# Tuesday, July 5, 2016


A lot of startups—even ones with enormous valuations—are really just two-sided marketplaces.

eBay connects buyers and sellers. Uber connects drivers with those who need rides. Airbnb connects homeowners with travelers who need a place to stay. YouTube connects content creators with those looking to be entertained. Dating sites—like OKCupid—connect daters with dates. The list goes on and on.

In each of these two-sided marketplaces, there is supply and demand. There are a finite amount of people selling memorabilia on eBay, a finite amount of drivers on Uber, a finite amount of hosts on Airbnb, a finite amount of (quality) videos on YouTube, and a finite amount of “dateworthy” individuals on dating sites.

When companies are just starting out, there comes a time in every founder’s life when he or she has to ask themselves whether their startup is going to focus primarily on enhancing the supply side of the equation or nurturing the demand side. When I mentor early-stage companies just getting started out, it’s a question I get seemingly every day.

So which is it?

Why You Need to Focus on Supply

There’s only one clear answer to the question: Follow the pattern of the most successful startups, and focus like a laser on supply.

Why? Switching costs, or the costs incurred—money, energy and time—when a supplier or consumer switches platforms.

There are a lot of barriers standing in the way between a seller on eBay and the potential buyer, for example. The seller needs to create an account. Then he or she needs to take pictures of whatever’s for sale. Next, it’s time to create a listing. Finally, the seller needs to cross his or her fingers and hope that a buyer is interested in conducting a transaction with someone who hasn’t been reviewed by peers.

Over time, if the seller conducts successful transactions, his or her rating will go up. All of this, of course, doesn’t happen overnight.

But once a seller commits to establishing a presence on eBay, it’s unlikely he or she will abandon the platform and set up shop elsewhere. The switching costs are too high.

Why You Shouldn’t Focus on Demand

Thanks to technology, the switching costs associated with customers not finding what they want are negligible.

Imagine a customer goes to eBay and finds only one seller offering the item he or she is looking for. Unfortunately, the item appears to be extremely overpriced. To solve the problem, the customer simply needs to click on the search bar of his or her browser and navigate over to Amazon. Should that fail, the person might head toJet or conduct a simple Google search. They might seek out even other alternatives.

The associated switching costs are infinitesimal. All shoppers need is a few seconds.

Examples of Startups Targeting Supply

Need a little more convincing on the virtues of focusing on the supply side of your platform? Consider these three cases:

  • Airbnb works super hard to get its hosts online. It providesfree professional photographers to help make listings beautiful. The company also provideshelpful advice (e.g., provide soap!) that hosts can leverage to increase the chances their guests have enjoyable stays. This handholding helps bring hosts into the Airbnb family. Which is a good thing, considering how boring the site would be if it only had three hosts (i.e., three suppliers) in each city.

  • YouTube helps content providers produce better videos. The site offers a ton of free tools, including digital studios, editing support, and analytics. It also offers revenue sharing. Altogether, these perks translate into the reality that there are practicallycountless users uploading infinite hours of footage to the site. Not only can you make better videos, you can make money.

  • Ashley Madison, the online dating site that encourages infidelity, infamously went as far as creating fake supply to encourage users to engage with the platform—something that was uncovered when the company’s private data was posted online. According to its own statistics, Ashley Madison had 31 million male users and 5.5 million female users. Turns outup to 95% of those female users weren’t real, but the site’s owners had to figure out how to keep the male users coming back.

If you build it, they (customers) will come—assuming there’s enough supply of whatever it happens to be. By focusing on the supply side of the equation, it becomes that much easier for your startup to reach the next level.

posted on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 9:32:32 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, July 1, 2016

Last weekend in Pune, India, Fresco Capital along with our longtime partner, e-Zest, produced a 24 hour hackathon about building bots. A few weeks ago, I explained why a Venture Capitalist is running a developer hackathon in India. Our main goal was to learn about bots by seeing what developers are currently doing with bots and using that to look into the future of bots. 


IMG 3286










The Current State of Bots

At the hackathon, we had over 125 developers pounding away at the Facebook, Microsoft, Slack, and other bot frameworks. After looking at over 50 bot applications, we learned a lot.

The most common thing that stood out was that most of the users interacted with the bots in some form of chat client. Facebook was by far the most popular interface for the bots, however, we saw a lot of Slack, Microsoft (Skype), and even a few using Hipchat. One team wrote their own chat interface to interact with the bot.  

The second common thread was that for these chat interfaces, most apps integrated some form of natural language processing (NLP) into their interface. Very common, but not nearly as ubiquitous as NPL, was a voice interface. 

We also started to detect some common categories of bot applications. While not all of the 50+ bot applications we saw fall perfectly into these three categories, the most common categories are: 

  • API bridge: the ability to interact with a 3rd party application
  • Interacting with hardware 
  • Tools

API Bridges

By far the most common bot category, we saw integration with many 3rd party tools. For example, Hotel booking with Trident Hotels API in Slack, Skype integration with an internal timesheet application, Pipedrive integration with Slack, Glassdoor integrated with Facebook Messenger.  One very creative bot consumed the API of the host and gave you many useful statistics about the conversation thread you are in. These are the most common bot application as 3rd party integration is the logical use of bots based on the current technology and user comfort level with bots today.

Interaction with Hardware

We saw a few bots, including the overall winner, interact with hardware such as the Raspberry Pi. Still interfacing via a char client, but controlling external hardware. This is part of the future of bots, allowing a bot to interact with your TV, music player, and car.


While you can build bots with traditional software development tools, we saw a few tool oriented bot applications. One of the finalists was called "Magic Bot” and they would build your bot for you if you gave the tool your API and a list of commands. We also saw some home grown interaction clients that would also learn you behaviors. Clearly these developers view a future where everyone will be rushing to release a bot, similar to a time where everyone wanted a web site or mobile app. 

Startup and Developer Ecosystem

Our interaction with the Indian ecosystem was very fruitful. I got to meet over 25 startups at the Startup Pitch event that was co-located at the Hackathon. Big trends were team collaboration tools (not surprising in a market known for remote development), health care, and consumer based apps. Startups seem to have access to early stage capital, but mid to later stage capital is hard to find. Indian startups can be categorized into something that is either hyper local or something that is very global from the onset. I was not expecting to see such a mature ecosystem and was blow away.

