Monthly Archives: February 2005

future network of a person and the “network enhancing event”

it is hard to predict the future network of a person might have. but someone’s key value to an organization is their network — especially weak ties to other people. obviously, the younger a person is, the more likely s/he is to have massively increased network 20 years from now as people’s value grow.

many people go through what i call a “network enhancing event” — that is some sort of life event/change that massively increases one’s network. Like b-school. Harvard Business School is a good example (large, highly social people). One’s network can essentially double or triple. most of the people who go to college experience this.

my feeling on the value of college is not much (besides pressures from society and learning how to drink beer). but the network one gains can be extraordinarily important and one can learn a lot.

A “network enhancing event” could be a variety of things. for an academic, it might be writing a well-received paper or book. it might be a job change that forces you to interact w/ tons of people. it might even be gaining a new good friend or significant other that is more social or has access to a different set of people. it might be moving to a new town.

many people go through 2-4 network enhancing events in their lifetime and thus “valuing” someone’s network might change over time

Book: The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis

073930219101_pe34_scmzzzzzzz_Chris Alden handed me the audio CD for The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror by Bernard Lewis and said “you must read this — i’ve listended to the CDs twice”

with a recommendation like that, i couldn’t wait to get started. sure enough, one trip to Tahoe later, The Crisis of Islam is a book i would suggest to anyone looking to get further information on one of the world’s greatest religions and its intersection with current events, the economy, and terror.

Baby Name Wizard

If you are thinking of having a baby, know friends that are having a baby, or were once a baby yourself, you’ll find The Baby Name Wizard NameVoyager truly fascinating.

You’ll learn some fascinating facts. “David” was the second most polular name in the 1960s, fourth most popular in the 70s, fifth most in the 80s, 11th in the 1990s, and 14th in 2003. But Davids, do not worry, David was only the 30th most popular name in the 1910s.

If you are like me and have always wondered why you know so many Jennys — it is because “Jennifer” was the most common girl name in the 1970s.

Of course, “Auren” is not even listed ….

Thank you Hunter Walk for forwarding…

Etymotic Research ER*6i Isolator earphones

i’ve been using the Etymotic Research ER*6i Isolator earphones for about 4 weeks now and i have been duly impressed. This is another product of the Silicon Valley 100.

If you’re like me, you’ve been struggling to find good quality headphones that are highly portable. So last month I went to CES with a mission to discover the best headphones. I tried out a bunch of headphones (and shared my ear wax with way too many people).

Er6itopI came across the Etymotic Research ER*6i Isolator earphones and immediately fell in love.

The pros: My top two criteria are portability and noice reduction. Noise reduction comes in very handy while listening to Weird Al Yankovich and Right Said Fred on my mp3 player and running by the noisy San Francisco streets. A few independent tests shows that ER’s noise cancellation matches electrostatic headphones that cost several thousand dollars.

The cons: If you are afriad of putting something in your ear, you might not like these. And the headphones only work well when they are inserted properly (read the instructions).

Mac Daily News has a good review of the product including a sighting of President Bush using the headphones with his iPod.

So Bose headphones are amazing for listening to music at home. they are even good for a plane (though they are a bit bulky). but you cannot work out in them, go for a run, or be mobile. the ER*6i Isolators are the answer.

thoughts on personal finance

I think everyone should strive to have two years of liquid assets to cover expenses. That’s not possible for most Americans, but it is something you should strive for. It will give you a ton of flexibility and keep you ethical.

The goal:  To have enough cash in the bank that you could, without changing your lifestyle one iota, live on your cash for up to two years.

Why a strategic cash reserve is important
Just like the United States government keeps a strategic oil reserve, you should keep a strategic cash reserve. Maybe you cannot do two years — than start off with what you can put away and grow it from there. This reserve is not for a rainy day or for just a random emergency — you should try to keep other funds for that — this fund is for if you are out of work (or want to go without pay to start a business).

This fund gives you flexibility of not taking the first job you are offered. But more importantly, this fund will keep you ethical.

Keep you ethical? What do I mean?

I believe that most of the corporate scandals are due to the fact that people live beyond their means and most people will cheat, lie, and steal (or do whatever it takes) to maintain their current lifestyle. My theory on Enron, Worldcom, etc. it that the executives were over-extended and once things started taking a turn for the worse they started cooking the books because they couldn’t bear to lose their perks (their club memberships, their chauffeurs, etc.). Most people do not want to eliminate luxuries — people do not want to take a step backward in life.

You can ensure you never have that temptation. You can save before you take on a new expense. Let’s say you want to join a gym and it costs $100 per month. Treat that as a liability that you will have to incur for at least two years — and make sure you have an extra $2400 ($100 times 24 months) in your "life emergency account" before incuring that liability. Now this does not mean that you can go ramp-ape on one-time-purchases either (as you do not want to get too used to being on the charity circuit even though each gift is a one-time purchase).

Though most people can’t have a two-year of cash reserve, it is a goal worth striving for and it is my definition of financial success. I know this sounds crazy, but i know many people making over $150K/year that have less then $10K in their account and they are still paying off their credit card debt…

phillip m. torrone of

I talked to phillip m. torrone today — he’s got one of the coolest websites for any product geek.

Phillip essentially takes products that you have in your home and hacks them into uber-products that are much more powerful. he’s one of those guys that originally hacks things like Tivo to put on a bigger hard drive but ends up also turning it into a coffee-maker and a robot that feeds your fish.

definitely worth checking out his site:

Roger Ebert wears a pedometer

Peter Harter from In2Books pointed out this story in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine: Magazine > Domains: A Film Critic’s Windy City Home” href=””>Domains: A Film Critic’s Windy City Home — an interview with Roger Ebert.


What’s always with him: I wear a pedometer, a little device that counts every step. It works as a goad, because you walk additional distances to pile up the numbers. The average person walks 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day. I walk 10,000 steps a day. I have lost a lot of weight as a result.

good find Peter.

hail the Pedometer

Chris Alden does it. I even convinced Sonia Arrison to do it.

is measuring your life a new fad? I decided to find out. at the beginning of the year, flush with new years resolutions, i decided to buy the Sportline 360 Fitness Pedometer and have been tracking my steps ever since. According to the walking experts, you should get at least 10,000 steps per day. Me? my average is 5410 steps — a far cry from what’s necessary. in fact, i have only beat the 10,000 mark one day — and that was a day full of soccer and a short hike — so either my pedometer undercounts or 10,000 is not very realistic.

regardless, i have found that i am walking more and running more. in fact, my 7-day running average is currently 6,265. Not too shabby!.

Of course, you’ll also find you start wearing a lot of sweaters to cover up your geeky obsession with counting and because the pager-look-alike-pedometer makes one resemble a 1980s drug dealer.