To All My Valued Employees

This kind of says it all, doesn’t it:

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear.

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn’t have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. I was married to my work.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70’s.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5 pm, I don’t. ! There is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom.

I eat and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why: I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes, Federal taxes, Property taxes, Sales and use taxes, Payroll taxes, Workers compensation taxes, and yes – Unemployment taxes.

Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him.

Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or the federal government?

Here is what many of you don’t understand … TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY YOU NEED TO STIMULATE WHAT RUNS THE ECONOMY. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth because I wanted to make even more money.

My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine.

So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future. Frankly, it won’t be my problem.

I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizens! Hip?

So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Signed,
Your boss

Hitler as the Aggie Coach

Funny:

Getting laid or getting paid

“I don’t know what’s better getting laid or getting paid … I just know when I’m getting one the other’s getting away” – Kanye West (in “This Way” by Dilated Peoples)

Fifth Element + No More Sorrow

One of my favorite movies with one of my favorite songs:

New Media Douchebags

Classic:

Larry Page Quotes

Things on the internet have a way of disappearing, so I’m copying the below so I know I have it, if I ever want to reference it. Originally posted at http://www.ycombinator.com/pagequotes.txt:

(This article originally appeared on a site that split it across
*eleven* pages. To save people from that I copied it into a single
text file. -pg)

Secrets of success from Google co-founder Larry Page

January 5, 2009

# If you have a product that’s really gaining a lot of usage, then
it’s probably a good idea.

# When you grow, you continually have to invent new processes. We’ve
done a pretty good job keeping up, but it’s an ongoing challenge.

# We built a business on the opposite message. We want you to come
to Google and quickly find what you want. Then we’re happy to send
you to the other sites. In fact, that’s the point. The portal
strategy tries to own all of the information.

# Pretty early on, I saw a newspaper story about Googling dates.
People were checking out who they were dating by Googling them. I
think it’s a tremendous responsibility. If you think everybody is
relying on us for information, you understand the responsibility.
That’s mostly what I feel. You have to take that very seriously.

# Part of our brand is that we’re pretty understated in what we do.
If you look at other technology companies, they might preannounce
things, and it will be a couple years before they really happen,
and they don’t happen in the way they said they would.

# Through innovation and iteration, Google takes something that
works well and improves upon it in unexpected ways.

# If you can run the company a bit more collaboratively, you get a
better result, because you have more bandwidth and checking and
balancing going on.

# The ‘be good’ concept also comes up when we design our products.
We want them to have positive social effects. For example, we just
released Gmail, a free e-mail service. We said, ‘We will not hold
your e-mail hostage. ‘ We will make it possible for you to get your
e-mail out of Gmail if you ever want to.

# The dotcom period was difficult for us. We were dismayed in that
climate… We knew a lot of things people were doing weren’t
sustainable, and that made it hard for us to operate. We couldn’t
get good people for reasonable prices. We couldn’t get office space.
It was a hypercompetitive time. We had the opportunity to invest
in 100 or more companies and didn’t invest in any of them. I guess
we lost a lot of money in the short term — but not in the long
term.

# Talented people are attracted to Google because we empower them
to change the world. Google has large computational resources and
distribution that enables individuals to make a difference.

# We don’t have as many managers as we should, but we would rather
have too few than too many.

# We think we’re an important company, and we’re dedicated to doing
this over the long term. We like being independent.

# Serving our end users is at the heart of what we do and remains
our number one priority.

# It definitely helps to be really focused on what you are doing.

# My experience is that when people are trying to do ambitious
things, they’re all worried about failing when they start. But all
sorts of interesting things spin out that are of huge economic
value. Also, in these kinds of projects, you get to work with the
best people and have a very interesting time. They’re not really
taking a risk, but they feel like they are.

# From its inception, Google has focused on providing the best user
experience possible. While many companies claim to put their customers
first, few are able to resist the temptation to make small sacrifices
to increase shareholder value. Google has steadfastly refused to
make any change that does not offer a benefit to the users who come
to the site.

# You (the Google user) want answers and you want them right now.
Who are we to argue?

# Many leaders of big organisations don’t believe that change is
possible. But if you look at history, things do change, and if your
business is static, you’re likely to have issues.

# If we are not trusted, we have no business. We have such a lot
to lose; we are forced to act in everyone’s interest.”

# I would rather have people think we’re confused than let our
competitors know what we’re going to do.

# We chose it (the name Google) because we deal with huge amounts
of data. Besides, it sounds really cool.

# The ultimate search engine… would understand exactly what you
mean and give back exactly what you want.

# Our company relies on having the trust of our users and using
that information for their benefit. That’s a very strong motivation
for us. We’re committed to that. If you start to mandate how products
are designed, I think that’s a really bad path to follow. I think
instead we should have laws that protect the privacy of data, for
example, from government requests and other kinds of requests.