We learned a lot at the hackathon and it was a positive experiment. Look for our next experiment somewhere around the world. :) 


posted on Friday, July 1, 2016 2:03:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking forward to 2010, but here is a funny year in review from our friends at JibJab:

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!
posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2009 11:42:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, November 9, 2009

I am in Berlin for TechEd 2009 while Germany is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall falling. Today most of us take for granted the society we live in, however, when I was growing up Eastern Europe was “the enemy”, all colored red on a map. We were not free to do business with the “eastern block”, nor were we allowed to visit without permission. Today that is all gone and I now work for a company that was behind the “iron curtain”, a company that would never have existed if the Berlin Wall did not fall.

Last night we walked down by the Brandenburg Gate and downtown Berlin. I listened to amazing stories from my colleague at Telerik, Jan Blessenohl. Jan is German and was in university in 1989. On November 9th, he actually traveled to East Berlin to buy some cheap textbooks when the protests overwhelmed the Berlin Wall and when it fell he was right there at the Brandenburg Gate standing on the wall, a part of history.

It is amazing to be here today…

Update 1

The speaker gift at TechEd was a piece of the Berlin Wall!

Update 2 (Photos!)

I went to the Brandenburg Gate area near Potsdamplatz this evening to watch the ceremonies. What was really cool was that there were 1,000 foam dominos lined up to fall, each decorated by 1,000 artists around the world. Because there were 1,000 of them and it was pouring rain, I got to get up close to them and take lots of photos.


Also a photo of the Brandenburg Gate:


posted on Monday, November 9, 2009 4:25:15 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, October 25, 2009

While visiting Sichuan Province in China this weekend, I traveled to the Wolong Nature Reserve. Wolong is the new home of the giant pandas after the deadly earthquake last April destroyed their last home (and unfortunately killed a panda).

Wolong is very special since it is the only place in the world where you can go into the habitat and feed and play with the pandas. While playing with the pandas, he bit me on my leg (and Kathleen on her finger!)

Now that is something that does not happen every day. No harm was done, except for a few black and blues. Of course the pandas were just playing! We all kissed and made up-after we fed them of course! :)


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posted on Sunday, October 25, 2009 7:44:39 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, April 11, 2008

After I got home from some factories in Suzhou, China today I got a message from 23andMe that my genome mapping was complete! While I did not have time to really check the important stuff in detail (but I did check, I will not go bald, get cancer or have a heart attack statistically any more than the average guy), I did play around with my ancestors. There is an ancestor map, here is my Mom's map:


And here is my dad's map (he has the exact same map as US President John Adams):


Turns out that I have Western European heritage as well as some Indian Subcontinent heritage. Totally awesome.

More to come.

posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 6:09:39 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, September 28, 2005
That was my time for a mile in the race this weekend down 5th Avenue. In some respects a mile that fast was harder than the marathon. Headed out to Redmond, Washington to visit the boys at Microsoft at the MVP Summit. Should have some good stories to tell in the old blog while I am out there.
posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 4:30:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 3, 2005

My friend in Pakistan thinks 10 million people read my blog. Somehow I don’t think so, but I did get a lot of email asking if I were dead. I also discovered that my parents keep track of me via my blog and called the day of the London bombings asking if I was in London. So I hopefully will keep the blog up to date. So where have I been?


July was a busy month.


First there was the Tour de France. Enough said.


The gang then traveled over to Ohio to visit the whole crew over the July 4th Holiday. Jack brought us all out Lance Armstrong “LiveStrong” wristbands. I know that you hate Lance Billy but that is just because your coach, Greg Lemond, is jealous. We are wearing them for Michelle, our close friend who is being very brave and faces cancer (and surgery on August 11th).


After the Ohio gang threw us out, we traveled down to Savannah, Georgia for a while to visit Jimmy on leave from his duties in Iraq. Jimmy is a LT and leads a mission every day, takes small arms fire and faces car bombs. We got the inside scoop on what is really happening over there. He looks well and headed back and will be home in January from his tour of duty.


Next flew in Lara and we made it official, she is a member of the inner circle of the anti-suckieness club by performing the ritual on 4 continents in the calendar year.  Inner members are now at: Malek, Goksin, Clemens, Stephen, Kathleen, Kimberly and Lara. (I think Alex and Adam qualify?) We took her around to the MOMA and the Circle Line. Any of my friends from Pakistan, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, etc who come visit me in New York, I will take you to the MOMA and the Circle Line (and maybe to the top of the Empire State Building).


After a disappointing Mets game and some beach weekends, I am finally back into the swing of things. Work has been crazy but I am now back from the black hole.


Off to China in 2 weeks, lots of photos of course will be posted.

posted on Wednesday, August 3, 2005 9:01:28 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [8] Trackback
# Monday, May 16, 2005

24 states have laws barring interstate shipments of wine. This is done to protect state industry. It is foolish. This means if I travel to Napa and visit a vinyard that is small they can't ship me wine unless they are “doing business in New York State”. Might as well move back to the Soviet Union.

Anyway, today the Supreme Court agreed with me and overturned a NY and Michigan law.

posted on Monday, May 16, 2005 1:29:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 4, 2005

This is a photo from the USS Abraham Lincoln over the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

posted on Tuesday, January 4, 2005 3:47:10 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [12] Trackback
# Friday, August 20, 2004

I hate the RIAA more than Osama bin Laden, The New York Yankees and Communists combined. Why? There is so much to hate. (If you are counting I only hate OPEC, DeBeers and every telco out there more.)


The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) represents the most criminal elements of our society, the Recording Industry executives.  They sit in-between the artists and you and me-the consumer. When you pay $12 for a new CD how much of that money goes to the artist? Nothing. If you don’t believe me, read Courtney Love’s number crunching here (I’ll wait).


Yesterday the RIAA lost a major legal battle. File swapping companies Grokster, StreamCast, and Sharman Network were being sued by the RIAA to be closed down. This begs the question if I send you a mail bomb via FexEd can you sue FedEx? (No) Thankfully the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals followed Canada’s lead and ruled in favor of the on-line swappers saying that since there is no central server, there is no liability.


So once again to the RIAA, why do you constantly try to litigate away technology. MP3 and downloaded music is here to stay. Find a way to monetize it instead of litigating it. Until you do so I am going to keep downloading for free. (I don’t pay for iTunes because I refuse to buy an iPod and Apple’s music won’t work on my current MP3 player.)

posted on Friday, August 20, 2004 2:16:54 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [15] Trackback
# Tuesday, August 17, 2004

I have gotten lots of email about how to obtain inner peace while still working in a cube. People think that because I am self employed that I have an advantage over them about this. Well my pal Julie Lerman emailed me the other day and hinted that she is taking on too many commitments. So that is where I will start.


