Recent Posts


Short Film Competition

By TLS | June 30, 2008

Access Group is sponsoring a contest whereby the winner receives a $10,000 scholarship for law school. Each contestant must create a video highlighting their law school fears and worries. The videos cannot be longer than four minutes. Sounds pretty simple!

I probably have no chance of actually winning, but it sounds like a lot of fun, so I’m going to give it a try. I’ll be shooting my video this weekend and will post it on this blog when it is complete. Wish me luck!

Topics: Law School, Fun, Education | No Comments »

Voting the Issues in 2008

By TLS | June 11, 2008

I would like to see the top five issues, according the polling of American voters, along with the views of the presidential candidates neatly listed beside each one. This upcoming election seems to be pivotal in many ways. Which way to we go? Do we vote based on fear of terrorism? Do we vote out of frustration with border security? Do we vote civil rights (ala gay rights)? What about a woman’s right to choose? Finally, do we vote our pocket book? If so, who would be our best choice?

Media coverage leads me to believe that the following are the hottest election issues, but what do you think?

  1. Economy (gas prices, housing crunch)
  2. Iraq / War on Terror
  3. Health Care
  4. Immigration
  5. Climate Change

With regards to the economy, CNN published the following which shows how your taxes would be affected under plans proposed by Barack Obama and John McCain. Based on my income, I’m better off under Obama’s plan. Which is better for you?

Here’s how the average tax bill could change in 2009 if either John McCain’s or Barack Obama’s tax proposals were fully in place.

Income Avg. tax bill Avg. tax bill
Over $2.9M -$269,364 +$701,885
$603K and up -$45,361 +$115,974
$227K-$603K -$7,871 +$12
$161K-$227K -$4,380 -$2,789
$112K-$161K -$2,614 -$2,204
$66K-$112K -$1,009 -$1,290
$38K-$66K -$319 -$1,042
$19K-$38K -$113 -$892
Under $19K -$19 -$567

Source:The Tax Policy Center

Iraq / War on Terror
A major problem for me with the war effort is this: Why do we spend so much time, money, and effort on rebuilding Iraq while we are still fighting a war? I have no military experience, so I admit I am speaking out of ignorance here, but why rebuild now? Why not wait until the war is over? Could we be dragging the war effort on and on by trying to rebuild as we go? I don’t get it. Please educate me.

Health Care
Health care costs are enormous these days. I have always leaned conservative in the ballot box, but health care is spiraling out of control, so I’m starting to tip the other way on this issue. In a period of four months my family’s health insurance was rated up three times, eventually resulting in monthly premiums that were almost double what we were initially approved for - what’s up with that?

Close the borders. Close the borders. Close the borders. I don’t buy the argument that closing the borders and requiring documentation will kill crop industries. The illegal immigrants that are already will have to get a pass. It’s too expensive and too difficult to do anything about it now, and I don’t think it would be a good idea to rip families apart to prove a point about taking the issue serious. This is a very messy issue, that will take years or decades to correct, but start by closing the borders.

Climate Change
This issue is a little scary. Some people say there is no such thing as “global warming” and that this issue is simply a left-wing scare tactic. Others say we’re doomed and that the world will end within 50 years. I’m thinking the real issue probably falls somewhere in between. I’m willing to conserve, and drive a hybrid car, if that’s what it will take. What is the real issue? I heard that electric car production was stifled in the 80’s by big oil companies. Do you have any details about that? If so, please share.

What is your opinion?
How are you voting this year? What is the most important issue to you? Inquiring minds want to know.

Topics: Politics | No Comments »

Voted Out of Kindergarten

By TLS | May 27, 2008

A Florida teacher took it upon herself to teach a special needs child a lesson by having his kindergarten classmates stand and tell him why they didn’t like him. She then asked them to vote as to whether the little boy should be allowed to stay in the class. He was ousted by a vote of 14-2 and spent the rest of the day in the nurse’s office.

Read the article in the Chicago Sun Times.

I find this to be outrageous. What was this teacher thinking?

I realize that some children are difficult to deal with in school and that they may require discipline. I have no problems with that. Put them in timeout. Make them sit out recess. Or, if necessary, send them to the office.

But there is something extremely wrong about making a class of 5 and 6 year olds pass judgment on a fellow child. Children should not be put in that position, especially when they are hardly at an age of accountability. And I can’t imagine how the poor child who was ridiculed and ousted must have felt.

