Get Rich Slow, Now

10 04 2009

Great article in Time Magazine, Get Rich Slow, about the rise of the small startup that can cost nearly nothing and grow into something very valuable.  Paul Graham, Jason Calacanis, and many others have been preaching the rise of the zero-cost startup.

Not only is this my life right now, but it’s the basic basis of most every big Internet success in the 2.0 era: Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, on and on.

I’m surprised I’d never heard the term “ramen profitability” before, but I love it!

If you’re unemployed, get something going now.  Time is your most valuable asset.  If you’re gainfully employed, do something on the side – costs you no more than a hobby, and I think it’s more fun (and creates more value for the world) than most hobbies.  If you don’t, someone else will.  Simple enough.

(via 37Signals)

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Hometown Paper Goes Down… To Online

16 03 2009

Seattle P-I goes online only (from Mashable’s Adam Ostrow) today, and the largest daily paper to go online only according the seattlepi.com homepage.

My first wage job was as a Seattle Times paperboy.  Bonus: online newspapers don’t get wet, don’t need to get plastic bagged, and don’t get chewed up by the dog.





Kindle App Brings Primetime eBooks to iPhone

5 03 2009

I got the Kindle iPhone application this morning.  It’s basic seeming, which can be a good thing and it nicely gets the job done.  I was reading the first chapter (free sample) of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers within minutes.  You have to download eBooks from Safari – seems fine to me until closer integration for purchasing in the app becomes available.

Something is a little obnoxious about reading on the tiny iPhone screen.  Really all I need right now is more reason to stare at the damn thing more often.

In San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle is facing what looks like impending doom.  It’s just a matter of time before the paper portion goes down.  Mayor Gavin Newsom was on Real Time with Bill Maher, proclaiming that bloggers aren’t real journalists (or something to that effect) and that real news will suffer because if newspapers shut down.  Mayor Newson thinks that the Chronicle will probably find some way to rearrange its business.

A rant on why this is a little off would be a whole thing itself.  Writing is writing is writing, and there’s no reason why “real” journalism can’t exist on the web just as easily as on paper – is that not simple enough?  A workable business model is a different story – that’s the piece that’s being worked through.

Marc Andreessen thinks the New York Times needs to kill the paper portion now, as (paraphrase) acute pain is better than years of chronic pain.  Yet he admits that he owns something like 6,000 CDs – quite the counter-argument to the death of media.

Just because a book or newspaper “feels better” doesn’t really mean anything, nor does the fact that staring at a screen so much seems just wrong.  Everyone can have their preferences.  It does not mean that the newspaper, books or CD will go on.  Technology changes things, and hopefully and generally for the better.  Amazon does print books on demand, as do a number of start-ups.  If I want a book to read on the beach, I’ll buy it – plain and simple.  Wasting a tree everytime I want to read the latest marketing guru no latter seems sane though.

My point being – don’t confuse a gut reaction with what way of doing things is really better.  Then, you too can be a futurist and see why paper isn’t dead – it’s just a mostly unnecessary remnant of media delivery.

Mashable gets the credit for breaking this, for me at least.





Wisdom & When Rules Aren’t Enough

18 02 2009

I’m planning something around some of Barry Schwartz’s recommendations, but thought I’d start by sharing an amazing talk everyone should take to heart:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Barry Schwartz on our loss of wisdom …“, posted with vodpod




On a Blogging Break…

4 02 2009

Wow, how time flies.  It’s been a crazy, reflective, interesting number of months since my last post.

Been juggling too many things, so the blog has been the neglected child.  So I guess I’m officially on a blogging break.  Instead of leaving the blog to drown, I figured I should at least post some notice.  I do intend to return, hopefully sooner rather than later, maybe with some special surprises in store.

See you soon :-).





Investor Protection Association for America: Don’t Do It

10 12 2008

I received a direct mail piece today from Investor Protection Association for America.  As a concerned citizen, it didn’t seem quite as obvious a ploy as other “claim your prize” mailings.

It is indeed a mailing list collection ploy (from NextMark):

Investor Protection Association for America responders are affluent investors with a vested interest in tax reform, protection of investors’ rights, the effect of high energy cost on the economy and increased political awareness. They are concerned with pending legislation and how Congressional decisions will impact their financial future. More importantly they are willing to tell Congress what they feel their priorities should be. IPAA responders subscribe to investment newsletters, financial publications, business publications, they are donors as well as financial and economic book buyers. They have the discretionary income to invest in stocks, bonds, annuities, commodities, mutual funds, oil and gas, and hedge funds as well as subscribe to publications, books and fundraising offers.

I won’t patronize you with phony outrage.  Magazine, catalog, and who-knows-what mailing lists are regular practice.  But they make no qualms about how their model works.  I accept advertising and marketing with open arms.

In these times, people are hurting and our government hasn’t yet taken the right steps to fully reassure us.  Armed with the promise of public service, they’ve given us more junk mail instead.   As such, I feel this is pretty despicable right now.

This has apparently been going on since at least 1997 (via Dave).  Now, their salespeople probably thought this might be a good time to ratchet up the mailings, given their newly propped appropriateness of their name.  Send in a blank envelope as Dave suggests, or just destroy the mailing.

Next thing is, without Google, I probably would never been able to discover this fact.  If this post stops one person from sending their information in and saves one tree, the time to write it was worthwhile.  Pass it on.





Staples 2.0: When Online Resembles Offline

5 12 2008

Sarah Tavel of Bessemer Partners has a great post about The Staples 2.0 effect, how large e-commerce retailers are leading to the closure of mom-and-pop stores.  I highly recommend it.

The conclusion that e-commerce will come to more closely resemble physical retail in the long run always struck me as a largely underrepresented one. The seismic drop in consumer spending seems to be the catalyst to put this reality front and center.

The post got me thinking. Search Engine Ranking is the key ingredient here.

Many direct comparisons can be made between online retail and physical retail: branding, repeat customers, customer acquisition cost, economies of scale, etc. Many insurmountable benefits to scale.

With Search Ranking, it’s as if once you’ve “earned” your spot, you’ve not only got a flagship store in Times Square, but also in London Square, Union Square, Mall of America, and so on… for FREE. The land grab for this space spawned Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and on.

The existence of Search Ranking, based on popularity (links), makes it even more insurmountable to dethrone a market leader. It’s not the only benefit to scale, but my gut says that it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back for new entrants.

Some of the thinking is very obvious. Commodities will be bought from the low-cost producer. Long tail wise, there can be a healthy long tail serving infinite small-scale interests given removal of geographical barriers. Today’s basically zero cost of real estate means these niches have a lot of room to thrive.

Hence an Etsy, Zazzle or such can thrive as well.

You’ll basically see large e-commerce retailers, with niche retailers competing on a specific niche service, which sure looks a lot like physical retail.

There’s still of lot of room to grow and create value to build a brand and your base of loyal users/customers/followers: aggregation, customization, community, socialization.

It’s just unoriginality that will go unrewarded… it’s no different on the Wild Wild Web.

(via GigaOM)