What Do You Do For A Living?

Matt Ruby over at Sand Paper Suit shares a great video of David Mamet discussing why you shouldn’t ask someone what they do for a living.In a lot of circles, I know that this is taboo for all of the reasons that he says, but I really disagree.First, I guess I’ve always assumed that I have less money and am not nearly as smart as most people out there, so I’m not too concerned about putting people in the buckets like Mamet explains.Second, living in Silicon Valley, I’m fascinated by people that aren’t in the technology industry.  Especially here, but generally wherever I go, I tend to find really interesting people that want nothing to do with this industry.When I meet people that live in the SF Bay Area that aren’t in the tech industry or something that supports it, I fall off my block a bit.  My neighbor runs a company that makes decorative concrete castings. It is an insanely successful business and has nothing to do with technology. I find that really cool.A lot can be gleaned outside of someones social status by what they do.  This is something that a person spends 8 – 10 hours a day doing, they must have a passion for it, why not learn as much as possible about why they are in that industry?I find that the question comes up a lot on the golf course. You’re pretty much stuck with someone for 4 – 5 hours, it is the first way, once small informalities are out of the way, to establish a common bond with this person and potentially form a friendship.Don’t be afraid of asking someone what they do for a living. You’ll be amazed at what you learn about a person.Am I really off my block?  Should I not be discussing these things?  Tell me in the comments.

Where Do You Eat?

A friend of mine recently turned me on to the 3/50 Project.  The concept is simple: find 3-local businesses that you’d miss if they were gone and spend a total of $50 at each of them.  It is really simple.  Fifty bucks isn’t too much and you’re probably spending the money elsewhere anyway.However, $50 at your local market is so much more important than $50 to Safeway.  In fact, if you spend $100 at a local business, $68 of that money stays local compared to $43 at a national chain.  Next time you’re racking up a $300 bill at WalMart, keep this in mind. Spend the extra couple of bucks to help your community.I love the idea of this and the easiest way that I’ve found to support this, since I don’t really buy stuff, is to do so via restaurants.  Well before I made the decision to support the 3/50 Project, I made a decision not to eat at restaurants that have television commercials.My feeling on this is two-fold. One, from a health standpoint, generally stores that advertise on television don’t sell food that is very healthy.  Next time you’re watching television and you see a commercial for a place that sells food, ask yourself if you really want to put that into your system.  I f’ing love McDonalds fries, but they are so bad for you. Don’t get me started on Chili’s / Fridays / Ruby Tuesday’s Jack Daniels Awesomely Awesome dips or the iHOP all you can plate of candy.  If it is food on TV, it is probably bad for you.Second, if you can advertise on television, you don’t need my money.  You’re a big national chain and my $25 won’t make an iota of difference to you. As a small, local business, it makes a huge difference.  Owners of the local restaurants that I go to know my name, they know what I like, and they appreciate my business.The next time you’re thinking about going out to dinner, don’t go to the big chain restaurant.  Do yourself a favor, check out a local place instead. Ask to meet the owner, ask what they recommend, buy the chef a beer.  You’ll get a much more enjoyable, memorable and healthy experience.

Want Some Cookies? It’s Still My Birthday

I’m one of those people that celebrates their birthday for an entire month.  For those that haven’t been following it, I’ve decided to trade my birthday beer that you might buy for me if I were with you with water for a third world county via charity:water.As part of the incentive to give to the campaign, anyone that donates $100 gets a batch of my wife’s internationally renown chocolate chip cookies.  These things kill it.  You can almost taste them in the photo can’t you?


They taste even better than they look.  It’s ridonkulous.

But you’ve gotta move quickly. We are making cookies this weekend.  Here is the back story:

It’s My Birthday! Forget Beer, Give Water

Hey you, how’s it going? Yeah, so nice of you to remember, my birthday is coming up.  37, sucks huh?  Not quite 40, but well past 35.  Listen, it is really cool of you to want to take me out and buy me a drink, but candidly, I’m getting a bit plump so I don’t need it.But other people do need a drink. No, not alcoholics. I’m talking about people that actually don’t have any clean water to drink.  Can you imagine drinking water out of a pond, a swamp or just a puddle? Yeah, me either, we’re lucky.  But for 1.1 billion people, they don’t have a choice.So this year, instead of buying me that nice lager or that sweet Ocktoberfest, maybe you could contribute that $5 to Beer for Water. It would be going to a much better cause, you’d feel good & we’d still hang out.  It is a winner all the way around!

