Incompossible

June 20, 2007 at 7:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The great American satirist Ambrose Bierce coined the word ‘incompossible’ to describe two things that are conceivable separately, but cannot exist together. A company can be a giant, or it can deserve a giant P/E ratio, but both together are ‘incompossible’. ”

– Jason Zweig from “The Intelligent Investor”

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iPhone developer’s conference

June 19, 2007 at 10:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Check this out: http://barcamp.org/iPhoneDevCamp

There will be a “barcamp” event for the apple iPhone. Barcamps, in case you don’t know, are basically underground, ad-hoc community meeting. The thing is in San Francisco and I plan on attending. No, I really can’t afford this (or the iPhone for that matter), but this is such an exciting technology, I’m going to *find* a way to get there.

Anyways, a bunch of groups will get together and write apps over the weekend. At the end of the weekend, we are all going to release our apps simultaneously. I have a few ideas of applications I can write for. Namely:
– a program that interacts with your Facebook buddies. If you are, say, within a 1 mile radius from your friend, it alerts you.
– a peer to peer sharing program that goes via wifi. You can make certain files public that you may want other people to see as you are walking/driving by them on the street. You can limit this to certain subscribers and to certain types of information.
– a gps notifciation program. If something cool happens, you can notify other people and people in your immediate area are notified (ie, “two girl catfight at this location!”. . .”Paris hilton is in this starbucks NOW”)
– a proxy wireless server. Have the all-you-can-eat internet provided on my phone act as a proxy for any wifi requests in my immediate area. Result: people get free internet through your phone.
– a mesh site that combines the speedtrap.org with google maps. So if you see a cop with a radar gun, you report it via iPhone and it distributes the the gps coordinates to anyone approaching that area in their car. It’s like a radar detector, only more effective.

It’ll be interesting to interact with the programmers there. Honestly, I think this device will usher a new wave of exciting software apps. Imagine the possibilties!

A lesson in negotiations

June 13, 2007 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Here’s an interesting lesson on negotiations as told in a story. This is taken straight out of one of my favorite business books, “Thinking Strategically”:

Late one night, after a conference in Jerusalem, two American economists found a licensed taxicab and gave the driver directions to their hotel. Immediately recognizing them as American tourists, the driver refused to turn on his meter; instead, he proclaimed his love for American tourists and promised them a lower fare than the meter. Naturally, they were somewhat skeptical of this promise. Why should this stranger offer to charge less than the meter when they were willing to pay the metered fare? How would they even know whether or not they were being overcharged?

On the other hand, they had not promised to pay the driver anything more than what would be on the meter. If they were to start bargaining and the negotiations broke down, they would have to find another taxi. Their theory was that once they arrived at the hotel, their bargaining position would be much stronger. And taxis were hard to find.

They arrived. The driver demanded 2,500 Israeli shekels ($2.75). Who knew what was fair? Because people general bargain in Israel, they protested and counter-offered 2,200 shekels. The driver was outraged. He claimed that it would be impossible to get from there to here for that amount. Before negotiations would continue, he locked all the doors automatically and retracted the route at breakneck speed ignoring traffic lights and pedestrians. Were they being kidnapped to Beirut? No. He returned to the original position and ungraciously kicked the two economist out off his cab yelling “See how far your 2,200 shekels will get you now!” They found another cab. This driver turned on his meter and 2,200 shekels later they were home.

Certainly, the extra time was not worth the 300 shekels to the economists. One the other hand, the story was well worth it. It illustrated the dangers of bargaining with those who have not yet read our book. More generally pride and irrationality cannot be ignored.

Sometimes, it may be better to be taken for a ride when it only costs two dimes.

Efficient markets

June 12, 2007 at 9:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Here’s a joke I heard about the efficient market hypothesis:

An old joke has two finance professors walking along the siewalk; when one spots a $20 bill and bends over to pick it up, the other grabs his arm and says, “Don’t bother. If it was really a $20 bill, someone would have taken it already.”

Worst music video of all time!

June 7, 2007 at 12:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

he he. This has got to be the worst music video of all time. Watch it. . .

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