""

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hip-hop Pioneer Questlove Reinvents Late-Night Music : The New Yorker

Terrific profile on Questlove of the Roots in the New Yorker this week. I've really been exposed to the Roots via watching Jimmy Fallon's Late Night Show. The band is really fun and brings a lot to the show, which is excellent btw. It was great to read the band leaders life story.

Hip-hop Pioneer Questlove Reinvents Late-Night Music : The New Yorker:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cash-strapped Spaniards ditch their mobile phones | Reuters

The Walm passed this on. It's really freaking scary, because in this day and age, not having a mobile fun is like living in prehistoric times. This is a sign that Europe is feeling some real pain.

Cash-strapped Spaniards ditch their mobile phones | Reuters:

"A quarter of a million Spaniards ditched their mobile phones in September, with phone companies bearing the brunt of cancellations by recession-hit consumers."

Happy Baby, the Movie by Stephen Elliott — Kickstarter

I just backed this on Kickstarter. Elliott runs The Rumpus which is a really good literary website. It's kind of my way of compensating him for running the site for free. :)

Happy Baby, the Movie by Stephen Elliott — Kickstarter:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Seth's Blog: Why vote? The marketing dynamics of apathy

Wise words from Seth Godin. Hope everyone votes tomorrow.

Seth's Blog: Why vote? The marketing dynamics of apathy:

"The goal of political marketers isn't to get you to vote. Their goal is to get more votes than the other guy. So they obsess about pleasing those that vote. Everyone else is invisible.

Steakhouses do nothing to please vegetarians who don't visit them, and politicians and their handlers don't care at all about non-voters.

The magic of voting is that by opting in to the system, you magically begin to count. A lot."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

rockabillyjay: Ralph Gilles is the Senior Vice President of...

James Siminoff


Ralph Gilles is the Senior Vice President of Design at Chrysler and an American hero.

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Flaming Pumpkins: Perspectives | KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Thanks to Scotty for passing on this article written by my friend Cam. It's really sweet.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Association by Seth Godin

Great advice by Seth Godin.

Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with.
And the collisions and the dreams lead to your changes.
And the changes are what you become.
Change the outcome by changing your circle.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scott Orn shared an Instagram photo with you

Hi there,

Scott Orn just shared an Instagram photo with you:

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"World Series Champs - Go Giants!"

The Instagram Team

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Victoria Justice in Fun Size | Trailer & Movie Site | October 26!

My buddy Max Werner wrote the script for this movie, Fun Size. Max is one of the funniest people I've ever met. He's currently a writer on Colbert and occasionally guest stars as Stephen's "asshole lawyer." Hope you can make it to the theater to see Fun Size.

Victoria Justice in Fun Size | Trailer & Movie Site | October 26!:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ben's Friends Patient Support Networks - New Traffic Highs

Big day today for Ben's Friends Patient Support Networks, we're now hitting all-time traffic highs again. The summer is always a little slow for us. When the weather turns a little, people spend more time connecting online.

It's really rewarding to watch how much and how fast the sites have grown. Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

SPARTA POINT: Make your room like a cave

Interesting article by my friend and doctor, Phil Wagner.

"At Sparta we tell our athletes to make their rooms like a cave; cold, dark, and quiet. At first, it was just the theory that our ancestors slumbered in a similar environment. After all, since our nutrition should be focusing on the primal nutrients found in protein and vegetables (seeSpartaPoint 4/14/10), an approach known as the Paleo Diet, shouldn't our sleep mimic the same philosophy?

Recent research has actually supported these cave recommendations, particularly the most important aspect, darkness. A 2010 study out of Ohio State University examined the effects of nighttime light exposure on mice. Despite equal caloric intake and daily activity, the rodents exposed to light at night had significantly greater weight gain. This weight gain was attributed mostly to a larger percentage of food consumption at night. In the nighttime light exposure group, more than half of the day's intake actually occurred late in the evening!"