# Many companies are under pressure to keep their earnings in line
with analysts’ forecasts. Therefore, they often accept smaller,
predictable earnings rather than larger and less predictable returns.
Sergey and I feel this is harmful, and we intend to steer in the
opposite direction.

# We think a lot about how to maintain our culture and the fun
elements. I don’t know if other companies care as much about those
things as we do. We spent a lot of time getting our offices right.
We think it’s important to have a high density of people. People
are packed together everywhere. We all share offices. We like this
set of buildings because it’s more like a densely packed university
campus than a typical suburban office park.

# We’re trying to use the web’s self-organising properties to decide
which things to present. We don’t want to be in the position of
having to decide these things. We take the responsibility seriously.
People depend on us.

# Google is organised around the ability to attract and leverage
the talent of exceptional technologists and business people. We
have been lucky to recruit many creative, principled and hard working
stars. We hope to recruit many more in the future. We will reward
and treat them well.

# By always placing the interests of the user first, Google has
built the most loyal audience on the web. And that growth has come
not through TV ad campaigns, but through word of mouth from one
satisfied user to another.

# You don’t want to be Tesla. He was one of the greatest inventors,
but it’s a sad, sad story. He couldn’t commercialise anything, he
could barely fund his own research. You’d want to be more like
Edison. If you invent something, that doesn’t necessarily help
anybody. You’ve got to actually get it into the world; you’ve got
to produce, make money doing it so you can fund it.

# Invariably we try 10 things that don’t quite work out in order
to do one thing that’s successful. And we learn a lot in doing the
10 things that didn’t quite work.

# We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things
we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone. So I
think if we were known for that, it would be a wonderful thing.

# We think a lot about how to maintain our culture and the fun
elements. I don’t know if other companies care as much about those
things as we do.

# It is an advantage being young. You don’t have as many other
responsibilities.

# If you have a great product that meets people’s needs, they start
telling their friends, especially when it’s a search engine, which
is something that everybody has to use. So we’ve actually been
growing 20 per cent per month, compounded, for our whole history,
and without spending any significant money on advertising. It’s an
incredible phenomenon.

# We were, I guess, lucky enough to be trying to be profitable long
before it was fashionable, and that was a really good decision. I
think it’s more luck than real insight on our parts, but Sergey and
I really felt a lot better about having a business that could
actually make money. So we figured that once we were at that stage
then not much could hurt the company.

# We are focused on providing an environment where talented, hard
working people are rewarded for their contributions to Google and
for making the world a better place

# The amazing thing is that we’re part of people’s daily lives,
like brushing their teeth. It’s just something they do throughout
the day while working, buying things, deciding what to do after
work and much more. Google has been accepted as part of people’s
lives. It’s quite remarkable. Most people spend most of their time
getting information, so maybe it’s not a complete surprise that
Google is successful.

# Our goal is to organise the world’s information and to make it
universally accessible and useful. That’s our mission. When we
started, we had about 30 million Web pages, which was quite large
for the time — that was two years ago. Now, we have well over a
billion Web pages. So that gives you some idea of how we’ve grown
in content. So we try to make more and more stuff available to
people. We try to, when you come to Google, fulfill that need that
you have as quickly as possible.

# Because of our employee talent, Google is doing exciting work in
nearly every area of computer science. Our main benefit is a workplace
with important projects, where employees can contribute and grow.

# We’ve actually been very deliberate about making all of our
decisions in a way that minimises the risk that we will go out of
business basically. We have pretty conservative financial planning.
That turned out to be really smart, and we’ve had tremendous viral
growth anyway, so we haven’t really had any marketing expenses or
things like that and we have huge volumes.

# The increasing volume of information is just more opportunity to
build better answers to questions. The more information you have,
the better.

# You can try to control people, or you can try to have a system
that represents reality. I find that knowing what’s really happening
is more important than trying to control people.

# In the same way Google puts users first when it comes to our
online service, Google Inc. puts employees first when it comes to
daily life in our Googleplex headquarters.

# Technology knowledge is going to drive wealth: people’s ability
to deal with technology and to build interesting things.

# Always deliver more than expected.

# It is a tremendous responsibility for us to have all eyes focused
on what we do and to give people exactly what they need when they
ask for it.

# We believe it is easy to be penny wise and pound foolish with
respect to benefits that can save employees considerable time and
improve their health and productivity.

# Our opportunity and responsibility has continued to expand. It
doesn’t feel all that different to me than it did a few years ago.

# The thing that matters is experience. We have lots of executives
from failed companies; they learned a lot from these things. They
say, ‘We can’t do that — we tried that and it didn’t work.’ So
failure is useful.

