(posting below in case the ad comes down soon).
Grab a paper bag, breathe into it and calm your ass down. You’re hyperventilating because you ain’t never seen a deal like this before. Now collect yourself, then keep reading this incredible description that barely serves to do justice to my 2010 Felt Gridlock 3 speed fixed gear bike. Yes 3 SPEED FIXED GEAR. Also known as the greatest bike the city has ever had the privilege of existing around.
What makes this bike so much better than every other bike that has ever been pedaled? Glad you asked. It starts with the paint scheme. It looks like Iron Man if Iron Man were a bike. That’s bold, son. Curb appeal. It’s probably also why some piece of trash stole the front tire that originally came with this beauty. Why didn’t he steal the whole bike? Because he knew he wasn’t man enough. That’s ok, I replaced it with something that looks even more boss. The next thing is the genuine leather seat. My taint has had a love/hate relationship with this particular bit of the machine. But it’s got those swanky brass rivets so I can’t stay mad that it smashed my prostate and has likely rendered fatherhood impossible. But let’s face it, I’d rather have have a bike than a kid.
What else? Let’s talk about that three speed in-the-hub, fixed-gear transmission for a second. It’s as gnarly as it is exotic. Like the tropical, saw-toothed platypus. Which is a species that does’t even exist. Fortunately this crazy ass hub does. It offers 3 speeds, as the name implies. It also offers a terrific chance to introduce that dome of yours to the asphalt if you fucking sleep for one single second on this bitch. So don’t trip. Ride safe. Get a helmet and if you’ve never ridden a fixed gear bike, maybe it’s time to move along, young sir because this back tire doesn’t flip flop and it doesn’t offer any respite. What this bike does offer is a one-way ticket to legits-ville. Find a bowling ball. Then find another one. Your nuts must be at least that big to even consider making this whip the dreamiest object to ever take up too much space in your tiny ass apartment. But you’ll be filled with joy once you throw a leg over this flawless piece of American-made* cycling excellence.
What else? Ryan, the paint’s a little dinged up. Yeah, well, that’s called real life. It comes at you fast, bro. Besides, you really want this glimmering, shimmering sex machine catching the eye of some small time thief? I already told you what happened to the tire. You really don’t want to be living your own version of PeeWee’s big adventure. Consider the lived-in feel a natural crime deterrent. If this bike were denim jeans, it’d be called “de-stressed” and you’d be paying extra for the privilege. I’m not gonna charge you extra for it, though. Cause I’m not trying to take advantage of you. But you should take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
But, aren’t you sad about selling the greatest bike on earth? No. When you ride this bike once it permanently eliminates your ability to feel sad about anything ever again. Even for little puppies who are afraid to walk down the stairs, because the stairs…they’re so big, and they’re so little. Puppies who are young, but have already discovered the world to be a cold, unforgiving place. But you won’t give a shit about it because you’ll be on your awesome new bike living the dream.
Ryan, is that a toilet in the background? Yes. Why? Because this bike is the shit. And you’ve just learned something else about me. That’s right, my name is Ryan. And your name is lucky motherfucker if you make the best choice of your life and pay me cold, hard cash for this ridiculous ride.
*Felt bikes are imported from Taiwan. Sorry to burst your bubble, homie, but globalization has been restructuring the way products get manufactured and sold since the 80′s. Some believe it’s eroding the American middle class. If you’re the last to know, sorry for party rocking. Read “The World Is Flat.” Form an opinion. Joint the dialog. By the way, the book is like 12 years old so this shouldn’t be news. Shit’s fucked up, but we didn’t start the fire. No we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it. Now buy this bitchin’ ass bike.
Update: No reason given, but the ad appears to have been removed, now says “This posting has been flagged for removal”
I updated the app on my iPhone, but it didn’t work, and asked that I check some settings.
Turns out if you are running Google Apps, you need to enable Google Now under the main google apps dashboard in the Mobile settings for “Android”:
Not super intuitive
What is Google Now ? Here is an overview video below:
I gave a talk at USC earlier this week about Automattic and WordPress — something I’ve done for 3 years in a row now.
It’s always a ton of fun, and I make sure to do a survey (by show of hands) each time to see what these undergrad & grad students are using in terms of popular services.
