Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Tax Strategy©

I am not in the law school, but I have mixed feelings about this article. One side of me thinks, hey that's a great idea, the other side has a desire to quote Senge.

"As the American tax law gets more and more complicated, lawyers have come up with one more way to make life difficult for taxpayers: Now you may face a patent infringement suit if you use a tax strategy that someone else thought of first."

"Why would Congress pass a law allowing such a thing? The answer is that it did not. But a U.S. appeals court ruled in 1998 that business methods could be patented, and since then the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued 50 tax- strategy patents, with many more pending."

Original Article

How Much is Too Much?

For babies (and generally any member of the population that matter), any amount of cocaine is too much! What is wrong with the world? There is something seriously wrong with a woman who gives her infant cocaine. Did she think it would quite down the kid? Let me tell you, cocaine is a stimulant. Therefore, that crying that is causing mom that mental anguish is going to INCREASE, not decrease.

Mom's not so bright idea

It's interesting that anyone who wants to can become a parent. No prerequisites necessary. Getting a driver's license is more challenging than getting a kid. All you need is a good solid night of passion.

KFC - No More Trans-fats!

This article follows-up with my previous post about Krispy Kreme hiring ex-executives from Reynolds to help avoid potential restrictions on trans-fats. KFC has come up with a solution that is much cheaper than paying the millions required for prominent CEO expertise. Nice work KFC!

KFC article

Monday, October 30, 2006

LinkedIn add-in for Firefox

Expand your online networking opportunities from within Firefox's menubar.

A new Firefox add-in adds the LinkedIn network to the menubar and makes it easier for business students to build our professional network of contacts:


"Join LinkedIn and get your business network working for you. Invite business contacts you know well, then use your network to find former colleagues and classmates, find a job, hire through referrals, and develop business relationships. The Firefox Companion brings you immediate access to your LinkedIn network as you browse and read email."

Now that's what I call armchair networking!

Touchscreen iPods are a-comin'

Folks, you read it here first. Strong rumor (and a thick stack of patent drawings) has it that Apple is about to release a touchscreen iPod:

New Apple Patent art points way to iPod with camera

U.S. Patent Office entry for the new iPod

Well, wouldn't that be special.

Actually, it looks a lot like the wizards over in Cupertino have brewed up something far more than just a 6G iPod with a touch screen. From the drawings, it looks like they've added to the device digital camera and possibly wireless functions as well - features which may interact with the user in innovative ways, such as controls that dynamically relocate based on the device's orientation and the media being played.

I await Steven Jobs' world premiere announcement.

Dis-economies of scale

yet again, it turns out bigger is not always better.
Size has been one of the most popular themes in monster movies, especially those from my favorite era, the 1950s. The premise is invariably to take something out of its usual context--make people small or something else (gorillas, grasshoppers, amoebae, etc.) large--and then play with the consequences. However, Hollywood's approach to the concept has been, from a biologist's perspective, hopelessly naïve.
for example:
As for the contest with the spider, the battle is indeed biased, but not the way the movie would have you believe. Certainly the spider has a wicked set of poison fangs and some advantage because it wears its skeleton on the outside, where it can function as armor. But our hero, because of his increased metabolic rate, will be bouncing around like a mouse on amphetamines. . . .As for the Shrinking Man, pity the poor spider.
there must be a lesson for a contrarian business student in here somewhere...
Kong's excessive body size should have exhausted the safety factor. True, Kong stands a bit straighter than the average gorilla so he may gain a bit of the safety factor back, but it's clear that he's pushing the envelope. Is that why he has such a short fuse and is always roaring and bashing things? Not only does he continually run the risk of breaking his legs, but undoubtedly his feet hurt.
Definitely read the whole thing and learn.

Power to the People (well, sort of)

A clever, potential source of energy is being tested by an innovative Japanese company in the guise of rubber mats installed in a Tokyo train station. As the nearly 760,000 daily commuters of Toyko Station race through the turnstiles, their footstomps are being converted into electricity:

Stepping Up Power in Tokyo". A train station in Tokyo tests if passengers' steps can generate electricity.

