A few years back, I consulted at a restaurant which was having trouble making rent. The total space was small to begin with, and gave off a stuffy feeling. On one side was a row of refrigerated display cases, sporting an assortment of salads, poultry and beef. Across the walking space was a row of bar-type seating facing a wall. The theme of the mostly takeout restaurant was Mediterranean food in a homey atmosphere, and behind the register were large jars of pickles on display. On top of the soda machines were wicker baskets (used as centerpieces) that were being stored for the occasional catering job.
I’ve been hearing friends and family complain about dealing with their wireless providers for years, and I’m sure you have too (or maybe you were the complainer?). This is not uncommon, since many of the policies of cellular providers are unethical and designed to trick you. This post will investigate their incentive structure, and how to turn it around for your benefit.
Some of the more common unethical practices by cellular providers:
Google released a new feature on Google Maps called My Maps, which allows users to make custom landmarks such as road trip stops, vacation spots, favorite restaurants and more. Additionally, My Maps allows you to share these maps with friends. The platform aspect of this allows developers to import data into My Maps, which could help you geographically see where your friends are, see gas prices on the map, and all sorts of other nifty things. To see this in action, I found a Googleplex My Map, which will show you around the Google Headquarters. This is a new type of social networking which has many possibilities. I have come up with just a few myself, but I’d love to hear of anything more you’ve thought of as a potential application of this new feature.
Google, which has been on a tear purchasing smaller web companies over the last year, announced that it has acquired GrandCentral, a company that helps users manage their phone communications. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
I have been using GrandCentral now for quite a while, and am hoping they keep the service active and supported (they claim it will be).
Why was this a strategic move for Google?
Google has spent a lot of money improving their AdWords advertising platform, including purchasing Urchin, the most respected webstat service, and integrating it as “Google Analytics“. Analytics allows Adwords customers to track their return-on-investment (ROI) of campaigns they run online by tracking clicks and visits, and ultimately sales.
This exciting book has been on my reading list for quite some time. Steven D. Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s Freakonomics will open your eyes to the hidden aspects of all sorts of interactions by teasing out information with careful analysis of data through statistics and logic.
Levitt is considered one of the top Economists in the country, and Dubner has an easy-to-read style of writing which keeps you entertained as well as informed.
Some of the most interesting (and controversial) bits of information Levitt has in the book:
Legalizing abortion was the single most important event in lowering crime rates.
I recently revisited one of the most influential movies of the last century, The Godfather. In the movie, Don Corleone, the head of the crime family, is a shrewd businessman. Through making “an offer he can’t refuse”, as well as understanding the dynamics of the business relationships, the Don managed to consolidate power and run all of the gambling operations in the country.
This three part drama about the Corleone crime family is usually just seen as good entertainment, but I extracted several business lessons from it. These lessons apply even if you are not in the line of mafia work.
Google has just come out with a free service called Google Paper (still in Beta), which allows you to “Archive” any email you want, and have Google mail it to you in an envelope.
An overview of some neat features:
- One click mail option
- Mail will arrive within 2-4 business days
- Attachments will also be printed and sent (excluding mp3s)
- Photos will be printed on high-quality glossy paper
I can tell you already, this is a major event in internet history. This will bridge the gap for the non-internet literate folks out there who want to keep in touch with the internet crowd.
In a previous post, I explained how to manage your sleep. The seventh step I discussed was hypnotizing yourself into a deep relaxed state to be able to enjoy your sleep, and in this post I will discuss the method for doing so.
Once you get the steps memorized, you can do this nightly, weekly, or just when you are feeling particularly stressed.
1) Lie down on your back in a dark room.
2) Close your eyes and try to focus on the shapes of light that you will “see” when your eyes are closed.
As a Yahoo Mail Beta business user, I was paying $20 a year and still only getting 2.0 GB of storage space (normal users were getting 1 GB). With my e-mail account filled 77%, I was beginning to look for other options, but thankfully Yahoo has stepped in (by chance) and solved that problem.
Yahoo, the largest email provider online, has just announced that its accounts will soon (rumor is May 2007) have unlimited email storage, which puts them ahead of GMail (2.8 GB) and Microsoft’s Live.com (2 GB) in that category.
CompUSA, a nationwide computer and software chain, grew immensely in popularity in the late 90′s and seemed poised to own a significant market share in the personal computer and software market for the foreseeable future. Last week however, CompUSA announced it was closing 126, including ten out of eleven stores in New Jersey, a major market for computer sales. This massive change in market placement didn’t happen overnight though, so what happened?
Early on in CompUSA’s existence, a different chain named “Computer City” challenged CompUSA. CompUSA, which had the better brand name, and offered special “free after rebate” sales, beat down Computer City, and eventually bought up the chain at a steal of a deal. One down, many more to go.