Monthly Archives: February 2007

spelling mistakes and SEO

Everyone talks about different strategies of SEO (search engine optimization) with tons of really good ideas to get traffic from Google.

I was analyzing my Google-referred traffic on Summation and I get a LOT of random hits. It turns out that many of these pages have words that I misspelled. You see, I’m a really terrible speller (I’m a math guy) and my blog is riddled with spelling and gramatacal miscakes.

But it turns out that I am not alone. Turns out tons of people in the world are also really bad spellers. And they tend to mis-spell terms they are searching on in Google.


Many people make a lot of money on this by buying misspelled domain names. I have a friend that has a misspelled variation of “” that gets thousands of people visiting a day.

Other people by ads off the search terms of mis-spellers.

Google even tries to compensate us poor spellers by suggesting search terms that we really meant.

In fact, I am continually amazed at the stupidity of the english language.
Maybe the Internet will help us all sympathize with Dan Quayle.

book: Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of Mouth Marketing — How Smart Companies Get People Talking
by Andy Sernovitz

This was a fun book that you can read in 90 minutes and has some good pointers about word of mouth marketing. Sernovitz is a smart guy and the book is worth reading if you are not yet convinced that buzz marketing is powerful. Personally, the book would have been more interesting if it had more examples and more details of case studies of companies that used word of mouth marketing successfully.

Book: Palestine

Palestine by Jimmy Carter

Listened to this via Audible. I was really surprised by this diatribe and frankly lost much of the respect I had for President Carter.

The book clearly states that pretty much everything that is going wrong in the Middle East today is Israel’s fault. According to the book, Arafat was a well meaning saint. And almost all Israelis except Shimon Peres have lost their way. And, of course, the US Media is controlled by Israeli sympathizers.

It was just too one-sided.

One of the most telling tales in the book is an anecdote about Carter meeting Golda Meir in 1973 (before he ran for President). Carter had just spent a week in Israel and was concerned that the country was not sufficiently religious (Carter is a deep born-again Christian). His foreign policy insight was to ask Prime Minister Meir if she was worried that every time the Jews in the bible were not sufficiently religious, God punished them.

Overall I was disappointed and surprised by the book and it calls into question any hint of impartiality that Carter has.

Spending patterns of youth predict adult money management

My friend Rebecca Wahl has a theory that how one spends money as a kid is a really good predictor of how one will treat money as an adult.

The theory goes that if you are fast and loose with money (spend it before you got it) when you’re 6, you’ll likely do the same when you’re 36. and if you’re putting it all away in your piggy bank when you’re little, you’ll likely be adding to your Charles Schwab account when you’re a bit bigger.

Or so the theory goes.

I tested the theory out in a very unscientific way by asking 20 people and the results generally to prove Rebecca’s point.

However, does that mean that people’s personalities are set in stone from a very young age? Can someone change his personality?

How not to treat your employees …

This is a true story of what happened to a friend of mine at a large well-known technology company…

A few years ago, a friend of mine really wanted to work at a particular technology company that he though was producing some really amazing products. He just knew he wanted to work there. (and, for the record, this guy is incredibly talented) He tried to get a job the old fashioned way (sending his resume to HR), but he was getting no luck (this was a few years back when jobs were scarce).

So he used guerilla tactics to further his job quest. He started asking everyone he knew if they knew someone at this particular firm. Soon he had networked with dozens of people from this company.

He also started a blog called “”
The blog became a HUGE hit inside the company. He detailed his quest to work there, his interviews, his process, and more.

Finally, a few months later, he got his dream job at the company. You can imagine how happy he was. He got his dream job at his dream company … and he quickly became one of the most motivated employees there … Working long hours, dedicating himself to the mission of the company, and being a well-known A-player.

He got on a cool project that had a lot of promise. The CEO of the company said this particular project was the most important for the company … And my friend was psyched to be where the action was. The project took a couple of years to complete and was a technical success but did not do as well as expected in the market (it was a modest success). So, after much deliberation, the company decided to kill some of the new developments and fire many of the people from the team.

My friend was on the lay-off list.

You can imagine how distraught he was when the company he poured his soul into just fired him (though at least he got three months severance).

But the story continues … Two weeks later my same friends gets hired back at the same company. Yes, unbelievable. He got hired on a new project in a different part of the company … And he got a big promotion and salary increase.

So after he came back from a paid three-month vacation where he traveled around Asia, he started thinking “why was I laid-off in the first place??” this company somehow turned one of their most dedicated employees into a mercenary — he know longer deeply cares about the company because he realizes the company no longer cares for him.

A case study on how not to treat your employees …

book: The Nurture Assumption

Tnapb4The Nurture Assumption
by Judith Rich Harris

Earlier this year, I met a person named Courtney Smith and we got to talking about psychology. A few days later, she sent me the Nurture Assumption in the mail exclaiming that I must read it.

And six months later, I finally picked it up.

And wow. This is a really powerful book. It is one of the top 10 books I have read in the last five years. Yes, it was that good. Thank you Courtney.

Essentially, Harris theorizes that peers are a much greater influence on someone’s personality than their parents. And she backs it up with impressive data and goes through many socialization studies from the last 50 years.

If you are fascinated with people, this is a must read book.

I will expand on the book in a future blog post as my mind is still rolling from it.

book: The Great Influenza

The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History
By: John M. Barry

This (very long) book does into detail about the tragedies of the 1918-1919 influenza outbreak (often known as the Spanish Flu).

The book was an interesting account of a pandemic that killed more people in 20 weeks than AIDS has killed in 20 years. It was truly devastating. And to set up the book, Barry talked about how medicine and medical practices were transformed in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. (amazingly … Until well after the Civil War, it was easier to get into medical school than to get into most colleges.)