Read my new book, An Enlightened Entrepreneur:
57 Meditations on Kicking @$$ in Business and Life"4.8/5 stars" on Amazon
Sunday, October 31st, 2010

You’ve Likely Never Heard These 5 Quotes About Money


My friend Kenny recently shared 5 quotes about money with me:

1) ” I am indeed rich, since my income is superior to my expense, and my expense is equal to my wishes.”

— Edward Gibbon, English Historian & Member of Parliament

2) “Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money.”

— Jackie Mason, Comedian

3) “If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.”

— John Maynard Keynes, Economist

4) “We pay for the mistakes of our ancestors, and it seems only fair they should leave us the money to pay with.”

— Donald Marquis, Humorist & Writer

5) “Is it not sheer madness to live poor to die rich?”

— Juvenal, Writer

No comments yet | Continue Reading »

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Awesome Chinese Proverbs

1 Comment

Thanks to Kenny — a successful restaurant/cafe owner friend of mine — for sharing these awesome Chinese proverbs (in no particular order):

1) The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

2) Much talk does not cook rice.

3) Man who waits for a roast duck to fly into his mouth must wait a very, very long time.

4) A friend is one who enters in when the whole world has departed.

5) Hire a young carpenter but consult an old physician.

6) Those who do not read are no better off than those who cannot.

7) If you want to know your past, look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future – look into your present actions.

8) To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is the art of survival.

9) Make no promises when you are seized by joy; write no letters when you are seized by anger.

10) If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the time to quit.

11) A man who has committed a mistake and does not correct it is committing another mistake.

12) Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it.

13) Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid of only standing still.

If you like quotes, check out my Warren Buffett quotes or Charlie Munger quotes.

1 comment so far | Continue Reading »

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

3 Simple Steps To Help You Pursue Your Passion


Steve Jobs told Stanford students that when he wakes up each day he tries asking himself:

“If this were my last day on earth, would I be happy with my to-do list.”

Steve Jobs told Stanford graduates that his to-do list needs to be good enough for his last day on earth


And if his answer is “no” for three or four days in a row, he does something about it.

Well, a goal in my life is to help people explore their passions, ideally in a way that helps them make a living.

I thought I’d share three steps that I used to further my own career passions.

Ok, so let’s dig in…

Step 1: Pick a Passion

It starts with picking a passion — your passion may be obvious to you ( politics, sports, medicine, photography religion) and you’re good to go.

If your passions are not obvious to you, ask those closest to you (friends, colleagues, family members) what they think.

2 comments so far (is that a lot?) | Continue Reading »

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

5 Frustrating Things About Paypal


A sharp colleague of mine vented about some frustrating things about using Paypal (as a seller).

I wanted to share this so that:

  • Folks know what they’re getting into when they sell through Paypal;
  • Paypal will be pushed to be better; and
  • Entrepreneurs will see opportunities to create alternatives to Paypal!

Here are the 5 Frustrating Things About Paypal

1) Batch Payments

To do batch payments (i.e pay a load of affiliates or staff by uploading a spreadsheet with the data) you have to first fund the PayPal account – this can only be done by bank transfer which takes a long time and means you need to predict the payment amount up front and fund it beforehand.

This is a cumbersome process. Uploading the CSV and just being able to pay immediately without preparation as with any other payment would be helpful.

2) Support

PayPal support was pretty awful in the past, although it is getting better and you can now actually find a phone number on their site to call them, but from what I read they only did that because of legal pressure, which is a signal of how the company works.

3) Cost

Paypal is quite expensive. Enough said!

4) Random Blocking of Funding Sources

They randomly block funding sources for security reasons. This means at times I am unable to make payments or it delays payments that have to be sent by eCheque.

PayPal won’t rectify it if you contact them, the problem just disappears – it happens more to me when travelling.

5) Canceling of Subscriptions

If you have subscribers or are subscribed to a service via PayPal, then PayPal will automatically cancel the subscription when your credit card expires, you change a credit card and a few other reasons – I have lost a lot of paying subscribers this way.

PayPal does not explain this process very well to subscribers so a lot get confused and don’t know what they are subscribed to, or how to fix it.

No comments yet | Continue Reading »

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Watch Out For Startup SeatGeek: They Could Get Very Big


Secondary ticket vendor SeatGeek got more financing ($550,000 from its New York-focused investors) and I see them getting super-popular.

This New York-based startup does a fantastic job of aggregating concert and sports tickets from such after-market Web sites as:

  • StubHub
  • TicketsNow
  • eBay
  • TicketNetwork
  • RazorGator

You Can Easily See Which Tickets In Which Areas Are Cheapest

The reason I think they’ll do so well is that if customers are like me they have this feeling that they’re getting ripped off when they check out just StubHub for tickets — SeatGeek gives you a few other options so users should take comfort that they’re getting a much better price.

And some of you ask me for tips on new companies to work for; I notice that SeatGeek has 6 openings right now:

2 comments so far (is that a lot?) | Continue Reading »

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Tips On How Local Businesses Use Social Media

  • When I attended the Social Currency CrunchUp, there was a panel of businesses (all local except one (Levi’s)) whose members mentioned some tid-bits on how social media was working for them.

Here are my notes from the panel:

Curtis Kimball, The Creme Brulee Man

  • Sells Creme Brulle, primarily in San Francisco and changes his location (a cart) regularly
  • His customer Acquisition focuses on Twitter
    • Has 14,100 followers) because it’s so easy…a majority of my customers come from Twitter or from friends who are on Twitter.
    • Doesn’t have a fixed address because he doesn’t have a permit (“Permitting situation in San Francisco is a nightmare.”)

    the creme brulee man

Dr. Robert Vaksman, Dentist

  • “Nineteen percent of our traffic comes from Facebook Page (>100 fans)…and some of them are coming in to the office.”
  • Uses Twitter and YouTube too

Dan Yoo, Stone Korean Kitchen (Restaurant owner with 50+ seats)

  • Groupon has filled his restaurant more than 50 times ($35 worth of food for $15)
  • Had to pay Groupon 50% ($7.50) of what customer paid
  • One thing he’d like to know is how many of his Groupon customers came from the 94110 zip code (so that he can remarket them).

Oren Jacob, Ready, Set, Bag! (Movie maker)

  • Used Groupon to sell tickets to his documentary…for free he has the market reach that a large movie maker has — “It levels the playing field.”
  • Groupon helped him do 2 things:
  1. Drum up publicity (because people saw the film promoted on Groupon)
  2. Sold tickets to the actual movie

Note: He’d like to see more demographic information on these customers that Groupon generated for hm

Megan O’Connor, Levi’s

  • Focuses on Facebook — 520,000 Fans who can “like” Levis and particular promotions
  • Tracking: “We can track some sales (from offers) (on Facebook).”

Note: The panel was moderated by Erick Schonfeld and David Hornik.

2 comments so far (is that a lot?) | Continue Reading »