Ah, I love a good rant. I especially love one that targets industries that move along at ridiculously sluggish paces when it comes to technology adoption. Dave McClure has apparently been spending a wee bit too much time with lawyers lately, and goes on without pulling punches lamenting their holding on to a “lots of paperwork” approach to getting things done. Here’s a highlight to whet your appetite :
Over the past 3-4 months, i’ve made a few small investments in several startups and become an advisor to a few others. The amount of paper, email, & faxes i have exchanged to get these deals done is F’ING MIND-BOGGLING. Aren’t we in the 21st century? Don’t we all use the web & online transactions for everything? Aren’t you supposed to be ADVISORS to startups that make lives simpler & use the INTARWEB to get rid of all the paper, delay, & complexity we HATE LIKE THE PLAGUE?!? Or did you all grow up with Ted Stevens or something?
Been meaning to get around to updating the theme for a long long while now. Trying some new ones out over the next few weeks til I settle in on something. If anyone has some highly recommended WordPress themes, please let me know!
Ever read an article that makes you a bit nauseated, but mostly just angry? Here’s a gem on the millionaires of Silicon Valley. Dave Winer sums this one up pretty damn well:
You might as well live somewhere else and create, the network effect of being in the valley is negative. At least it was when I left, in 2003. It seems from the Times article that it’s getting worse. It’s great to see people on the east coast getting the message. Don’t live in the shadow of this place. There’s nothing there but people trying to make money, without a good idea why.
I’m no millionaire. I have no qualms against those who have made their money, be it by luck or by skill. But I have no patience – read NONE – for people who live not only better than 99.5 percent of Americans, but better than the top 99.999% of ALL HUMANS (oh, and better than 99.99999% of all humans who have ever lived), and have the audacity to complain about anything (and in public!).
“I know people looking in from the outside will ask why someone like me keeps working so hard,” Mr. Steger says. “But a few million doesn’t go as far as it used to. Maybe in the ’70s, a few million bucks meant ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,’ or Richie Rich living in a big house with a butler. But not anymore.”
It’s these same people that are setting these terrible role models for recent college grads who think they can come out of school, go start some company with a friend or two, and make a few quick million. Nobody seems to want to work anymore, just instantly be rich. And then to complain about it? No thanks.
note: I’ve really edited and re-edited this piece a few dozen times, it’s gotten me that riled up. I can’t tell if this is the best version or not, but it’s probably the most to-the-point.
updated: after a few hours sleep (two red-eyes in three days, nuff said) and reading Mark’s thoughts I decided to add one more comment: It is disappointing that the NYT article is so one-sided in its decision to portray rich SV folks in such a shallow light. Not that what they wrote isn’t true, and not that I feel any differently. I just have a hunch there are at least a few people reading that piece, feeling frustrated that their charitable efforts, good work ethics, family values, etc are being ignored. Unfortunately, I think the article was all-too-easy to write and the story they tell was all-too-easy to substantiate.
Maybe that piece (and mine, Winer’s, etc) can encourage someone else to go dig in to find if the bad really does outweigh the good? That’d be the ultimate “win” from all this. Until that happens however, I think the rant stands.
Just saw The Transformers movie. Had a grand ol’ time. Kudos to Michael Bay for, well, not over-Michael-Baying it. I’m not doing any sort of review here, I’ll leave that to the pros, but I will say it most certainly stirred all the memories playing with the toys and watching the cartoon as a 13-year-old.
- Dialogue could only be worse had George “metachlorians” Lucas written it himself.
- Way too many characters with way too many mini-plots.
- Couldn’t always tell which Transformer was which during the action scenes.
- Did I mention the dialogue?
- The scene Bay lifted from The Rock (his own movie).
- Little too much time in the backyard (you’ll know what I mean).
- Best. CGI. Ever. Seriously, only after walking out did I have that realization of “those weren’t really robots!”
- Novel action sequences – it wasn’t just one long punch-em-up.
- Solid(ish) plot. Look, it’s a comic book movie, so you have to start with fairly low expectations. That said, they weaved together a decently credible storyline with only a few “really?” scenes here and there.
- Not scared of a little violence, but also not gory or nauseating. I think Gears of War actually has more violence in the opening sequence than the whole movie had.
- Not too ridiculous a use of technology (other than the whole cars-turning-into-robots thing), although “hand me a screwdriver” was a bit silly.
- Quite a few throwbacks/references to the original cartoon.
- It’s just plain fun, and doesn’t take itself too seriously!
Considering I don’t get to see many movies these days, I was glad to make it through the 2.5 hour (OMG yes) flick and not do a watch-check or anything else. I had a lot of fun. It’s no masterpiece theatre, but I have a hunch this’ll go down as the most fun movie of the summer.
Happy 4th o’ July everybody!
