Blog Postings for 2006

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Monday, December 18, 2006: Wondering what a pair of billionaires at Google buy for Christmas? How about... a dinosaur? Yep. They installed a dinosaur in Google's courtyard. It looks like a baby T-Rex. It's so cute!

Thursday, October 26, 2006: Study Free at M.I.T.: A few years ago, MIT was thinking about how they could be at the forefront of the web. So they decided to put their classes online. Everything: class notes, sound recordings of the professor's lectures, handouts, syllabus, reading assigments, exams, everything, for 1,600 courses.
Students use this for study, or to study additional subjects, or to study if they can't afford a good university. Professors and teachers use this to improve their teaching material.
To promote this, MIT got a $450,000 grant from Google. MIT asked us to manage the campaign. Study Free at MIT:

Monday, October 23, 2006: Would You Get Out of Bed for $1 Billion? A few weeks ago, Microsoft offered $2 billion for (a social networking site) (another clone of Dogster), so they arranged a conf call for Saturday 8:30 am. But Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's 21-year old CEO, refused to get out of bed for the call. So Microsoft realized maybe they shouldn't be doing business with someone who can't get out bed for a meeting, so they dropped out. Yahoo said they were interested, but only for $900 million, which soon dropped to $700 million. Because he wouldn't get out of bed, Zuckerberg lost $1.3 billion.

Maps for Your Treo PDA: If you have a Treo PDA, Google released free map software for it. It zooms down to street level. You can switch to satellite view and see your house. Go to your Treo, start your PDA's web browser, go to, download, and install it. The map uses the whole screen, so you can see streets. Hopefully Google will offer more free software for PDAs.

Friday, September 29, 2006: A friend (let's call her "Steffy") wants to buy a car. She goes online, researches cars, reads Consumer Reports online, and when she finally picked out her car (incl. color and features), she then searched for a dealership within a 200-mile radius. All that dealership advertising came to zero for influencing her decision.

Two months later, she is moving into her new house. She needs a mattress. The local mattress stores advertise heavily in TV/radio/print. Again, she researches online. Decides which one she likes, so she goes to a store and tries it out. They wanted $3,500. She had no intention of buying in the store. She goes online and gets the same mattress for $1,300 (66% lower).

Now she's planning to buy a house. To do this, she is eliminating as many bills and debt as possible. And of course, she uses the web to learn how to do this, such as blogs on debt management.

What's the future for offline business? How will offline stores survive?

Thursday, September 21, 2006: Here's in German, Spanish, French, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. How did I do this? Use Google's translation tools. Translate your home page. Copy the URL. From that starting URL, people can read your site in that langauge. It's not a perfect translation, but it's fairly readable. Pretty cool, no?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006: The Dot Com Boom is on again. Yep, the Dotcom boom is back. Deja irrational exuberance! Lap $300 champagne out of your girlfriend's belly button! Party like it's 1999! Is the boom really on again? Let's do the numbers. (And kids, we all know numbers don't lie!)

1) Loony ideas get funding. Yep: got one million dollars in funding last week. What is Dogster? Social networking for dogs. Your pooch creates his online acct, adds pixs, blogs about his fave things, and links up with other dogs for fun and business. Sorry, dogs only. There's also Yep, social networking for cats. But cats aren't sociable. They got funding anyway. So that dumb dotcom idea your unemployed brother-in-law keeps bugging you about? PowerPoint the business plan in four slides, spam it to 400 VCs, and get that gray Ferrari that is so rightfully yours.

2) Speaking of Ferraris: a friend emailed yesterday morning, just before the news hit the Wall Street Journal. His company was shutting down. No, not just shutting down. He was worried his company might actually cause the collapse of the US economy. A few months ago, he moved to Boston to work at a hedge fund. Zero work experience. Never interviewed before. Didn't even have a resume. But those are only for little people. Starting salary $200,000 per year. He's been living un poco loco in Boston. Until last week, when one of the traders had a bad day. The 32-year old trader drives a gray Ferrari. His summer car. In winter, he prefers a Bentley. "It handles better in snow." Anyway, he was betting hard on natural gas futures. Last year, he made a billion dollars on gas futures and seeing as how hurricane season is coming up, he played hard this year. Until he lost $5 billion in 5 days. Wiped 30-40% of the fund's assets. Investors lost their Ferraris, their runway-model girlfriends, and their $5 million studio apartments. One guy was leveraged 8x on his assets. The last time a hedge fund got wiped out, it nearly wrecked the American economy. For several hours yesterday, it was pretty dicey. The Wall Street Journal and all the business news shows talked about this. Anyway, he's out of a job. Anyone want to hire a $200,000 guy with three months work experience and a gray Ferrari?

3) You've heard of Web 2.0? Don't know what it is? Don't worry. Obsolete-o-rama. Someone else started Web 3.0. Don't know what that is? Who cares? Web 4.0 was also launched. In fact, we're up to Web 16.0 this morning. Nobody has Web 17.0 yet, so here's your big chance. Announce Web 17.0, send out PowerPoints to your VCs, and get that gray Ferrari delivered to your door.

More later. I gotta go to an all-Elvis business meeting.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006: Blog, Vlog, Wiki, and now, Swicki. That's a "search wiki". Namely, you can build your own search engine on a topic you know about. It's easy to build a swicki; you can do it in seven minutes. When people use it, they vote on the entries. As editor, you review the votes. The result: a search engine with better results. Is this finally the idea that will replace Google? Try it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006: Several new pages: lets you create and share a family history. Ian Berke's film reviews in San Francisco.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006: You know how, when Windows is doing something, it tells you "12 minutes remaining"? I set my computer to compress my hard disk. After a while, I came back to see what was happening. The message said "413 days remaining..." That'll be sometime in late 2007!

Saturday, June 17, 2006: I was in Bangalore last month. Bangalore is an important city for Silicon Valley, yet most of us have no idea what it is like. Here's my notes and pixs on the food, the palaces, the city, the people, and so on in Bangalore.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006: Here's a new kind of website: Trade your old CDs with other people for only $1 at

Tuesday, May 09, 2006: is a new kind of tool. The idea is simple and the results are cool. With StumbleUpon, you click on a button on your browser, and it takes you to a page that you're interested in. If you like the page, you vote for it (a click at the top of the browser). Then click and see the next page. That's it. The result of tens of thousands of votes quickly produces a collection of the most fascinating webpages on various topics. Pick something you're really interested in, and suddenly find dozens of really great web pages about it. It works only in Firefox. (If you don't have Firefox, fetch Firefox for free ), and then click

Sunday, April 02, 2006: I've been watching Bollywood movies (recommended: Dil Chata Hai and Lagaan). I also read Suketu Mehta's Maximum City, a book about Bombay. Next: Amartya Sen's new book The Argumentative Indian, on the development of India's culture.

Thursday, February 02, 2006: GriSoft's AVG AntiVirus, one of the top-rated antivirus tools, is free for personal use. Free GriSoft AVG

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