Many people are too busy. The older you get the busier you get. Some people can’t even relax on vacation. My advice is that you should just relax a little. Leave work at work, just as you should leave play at play. Find something that you like to do every day. (For me it is riding my bike, running, swimming, lifting, etc). It make take you a while to find out what that is, be it reading romance novels, talking on the phone to distant friends, or even surfing porn on the internet, I don’t care. The first step to actually do it. If you can’t find two hours a day to do it, then you have your priorities all wrong, you are working too much, or something else. And these are not I will get up at 5am two hours, and preferable they are non-consecutive hours. (I gave this advice to Andy Catlin over a year ago and he still lives by it, and he is way smarter than me.) Start with 30 minuets if you are super busy. Then move to an hour, etc. If you protest to me and say “Steve I am super duper busy at the office, you don’t understand.” I have two things to say. Yes I do understand, I am super duper busy and I worked on Wall Street on the Y2K project, you know 100 hours a week. Second is that nobody on their deathbed said “I wish I spent more time doing the things that did not make me happy and were a low priority in my life.”


So after you get there the next step is easy. It is simple, live your dreams. (Well at least the best you could.)I have wanted to go to Mt. Everest since I was 7 years old. I finally did and when I got there a little voice in my head said “What were you waiting for?” Life is too short, live your dreams. No excuses, make it happen. If your dreams are super bold like mine (Climb Mount Everest), do something (like at least go the damn mountain) at least in the neighborhood. I also want to ride in the Tour de France. We all know that is not going to happen, but I do bike races locally against other amateurs at my level and one summer soon I am going to take the time off and follow the tour as a crazy spectator.


Ok, see you all on the other side…

posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 9:09:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [9] Trackback
# Tuesday, August 3, 2004

At 10:15 A.M. on Thursday, August 23rd, 1973 the "Sveriges Kreditbank" of Stockholm, Sweden was rocked by sub-machine gun fire.(1) "The party has just begun", announced a 32 year old prison escapee named Jan-Erik Olsson. "The party", indeed, continued for some 131 hours, or five and a half days, as Olsson held four of the bank's employees hostage in an 11 by 47 foot vault until late in the evening of August 28th.

While the "Sveriges Kreditbank" robbery itself may not have been of world shattering importance, later interviews with the four hostages yielded surprising results -- results that have been confirmed in numerous other "hostage situations" in the years that followed. Even though the captives themselves were not able to explain it, they displayed a strange association with their captors, identifying with them while fearing those who sought to end their captivity. In some cases they later testified on behalf of or raised money for the legal defense of their captors. The Swedish location of the "Sveriges Kreditbank" gave its name to this mental aberration as "The Stockholm Syndrome".

Long-term psychological study of this and similar hostage situations has defined a fairly clear and characteristic set of symptoms for the Stockholm Syndrome:

The captives begin to identify with their captors. At least at first this is a defensive mechanism, based on the (often unconscious) idea that the captor will not hurt the captive if he is cooperative and even positively supportive. The captive seeks to win the favor of the captor in an almost childlike way.

The captive often realizes that action taken by his would-be rescuers is very likely to hurt him instead of obtaining his release. Attempts at rescue may turn a presently tolerable situation into a lethal one. If the bullets of the authorities don't get him, quite possibly those of the provoked captor will.

Long term captivity builds even stronger attachment to the captor as he becomes known as a human being with his own problems and aspirations. Particularly in political or ideological situations, longer captivity also allows the captive to become familiar with the captor's point of view and the history of his grievances against authority. He may come to believe that the captor's position is just.

The captive seeks to distance himself emotionally from the situation by denial that it is actually taking place. He fancies that "it is all a dream", or looses himself in excessive periods of sleep, or in delusions of being magically rescued. He may try to forget the situation by engaging in useless but time consuming "busy work". Depending on his degree of identification with the captor he may deny that the captor is at fault, holding that the would-be rescuers and their insistence on punishing the captor are really to blame for his situation.

posted on Tuesday, August 3, 2004 2:13:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [4] Trackback
# Thursday, July 15, 2004

I thought it was “Dynasty” but Prince sang it like that last night while sporting a I Love New York Tee-Shirt. A great concert by Prince last night at the World's Most Famous Arena. (Madison Square Garden to you non-New Yorkers.)

A mixture of funk, acoustic guitar, blues and classic Prince tunes, the concert was well worth the trip. Kathleen's favorite song was the acoustic guitar version of “little red corvette.“




posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 3:52:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [12] Trackback
# Tuesday, July 6, 2004

The weekend started the Tour de France and so far it is going as expected, Lance Armstrong is pretty much in the lead. Going for 6!

posted on Tuesday, July 6, 2004 12:31:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Monday, May 3, 2004

Yesterday’s 27th Annual 5 Borough Tour started out with a little bit of rain, but it turned out to be a very awesome day. We rode our bikes over 42 miles with the streets closed to cars from Battery Park, pass ground zero, up 6th Avenue into Central Park and then Harlem into the Bronx, back down the FDR in Manhattan to the 59th Street Bridge, through Queens and Brooklyn and finally the winds died down as we climbed the 2.5 mile span of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge (the longest suspension bridge in the US) into Staten Island.


I have done this ride every year except two since 1986. If you like to bike ride and live in New York City.

posted on Monday, May 3, 2004 9:56:57 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [19] Trackback
# Friday, April 30, 2004

First of all, I wish Google all the success in the world in its IPO, I hope it makes tons of money for the company, shareholders and its founders, they deserve it. I love when the free market rewards entrepreneurs. Google is the best damn place on the Internet, period. I have it as my home page and use the Google Toolbar extensively.


That said, I will not buy the IPO shares. Google is valued at 20 to 25 billion dollars. I don’t know how that happened because until yesterday, Google’s revenues were a total mystery to the entire planet except to their CFO and the Venture Capitalists Kleiner Perkins who invested in Google a while back (and also invested in my company four years ago).


I read the public S1 filing document today. Google’s revenue was just under a billion dollars last year. We can do the math, 25x revenues is super overvalued. So let’s look at earnings. Last year Google had $343 million of operating costs (you think a server farm of a gazillion servers is cheap?) so its valuation is at 73x earnings. That is crazy talk.


Sure Google can grow. This year they are projected to grow by more than 50%, but of course operating costs will actually double. They are projected to have revenues of $1.6 billion and operating costs with $620 million that will put earnings at about a billion. That sounds like a huge jump in one year, but hey they do have a kick-ass product. Even so, 25x earnings is still an overvalued stock, no matter how you look at it.