I started this blog back in the Fall of ’04, and it was splattered with different kinds of ads from Google, Amazon, Commission Junction, and other services. What can I say, I was young, I needed the money. In all seriousness, back then, sites like Engadget were in their infancy, and there were few, if any, established models around blogging.
When I wrote in February about the lack of revenue in blogging (for the masses), I still looked at the few dollars I was making via Google and Amazon as covering hosting costs. I’ve come to the decision that I think my site would look a heck of a lot better not sponsored by Gooooooogle. So as of today, the ads are gone. And there was much rejoicing (yay).
It also has me wondering: how many others are coming to this realization, and more importantly, how many of them will make this decision as well? While I’m fairly ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and gadgetry, I wouldn’t really call myself a trendsetter (although I did predict the resurgence of both ABBA and Queen back in the 90’s – but then again I also thought we’d see a third Breakin’ movie by now). But what if this is a bit of a trend? What happens to the Googleopoly should independent content generators balk from the dribblings of revenue that AdSense provides? And does this bode even worse for Microsoft’s recent $6 billion move?
In between blog posts, I pay my bills as a consumer technology marketing consultant (the company is still unnamed, as there are simply no domains left other than consultr or mectooo.com). The clients I have are all great – great people, great products/services. Things are going well so far (knock on wood), and based on current prospects, I’m going to need a little more help pretty soon (read: immediately). Honestly, work is a true pleasure, and I consider myself extremely lucky to be in this position.
We’re looking for a one or two interns and/or junior level reps with account management experience to help with the growing list of clients. This is the perfect opportunity for you (or someone you forward this to) to interact with new and exciting consumer technology, immerse yourself into the product development process, and learn more about traditional and new media marketing techniques. Additionally, we will introduce you to industry influencers and help you grow your network.
Bottom line – this is a fun industry, and this is a chance to get involved with a lot of very exciting projects!
- Extremely strong communications skills, especially written
- Good understanding of consumer technology (gadgets, mobile, etc) with a genuine enthusiasm and interest in new trends in tech, media, and culture
- Good understanding of new media, including blogging and social networking
- Confident and effective networker
- Fast learner and self-starting with impeccable organizational skills
- Brilliantly creative, yet shrewdly analytical
- Competitive studies and industry surveys, with heavy emphasis on both quantitative and qualitative research. This includes field questionnaires and street-level buzz/WOM tracking.
- Execution and oversight of outreach campaigns, including online community management and content development/acquisition.
- Pitching new products and services to bloggers and traditional media outlets.
- Participating in development of creative strategy, including branding and messaging.
- Maintaining and adding to the internal contact and event database
Our office is in North Beach, some telecommuting is fine, hours are flexible, and compensation is based on experience and fit.
If you are interested, please email me (jeremy @ …) a resume along with a brief overview of your capabilities, why this is a perfect fit for you, and tell me what is bound to be the hottest gadget in your eyes in 2007. This is one of those rare opportunities in life where you can turn your hobby into a career. Looking forward to hearing from you!
If you’ve lived in the Bay Area as long as I have, you most certainly remember the “dot-com era” (which is definitely a funny term considering it lasted about 18 months, whereas a more typical era, such the Victorian Era, spanned about 70 years). In those times, gobs of money was spent on startups with visions of grandeur. Delusional visions, but visions nonetheless.
Then things got bad. And darkness covered the land. Entrepreneurs sought out MBAs while Web producers took sales gigs where they had to gain some tangible work experience if they wanted to ever be employed again.
But now, things are good again. The flow of money from the VCs to the entrepreneur is finally more than a trickle, and new companies seem to pop up virtually every day. And again, visions of grandeur, many inspired by a recently-very-wealthy-after-working-for-about-16-months Chad Hurley (now rumored to buying disposable yachts). This time, it’s not dot-com, it’s Web 2.0.
During dot-com, we had crazy launch parties catered by the fanciest restaurants in San Francisco, with huge giveaways and gift bags, costing obscene amounts of money. In Web 2.0, we get some non-open bar parties and the occasional free lunch. NETGEAR, where I’m still having fun with my guest blogging stint, has teamed up with the organizers of Lunch 2.0 to have a cool event at the end of the month. The deets:
- Tour the company’s Digital Lifestyle House (which I’ve seen and video’d for the blog, but is apparently getting a touchup right now)
- Enter a raffle to win a “Smart Network makeover”
- Meet some key folks from the NETGEAR team (including their wonderful guest blogger!)
- Opportunity to get video interviewed by the PodTech people
Oh, and did I mention there’d be barbecue?
UPDATED: now that we are on the home stretch of the “last 5” I’ve decided to give this a little revision. Some of the activities aren’t really relevant if you are keeping up with the series, but I’ll leave them in there for “classic” episodes. Newly added items are in italics.
