Monday, February 27, 2012

Pay Kids to Not Go to College…

Remember how I asked if kids shouldn’t go to college?

Well, there’s a guy named Peter Thiel who is actually paying kids to do exactly that.

The 20 under 20 Fellowship gives people $100k to start a business…provided they don’t go to college.

Yep, you read that right.

See more here.

I first learned about this while watching “Meeting of the Minds: The Business of Science” on CNBC.

I haven’t discussed it with the NFO, but I’m slowly reaching the conclusion that, unless you are going into science/engineering, college may no longer be worth the price tag.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Money Changes Everything?

Location map of North Dakota, USA

Image via Wikipedia

What happens when a quiet North Dakota town (pop. 1300) becomes the center of a 21st century oil boom?

That’s the story of Crude Independence about Stanley, ND.

It’s got everything in this 90 minute presentation. Neighbors who no longer see eye to eye. A bit of resentment, money going to your head, challenge of values.

Given the small size of the town, it’s a great microcosm of how newfound wealth can alter society.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Frustrated by tax season yet?

The western front of the United States Capitol...

Image via Wikipedia

Saw a great documentary (An Inconvenient Tax) about the way our tax system has been perverted and the inequalities that have resulted from it.

Hint: It’s not the ones that you think.


Their “call to action” is at even if the name of the movie isn’t so original Winking smile

Considering this is something that affects every single American, at a minimum, it’s worth becoming more informed on the topic.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hockey and Discovering Life Anew

Perhaps the best thing about kids is the opportunity they present you to rimageediscover the world anew.

Thanks to the kindness of our good friends (and rabid hockey fans), the Lichts, I was able to take Paco to his first game ever, which ended up a victory for the home team.

But, that wasn’t the best part.

The best part was how EVERYTHING was so exciting for him.

He sat there for 2 hours with eyes wide open. The game, the videos, the music, the fans, the concession stands, the escalators, the ticket takers. Whatever it was…you name it, he was entranced.

Honestly, I think I spent more of the game watching his reaction and face than I did actually watching the game.

When I got him home and in bed, he was still fired up and I said to him, “Bud…as long as you live, you’ll remember who took you to your first hockey game.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Americans and Geographic Ignorance…

I know the perception is that “most Americans can’t find _____ on a map.”

In this video, Nadia (3.9 years old) demonstrates how she is destroying that myth.

Do you know where Slovenia is? Winking smile

Monday, February 13, 2012

Value, not Time or Cost…

One of the concepts I want my kids to have is that to be an effective marketer, you need to understand how much value the customer places on a transaction.

It’s not about your cost or your time.

So, the other night, when they were telling me about the “show” they were putting on, they said, “tickets costs 30 cents.”

So, I asked them, “how do I know it’s worth 30 cents? I’ve never seen the show. None of my friends have either.”

So, they agreed to put some “skin in the game” and we agreed on a two-tier pricing model.

I would buy a ticket for 15 cents. Then, after the show, I could pay as much as I wanted…up to 45 cents.

Which they earned Winking smile

Friday, February 10, 2012

Earning the Super Bowl..a lesson in work and reward

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 24:  A fan of the  Indi...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

After the NFC and AFC Championship games, Paco asked me if he could watch the Super Bowl.

I told him that he had to earn it.

So, we set up a checklist of things he had to do, including

  • reading (we were trying to get him self-motivated)
  • Math enrichment
  • practicing Guitar
  • and fantastic behavior (we’d had a few reports from school that were not super glamorous)

Like his father, he’s motivated by these types of achievement goals.

We also set up point levels…so he could earn anywhere from the 1st quarter all the way up to the whole game.

To the boy’s credit, he executed relentlessly and got 59 out of a possible 60 points…so he got to watch the whole game.

The hope is that he would (through this approach) learn to love reading, guitar, math in their own right, so we’ll see if that works.

Of course, he said to me the day after the game “I need another checklist to earn something,” so not sure.

Still…I am super proud of his ability to stay focused and execute the plan.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

So, How is the Solar Going?

Well, it is still early in the process and it IS winter (full of cloudy days and some snow), but it IS working and, in my mind, that’s

  1. very neat
  2. great for the environment

Below is a recent daily chart showing solar energy production.

If you are interested, here's the link to get an estimate.
(full disclosure...if you do sign up via this link, we both get some $).


Sunday, February 05, 2012

A Religious FROG…

Yoghurt and raspberries

Image via Wikipedia

So, there’s a chain of yogurt shops in southern Virginia called SweetFROG.

I innocently went in to ask if they knew whether or not the yogurt there was kosher and/or non-dairy.

When I did, I looked at the shirt of the 16 year old behind the cash register. It had a frog on it.

It also spelled “FROG” in an acronym.

It said.


I said, “oh, that’s great…did you wear that shirt because the name of the store is SweetFROG?”

“No, he said, that’s what FROG stands for,” and he pointed to a counter-top full of the exact same shirts.

Learn something new every day.

And, no, the yogurt wasn’t kosher.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Taking the Low Road

sunken road, Frederickburg, VA, Winter 2011 family vacation

One of the things we want our kids to have is an appreciation of the sacrifices that others have made for freedom.

We stopped at Fredericksburg and the Civil War battlefield there to walk along the “sunken road” where 5,000 people died in a few days’ span. It’s not Gettysburg or Antietam or anything like that, but as they climbed the hill, you could see that they appreciated the military significance and advantage of having the high ground.

History, as it were, came alive for them.