You know what this sounds like to me? The late 90s internet bubble. So let the buyer beware.

posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 11:30:15 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [6] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The most beautiful woman on the planet is single again, Halle Berry filed for divorce.

posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2004 10:03:17 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [5] Trackback
# Monday, April 12, 2004

So part of the deal of Nicole living with me while she was going to culinary school was that she had to hand over her gourmet pizza recipe. Since she heads back to Munich real soon, I had her walk me through her Pizza recipe last week. Yes techies can cook!


We started in the morning with the dough. Here is what we used:


1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. warm water (max. 100 deg. F)

1/2 tsp. dry active yeast or 1 tsp. fresh yeast

a pinch or two of sugar

1 tsp. flour.


We used 2 parts all purpose flour and 1 part slept flour, but maybe would do 3 to 1 next time. Before I left for work it the morning we made the dough and I had lots of fun making it! Adding the yeast was the most fun. As I was working all day, the dough was rising.


When I got home we went to work on the rest. First up was the sauce. Here is the recipe for the sauce:


About 350 grams of whole, peeled tomatoes

2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced (Nicole minced it!)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

a few leaves of fresh basil


So I put the tomatoes into the blender and added everything in to a pot and let it simmer.


Next we started caramelizing onions and cooking a red pepper.


Ok lastly we brought it all together! The oven was set to 500 degrees. I took the dough and rolled out to fit onto a 12 inch pizza pan. Rolling was cool. By now I started to drink wine and Kathleen (the guinea pig) arrived and was starting to distract me and Nicole was on the phone, so I was really flying without a net! Once I put the dough on the pan, I put on the sauce and toppings. Kathleen wanted Mushrooms on her side of the pizza. We also added corn and zucchini. I was also accused of being a onion hog.


So I put it in and after about 8 minutes I put on the basil and fresh mozzarella. I left the pizza in for about 4 more minutes and out came my masterpiece!


Kathleen was one happy customer.

posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 4:19:32 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback
# Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The New York Jets appear to be returning from exile with a new stadium in the west side of Manhattan (thank goodness I live on the East side).

posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 1:46:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, March 20, 2004

Spain pulling out of Iraq will not stop terrorism.


Let us not appease the terrorists like Chamberlain did Hitler in Munich. We are in this together, terrorism knows no boarders. Being a New Yorker who watched 9/11 unfold with my own eyes and being in Europe on 3/11, I have to say terrorism is a global problem that must be attended to by us all, just like World War II.


posted on Saturday, March 20, 2004 1:37:16 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Vacation Time!

Off ot Maui, see you in a week.....

posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 3:42:17 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Hit me Baby One More Time


Come on I can’t resist but comment on this one. Britney and Jason got an annulment today. So the marriage lasted 55 hours, let me just say that the world would be a much better place with Britney married off. Now every dumb guy out there thinks that they have a shot with her. Come on, why would you want to. She is the symbol of everything wrong with the world today. I won’t deny that Britney is an attractive young lady, but she is a poor role model and her skimpy dress makes us grown men thing bad and evil thoughts. :)


You win Britney, you got your publicity stunt and forced the world to notice you even in the twilight of your career.

posted on Tuesday, January 6, 2004 2:13:53 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback
# Monday, January 5, 2004

For Linda


Your Blog is Boring Lately Dude. So that is what Jack told me on Friday night and Linda also told me on New Years Eve. Sorry, I had a lot of techie Yukon stuff to post recently so I can get some feedback for the book chapter that I am writing this month.


So you want some non-techie stuff? How about this rant. Starting this week, to help fight terrorism, the United States is requiring visitors from most countries to be fingerprinted and photographed as part of their Visa requirements. This has a lot of people up in arms. Critics say this will cause unnecessary travel delays and may never prove to be effective. So what if you are delayed in the airport, I don’t care, ever wait in line at Immigration & Customs in Paris? Enough said.  Never be effective? Let’s see, many of the 9/11 hijackers were here on overstayed visas. Would have caused them to be more careful, and maybe given us more clues to catch them. Every little helps the intelligence community.


There are no “rights” that are being given up, visiting a foreign country is a privilege, not a right. Other countries will retaliate, Brazil being the first. Who cares, I have been to Brazil before and getting a visa was a painful process anyway, so now they are just shooting themselves further in the foot.


Damn, if I were in charge, I would require a DNA sample too.

posted on Monday, January 5, 2004 5:04:08 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Saturday, December 27, 2003

Ho, Ho, Ho

Happy Holidays!

posted on Saturday, December 27, 2003 3:33:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [14] Trackback
# Friday, December 12, 2003

A Dutch Houseboat


So yesterday I was on a true houseboat in the Netherlands. Apparently my pal Remi grew up on a houseboat and we went to his childhood home to drop off something to his parents after he picked me up at the airport. It was very cool and you could really feel the house rock. What a treat.

posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 9:54:47 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, December 8, 2003

A killer Infield


Japanese star Kazuo Matsui decided to join the New York Mets, accepting the Amazins’ three-year offer today. Kazuo has been called a "faster, stronger version of Inchiro.” Now the Mets will have two killer shortstops. My guess is the Jose Reyes will go to second. With Matsui and Reyes, the Mets now have two switch-hitters at the top of their lineup who have speed, power, high OBPs, high BAs and great defensive skills. Playoff bound? Not yet. A major improvement, sure.


Now the true question: Is New York City ready for two Matsui’s??

posted on Monday, December 8, 2003 6:27:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [12] Trackback
# Saturday, December 6, 2003

Molloy Boys Take Bubble Baths…


I was changing this at Kenny Anderson last night while I was in the front row of the Sonics loss against Indiana. He must not have heard this chant in over 15 years. You see Kenny is a fellow Queens boy who attended the (all boys) Arch Bishop Molloy which was a arch rival to my High School St. Francis Prep and we use to taunt him with this chant in his 4 years as the #1 High School player in the country. Kenny is the best passer in the NBA and along with Reggie Miller just housed the Seattle Super Sonics. I had my fun at Kenny’s expense, but he got the last laugh.  

posted on Saturday, December 6, 2003 3:59:35 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [14] Trackback
# Monday, November 24, 2003

An Open Letter to My Old Friend and Client (RIAA Must Die Part II)


A group of investors led by my former client and friend Edgar Bronfman Jr. scored a victory in its bid for Time Warner Inc's Warner Music on Monday, signing a $2.6 billion deal to buy its recorded music and music publishing business. Edgar and I collaborated on a database for “Israel Experience” oh so many years ago. (And he still owes me a scuba diving trip in the Red Sea.)