The goal is to provide another socially responsible form of power for the world's growing power needs in the face of climate change.

Now just imagine all the power that could be generated by armies of people running on treadmills at gyms, racing on rubberized school tracks, and galloping across those nifty moving walkways at airports. Perhaps it is enough power to trigger a light bulb in one of our heads to write a biz plan to sell this technology in the USA!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nifty Firefox keyboard command for the Mac

I discovered today, while working on me accounting project, that you can select a single column or row of tabular HTML data from, say, an annual report, by holding down the

Honda Accord Ad and viral marketing

This 2003 Honda commercial is one of the most original commercials I have seen in a long time — and was done in decidedly low-tech fashion, with absolutely no computers:


The entire ad was shot in one continuous take, after 606 tries, and has made the Internet rounds countless times. Reminds me a bit of that old Hitchcock film, Rope, which was shot “in real time” in 8 continuous ten-minute segments.

Lessons from a Basketball Coaching Legend

Red Auerbach, legendary coach of the Boston Celtics in the 1950s and '60s, died yesterday at 89. He was a powerful innovating force in the NBA, and his style of leadership, emphasis of the team over individual stats, and ability to instill pride in his players are inspiring for students of leadership and management:

"We have never had the league's top scorer," Auerbach said of the Celtics' dominance. "In fact, we won seven league championships without placing even one among the league's top 10 scorers. Our pride was never rooted in statistics."

Red Auerbach Dies at 89

He also smoked some pretty cool stogies and tormented our L.A. Lakers for decades.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Another Creative Advertisement

Came across this ad for Alteco 110 superglue. The brand's aim was to increase awareness and confidence in the glues bonding abilities. Read more about it over at ...How Advertising Spoiled me....

Coin worth picking up superglued to whatever:

Immobile mobile phone:

Superglued handle:

Study Break

Life in finance...

Interesting uses of the penny...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Talks of Note

From time to time I come across some very interesting podcasts. Here are a couple that I have found very interesting.

Ibiblio hosts a number of interesting talks. Back in September Danah Boyd, a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley's School of Information gave a very interesting talk about "digital publics". She asks what has happened to the things we did growing up, like biking around neighborhood, hanging out and doing nothing. These activities have been scheduled out of kids' lives. Kids' lives are now scheduled from 7am to 7pm. Danah says, in addition, a critical informal learning period when kids figure out status, learn to socialize and negotiate communities, and gain a cultural understanding has also been scheduled out. Instead kids go online on and attempt to learn these lessons. She ties in a lot of her research and thought and delivers an interesting discussion.

USC's Center on Public Diplomacy, hosted Bruce Schneier, security expert, to address public diplomacy and technology.
"Both data storage has dropped to free and data processing has dropped to free. As these things get cheaper it is easier to keep the data than it is to throw it away... so we are now leaving digital footprints... everywhere as we walk through our lives... so this is a problem because at least in the United States this data isn't owned by you."
He goes on to talk about how these "footprints" are used for identification and further, identification for security. Bruce feels these checks are a fiction and challenges the idea that identity somehow maps to intention. Can we actually pick out evil doers or terrorists? Criminals yes, but terrorists? It is becoming possible to offer wholesale surveillance where we can follow everyone and listen to every phone call. However, Bruce says this does not improve security. Trying to identify threats from all this data is like looking for a needle in a haystack while adding more hay. He talks about the bias for identification within the security industry, that identification makes surveillance easy, except that threats come from out of the blue.

You marketers must love this. Imagine being able to identify who someone is, how much money they earn, how much they have bought from the store and what as they walk into the store. Automatically you know employee know how to treat that person.

The next one I plan on listening to is this talk by Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.

Innovation: Apple's MagSafe Connectors

One feature I love about my MAC laptop is the magnetic power supply connection, termed Apple's MagSafe Connectors. It has saved my lappy from being yanked to the floor twice already.

Check out how the DIY crowd is fashioning their own magnetic plugs over at MAKE.

THE Google

I couldn't resist this video of how the president uses the "internetS."


HOST: I’m curious, have you ever googled anybody? Do you use Google?