# When you have basic technology you find interesting things to do
with them, and if you’re lucky they’ll turn into something big.

Quote: Today

“Today is the best day to do something, if you want something done.” – John Engler, 1/5/2009 in a IM conversation with a friend.

Quick Note: LUV vs. AA pricing

I got an email from Southwest Airlines today, touting a sale to Las Vegas this spring. 50% off. That’s good!

I have a trip planned for Las Vegas from January 11 – 13, so I clicked the link. Read that their fare sale starts on January 13th, so I knew I wouldn’t get their fare sale prices, so I just searched their site for pricing on regular tickets (Southwest has always had great prices, so I figured I’d check them out).

Their search engine showed me that my round trip would cost me $700 or so… which is pretty rediculous for a flight a) to Las Vegas from Austin, Texas, and b) for any flight on Southwest anywhere…

So, I went to AA.com, and check American Airlines‘ prices for a flight on the same day. The result: $150 round trip.

Sold. Flight booked.

See you in Vegas at Affiliate Summit West 2009, if you’re going (and if you’re not, you should think about it – it’s one of the best performance marketing shows out there, and it’s run by the two best people in trade shows today: Shawn Collins and Missy Ward).

From a Baylor Fan on How To Cope with being in Last Place….

I got this from a friend on Thanksgiving this year. It’s no secret I went to Texas A&M, which has been doing pitifully in College Football lately. I got a good chuckle out of this:

From: Roy Hayhurst
To: John Engler
Subject: Fwd: From a Baylor Fan on How To Cope with being in Last Place….
Date: November 23, 2008

John: I thought of you when one of my Baylor alumni friends sent this to me. Hope you’re well and all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

From a Baylor Fan on How To Cope with being in Last Place….

I wanted to share some thoughts from the hit book, How to Handle Being The Worst Team in the Big XII South. This book, originally authored by fans of Baylor University, with foreword by Oklahoma State, has been a work in progress for 25 something years now.

Now that we have handed that prestigious torch off to your school, and it looks like it will stay that way for quite some time, you and your Aggie friends may want to really get into this material. Here are some highlights:

Chapter 1. Bring up past records when discussing your program with friends. The best way to do this is to start from the present and go back through the past until you can find where you have more wins than “x” team. Inconsistencies in time frame do not matter – it can be 5 years for one team and 45 for another.

Chapter 3. Find other parts of your athletic program that you can be proud of and meticulously learn and promote their accomplishments, no matter how embarrassing the sport. Baylor has done this recently with women’s basketball, tennis, and most notably, track and field (Olympic gold medalist anyone?). Rumor has it that your men’s club lacrosse team is pretty awesome. Just throwing that out there.

Chapter 5. Find a couple of solid scapegoats and complain tirelessly about them. Your fan base has already advanced far in this area, with “Shermione” and “$Bill” taking the brunt of this effective relaxation technique.

Chapter 10. Pick a team to hate and root for their failure. For Baylor fans, this has been you, and look how well it’s worked! It’s like The Secret – the power of positive thinking. It’s very refreshing to change the channel from a frustrating loss and watch your sworn enemy fail. You may have to really dig deep here – you want a team that is average to pretty bad. You losing and them winning is a double whammy, so don’t set your sites too high (UT/Tech). Arkansas is a good start, they’re down this year.

Chapter 11. THIS IS A BIG ONE. Focus on moral victories. This chapter has a lot of content, so really pay attention to it. Within the umbrella of the moral victories chapter you’ll find subsections such as: a) Don’t pin your hopes on winning the game, pin your hopes on covering the spread. The spread is key, and beating the spread will bring you years and years of joy. b) Get excited about first downs. These may be harder to come by than you think, so really cherish them. c) Find remote stats that can highlight your improvement. Really dig into improvement. This should be a buzzword to use in the coming years.

Chapter 12. Talk about the other redeeming qualities of your school. This is tricky, because it’s actually really dorky to engage in academic smack talk, but, if done correctly, can deflect the focus of a conversation away from your school’s crappy football program and onto other areas where the playing field is more level. Now, I’m tailor making this to A&M a little here, but I would recommend you focus on your strong engineering and business school reputation, and don’t forget to bring up your various traditions! People never get tired of hearing about this.

