Archives for January 2008

Phone Surveys

I just got a call from a local "consumer survey" company – at 6:30 PM.  They asked for 15 minutes of my time – it took them two minutes to ask for the fifteen minutes.

First, calling during the dinner hours is probably stupid – I bet not many people will let their meals sit for that long.

Second, instead of having a human call me and go through the complete introduction just for me to say "No thank you, I don’t have 15 minutes to spare during dinner" they could use  a computer that says, "If you have 15 minutes, and would like to take this survey now, please press 1.  If you would prefer to take this survey at a different time, please press 2".

Saves me time, saves them manpower.

Just don’t call me during dinner.

I hate banks

Banks are just too unpredictable.  It makes it hard to run a cash-flow business when your bank acts irrationally.

I’ve deposited 6 checks from a client over the last few months – all cleared within a few days.  Last Friday I deposited a check that is "on hold" for ten days.  Same company, same account.  Never a problem with the checks before.

The bank has no clue why the check is on hold, and the client has proven to me the funds are available.


Cash flow is an important consideration for any company – and you need a bank you can count on for predictability.

The partners you choose when you start a business are just as important as the product you sell.  If the product isn’t working, you change it.

And if the bank isn’t working for you then it is time to change banks.

It’s my data (even though I can’t be trusted with it)

I’ve been interested in online data privacy for a number of years. Many of my regular friends/readers realize this.

Back in 2003, when I was conceptualizing a "My Space" type of web site I spent a lot of time considering this issue.  I decided two things were absolute – user data belongs to the user, and the user can’t be trusted with their data.

That sounds bad, not trusting users with their data – but what I meant by that was that I had too much data in too many places to manage it all – I needed tools.  Tools that allowed me to protect (or selectively share) my data, tools to backup my data, etc.  This was in 2003.  I have a hell of a lot more data all over the Internet now then I did then.  And the problem still hasn’t been solved.

Essentially the site I was designing would have let the users completely own the data – change what we knew about you, forget what you told us to forget, and safeguard what you wanted us to remember.

This was all based on a simple principle that your data belongs to you.  Sure, we would monetize it when we could, but we wouldn’t control it.

Today I was a "lurker" on the "New Gang" podcast today, with Steve Gillmor the host. I didn’t get added to the call (un-muted) until the very end, but I shared my opinion on how these companies are treating my data.

And I promise that any company I am involved in will do better.

This runs a little long at about an hour.  If you just want to hear my voice, skip to about 58 minutes – I chime in at the end.

But it’s an interesting conversation – one we should all be aware of. 

Don’t you think you should own your social networking data?

And if you don’t own it, who will?

"Push Present"? Give me a break!

baby_moneyI’m sorry – this sounds like one of the most annoying new "spend money" trends I’ve seen lately.

Basically, the jewelry industry is trying to create a new market by pushing the expectation that new mom’s should get an expensive gift for delivering a baby.

Guess what?  The baby is an expensive gift!  Instead of blowing a grand on blood diamonds, why not use the money to open a college fund or the new baby?

Besides, I fathered two children – and as I remember it, I was involved in a lot of pushing as well – where’s my gift?

We don’t need another freaking Hallmark Holiday.  We need young parents that aren’t in debt, and kids that can afford ever-growing college tuition.

Personally, I think the child is a pretty damn cool gift (and likely the most expensive one any parent will ever receive!)


Men who thought their lavish-jewelry duties were over after they purchased the engagement ring might get a shock when their babies are born. That’s when it’s time to shop for the "push present (search)." But a bouquet of flowers won’t usually cut it. Nowadays, many husbands are expected to buy expensive presents to thank their wives for dealing with pregnancy and "pushing" through labor. – ‘Push Presents’ Expected From Expectant Fathers – Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment

Update – Harry Truman Polaroid

I just received a FedEx return package from the Truman Library.  They would like the Polaroid, and I think it belongs at the museum.

Tomorrow I will send the original, as well as the copies.

I told my father a few minutes ago, and he was very pleased.  Proud even.

He gets credit as the photographer, and I have released the photo to the public domain (with credit).

Makes me smile.