BUSH: Occasionally. One of the things I’ve used on the Google is to pull up maps. It’s very interesting to see — I’ve forgot the name of the program — but you get the satellite, and you can — like, I kinda like to look at the ranch. It remind me of where I wanna be sometimes.

Even more interesting is his reasoning for not using email.
“I don’t e-mail, because of the different record requests that can happen to a president. I don’t want to receive e-mails because there’s no telling what somebody’s e-mail would show up as a part of some kind of a story, and I wouldn’t be able to say, ‘Well, I didn’t read the e-mail.’ ‘But I sent it to your address, how can you say you didn’t?’ So, in other words, I’m very cautious about e-mailing.”
I'll be looking for more celebrity use/non-use of technology. I remember reading that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson uses very little email and prefers his cell phone for business. I was also interested to see that Bill Gates watches pirated movies on YouTube. courtesy ComputerWorld.

WSJ: You watch physics lectures and Harlem Globetrotters [on YouTube]?

Gates: This social-networking thing takes you to crazy places.

WSJ: But those were stolen, correct?

Gates: Stolen's a strong word. It's copyrighted content that the owner wasn't paid for. So yes.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In praise of pounding nails

Matthew Crawford writes,
While manufacturing jobs have certainly left our shores to a disturbing degree, the manual trades have not. If you need a deck built, or your car fixed, the Chinese are of no help. Because they are in China.
He goes on to note how shop class is quickly becoming a thing of the past. All the rage today, a la Thomas Friedman, is to teach kids how to become "knowledge workers." Except, as pointed out in The Millionare Nextdoor, the typical millionare is the guy driving a pickup with his own business. Maybe business schools should take note.
So what advice should one give to a young person? By all means, go to college. In fact, approach college in the spirit of craftsmanship, going deep into liberal arts and sciences. In the summers, learn a manual trade. You’re likely to be less damaged, and quite possibly better paid, as an independent tradesman than as a cubicle-dwelling tender of information systems. To heed such advice would require a certain contrarian streak, as it entails rejecting a life course mapped out by others as obligatory and inevitable.
read the whole thing and maybe change majors.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Google's Targeted Search Filter

Google, which has been in the news a heck of a lot lately, today introduced a new custom search technology that allows anybody to add a Google search engine to their site to filter the results to only the sites that that person or company wants their clients to search. The advantage, in essence, is that you can limit the search results to relevant websites rather than having to wade through an endless heap of irrelevant links:


The L.A. Times profiles it in this morning's business section:

Google lets sites create customized search tools

Try it out. It's free.

Monday, October 23, 2006

“We're all petaphiles now”

No, not that sort.

George Gilder in Wired Magazine article "The Information Factories" is talking about “Peta” as in that prefix “signifying numbers of the magnitude 10 to the 15th power, a million billion.” He writes about the already started shift from desktop to so-called "cloud computing."

Two things interest me here. First, how critical water (as it relates to energy) may be for the internet age and 2) how the current parallel computing architecture may run counter to the fundamental laws of technology.

First, water: All this computing takes a staggering amount of electricity, much of it for airconditioning! Describing Ask.com’s data farm:

If it's necessary to waste memory and bandwidth to dominate the petascale era, gorging on energy is an inescapable cost of doing business. Ask.com operations VP Dayne Sampson estimates that the five leading search companies together have some 2 million servers, each shedding 300 watts of heat annually, a total of 600 megawatts...With a third of the incoming power already lost to the grid's inefficiencies, and half of what's left lost to power supplies, transformers, and converters, the total of electricity consumed by major search engines in 2006 approaches 5 gigawatts... Air-conditioning will be the prime cost and conundrum of the petascale era. As energy analysts Peter Huber and Mark Mills projected in 1999, the planetary machine is on track to be consuming half of all the world's output of electricity by the end of this decade.
The article also notes how Google is building a massive, 30 acre data farm right next to the Columbia River gorge. Two reasons make this the perfect site for a next-gen data center. First, because it is close to PC-1, the main fiber-optic artery that connects Asia to the US.
The other attraction is The Dalles Dam and its 1.8 gigawatt power station. The half-mile-long dam is a crucial source of cheap electrical power – once essential to aluminum smelting, now a strategic resource in the next phase in the digital revolution. Indeed, Google and other Silicon Valley titans are looking to the Columbia River to supply ceaseless cycles of electricity at about a fifth of what they would cost in the San Francisco Bay Area. Why? To feed the ravenous appetite of a new breed of computer.
Maybe we can't throw out all of the old rules. Geography might matter after all; natural resources sure do. The New Yorker has a great article on the desperate need for water in the developing world – India in particular is crippled by its inability to solve this basic need, despite its brilliance in software development. Sadly, they don’t have it online, but here is a link to an interview with the author.

