Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Moved blogs

This blog is unfortunately no more :(

However, it has moved here:

Looking forward to a fresh start!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

RSS is dead? ugh, enough already!

So I keep hearing this chatter about how RSS is dying. First time I heard it was back in May from Steve Gillmor over at TechCrunchIT. Then it was followed by Sam Diaz over at ZDNet. And finally a few days ago, Chris Dixon, blogged about the same thing. For some reason or another this picked at me.

RSS is not dying! Or at least not anytime soon. A lot of those authors are assuming that Twitter or social networks or some combination will kill RSS. Now, I've been using RSS for over three years now. My subscription list has grown from a few sites to maybe 60-70 now. Some update once an hour, once a day, or once a month at best. Because of this compilation this has become my daily news source. Its tailored by the interests that I have (venture capitalism, entrepreneurship, technology, cleantech, etc) and by the sources that I respect enough to get the information from. If I tried to somehow manage to use Twitter to get all this information, I probably could it. However, it would involve never getting offline or having to skip out on a lot of the information. The simple idea of trying to drink out of the fire hydrogen that is twitter would be unbearable! I can leave my computer for 30 minutes and come back with 50 new tweets (and I only follow 90-100 individuals with no publications). How could I possibly manage to understand what areas of interest to read first? Who/what is more relevant? I could not!

Now, twitter is planning on changing this up by adding groups, lists, etc. Its not enough, I cannot find enough ways to parse my interests to make it manageable and I'm a big nerd about it! I'm not exactly sure how the everyday manager, consultant, employee, or human being would feel about it, but I'm sure they already don't have the time in the day to deal with something like this. Its easier to come back into Google Reader and catch up with what you missed for the day. Your social networks definitely provide interesting additional content to read, but as it stands for me now, its not providing enough of my daily intake :)

Of course, I could be completely wrong, but hey, there's more than one way to skin a cat!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Comp Sci Programs Making a Comeback?

Considering its only been about 7 months since I talked about the prospects of engineering degrees becomes more popular in this country, I'm surprised to see such a quick uptick in Computer Science Degrees in only a semester's difference. According to the NY Times, the amount of individuals pursuing a CS degree have increased for the first time in 6 years! That's great news, however, I'm inclined to know the breakdown of international vs. American students within these programs...there will be a later blog post as to why I would like to know. On a further note, a study from these individuals on why they are pursuing the degree would also be great.

Nevertheless, this is awesome news!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Coworking in Dallas

So instead of spending my Friday working from either home or Starbucks, I decided to change things up a bit.  I spent the day at a coworking space sponsored by Alex Muse and Big in Japan.  It was easily one of the better environments that I've worked in.  Although yesterday was technically considered a Jelly, I don't believe its much different than any other time of the week.

I got there in the morning, grabbed a seat at one of the available chairs and spent a few hours working while chatting it up with some really cool folks.  One of the guys, Chris, that sat next to me has recently built a neat app for the G1, go check it out.  There were a bunch of other developers as well as folks doing some media content and advertising work.  

Got a lot accomplished, met some great people, and even got free pizza!  Not sure if the pizza is a standard, somehow, I doubt it :)  I would definitely suggest anyone out there who is a consultant, entrepreneur, or independent contractor to check out some of the coworking space out in your area.  This is the best list that I could find online.  And if you live in Dallas and want to check out the Big in Japan coworking space, go here.  To get and idea of what it looks like, check out the pictures here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama on Estate Tax

So let's first get aroud to the apology I owe to whomever reads this blog about not posting for nearly 2 months.  I will try my best to not have that happen again, sorry.

Now onto something that gives me a bit of an irk from time to time....Estate Tax.  Realistically its not something that will effect me for many years to come, so who knows why I'm about to gripe about it.  If you haven't heard about it before, its essentially a tax on inheritance, although its also called a 'death tax'.  Originally it was levied on the wealthy in this country, but over time it has grown to effect small business owners, farmers, and everyday people.  The main reason it started to effect all of those people is simply the growth of the value of the dollar and all of a sudden a million dollar inheritance wasn't as much as it sounds.