Andrew Razeghi's Future of Innovation

One of my favorite Kellogg Professors, Andrew Razeghi, has a new book out called The Future of Innovation. I just downloaded it and can't wait to read it. Check it out.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Claire Danes 'Cry Face' Supercut: Is She the Greatest Crier of Her Generation? - Hollywood Prospectus Blog - Grantland

Couldn't agree more.

Girl with a Pearl Earring and Point-and-Shoot Camera

This forgotten Vermeer has been floating around for a few months but I just saw it. Love it:

Girl Pearl Earring Camera

Anyone know who did this? I spent a few minutes trying to find out but got dead-ended in a Tumblr/Imgur attribution black hole. (via ★ryanvlower)

Update: The creator of the image is supposedly Mitchell Grafton, although I couldn't find any airtight attribution. (thx, all)

Tags: art   Johannes Vermeer
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The Kama Sutra of Sleeping Couples

Thought this was cute and true. 

I Love Charts

The Kama Sutra of Sleeping Couples

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Link from Twitter

My friend Kathryn with an interesting take on dating for women. Read the whole article.

"If I had to choose between two guys: one who makes $250,000 per year and was just "ok" looking, and the other who makes around $60,000 per year but was "hot", I'd choose the guy with the cash."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Study of the Day: Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity - Hans Villarica - The Atlantic

Scientific proof that we do our best work in coffee shops. I know I do. :)

Study of the Day: Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity - Hans Villarica - The Atlantic:

"The next time you're stumped on a creative challenge, head to a bustling coffee shop, not the library. As the researchers write in their paper, "[I]nstead of burying oneself in a quiet room trying to figure out a solution, walking out of one's comfort zone and getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas.""

Monday, October 8, 2012

E:60 - Ben Petrick - ESPN Video - ESPN

E:60 - Ben Petrick - ESPN Video - ESPN:

This is a really incredible video and story about a former major league baseball player who is fighting a life threatening disease. It's really inspirational. Click through the link to watch it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Clay Shirky: How the Internet will (one day) transform government | Video on

Awesome video from Clay Shirky. He's the best. I try to read everything he writes.

btw - because the iPhone 5 has such great wireless speed, I was able to stream this on my way to work. Pretty cool. I'm going to start listening to way more Ted Talks that way.

Clay Shirky: How the Internet will (one day) transform government | Video on

Friday, October 5, 2012

Reblog: One Year Ago

Daring Fireball points out a great tribute to Steve Jobs.
One Year Ago:
Lovely tribute at

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bags to Riches | Indiegogo

Bags to Riches | Indiegogo:

Last few days to contribute to this kid Akbar's very worthwhile program. His Bags to Riches org recycles conference bags to orphans and kids in need - He's an inspiration and is only 16.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Scott Orn shared an Instagram photo with you

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Scott Orn just shared an Instagram photo with you:

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(taken at War Memorial Opera House)

The Instagram Team

Saturday, September 29, 2012

How to downgrade by Seth Godin

Awesome post by Seth Godin. Mostly about the apple maps thing, but I can relate via Bens Friends. Wish this post would have been written a few years ago. Here is the best sound bite:

"Apologizing to your best users is significantly more productive than blaming them for liking what you used to do."

Seth's Blog

Monday, September 24, 2012

I didn't expect the world to be so big

This is just really amazing. A cartoon that is much bigger than you first realize. Pretty neat.

I used the Google Map version at the bottom.
I didn't expect the world to be so big:
Xkcd Big World

Today's XKCD must have taken Randall several years to draw...if you click and drag, it goes on forever. Or not quite forever, but Dan Catt did some figuring and:
Ok, so the XKCD map printed at 300dpi is around 46 foot / 14 meters wide, half that at magazine 600dpi quality.
Here's a better Google Maps-like way to explore the entire world.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fwd: Transport for London have the solution to all those mapping problems...

