Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category

Money, priorities, …

October 2, 2010

I recently applied to the County of San Mateo for a new business name. You can only pay them by cheque (check), so I did.

Over a week later, my cheque was returned uncashed with a Post It informing me that they only accept “pre-printed” cheques, apparently meaning cheques printed not only with my name, but also my address.

My first reaction was that it would have been nice for them to specify this address requirement on their website, which only asks for a “check [sic] drawn on a US bank.”

During the day, I reflected that I’d never before had a cheque returned for lack of address.

And then it hit me, over dinner. Of course not. Most businesses are delighted to get their hands on the money. Only government employees can afford to return a perfectly good cheque because they dislike its aesthetics!

Way to go, California.

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Early bird

July 2, 2009

Today I woke up at 6 for a run and breakfast (bacon and eggs) before going to my Alexander Technique lesson at 9.  Let’s see if this more productive use of the early morning hours translates into an altogether more productive day.  My To Do list includes reading WordPress for Dummies, in the hope of adding oh so many special effects to this here blog.  I just bought a Flip phone, so maybe the world can soon enjoy  video highlights of exciting Menlo Park.  (Hmmm … I was going to link to Amazon, but I notice they’ve more than doubled the price since last week, so it’s no longer such a good deal.)

Another To Do item is to finish Tim Ferris’s The Four Hour Workweek – unbelievable inspiration for every wage slave out there.  I link to his blog – it’s just SO good.  Whether you have a blog to publicize, a language to learn, or product ideas swirling around your creative brain, you must read Tim Ferris.  Along these lines, and of interest to all the bicyclists and friends-of-bicyclists out there, I’m impressed to see my friend and fellow improviser Blake Mills launch his own cool new product!

Speaking again of blogs, and improving my own, I tried to sign up for a writing class at Stanford, but got only the waitlist.  Turns out that their classes sell out within five minutes of availability, like a Britney Spears concert.  So my writing practice is going to have to be right here, in public.   I’ll use some of my new words, to keep it interesting.

Your comments and vocabulary suggestions let me know how it’s going.  The customer is always right.

The value of vacation

June 22, 2009

What a difference two days makes.  Well, I was happy before, but after a weekend of Feldenkrais at Esalen, I’m ever so much more blissed out, and my back is definitely in a much better state.  Rolling around on the floor is so good for you – who woulda thunk it!  As is “rolling around” while standing up.  Kids have the right idea.

The food was great, people fascinating, and fascinated, the views gorgeous, and the hot tubs … to die for.  Such a better alternative to pain killers and back surgery.  Now, if only I could convince health insurers that they’d be smarter to pay for prevention than for (expensive) cure.

Esalen is just one among so many small(ish) businesses I see offering world-class products and services, but using less than world-class marketing.  I think every unoccupied bed or sleeping bag space is such a shame.  And … an opportunity?

The Power of One

June 10, 2009

Online dating is big.  If you’re in the Bay Area, someone you know has almost definitely used match.com or eHarmony – unless your entire circle is still with their high school boyfriend/girlfriend, in which case you’d fit right in with my Menlo Park neighborhood.  But I digress.

Dating is big business, too.  eHarmony, whose shtick is algorithmic personality-matching, received $110 million of top-tier VC funding, and hundreds of niche sites have sprung up to serve targeted segments (Goths, nerds, rednecks, marriage-minded Indian Muslims …).  But all of them are getting their butts kicked by a free site developed and operated by one guy:  Markus Frind.  Yeah, that’s one (1) engineer/CEO.  I won’t rehash the details, which are described in a recent issue of Inc. magazine.   I hope you’ll join me in savoring this victory of a nimble David over the bloated, or worse, corporate Goliaths.

For me, Markus ranks up there with Terry Fox (another Canuck!) as a reason to believe in the impossible.  Well done, eh.

O sole mio, mmm mmm mmm mmmmm

June 9, 2009

This morning, singing O Sole Mio as I cooked breakfast, I realized how much better it would be – the music, not the omelette – if I knew words to the song beyond the first three.  (And they’re not even really the first three.)

Accompanying thought – where do we do our best singing?  In the shower, of course.

So what if I knew the words to O Sole Mio while in the shower?  Move over Three Tenors!

That’s the opportunity.  The solution?  Shower-ready laminated song lyrics, of course!  Each song on a separate laminated sheet, grouped and packaged by theme, along with a colorful suction cup clip or two.  Perfect!

So why am I telling you this instead of getting on the phone to my neighborhood song-laminator?  Because I realize that given the water crisis, I shouldn’t be offering bathroom Pavarottis any excuse to spend longer wasting our most scarce resource.

Boo hoo.

So you’re on your own for lyrics.  But if you’ve read this far, you may enjoy the Chinese movie The Shower.