Dear Edgar-


How are things going? Long time no speak. I really miss our days down on West 4th street arguing about the database I was building for you. Sorry I sat in your chair that day too. We have had our differences over database schema in the past, but you were still a great guy to work for (yes I want something). I am writing to you today on something more important than ever before. The RIAA is the devil and you are now the owner of the 4th largest record company in the world.


Please lead by example old friend. Extend your business model for file sharing and selling MP3s over the Internet. Figure out a way to monetize the electronic side of your business. Apple’s iTunes is a good start, talk to your pal Steve Jobs. Don’t litigate, innovate. You can’t fight technology, it is here to stay. So embrace it and make lots of money. Be the first to market, sell Madonna’s next album only on the Internet or something like that. I know you want to make a splash, so this can be it.


Being the first to market you will reap the financial rewards. Right now I openly admit to illegally downloading music to my heart’s content. That is because I hate the RIAA and it is my form of civil disobedience. Create an electronic distribution system of music and charge me for it and I will gladly pay. But be fair to both the artist and the consumer, or the artist will one day not need you. Remember that as part of your business plan, for you to make money, the artist needs higher compensation and the consumer lower cost of the product. Win-win for everyone, including you.


I know that Canadians enjoyed Thanksgiving last month, but do enjoy the holiday season.


Your Pal-


posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 4:29:02 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [15] Trackback
# Tuesday, November 18, 2003

A-Rod at Shea?

It is that time of year where the super duper trade rumors start. The latest has A-Rod in Flushing.

posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 3:02:55 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Monday, November 17, 2003

I think I can fly.


As I ate lunch yesterday on top of Slide Mountain (the tallest in the Catskills) there was a very special feeling as the snow started to fall on Walter and me. I have summitted this mountain twice before, but something was different today. The scenery, the calm, and the smell of the balsam fur and pine trees were intoxicating. The struggle up the last rock face was satisfying, especially when I got my boot wedged into a foothold and could not get it out-had to take my foot out of the boot while hanging on the rock wall with my other hand. On the summit, a calm soothing feeling came over us along with the sense of accomplishment of summiting our 3rd peak of the day (Wittenberg and Cornell mountains were also summited on the 7 mile approach in to Slide Mountain).


After lunch, Mary, Dorothy aka the Condom Queen (I can write that since she says that she doesn’t read my blog), Donna and Norm went ahead of Walter and I on the 7 mile descent (14 mile total day). I love the trail down Slide in the winter, with about 5 inches of snow on the ground and snow and frost in the green balsam and pine trees, the visual stimulus was amazing. Alone in the majestic quiet of the wilderness, we talked about this is why we climb these mountains and that it is too bad people not here would not understand how special it is to be there today. That is why I write this today, hopefully you all understand somewhat.


The stats: 14 miles, 7 hours, 3 peaks, 4 Cliff bars, 3 liters of water and about 7,000’ of elevation gain/loss.


What a way to recharge the batteries, both mentally and physically.



posted on Monday, November 17, 2003 4:53:54 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [11] Trackback
# Friday, November 7, 2003

Movin' On Up

Like George and Wese. Today is moving day.

Not sure how much Linda will miss me, but Andrew must be happy to get his room back.

posted on Friday, November 7, 2003 5:13:35 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Thursday, November 6, 2003

Do you like what I’ve done with the place?


Saw Matrix Revolutions last night and it was good and bad. If you saw the first two you need to see it. Lots of eye candy in the fight scenes, but the movie ran out of gas in the end.

posted on Thursday, November 6, 2003 2:08:33 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [12] Trackback
# Saturday, November 1, 2003

Its gotta be the shoes (aka a Night of Sin exposed)


The madness known as the Halloween Night Party started around 4pm on Halloween at East Side Nails on Lexington Avenue when the manicurist questioned my decision to paint my nails alternating blue and purple. I spent about 10 minutes picking out the correct colors to match my costume. I should have known, this set the tone for the entire evening.


Linda (a sailor), John (a Scottish man in a kilt) and I (masquerade masked man) picked up Kara (hot chick in red fishnet) in the cab and headed down to the Annual Halloween Festival and Costume Ball in the East Village. Andrew, with his new shows, playing the role of a gay British guy met us there and we got going. The night started off well when we found out that beers only cost $2, so we drank a lot (Please don’t tell Scott Hanselman). After Kara, Andrew and I got our Tarot cards read (it was soooooo scary how accurate it was), we got a little freaked out and had to drink and dance more. Andrew and I took over the stage on one of the dance floors and grooved until it was time to go. I was told that I was very drunk, but I don’t believe them.


As we walked to a bar called the Opium Den, we passed on the Bowery between 2nd and 3rd a bunch of homegirls grooving outside of their car. Andrew and I started dancing with them in the street. They got into it and started to smack our butts and one girl really got down with Andrew.


After dancing to some retro 80s tunes at the Opium Den, we decided to head home around 3:30, surprisingly we got the 5 train without any problems. After the 4am McDonalds Big Mac call (where that mean lady who cut us on line called Andrew and I gay), we ran into a bunch of dominatrix chicks across the street from home who whipped us pretty good.


After some beer and watching Governor Arnold in True Lies we finally got to bed around 5am. It was slow going at 2pm when we got up when John and Stephen went to the store and cooked breakfast. As I type this we are sitting down to eat breakfast at 2:45 pm. What a cool night..

posted on Saturday, November 1, 2003 7:50:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, October 17, 2003

The Curse Must End


I am not a New York Yankees fan, but I don’t root against them. But to be honest, when the NLCS and ALCS started, I was rooting for the Cubs and Red Sox to make it to the World Series. I wanted the curse to end.


Last night when the Red Sox took a 4 run lead I was cheering. I thought the Red Sox were going to the World Series so I shouted at the bar last night “The curse ends tonight.” As a Mets fan, I should have know better. The most spectacular comeback in all of sports history is the 1986 World Series. Bill Buckner aside, the curse was alive for the Red Sox on October 25th, 1986. That historic night in Flushing, Queens proved the Babe Ruth curse when the Red Sox were 1 out away from their first world championship since 1918. Last night the Red Sox were 6 outs away from the World Series and blew it. (I was there as a Mets fan in 1999, just 3 outs away, so I know how it feels.) So New York City is a bad place for Boston, first in Shea Stadium in 1986 and last night in Yankee Stadium.


