Getting Productive on the Mac

May 12, 2009 in Elsewhere

I’m a big systems guy: I think that, if you’re doing something repeatable and everyday, you should make it into a system that makes it easy to do over and over again without actually having to think much. I had such a system on my PC. Remarkably, despite the plethora of pretty brilliant task- and information-management applications on the Mac, it’s only now that I think I’ve gotten an equal-quality system on the Mac.

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What's the Best State for Small Business Taxes?

Apr 18, 2009 in Elsewhere

It’s tax season, and I’m as interested in how much the government is taking out of my pocket as the next guy. So I was intrigued to learn of a new small business-focused ranking of state tax burdens from Wall Street Journal Small Business reporter Kelly Spors. Now, I’ve started two businesses in famously high-tax California, and I’ve never found taxes to be a big enough problem that any of my time was justified in thinking about them rather than running the other parts of the business. But I know that a lot of businesses that have been around longer and are in more of a sustaining than a growth mode have real concerns about tax burdens, so I was looking forward to reading and learning from this report. Unfortunately, the ranking is comically sloppy.

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Stimulus for Startups

Feb 5, 2009 in Elsewhere

Washington’s all a-flutter over what the stimulus package to help us get out of this economic slump. Is it tax cuts? Infrastructure projects? Bank bailouts? Startups are a unique breed, and need unique tools to drive growth. Specifically, they need cash. Up front.

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Video's Main Course?

Jan 22, 2009 in Elsewhere

Last Saturday, my girlfriend and I got some takeout, brought it home, and watched a DVD from Netflix. Kind of a rare event, actually - these days, it’s more about Tivo and delivery; a craving for Pinkberry brought us out for the takeout from the Asian place next door. It occurred to us that, ten years ago, movie and takeout would’ve been a typical weekend evening for almost everyone - how much business must the restaurants in the same strip malls as Blockbuster have done? And how much has Netflix killed these restaurants?

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We Mean Business: Wagville

Dec 2, 2008 in Elsewhere

Wagville is a Los Angeles doggie boarding and day care facility founded and run by Harvard grad and former lawyer Julie Shine. Like the other WMB subjects, Wagville isn’t making enough money. We quickly learn that:

  • The company does little to no retail business, despite having a large (and cluttered) storefront
  • Check-in takes minutes on a slow system
  • There are no facilities for people, just for the dogs
  • Employees are unmotivated and ill-tempered
  • Julie cannot motivate staff and may be a micromanager
  • There are 27 employees in a business that’s caring for no more than 60 dogs at any time, and the costs add up - in one month, Wagville did $90,000 in sales but had $65,000 in payroll and so couldn’t make a profit
  • Julie is focused on providing a service to dogs, not on making profit
  • Julie is carrying crushing credit card debt in order to keep the place running

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We Mean Business: Berry Elegance

Nov 5, 2008 in Elsewhere

This week, the We Mean Business team takes on Berry Elegance, a store that makes berries and other desserts dipped in chocolate. Berry Elegance is stalled, with sales falling short and the two owners in disagreement on how to run the business.

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We Mean Business: Out Back Catering

Oct 28, 2008 in Elsewhere

This week’s We Mean Business follows the makeover of Out Back catering, a Southern California catering company that serves down-home food at parties. Out Back has been successful for two decades but has recently seen its bookings and revenue drop. With the founder’s daughter interested in taking a bigger role at the company, our heroes wade in to see what they can do to turn the business around.

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We Mean Business: Jazyhair

Oct 15, 2008 in Elsewhere

There’s a fun new show on A&E - We Mean Business a small business makeover show. With all the successful personal and home style makeover shows out there, it’s nice to see one just for entrepreneurs. Since I had so much fun blogging about American Inventor here a few years ago, I’m going to weekly summarize the latest We Mean Business episode - and throw in an idea or two about what I think the entrepreneur really should do to make over their business.

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Good News: Bailout Voted Down

Sep 29, 2008 in Elsewhere

So they voted down the bailout. Thank goodness! The last-offered plan was a bad one that would be expensive and not solve any problems over the long term. Let’s hope that there’s room for fast response to the crisis with a good, equitable, and market-based idea this time.