Heroes is my favorite show on TV right now (with Arrested Development reruns as a second runner-up). I think the writing is overall very good (some cheesiness here and there), ditto on the acting (ditto), and utterly enjoy the storyline. Everything about it is, in my opinion, fun to watch. I also like NBC’s embracement of the Internet for the show (which is apparently poised to grow tomorrow) which includes:
- Every episode, streamable, for free. A+++ for this one.
- Some interactive games (a little 2003, but not too shabby).
- The Hiro Blog.
- Generally encouraging bloggers (especially this one).
Even though there are a couple already (here and here), I decided none of them really addressed all the magic of the show. So, here’s my Official Heroes Drinking Game (which is, of course, unofficial, other than by my own standards). Incidentally, I’ve tried to make this fairly spoiler-free for those of you who are waiting to watch the season via Netflix (which is ridiculous because of the free streaming from NBC, but, whatever). Also, I’m using character names only, if you aren’t familiar with them all, here’s a list of all characters (warning, link may contain spoilers).
Take ONE drink when…
- Niki sees her reflection wink back at her
- Niki looks all panic-stricken (reserve yourself to no more than twice per episode)
- Nathan talks down to Peter
- Simone adds utterly no value to a scene
- Hiro uses a lot of comical gestures and sound effects to complement his English
- Claire breaks a bone (or vital organ) in a way that makes you a bit squeamish
- Matt gets really confused about his power
- Ando makes a comment regarding giving up or going home
- Anyone’s eyes get all glossed over
- Mr. Bennet takes off his glasses, wipes them (or his brow), then puts them back on
- Mohinder makes a reference to something being impossible, stupid, crazy, etc
- Someone’s head gets cut open
- The Haitian guy shows up, and the episode fades to commercial within 5 seconds
- Two Heroes’ paths cross coincidentally
- A dead person comes back to life. Drink again if it is revealed that that formerly dead person is actually still dead
- Claude snarls menacingly
- Ted gets all sweaty (take a second drink if he subsequently doesn’t even use his power)
- NBC shows a spoiler during a commercial break of another show, and you aren’t able to grab your remote and pause/mute/change the channel in time. Drink again if you curse the network out loud as a result.
- Sylar fools someone and you sit there yelling at the screen “he’s the bad guy, he’s the bad guy!”
- You get a glimpse of one of Isaac’s paintings and it shows something extra-cool (this is another ‘subjective’ ones)
- Linderman shows signs that he’s probably a grade-A crazy
Take TWO drinks when…
- Hiro raises his arms to the sky in an expression of joy
- Claire runs unnecessarily
- D.L. doesn’t use his ability, but clearly could/should
- A Hero uses their power in a way that makes you clap, cheer, or get otherwise giddy
- Peter figures anything important out
- Sylar shows how much of a badass he is
- A “good” Hero turns out to be “bad” (and vice versa)
- Thompson makes it through an entire scene smiling
- Someone should really just give Candice a punch, because it would really solve some problems, but yet doesn’t
- Hana gets more than 3 minutes of screen time in an episode
Chug it when…
- They find the sword
- The writers use Mohinder’s dad (Dr. Suresh) to explain a key plotline
- A character is revealed to be a Hero and it was a genuine surprise (judgment call, but I trust ya)
- A major character gets killed
- NBC comes up with a key catchphrase to get new viewers involved
- Any Hero dons a spandex uniform (and you must finish all the drinks around if that uniform sports a big X in the middle)
- Someone (not you, of course) radically underestimates Sylar
- An actor who is/was famous on another geeky TV series (or movie) makes a guest appearance
- Two heroes make out. Chug it again if it turns out many episodes later they’re somehow related.
- The writers introduce a Hero with a very average power, such as “slightly longer limbs than normal people” or “eerily aware of the exact humidity of the local region” or “can summon and control all the nearby butterflies”
Enjoy. If I’ve missed anything, add it as a comment below! Please enjoy Heroes responsibly (a.k.a. watch every episode, try to skip the “next week on Heroes” bit). Also, congrats to the producers, writers, crew, etc for a second season renewal already!
My first 20 years in the US were as a green card holder, so any time I received a juror summons, I was always able to check the convenient little “I’m some kind of hippie commie who’s stealing jobs from Americans” checkbox. Now, as a law-abiding God-fearing AMERcan living in a nucular family, I’m out of excuses. The weird part is, I really like the idea of serving jury duty. I’d actually love to see the internal workings of a courtroom, get really into a case, debate the issues, and be part of the process. It’s the pesky “carving out the time” part that’s a little problematic right now.
The good part is, the summons waiting room has WiFi.
The bad parts are, it’s not free, it’s slow, and it drops connections every 10-ish minutes.