Chapter 14**. Find another school to support on the side. This chapter is very controversial and was only added in later editions. I myself never went down this road, but several of my friends found a great deal of relaxation and comfort in finding a side school. While immediate family connections are the best (grandfather graduated from Penn State or mom and dad met at Florida), it is also valid to dig deep into your family’s history to find that great aunt that went to Alabama or that second cousin who got a masters at USC. The further away the school, the better. Claim that you have been watching them for years – especially as a little kid growing up. This helps ward off eye rolls and front-runner accusations from your friends. **Note: though highly successful, this chapter can be very dangerous, and is probably the only method that will incur hatred from fellow alumni and students. Use Chapter 14 at your ownrisk. Advanced students only. I’d say you’ll be there en mass around 2013 – although seeing how your fan-base is bailing after 3 losing seasons out of the past 24, you may be there as early as 2010. Talk about advanced students!

That’s it folks. I’ll send you a copy for free – we’re so excited to share this with a team not named Baylor. And you may read this and think: wow, Baylor is pathetic. This is really sad stuff. No, no! This is you! This WAS Baylor and now IS your school! I’m talking about what you and your fan base will be and have already started saying and doing.

So there you go. Gig ‘Em.

Charlie Brown Ad Agency

Merry Christmas Everybody:

Mandles: Candles for Men

LOL:

Mandles: Candles for Men. 1% Wax, 99% testosterone. Mandles come in a variety of scents: Chuck Norris Sweat, Raw Meat, Wet Dog, Pigskin, and many other manly scents. so get your mandles now.

Inbound Leads Are Priceless

Love this video:

Dell – Is it shipped or not?

I ordered a new computer monitor from Dell last Friday. Black Friday.

It “shipped” according to Dell, on Monday, 12/1 at 5:17 p.m. (that’s when I got the email from them).

How come at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, they still don’t know what shipping carrier it’s going out on, or what the tracking number is? Or for that matter where it’s being shipped to? (See screenshot below, click for larger version)

Seriously. The item is “Shipped”. I can see that plainly on the order tracking page.
But the Carrier and Tracking Number aren’t available?

I’m in Austin. Dell is in Round Rock. It’s about a 30 minute drive, at most. I wouldn’t mind driving up there to pick up the item too… though I understand that’s probably not very efficient for them to offer…

But seriously, is the item shipped? Or just ready to ship?

Their interface is a bit confusing.

updated on 12/3: The monitor arrived today. I love it, but oddly the “order status” page still can’t tell me if it’s being shipping by a certain carrier (it was UPS) or what the tracking number was. Not a very good customer experience.

Fifty People, One Question: New York

Great concept. Great question. Great video:


Fifty People, One Question: New York from Crush & Lovely on Vimeo.

Some bosses…

Seth Godin writes things all the time that just make so much sense. In his post “The You Show” I found this nugget:

“Some bosses don’t want to hire people who have a vision, a personality and a shtick. That’s okay. You don’t want to work for them anyway.”

[via @tylerfonda]

Bad First Page Experience – Access Denied

If someone can deep link to your site, and your site requires login, figure out how to make your “Access Denied” page more inviting. Take for example this page from SocialToo:

I clicked a link from @GuyKawasaki’s twitter feed and the resulting page didn’t tell me why I wanted to create yet another account on yet another system, at all. What is SocialToo? What am I missing out on by not being part of that community? Why should I create an account, other than to read what Guy was linking to?

I’m a busy guy… give me a reason to sign up. You’re missing an opportunity to sell your service to me SocialToo.

Facebook isn’t Media

The next time someone asks you about “monetizing social media” or asks “what about Facebook, do you have a way for us to make money with Facebook?”, send them this article:

P&G Ad Man: “I Don’t Want To Buy Any More Banners On Facebook.”
Nicholas Carlson | November 17, 2008 5:15 PM
Procter & Gamble spends more than $300 million a year advertising its soaps and foods. If Facebook’s going to be an ad-supported business, it needs some of that money.

Too bad then, that Procter & Gamble’s GM for interactive marketing and innovation, Ted McConnell,” just told a conference: “I really don’t want to buy any more banner ads on Facebook.”

“I have a reaction to [Facebook] as a consumer advocate and an advertiser: What in heaven’s name made you think you could monetize the real estate in which somebody is breaking up with their girlfriend?”

McConnell says branded Facebook applications could work, but that mostly, he rejects the idea that Facebook is social “media”:

“Who said this is media? Media is something you can buy and sell. Media contains inventory. Media contains blank spaces. Consumers weren’t trying to generate media. They were trying to talk to somebody. So it just seems a bit arrogant. … We hijack their own conversations, their own thoughts and feelings, and try to monetize it.”

Facebook won’t be able to win over ad buyers like McConnell with its new “engagement ads.” Advertisers want to be seen as providing new functionality on the social network; they don’t want to pay extra for users to comment on their banners.

Here’s what Facebook should do instead. First, extend Facebook Connect to online retail stores. Second, analyze users’ spending behavior and activity on Facebook, make that data anonymous and sell it to marketers. Third, turn on personal ads and charge more than the New York Times does — about $48/week.

