Monthly Archives: August 2006

waiting to call a potential date back

my friend Charles Sommer, CEO of DoubleAgent, did a survey on his site of a bunch of women asking them how long a guy should wait to call them back. and the average time was, not surprisingly, 3 days.

but Charles then did a second-order analysis by age … and found that the time to wait was inversely proportional with age. 20 year old women wanted a guy to wait 9 days … 40 year old women were about 9 hours.

Parents affect happiness … but not as expected

Everyone knows that parents can affect their child’s happiness. A loving upbringing is more likely to yield a happy person.

However, there is another way parents can affect happiness: by expectation setting. Most people compare themselves to others. And it is only human to compare yourself to your parents. My theory is that people who surpass their parents tend to be much happier than people who don’t. If that is true, it is good news and bad news for my generation (Generation X).

The bad news is that our parents (baby boomers) may be the richest generation in US history that will ever be. They were born at a time when the U.S. had 50% of the world GDP (now it is 22%) and lived in a time when things kept getting better economically. They are now consolidating these gains and hurting future generations by continuing to push govt debt and piling on future IOUs (with Medicare, social security, and deficits). So it is unlikely that Generation X will surpass boomers economically. But if you are one of those people that do surpass your parents (and there are a sizable number of us), you’ll likely be very happy (especially since many other people do not) … and this is especially true if you surpass your parents at a young age.

The good news is that selfish side of the boomer generation was really bad for their family life. Almost 50% of married boomers got divorced at least once. That’s a staggering statistic. It will be extremely hard for Generation Xers to have a worse divorce rate. More likely is that our generation will have, on the whole, more meaningful family lives and exceed our parents in this way.

Next time when you see someone who is very happy or very sad, look to see if they have surpassed their parents or not. And while one can argue cause and effect relationships, you’ll find often that this parental happiness theory holds true quite often.

Do people who make bombs make better entrepreneurs?

Peter Thiel, Rapleaf’s biggest investor, made an interesting remark to me the other day that 4 of the 6 founders of PayPal had built bombs while in high school (and Peter was not one of them).

that is an amazing stat.

at the Founders Brunch yesterday i polled some of the top entrepreneurs and found that quite a few of them had also built bombs while in high school.

which concerned me because i was never adventurous to build a bomb (my only street cred is playing Dungeon and Dragons) …

optimism = kids

I was at a dinner recently and talked to a very accomplished woman who, like many intelligent people I know, was pessimistic about the future. In fact, when we took a poll of people at dinner on who was “very optimistic,” “optimistic,” “pessimistic,” or “very pessimistic,” I was the only one who was “very optimistic” (am I just deluding myself???).

And she mentioned that because she was so pessimistic about the future, her and her husband decided not to have kids. They did not feel right about bringing kids into this world.

That comment really made me think. I had never heard of that. Do you know other people that feel that way??

is December 18 the most romantic day??

I did an analysis of the people I know and I know more people born on Sept 18 then any other day. I know exactly 15 people born than day. And I am sure I know more (when you consider that I only know the birthdays of about a 1/4 of the people I know).

For instance, I only know 5 people born on Nov 14 (nine months from Valentine’s day).

Book: A Short History of Myth

A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong

I started this book with great excitement. it was sent to me by Patrick McKenna and he has been raving about it for months. Usually patrick and I have similar taste in books, articles, etc.

i liked this book … which describes different myths, religions, etc since beginning of humankind. but i never really got into it. it is a tough read (though not overly academic) even though the information is pretty interested.

summation: a good book. not a great book. but a very short book so it might be worth reading.

Greg Mankiw is my favorite blogger

most of the blogs i read are about technology. or they are written by friends.

but one blog i read for pure pleasure and intellectual stimulation. the one Greg Mankiw writes.

Mankiw is one of the most well-known economists in the world. He is one of the most popular professors at Harvard and a great guy (I have met him only once — we had dinner about a month ago … and i can attest he’s a terrific conversationalist and super-smart). He was the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the first term of President George W Bush.

and his blog is fantastic and a great read. i highly recommend it.

Edgeio selects Rapleaf to power its feedback system

I don’t usually use my personal blog to tout Rapleaf (try to keep work/life a little separate) but last week Edgeio and Rapleaf went live with our partnership.

The guys at Edgeio (Matt Kaufman, Joseph Oster, Vidar Hokstad, and Keith Teare) are terrific to work with — i am huge fans of these guys.

more at:

Elizabeth Hart from Cornish & Carey is a great salesperson

So like every person running a business, I get a lot of salespeople calling me. sometimes they are recruiters … or people trying to sell me Internet hosting … or financial services … or commercial space … or, when i walk home at night in San Francisco, i even get people trying to sell me illicit drugs…

i actually like salespeople (for a long time, i was a salesperson)

of course, like every entrepreneur in this frothy market, we get VCs making sales calls … i wrote about that a few weeks ago in a tale of two VCs

so it was my pleasure that I got a cold sales email from Elizabeth Hart (Liz Hart) from Cornish & Carey (a commercial real estate firms helping companies find space) today. she gave me permission to republish her email to me here:


After reading, Tale of 2 VCs I am aware that you receive many unsolicited emails, so I’ll attempt to make mine brief and quasi-interesting.

I focus on the real estate needs of growing technology companies and have read very positive things about RapLeaf in the various tech blogs. (By the way, great job campaigning AGAINST yourself on Valleywag). I signed up for RapLeaf today and have been bumping around the site. I can definitely see the benefit to something like this, but have a few comments about how to make it more accessible to non-tech people (like myself). The benefits of a service like this would be fantastic tool for my career, because so many of my prospects would be interested in hearing about my reputation in an easy and accessible way.

Would you be interested in meeting for coffee sometime? I’d love to chat about RapLeaf and see what’s going on with your office real estate on Mission Street. If the thought of talking real estate bores you.. I love to read and was a political science major at CAL, so I’m sure we’ll have a lot in common.

Hope to hear from you soon,


(first stop coincidently is someone you know – Stewart Alsop. I just finished his deal in the North Waterfront for Alsop Louie.)

of course, we can’t use Liz right now (we’re in an office that we love and we’re not moving for a long while) … but i am going to when we do look for bigger office space. and i am going to recommend her to others … because she’s a great salesperson (who sends great cold emails) and she makes the sales target feel very special.

summation: hire Liz Hart from CORNISH & CAREY COMMERCIAL.

Happiness is a Function of Personal Predictability

If you are so unpredictable that you even you cannot predict your future self, then it is unlikely you’ll be happy. Happiness is a function of personal predictability — you need to know a lot about your future self.

If you can predict what your future self will enjoy, it is easier to be happy. But if you buy a pink BMW now and your future self hates it … That might be a problem.