Monthly Archives: October 2006

order your tasks by location

If you are like me and you keep all your home/work/life tasks in one place, you might want to consider ordering your tasks by the location you most efficiently can perform them in. Some tasks you can only do at one particular location (like I can only do laundry or dishes at home).

Some tasks, like business calls, can only be done during the day. other tasks are best done at night. some, like calling, are most efficiently done while you are driving (because you cannot do much else in the car). before driving on trips more than 30 minutes, you can have a call list of the people you want to call. sometimes, if it is a new contact, you can even pre-type the numbers in my cell phone so you don’t have to fumble while in the car.

My personal secret is to have a list of tasks do to when I am on the phone. these are generally low-CPU tasks (like cleaning up my house, reordering my contacts, typing up a business card, and other mindless tasks). Whenever I get a call I immediately switch to my phone task list and start crossing off to-dos while jabbing away.

regrets and doing things differently

People often say that they have had no regrets in life. That seems rather odd to me.

I can’t think of one day in my entire life that I wouldn’t do at least a little bit differently. It is a rare day that I don’t make a mistake or wish I allocated my time differently.

So to say one has no regrets strikes me as one who does not want to improve. Wishing one did things differently does not mean one isn’t happy … it only means he strives to be better.

As we all can improve, a better question than “do you have any regrets?” would be “would trade you trade your life with anyone else in the world” (I wouldn’t)

you can be extremely happy and extremely grateful for your fortune and place in life … but still would have played out each day of life a little differently. More importantly, by looking back at how we acted in the past, we can strive to do better in the future.

meebo has over 500,000 user accounts

This week meebo announced its 500,000th user account. and that is doubly amazing since you do not need to have a user account to use meebo.

congrats to elaine, sandy, seth, and the rest of the team.

when i invested in meebo i had no idea it would be this big. i loved the team (the three founders are incredible and are model entrepreneurs) but i don’t think i really understood the potential. meebo is an amazing company.

here are some stats on their usage from their blog:

How many times do people login every single day? 950,000!! You may ask how many of those are “unique?” About 670,000. It turns out most of you happen to log in about 1.4 times per day. Oh, and here’s another interesting one… how many network accounts do you all log in with on average? Also 1.4…which means 1.35 million network ID are logged in daily.

Over 3.5 million unique individuals log into meebo every month, and on a daily basis you’re all sending and receiving a mere 57,000,000 messages. If you aggregate all of the time everyone spends in meebo on a daily basis? 64,000,000 minutes which calculates to approximately 122 years! WOW! (click here to see a graph) It turns out you’re all sending and receiving a message just about once/minute, and you’re staying on meebo an average of 70 minutes/session. Those are some pretty active IM sessions.

And how about meebo me, meebo’s latest twist on web IM? For being just two months old, you guys sure are using it a lot! You all have embedded 42,000 unique widgets. These widgets have been seen on 600,000 unique URLs by… (drum roll please)… 6,000,000+ unique people. Holy cow… that’s a lot of web-embedded IM chattering!

book: Language of God

LanguageofgodThe Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
by Francis S. Collins

Collins is head of the Human Genome Project
and is a world renowned scientist. So I jumped into reading this audiobook when I found out that it was about his belief in God and faith.

Most scientists I know are agnostic or atheist. So I was impressed that Collins wrote a about his belief in God and his personal spiritual journey. Belief in God is not entirely rational and many scientists are ultra-rational … I’ve personally struggled with this myself.

Collins himself narrates the book and he has a soothing voice (he sounds like a man of the cloth). The book was interesting and will make you think — regardless of how you feel about religion.

Summation: this is a thought-provoking and well-written audiobook

Book: The Long Tail

The Long Tail
by Chris Anderson

Yeah … I read it … just like everyone else … actually, I listened to it on audible. Frankly, I was under-whelmed. The original article was brilliant though.

But it was good to ingest The Long Tail not long after reading Paradox of Choice … as the two books, in many ways, are debating with one another for two different world views. Paradox is a proponent of limiting your choices. Tail is about infinite choice. I tend to be more an infinite choice person myself … and I know that is scary to a lot of people … but I enjoy being around people that are not scared of these choices.

At Rapleaf, when we give offers to new employees, we allow them to choose what salary they want. For instance, an employee might be able to choose between $0 – $xxx,000 salary and will get stock options inversely proportional to the salary they take. So essentially there is infinite choice. This freaks some people out but others feel absolutely empowered.