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What I Learned About Sales from a Timeshare

Jun 12, 2008 in Elsewhere

I’ve been gone for a while; mostly it was too much work, launching a whole marketing campaign. But some of it was fun — I went to the Hawaiian island of Kauai on a good week’s vacation, paid for substantially by attending a timeshare presentation. Now that was an education on sales.

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Can ABC Compete With Tivo By Making a Worse Product?

Feb 29, 2008 in Elsewhere

Bloggers like Marc Andreessen, John Gruber, and TechDirt have heaped scorn upon ABCs decidedly feature-retro on-demand service. With ads you can’t skip, ABCs offering gets rid of what everybody seems to agree is the most wonderful feature of the DVR. Is ABC stupid or brilliant? I’m almost tempted to argue the former — this could be a clever business move.

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Yahoosoft — Where does that $45B Number Come From?

Feb 2, 2008 in Elsewhere

Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Yahoo for $45 billion is both unexpected and widely-foreseen. Pundits have, for some time now, suggested that might be a reasonable course of action. But the purchase price is clearly aggressive, at $31/share for a stock that had closed at under $19 the day before. In fact, as Jupiter’s Michael Gartenberg puts it, this proposal looks more like Microsoft is saying “Dear Yahoo Shareholder: How would you like to get Yahoo’s share price from six months ago back, tomorrow?” Where’s the logic behind this price?

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Easy GTD with Outlook and the Palm Treo

Jan 25, 2008 in Elsewhere

Almost no matter what you want to do with it, it’s tough to bend Outlook to your whims. This goes double if you follow the precepts of Getting Things Done. There’s the high-powered but somewhat obtuse GTD Outlook Add-in of course, but that loses a lot of fidelity once you go to the ubiquitous smartphone. Because I can’t be separated from my Treo, I set up my system to be low-fi, while still providing a reliable inbox and review set-up.

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Macworld 2008 and Apple's Strategy

Jan 17, 2008 in Elsewhere

There’s nothing like a Steve Jobs keynote address for a Mac fan like me. For a lot of years in the ’90s, the Macworld keynote was just a list of products; but, since Apple’s turn-of-the-century rebirth, it’s been a window on the company’s emerging strategy. In Macworld after Macworld, Apple has revealed products that represented long bets — the iPod, the iTunes Music Store, Apple TV, iWork — and, if you look at Macworld with the same strategic eye as Jobs, there’s indications of the future there.

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Startup Postage: Endicia vs. Stamps vs. Business Reply

Jan 10, 2008 in Elsewhere

At my company, we send out a moderate amount of mail. There’s the bills, of course, and also reply envelopes to help get feedback from customers. Obviously, keeping mailing costs down is key, but so is having convenient access to postage and minimizing the amount of work I have to do (after all, there’s only one of me, and I have a lot more than just sending mail on my plate). After trying out some options, I decided to stick with plain old-fashioned stamps, bought at the USPS Web site.

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Luck Favors the Prepared

Oct 25, 2007 in Elsewhere

Nothing ever goes right for my neighbor. His tires are flat, someone broke his cabinet (the one that he left in the driveway), and his car accidentally got impounded. The things he hopes for never pan out. For Steve Jobs, it’s the opposite story - Apple sold a boatload of Macs last quarter, more than anyone expected. It seems like, after years of hoping, Steve finally got some iPod users to make the big switch to the Mac.

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Top 6 Small Business Web Site Mistakes

Oct 5, 2007 in Elsewhere

In a former life, I designed Web sites for a living — I still do a bit of consulting here and there. For someone starting a new business, having a great Web site can make a big difference. But it’s not always clear how to make a site that really sells online. Here are some common mistakes that companies of all sizes make on their Web sites, as well as some tips and tools you can use to make sure these mistakes don’t appear on your site.

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Just Like Being in a Disney Movie

Sep 27, 2007 in Elsewhere

Starting a company is a messy business. Things go wrong. Worse, things that you never thought could go wrong go wrong. You have to create everything afresh, and that always takes longer than expected. It’s a mess, and it’ll get you down. But you just have to believe. You can be the princess. You can go home again. It’s like a Disney movie — you just have to believe.

