rich people are just like the rest of us. sorta. they use the same words. but often they have different meanings. fail, for example. a rich guy i know has started quite a few companies. they all failed. meaning they went out of business, bankrupt, chapter 11. that would be the common definition of failed. but the companies also failed using the rich guy's definition. he made over a $million on each failure. which is rather impressive. since some of the companies only raised a total of $20 million. same word. different meaning. other words fit the pattern too. like hate. as in, i hate it when they fail. and lost. as in, i lost a fortune when they failed.
if you've never had the pleasure of negotiating with money (either venture capital or a sugar daddy) to get financing for your hot startup company, listen up. i'll give you a peek behind the scenes. first, you have to have some sort of in. otherwise, it's all thanks but no thanks. typically you drop off a hefty spa certificate at the front desk and casually ask where and when mr buck biggs will be playing golf this week. then you arrange an accidental meeting. let them win. and now they'll look at your plan. see? you have to demonstrate you know how the game is played. otherwise you're totally not interesting. then you get to schedule a presentation. however, at the last minute mr biggs is unfortunately unexpectedly unavailable. so you get to talk to the janitor. he loves it. and will make sure mr biggs gets the information. presumably, you're courting mr biggs cause he has an interest in your field. so a manager gets back to you. another presentation. he loves it. mr biggs loves it. they'll provide money for 10% of the company. great! best possible deal. you knew you had a hot product. pop the champagne. so you get the contract. actually you don't. there are delays. but finally it arrives. except there's one teensy weensy little error. they get 20% of the company. oh sorry, they say. we'll fix that up in a jiffy. except it takes an army of people in the same place at the same time. a veritable scheduling nightmare. ah ha! success at last. good thing too. you're running perilously low on whatever bootstrap funds you started with. except the contract says 30%. you sign it anyways. then you read it more carefully. it's really 40%. and they get to install anyone they want on the board of directors. who immediately leverages 40% to 50%. but the money's in the bank. with only a few minor hiccups. the product is making its way to market. launch time. you need an impressive amount of capital to ramp up production. that was supposed to be included in the original contract. pits. now you need to do another round of raising money. 60% 70% 80% 90% gone. sigh. not much you can do. it's not like there's any other game in town.
i randomly came across this news article
. 69% of people polled believe the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. yada yada. the interesting part though is near the end. 62% of middle class people believe they could do something to get rich. they just don't know what.
if you want to start a company in silicon valley you will need the following things: an idea, a plan, drive, labor, money. obviously, this is not an all encompassing list. you could have greatness in all of the areas, and still fail. that is far and away the most likely outcome. 90% fail. the companies that succeeded had good deals in all areas of the list. here's the typical life of a startup. start with a great idea: hands free input device that converts brain waves to blue tooth. the plan is really boring. build it. sell it. any mba can do it. got a great sales team on board. drive means someone to crack the whip and make sure everyone sticks to the plan. got a great management team lined up. got labor covered. nice mixture of hungry (cheap) young collidj grads and experienced old farts. all we need now is money. got a vc all sold on the vision. with us 100%. so everything's going along great. every demo is amazingly better than the last. we ship. things look great. ipo. stock goes up and up and up. then suddenly. things start to go wrong. stock price plummets. nobody will touch us with the proverbial pole. layoffs imminent. and boom. $25 million crater.
unemployment claims are up. so is productivity. unexpectedly, apparently. like, huh? companies selectively laid off the unproductive people and kept the productive people. companies selectively shut down the unproductive divisions and kept the productive ones. unproductive companies bellied up. unexpected my 20/20 hindsight eye.
this word doesn't get through the online dutch to english translators very well. it means, swamp german. which for some reason gives my dutch buddies the giggles.
b hussein says family is off limits. especially children. classy. which is not a word one usually associates with this blog. especially when hanging out there is the greatest. alibi. ever. so anywho, the story circulating the internet is that palin's unmarried teenage daughter disappeared from school for a while cause she had mono. or maybe she was having a baby. which palin passed off as her own to avoid the embarrassment of the little bastard in politics. after being nominated, palin promptly issued a press release saying her 17 year old daughter is preggers. in other words, her daughter couldn't have been giving birth then cause she was busy getting knocked up. best. alibi. ever. all giggling aside, the baby in question has down's syndrome. which makes it all but certainly palin the matron's. and not palin the maid's.
geocaching is fun. it feels like terrorism. which is part of why it's fun. you hide suspicious looking boxes of something all over the place. hopefully only the good guys will ever catch on. or something like this might happen. policeman: excuse me sir. what are you doing under the golden gate bridge? terrorist: uh, just a little geocaching. policeman: oh! very well then. carry on.