Last night’s awesome come from behind victory for the Yankees was great for the team, their fans and my home, New York City. Unfortunately it was bad for the sport. The curse must end. Just not this year.

posted on Friday, October 17, 2003 12:36:31 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback
# Friday, October 10, 2003

Open Up Mt. Rainier


Rainier Mountaineering, Incorporated (RMI) has a monopoly for guiding people up Mt. Rainier. (Unless you do it yourself.) This contract was due to expire in 2001, but is currently on its second 1-year extension. The NPS has recently proposed a range of alternatives for guiding at Mt. Rainier which will greatly affect the choices that we have when looking for a Mt. Rainier climbing guide service (see page 36):




The Preferred Alternative, #3, I enthusiastically support.  This

alternative, among other things, splits the RMI concession into three

concessions.with three equal companies having the ability to run trips on

Emmons, Kautz, and Muir routes. 


So send a letter saying that you support Alternative #3...and send it to:



Mt. Rainier National Park

Commercial Services Plan Comments

Tahoma Woods, Star Route

Ashford, WA  98304


or, you can send it by e mail:






posted on Friday, October 10, 2003 11:27:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [10] Trackback
# Sunday, October 5, 2003

Over the Boot Penetration


The hike on Saturday was awesome. We started at 4am with headlamps and it was cold but beautiful. I had to free climb over a 50’ rock face in the dark without any rope (there were tons footholds-photos will be up soon) and we got to the top of our first summit at about 5:30am in the pitch black. (Thanks to Walter who gave me extra headlamp batteries!) We summited the next peak at about 6:30am where we stayed and watched the sun rise.  This is where things went bad. It started to snow. And snow, and snow, and then rain. Then 30 mph winds. We summited the next peak at about 9am in the pouring rain and had no views and did not even stay on the summit it was so cold and windy. At 11ish we got to the spot where were suppose to meet Dorothy and we were 2 hours late and she left us a not that she had left. This should have been a sign. We summited the 4th peak at about noon, about a full hour behind schedule since it was so difficult to cross the terrain being so wet.


By 1:30 we had completed about 18 miles and 4 peaks and called it a day since it had now been raining/snowing for 7 straight hours and by now our gore-tex was failing Ned had stepped in mud so deep that the mud had reached “over the boot penetration”. Anyway, 18 miles, two summits in the dark, 4 peaks total and great conversation on the trail with friends made it an awesome day.


Since we finished early, I was able to attend a family gathering in the area for my Grandmother’s 85th Birthday. So it turns out that like everyone in my family reads my blog. (That fact alone is scary.) What is really funny is that they first say that “oh I just stumbled across it, I skimmed it, it is stupid anyway." But then they spent time telling me how I spelled this word wrong on this day and how this entry was stupid, etc. Hummm, I guess they were doing something more than skimming. :) It was great to see everyone.

posted on Sunday, October 5, 2003 2:28:20 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [20] Trackback
# Wednesday, October 1, 2003

"Only a Day Hike"


Saturday my friends and I are doing what Backpacker magazine rates as the hardest day hike in the United States: The Devils Path. The stats:


26 miles

7 peaks to summit along the way

18,000’ of elevation gain (up and down)


The seven peaks are:

Ste-Annes Peak

West Kill Mountain

Hunter Mountain

Plateau Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain

Twin Mountain

Indian Head


This should be fun.

posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2003 5:10:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Sunday, September 28, 2003

Back Home!

Finally home. No place like it.

posted on Sunday, September 28, 2003 3:30:08 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [16] Trackback
# Friday, September 26, 2003

Time Zones and Tour of Delhi

Ok, so Jack, Linda and Kathleen call me on my cell phone from New York City last night, knowing full well that India is 9.5 hours ahead of New York waking me up around 5am from my nice alcohol induced sleep. They must die.

Back in Delhi, India rocks. With very little sleep, we visited the India Gate, a memorial to the WWI soldiers, the Presidential Palace and Parliment (where the recent terrorist attacks were) and the Gandhi Samadhi (site where he was cremated), and the center of the Islam period the Qutab Minar.

After I went and spent over $1,000 on a 100% hand made rug from Kashmir. It had to be the lack of sleep since I don't even have a home to put the rug it, so Jack/Kathleen/Linda, expect a bill. I did buy 7 CDs of local music for about $10 and treated myself to a haircut and a pedicure (my first ever) since my feet for a mess from the trek for around $1, so maybe it all balances out. :)

Going out tonight with Karishma, her cousin (who leaves for London Business School tomorrow) and Magi (random trekker from the Nepal) for a night of sin-so guys I challange you to call me again...

posted on Friday, September 26, 2003 4:11:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Thursday, September 25, 2003

Magi Arrives

Magi, the random trekker from Nepal has arrived in India. She will sightsee with me tomorrow. She was a random trekker that we picked up on the trail in Nepal and had to stay the night at Base Camp due to a snowstorm.

posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 7:48:55 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [10] Trackback

Rajasthan Rocks


The last day of our road trip brought us to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. What a great place, spent the day looking at palaces, a “Wind” Palace that is designed to keep the people cool by creating a natural air-conditioning, it was built in 1799. Then the city palace and some forts to guard the city. Rajasthan still has a king, though only ceremonial. Visited the museum he set up on his residence and saw artwork and armor, including the world’s largest wheeled cannon. We ended the day with about 3 hours of shopping for artwork-Kevin and I have helped the GDP of India with our art purchases..

posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 4:22:51 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [12] Trackback
# Wednesday, September 24, 2003

McAloo and the Taj Mahal


Kevin and I kidnapped Karishma, dragged her kicking and screaming out of Microsoft and took a 3-day road trip on the Indian “Golden Triangle” down to Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur (lots of Palaces).  At the Taj, it cost Karishma about 50 cents to get in (being an Indian) and for us "white people" Kevin and I cost about $15 each. So we took turns at the rest of the attractions pretending to me married to her. :) Turns out that there was suppose to be a second Taj, all back for the king, but he was arrested before he could build it by his cheapie son.


Driving in India is a trip: mass chaos, oncoming traffic, dust, people, bikes, cows, scooters, and more mass chaos. Plus they drive on the "wrong" side of the road, which really dosen't matter since the concept of a lane has not made it to India yet. They actually have a road sign that says "Please drive on the correct side of the road."