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Bernanke’s Gift to the Banks

Sep 19, 2007 in Elsewhere

On top of their mostly-symbolic cut to the discount rate a month ago, the Fed has now cut the Federal Funds rate, hopefully lowering lenders’ interest rates and saving the economy from a Real Estate bubble-fueled recession. This is a dangerous game: the added credit availability may not trickle down to homeowners or other consumers, and the new liquidity may simply allow predatory and irresponsible lenders to cover their own losses while not learning a thing. This cut is a gift to the lenders — and shows that what we need is a policy solution to this housing crisis.

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Negative Economic Predictor

Sep 13, 2007 in Elsewhere

I’m not much of an economist, but it’s starting to seem like I can predict recessions. Specifically, I start companies right before the economy goes in the toilet. I don’t know what I’m on to, but this is two times around the track now that this has happened. It’s a bit funny, but, if I’m clever, maybe I can figure out how to make money off of it.

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Quickbooks: Best Payroll Processing for Small Businesses

Sep 6, 2007 in Elsewhere

A few weeks ago, I switched my company over to Intuit’s Quickboks Payroll, replacing ADP as our processors. Only two payrolls later, I’m already in a groove with the quick and easy system. Why, if it didn’t involve large amounts of money moving out of my account, running payroll would be a joy!

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Customer Service is Scary

Aug 31, 2007 in Elsewhere

Giving good customer service is tough. It’s easy to get 90% of it right and still leave the customer with a bad taste in their mouth — an unpleasant truth when your business model depends on delighting the customer, as does mine. I was reminded of the delicacy of customer service last weekend, when a major airline lost my bags.

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Amazon Got Me Trouble (But My Business Plan Saved Me)

Aug 15, 2007 in Elsewhere

Everyone expects free shipping, thanks to Amazon. Including my company’s customers. I can’t blame them; heck, I expect free shipping myself. But it’s tough when you’re sending 30lb boxes of perishable goods around the country. Shipping costs can be equal to product costs for some East Coast destinations — and this cuts down on my sales. It’s tough, but there is a silver lining. Once again, simply having a business plan has saved me. Well, that and making some phone calls.

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Productivity in a Moment

Aug 8, 2007 in Elsewhere

I always fall down on my planned approaches to productivity when, at that moment, it’s not productive to be productive. I’m sure you know those times — I should do something, it’s actually kind of important, but it’s either inconvenient or impossible and so I don’t do it right then. And then the moment passes and the thought is lost or the task becomes even harder to do. For a while, recording my mileage, keeping up on my credit card purchases, and even capturing ideas on-the-go were all in this category. But, lately, I’ve been doing a lot better — because I made the effort to set myself up to be productive in a moment, any moment.

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Back in the Saddle

Aug 1, 2007 in Elsewhere

I’m a big fan of Getting Things Done; but I haven’t been very GTD-y lately. With too much on my plate, I fell off the wagon. But the point of GTD is to make it easier to handle the volume of work coming in, right? So why did a more busy, more overwhelming time get me away from GTD?

The answer isn’t in the failure of the GTD approach — it’s in the failure of my implementation. And this answer pointed me to the value of maintaining a strong personal commitment to the work you do — and continually questioning that commitment when you don’t get that work done.

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Why Apple Wants Web Apps for the iPhone

Jun 18, 2007 in Elsewhere

At last week’s Apple World Wide Developer Conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed how third-party software developers could get their programs on the hotly-anticipated iPhone: they could write Web applications that iPhone users could access through the iPhone’s integrated Safari browser. A lot of traditional application developers are pissed off by this; a lot of Web developers are enthused. Apple doesn’t care. They didn’t choose this approach to make developers happy, or even for technical reasons; Apple is focusing on Web apps because this is the only strategy that will bring them back into the business space.

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Knowledge Supply Chain Management

May 30, 2007 in Elsewhere

My father, who writes about issues in education in his blog, recently suggested that universities are in the knowledge supply chain management business. That made me ask myself: if there is a knowledge supply chain, then there must somewhere be an inventory of knowledge, right? My father argues that inventory is held in the universities, which create and collect knowledge, but I’d say that knowledge inventory is much more held in the hands of university graduates, who store knowledge in case their employers ever need it. This just-in-time inventory system allows businesses to avoid investing in knowledge creation and management, but means that individuals — the player with the least ability to pay — are stuck holding the inventory and paying the purchase and holding cost thereof. As college educations become more expensive, we must shift knowledge inventory-holding from individuals and to universities; if universities help us do this, they can make more money doling out that knowledge to in a just-in-time manner than they do pushing that inventory into the personal inventory of hundreds of thousands of grads every year.

