Thoughts I wrote down

Posturing Rockers

Forget about the music; all that matters is how much you rock.
2005
Oct
19

Tonight I saw The Constantines play at the Great American Music Hall. The band consists of Screech playing keyboards, his older brother singing in the style of Tom Waits, Ricky Schroeder’s way geekier cousin playing guitar, a one-note bassist and a drummer. Their music was really pretty good, and I would have fully enjoyed the show had it not been quite so obvious that they had taken correspondence classes from the publishers of the “… for Dummies” series of books – classes such as “An Uplifted Fist: Rock Power to the People”, “Guitar for Rockers: Move the Neck, Make the Sound,” and “Bass Note: Fast and Above Your Head.” It is not so egregious that they were doing these things on stage, but just that they looked uncomfortable doing them. Be natural, guys, and enjoy playing your music.

Impulse Travel

On a whim, I’m going to Japan
2005
Oct
17

I had thought a little bit about traveling after I finish up at Edusoft, but I hadn’t put much effort into it and hadn’t come up with any place to go. With only a little convincing over the weekend, my friends pushed me in the right direction. I browsed the bookstore looking at the travel guides to decide where to go. When impulse struck, I decided on Japan and I booked a flight yesterday.

Three weeks in Japan. No plans. Should be an adventure.

The Hedgehog Concept

I need to find my “one big thing”
2005
Oct
14

In Good to Great, Jim Collins introduces the Hedgehog Concept as a key insight into taking a good company to greatness. The idea is to develop your strategy along three key dimensions and then to crystallize that into one concept that guides all efforts. The analogy to the hedgehog comes from an parable about a fox and a hedgehog in which the fox tries many different methods to catch the hedgehog. Each time the hedgehog just rolls himself into a tight ball of spikes, thwarting all the fox’s efforts. The hedgehog understands its one big thing and consistently applies it, achieving “greatness,” at least in the ongoing battle with the fox. What is interesting about this business concept is that it closely parallels individuals’ pursuits of their true calling, and thus their personal greatness.

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A Man of Value, a Man Not of Conviction

An exploration of why I lack conviction
2005
Oct
13

I believe myself to be a man of values and principles. I like to think that I am upstanding and would always “do the right thing.” At the same time, I recognize that I am not so much a man of conviction. The way I see it, conviction is the constant application of beliefs over time, and while I do have beliefs, I often find that averting conflict comes before upholding my beliefs. I’m not referring to major questions of ethics, but instead I’m talking about the more banal, like deciding not to eat red meat.

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Jon Stewart’s “Bush laugh”

Oh how funny a little “hee-hee-hee” can be.
2005
Oct
12

Jon Stewart is a funny guy, and while he’s not a great impressionist, his “hee-hee-hee” impersonating Bush’s laugh makes me crack up.

Now I’ve gone and done it

It took too long, but I have a new design
2005
Oct
11

Yes, I have a new site design. No, it is not totally finished yet. Some of the links don’t work, and the navigation is not all complete, but for the most part, it is here. And I have already spent way too much time on this.

In the sincerest form of flattery, I have “been inspired” by this site. I hope Khoi Vinh does not mind.

Negotiating Tactics: The Offer Offer

How a clever tactic gets you hooked before you have a chance to say “no”
2005
Oct
06

It occurred to me last night that I am working with a master negotiator when I realized the subtlety of his tactics at hand. I have been offered an offer for a job, but I have not yet been given the offer. What this means is that over the few weeks I was given to decide whether or not I want the offer, I will have to decide and convince myself that either the job is the right one and I want it or that it is not and I do not want it. If I decide that I do not want the job, then we each just go about our merry ways. On the other hand, in deciding that the job is the right one, I will have invested myself emotionally in the job before even getting to the point of real negotiations.

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Living Purchase to Purchase

While others live hand-to-mouth, I live whatever the opposite is.
2005
Sep
29

Please forgive me for appearing snide, but this is just a fair observation about my life. I don’t consider myself rich, but I earn enough to be comfortable. I don’t think about when my next paycheck will arrive and how that money will be split up between rent and food, and I don’t wonder if I will have any left for entertainment. This style of living is in sharp contrast with a lot of Americans; according to AC Neilsen, 28% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Two of my good friends who own a house in San Rafael and just bought a Subaru Outback are definitely on the edge, as they put strong consideration into each purchase they make, trading off one purchasing decision for another. But I lead a different style of life, a style I call “living purchase to purchase.”

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Salary Philosophy

Bill Strickland’s philosophy on being paid just enough.
2005
Sep
27

I don’t need the money. It’s not my thing. Don’t get me wrong - I do like money. But I don’t know that it’s ecologically appropriate to hoard millions and millions of dollars. We don’t need to have so much wealth concentrated in so few hands. Our culture needs to recognize that having $20 million in the bank is not an absolute requirement for being happy. We have got to be more attuned to the idea that the life experience has its own value.

Bill Strickland explaining his philosophy on salary.

This philosophy is amazing, because it truly addresses a problem in our culture and gives a solution as well. Bill Strickland is an incredibly successful social entrepreneur who could make a ton more money, but he takes a salary that gives him a comfortable life and leaves the rest of the money in his business doing good.

Cell Phone Companies Don’t Care

If the cost of acquiring a new customer is so high, why treat current customers so poorly?
2005
Sep
27

I have a 4-year-old cell phone. It still works (my theory on why it still works is that it does not have non-cell-phone features that get in the way of the quality of the phone itself, but that is a post for another time), but it is loosing steam, having more and more problems keeping a signal. So I figured I would look into getting a new phone.

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