We stopped at a tin ruf, mud floor roadside café and it rocked the house, the three of us ate for about $1-and it was the best Indian meal I ever had. Along the way we also stopped at a McDonalds just to see the 100% vegetarian menu and I had a "McAloo" (or potato patty with super cool spices) that was an experience.  

posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 2:48:31 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [12] Trackback
# Monday, September 22, 2003

Hari Krishna and a Traditional Indian Dinner

I am sitting in the Microsoft Office in Delhi, India after a great afternoon and evening yesterday. Kevin and I landed in Delhi and Karishma took us to the the Lotus Temple and the ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciences) Temple while a Puja was going on. The people at the Puja was so inviting and the Hari Krishna singing and dancing was totally awesome. A truely unique experience.

After that we went to Karishma's Aunt and Uncle's house and had a typical Indian meal and stayed up late talking and catching up. Oh boy did I eat well!



posted on Monday, September 22, 2003 4:04:57 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [13] Trackback
# Friday, August 29, 2003

The Malaysian Rainforest


Today a bunch of us speakers went on a trek for 8 hours in the Malaysian Rainforest where we did battle with malaria laden bugs, leaches and lots of natural obstacles. At times it was sweltering hot (to quote Tim) and we had to strip down and cool off.


This was a truly amazing experience. We used a machete to cut through the jungle and climbed through water, drank water out of roots and learned basic jungle survival (like how to cut a water bottle out of bamboo-I don’t think my bamboo water bottle is going to make it through Thai customs tomorrow).


The reward of the day was a phenomenal series of waterfalls and lots of wildlife. 



posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 2:14:17 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [18] Trackback
# Monday, August 25, 2003

Today Scott Case, fellow RD Tim Huckaby, and I went to Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre in central Malaysia. This facility, run by the Malaysian Government, takes elephants that are endangered and relocates them to the protected natural rainforest where they roam just about free. The centre also looks after orphan elephants. We got to spend the day with some of the relocated elephants that have not entered the general population yet. I am talking up close in nature with some serious elephants-at times it was quite intimidating like when we had to run out of their way! That said this was one of the most amazing things that I have ever done in my life.


First we got to hang out with an orphan baby female elephant. She was very tame and really enjoyed having us pet her and play with her. She especially liked when we would put our hands in her mouth. At 20 months old she was already over 1,000 pounds!


Then we went into the preserve and hung out with five adults and a child elephant. This was a totally wild experience. After that we got the chance to bathe and hand feed the elephants. After washing and feeding them, they treated us to rides, on land in the river. While in the river the elephants liked to throw us overboard, we were told it was a sign of affection by our guide Razali-who was a very cool dude.


When we were all done, we visited another preserve and saw a nearly extinct bear (who loved me) and some deer and other cool animals. This was quite a unique experience.


What a great day to spend my off day at TechEd. Well it is back to work tomorrow, five sessions in 3 days!!


posted on Monday, August 25, 2003 2:25:43 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [10] Trackback
# Sunday, August 24, 2003

A Malaysian Brick-With an Australian


Adam Cogan who thinks that blogs are stupid and thinks that personal posts are even stupider did a brick with me today-we ran 5km and swam. (Well the swim was not as intense, but we went through the motions since we weight trained too after the run.)


While Adam can kick my ass in tennis as I learned the hard way back in 1998, he has no advantage over me while running. J

Meanwhile back in the good old USA, teammates Tom Halligan and Andy Catlin banged out 71.6 miles in the park Saturday as I learned when Tom called me to wake me up to tell me.

posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 6:57:25 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [14] Trackback
# Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Arrest this Man: NYS License Plate # ROBB (T & LC)


A copy of my email to the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commissioner:


Today something unthinkable happened during our training bike ride in Central Park. On the last leg of the 40km ride a crazy livery cab started harassing us. (This is not that uncommon.) The harassment turned ugly when the car drove across two lanes of traffic and intentionally drove straight into teammate Tom Halligan (and clipping my right elbow at the same time). Tom was not thrown off the bike, but immediately a chase was on (lead by teammate Andy Catlin) and the car was swerving in and out of traffic to escape the park. Several bikers and other cars came to our aid.

We chased the car outside of the park and he was stopped at a red light. I yelled for him to “get out of the fucking car now” as another biker who came to our aid rode to the left of the car and I was on the right, all on Central Park West and about 95th street. Then the car turned over the double yellow line and hit the second biker and drove down to Columbus avenue! That is the second intentional hitting of a pedestrian and leaving the scene of the accident. A few more bikers were behind me chancing the car down Columbus, and even pumping the fastest I have ever went (about 40mph on flat) we lost him around 72nd street as the car drove on the wrong side of the road and went up a one way street to escape down the West Side Highway. Even down at 72nd cars were pulling over offering his license plate and any other assistance possible.

Please arrest this man and never let him drive again in the State of New York.


posted on Tuesday, August 19, 2003 11:55:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, August 16, 2003

I am sitting in my office at Corzen in Union Square, having just brought the servers back up. It has been a long 40 hours or so.


Thursday 4:11 pm. Corzen’s Office @ Union Square


I am oddly sitting in the server room working on a staging server when all the Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSes) start to chirp. I know that only badness will follow. About 30 seconds later, the power goes. Everyone is calm since we are in a very old and has a power outage every once in a while. So my business partner and Corzen’s CEO, Bruce Murray and I decide to go and get a few beers at the local bar to wait it out.


Thursday 5:00pm. Park Bar @ Union Square

As more people start to filter on in the bar, we realize that this is bigger than we thought. At first we thought it was just local to our building, then our general area, but then we heard about Canada and such. We immediately thought terrorism (we are New Yorkers) and ran back to the office and plugged a TV into a UPS and saw some CNN. We decide to all walk home, Bruce and Bob Plummer (our director of Indicator Services) both live in Brooklyn, so they left for a 5.5 mile walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.


Thursday 6:30pm. West 57th Street

I finally get home. Being the CTO, I was the last to leave the office and it only took about 45 minutes to walk home. Since it was mobbed with people and about 94 and humid, I was drenched. (I also had tix for a bway show that night, so I was dressed not in my typical shorts and tee shirt.) I peeled off my clothes and showered with all the windows open in my apartment for light. After my shower I was making some phone calls to my teammate Tom Halligan (who was in Long Island WITH power) and his wife stuck home on 11th Avenue without power and my buddy Richard Campbell in Canada for information. I get hungry around 8pm and go out to look for some food.


