Archive for the 'Equally good stuff' Category

Another commentary

January.4. 2014

I stopped using Google Chrome a few years ago. Somehow a browser that keeps on nagging me to log into my Google account scared the bejesus out of me.

Who are they kidding?

Provide a better web-surfing experience for me? Or enable them to track my every move online so they can sell more ads?

(As an aside, apparently, Google was among six tech companies who sent a letter to Congress recently, calling for enhanced privacy protections. Nice! If anyone knows “privacy protection,” it’s Google!)

Back to the subject at hand.

Since then, I’ve stopped using Gmail and opened a few other email accounts on some other sites.

Now they’re forcing youtube commenters to open a Google+ account.

I guess the word “over-reach” does not mean anything to them.

Or the fact that the internet is full of options and all of them just one click away.

True, youtube is a special resource and one that I’m reluctant to give up at this time – yes, I admit, they do have the upper hand there.

But perhaps the word “Yahoo” might ring a bell.

There was a time when Yahoo was riding high, when it was impossible to get your site listed with them. But now, you might say “Ya-Who?”

Back to the geniuses at Google.

A business plan that forces users to sign up for useless sites is clearly a sign of desperation, one that I have written about before.

But why?

Why aren’t they satisfied with what they have?

And leave the social media junkies to FB?

And focus on what they have – the greatest search engine in the whole worldwide web, the best video site (for now) and a (formerly) great email service.

As one Mr. Gekko might say:

“Greed is not good. It dissipates your energy. You end up chasing one bandwagon after another, and pretty soon, you’re just another has-been with no special niche.”

I think Mr. Yang might concur with that assessment.

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Mohu and Roku

December.19. 2013

Two innocent sounding words that should strike fear into the hearts of greedy cable operators across the country.

Yes, the writing’s on the wall.

Cable TV is going the way of the old telephone landline.

And not a moment too soon.

For years, America’s been chaffing under the yoke of the cable slave masters who would exact their pound of flesh every month from their captive audiences.

$28 a month just for basic TV?

That’s the definition of greed and that’s what they were charging before I cut the cord and bought the twins, Mohu and Roku.

And liberation has never tasted so sweet.

Slave masters all throughout history have never understood one thing.

Nothing lasts forever. The more you would squeeze your unwilling captives, the faster your end will come.

Because as one of my good friends would say.

“People can count.”

Winners are losers

June.1. 2013

Winning is good, we all want to win. But winning sometimes does have their unintended consequences – you end up losing.

I suppose the experts in this area are Lance Armstrong, or Bernie Madoff.

But the phenomenon occurs in life too.

You’ve probably noticed people in your life who always want to win in any argument. And they usually do, but who wants to be around with them after that?

I had a friend in school. He was the poster child of winning, if ever there was one. He always had to be Number One. Even when I played duets with him, he would insist he take the first part and I take the second.

I let him win, I played second part, but soon after that I stopped playing with him. Who wants to play second fiddle all the time?

And then there was Khadafy or Qaddafi who ended up in the sewer. One minute, omnipotent ruler, the next, hunted down like a rat in a sewer.

Yes, he won big and he lost big.

So is winning bad?

Not really.

The problem with winning is that it usually involves some loser or losers somewhere.

And there’s nothing worse than having some unhappy loser out there.

I see some analogies between winning and stealing.

When you win, you usually do it at the expense of someone else.

You’re stealing someone else’s victory.

And that someone else will want to get even with you. It could be as simple as just avoiding you after that, or hunting you down in a sewer, or spilling the beans about your doping.

So the solution is simple.

When you win, make sure others win with you. Make it a win-win situation.

Never win at the expense of someone else.

This makes winning harder, because it’s a lot easier to steal from others.

But it’s worth it.

And it’s possible.

Look at guys like Bill Gates, who won big and the world won with them.

Or any of the other innovators or businessmen who came up with a great product or service and made life better for all of us and in the end became super winners themselves too.

And sometimes, it’s good to let other people win too, especially if you’ve already won.

That was Lance Armstrong’s mistake. He got greedy.

How many Tour de France trophies does one man need?

Or for that matter, how much money does one man need?

Since Qaddafi is no longer around, I guess the next best person to answer this question is Bernie Madoff.

Harvesting nature’s abundance in the city

July.24. 2012

This is a follow-up to an earlier article.

The most basic act of harvesting nature’s abundance is transferring it from nature’s domain to your personal domain

For instance, catching a fish and bringing it home.

As long as the fish is in the river, it doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to nature. Only when you catch it and bring it home is it yours.

The same is true of every act of harvesting nature’s abundance.

But you say, you don’t live in a jungle, you live in an urban jungle instead. Where is nature’s abundance in your part of town?

Think about it first, what is most abundant in a city?

Yes, you’re right. It’s people.

And what’s in their pockets?

Money.

Think of all that money walking around you. (We’re assuming you live in a normal city.) That’s nature’s abundance for you.

Unfortunately, just like in the real jungle, that money doesn’t belong to you. You’ll have to find a way to transfer it from those people to you.

And unfortunately, just like in the real jungle, nature doesn’t give up its abundance easily in the city too. Those people will not part with their money easily.

There’s only one way to get them to give you their money.

You’ll have to give them something they want. You’ll have to give them something of value so they will give you their money in exchange.

There’re other ways, of course. For example, you can force them to hand it to you or you can appeal to their conscience and hold up a “will work for food” sign.

But generally, the socially acceptable way is to give people something they want so they will give up their money for that something.

There’re as many ways of doing this as there are human needs and wants.

For example, a basic human need is food. Open a food stand and if you’re good cook, you’ll be harvesting all that money walking around you in no time.

It doesn’t have to be a basic need. Many people want to learn to play guitar. If you’re a guitar player, post a few signs for lessons, and you’ll be making money from teaching guitar in no time too.

All this may be stating the obvious, but that’s all there is to harvesting nature’s abundance in the city.

And yet, people complain about the lack of economic opportunities.

They say they can’t find work.

They protest in the streets about unemployment.

They go on the dole.

When all around them is money walking around.

It’s like the guy in the jungle who complains he doesn’t have food – because he doesn’t want to go out and catch all that food walking or swimming around them.

I go out sometime and see people operating their small taco stands. They don’t complain about lack of jobs or economic opportunities.

Or the guy who teaches guitar in his garage and then gigs at night. He doesn’t complain about lack of jobs either.

The point I’m trying to make is, there’re no lack of opportunities. Nature is abundant wherever you are. You could be living in a desert and there’re still opportunities there.

The problem of harvesting nature’s abundance is not how to go about doing it, but how best to go about it so you reap maximum returns for your time and efforts.

That’s the subject for my next article.