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AQNT: Bad Buy at Any Price

May 21, 2007 in Elsewhere

When Google bought DoubleClick, many people predicted a run on the online ad industry. Well, they were right, and they were even on target with aQuantive’s price. Too bad that, in buying aQuantive, Microsoft overpaid for assets that they can’t use.

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Giving Good Business Card

May 14, 2007 in Elsewhere

I’ve been buying business cards for my new employees lately, giving me a lot of time to think about what exactly makes a good business card. Business cards are surprisingly important business tools, but many of the cards that you’ll see out there today are surprisingly bad at being useful tools. Many boring, traditional cards are actually much better at being business cards than are beautiful, clever, cutting-edge pieces.

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Introducing Dine to Thrive

May 7, 2007 in Elsewhere

For the past year, I’ve been working on starting a company, and I’m proud to announce that we are finally in business. Really, it’s just the beginning of an entrepreneurial journey, but it feels like a big change to me. So, here it is: introducing Dine to Thrive.

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Bye-Bye Radio

Apr 18, 2007 in Elsewhere

I wrote a few weeks ago about how music publishers had won a ruling increasing drastically the royalties paid by Internet radio. An appeal of that ruling by broadcasters was struck down today. With this ruling, look for Internet radio stations to start going dark. Go to and write your legislators to stop this from happening!

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Fast GTD-Style Windows and Palm Notes with Launchy, AutoHotKey, and Bonsai

Apr 10, 2007 in Elsewhere

How many times have you been working away and suddenly thought “Gah! I have to buy French Vanilla-flavored non-dairy creamer on the way home!” or taken time off from actual productivity because you were suddenly seized with the determination to know who sang “One Night In Bangkok”?1 Random thoughts such as this fill my day. I’ve found that one of the keys to my productivity is to get them out of my head as quickly as possible — that means a fast way to take notes without actually taking my head out of the work I’m supposed to be doing.

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Boost Your Windows Productivity with Launchy and AutoHotKey

Apr 2, 2007 in Elsewhere

A few weeks ago, John Gruber and Tantek Celik wrote about ease-of-use in software programs and how the mental activity required to carry out a task on a computer is some multiple of the number of steps involved in that task. Tasks with more steps are more difficult, they assert, and more disruptive. I’m inclined to agree, which is why I use two Windows programs, Launchy and AutoHotKey to make some of my everyday activities take fewer steps and take me away from my work less.

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Building a Small-Business Web Site on a Budget

Mar 28, 2007 in Elsewhere

I want to apologize in advance for this entry. It’s just not very good. I was hoping I could expand the kind of content I covered at, but this particular expansion has clearly not worked — the last two entries, both written with the same approach, were crap. So, no more of that. Next week, I promise something not awful.

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Canon PIXMA MP530, GBC ProClick

Mar 19, 2007 in Elsewhere, Reviews

The Internet is a good place to air your bile towards a product that has disappointed you, but perhaps it’s underused as a platform to talk about the things you like, the things that help you get work done every day. Since starting my company late last year, I’ve done my research and been lucky enough to buy some equipment and tools that have really helped me be pr. Since I’m in a good mood these days, I’m going to review them all here, starting with the Canon PIXMA MP530 multifunction printer and the GBC ProClick binding system.

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The Recording Industry is Clearly Not Taking My Advice

Mar 12, 2007 in Elsewhere

A few weeks ago, I suggested that the recording and movie industries outsource their challenge to create a new business model. By having VCs and entrepreneurs attempt to implement industry group-approved business plans, it seemed to me that these industries could shift all of the risk of figuring out what was next onto other individuals while reaping all of the rewards from emerging distribution channels. The recording industry, at least, has made it clear that they have no intention of doing any such thing. They asked, and got, an increase in the royalties paid to artists by online radio stations, an increase to a level that will probably drive all of these radio stations — this entire emerging distribution channel — out of business.

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On A Shoestring

Mar 6, 2007 in Elsewhere

It’s tempting to spend money on your entrepreneurial dream; the problem is, money is finite and dreams are infinite. Unless you’re Mel Karmazin, investing billions in your new baby is out of the question. So how do you get off the ground?

For me, the answer is being cheap.

