All posts by Brian

Unrealistic Expectations

I’ve been having a hard time getting re-motivated or at least sustaining a level of motivation in the last week. There are some things unrelated to anything technological that have been on my mind. To help me get re-engaged with my Internet start up thing, I decided to watch some of the video clips from the “Startup Lessons Learned” conference with Eric Ries ( Of those I’ve focused on are the presentations by Aardvark and KISSmetrics.

It’s interesting to go back and watch these videos because they feel like really good equalizers to the exuberance we can feel for launching our first product. A few of overriding perspectives that seem to constantly pop-up are these:
Continue reading Unrealistic Expectations

Why hasn’t this been done yet?

I spend most of my day asking “Why”. Why is the sky blue? Why do otherwise smart people believe in dumb ideas? Why did someone at work make the decision to go left when it was obvious to me and everyone else that “right” was the correct direction. You could assume that by asking so many questions, a number of sort-of Well, DUH! ideas fall out of this process.

Beverage Containers

Why hasn’t a material been developed and widely adopted that allows Milk, soda, and juices to be distributed in containers with hyper-fast biodegradability (say 6 months or less)? Recycling has been around for 30 or 40 years I imagine and the technology to make materials that biodegrade at a reasonably fast rate have been around even longer. So why is it when I go to the grocery store, I’m still buying my milk in containers that take 100 years Continue reading Why hasn’t this been done yet?

Does anyone know what their “smarts” are worth?

Lost in the endless prodding of our mothers, fathers, and greatest-generation Grandparents is the notion that we should all go to college to get a good education. “Nothing will get you a job faster than a college diploma” we’ve all heard. Ok. Fine!

So you decide the career that will suit you best is that of an architect, or a nurse, or an electrical engineer. You enroll in the local Community College and start picking your classes. Almost without fail, new students scan the list of classes that an adviser and some formal-looking documents tell us are required in order to be granted a degree in some field. Cultural Art credits are required to be an electrical engineer? Wannabe nurses have to pass college algebra to help care for people? Really? Continue reading Does anyone know what their “smarts” are worth?

The myth of political memes

One of the smartest minds in politics is Chris Hayes, currently the Washington editor of The Nation magazine,

First, I don’t know what a center-right nation means. I mean, I don’t think it’s a center-right nation just because it’s such an ambiguous term. There’s a way that things are interpreted in Washington particularly among the beltway pundants. It always involves the same thing — that there’s a script that everyone already has that ‘liberals overreach’, they try to go too far and then they are punished becuase they’ve strayed from the fact that this is a center-right nation and they have to do things like impose spending freezes. And, actually, the data doesn’t even support that. I mean, if you want to look at what has happened in public opinion. A lot of the public opinion is populist anger at the banks. A lot of it is frustration at the fact that things aren’t getting done. A lot of it is anger at unemployment. And the problem is that with the way everything is coded, there are very good, sensible, practical liberal solutions to these problems that are taken off the table precisely because they are seen as symbols of overreach.

Not only is this a brilliant way of viewing politics in general, it speaks to the general misconception of voter intentions when reviewing just about any election results. For anyone who claims to be either a liberal or conservative, you should get used to something. Neither the right or the left control this country, the independents do. Independents determine the outcome of elections, not the party faithful.