Best iPhone Support Forum Question Ever Asked

My buddy sent me this today, with the title “Best iPhone Support Message Ever”.

Here’s the whole thread on Apple’s forums, if you want to read the gory details.

LOL!

Build your own wings

“You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
Ray Bradbury (1920 – )
American author

What happens if I fail?

I love this cartoon from Hugh:

What if I fail?

Classic.

More great cartoons here.

Stupid Parents = Stupid Kids

This had to hurt:

George W. Bush endorses John McCain and Sarah Palin

This is priceless:

Did you vote yet? I did.

Go vote.

Ronald Reagan endorses Obama

You’ve gotta see this to believe it:

Shel Silverstein

I miss reading Shel Silverstein. I’m going to have to buy some books of his, to read to the boys. His books encourage the kind of limitless wonder all kids (and adults) should have:

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” –by Shel Silverstein

Mary Kay was pretty awesome

“You cannot keep determined people from success. If you place stumbling blocks in their way, they will use them for stepping-stones and climb to new heights.” – Mary Kay Ash (1918–2001)

Senate Bill 1738 – The PROTECT Our Children Act Passes

A few months ago, my wife asked me to send an email to our Senators and Congressmen, after watching an episode of Oprah about Senate Bill 1738. So I did.

Here’s the response I just got from my Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison (who I’d love to see run for president, btw):

from: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison <senator@hutchison.senate.gov>
to: John Engler
date: Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 5:17 PM
subject: Constituent Response From Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

Dear Mr. Engler:

Thank you for contacting me regarding on-line child safety. This is an issue that is very important to me, and I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Children in schools and households across the country log onto the Internet every day to access a wealth of information resources, to communicate with friends, or simply to seek entertainment. For predators, however, the Internet represents a vast unregulated space in which they can target and victimize innocent children. This is a frightening reality that we must confront as explicit material becomes increasingly available online. Since 1996, the FBI has documented a 2,000 percent increase in the amount of child pornography on the Internet. According to a study conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ), 25 percent of all children have been exposed to unwanted sexually explicit material. Those numbers are alarming, and we must act to protect our children so they can safely use the Internet as an educational tool without being exposed to illicit material or targeted by predators who try to trick them into revealing personally identifiable information.

Safeguarding our nation’s children has been my longstanding priority. In 2003, I sponsored a bill that was later signed into law and that created the National AMBER Alert Network. Since its inception, the alert system has safely returned 420 missing or abducted children to their parents. I also cosponsored the Internet Safety Act. It was signed into law in 2006 when provisions of the bill were included in the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which directed the DOJ to conduct training of state and local law enforcement to effectively deal with computer-aided child exploitation crimes. We must ensure that the law enforcement community possesses all necessary tools to pursue and apprehend child predators, from enlisting the support of Internet providers, to educating local law enforcement, to bolstering awareness among parents.

On June 28, 2008, Senator Joe Biden introduced S. 1738, the Combating Child Exploitation Act of 2008, a bill I joined as a cosponsor. The Combating Child Exploitation Act directs the Attorney General to create and implement an initiative known as the National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction. This legislation will also help strengthen cases against criminals by requiring Internet service providers to provide information on the Internet identity and geographic location of suspected sex offenders, and preserve electronic evidence of child exploitation. I am pleased to inform you that the Combating Child Exploitation Act of 2008 has been passed by both the Senate and the House, and has now been sent to the President.

In addition, I have also cosponsored S. 431, the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2007 (KIDS Act), and S. 1965, the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act. The KIDS Act requires a convicted sex offender to register any email address or online identity in the National Sex Offender Registry and requires the Attorney General to maintain a system that allows companies to check the database prior to granting an individual access to social networking sites such as MySpace and Face Book. The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act contains important provisions that raise public awareness. It requires schools and libraries that receive support from the federal universal service telecommunications fund to provide age appropriate Internet safety education for all children. The KIDS Act has passed both the House and Senate, and will now be sent to the President. S. 1965 passed the Senate by unanimous consent, and was passed by the House of Representatives as part of another bill. It will also be sent to the President.

I will continue to support efforts to combat child exploitation and to ensure that those who prey on our children are punished to the full extent of the law. I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue of concern to you.

Sincerely,
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-5922 (tel)
202-224-0776 (fax)
http://hutchison.senate.gov

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY to this message as it is not a valid e-mail address. Due to the tremendous volume of mail Senator Hutchison receives, she requests that all email messages be sent through the contact form found on her website at http://hutchison.senate.gov/contact.cfm.

If you would like more information about issues pending before the Senate, please visit the Senator’s website at http://hutchison.senate.gov.  You will find articles, floor statements, and press releases, along with her weekly column and monthly television show on current events. You can also sign up to receive Senator Hutchison’s weekly e-newsletter.