This is the table of the tax over the course of the most recent years:
tax rate
2002$1 million50%
2003$1 million49%
2004$1.5 million48%
2005$1.5 million47%
2006$2 million46%
2007$2 million45%
2008$2 million45%
2009$3.5 million45%
2011$1 million55%
So only since 2004 did it finally start to make a reasonable crawl upwards.  There is also a big hole in 2010 when it is completely repealed before going down to the miserably low amount of $1 million in 2011.  As a morbid observation, I can imagine some strange things happening in 2010 with deaths of wealthy individuals.
However, it looks like there is some effort to freeze the current levels moving forward.  I'm not sure exactly where this sits on the priority level for Obama's first 100 days or maybe its not even within the first 100 days.  I'm personally a bit surprised by the fact the democratic congress would choose to freeze them at the 2009 level, however, I am quite content with it.  The $3.5 million exclusion is a per person basis, another words allowing a married couple to exclude $7 million in their estate from taxes.  I think this is extremely reasonable.  I'm a big subscriber of Warren Buffet's view of inheritance: "Leave enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing."
I have a tremendous distate for laziness in society.  Unfortunately, a large inheritance from one's parents, grandparents, uncles, etc allows for a great excuse to never lift a finger.  This is by no means a rule amongst all individuals receiving inheritance, there are plenty that are capable of handling a large amount of money.  I am not speaking to their ability to manage it, but more so the responsibility.  You see, taking away someone's incentive to wake up in the morning, to make a life for themselves is robbing them of potential joy they will never understand.  Money will never solve all of your problems yet there are a lot of people out there that don't know how to become happy or happier once they have all that money.
This leaves me to think that although $7 million is a high amount, its enough to get someone started, but not quite enough to do nothing.  Money needs to flow from one source to another for the economy to work and as awful as it sounds to have to tax someone's life's work, it may just do their beneficiaries and the economy some good in the end.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Referencing my old post here. I saw a great graphic today through Paul's blog that shows the historical graduation totals of Finance majors vs. Engineering majors. Notice the large shift in the late 1980's.


Should have listened to Peter Schiff

So I'll be honest, until earlier today I had no clue who Peter Schiff was. However, after watching the video below, I can easily make the decision that if I needed an economic/financial opinion, he would be the first one I would go to.

Arthur Laffer and Ben Stein would probably not be those guys. And as for Ben Stein, this video although not a full indicator of his intelligence or knowledge, does make him look a bit bad in hindsight.

Easily the best historical finance related video I have seen thus far.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Moving On

Imt's done. It's finished. Now we can turn around and get back to what we are supposed to be doing. I want to touch on a few points in regards to the mass amount of believers that this election essentially means a turn for socialism. As the most important point of disclosure that I can give you, I voted for Bob Barr. There is a list of reasons I chose to vote for Bob Barr, which we can dive into at another time, but at the least when reading the following just keep that in mind.

Let's start with the Presidency and the non-stop 'historic win' that this election has been categorized with. I agree with the historic, however, I want to remind the readers of the initial blog post I wrote in regards to expectations. My parents moved our family to this country for the purpose of us having better opportunities in this lifetime and a fair shot to achieve our dreams such as our neighbors and friends would have. The US is not perfect by any means, but perfection does not exist in this world, therefore in my view and my opinion the US is the greatest country in the world. That being said, yesterday's election was exactly what this country was about. In my mind, sooner or later, the expectation of someone other than a white male holding the highest position in this country had to happen. We constantly plow into our heads, that diversity and anyone achieving what they wish for is why this country is around. Remember we are mostly immigrants here from around the world, the best compilation of immigrants that are driven, motivated, passionate and fueled with a hunger to better our lives in this generation than from the generation before. Yesterday was simply a wake-up, a quick kick in our tuchus to remind us that this is why we are all here. I congratulate President-elect Barack Obama on achieving that, in today's world we should expect victories like that!

Now, let's move on to the Senate. As it stands right now, it is 56-40 according to CNN. By the looks of the other elections in Oregon, Georgia, Alaska and Minnesota they should all go towards Republicans, however, the race in MN is fairly close to call and may need a recount. Let's just assume its 56-44. I put together a table below of the historical Senate Congressional seats


Party changes made it 54-46, then a resignation made 53-47

Became 54-46 after death of R-Coverdell (GA) and D-Miller (GA) was appointed
51-49 for Democrats after a caucus switch

55451 Independent w/Dems
2 Independents caucus w/Dems
Not Official
So it looks like after the split in the Senate will be about the same as it was during Clinton's first two years. After I write this, there may be a change and MN could have democrat along the numbers to move slightly to 57-43. As long as it doesn't hit 60 I believe everything will be fine. I am strong advocate of checks and balances, in my view so long as there is a balanced and fair way to decide legislation than things should be alright. However, when one party gets an advantage to 60 and passes whatever it wants, then there is a bit of a worry.

