Tag Archives: fun

Graphics, Big Idea and Economy

Graphics: I recently pointed to the Seth Godin graphics lens which talked about getting better at graphic design.  To go one better, Kristin pointed me to this site with 50 totally free lessons on graphics.

Big Idea: Ever wondered what it would take to become a blog writer?  I am living that life, but was intrigued by the manifesto posted by Chris Guillebeau.

Economy: Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame, talks about work in general in this entertaining TED Talk.

Fun, Marketing and Big Picture

Fun: A quick time waster for those of us who like word games is DeepLeap.  A whole game is 2 minutes and is reminiscent of Scrabble.

Marketing: Marketing is an exceedingly hard thing to do well.  I love to find examples of people who try, but really “just don’t get it”.  This one was pointed out by my friend Kristin.  Check out this Twitter from Jason’s Deli:

Happy Passover folks! For the first ever, we are offering Matzo to customers. But I don’t recommend ordering a Reuben on matzo. Oy!

Nice try that they are offering matzo for customers who are celebrating Passover.  But, is there any reason that someone who would request matzo would go to a sandwich place for lunch?  Perhaps for their ham and cheese on matzo?

Big Picture: Dubai is the new shining city in the desert.  How did it get that way and what is coming next?  This article explains the dark side of the developing city.

Fun: As father of two umpires, this article by George Will made my day.

Business, Economy and Fun

Business: Seth Godin put together a good resource page to help those of us who are graphically challenged find our way in the world.

Economy: Normally, I wouldn’t take Penn Jillette’s economic advice, but he does have some good points about skidding and crashing and hoping that our leaders know the difference.

Fun: As the father of a 19 year-old and a 14 year-old, sometimes I wonder where the time has gone.  Amy Flanagan sure helped me remember how far technologically we have come in 16 years.

Economy: Several weeks ago I wrote asking why corporate CEO’s weren’t going for the PR play of telling the world that they would not lay anyone off this year.  Mark Cuban tells us the reason and what we can do about it.  Granted he is only one voice, but it makes sense.

Economy, Politics and Fun

Economy: Here is a really neat idea to help small, local, independent businesses.  It is one way to Pay It Forward.

Economy: I have written a lot about the employee bonuses at AIG, but a professor at Columbia University looks at the bonus situation as a “missed opportunity“.

Politics: I am sure glad that the US Congress has all of the other problems of the country solved, so that they can devote their time and effort on this one.  Especially since they did such a good job on the last sports related one.

Fun: I love to watch MythBusters on the Discovery network.  One of the co-hosts, Adam Savage, sat down with Lifehacker to talk about the show.

Fun, Economy and Technology

Fun: If this isn’t a movie soon, I will be surprised.  Joshua Davis tells the inside story of a diamond heist that although a bit long, is totally mesmerizing.

Economy: While still remaining on the topic of heists, Vanity Fair magazine has a long article on how Bernie Madoff was able to perpetuate his scam.

Technology: Ever wondered how Google prices their ads?  Here is the scoop from the Chief Economist of Google.

Technology: I wrote about tools for the entrepreneur last week.  I have found a few more that just might make the cut for you.  Officezilla is a free tool that does much of what Basecamp does for project managment.

Economy: I am not sure that I can believe this, but the Boston Globe is reporting that the FDIC needs to borrow $500 Billion to potentially prop up bad banks.  What is most interesting is that the FDIC did not collect premiums from most of their member banks from 1996 to 2006.  Why didn’t they collect the insurance premiums?  Well, Congress prevented the FDIC from collecting because they felt the FDIC was so solidly capitalized. Whoops!

Fun: What does a trillion dollars really look like? I had no idea, but half of that picture makes up what the FDIC is looking for.  Ouch.

The Big Picture, Economy and Entrepreneurship

The Big Picture: For some reason, it seems that stories come in pairs; two totally different points of view on the same topic within 24 hours.  It just happened to me.  I had read a lengthy blog post and comments on MetaFilter about a woman who is confined to a wheelchair who is looking for love.  Then along comes a New York Times article written by the husband of a woman with a spinal cord injury.  The juxtaposition of these articles certainly makes you think.

By the way, if you ever have a half hour and want to learn something new, check out AskMeFi.  There is always something interesting there. But beware, that half hour could turn into much more.

Economy: Richard Florida, an urban studies expert, wrote a very interesting article in The Atlantic about the future of the American urban centers as a result of the economic crisis.  My favorite tidbit — Mesa, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, is now larger in population than Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Miami.
Now a question for you (Not in the article).  How many state capitals have a smaller population than Naperville, IL? Answer below.