Thank you.

Thank you Senator! And thank you Oprah for bringing this bill to light, so I could voice my concern.

Go for the Kill. Close the Deal. Everything else is a waste of time.

From Entrepreneur.com this week:

Forget the Sale–Go for ‘the Kill’
Create the scenario that can help you establish invaluable business relationships.
By Mark Stevens. September 22, 2008

All across the nation, thousands of salespeople are preparing for sales meetings. Sales calls. Cold calls. Networking sessions. You name it.

All are variations on the same thing. All are wastes of time. All are counterproductive. All are based on clichés taught by “sales trainers” who have never sold anything.

It’s time to change all of this Willy Loman nonsense, toss it in the waste basket and reject it as busy work that leads to the big looming question that haunts so many would be salespeople: “I wonder why I didn’t close the sale.”

A sales classic!

Teachers Make a God Damned Difference

Classic Developer Humor

This came up on a phone call with a client today:

Austin losing two Starbucks

Just a quick note to say that according to HuffPo’s super simple searchable list, Austin will be losing two Starbucks locations:

6403 S CONGRESS AND ACADEMY 1007 S CONGRESS AUSTIN TX
14121 MOPAC & SLAUGHTER 5000 W SLAUGHTER AUSTIN TX

Sucks, but those were shitty locations anyways.

Gonzo

This movie looks amazing:

Need Help: Connecting an iPhone to a Saab Stereo?

So this is my lazyweb request:

I bought a used 2005 Saab 9-3 Convertible this weekend (Yes, I love it and it goes well with our Volvo wagon in the driveway).

How can I connect my iPhone to the Saab head unit so that a) the iPod capabilities of the iPhone work though the stereo, and can be controlled by the stereo (and the controls on the steering wheel) and b) the phone part of the iPhone works through the Saab in-dash microphone and speakers work like they should, but with my iPhone?

I know I can use the AUX input to play music from the iPhone through the stereo, but I can’t control it from the stereo. I also still want it to work like a phone…

I’ve read about the Motorola Bluetooth connections that Saab sells, but I don’t just want Bluetooth phone connections… I’ve come to learn to not like bluetooth because the sound quality is usually horrible…

Anyone got any tips or thoughts? Comment on this post if you do please.

Thanks in advance.

Music Video on a Mac

This music video choreographed to match up with everything the user is doing on a Mac is wicked cool.

Teachers are so valuable

Why do we undervalue teachers so much?

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
-by Henry Adams

High Volume Email Deployers Clitoriuses

I love this:


And the funny thing is I know the guy being made fun of pretty well. I’d never have agreed to do this interview if I were him…

PR Spammers

I don’t know about the rest of you, but if you’re a blogger, you’re likely getting spammed by PR agencies. I know I am…

And so, in celebration of that fact, and hopefully, so I can make some money off the spam I receive, while also letting everyone know what the latest stupid Press Release I got was, I’m unveiling:

Unsolicited PR

Yep. It’s stupid, but simple…

And hopefully I’ll continue to get PR spam from stupid PR companies that aren’t paying attention to how they got my damned email address…

Ugh…

How to post a job for free on LinkedIn

I use LinkedIn to advertise open positions in my company, but, I do it for free, instead of paying for them (we also use Craigslist and the University of Texas Access website for former graduates, since we’re in Austin). All of these options are free. Craigslist and UT Access are great sources of candidates. LinkedIn can be a good source for mid-senior level candidates, but more importantly, it’s a way of advertising your company’s growth or success to your peers, colleagues and associates. When people see your job ad, they usually think something like “Great, John’s company is hiring and growing… that’s awesome!” Posting a job on LinkedIn also gets me back in touch with people I haven’t had a chance or need to talk to in a while, which is an added bonus… as a sales person, there are reasons to talk to people that might be able to bring me business or vice-versa, but I might not be as good at keeping in touch as I should be all the time.

LinkedIn redesigned their website sometime in the past 6 months, and I found myself needing to post a job listing to send to my connections on LinkedIn last week. The old design made it easy to find with a “don’t want to pay now, send your job listing to your connections” call to action ad on the job posting page. With the new design I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to post a job listing for free. So this quick guide is for all of you looking to send a free job posting on LinkedIn to your connections:

1. Login to your account.
2. In the menubar at the top click on “jobs -> post a job”. This takes to you the “Compose a job” section of the “Hiring and Recruiting” section of LinkedIn.