I would post the House numbers, but they pretty much mirror what the Senate looks like. I want to point out the 1992 election. We can see right off the bat that Clinton came into office with a 56-44 Democratic edge in the Senate and 258-176 edge in the House. Without a doubt the administration quickly went to work on a fair amount of Democratic agenda. If we remember, Hillary Clinton made a staggering effort to achieve universal coverage via a national health care plan for the US. Although originally the country and administration liked the idea, ultimately due to the conservatives, the AMA and health insurance industry it failed. This was two months prior to the 1994 election. It became a killer for the democratic party in the House (lost 54 seats) and the Senate (lost 8 seats). It showed what democracy was made for. If you don't like the way something is going, you have a right to change it. From there President Clinton worked with a predominantly Republican House and Senate for six years. As far I see it, the 90s turned out to be quite a decent decade.

The way I see this administration shaping up is fairly straight forward. We have a terrible economic situation at hand for the next couple of years. Our government's main focus will be the economy. After that there will be a focus on Iraq and energy independence. I do not believe (and I can be wrong) that after all of the immediate issues that they have to work on, they will be able to at the same time throw together a universal coverage health care plan. I have a hard time seeing exactly where the money for that would come from (we are spending close to a trillion dollars on TARP). Now if they can work out these issues in a fairly bipartisanship matter, than the 2010 elections may allow the democrats to keep control. However, if they decide to move too far to the left on a lot of issues, health care included, then without a doubt they will lose the House and Senate to the Republicans. In my mind, that's great as well! Nothing better than a Democratic executive branch working with a Republican Congress.

I will consent to one thing, taxes will go up. That's inevitable. I believe they will eliminate the Bush tax cuts and go back to the Clinton numbers from the 90's. Take a look at this table:
YearIncome Brackets
First Bracket
Top Bracket
1971-198115 brackets14%70%IRS
1982-198612 brackets12%50%IRS
19875 brackets11%38.5%IRS
1988-19903 brackets15%33%IRS
1991-19923 brackets15%31%IRS
1993-20005 brackets15%39.6%IRS
20015 brackets15%39.1%IRS
20026 brackets10%38.6%IRS
2003-20086 brackets10%35%IRS
Honestly, we are talking about a movement of 3-4% points for the top bracket, which isn't the end of the world. In fact the movement of taxes to a higher level will be irrelevant to innovation and production. Never has a potential entrepreneur decide not to build a business because the tax bracket was too high. Heck, based on that idea, Sweden, Finland, Norway, France, Israel, and Australia would not even have entrepreneurship, but they do and it's as thriving as ever!

If you are familiar with Hauser's Law, then you would know that no matter the amount of different tax levied on individuals, we have consistently had our tax revenue around 19.5% of our GDP. That leads us to a conclusion that the only reasonable way to raise the amount of tax revenue the government has is to focus on raising the GDP. Let's hope this administration does that.

Anyway, I'm not a political consultant or analysts, so a lot of these thoughts although may be my own, may not be right. Time will tell. From my personal opinion, I hope the administration works on the following issues (this isn't a conclusive list):
  • A finite table to leaving Iraq.
  • Tackling energy independence in the following manners: 1) Significant capital expenditures to update our energy grid, 2) Extending federal [wind] credits for more than 1 year at a time, 3) Working with states to encourage them to give additional state level credits to using renewable energy
  • Fix the nation's air traffic control system, it needs an update like our energy grid.
  • Allowing stem cell research and use to become more available.
  • Reworking the immigration system, in particular the H-1B visas, we need the best and brightest in the world in US! That is what built this country.
  • Our primary education system needs help as well. Not sure how much I want the federal government involved in this, but nevertheless the initiatives need to happen. And maybe more organizations like Teach for America are the answer.
That's just a start. At the same time, I hope the Republican party sits down and figures out how they can find some new invigorating candidates that they can be proud of. They also need to start embracing the power of the internet and how useful it can be in fundraising, this was clearly a huge help to President-elect Obama.

I am an eternal optimist. Life is good and life will continue to be good. You choose how you want your life to be, that's the American Dream.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Car Insurance

I know this is a mundane topic, but I came across a company that could help people that drive less than 12,000 miles a year. Its called MileMeter and its purpose is to find you a lower insurance rate based on how many miles you drive. Not sure how it works, but if anyone checks it out or gets a quote please let me know. This is extremely helpful for those of you in cities with good public transport or who live really close to work. I'm intrigued to see how competitive they are and what the parameters are as well.

Difference between Liberals and Conservatives

I finally got around to watching a few of the recently posted TED videos and on the first one I thought this was most relevant during our current political process.

Jonathan Haidt is a psychology professor at UVA. He has been studying positive psychology and moral foundations of politics. This video below shows the results that he has brought forth regarding the difference between Liberals and Conservatives. He lists 5 moral foundations that differ between the two parties:
  1. Harm/Care
  2. Fairness/Reciprocity
  3. Ingroup/Loyalty
  4. Authority/Respect
  5. Purity/Sanctity

Its a great video, please tell me what you think!