Monthly Archives: July 2007



Auren Hoffman’s Summation Push for
  January, 2001


This issue:
  * My Brother and His Generation


* Overcoming Being a Saver


* Invading Ads at Ruby’s


* Response:


* Friends of Auren


  Summation Push Pick Links










Summation has been on sabbatical
  since January 2000 ( But now we are back and I hope you can
  expect a monthly push of Summation.



– Auren









I marvel at how much my brother’s generation knows about computers and the Internet.

  The difference between how i grew up and how he grew up (he is 20) is amazing. He
grew up with computers and owned a computer at an early age. Though I
always wanted one, I didn’t get my first computer until I graduated
from high school (a Mac Classic).

brother runs a Linux server out of his fraternity room, programs with
ease, sets up firewalls, email servers, DNS machines, and stays on top
of all the technological developments. All of this is self-taught. And he’s not alone – many of his friends are the same way. The thing Internet pundit Don Tapscott said about Generation Lap is true. In the 1960s we heard about the Generation Gap between parents and kids. Today,
we have a Generation Lap – where the kids are lapping the parents in
what is one of the most important drivers of our economy — technology. For
the first time in human history, the 14-year-old at home knows more
than her 45-year-old parent about one of the major economic drivers of
our time.

  The funny thing is that
the 14 year old probably also knows more about stocks and Wall Street
than their parents (my brother recently helped my mom open a mutual
fund, trade stocks, and manage a portfolio to get better than a CD

  This new generation of kids who will be graduating from college shortly are truly amazing. My brother, because he has his ear to the ground, always knows more about the new hottest things first. When he was in high school he told me about MP3s before anyone ever heard of them. He later told me about Napster before it was cool. My brother is my secret weapon in staying current on the industry. When he graduates, I am going to have to adopt another sibling to stay abreast of the latest developments.

The interesting relevance is how this is going to affect the labor pool. As
you know, we are going to see a big decline in the number of 30-45 year
olds in the job market because of population trends (in the early
1970s, fewer kids per capita were born than in any other time in out
nation’s history). Traditionally this has been the age group that drives the economy. However,
the question is will these new workers with super technical skills be
able to take up the slack that more experienced workers have
traditionally done in the past?

  Only time will tell.




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I’ve been saving my bank records since I was in junior high
  school. I’ve been saving credit card
  records since I got my first Citibank Visa at the age of18. These records have been living in file
  boxes in the back of my closet and I’ve never needed to look at any of them
  or check them. And besides, I have
  copies of all these records electronically now. Last week, I trashed all of my old bank statements, insurance
  papers, credit card bills, phone bills, and more.



Junking my junk was very liberating. I’ll never use my junk or look at it. 



Now, I can’t even imagine what possessed me to save all those pieces
  of paper for all these years. 



(Your thoughts? Write





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I went to Ruby’s restaurant, an old-fashioned
  hamburger and milkshake place in Southern California. I sat down to my huge avocado burger and
  strawberry-banana milkshake and happened to gaze upon their walls and see
  hundreds of advertisements for Coca-Cola. 



These ads were very tasteful and in the 1950’s
  style, but they were clearly advertisements and not art. They told me to "Drink Coke" and
  I started to feel guilty that my milkshake was not supporting the cause. 



Ruby’s must get their soft drinks really cheap or
  have some alternative revenue sources through advertising. So this got me thinking — ads really are
  everywhere. If they can be all over
  restaurants, where else might they be?



Last month I spoke in New York at the Windows on
  the World restaurant (in the World Trade Center). So I went searching for ads and had a tough time finding
  them. I was speaking at a Goldman Sachs
  business services conference and started searching my conference bag for ads
  – I kept coming up short.



I then went to the Windows on the World restaurant
  attendant and asked to see the Coke advertisements. The waitress looked at me funny, smiled, and called
  security. OK, I embellished a little
  — she didn’t smile.



Back at the hotel, I searched my room and found the
  hotel guide that was sprinkled with tasteful ads — not the blatant
  advertisements I was looking for. Then I looked at the paintings on the wall. One was of a mountain that looked suspiciously like a Coors
  ad. Another painting was abstract and
  I swore I saw a Nike swoosh in there. 



My favorite ads are on the 101 in the San Francisco
  Bay Area. There is a billboard every
  5 feet and only a few of them make any sense. And since there are so many, it overkills me when I drive and I
  never remember any of them. But I do
  always remember the big ugly ground sign for "South San Francisco"
  when going north on 101.







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Last Summation we discussed Kozmo’s Y2K error. Jason [] writes
  an altruistic remark:



"Kozmo is the best service in the world. Who cares if they overcharged people? I feel bad purchasing stuff from them at
  such low cost anyhow."









[this section updates you an interesting person
  that is a member of Auren Inc]



Dominick Ibelli



An old high school friend of mine called me a few
  years back to say hello and I’ve been able to stay in touch with him ever
  since. After traveling from job to
  job after graduating college, Dom landed a sales job at a small start-up in
  New York City called Social Circles ( Dom was one of Social Circle’s first
  employees and is now their top salesperson and runs the sales staff. Social Circles is half Party Planner half, but it has over 1300 members who all pay a hefty fee to be part of
  a club that puts together events for single people in New York.





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(Got a good idea? Write





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* NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (
  — when you are at work and you need your PBS fix, here it is.


* Art of Prank Calls (


* Wiretap (
  — the most-read twice-weekly column by Peter Delevett
  * Get a Free House now! — (
  — Is free stuff getting ridiculous? Get a free house.
  * What am I reading? The Hoffman Reading List (


NOTE: Auren Hoffman works for but the opinions
  expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Hoffman.