I’ll be here all day (unless I’m lucky enough to get called up soon and get eliminated), doing some work, maybe watching a little Slingbox, or, thanks to my friend Michael Gartenberg, playing Peggle (yes, I paid for it too – such a timesucker!).
UPDATE: time off for good behavior! I’m outta here.
Around this time every year, a clever man named Jayson Wechter organizes the San Francisco Treasure Hunt. And every time around this year, a much less clever man named Jeremy Toeman smacks himself in the head for missing out on the fabled event. But 2007 saw a collision of fate so grand it was impossible to avoid. The alignment of my birthday and the hunt on the exact same day!
The first, and possibly most important, task was to come up with a name. I went gunning to win:
The Jayson Wechter “I Never-Met-a-Pun-I Didn’t Like Award” is given to the teams with the cleverest names, which are often related to the year of the Chinese zodiac (2007 is the Year of the Boar).
And thus… Boarat: Treasureful Huntings of San Francisco for Make Benefit Glorious New Years of China. Didn’t win.
Next up, the hunt itself. Not sure when it went up (then down), but there was a Web page with some clues prior to the hunt. To the right is a sample clue. That was about the most obvious moment of the event (all my other photos of the event are online here).
We met up at Justin Herman plaza, ready to psych up for the hunting, and amidst the 900-or-so people (here’s one account and another one here) became determined to finish in the top 5 percentile (for those of you who find that ambitious, keep in mind this means we really just didn’t want to be in the bottom 5). A glance around at cleverly costumed teams and we felt a little, well, woozy.
Upon the beginnings of the hunt, we saw most teams grab a sitting place in the plaza or on a nearby table. We naturally immediately set out for a nearby bar and ordered a couple of pitchers. We did a little divide and conquer, and about 45 minutes later had all 19 of the clues “mostly solved” and a mapped out plan to find our answers. Our first clue went off without a hitch, as did our second. By number three, we hit the Chinatown Parade. Luckily, we dashed under Market street to avoid the chaos, although got stuck a few more times (although the detour/pee break at the Westin was a nice moment).
Everything was going great through the first 7 or 8 clues. We’d arrive in a location, quickly narrow down the specific target, jot down an answer, and be off like the wind within moments. We’d play little games with other teams, making oddball references to nonexistent clues and other forms of misdirection, and our spirits were high.
Then we got stuck on one clue in North Beach. Then, disaster struck as we made the ever-so-costly mistake of misinterpreting another clue and walking all the way up to Coit Tower. Yes, all the way up. We were tired. Not enough hamantaschen to go around. One of our flashlights was dying. But we rallied nonetheless!
We headed down the steps, toward the water and our next clue. Within moments we were back on track, but were perilously low on time. We did a little walk-jogging. Two, three, then four more clues nailed within minutes. Team Boarat was back on a roll, we were the virtual kings of our castles.
With less than 10 minutes left to go, we made the ambitious move of going for two final clues. One we got, the other we didn’t (we later found out we were less than a block away), and we ran back to Justin Herman plaza to submit our entries. And with that, we knew we were winners.
Not because we were fastest (The winning team was done 40 minutes earlier. Jerks.)
Not because we had kick-ass red buttons that said we we finished.
Because… Well… Unlike some other teams, I get a clock radio, they cannot afford. Great success!
As I’ve posted before, I’m a big fan of the show Heroes, for many reasons. One of the things I really like about it is that unlike Lost/Twin Peaks/XFiles, it’s a quirky show that doesn’t have a huge weird mystery that may or may not get resolved to my satisfaction. It has a plotline, and it clearly has twists and turns, but should it end this season, I won’t be wondering what it’s all about forever.
Also, despite it being so semi-geeky a show, it’s captured the #1 slot for Mondays, and is one of NBC’s highest-rated shows. But yet any time, day or night, that I turn on NBC, there it is, a preview for Heroes, chock full of suspenseful-looking spoiler-ridden clips. And it’s driving me nuts.
See, I’ve got this little problem in that, if I see something in a preview, I tend to remember it the whole time I’m watching the show. So if I see fire in the preview, I’m waiting for fire in the show. Doesn’t matter how quick, I notice it. I’m not exactly bragging here, by the way, that part of my brain could clearly be used for more important things, but I just can’t seem to turn it off.
So please, team NBC, I beg of you: stop with all the footage from the upcoming episodes. You have a huge fan base, and based on the number of fan sites all over the ‘net, you aren’t losing us any time soon. So how about you let us decide when we want to go find a spoiler, and when we don’t? You have plenty of footage to continue to get new viewers without ruining it for the rest of us.
And by the way, this goes for your Web site too! If I want spoilers, I’ll seek them out (probably here – warning, that link CONTAINS SPOILERS!). It’s not like you’re trying to peddle us on a series based on “From Justin to Kelly” or something…