In the second half, Gilder points out how parallel architecture is starting to look like the mainframes of yesterday. This is his central thesis ever since he wrote Telecosm: dumb networks with smart edges prevail over smart networks with dumb edges. He seems to suggest that Google may be in for a fall (albeit a long way off) if it remains dedicated to its massive, smart architecture.
Google's magical ability to distribute a search query among untold numbers of processors and integrate the results for delivery to a specific user demands the utmost central control. This triumph of centralization is a strange, belated vindication of Grosch's law, the claim by IBM's Herbert Grosch in 1953 that computer power rises by the square of the price...

In this way, the success of the highly centralized computer-on-a-planet runs counter to the current that has swept the computer industry for decades. The advantages of the new architecture may last only until the centripetal forces pulling intelligence to the core of the network give way, once again, to the silicon centrifuge dispelling it to the edges. Google has pioneered the miracle play of wringing supercomputer performance from commodity CPUs, and this strategy is likely to succeed as long as microchip progress remains in the doldrums. But semiconductor and optical technologies are on the verge of a new leap forward… Such advances promise to transform the calculus of storage, bandwidth, and power that gives centralization its current advantage. As the redoubtable Bell Labs engineer turned giga-investor Andy Kessler tells me, "It's sure to happen. It always has. Because all the creativity, customer whims, long tails, and money are at the network's edge. That's where chipmakers find the volumes that feed their Moore's law margins. That's where you can find elastically ascending revenues and relentlessly declining costs."

Pepperdine Will Be Happy Warren Buffet is Wrong

Buffett told Fortune not long ago, he was "wired at birth to allocate capital." It's a one-in-a-million thing. You've got it - or you don't.

An article over at CNN.Money.com argues that natural talent is irrelevant to great success. Thank Goodness. What It Takes Be Great

The article's A-List includes:
  • Warren Buffet
  • Tiger Woods
  • Bobby Fischer
  • Winston Churchill
  • Michael Jordan
  • Terrell Owens
  • Jerry Rice
  • Bill Gates
  • John D. Rockefeller
Quote from the article
"The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call "deliberate practice." It's activity that's explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one's level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition."
If you don't take anything else from this article, there are at least some good tips on improving your golf game.

Oh yeah, just kidding about the Terrell Owens thing, there's no mention of him anywhere in the article.

Props to my Sis for pointing this out.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, iPod!

Today the iPod turns five years old. And what a wonderfully influential five years it has been, as described by the Los Angeles Times in two pieces today:

The iPod Revolution: Five year ago Steve Jobs said his new music player would transform the world. He was right.

The iPod as a Reflection of You: Apple's music player is the best realization of our culture of self-construction.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Use Your Brain for Thinking, Not Note Taking

I came across this interesting site, NoteMesh.

I find the idea of collaborating with classmates to create a set of class notes very intriguing.

Here are my thoughts:
  • Less thought spent concentrating on taking notes during class (theoretically)
  • More time being engaged during class time because most will contribute to the notes and share the burden of note taking (theoretically)
  • "Your" notes improve as more people contribute, edit, and review them
  • You get a tighter focused set of notes that becomes a better study guide
  • A dialogue on the class material develops as the class notes are edited and that helps contribute to your learning of the material
What do you guys think? Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

GooglePlex to go Solar

I thought this was of interest...
Googleplex Goes Solar, over at
Boing Boing.

MAC tip

In case you're wondering how to do a print screen on your new MACs...

