Monthly Archives: March 2006

business model patents

My patent application was approved today.   i’m really excited.   now i can sue someone.  oh yeah.

i got the patent on the business model of suing other people who violate patents.

that’s right.   i have patented the very profitable business process of patenting an obvious business model and then suing companies that have something close to that model.   kind of like what MercExchange is doing to eBay — suing for the "Buy Me Now" button because they somehow got a business-model patent.  did you know someone has actually patented peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches?   and my favorite patent is paw-watches — wrist-watches for dogs.

so with my new business-model patent on "suing companies for violating business-model patents"… that means i can sue any business-model patent holder that sues another company.    i’m gonna make a fortune…

sellers and buyers on eBay/Craigslist

recently i’ve been spending a little time interviewing sellers and buyers on sites like eBay and Craigslist.  ok, i admit, i’ve actually been spending a lot of time interviewing them.

here’s something very interesting:
the power sellers are often also power buyers

that intuitively makes sense but it is not something i’ve thought about before.   this is interesting because attracting buyers and sellers in a marketplace is not as big of a chicken-and-egg problem as i had thought.

belief in a higher being

after having dinner with Sam Harris (and reading his book: End of Faith), i find myself thinking about religion and higher beings.

it is not a common thing to think about … especially for someone that is rational.

it is not rational to believe in God.   there’s not any proof in God.   and I am a highly rational person and engineer.   yet … yet i believe in God.   even though i am well aware it is not rational.

is it because there are so many unexplained things?   is it because i am a product of society and a specific upbringing?   i’m not sure.

but, as i am thinking, there are a lot of things i do that are not rational.    when i am at a restaurant, even if i will not ever be in that restaurant again, i leave a tip (and i tip the cab drivers, bell-boys, coat-check person AFTER i get my coat, etc).   that’s not rational either … but i do it. 

i also believe that most people are inherently good and that people often put others in front of their own self interest.   and this makes the world a better place to be in.   

maybe, even for us super-rational types, there is a side to life that is beyond the rational.   not sure if that means it is supernatural …

so … i sit here in a small struggle.   knowing i strongly believe in a higher being while knowing there is not proof to support my belief.

book: End of Faith and Sam Harris

End of Faith
by Sam Harris

this is one of the most thought-provoking books i have read in a long time.   i highly recommend this book.  highly.  you likely will not agree with all of it … but it will make you think.  it is very controversial.

essentially it is an atheistic manifesto.  like i said … very controversial.  very.  but this is not some poorly written diatribe … this book has sold 200,000 copies.

Sam Harris, the author, believes religion is the greatest threat to humanity.   i’m not convinced of his argument.   but he makes some good cases that out biggest threat is religious extremism — especially Islamic fanatics.   

I had dinner with Sam Harris and his wife and five other people on Tuesday.   He’s incredibly impressive in person — even in the face of some very difficult questions.   one of the dinner attendees is a pastor at one of the biggest churches in San Francisco (he had read the book) — he, of course, was not convinced with Sam’s arguments but their spirited dialog and discussion was fascinating.

overall, no matter what your stance on religion, i highly suggest reading this book.

book: Why do men have nipples?

Why Do Men Have Nipples : Hundreds of Questions You’d Only Ask a Doctor after Your Third Martini
by Mark Leynet and Billy Goldberg

this is a terrific book that answers every medical question you’ve ever had (and many that you cannot believe others have thought of).   

The writing is fresh, funny, and very informative.   and the book is thin and easy to read: and makes for great plane reading.   


Big business, leverage, and innovation

People often talk about economies of
scale … which essentially means big companies can buy pens cheaper than little
companies. But when is comes to
innovation, large companies rarely use their leverage to their advantage.


Companies like SAP, Microsoft,
Oracle, IBM, and others have amazing distribution channels. But they rarely take full advantage of
them. They rarely invest in upcoming
companies or help promote these companies. But they could.