Things You Should Be Reading (Watching) Right Now – 01-12-09

Charlie Rose has a conversation with Léo Apotheker, co-CEO and a member of the Executive Board of SAP AG and Andrew Mcafee of the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business SchoolAndrew Mcafee has a good follow up blog post on his analogy. I’m not sure if I love it 100% because I think that it discounts something significant in the technology, though I can’t quite place my finger on it, thus I haven’t made a lot of noise.Washington Is Killing Silicon Valley – Why government over regulation is killing the entrepreneurial spirit in this country.Hooray, 2009 starts with a SaaS backlash – Trash talking from traditional software companies.Work on Stuff that Matters – Are you doing something that makes life better for a lot of people.

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Last week, regular readers may have noticed that I had a precipitous decline in posting and tweets. Sorry about that, but I was on vacation. I was back on the East Coast for my younger brothers wedding.Photos and a series of events include:Flew into Philadelphia. After spending the night at the Sheraton Center City, went to my sisters new house in South Philadelphia. Her place is awesome. It is an amazing first house and I’m really proud of her.


Some artwork.Walked around Philadelphia. It was about 20,000 degrees out with 100% humidity. It was torture and…


Got unbelievable gelato to help off set the weather


My sister Wendy – she is super cool


We then drove out to see my grandparents in the suburbs. My GP’s have always been amazingly healthy (paternal grandfather especially). About a year ago, my grandfather had a stroke and it jacked him up pretty good. It was hard to see them both looking old. They are still unbelievably dignified.My grandmother, Sylvia


We had a great idea to go back to the pool that I life guarded at when I was in high school. Unfortunately, it was closed until school let out and that was later than we wanted to hang around. This is the main street of the town that I grew up in. It hasn’t changed much.




When you can see the cows that are making your ice cream, that is a good thing.Played golf on a course so un-serious that there is a ‘mirror hole’ with a big mirror to keep you from hitting into people. 272 sharp dog leg left, down hill. Probably plays 250, but you have to hit a big draw. Banged it straight, almost chipped in from about 20 yards off the green, kick in birdie – highlight of the trip (kidding family).


My dad got schooled by my son in Bubble Breaker – a true digital divide. It was cool to see how technology is so comfortable and natural to my son.


Drove to Alexandria, VA to see moms. Freemasons rule the world!!!


We spent the next two days in DC. We went to the International Spy Museum, which I loved, but was a little mature for the kids. You weren’t allowed to take photos, which I thought was either dumb or a suggestion, but I couldn’t tell so didn’t want to risk it.The next day, we drove north back to the Philadelphia Suburbs for my brothers wedding. The rehearsal and dinner was Friday night.


Saturday was the wedding. I was in it, so I don’t have too many photos.


Finally, on our last day, we hit the Franklin Institute, the best science museum in the world. We were hoping to wear out the kids before we got on the plane.


In all, it was a great trip. One of the best East Coast trips we’ve ever had.The whole set of photos is available here.

Miles Electric Cars

Damn, and I’m about to get my Prius paid off. I envisioned having that car until it died (at least another 100K miles).


Then I saw the interview with Jeff Boyd, CEO of Miles Electric Vehicles today on Venture Beat. Now I want need one of them.The car is good looking and goes up to 80MPH for 120 mile range. The price, at $35 – $40K, while a bit more expensive than a cheapskate like me wants to take on, is certainly worth the extra $10K over the Prius for the political & environmental statement that it makes.In doing some quick, back of the napkin math, it has cost me about $0.12 a mile to drive my Prius. That is a real ball park, but I’m figuring about $0.06 per mile for gas and about $0.06 per mile for maintenance (oil changes, filter replacements, fluid changes, etc.).Miles advertises on their site that their car, the XS500 can go about 120 miles for about $3 or $4 or $0.03 a mile. Since you don’t have oil changes or cooling changes or filter changes (or other mechanical parts), the cost of maintenance is really minimal. Tires and brakes I’d guess and maybe for a couple of other things, but that probably isn’t more than about a penny a mile. Figuring 12,000 miles a year, that is a savings of about $1,000 a year ($1,440 for the Prius vs. $480 for the MilesEV) with gas at about $3.50 a gallon.Now, if I extrapolate that based on driving our other car, a very suburban Honda Pilot, which costs about $0.25 a mile to drive (gas + wear and tear), the payoff is less than 3 years. While it would be hard to jam a bunch of kids in the back of the XS500, for the people that I see sitting in traffic, by themselves, every morning as I zip past them in carpool, it totally makes sense.While this car isn’t as sexy as the Tesla Roadster, it is pretty sweet. Plus, I’m amazed at what they have been able to do with a fraction of the funding that Tesla has taken on (see VentureBeat on those details).The car looks great and has tons of luxuries that you’d expect in a $40K car. The only question is can I get golf clubs in the trunk?