3. Then “compose” the job you want listed.

4. Click “Save Draft” or “Next” it doesn’t matter* (hitting “Next” will save your job posting as a draft)

*I’m assuming it doesn’t matter, you just have to then make sure you don’t actually pay for the job posting on the next page if you click “Next”

5. Click on the “Manage Jobs” tab in the “Hiring and Recruiting” section (you should be there still)

6. On the right, click on “Distribute” next to the job you just posted as a draft.

7. From there, just select your connections and send the posting. Note: You are limited to a certain number of connections, so if you have more than that limit that you want to send the job to, you might have to do these last two steps (6 and 7) a couple of times to get your job sent out to all of your connections.

One note: if you have a lot of connections that aren’t in the same city as you’re hiring, and the job requires living in that city, or relocating… make sure you note that in your job posting. There’s nothing like having to disqualify the high-quality resumes you’ll get from LInkedIn because you didn’t take time to add that piece of information to the job posting.

Hope that helps. Good luck finding the right candidate through LinkedIn.

And yes, we’re hiring a Marketing Manager at my company: UnsubCentral. If you’re interested, or know someone in Austin that might be, contact us through this Craiglist posting, or my LinkedIn profile, if we’re connected.

Thanks!

Eleven Reasons Why Having E-Mail is Like Having a Penis

Blatantly stolen from the internet:

#11. Those who have it would be devastated if it was ever cut off.
#10. Those who have it think that those who don’t are somehow inferior.
#9. Those who don’t have it may agree that it’s neat, but think it’s not worth the fuss that those who have it make about it.
#8. Many of those who don’t have it would like to try it, a phenomenon psychologists call E-mail Envy.
#7. It’s more fun when it’s up, but this makes it hard to get any real work done.
#6. In the distant past, its only purpose was to transmit information vital to the survival of the species. Some people still think that’s the only thing it should be used for, but most folks today use it mostly for fun.
#5. If you don’t take proper precautions, it can spread viruses.
#4. If you use it too much you’ll find it becomes more and more difficult to think coherently.
#3. We attach an importance to it that is far greater than its actual size and influence warrant.
#2. If you’re not careful what you do with it, it can get you into a lot of trouble.
AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON WHY E-MAIL IS LIKE HAVING A PENIS:
#1. If you play with it too much, you can go blind.

Plans for AdTech San Francisco

This isn’t my whole schedule for AdTech, but it is my plan for the conference sponsored things:

http://adtech-sf08.sched.org/johnengler

I’ll also be working our booth on the trade show floor. Look for me, if you’re there.

The Lord’s Prayer

This is really cute:

I can’t believe a little girl that’s only 2 years and 8 months old can sing The Lord’s Prayer from start to finish so well. Just adorable.

Canon Pixima iP1600 Error 5100

My wife was trying to print something the other night, and she was complaining that the printer was broken. I figured out what the problem was for me, so I’m posting this in case others have the same sort of problem (the answers I found on the web weren’t all that readable, and I spent a good ten minutes reading bits and pieces of answers to piece them all together).

So, I trudged down to the office to check it out, and sure enough, it wasn’t printing.

It was giving me an odd error that I wasn’t used to… and said something to the effect of:

Error 5100: Please turn the power off on this unit and turn it back on, and if you still have problems consult the User Manual.

So, I turned it off, and then back on again, and tried to print. Same error.

So, off to Google I went (we got this printer three years ago, and I couldn’t begin to tell you where the user manual is).

I searched Google for canon pixima 1600 error 5100

And I read this results page, which looked helpful:

FixYourPrinter.com: Canon i550 Service Error 5100

And another results page that took me to a Yahoo! Answers page, which was only midly helpful.

Long story short, something was likely wrong with the printer carriage bar… or something was jammed that was causing the print head to not advance all the way across the bar like it should.

I totally believed that, knowing that I have a 3 year old that is most-likely playing with the printer from time to time when we aren’t looking.

So, I opened up the front cover, and sure enough, the print cartridges weren’t seated well, and one of them was hitting the underside of the cover about three-quarters of the way across.

So, I re-seated all of them, and then turned the printer off and on again, and did a nozzle-check print test. It printed fine. So, back to the computer to resume the print job, and viola… no more printer error.

On those other results pages, they mention things like “cleaning the carriage bar” or “checking for stuff jammed in the printer” so, if reseating your printer cartridges doesn’t work, keep looking for things that would cause the printing head carriage (the thing the print cartridges sit in) to not function properly.

Good luck.

Randy Raush’s “Last Lecture” with Oprah

This is a powerful video:

By the way, is everyone else consuming more and more video online, or is it just me?

Two Dollars Cash…

Love it!

Classic Dear Abby Humor for a Political Year

Dear Abby,

I am a 60-year-old woman who is married to a man who acts like he hates me. In public, he pretends he loves me and talks about how wonderful I am.
But in private, he shakes his finger in my face and calls me the “B” word.  He constantly tells me how ugly I am without make-up. I’ve tried everything, including a face-lift, botox treatments, and a chin tuck. I even went on a diet and lost 20 pounds.
   
