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.

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