Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Price based purchasing decisions

3rd January 2013

For my twelfth birthday my father took me to Abt to buy me my very first boombox, something I had been wanting for some time. This was 1989 and I will never forget walking through the door, stepping up to a massive wall of stereos of all shapes, colors, and sizes. I was in heaven.

The only thing my father said to me was, “don’t even look at the price, just find the stereo that you works the best for you”. So that’s what I did.

I spent a good hour going through each one, easily weeding out several based on style and size, playing with dials, reading the spec sheets, one deck vs. two decks, blasting music, until I whittled them down to the one I wanted. A Sony boombox of my very own. A stereo that I owned up until 2002 when it finally retired.

It had an amazing lifespan and quite a few homes. First as my entertainment centerpiece, then as a music duplication device, a recording device, a guitar instructor, a karaoke machine, then, finally, as a spare bedroom unit.

What mattered was that it was special. It wasn’t just something I bought, but something I had invested in and it gave back 100 fold.

Because of this lesson, I own very few things and have only bought things that matter, that I see as an investment. Things that would bring me more than the short lived therapeutic effects buying can often have. It is never about price.

The secret radio

24th December 2012

A British soldier in WWII hid and kept secret a tiny radio while he was a Prisoner of War in Poland. He managed to keep it so well hidden that he was able to retrieve it 62 years later.

(Fast forward to 21:02)

It is funny how we think of history in such broad strokes. There must be thousands of intimate, but powerful stories that are forever lost simply because they were never told.

One of my favorite quotes on technology

18th April 2012

Technology… the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it. – Max Frisch

Chicago in 1949 by Stanley Kubrick

3rd December 2011

Stanley Kubrick’s photojournalism work in Chicago, 1949.

12. Man in front of a Trade and 17. Pump room are my favorite.

5 second impression

6th November 2011

I believe it takes less than five seconds for anyone to make up their mind about anything. I believe that the rest of our time is spent justifying our opinion made during those five seconds.

Whether we are meeting someone new or buying a new car or eating at a new restaurant or interacting with a new product, our first impression, those first five seconds, is the one that will forever anchor our opinion. We will always be looking for ways to adjust future messages about that person/restaurant/product to fit into our five second opinion.

Life is no longer binary

26th October 2011

There was a time when products really had only two modes. Either on or off. But as peoples needs changed so did products and different settings were introduced. You can now dim your lights for example. But we are now again at the point where people want more. Or, less really. Less thought and more action on the part of technology.

I came across a new thermostat via Hacker News called Nest. Nest changes the way one thinks about what is expected from a thermostat. It is not about turning your a/c or heater on or off. It is not ever about setting up a schedule as to when to turn on and off. It is about getting to your optimal temperature with as little input from you as possible. It learns from you and adjusts accordingly.

Life is no longer binary. Software matters.

Rocking the boat

25th October 2011

When meaningful change is required, rocking the boat is a critical action. If it’s not important, i.e. no one really cares, the boat will do nothing. It will just continue on its course and ignore your cries. It is when the boat starts to sway lightly that you know you are on the right track. It means you are making an impact and people are listening. It also means that no matter what, you can not stop for anything.

But what if no matter how hard you push, the boat doesn’t budge an inch? Maybe your message is wrong. Maybe you are pushing in the wrong spot. Maybe you are pushing without listening. Or Maybe you’re on the wrong boat. If it is none of these things, then it is time to find your mistake and adjust accordingly.

It’s once you get the boat swaying does it become important to listen to its rocking. You need to keep pushing until the swaying peaks, that is how you know your job is done.

Of course, sometimes you need to capsize the boat, but that is rare.

Concert videography

23rd October 2011

Back in high school my good friend Drew and I would film and interview local bands in Chicago. We’d go to places like the Fireside, the 3rd Floor, the Underdog Loft, VFW’s, and several other places all over the Chicagoland area with our Hi-8 camcorders and shoot away. After a set we would sometimes literally drag the band over to an area where we could interview them. Drew would then take the footage, edit it together nicely and copy it to dozens of VHS tapes. We’d then take those tapes to shows and sell them to fans like us. It was such a great time in my life.

What got me thinking about this was when I cam across Veokami, a site that collects video of live concerts taken by fans on their mobile devices. It’s a moden version of what we were doing, but pulling video from multiple sources of the same concert. It is a fantastic idea and site and I truly hope it takes off.

Bonus: Here is a video I took of A.F.I. performing File 13 at the FIreside Bowl on Nov. 25 1997.

I have no data

22nd October 2011

A great way to see if a book may be of interest is to search through Amazon’s list of most highlighted passages on people’s Kindles.

A great one being:

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

From The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

How to tell a great story

18th October 2011

If you are looking for a good example of how to tell a story, look no further than Joanna Wiebe’s article entitled How 1 HN post compelled me to leave Intuit and create a new startup for startups.

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