He quit his job a few years ago after having an affair with a woman in his office. He hasn’t even looked for another job. We haven’t slept together since I confronted him about the affair. He denied it, of course, but everybody knew it. It was humiliating. I believe he is still messing around.
 
While we both want to sell this house, we argue constantly about when to put it on the market. The house we want will be available in a few months. My husband wants to put our house on the market now. I think we should wait a while. He has already started collecting boxes and packing up his stuff.
 
Do you think he is planning to leave me?
 
    
Signed,
Worried in NY


     
Dear Worried in NY:
 
I doubt it.
     
He wants to move back into the White House as much as you do.
 
Abby

Apple’s MagSafe Powercord Issues

I have an issues with Apple’s new MagSafe power cords. Specifically – they suck.

I have had to purchase four power cords for my MacBook Pros over the past twelve months or so… why? Because the stupid connection between the cable running up to the connector and the connector comes apart. And when you touch that connection while the connector is connected to the laptop, the damn thing shocks me. Why is that? Why does the connector shock me? Why can’t Apple make a proprietary connector that doesn’t crap out on me?

Also, the plane adaptor doesn’t seem to actually keep my laptop from losing power? Witness the phenomenon with the screenshot below:

In that screenshot, you can tell I’m watching a movie, and a “power adapter” is attached, but the battery is “Not Charging” … and the batter is at “92%” what you can’t tell is that the battery was a 100% about 30 minutes before that screenshot was taken. Why is that Apple? Why isn’t your airplane adapter actually keeping me from losing battery power?

Here’s another screenshot from the Airplane Adapter, just so you know this isn’t a one-time occurence:

Show up and Throw Up

Classic example of how to “Show up and Throw up”:

Sheesh.

Do you remember dial up speeds?

With today’s wireless availability and fast ethernet connections to the internet virtually available everywhere I have totally forgotten how painful the internet was with dialup access… but, right now, I’m sitting in a coffee shop in San Francisco that of all things doesn’t have wifi (not even paid wifi) using by Verizon 3G wireless modem thingy, and the speeds on it are so painfully slow it’s taken me 5 minutes to load a web page in salesforce.com … ugh… I think I’m getting up to go find a Starbucks.

I’ll be at MacWorld this year

I’ll be at MacWorld this year on Tuesday for about an hour… maybe two…

I just happen to have a business trip to San Francisco to meet with a few potential clients on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the only flights we could get that weren’t ridiculously expensive was the 6 a.m. Nerd Bird from Austin to San Jose on Tuesday morning, and our first meeting isn’t until 3:00 (the prospect moved it back from 1:00) so… I now have a few hours to kill. What better way to do that than to stroll through the Moscone after the keynote?

(Oh, and I’m going to purposefully leave my personal credit cards at home for this trip).

I haven’t worked for MacNN since 2001, so it’s been at least 6 or 7 years since I’ve been to a MacWorld… looking forward to it, and not having to work it this time 😉

And maybe, just maybe, one of my old contacts will hook me up with an invite to a party or two. Jason? Misha? Monish? anyone got an extra invite to the fun stuff on Tuesday night?

So he slapped her

I’m not one to forward jokes that are emailed to me, but, I have some in-laws that are Catholic and true-blue Democrats, so this one was particulary funny to me, and instead of forwarding it, I figured I’d post it here for everyone to enjoy… forward it to your Catholic-Democrat in-laws:

The Pope and Hillary Rodham Clinton are on the same stage in front of a huge crowd.

Her Majesty’ and His Holiness, however, have seen it all before, so to make it a little more interesting, the senator says to the Pope, ‘Did you know that with just one little wave of my hand I can make every Democrat in the crowd go wild?’

He doubts it, so she shows him. Sure enough, the wave elicits rapture and cheering from every Democrat in the crowd. Gradually, the cheering subsides.

The Pope, not wanting to be out done by such a level of arrogance, considers what he could do. ‘That was impressive. But did you know that with just one little wave of MY hand I can make EVERY person in the crowd go crazy with joy? This joy will not be a momentary display like that of your subjects, but will go deep into their hearts, and they will forever speak of this day and rejoice.’

The senator seriously doubts this, and says so. ‘One little wave of your hand and all these people will rejoice forever? Show me.’

So the Pope slapped her.

wp_post2cat test

I have a problem on another blog I just upgraded… wondering if this one has the same problem.

Looks like I have an old plugin that I need to upgrade, just don’t have enough to upgrade it. If anyone has upgraded WordPress to 2.3.1 lately, and knows which plugin is looking for the old “wp_post2cat” table, post a comment please.