This is another example of the failure of the educational system. The teacher should apply discipline when necessary, but should also act as an advocate for her students. What kind of example does this send to the children? Insane. I personally think this teacher should be fired.

I cannot see the teachers of either of my children (first grade and third grade) ever doing something as insensitive as this under any circumstance.

Final thoughts: What is up with Florida? Is it just me or does it seem like Florida has more bad press regarding public education (and child services in general) than any other state? Unbelievable.

Watch the interview with the little boy’s mother below:

Topics: Education | No Comments »

Have you ever googled Google?

By TLS | May 25, 2008

Have you ever tried to google Google? In all my years of being involved with online business, today was the first time I ever googled Google. What an interesting exercise.

The first thing I noticed was that there were 2.66 billion results for the keyword “google” in Google. That’s 2,660,000,000 results. Of the first 40 results, only two are not Google properties. Number 22 was the Wikipedia entry for Google and number 37 was the Yahoo Finance summary for Google. There were more non-Google properties scattered throughout the next 20 or 30 results, but it wasn’t until results 230-240 where I didn’t find a Google property listed in the results.

An insight that hit home to me was the fact that all of Google’s zillions of subdomains appeared in the index independently. Why don’t people take advantage of subdomaining their sites to get better search results? I’m guilty of missing that on my own sites. It seems that Google is indeed perfectly fine with listing your main domain and any subdomains that are relevant to the search query. Better start re-thinking subdomains (personal admonition!).

Next I decided to check the backlinks for Google: 951,000 links

Wow! Just think of how well your site would be ranked with 951 backlinks, let alone with three zeros to follow. Guess that explains why Google is a PR10 while Yahoo is merely a PR9 - Yahoo only has 330,000 backlinks, according to Google.

Google is truly the king of search. Check out more on the company below.

Topics: Interactive Marketing, SEO | No Comments »

What Makes a Good Business Idea?

By TLS | May 12, 2008

What makes a good business idea? I know lots of people that have started businesses with what seems to be the golden touch. Everything seems to come together, revenue starts flowing, and boom - success! But I also know other people who think they have a great business idea and they give it their all, but the business just doesn’t take off. What gives?

Is it really in the business idea itself? Or is the success of a startup more closely related to the personalities and skills of the individuals who are running it? If you have insight into this, please let me know.

Overall, I think a strong management team is important, but is that always a requirement? I doubt it. I’m sure there are lots of companies that become successful in spite of their founders/managers. Even so, it has to help. Some of the best examples of leadership and business acumen I have ever seen can be found in my former bosses. In these individuals you will find a fantastic combination of entrepreneurial grit, infectious charisma, and hawk-like adherence to the numbers. It’s no wonder their companies grew into sustainable, profitable enterprises. These are guys that I try to emulate, and I have found success, but the big win has eluded me so far.

Take, for example, the online marketing and lead generation site for LASIK surgeons called 1-800-LASERDR.COM. We started this business five years ago, but it is little more than a healthy proof of concept. It has modest revenues from a handful of loyal customers. Granted, we have not had the resources to build the business as quickly as we would have liked, but I still thought we would be farther along by now. So what is the problem? I am too close to the business to give an objective critique.

Obviously, this business is under capitalized and lacks resources. Perhaps that is the entire problem. But perhaps not. I have no doubt that the same company in the hands of my mentors would be at least 10 times larger and on track to being the best referral based business in the laser eye surgery market by now.

So, we are at a crossroads. Your feedback (if you are reading) is encouraged.

We intend to raise a seed round of financing to kick start the business, but we are also intersted in establishing a strategic alliance that could help us tip the balance. The model is similar to other businesses in the space, with some important differences.

(1) First, our service is production based, so there is built in upside to our model. The better we perform for our clients, the more money we make.

(2) Second, we offer an extension into the offline world for LASIK surgery marketing. None of our competitors have the domain/phone number combination. We are positioned to be the 1-800-DENTIST of the LASIK market.

(3) And third, our customers get exclusive relationships with us. If someone is looking for a Phoenix LASIK surgeon, we will send that person to our one client in Phoenix. We do not double deal - no sending of prospective patients to more than one client.

Please give your feedback! I’m all ears.

Topics: Management, Business | No Comments »

« Previous Entries Next Entries »