Let’s look at Microsoft … I’m not
aware of any involvement they have with any of the vertical search engines
(SimplyHired, Oodle, Trulia, Become, etc.) why? With a little involvement
they could help catapult a good company into a great company. They could provide strong distribution
through MSN, the desktop, and channels. MSFT could evaluate the market, finds what it feels are the companies
with the best people and best technology, and then really focus on helping the
start-up grow.



I know this sounds a little
pie-in-the-sky (ok .. it sounds a lot
pie-in-the-sky). But companies like
Yahoo and eBay (and potentially Google) are making it work. They are investing strategically in firms
and growing their market cap because of it. What they realize is that as an investor in private companies, a firm
like Yahoo has an unfair advantage (but completely legal advantage) over a
typical venture capital firm. Because
Yahoo immediately has an impact on the value of a company because it has the
engine and the channels to promote it. 


Comcast has one of the most
successful venture groups. Rumor is
that they are doing 50% IRR while investing in companies and technologies that
are strategic to their business. That’s
huge value.


Large companies have had trouble
growing shareholder value. I bet most
of them could get a higher increase in market share from investments then from
its current operations. Be like Yahoo …
if a competitor is going to form to challenge your business (a la Google), at
least make a big investment in it so you make your shareholders a big return …

Noah Kagan on Craigslist

Noah Kagan has a good post on "Craigslist Fraud, the New ebay" — worth a read.   


Now I see more emails that remind me of eBay
where they ask you to ship to international countries (which I got
scammed on once) and want to pay excessive of your asking price.

fraud is becoming more important as more person-to-person transactions are going off eBay and going to places like Craigslist and Edgeio

i’m working on something now to tackle this problem … more on that in a few weeks….

Book: Executive Intelligence

Executive Intelligence by Justin Menkes was a book that came highly recommended by Andrew Frame (CEO of Ooma). 

I’m a huge fan of Andrew’s so I took his recommendation seriously and read it right away.    the book is a fast read so it is a good information to time ratio (which is how i judge most books).    it has one key concept:   hire critical thinkers to your organization.   it is pretty simple but powerful and important and Menkes makes a good case while interviewing many successful CEOs.

overall: the book is good and you can probably read the entire thing in 2 hours — so you might want to just borrow it from a friend (i left my copy on an airplane or i’d lend you mine).

Plantronics Voyager 510SL and Aliph Jawbone PC Edition

V510sThere are two products that I want to praise — both of which go in your ear.   

the first is the Plantronics Voyager 510SL Bluetooth headset.   this is the best Bluetooth headset i’ve ever user.   it is extremely lightweight, long talk time, good sound, and good volume.   it connects directly with my Treo 650 (and any other bluetooth compatible cell phone) and it has an adapter that connects directly with your office phone … so you only need one headset for both phones.  it is really cool.   (note that this was a Silicon Valley 100 product and I got it for free).

The second product is the new Aliph Jawbone PC Edition.   it is not out on the market yet but it is a terrific headset for travelers that want to make skype calls.   Hosain Rahman, Aliph’s CEO, gave me the product minutes before catching my plane to Chile.   it is a great product that really made my trip better (i’ve been using skype a lot when traveling internationally and the lightweight Jawbone made my travels much easier).   plus, the sound quality is really good.

Book: On Intelligence

On Intelligence by Jeff HawkinsBook

I got this book with great anticipation as I’m really interested in the brain and the mind.   Unfortunately, the book was a bit of a let-down for me.   It was overly technical in some parts.   In other parts of the book, it essentially re-hashed some of the more popular books on the subject.   

There is no doubt that awkins is extremely smart … and I have a lot of respect for him … but if you’re debating whether to read this book and you’re not a neuroscientist, you might want to skip it and just read the reviews and notes.

Gaining an hour

you know the feeling when you find an extra $20 in your pocket that you did not know that you had?

i love that.

well imagine finding $1000.   that’s what i felt like last saturday night.    i was in Chile and they moved their clocks back an hour.   it was fantastic.   i gained an extra hour.   

in the future i’ll plan all my travels around time changes and maybe end the year plus ten hours 🙂