I love the library, especially the main library. Today I journeyed down to the main public library in downtown Chicago. As expected it was bigger than columbus’, a lot bigger, but when it came to people it felt right at home. It seems there is a very interesting group of people who are drawn to libraries on a daily basis, those who want to learn and grow, and those who just go there for free internet. The chicago public library went to great lengths to prevent internet use on the vast majority of their computers, living under the two assumptions that people really use those computers to search for books, and that people wouldn’t figure out how to get around their blocks. Big mistake. So when you go to look for a computer to access the library catalogue, you have a lot of trouble because there are at least 5 people looking at yahoo personals. Today I saw a guy go one step further, and just go where those yahoo personals people are afraid to go, porn. Yep that’s right, on the library catalogue computer directly across from the librarians help desk sat a man who dared someone to enforce the “no personal web browsing on this computer” sign. I suppose it’s possible he was looking for a book and somehow stumbled on to “bootylovers.com” And I guess it is just as possible that the library had a detailed video of what the book “bootylovers.com” was really all about, because he sure was enjoying watching it. I sure was enjoying his groans and grunts with each click of the mouse. Take that computer policy at the cpl!
Google maps are amazing. If you haven’t tried them, you’re missing out. They are scrollable meaning you don’t have to reload every time you want to move the page. They also allow for you to search for things in a certain area, say “pet stores” in your neighborhood and it will peg the map with every pet store in your area. Google maps can also give incredible directions, with a detailed map showing you all the way there. But as good as google maps can be, as well as they can show you how to get your destination, they can not always get you there. They’re especially difficult to use, when you use the wrong map. On a way to a meeting last night, my friend who was due to pick me up somehow pulled off this amazing feat. Armed with two sets of google maps directions, one to pick me up and then one to our meeting, he managed to follow the wrong one and get really lost. When I called him to check up where he was, he cursed google maps “google is so wrong, I’m nowhere near the train station.” “It says I should be right here, on brinker road, but I don’t see any train tracks!” “Brinker road,” I said, “that’s the right place, wrong time.” “Ohhh fuuuck.” Whoops.
It’s great that blogger (owned by google) has put in a spell checker for blog posts, but I think it is pretty pathetic that when you run the spell checker, it can’t help but try and correct your spelling of google to googol. Huh? That’s embarrassing.
Everyone knows the old glass is half empty/full test. Supposedly based on your answer you can tell if you are an optimistic or pessimistic person. I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences in personal perception lately. It is pretty easy to be caught up in my own little head and world to forget that this world is a completely different place for everyone else in it. I forget that people can look at something that seems so obvious and so exciting to me, and be bored to death. I’m talking about a difference on a much deeper level than personal preferences, whether or not your favorite color is blue like mine. I’m talking about the perception, or the creation, of different worlds inside each and every person’s head. When I visit with some of my friends from home, this creation of a different reality is jarringly apparent. I look at this time in my life as an incredible opportunity, a springboard for going out and attacking everything I’ve ever wanted or dreamed of. This seems so obvious to me. But for my friends, who must look at this through their own filters see my actions as somewhat foolish, dreamy, and impractical. For them, there really only lies one true path from here, the continued progress on the linear projection of life. It seems they believe I really shouldn’t be focusing on big dreams, when I have not completed the necessary steps. It is almost as if there is some sort of progress chart where you can see the exact step next in your progress. It means grinding through unhappiness in hopes of crossing that level off your list and moving on to the next one. Now I realize I may be exaggerating on this, but this is how I perceive the situation. And it scares me to death. The idea of potentially cashing in your dreams for comfort, security, and companionship runs chills up my spine. I just don’t know why people assume that work has to really be “work.” Why can’t you like your work? Why can’t you do what you want? I’m by no means an expert on the adult world, and my philosophy on life may ultimately push my into the gutter, but I think the pain of ignoring this drive would be far more difficult to bear than to end up in the gutter later. After all, it is a hell of a lot more empowering to tell yourself “I will” than to say “I wish I had.”
I plan on adding a sidebar with all of my delicious links, but until I do here is a link to my current delcious links. There are only a few, but they are definitely worth checking out, especially the one about the global consciousness project and its potential ability to see the future.
