Saturday, August 30, 2008

My own globalization

[Sorry for the break in posts, I was out of town and forgot to mention that before I left!]

As we all remember Thomas Friedman wrote a fantastic book about globalization and the 'flattening of the world'. Two of the major factors that he touched on were Outsourcing and Offshoring. Recently some friends and I conjured up a few ideas that needed websites to be built. Unfortunately our expertise was limited in building a site that would have all the bells and whistles that we needed. I remembered that over a year ago I saw a mention of a company called oDesk on Techcrunch. oDesk's premise is fairly simple, you enter in what kind of contracting, consulting, or project work you need done and providers bid on your work.

It was a great way to get started! I put together an outline of exactly what I needed (remember, the more detail the better understanding someone will have of what you want them to accomplish). Your next step is to fill out some info about how much per hour or per project you'd like to pay, minimum feedback you require from previous employers, total hours spent on oDesk, etc etc. Withing 24 hours I had 18 applications! The overall total was around 24 or 25, I lost count. The beauty of the site is that you can see previous work, how they were rated by the buyer, tests they have passed, and how much they charged for the work. You reject who you don't want and interview who you do. I set up around eight interviews over Skype and gmail and went through questioning about their work and what I wanted to get accomplished and in what time frame. I have already received four quotes and am waiting on two or three more.

Globalization and technology are a beautiful combination! We are able to provide work to individuals in countries that have a hard time producing their own work at a very large discount to ourselves. In return you [should] get quality work in a timely manner and get your business up and running. oDesk also has a direct competitor in Elance.

If you have a great technology based idea, you really have no excuses left! Go out there and execute!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ticketmaster & Live Nation

So back in my later years in high school I used to go tons of concerts (or 'shows' as I used to refer to them). I could be seen scouring the net for new shows constantly and probably checking out at least one if not two or three a week. The great thing about most of the bands that I was seeing was that they played at relatively small venues. When I mean small, I mean the place fit maybe 150 people. The great thing about these venues is that it really got you up and close with the band! Another perk was NOT having to pay fees to buy a ticket, you would simply pay a cover or a ticket charge at the door. Keep in mind this is 1999-2001, so buying tickets online other than Ticketmaster was non-existent.

This brings me to my point. I HATE buying tickets online from Ticketmaster, in fact I dislike it so much that I am willing to drive to the venue at odd hours or during working (or to skip school at the time :) to buy the tickets direct from the venue and not have to pay the $8/ticket charge for a $40 ticket. [As a side note, I just looked up Michael Buble tickets in Fort Worth, Texas and what do you know its $10.65/ticket to buy through Ticketmaster.] It also really irritates me that they call the charge a convenience charge! Here's the thing, the internet is not a convenience anymore, it used to be, but now its standard business practice! Why do I have to pay over $20 to Ticketmaster just to buy the tickets online? I realize that venues have contracts with them and that they provide them with the sales tools to fill up their venues, but come on, no one really bothers to go to ticketmaster to find out where their favorite band is playing, do they?! You go directly to the band website, which would be a great place for them to sell tickets independent of Ticketmaster and profit from it, since they are losing so much money on the CD sales.

This whole rant started when I read today that IAC is splitting up their business empire. In the article they mention that Ticketmaster is losing Live Nation as a customer in 2009, yay! Live Nation and Ticketmaster apparently had it all out last year and decided to split. This will definitely hurt Ticketmaster as Live Nation is its biggest client, to the tune of about 15% of its $1B in sales (although they will continute to sell their House of Blues tickets).

I love it! Break down barriers, take down Ticketmaster!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Considering I have lived in Michigan and forgot that there is a word for 'soft drinks' besides coke, the following map made things a lot clearer:pop-soda
[from here]

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

BRIC Countries vs. USA

Well even in the worst of times, the world leading economy is still losing less than their respective BRIC counterparts:


[hat tip to Paul]
[more at Bloomberg]

Phelps Quote of the Day

Apparently some people can get sick of seeing him:
"I got 80 text messages today. One of my friends said to me, 'Dude, how many times a day do I have to see your ugly face?'"
-- Michael Phelps (USA)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Save the world. Eat Kangaroo!

Since we all know of the destruction that cattle cause our world by their methane, although you could make a similar argument for lots of males after a good dinner. Australians have decided that we should eat more kangaroo to save the planet:

"A study claims that farming and consuming more kangaroos instead of cattle and sheep will reduce carbon gas emissions."

They could have just as easily done this.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Although I am personally at odds with magic; part of me really enjoys, another part of me hates because I have a terrible time figuring out exactly how they just did that (this is the engineering side of me)! I will have to say as a big fan of TED, this was a most amazing video on brain magic.

Keith Barry shows us really fascinating ways that our brain tricks us, really impressive!

Oh and Steve Jurvetson makes a guest appearance at the end, must bother him as well because he's a fantastic engineer.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


For those who don't know, this is Sputnik. I figured the name of the blog was appropriate simply because my interests are varied and where is there to get a better view of everything than from space? :)

Expectations are tricky part of our everyday lives. I can think back to multiple times in college, high school, and even elementary and middle school when I would get back graded tests and be disappointed or excited. Now the score that one gets would be relevant to the amount of studying they put into the exam, hence 'what you expect to get'. There were times when I would get back a test with a meager 75 on it and I would think how amazing is the fact that I managed to pass a test when I did not even pick up a book to study for it! There were, however, just as many situations where someone else in the class (or yours truly) would get back an 89 and be furious! Furious, why? Well when you have spent hours upon hours and days upon days studying for an exam and you miss the A by 1 point it can be rather frustrating.

Fast forward many years and we still see this on a daily basis. Take for example public companies announcing their quarterly and yearly reports. It is less relevant whether or not they make a profit as opposed to whether or not the clear their expectations. The best example of this is Exxon Mobil's recent quarterly report. They set yet another record of quarterly profit for a company! $11.68B in ONE QUARTER! That's $1,485.55/second! You would imagine in a world sans wall street this would be impressive, however, its not, the stock went down immediately!

You see, that's not a problem, its necessary for us as a community/society/family/individual to push each other. If we know we are capable of running a mile in less than 8 minutes, then setting a goal of 10 minutes would be an easy hurdle for us to clear. We [should] instead for ourselves put a goal of 7 minutes and work towards it, bettering our performance.

As a newly minted blogger, I am asking that you set your expectation level fairly high for me. This is ironic even for me, because at the beginning of the writing of this post my point was to state at the end that the expectation level be low, but then I would not be able to better myself. I cannot promise on the consistency of my posts, but whenever an idea, a quirky topic or something of interest beckons, then believe me, I will write about it!

Till next time.