Apple key + shift key + 4

Brings up a crosshair that you click and drag to snap a picture of your screen. It saves the picture to your desktop.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Retirement funds for a new business venture?

I'm adamantly opposed to the idea. I think it's incredibly foolish. Ever heard of an SBA loan?? Anyway, in case you're interested, here's an article that will walk you through the pros and cons. RETIREMENT DESTROYER

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ex-tobacco Executives move to Krispy Kreme

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Krispy Kreme is facing possible bans on the cooking fats that make its doughnuts light, fluffy and overall yummy. Between the ban and accounting irregularities, it appears that the company is in trouble. In response, Krispy Kreme is trying to control damage by bringing in high powered executives from Reynolds to manage the overall crisis. So is this an admission that the cooking fats are just as harmful as tobacco and nicotine? Or is this a brilliant strategy to turn Krispy Kreme back into the doughnut dominating force it once was.

Krispy Kreme

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Librarian: Search Strategy

Go check out the Seaver Business Blog.

Librarian, Marc Vinyard has just added a helpful post about researching companies' financials.

He recommends using Factiva to augment your research:
It will provide ratios that aren’t available in Moody’s/Mergent Online.
Check out the Blog here: Seaver Business Blog

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ad for Rexona deoderant

OK, I must be feeling socially responsible today, or else just socially loafing off of the social responsibility of others! But I have one more thing to share today. And although it's not particularly socially responsible, it sure is an hilarious and effective use of stunt effects in advertising:

Stunt City video

I think this was shown during the Superbowl recently.

Microcredits net Economist a Nobel Peace Prize

Loaning out microcredits: an interesting concept which was socially responsible enough to win an economist the Nobel Peace Prize today:

Economist, bank win Nobel Peace Prize

And there you have it. His idea has potentially raised the Bangladeshi per-capita income from $280 to $440 since 1985. Striking, I know. But it is Bangladesh folks. And that is a huge catch-up effect measured in percentage points.

Some economics concepts to keep in mind for your Econ final.


Jeff Seabold on doing international business

I was really inspired by this interview with entrepreneur and real estate guru Jeff Seabold. In addition to founding CS Financial, he has spurred a tremendous construction boom in Cabo San Lucas by offering cross-border financing.

The article is from the Oct. 2, 2006 issue of L.A. Business Journal:

"Mexican Move: Jeff Seabold, President of CS Financial, sees the future of real estate lending as an international project: today, Baja; tomorrow Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua."

The URL is to google's cache, so if you want to read the entire article, click on the "Print" function at the bottom.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Not The Best Power Point Presentation to Sleep Through


The best Power Point Presentation under a minute thirty.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Only a Moron Would Buy YouTube"

Said Mark Cuban.
Mark Cuban, co-founder of HDNet and owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, said that only a "moron" would purchase YouTube. His reasoning being that it will only be a matter of time that YouTube will be "sued into oblivion." He also had choice words for viral marketing campaigns saying they don't work because "what makes viral so special is it's so hard to do. It's so hard to plan. It's hard to stand out." He also says there is no substantial advertising potential in sites like YouTube.
~DV Guru
Cuban's P.O.V. from his Blog Maverick
Some thoughts on Youtube and Google
I still think Google is crazy :)

Gootube - The End of DRM ?
YouTube founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim are estimated to make between $100 and $200 million on the deal.

Sequoia, one of YouTube's first funders, provided $11.5 million (in two rounds). How much do they make?

Michael Arrington wrote that Sequoia likely did whatever it could to maintain it’s equity share in the company. He estimated that share was between 25% and 30%.

What does this mean? If Sequoia put in $11.5 million for 30% of the company, and if in fact YouTube is being acquired for $1.6 billion then Sequoia’s stake translates into approximately $480 million (subject to a slight adjustment upwards if Sequoia had what is known as participating preferred stock). That’s a multiple of more than 41 times what was invested in a company founded in February 2005.

PVRWire has an informative post on the deal here.

Google Video goes head to head with YouTube.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cubical Humor at its BEST!!!

Not sure... Does this count as ROTFLOL????