People often ask me why I love blogging so much, and it is actually very simple. I love being connected. The internet and more specifically, blogging, has opened the door for anyone and everyone to share thoughts, experiences, and dreams freely and easily. I really think blogs are the answer to every little kid’s question, “what do I want to be when I grow up.” I could read books all day about entrepreneurs or venture capitalists, but I would never really know the day to day thoughts and feelings associated with those professions. The power of blogs gives me the ability to peek on real people, really living as the above mentioned professions, and I can see what excites them, what makes them laugh, what makes them worried on a daily basis. I’ve been able to see whether or not I have something in common with these people, and it has been exciting for me to see just how similar my thoughts are to theirs. But this power of blogging isn’t limited to entrepreneurs or vc’s, it is open to everything. If you are interested in martial arts, kite flying, astrology whatever, there are thousands or perhaps millions of blogs out there to peak your interest. Everyone can be connected. The speed of information flow has never been faster and more efficient. This is the rapid roll out of Internet 2.0, the era of everyone. All the great new things revolve around people sharing information, pictures, experiences more efficiently and effectively. Take flikr an online photo sharing site. Sure there have been lots of photo sharing sites over the last 5 years, but flikr is different. It has incorporated tagging, the first steps to actually getting information like our brain gets it. The way tagging works is, when someone enters a picture into flikr they tag it first. This means going beyond just naming the file, but actually naming what words you think of when you look at it. So for example if it was a picture of your girlfriend you wouldn’t just name the picture “Julie,” but instead you would tag it girlfriend, girl, beautiful, happy, love, and on and on. Once the picture has been tagged, it can be seen by anyone. So you could then go on to flikr and search for “love” and you would see every picture including your own that brought the thought of “love” to someone. An incredible powerful sharing experience. Another project that incorporates tagging is del.icio.us . Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site. It is very easy to use and it allows people to tag interesting websites whenever they come across them. So if you found an interesting news article about dogs, you would tag it dogs, news, interesting, etc. You can then go back and see every article including your own that have the above tags. The internet 2.0 is all about connecting. It is all about people sharing, showing, and spreading ideas easier than ever before. What can I say, I love it.
As an entrepreneur it is very easy to get sucked up into the excitement of an idea. I know for me when I get an idea with business potential in my head, my brain kicks into overdrive. I immediately begin to think of the idea from 90 different angles, how it would be marketed, how it would be implemented, how it would make money, and its potential market size. I get so excited that I can only see its potential, and potential drawbacks are hidden from my mind’s eye. The excitement and the clarity I experience in moments like these turn me into a rambling idiot for the nearest ear. I find that I often forget that people around me don’t have the same clear image in their head. So when I explain things to them, I blurt out the most exciting parts and therefore they struggle to fully share in my vision. Here is an interesting discussion on how to effectively present that idea. I found this pretty useful as I’m currently in the painful business plan writing process. I especially enjoyed the section on condensing your pitch down to 5 and 30 second explanations.
It is unfortunate that the revolutionary has been run over by the revolution. TiVo is currently facing a very difficult time. It was dropped by Direct Tv, and even more scary is the ease its technology can be copied. The cable companies provide the same quality of service at drastically lower rates (no cost up front and then about $8-10 per month), as do the satellite providers, Windows Media PC’s can do it all, and there is a growing crowd of DIYer’s utilizing the open source DVR movement. As much as I love TiVo and their quality programming guides, I think their future as an independent company is bleak unless they can once again differentiate themselves from the pack. I’d hate to see the company become nothing more than a verb. (I tivo’d that). Maybe Apple could attack the video market next? Tivo, although not as widespread, does have comprable ipod name recognition in the DVR market. Why not follow the same model as their ipod attack on the digital audio market? They can redesign the tivo marketing strategy (let’s face it, Apple is the king of cool-have you been to an apple store? ), and even more incredible is they can leverage the Ipod success to boost the Tivo. Imagine an apple built tivo handling all of your digital media in the home, including a large hard drive to store all of your itunes songs and firewire ports for everyone in the house to sync up their pods and videopods. Imagine being able to buy itunes songs or imovie or itv content from your couch. I think there is a significant opportunity for Apple to buy up TiVo’s scraps for chump change, and for them to again revolutionize the digital video market. Any thoughts?