points of view
one point of view (pov) says a coin is a picture of an eagle. another says it's a portrait of some dead guy. which is right? one pov says both. another says neither, both are incomplete. which is right? mine, of course. all others are wrong. that's one pov. i have many pov's that are unconventional. gravity for example. my pov is gravity is an acceleration. the traditional pov is that gravity is a force. which leads to internal inconsistency. so it's clearly wrong. however, students of gravity-as-force become engineers who build bridges that don't fall down. so just how wrong can it be? some pov's are just silly. like calculating planetary orbits with the earth at the center of the solar system. you can do it. it's just extra work for you. different pov's are good. cause they may reveal solutions to problems that are hidden from other pov's. some pov's are relatively benign. like looking at a billion years of evolution and saying god did it. incurious and not very useful in a scientific context. you can look at the products created by 10 thousand microsoft employees and say bill gates did it. sorta medieval, but whatever. some pov's are obviously downright harmful. like aryanism, racism, sexism, etc. others are more subtly harmful. like reagonomics and runaway global warming.
wow. i thought geocaching would be just a fun pastime. i didn't think it would have any actual honest to goodness real world benefits. i explain. the beautiful and talented alisa was shopping at target. she left the cart and started searching for sweat pants for g a few feet away. moments later the cart was gone. would be just inconvenient except in the cart were the pictures we needed for the boys' school emergency kits. tomorrow. and alisa's favorite re-usable cloth bags. annoying. so we talked to the nice (young) security guard. then we began a systematic search of all the shopping carts in the building. the assumption was that a clueless person had walked off with the wrong cart. no luck. eventually we returned to where we started. called for a fresh look on things. which is something you gotta do when the hide's got you stumped. possibly several times. okay, so what if it was a malicious or inconsiderate person who wanted the cart but not the stuff. and didn't realize it was in use. or didn't care. they'd grab the stuff and stash it. so where? heh. the cache was quickly located now that we had the correct point of view. hooray for geocaching!
ben was singing the michigan fight song the other day: Hail! to the victors valiant. Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes. Hail! Hail! to Muhajedeen. The leaders and best! Hail! to the victors valiant. Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes. Hail! Hail! to Muhajedeen, The champions of the West!
i think if i was super rich i'd be a super-ass. not really by nature but by nurture. telemarketers currently interrupt my dinner and evening. they want me to buy something. or to take their survey. or vote for their person. or donate money. blech. i'm generally not very nice to them. put me on your fucking do-not-call list asstard. i assume it gets worse as i have more of what they want. heh. both the calls and the responses get worse. i think i'd be able to politely turn down uninteresting business plans for about 30 seconds before i hire an assistant to tell them to fuck off.
the boys were being boys one morning. so i introduced them to a variation of prisoner's dilemma. they each got two pieces of paper. one says truth. the other says lie. each round they secretly pick one of them and present it. two truths pay two legos to each player. one of each pays three legos to the liar. and two lies pays nothing. they both played lie for a long long time. the game was called with three legos each. they had both realized lie wasn't working and had tried truth. once. but not at the same time. heh. we started over with different teams: the boys, and me. i played tit-for-tat. i did whatever they did last time. (truth in the first round.) they figured out pretty quickly they should always play truth. everyone rapidly had a large pile of legos. it was a life lesson. cause tit-for-tat works pretty well in the real life grown up world. if i look like an ass to you, it might be because last "round" you looked like an ass to me. now, when you find yourself in an ass-ass situation with me, we should both stop and start over.
today's the day i was supposed to be able to tell you all about what i do at work. but "supposed to" and "are" sometimes end up being not the same thing. anywho, yes, it has something to do with why my vacation was canceled last month. no, i still can't tell you anything about anything i might be doing. unless you sign an nda and come to my office building. but if you want an nda you better bring a huge wad of cash you're willing to rent at a very low rate. anywho, all details later. when exactly later is is one of those details not to be revealed to the public until later. heh. maybe i should get everyone to do the ditch day thing. when's ditch day? tomorrow. when do we ship? tomorrow. when do we announce? tomorrow. when does my stock vest? tomorrow. heh. ftt, funny to techers.
we hanged bo1b. the 1 is silent. bo1b is part of our harmonic oscillation experiment. our new building has a large entry area. it's two stories with very high ceilings. so we hanged bob from one of the really high rafters. now bo1b is a swinger. swing bo1b swing. come on by and see him someday. i wonder if anyone will notice. probably. everyone will be in that very spot for the all hands meeting run by the ceo usually from right under bo1b.
sierriaist: do you have a minute for the environment? me: you can't save the environment in a minute. got a lifetime?
birthday wish list
i was asked to compile a birthday wish list for my upcoming birthday. i asked for: a table
, a car
, a calculator
, skate wheels, fluorescent white paint, a chef's knife (i broke ours), pannukakku, a book
, ink wash, and a router
katz stopped eating. she is 16 years old. this might be bad. she doesn't seem to be unhappy. just not hungry. not lethargic. well, no more than her usual princess self sleeping 20 hours a day.