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Creative Advertising

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Organic farming going agribusiness?

To achieve the desired results that the American public demands from organic farming, will organic farming become "industrialized agribusiness?"

How do you achieve high level productivity while maintaining the ethical principles of organic farming?

The current model of the large corporation taking part in organic farming and continuing the same business model is a fallacy. Organic farming is difficult and time-consuming. It's focused on hard work and labor.

As in every other industry, the general American public and our capitalist economy will seek faster and easier ways of achieving productivity and overall output. But in farming practices that are based on hard-work and other "ethical principles" (and not pesticides or antibiotics) there are no short-cuts. Organic farming focuses on the primary principles that faster, bigger, harder, strong, is not always better. This is an unusual idea for most people to think about. All too often the public becomes engulfed in output efficiency. Organic farming focuses on what is commonly unpopular with the public -- the process.

Despite "process" being wildly unpopular in common American culture, organic products are booming in grocery stores. Whole Foods did roughly $4.7B in sales in the year 2005! That number is almost double the amount of sales done in 2002. With demand reaching new heights, pressure is on organic food producers to achieve higher levels of efficiency.

But regardless of increased demand, it is unthinking to say that agribusiness is going to resolve the lack of organic products available. Agribusiness is by definition in direct conflict of principle with organic farming. How can a chicken with its beak cut off be considered organic?

"For many companies, the preferred option is staying home and adopting the industrial scale of agribusiness. Naturally, giant factory farms make [organic farming] purists recoil. Is an organic label appropriate for eggs produced in sheds housing more than 100,000 hens that rarely see the light of day? Can a chicken that's debeaked or allowed minimal access to the outdoors be deemed organic? Would consumers be willing to pay twice as much for organic milk if they thought the cows producing it spent most of their outdoor lives in confined dirt lots?" Buinessweek

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Malibu Septic Tanks under DNA testing?!?

Malibu Septic Tanks under DNA testing?!?


LA County Officials are getting to the bottom of the "stink" around Malibu.
"The county plans soon to begin using DNA testing of sea water off Escondido and Ramirez canyons. The goal will first be to discern whether the waste is human or animal. Officials say they then plan to follow the trail wherever it leads, even if that means to the backyards and horse stables of well-heeled beachside and canyon residents." ~ LATIMES
You gotta love this quote by Dear Ole Pam:
"When the results of these tests come back, I'll bet that once again we'll find that ... people's meat addiction, not their septic tanks, is causing this pollution," Anderson wrote in an e-mail through her publicist. "The best thing any of us can do to fight pollution is to adopt a vegetarian diet." ~ CNN
Boing Boing and Defamer weigh in.

Are your notes really effective?

I have been trying a mix of taking notes on my computer and hand writing them. I have yet to find the right style. Paperless is hip (and searchable), but I have yet to find a quick and efficient way to add quick drawings, tables and doodles. I came across this post about Study-Worthy Lecture Notes from Lifehacker.

Check out the link to building a word template.


Competitive Rent

Check out this cool site: rentometer
Rentometer Logo
I am curious to know if you think it provides acurate data.

You enter your rental address and rent amount and it provides comparable data in the surrounding area.

Power Point Keyboard Shortcuts

Power Point Keyboard Shortcuts.

From lifehacker

Keyboard Shortcuts

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Globalization and the Phillips Curve

Here is an interesting post by the (most likely) author of your Economics textbook, Greg Mankiw: Globalization and the Phillips Curve

In addition, he makes an interesting comment on Globalization,
My sense is that, as a general matter, globalization as a phenomenon, while no doubt significant in many ways, nonetheless gets more attention than it deserves. We see this manifest itself in many ways. For example, the Chinese exchange rate is not a major issue facing the U.S. economy, yet somehow it manages to get a lot of attention, while more serious problems are routinely ignored.

Oh... and some background on the Phillips Curve.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Future of Bibliographies"

A very neat tool. "the future of bibliographies"

Use the ISBN to generate an MLA, APA or AMA bibliography.


Jon Otto, the creator, is a 4th year undergrad at University of Wisconsin @ La Crosse.