Here are the results:
- WordPress: about 75%+ use WordPress in some capacity
- Facebook: 100%
- Twitter: about 75%
- Tumblr: 33%
- Note taking: Evernote vs Simplenote vs Pen & Paper: About 33% Evernote, the rest a combination of email, other apps, or nothing. And one person still using a pen & paper.
- iOS vs Android: 75% iOS, 25% Android
- SMS vs GroupMe vs MessageMe vs Snapchat: SMS still used by everyone, but the surprise here was Snapchat being used by over 50% of the class.
I asked the obvious question of what they were using Snapchat for – and the answer was that it was just a free SMS-like service, easy to send media, works all over the world and w/ friends overseas — and basically that everyone is on it. Was pretty clear it’s moved beyond the salacious roots (or at least how it was covered early on).
Everyone knows I love Uber – better than a taxi in almost all respects, and about the same price for rides longer than 10 minutes (and often cheaper than a taxi for even longer rides). I’m equally obsessed with Waze – a crowd sourced community based GPS/traffic/navigation app that navigates you around traffic, alerts you to accidents, and ultimately gets better the more people use it.
If you are like me, you will occasionally find yourself sitting in the back of an Uber loading up Waze to see how long it will take to get to your next meeting or if you’ll catch your flight. And what you often find is that the driver, although well intentioned and very knowledgeable of the city, doesn’t have a full 360 view of ongoing traffic patters and accidents, and can’t pick the best route the way the Waze app can. A true #firstworldproblem .
So you watch your ETA slowly get later, and you hesitate to give the driver some advise on routes without coming across as this arrogant back-seat-driver.
When I see this happen I usually ask the driver if he or she has heard of Waze — and about 5% of the time they have but they rarely have it available or installed.
So my suggestion: Uber should add a “Waze option” where it’s bundled on the iPhone of the driver, or integrated into the app itself – and give the passenger the option of having the Uber driver just follow the best route as chosen by Waze.
It’s a an easy win for both companies, and gives peace of mind to the passenger.
Twitter turned 7 years old this week. It makes me more grateful than ever for WordPress. Without WordPress, I would not have learned to write with my own voice and style.
WordPress is an awesome platform. WordPress is pretty damn open. Matt Mullenweg is really accesible. Matt is the founder and still pretty much in charge. He was like 15 when he started it. WordPress has community. WordPress powers so much media, but is rarely in the media. I meat Tony Conrad, Stocktwits first venture capital investor, through WordPress. Tony was Matts first investor.
In the physical world, when you shop at a bodega you don’t instantly compare it to an experience at a high-end Dean & DeLuca. When you purchase headphones at the airport, you don’t compare it to the selection and speed of buying something at B&H.
But when we consume digital services or buy stuff online, something radically different happens — at least to me. I get very disappointed when any service doesn’t deliver what the very best service out there is doing. It’s to the point where I change my behavior or try to convince others to adopt the very best. It’s unfair, and doesn’t mirror the offline world, but it’s happening and I suspect it’s driving lots of consumer behaviors these days.
For example, when I purchase any physical product online, I expect shipping to take 2 days max, maybe even just one day. Which is what Amazon/Zappos has trained me to expect. Any service that doesn’t do that, will cause me to double check if I can’t just buy the same thing on Amazon.
I’m a huge fan and user of Uber Conference which allows you to do conference calls with a visual browser interface, provides stats, easy calendar hooks, and calling-in from Chrome. Now when I have to use some other conf calling service with a 10 digit ID and no way to see who is talking – I feel underserved. I try to get the sender of the conf info to switch.
So what’s the conclusion ? Bigger marketshare for the leading services ? Probably. Build something that is at least as good as what the very best is offering ? Yes, but tough to pull off on all fronts.
I think one definite answer to all of this is to do deeper integrations with the very best and build on top of these platforms. If you sell physical stuff, work with Amazon Fulfillment or something similar. Doing voice services, start with integrating Twillio. Building a publishing app, build on top of WordPress.
Otherwise I think you’ll find that your customers are going to turn away when a certain core feature isn’t the best.
Two really very thoughtful and interesting articles I read this weekend.
