Dec 09

Daily Links for December 2nd through December 4th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

Oct 09

Daily Links for October 16th through October 22nd

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • The Ultimate Gadget Decision Flowchart [PIC] – Should get the new [insert gadget here] or not? [Note: A handy guide for gadget enthusiasts. But be honest with yourself, you're probably going to buy the thing anyway. It's so shiny!]
  • Remodeling Magazine: Home remodeling, kitchen and bath design … – Looks like the return on home improvements is suffering as much as the real estate market.
  • A Random Search Search for Excellence Why “great company” research delivers fables and not facts – Many believe that we can learn how to be great by studying greatness. But what is great performance? It turns out that we typically measure the wrong thing and set the bar far too low. Consequently, researchers who think they are studying successful companies are usually studying the winners of a random walk. What does this mean for the soundness of some of the most popular and influential management research? The bottom line: you can’t trust it.
  • What carries you up will also bring you down — cdixon.org – chris dixon’s blog – In every case you can find the one sentence or paragraph that describes their unique business model advantage. It could be their unique distribution system or the retailing model. It’s the factor that accounts for their success. It turns out the factor that explains their success at the beginning is what accounts for their failure later.
  • Amazon offers same-day delivery to select cities | Webware – CNET – Amazon customers placing deliveries within the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Seattle, as well as "some surrounding areas," will now be able to receive shipments on the same day they place an order. The service will be coming to Chicago, Indianapolis, and Phoenix "in the coming months."

    Amazon said "thousands of items" are available now to customers living in those cities. The new option, called Local Express Delivery, will have varied pricing that depends on the type of product purchased. Amazon Prime members–customers who pay $79 per year to receive unlimited two-day shipping from the online retailer–will need to pay $5.99 per item for the service.

  • Invest in Collaborative Tools, Get More Than Double Return, Study Says – While the study shows that companies investing in top-of-the-range telepresence and telephony systems get the most return, even organizations deploying just basic collaborative tools (like IM and web conferencing) reap a return on collaborative investment of over two times. The study suggests this is because teams using collaborative tools can benefit from a network effect — the more users on a network, the more value is realized from it.
  • No-contract $30 / $45 Straight Talk wireless plans storm Walmart – Remember when TracFone horrified the world with its Straight Talk phone selection back in July? Clearly the suits in Bentonville weren't so scared, as now Walmart is latching on to that very plan and claiming it as its own. In over 3,200 of the outfit's retail stores across America, consumers will be able to snag an admittedly pathetic cellie and a rather decent calling plan for just $30 a month. Three Hamiltons gets you 1,000 voice minutes, 1,000 texts and 30MB of mobile web access, not to mention nationwide coverage and free 411 calls. If that's not quite enough, a $45 per month option provides unlimited everything (voice / SMS / mobile web). Of course, the price of using an antediluvian LG 220, LG Slider 290 or Samsung 451 can't be measured in mere dollars, but hey, humiliation's only temporary — right?

Sep 09

Daily Links for September 18th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • Daily Number: A Scarcity of Car Lovers – Pew Research Center – Americans' romance with the automobile seems to be cooling off a bit. A Pew Research survey conducted in 2006 found that just 23% say they consider their car "something special — more than just a way to get around," barely half of the 43% who felt this way in 1991.
  • Social Networks Pressuring Traditional Email, IM Channels – People are spending less time on communication sites that are focused around email and instant messaging, according to an analysis released today by the Online Publishers Association, a trade organization, a decline it attributes to the rising popularity of social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Indeed, posting photos and videos to social networks is an easy way to engage people in your social graph and show them what’s going on in your life, and many feature their own built-in email and IM capabilities. And Facebook’s internal user engagement numbers back up the OPA’s findings; it claims some 1 billion chat messages are sent each day and 2 billion photos are uploaded to the site each month.
  • 14 Best Times to Make Major Purchases – When it comes to major purchases – like cars, computers, airline tickets – simply buying them “whenever” rarely get you the best deal. The top bargain hunters strategically delay these purchases until off season sales or manufacturer discounts kick in. Applied consistently across all of one’s major spending, this technique delivers savings that many shoppers are completely oblivious to. Furthermore, knowing with certainty when these items can be bought for less takes the annoying guesswork out of endlessly hunting for sales. Here are 14 examples of big purchases and their ideal buying times to get you started saving cash.
  • Flip And Pop My Collar Like The Fonz – Ta-Nehisi Coates – But Barack Obama, bourgeois in every way that bourgeois is right and just, will not dance.He tells kids to study–and they seethe. He accepts an apology for an immature act of rudeness–and they go hysterical. He takes his wife out for a date–and their veins bulge. His humanity, his ordinary blackness, is killing them. Dig the audio of his response to Kanye West–the way he says, "He's a jackass." He sounds like one of my brothers. And that's the point, because that's what he is. Barack Obama refuses to be their nigger. And it's driving them crazy.
  • What to do when all else has failed to change your kid’s behavior. – By Alan E. Kazdin and Carlo Rotella – Slate Magazine – You know your child is physically capable of doing what you're asking because he has done it on occasion, but he will not do it with any regularity. In fact, he actively opposes you. Your intense—OK, desperate—interest only seems to inspire more opposition. The more you need your child to do what you want, the less likely it is to happen. You're stuck and frustrated, and you don't know what to do.
  • Mint Map: America’s Most Frugal Cities | MintLife Blog | Personal Finance News & Advice – An infographic displaying the most frugal American cities based on discretionary spending, and shows which cities spend the most in given categories. Philadelphian Mint-users apparently spend the most on electronics gadgets.