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Feb 26, 2007 in Elsewhere

I’m doing a lot of sales lately for my new venture, and I’m rediscovering something I learned before, both selling and being sold to. It’s an important lesson — one that made me more successful in sales in the past — but it’s easy to forget, because it’s so counter-intuitive. That lesson is to just keep my yap shut.

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Chrysler, Ford, GM, and the Dark Side of Sales

Feb 20, 2007 in Elsewhere

It’s not a good time to be an American automaker. Ford is undergoing yet another restructuring, only two years after starting their last one. GM is about to become the #2 in the industry — passed, embarrassingly enough, by Toyota. And Chrysler may be sold by Daimler-Benz’s for the fire sale price of $5 billion.1 It’s like the ‘80s again, this time without Lee Iacocca and his K-Car or Michael Keaton running a US auto plant in Gung Ho. How did they blow it so quickly after saving US car companies once? The surprising truth seems to be: sales were too good. And, even more surprisingly, good sales can be trouble for all of us, especially entrepreneurs like me (and maybe you).

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A Free Business Model For the Music and Movie Industries

Feb 11, 2007 in Elsewhere

Mark Cuban thinks that the music labels should get together and start a company to stand against Apple’s iTunes and Microsoft. I agree that the music labels, and, for good measure, the movie and tv studios need to get out from under the thumb of the tech industry, which so far has controlled the next-generation distribution channels. But for the music industry to start its own company is risky and expensive. Instead, the music industry needs to leverage this country’s great capital markets and reservoir of mobile knowledge workers to get someone else to do the hard work for them. That is, they need to outsource their risk, and they - and the movie industry - can do this without losing their returns.

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New on Lazy Productivity -- Don't Get Ahead of Schedule

Jan 29, 2007 in Elsewhere

A friend cancelled our plans to grab a drink the other day. “I have too much to do,” she explained. “Behind on all your projects, huh?” I asked her, and that’s when I got a productivity-related shock: “I’m not behind, but I’m not ahead either, and I need to be ahead.” Yes, we’re all tightly-scheduled. No, being ahead in all your projects is not the answer. In fact, the first step to becoming more productive is to stop trying to get ahead of schedule.

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New on iPhonalysis

Jan 14, 2007 in Elsewhere

I’m a geek; therefore, I’m fascinated by the iPhone. It’s an interesting product, and it says a lot about Apple’s cell phone strategy and technology. Of course, I’ve got a lot to say about that myself.

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New on Never Give 100%

Jan 8, 2007 in Elsewhere

The New Year always brings new resolutions, and, armed with these resolutions, my friends — and probably yours — are working hard, getting projects done. Of course, having a project means one thing, as sure as death and taxes: being behind schedule. And a bunch of my friends are already behind schedule and stressed out about their new resolutions. That’s what happens when people plan their projects as if a person can give 100% at all times.

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Business Projections for 2007

Jan 1, 2007 in Elsewhere

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to engage in the annual hobby of prognostication. What will be the big trends in business for 2007? As an entrepreneur, I’m most interested in trends that are immediately actionable, so, for instance, I’m not going to discuss changes that I think will be major but which won’t bear fruit for another two or three years.1 I’m also influenced by what I just saw people talking about in business school, so up-and-coming trends that make it into the ivory tower will be strongly represented below.

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On The Virtues of Doing a Half-Assed Job

Dec 22, 2006 in Elsewhere

It’s the holidays, and nobody wants to be at their desk doing work. We all have visions of sugarplums, or holiday shopping, or eggnog by the fireplace in our heads; sitting in one’s cube is hardly compatible with these daydreams. Since we all want to slack off, now is a great time to reflect on the virtues of doing a half-assed job. There’s really no better gift to oneself, one’s employees, and one’s productivity, than finally accepting the half-assed job.

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New on James Bond: a Commodity?

Dec 16, 2006 in Elsewhere

I — rather belatedly — saw the new James Bond movie this weekend. After years of Bonds who were indistinct from any other action hero, Casino Royale finally gives us a satisfying, absorbing Bond. The theater at which I saw this movie even offered me a nice bit of gratitude: “Thank you for choosing Pacific Theaters,” the promo reel said as it ran before the movie. Unfortunately for the producers of this clip, I didn’t choose Pacific Theaters. Like most people, I chose the convenient place and time for the movie, not the specific theater chain. Theater chains are a commodity: all are essentially equivalent to the consumer. Commoditization is a serious threat to almost every product, but these same theater chains show us some ways all of us entrepreneurs can avoid becoming commodities too.