Via The Walm


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day

The first hour of my day is spent eating and answering emails from Ben's Friends. I learned it from Craig Newmark. The best part is my "customers" are people who are really glad Ben's Friends exists. :)

"Craigslist founder Craig Newmark answered the first hour question succinctly: "Customer service." He went on to explain (or expand) that he also worked on current projects, services for military families and veterans, and protecting voting rights. But customer service is what Newmark does every single day at Craigslist, responding to user complaints and smiting scammers and spammers. He almost certainly has bigger fish he could pitch in on every day, but Newmark says customers service "anchors me to reality."

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Monday, September 17, 2012

UrbanSitter - The Queen of All Babysitters -

Great article on my friends' company, UrbanSitter.

The Queen of All Babysitters -
"The UrbanSitter experience is a bit like online dating, where everyone on the site looks perfect in the exact same way. In their photos, would-be sitters flash huge smiles and cock their heads like eager puppies. They've all served as tutors, volunteered with underprivileged youth, worked as summer camp counselors and are now majoring in education while spending their free time honing their hide-and-go-seek skills. And of course, they all really, really love working with kids. For this bunch, it seems, babysitting is not a job, it's a privilege!"

The Kalamazoo Promise

Looks like an incredible program.

The Kalamazoo Promise:
Excellent NYT Magazine piece on the impact of The Kalamazoo Promise, an initiative by anonymous donors to pay the college tuition of every graduating senior in Kalamazoo. The Promise, which is intended by the donors to be an experiment in urban investment has had several amazing results in only a few years. High school test scores have improved continuously, and the promise of help with tuition has lead to families moving to and staying in Kalamazoo. The 2,450 new students has allowed the school district to hire 92 additional teachers. It's not all rosy, and the Promise hasn't solved every problem yet, but Kalamazoo seems to be headed in the right direction.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book Recommendation - The Art of Fielding

I just finished a terrific book called The Art of Fielding: A Novel. It has a little bit of everything for both sexes. The plot centers around a college baseball team, but there are a lot of great characters including the school president, his adult daughter and the players on the team. I really enjoyed the book. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Remember when Instagram and Pinterest had the same number of...

holy cow

via the himmelsblog on 9/12/12

Remember when Instagram and Pinterest had the same number of DAUs?

A Chicago Teacher: Why I Am Striking « Diane Ravitch's blog

Wonderful post that my friend Ariel linked to. Teaching is hard.

A Chicago Teacher: Why I Am Striking « Diane Ravitch's blog:
"The school board also wants to institute “merit” pay and use “merit” in our evaluations based on test scores. But how do you really measure “merit”? Do rising student test scores measure “merit”? Does this even work for the music teacher of the foreign language teachers whose subject does not even appear on standardized tests? Perhaps. But teachers receive different students every year. How do you account for differences in the students taught from year to year? How do account for students’ home life? The district has some complicated statistical model which supposedly measures the “value added” by a teacher.
 But is this valid? In New York, they are trying to do this. But under this model, there have been teachers receiving wildly different numbers in the same year and wildly different numbers from year to year. If the masters of the universe cannot even properly mathematically model the value of a credit default swap on Wall Street, how can they measure the infinitely more complicated contribution that a teacher makes for her/his students in a year? This is not “merit” pay. This is random pay."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Red's Pictures of San Francisco

My online buddy, Red at Trigeminal Neuralgia Support took some awesome pictures of San Francisco while he was visiting last week. It's always great to see your city through a friend's eyes. Here are my favorites. You can find Red's beautiful photos on his homepage, R.A.L. Photographic Art.

John Clayton's SportCenter commercial

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Power of the Pod

Ariel posted a great list of fun podcasts to listen to while exercising. I do this all the time. and now that I've cut the cord on cable, I'm listening to even more. 

Running in the 415

"Hour long podcasts:

Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me (NPR): I WAIT for this one on Saturdays. It's so funny…and often my source of current events information!

Ask Me Another (NPR): Also a funny and great source of information. Brainteasers, music, laughs, pub-night-trivia-esque information: what's not to like?