we found 5 of 6 geocaches today along canada road and vicinity. found one we couldn't find earlier. one was in left field. three were on a sheep trail. fun for all. kudos to rob for making the activity sound like fun we should try. you can track us on geocaching. we are altibega. sort of a little contest to figure out why we chose that name.
it's interesting to cogitate on what olympic content gets through the broadcast filter. we see a lot of phelps phelps and more phelps. yeah okay. we also see a lot of the american gymnasts. chinese too. we were watching the women's all-around. there's this russian chick on the high bars. she's freakin awesome. where the heck did she come from? why haven't we seen her before? filtered. there's a guy korean gymnast. led the all-around for a while. who the heck is he? dunno. i guess it was better for ratings to show the weaker competitors from the most chosen countries falling on their butts. yar.
why is it that when i leave for the train station at 8:44 i arrive at 8:53 and when i leave at 8:45 i arrive at 8:52? clearly, there's some sort of temporospatial discontinuity along the route. i'll have to pay closer attention in the mornings to see if i can actually observe it.
the internet is the new bible. i am absolutely certain of this fact. in my deep dark past i knew many people who believed crazy stuff. like bumblebees can't fly. it's true, man. i read it in the bible. now i meet people who believe crazy stuff. like cars can run on water. it's true man. i read it on the internet. ergo, the internet is the new bible. it must be true. you're reading it on the internet.
you know... i don't mind sharing this planet with everyone else. i don't try to take more than my fair share. it seems though that that ethic isn't universal. take for example peanut butter. if my kids were so allergic to anything that they'd die if someone breathed the deadly substance in the same room as they... i certainly wouldn't send them out into public. sheehs. i wonder what our school is thinking. at orientation this evening the beautiful and talented alisa was informed that stratford had admitted two students with just such an allergy. and to accommodate them nuts of all kinds are banned. sheehs. most of the students are of indian descent. so they're vegetarians. and the kids can't heat food or put food in coolers. that just doesn't leave very many sources of protein. especially for certain 7 year olds i could name. economically, it seems dumb for the school. they could easily lose 3 students because of their dumb policy to gain 2. legally, it makes even less sense. sure we'll accept your students. and guarantee a nut free environment. if anything happens, god forbid, the school is on the hook. i'll go a few steps to make life easier for such individuals. but sheehs. enough is enough.
yay! my dice came home. long ago i used to regularly go to john's apartment to play pnp dnd. that sorta came to an end when folks moved away. we tried to play using online tools. but that wasn't much fun. i guess i really like the social aspect to the game. which is missing when you're not face to face with your buddy. anywho. my dice jar stayed at john's after the last game. course i didn't know it was the last game at the time. john's moved several times since then. and my dice jar has faithfully moved with him every time. but today it was returned to my possession. yay! the boys will never guess what i have in my backpack. suppose i could rattle it to give them a hint.
the boys have been having fun watching the olympics we recorded while they were out of town. seems to be mostly gymnastics, beach volleyball, and swimming. which is fine with me. i've always been fond of female athletes. especially fond of female athletes wearing uniforms that wonderfully compliment why i'm so fond of female athletes. anywho, they seem to have set the minimum age for gymnastics to 16. yay! this is a good thing. i like women athletes. child athletes not so much. this is the first time watching the olympics i didn't think of pedophilia. it's okay to perv on women. perving on children, not so much. heh. people sometimes freak out when i say something like that. but damn. clue up. how can people be so oblivious to the way other people might view something? hrm. never mind.
i introduced the boys to the game borderlands last night. it was fun. b's a pretty serious strategist. he plays chess pretty well. he'll spend hours staring at the axis and allies board. anywho, borderlands is one of my favorite board games. it's got a nice blend of diplomacy, resource development, and battle. g's a little young for it still. he had fun sorting all the pieces and aligning them just perfectly. he had fun mixing up the resource production sites and placing them on the board. finally b couldn't stand it any more. let's play. so we did. i chose the side of the board with all the gold and most of the horses. he chose the side with all the iron and coal. he built weapons and took my gold. neither of us are really all that interested in grinding out the end game. which is pretty cool. cause we call the game. and then we replay the ending. to see if the loser had a better strategy. i didn't.
one day the boys and i were playing a game called bioviva. you march your piece around the world and answer trivia questions. slightly pro environmentalist anti everything else questions. slightly. anywho. after answering correctly, you draw a card to see what your reward is. i lost all interest in the game when my card said: after being a lazy turd for five years, you finally decided to get off your fat ass and ride your bicycle to work. 1 eco point.
he is his mother's son. me: let's practice tying shoes today. g: good idea dad, (k)not!
$1m to $2m
it's been observed many times by many different people that it's easier to make your second million than to make your first. me the idealist thinks this is wrong.
water balloons 2
yesterday's poser: why did the water balloons sink? they were filled with cold water.