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Entrepreneurial Tool #2: The Business Plan

Jun 17, 2006 in Elsewhere

New on what I’ve been writing the last few weeks.

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MBA: Worth it or Not?

Jun 2, 2006 in Elsewhere

It’s been two whole weeks since I got that MBA. Do I dig it? Find out on

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At Last, You're Free From My American Inventor Recaps

May 20, 2006 in Elsewhere

… at least until next season. I’ve recapped the season finale and finally get a bit of a rant out of it.

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New on American Inventor Second-to-Last Episode Recap

May 13, 2006 in Elsewhere

I’ll admit it, I’m getting a little sick of writing a recap every week. I might not choose to continue this in the future. But, I have faithfully written this week’s recap and I look forward to the coming culminating episode. I hope that, after all these recaps, you do too!

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More American Inventor Recaps!

May 6, 2006 in Elsewhere

Because I know you can’t get enough, I’ve got two recaps for you this week!

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New on American Inventor: Actually a Good Episode This Time!

Apr 28, 2006 in Elsewhere

With actual ideas and thoughts and execution and stuff! Go figure! Go read!

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New on the Final Chapter in the Feasiblity Series

Apr 23, 2006 in Elsewhere

The final sections of the feasibility analysis are the simplest to describe but, in some ways, the hardest to execute. These sections, the team assessment and the financial projections require you, even more than do the other sections of the analysis, to follow the first commandment of entrepreneurship: “thou shalt not bullshit thyself.” Read More over at my other blog!

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American Inventor: Episode 8 Recap

Apr 21, 2006 in Elsewhere

I’m clearly prolific lately, so why not add to that with another American Inventor recap?

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American Inventor: Episodes 5 & 6 Recap

Apr 16, 2006 in Elsewhere

If you like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or the old Queen for a Day then you’d have liked last week’s American Inventor 2-episode extravaganza. Since neither you nor, by the looks of it, anyone else, watches the show, I’ve conveniently recapped these episodes at my other blog. Because I care about you, my reader, and wouldn’t want you to miss something as moving as Mary Lou Quinlan crying yet again.

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New on Feasibility Product/Service Development

Apr 5, 2006 in Elsewhere

If you’re into my feasibility analysis series, there’s a new entry up on the part of the analysis in which you actually talk about your product. Check it out!

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New on American Inventor: Episode 3 Recap

Apr 1, 2006 in Elsewhere

Yes, I’m hooked, and I think the show is getting better. Plus, it’s like porn for entrepreneurs and product development people. Check out what I have to say.

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New on Market Research for Entrepreneurs

Mar 26, 2006 in Elsewhere

Still starting that company after all of the previous articles I’ve written? Then check out some market research tips!

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American Inventor: Episode 2 Recap

Mar 24, 2006 in Elsewhere

So here’s week two of plugging away at a recap. Hey, at least I got this one up in a timely manner! This week’s episode was kind of slow, but it did a good job of illustrating a few particular business issues.

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American Inventor: Episode 1 Recap

Mar 20, 2006 in Elsewhere

I’ll admit it, I’m a geek; that’s why I can’t resist the idea of a show that has inventors coming up with clever (or preposterous) ideas and pitching those ideas on TV. So now I’m doing a recap every week featuring (hopefully) clever commentary. Hopefully the show will stay good and I’ll be able to pick up the episodes of My Name is Earl and The Office that I missed during repeats (no, I’m not ready to buy them off of iTunes… yet).

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Starting a Poker Company

Mar 16, 2006 in Elsewhere

Are you one of those people who have become, in the last 2-3 years, fascinated with poker? Are you one of the people who have become, in the last 2-3 years, jealous of the fact that major companies have been built to mechanically suction money from consumers’ wallets using a new fascination with poker? Then you might want to read my new entry at on the World Poker Tour’s founder, Steve Lipscomb. Or not. Because who loves the stuff I write anyway?