NOTE: You may reprint in full or in part (for free)
  with permission from author.

Summation Push

Auren Hoffman’s Summation Push for the week of January 23, 2000

This issue:

* Telecom Taxes are Outrageous

* Kozmo’s Y2K Problems

* Open a PayPal Account

* Summation Mentioned in Fast Company

* Response: Watch Wearing

* Summation Push Pick Links

* Hoffman Reading List



By Auren Hoffman

Do you know how much you are paying in taxes on your telecommunications needs?

Take a look at your phone bill — you’ll find lots and lots of
taxes. There have been months where I paid more in taxes than I paid
for my local phone calls.

My cell phone charges are even more outrageous. I have Sprint’s 500
minutes for $50/month plan. Great deal, but my monthly bill is over
$58.68 per month — that means I pay $8.68 in taxes — or 17% tax!

The taxes break down as follows:

Cal 911 tax:    0.37

Cal PUC tax:    0.05

Cal Teleconnect Fund Surcharge:    0.03

Cal Relay Service Device Fund:    0.10

Cal High Cost Fund Surcharge:    1.90

USA Federal Universal Svc Fund Surcharge:    0.40

USA Federal Tax:    1.58

San Francisco City Utility Tax:    3.75

San Francisco City 911 Tax:    0.50

Notice that I have to pay the lion’s share of these taxes, $4.25,
to the City of San Francisco. Is the city really providing me with that
many more added benefits? If I lived two miles away, in Marin or in
South San Francisco, I would be able to forgo half of my tax bill.

I think these little consumption taxes — whether on telecom, the
Internet, or on our restaurant bill, are going to be one of the big
issues in the next few years.

And by the way — many of the federal taxes on our phone bill were proposed and championed by Al Gore. 

(Are you paying too much?  Write


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Kozmo’s system upgrade in late December created a lot of unhappy
customers. Thousands of customers were accidentally billed $3-$5 in the
last few days of December for no reason — including myself.

The problem is that Kozmo has no idea who they incorrectly billed.
Now thousands of people are tying up Kozmo’s phone lines
(1-877-GO-KOZMO) trying to get their credit card charges reversed. Even
worse, the operator told me that Kozmo is having system trouble
reversing the charges!

And if that’s not enough, when I called I got the serious
run-around. They wanted to give me the name and phone number of a guy
in accounts receivable — and of course he could only be reached from
9-5 EST. I finally settled for 1000 Kozmo which might get me a free
video or two.

(Your thoughts on Kozmo?  Write



PayPal is a cool company that allows you to beam money to your
friends via the web or through your Palm Pilot. I highly recommend the

They are currently giving away $10 free when you sign up — and $10 free to any person that refers you.

I told you that free stuff is going wild — but this is $10 cash, gratis.

You have to register a credit card with them, but it is worth your time.  Click on this link to sign up and see for yourself:


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Remember Summation’s Free Houses?  That was an article a few months back about giving away a free house.

Fast Company mentioned Summation’s Free Houses in last month’s edition:

Thanks to Dave Visschedyk for pointing it out to me.


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Regarding last Summation’s article about wearing a watch, Larry
Kahaner, author of the well-reviewed book Competitive Intelligence,

"About your watch. I find that I don’t need a watch at all because
I see the time everywhere: in my car, on my computer and on my cell
phone (when I carry it). But…. I wear a Timex datalink cause it has
all my phone numbers and I use it as a wakeup alarm when I travel. It’s
the best gadget cause, since I don’t own a day-timer, I can still have
all my phone numbers available. As you probably know, it’s the easiest
thing to move phone numbers from computer to watch."

(Got a good idea?  Write


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* Thomas Weisel Partners (http://www.TWEISEL.COM) – some of the best financial research is located here.

* PayPal ( – great service that lets you beam money to your friends.

* SF Girl — ( — Great place to find parties in San Francisco.

* Get a Free House now! — ( — Is free stuff getting ridiculous?  Get a free house.

* What am I reading?  The Hoffman Reading List (

NOTE: Auren Hoffman works for but the opinions expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Hoffman.

NOTE: You may reprint in full or in part (for free) with permission from author.

Gillette started giving razors away to make you buy the blades,

mobile phone companies gave away the cell phone to make you pay for the service,

and CompuServe and Prodigy are giving away the computer to make you buy the Internet service.

Now the free stuff just got better! and Auren Hoffman Enterprises present…

Free-houses Inc.!

Free-houses is the ultimate free thing — a house (up to $900,000 value).

Choose from one of the houses listed below:

4 Bedroom home in Scarsdale, NY

3 Bedroom home in Palo Alto, CA

To get a free home, you must agree to the pay for the following from the company:

  • Gas and electricity
  • Phone service
  • Gardening
  • Maid service
  • Personal butler
  • Security alarm
  • Heating Oil
  • Yearly painting
  • Roofing
  • Residual future income produced by any kids conceived on the premises
  • Cable
  • Internet service
  • Interior decorating (banners ads inside each bedroom and in front of the toilet)
  • Babysitter


Please also visit our sponsors:

  • — get pushed around
  • Rapleaf — get a good reputation Enterprises will also be promoting the following obviously profitable businesses in the near future:

  • Free lunch
  • Free Car
  • Free University tuition
  • Free office space
  • Free election campaigns
  • Free country

    Note: Currently we are only in beta — so you have to provide the house right now.