The first, a TIME cover story, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us, talks about how hospitals set the fees from everything from Tylenol to CTs, and how steep the markups are for what are suppose to be non-profit institutions:
On the second page of the bill, the markups got bolder. Recchi was charged $13,702 for “1 RITUXIMAB INJ 660 MG.” That’s an injection of 660 mg of a cancer wonder drug called Rituxan. The average price paid by all hospitals for this dose is about $4,000, but MD Anderson probably gets a volume discount that would make its cost $3,000 to $3,500. That means the nonprofit cancer center’s paid-in-advance markup on Recchi’s lifesaving shot would be about 400%.
When I asked MD Anderson to comment on the charges on Recchi’s bill, the cancer center released a written statement that said in part, “The issues related to health care finance are complex for patients, health care providers, payers and government entities alike … MD Anderson’s clinical billing and collection practices are similar to those of other major hospitals and academic medical centers.”
The hospital’s hard-nosed approach pays off. Although it is officially a nonprofit unit of the University of Texas, MD Anderson has revenue that exceeds the cost of the world-class care it provides by so much that its operating profit for the fiscal year 2010, the most recent annual report it filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was $531 million. That’s a profit margin of 26% on revenue of $2.05 billion, an astounding result for such a service-intensive enterprise.
The president of MD Anderson is paid like someone running a prosperous business. Ronald DePinho’s total compensation last year was $1,845,000. That does not count outside earnings derived from a much publicized waiver he received from the university that, according to the Houston Chronicle, allows him to maintain unspecified “financial ties with his three principal pharmaceutical companies.”
The other piece is a NYT Magazine cover story, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food looks into how processed food is made and marketed, and partly about the dilema that these companies face – which is when they put out nutritional food, it sells poorly (or doesn’t work b/c of the long shelf life requirements). Yet when they load it up with sugar and salt, it sells well. The story also goes in to how these foods are marketed at kids and busy working moms — really interesting stuff:
Mudd then presented the plan he and others had devised to address the obesity problem. Merely getting the executives to acknowledge some culpability was an important first step, he knew, so his plan would start off with a small but crucial move: the industry should use the expertise of scientists — its own and others — to gain a deeper understanding of what was driving Americans to overeat. Once this was achieved, the effort could unfold on several fronts. To be sure, there would be no getting around the role that packaged foods and drinks play in overconsumption. They would have to pull back on their use of salt, sugar and fat, perhaps by imposing industrywide limits. But it wasn’t just a matter of these three ingredients; the schemes they used to advertise and market their products were critical, too. Mudd proposed creating a “code to guide the nutritional aspects of food marketing, especially to children.”
“We are saying that the industry should make a sincere effort to be part of the solution,” Mudd concluded. “And that by doing so, we can help to defuse the criticism that’s building against us.”
What happened next was not written down. But according to three participants, when Mudd stopped talking, the one C.E.O. whose recent exploits in the grocery store had awed the rest of the industry stood up to speak. His name was Stephen Sanger, and he was also the person — as head of General Mills — who had the most to lose when it came to dealing with obesity. Under his leadership, General Mills had overtaken not just the cereal aisle but other sections of the grocery store. The company’s Yoplait brand had transformed traditional unsweetened breakfast yogurt into a veritable dessert. It now had twice as much sugar per serving as General Mills’ marshmallow cereal Lucky Charms. And yet, because of yogurt’s well-tended image as a wholesome snack, sales of Yoplait were soaring, with annual revenue topping $500 million. Emboldened by the success, the company’s development wing pushed even harder, inventing a Yoplait variation that came in a squeezable tube — perfect for kids. They called it Go-Gurt and rolled it out nationally in the weeks before the C.E.O. meeting. (By year’s end, it would hit $100 million in sales.)
According to the sources I spoke with, Sanger began by reminding the group that consumers were “fickle.” (Sanger declined to be interviewed.) Sometimes they worried about sugar, other times fat. General Mills, he said, acted responsibly to both the public and shareholders by offering products to satisfy dieters and other concerned shoppers, from low sugar to added whole grains. But most often, he said, people bought what they liked, and they liked what tasted good. “Don’t talk to me about nutrition,” he reportedly said, taking on the voice of the typical consumer. “Talk to me about taste, and if this stuff tastes better, don’t run around trying to sell stuff that doesn’t taste good.”