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New on Meeting MySpace's Chris DeMarco

Mar 5, 2006 in Elsewhere

Do you dig that whole MySpace thing? It’s hip with the kids these days, ya know. So I’m going to all name-drop and tell y’all how I met MySpace founder Chris DeMarco. I’m, clearly, better than you. Or, at least, better than that gray goop that grows on mouse pads.

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New on the Olympics and Market Segmentation

Feb 23, 2006 in Elsewhere

Yeah, it seems like I’m posting to all the time; my professional site is real work so I do put a lot of time into it. Hopefully, it’s interesting. This week: How NBC is screwing up its market segmentation and, thus, delivering us Olympics that suck. Check it out!

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New on Industry & Competitive Analysis for Entrepreneurs

Feb 19, 2006 in Elsewhere

If you’re thinking about going forward with that big idea, you’d better know who’ll be spending all of their waking moments trying to kill you. Here’s some guidelines to help you start looking at the competition and the industry you’ll work in.

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New on Introduction to the Feasibility Analysis

Feb 5, 2006 in Elsewhere

As some of you all, my intrepid readers, know, I’m starting a business when I graduate from business school. Step one in any new venture: the feasibility analysis. Because it’s always better to figure out that an idea is stupid through research than it is through horrible, painful experiment.

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Jan 29, 2006 in Elsewhere

Those of you who have been around for a while may remember that I used to have a blog over at, which I used as a part of my b-school application. Well, I’ve threatened for about a year that I’d bring back my eponymous site as a more-professional face to me; now I’ve gone and done it. is intended as a marketing tool for myself, a networking tool, and a place where I can collaborate on projects with my… um… collaborators. It’s got a blog and a wiki and a contact form and a downloadable resume and that’s about it, but I think it’s moderately clever and maybe even a little fun to look at. At least it’s the same color as one of my favorite shirts. I’m planning to blog there about business, entrepreneurship, technology, productivity, and, well, me.

So check out, and check out my latest entry, analyzing why Disney may have bought Pixar. It was like the pulling of the teeth, oy, writing a fairly-long, professional-stylee article like that, but, with practice, I know it’ll get easier and my writing will even get something approaching coherent. Tell me what you think! And, if you’re interested in these topics, what you’d like to see me write about in the future; I plan to write one of these quotes professional unquotes things a week.

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Site #2, Version #2

Feb 12, 2005 in Elsewhere

My other site over at has been reasonably busy since the beginning my b-school days. I’d been adding info about various things — especially finding a job every so often, and, frankly, I’d outgrown what was there. So today, in an exceptionally aggressive effort to avoid doing work, I made some changes.

I changed two things in particular:

Moving to PmWiki

I had started out using pwyky as my engine, principally because it was:

  • Easy to install without command-line access
  • Written in Python, which I can at least pretend to know
  • Because it was written in Python, and missing some key features, I thought I’d add the features to learn more about Python

Six months later, those reasons don’t make as much sense. The features that weren’t there by and large still arent, because I haven’t had time to add them. And I’m recognizing further that, in the future, I’ll be programming the Web less, and using clever tools like MT and wikis more. Instead, I needed a wiki that was:

  • Still easy to install without command-line access
  • Offered some kind of security so everyone couldn’t just change my pages
  • Offered robust text formatting
  • Accepted at least some HTML in pages
  • Had a reasonable templating system so that I could make it non-hideous

Apart from being easy-to-install and non-hideous by defaulty, pwyky sadly was none of these.

After a search, I found PmWiki. It’s hideous by default, but it has a clever templating system and every other feature I could want. Initial experience suggests it will be a very satisfactory solution.


Pwyky offers no export function; PmWiki offers no import. Someday — probably around the time I get my next wiki engine — both of these will be must-have features. For the moment, I had few enough pages that I could just cut-and-paste from one wiki to the other. As I was doing so, I realized that’s initial organization didn’t make that much sense. For example, the home page linked to different pages based on the format, not the content, of those pages — there was actually a top-level link for “lists.”

In the name of being reasonable, I organized the new around the kinds of information I offered. And I split the pages up to facilitate that kind of organization. Yeah, there was a fair amount of rewriting, but that was fun. Now I’ve just got to make those pages look non-hideous.

Read on…'s New Look

Oct 13, 2003 in Elsewhere

If you’re going to have a Web site, it needs to look like your web site, or at least such is my philosophy. So I built this new green-and-gray look for

Read on…