The Dinner Party (American Public Media): A blend of food, culture, history, fun facts, cool guests, music, unconventional wisdom that will make you a much more interesting dinner party guest.

Shorter Podcasts:

Freakonomics Radio (Stephen J. Dubner): If you liked the books, you'll love this. Topics from how American food got so bad to whether or not expensive wines actually taste better.

How to Do Everything (Ian Chillag and Mike Danforth): LOVE this one! Funny titles like "Wine, Wimbledon and Surprises" and "Propane, 50 Shades and Backstage" tell you how to do everything (hence the title) from how to get backstage at a concert to how to know if your wine has gone bad."

Advertising's bumpy transition (and why it matters to you)

Click though to read this Lo g but terrific article from Seth Godin on advertising. Great primer if you are building something, or selling something. 

Seth's Blog

"Since advertising is paying for a big portion of the consumer web, it's being built to please advertisers. Right now, though, what advertisers are used to buying isn't what the web is good at building.

There's huge progress being made in perceptions, but there's a ways to go. Which is why, "we're ad supported" isn't as obvious a strategy as it should be."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

@marklisanti, 8/29/12 7:09 PM

marklisanti (@marklisanti)
8/29/12 7:09 PM
Condoleezza Rice is really bumming out this Jimmy Buffet concert with all her political talk. Lighten up and have a 'rita, Condi!

storyboard:Which Meth Dealer Would You Be? A Breaking Bad GIF...

Incredible. btw - one of the best shows ever, if you are not watching.


Which Meth Dealer Would You Be? A Breaking Bad GIF...


Which Meth Dealer Would You Be? A Breaking Bad GIF Guide.

And in the category of epic infographics: this GIF guide, as inspired by Breaking Bad, the AMC crime drama will wrap up (well, half wrap up) this weekend. (Click for high-res GIFs.)
—Concept and design by Dylan Lathrop

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Video: Ultimate Runway Model FAIL Video. So Mean, But So Funny

Awesome video by my friend Kathryn.

Video: Ultimate Runway Model FAIL Video. So Mean, But So Funny:
Readers Mfriebel and MTU came up with the theme on this one. In their notes they seemed pretty confused as to why women wear such high heels. I’ll tell you why:
1) They make your legs look skinnier, especially if you have cankles, and 2) They look better with dresses (see point #1).
A study reported that average woman spends about $25,000 on shoes during their lifetime. Enjoy……


fishingboatproceeds:My friends Meg Liffick and Joe Ball got...

this is a cool story.


My friends Meg Liffick and Joe Ball got...

My friends Meg Liffick and Joe Ball got married yesterday.
When it came time for the couple’s traditional first dance, Joe read prepared remarks explaining that instead of dancing together, they wanted to open the dance floor to their gay and lesbian friends who are still legally denied the right to marry.
This was a large and very diverse wedding in a state that doesn’t even recognize same-sex civil unions, let alone marriage. And yet the ovation that these people received while dancing to The Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was like nothing I’ve ever heard at any wedding. If there were dry eyes, I didn’t see any.
Change is coming. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bags to Riches -- Indiegogo

Please consider giving Akbar a few bucks below. He's 16 years old and is changing the world. I'm friends with his uncle, Yousuf. He has created this amazing program where he recycles unused conference bags (think MacWorld conference bags) and then sends them to under-privileged youth and homeless people. It's really incredible what he has done. 

I've never met a 16 year old like Akbar, he's incredible.

Bags to Riches -- Indiegogo:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Best Plate Ever


Geocaching: Our First Time

Vanessa and I discovered geocaching yesterday on our vacation. Our friends Cristy and Scotty told us how great it is, so we finally tried it.

The way geocaching works is that you use a gps enabled phone and geocaching app to go on hikes and find little buried treasures that include a GO sensor. They are often hidden so you have to dig around a little. It's kind of like an adult treasure hunt.

Here is Vanessa finding our jest geocach in Donor!