Mar 09

Daily Links for March 2nd through March 3rd

  • Why Is Her Paycheck Smaller? – Interactive Graphic – NYTimes.com – Nearly every occupation has the gap — the seemingly unbridgeable chasm between the size of the paycheck brought home by a woman and the larger one earned by a man doing the same job. Economists cite a few reasons: discrimination as well as personal choices within occupations are two major factors, and part of the gap can be attributed to men having more years of experience and logging more hours.
  • Quantifying the Nightmare Scenarios – Freakonomics Blog – NYTimes.com – There’s no shortage of fear about the economy. But just how fearful should we be? Perhaps financial markets can provide some guidance.
  • The great repression | The Australian – The solution to the debt crisis is not more debt but less debt. Two things must happen. First, banks that are de facto insolvent need to be restructured, a word that is preferable to the old-fashioned nationalisation. Existing shareholders will have to face that they have lost their money. Too bad; they should have kept a more vigilant eye on the people running their banks. Government will take control in return for a substantial recapitalisation after losses have meaningfully been written down. Bondholders may have to accept either a debt-for-equity swap or a 20 per cent "haircut" – a disappointment, no doubt, but nothing compared with the losses suffered when Lehman Brothers went under.
  • Involution Studios • Building a Digital Concept Car – This could use some explanation by the creator – it appears to show the performance of various platforms and methods and specific attributes used to facilitate a mass-customization of a physical good via a digital process.
  • McKinsey: What Matters: Building an innovation nation – McKinsey has partnered with the World Economic Forum to create an “Innovation Heat Map,” by identifying factors that are common to successful innovation hubs. As part of this effort, we have examined the evolution of hundreds of such clusters around the world and analyzed over 700 variables, including those driving innovation (business environment, government and regulation, human capital, infrastructure, and local demand) along with proxies for innovation output (for example, economic value added, journal publications, patent applications) to identify trends among the success stories. In the process, we have found patterns that suggest the critical ingredients required to grow, nurture, and sustain innovation hubs. At the same time, we have compiled thousands of data points that may be used to identify bottlenecks and benchmark the performance of cities, regions, and countries by measuring how they are evolving.
  • Good design: The ten commandments of Dieter Rams – Useful to think of, regardless as to if your product is a hard good, process, or service.
  • 11 Non-Traditional Uses of WordPress – Interesting. Blogging platform WordPress implemented as contact manager, photo site clone, email newsletter manager, wiki, forum, membership directory, e-commerce site, and job board.
  • 50+ Essential Techniques and Tools for Visualizing your Data | Graphs and Charts | Tools – Charts and Graphs are ideal to visualize data in order to quickly give your readers an understanding of the nature of a given problem or recent developments. Whatever type of data presentation you prefer or suits you data (pie charts, bubble charts, bar graphs, network diagrams etc.), there are many different options but how do you get started and what is technologically possible?

Jan 09

Daily Links for January 30th

  • Dismal Science: What Is A Depression And Are We In One?
  • "State of the States" Series – Gallup.com's "State of the States" series reveals state-by-state differences in political party affiliation, religiosity, consumer confidence, and job-market conditions, based on Gallup Poll Daily tracking data collected throughout 2008.
  • RNC chairman vote enters fourth round – USATODAY.com – What an apt metaphor for the GOP! I say elect Rush!
  • Seed: 2009 Will Be a Year of Panic – As 2009 opens, our financial institutions are deep in massive, irrational panic. That's bad, but it gets worse: Many other respected institutions have rational underpinnings at least as frail as derivatives or bundled real-estate loans. Like finance, these institutions are social constructions. They are games of confidence, underpinned by people's solemn willingness to believe, to conform, to contribute. So why not panic over them, too?

    Let's consider seven other massive reservoirs of potential popular dread. Any one of these could erupt, shattering the fragile social compact we maintain with one another in order to believe things contrary to fact.

  • The Economy According To Mint – Is it Great Depression bad? That’s a qualitative question I can’t answer. But what the data, the hard facts, mean for you – if you run a consumer business – is that your customers are spending $400 less each month than they were a year ago, have burned through half of their savings, and on average have taken on an additional $5k in debt. Good decisions are based on good data. And data – in itself – may be one of the most valuable by-products of any startup.
  • How to Friend Mom, Dad, and the Boss on Facebook…Safely – ReadWriteWeb – I prefer to not let worlds collide.
  • Mapping and Animating Growth of Target Across United States | FlowingData – Well, fortune was smiling on me last week, and I got a hold of data for Target opening dates and locations (thnx, Cole). So here it is – a map that shows the growth of Target from 1962 through 2008.
  • Play-Doh!!! | MetaFilter – A collection of links to various Old Skool Play-Doh commercials on YouTube.
  • Black Swan author’s rules for living – Boing Boing – Avi sez, "Nassim Nicholas Taleb, gadfly author of The Black Swan, gives his 10 rules for surviving an unpredictable world with dignity."
  • The FT’s Online Business Model – Finance Blog – Felix Salmon – Market Movers – Portfolio.com – We've known for a while that the market for web display ads is slowing down or even getting smaller, even as the amount of inventory continues to rise dramatically. That makes a standard advertising-driven web strategy a recipe for shrinking revenues and disappearing profits. Grimshaw has a two-pronged approach to this problem, and half of it is very clever.