Does this look like a parking spot to you? Yes, that van is parked. That van is just another participant in the growing anarchy taking place in the Gold’s Gym/Volunteers of America parking lot. I guess the yellow lines don’t mean anything anymore. Park wherever you want, it’s your world!
Anyone that knows me, knows that I spend a lot of time soaking in the free WiFi network at the Cup of Joe near my house. It’s a great atmosphere to get things done, it’s bustling with activity, free high speed wireless connection, and great food and drinks. My only problem with doing all my work here is the inability to use my voip service that I have at home. I do get emails with audio file attachments whenever someone leaves me a voicemail at home, which is nice. But if I want to call them back, I have to use up precious daytime minutes. I use lingo for my home voip service, and I really have no complaints. It’s cheap (500 minutes for calls to pretty much anywhere for $14.95 a month, including 911 capability). It’s easy to use (I mean come on, who doesn’t know how to use a phone by now. Also instead of plugging the box directly into one phone, which is a drawback for many people using voip, I just plugged it directly into the phone jack in my room. Because there is no phone service hooked up to my home, the lingo service has free reign on my home phone wires, and therefore works on all phone jacks in the house). But currently I’m limited to only using the lingo service from my home. Why, if the service runs over the internet backbone, can’t I get access to it everywhere? I love the idea of skype, and the ability to make free global calls to any other skype users, or cheap skypeout calls to any phone in the world (I think the skypeout rates are about 1.5 cents a minute to anywhere. So it’s 1.5 cents a minute to call your friend across the street or in Tokyo). Skype is great because I can call anyone, anywhere, whenever I have an internet connection. Why can’t lingo offer a skype like program that allow you to make your calls over their network? Vonage offers this very service for an additional $10 a month. Basically it allows you to log in to your vonage account anywhere you have internet access, and make phone calls as if you were at home. Of course you need a dorky headset to allow the other person to hear you, but it’s an exciting option nonetheless. Here’s where I think things get interesting. So there has been this explosion the past few years of smartphones. These are essentially pda’s with built in cell phones. But the funny thing is, maybe we don’t need the built in cellular capacity anymore. If you have a pda with built in wifi and vonage (or hopefully lingo soon), you can essentially have your pda replace your cell phone. You just log in to vonage/lingo and bingo, you instantly have a phone number where someone can reach you and you have the capacity to call anyone in the world for great rates. You also have access to all of Vonage’s great services such as free 3 way calling, caller id, call waiting, call forwarding, and more. So with the continued rapid roll out of wifi networks nationwide, it would seem possible that in the next few years access to a widespread wifi network could be more valuable than access to a cellular network. I realize that in most areas cellular networks will always have better coverage than wifi networks, but perhaps in the bigger cities, wifi pda phones could actually be an alternative to cellular service. Currently internet on smartphones is seen as a luxury, because the speeds aren’t really fast enough for any sane person to do any sort of meaningful internet browsing, besides email. Imagine a wifi connection that can handle all of your internet needs including your phone! All this time it seemed like the generally accepted evolution of wireless browsing would come about over better cell phone networks, but now it seems WiFi has arisen amazingly as an alternative. Ahh, I’m eagerly awaiting my pda wifi cell phone and once I have it, I’ll never leave Cup of Joe.
I have to admit I am a big time google fan. I read every piece of news they throw out, and I’m one of the first to download any new products. I use google to check for definitions, as a calculator, as an organizer, a phonebook, a map, a translator, and of course THE answer. So when google video came out, I couldn’t wait to find a reason to use it. I really had to search a reason to use it, and somehow I came up with checking out the Tony Danza show. I wanted to know if his comments looked even more stupid written out. Of course Google Tv worked perfectly and I was somewhat satisfied with this service. But then I shot over to Yahoo to see how their video search worked. I was blown away. They actually have the video. Google TV is a neat idea, but it cames up short. Way short. Google TV compared to Yahoo Video is like watching American Idol in closed captioning, you can get how things are going but it really is not the same thing. And it’s a waste of time. Yahoo video gives you the real thing. You can search just about anything and get actual video. I’m using it now to watch the 60 minutes clip on google. It sure beats reading the transcript on Google TV, ha if I wanted to read I’ll go to the library. Don’t worry Google, you’re still my favorite, just not when it comes to video.