Los Angeles Times endorses Steve Poizner

i rarely blog about politics even though i am passionate about it. but something is newsworthy. My friend Steve Poizner is running for California Insurance Commissioner (one of seven state-wide elected offices in California). Steve is a wonderful man, a dedicated public servant, and someone I think extremely highly of.

Today, the Los Angeles Times endorsed Steve (see full text of the endorsement below). Steve has also been backed by the Oakland Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and other papers. he’s essentially the “good government candidate” in the race (his opponent is the infamous Cruz Bustamante).

if you are in California, I encourage you to consider voting for Steve.

More info at:

Steve Poizner for Insurance Commissioner
Republican entrepreneur is a more competent and reliable consumer advocate than Cruz Bustamante.

October 4, 2006

CALIFORNIA HAS ONLY HAD TWO elected insurance commissioners. First there was Democrat John Garamendi, who was seen as a champion of consumers, and then Republican Chuck Quackenbush, who resigned in disgrace amid allegations he allowed insurance companies to underpay their 1994 Northridge earthquake claims. Prosecutors never filed charges, but after two appointees filled out the term, voters returned Garamendi to the job in 2003.

Now Garamendi is leaving again, and the fight is renewed between consumer advocates — who say the industry is out to cheat customers — and insurance companies, which say regulators don’t understand the market. Garamendi is backing Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante over Republican tycoon Steve Poizner. The twist is that the best choice for consumers, hands down, is Poizner.

The Silicon Valley entrepreneur has solid market credentials, having built a billion-dollar company from a global positioning device that locates cellphone users for emergency operators. He has made reducing insurance fraud a priority, which would protect the industry but also would allow companies to offer lower prices to consumers. He acknowledges that “insurance companies want to own this position” — and he vows not to let them. He has said he’ll defend Garamendi’s auto insurance rate regulations, which put a person’s driving record ahead of where the driver lives. He vows to defend Proposition 103.

He’s credible, and his history shows he’s a man of integrity. He thinks before he acts, a trait exemplified by his careful study of a liberal Democratic Bay Area Assembly district that he almost won, and his equally studious approach to and backing for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s redistricting reform, a measure that, while unsuccessful, was worthy. The insurance commissioner’s job, he notes, “requires analytical horsepower.” Poizner has it.

Bustamante, as a legislator, often backed bills that insurance companies sought to help them avoid complying with Proposition 103. For example, he advocated the repeal of the initiative’s good-driver discount. When he ran for governor in the campaign to recall Gray Davis, he misused donations from Indian tribes and was heavily fined. As a candidate for insurance commissioner, he accepted insurer contributions, then returned them when it became a campaign issue. It was not a proud day for Democrats when it became clear that he would be their nominee. His election would be a step backward for consumers.

Poizner is no Garamendi; with his market orientation, Poizner is open to permitting lower-premium health policies and other types of coverage with very high deductibles, along with other moves that may not prove popular with consumers. But he is dedicated to making sure insurers are competitive and, where the market falls short, he will be an effective consumer watchdog.

don’t add water … ubiquity of Campbell’s soup

Warholcampbell_soup1screenprint1968Ever prepare a can of soup on your stove top on a cold and rainy day? of course you have (unless you live on the equator where it is never cold but always rainy … or on the north pole where it is always cold but never rainy) …

Think of the time you prepared one of those high-end cans of soup … the kind (like Chunky, Marie Calendar’s, Wolfgang Puck’s, Progresso) that cost $2-3 a can at the local Safeway (or $8-9 a can at the local Whole Foods). What is the first thing that these cans tell you????? …

“Do not add water”

Yeah. But why do they say that? when you get a can on tuna does it say “do not add water?” nope.

The reason, of course, is Campbell’s. Campbell’s soups have become so ubiquitous that we assume we should add water.

It would make Andy Warhol proud …

book: Paul Volcker

047142812401_sclzzzzzzz_Paul Volcker: The Making of a Financial Legend
by Joseph B. Treaster

Paul Volcker is a great American public servant. This book is a very quick overview of his life. The book reads like a very quick Wikipedia entry — it talks a lot about dates and facts but goes into very few anecdotes or revealing history.

Summation: If you want to find out something quick about the life of Paul Volcker, you should read this book. But if you were like me and were looking for a more Kai Bird/Daniel Yergin/Walter Isaacson/Robert Caro approach to understand the Fed in the 1980s, you might want to wait until one of them write a book about Volcker in the future.