Entrepreneurship: Daniel Tenner writes about the rules about starting a business with a friend.  I ran my first business with my wife, so these ideas were near and dear to me.  We’re still together, so that says something about how we navigated these waters.

Ever Wonder Why?: Ever wonder why the Nissan.com website doesn’t belong to the Nissan Motor Company?  Well, it is a long and convoluted story.  It is a bit scary for a small business proponent.

Answers to above: Naperville had a population of 128,358 as of the 2000 census.  There are 24 state capitals with a population below Naperville’s: Juneau, Dover, Hartford, Springfield, Topeka, Frankfort, Augusta, Annapolis, Lansing, Jefferson City, Helena, Carson City, Concord, Trenton, Santa Fe, Albany, Bismark, Harrisburg, Columbia, Pierre, Montpelier, Olympia, Charleston and Cheyenne.

Talent, Wordplay, Entrepreneurship and Done

Talent: Stephen Dubner of the Freakonomics blog pointed to a poster that he found in his neighborhood in New York.  He looked at it as an interesting example of the Talent discussion that has been discussed by Colvin in Talent is Overrated and Gladwell in Outliers.  I look at it as an example of entrepreneurship starting early.

Wordplay: I love a pun more than the next guy, so I was tickled by this picture. On so many levels.

Entrepreneurship: Jason Calacanis, CEO of Mahalo.com, wrote a deeply personal and enlightening article in Business Week on What to do if Your Startup is Failing.  No sugar coating here, but required reading for any entrepreneur in this economy. If you are still looking for that perfect business idea, check into this post on fear.

Strategy: The chatter around the The Cult of Done Manifesto is increasing.  I agree with a lot of this, but what I really love are the posters.

Social Action, Entrepreneurship, Marketing & a Big Idea

Social Action: Here is an intriguing idea.  If a complete stranger offered to donate money to charity if they could have dinner with you, would you accept?  I love the way that Franke James tells this story.  Why wouldn’t it work elsewhere?

Entrepreneurship: Paul Graham has another winner – Startups in 13 Sentences. Another look at ways to win with a new venture.

Fun: I have talked before about the TED conference. Check out what David Merrill from MIT can do with Siftables, a computerized tile, that he and his team have built.

Marketing: Over at the Startup Blog, there were some good ideas and resources about improving your results from using PR, by focusing your copy on terms that are search engine optimized.

Big Ideas: Yesterday I wrote about Matt Miller’s book, The Tyranny of Dead Ideas.  One of his other assertions in the book hit me pretty hard.  He talks about the Lower Upper class in America.  The Lower Uppers are those at the lower end of the Upper class.  Those professionals, doctors, architects, lawyers, senior corporate executives and the like have been told all their life that the world is a meritocracy – you will earn in accordance with your merit. The financial meltdown has dealt these folks a different reality.  When they see hedge fund managers making billions personally while losing their client’s funds, when they see corporate executives like Bob Nardelli take home hundreds of millions of dollars from Home Depot while not moving the stock price at all, when they see Stan O’Neal rewarded with a severance package worth over a hundred million while leaving Merrill Lynch in a position where it had to be sold — these Lower Uppers, to use a line from the movie Network, are” mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.”  Matt wrote a column in the Daily Beast where he talks about the positive things that might come out of this.

Entrepreneurship, Friday Fun and Video

Technology: One of the fun things that I get to do as an advisor is read through lots of business plans.  OK, not so much fun, but interesting.  While a business plan is a serious document, the best business plans have some life to them.  You want to be able to use color, text formatting and some graphical images to help make the best case and to keep your reader engaged.  Full pages of 10 point Times-Roman will put anyone to sleep.  A new feature in Office 2007, called SmartArt,  can help to give your business document a little life. Don’t overuse this or it will become like clip art, but a judicious use of these types of elements will go a long way to ensuring that your reader is still awake at the end of your document.

Entrepreneurship: New ideas for products and services are out there folks.  I pointed last week to Mark Cuban’s Open Source Funding idea. From the reader of this blog, I got a business summary for a new magazine that could be developed.  And lastly, with  a combination of technology and social action, Joshua Silver created a new product that literally allows people in poor areas of the world, to see.

Friday Fun: So, in these turbulent financial times, maybe you should go back to basics.  How about becoming a semi driver? It may not be as easy as it seems.

Weekend Video: Public television station WGBH in Boston produces Frontline.  If you are at all interested in finding out more about how the financial crisis developed, take an hour this weekend and watch this video.  And if you want Mark Cuban’s humorous look at the crisis, check this video out.