Thursday 9:45pm. East 89th Street

So my quest for food brings me to the east side where I actually hook up with my running partner and walk her home (she was walking home alone and I had a flashlight.) After I drop her off I walk down 5th avenue, all along Museum Mile and to my disbelief, I see stars! Yes total constellations, like I was in the woods. I can hear the crickets in Central Park. It was so strange just walking home in such darkness. When I mean pitch black, I mean pitch black. When I get home to my building there was a little party going on, cheese and wine set up, and chairs. Talked about my Everest trip with my building owners (who are Everest junkies and climbers themselves) and I helped a bunch of people up the stairs with my flashlight (good Everest training.) When I was done, I climbed the 14 flights to my apartment and went to bed.


Friday 4:14am. West 57th Street

I was awaken by the sounds of the power turning on! I turned on my AC and thought that the worst was over.


Friday 6:00am. Engineers Gate, Central Park

My running partner arrives and she is still without power. The whole east side of Manhattan is still without power. We run and it is nice and cool. When I get home I realize that just about 75% of the city is still without power. My phone goes out and the cell phone is spotty, very spotty. Bruce calls me and said that power is still not back in Union Square, don’t even think of coming in until it is. So I do laundry, clean my apartment and pack my bags for my Everest trip in the comfort of my air conditioning (I feel very guilty, but it was HOT).


Friday 4:00pm. Central Park South

I just completed a 30km circuit in 57:04 on my OLD bike. This was by far the best time I have ever had. Some friends come on over (who STILL don’t have power) and a good time is had by all. Total power is restored to the city by late evening. The subways still don’t work.

Saturday 12:00pm Corzen’s Office @ Union Square

The subways are open and I get down to the office and brought the servers back up. Life is back to normal.

posted on Saturday, August 16, 2003 7:46:54 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Thursday, August 14, 2003

You can go home again…


Tonight was a major homecoming, for many reasons. I was born in Flushing, Queens and spent the first 18 years of my life four miles from Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets. My late Grandfather took me to my first Mets game in May of 1977 (a loss against the San Diego Padres, I still have the ticket.) I also worked for the Mets as a stadium vendor from 1987 to 1994. So I have been to at least one Mets game every year since 1977, and from ’87 to ’94 I must have worked over 500. Tonight was my first and only game of this season. So as my pal Kyle and I traveled on the 7 train to Shea tonight to watch the Mets take on Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants it was a bit of a homecoming for me.


But despite what my teammate Tom Halligan says, this blog is not all about me. Tonight was a very special Mets game for Mets fans. Superstar Mike Piazza officially came off the disabled list after missing the last three months of the season. So tonight was Mike’s homecoming and first game as a Met since early May.


Let’s just say that this game was one of the best games ever. I have never seen Mike Piazza hit a home run and most of the games I go to the Mets lose. Not tonight. Mike hit a 2 run home run and two singles for 5 RBIs in his first game back. The place went wild.


In addition to killing the first place SF Giants 9-2 tonight, there was insult added to injury. Pitcher Steve Trachsel hit an RBI double! That never happens non-baseball fans. Steve also pitched 7 2/3 solid innings.


But wait there’s more. Smart ass Barry Bonds (how dare he compare himself to Babe Ruth) had a horrible night. He actually got a hit but was tossed out trying to stretch it to a double. Then in the 8th inning, they pinch hit for him! I think that the last time someone pinch hit for Barry was in 1986.


The only bad point of the game was at the 7th inning stretch when RD Mom Eileen Crain called to tell me that Scott Hanselman and myself are in trouble due to some emails we sent on a private alias. I told her that she should chill out (which made her more mad) and had to call Scott to tell him the deal and then he called her and then I called her when I got home. We all love each other again, but I think it is kind of funny that news can travel so fast, from Redmond, to Flushing to Portland in a matter of 2 minutes without the aid of a computer.


Homecoming was fun and congratz again Mike.

posted on Thursday, August 14, 2003 3:40:28 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Saturday, August 9, 2003

Taper Day


Today I do nothing but sit at home, drink drink drink water and eat pasta. Tomorrow is the big race.

Last night I went out with some buds, including Rob Wlodarczyk who leaves for a job at the Evil Empire on Tuesday.

posted on Saturday, August 9, 2003 6:42:06 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Friday, August 8, 2003

Overcome Parkinson's Law


Parkinson’s Law is taking over. The basic thesis of Parkinson is: ‘Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.’


So I have called a meeting to discuss 1 small bug, should take 5 minutes, but call the meeting for 30 minutes. The meeting will last 30 minutes!


Further explanation from Parkinson:


“General recognition of this fact is shown in the proverbial phrase 'It is the busiest man who has time to spare.' Thus, an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half an hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and twenty minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar box in the next street. The total effort that would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety, and toil.”


So this has a lot to do with being efficient. Overcoming Parkinson’s Law is one the most liberating things that you can ever do. A big problem I have with meetings today in corporate American. They last forever and never accomplish anything. I hate when someone calls a meeting and there is no clear reason for it and then says “Stephen why don’t you start off the meeting.” Argh. So I put an end to this. Now my new rules for meetings are (and if they don’t meet this criteria, I don’t attend the meeting, unless the person calling the meeting is “important” J):


1.         No meeting lasts more than 45 minutes

2.         All meetings are "stand-up" meetings, nobody sits down

3.         There are no meetings without an agenda

4.         No meetings should have any food or drink allowed in them

5.         No meetings at odd hours: 5pm, obvious lunch times, etc


When I was CTO over at Zagat, I also instituted a meeting free Friday, something that you may want to try at your place too. I got away with it by sending an all day meeting invite to my entire staff called “Staff Meeting” that had a recurrence on every Friday and then when other people used Outlook/Exchange to schedule a meeting, they were always booked on the Friday!!!


Even if you can’t control the 5 items above, you can always ask the meeting organizer to circulate an agenda before the meeting, this will get them thinking more efficiently!

posted on Friday, August 8, 2003 2:32:11 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [19] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 6, 2003

The Architect

I think everyone who wanted to see this movie has seen it and it is safe to post this now. I post this in honor of Jack, Kathleen, Jay and all the others last night that told me that they were still plugged into the Matrix:

The Architect - Hello, Neo.

Neo - Who are you?

The Architect - I am the Architect. I created the matrix. I've been waiting for you. You have many questions, and although the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human. Ergo, some of my answers you will understand, and some of them you will not. Concordantly, while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize it is
also irrelevant.

Neo - Why am I here?

The Architect - Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced
equation inherent to the programming of the matrix. You are the
eventuality of an anomaly, which despite my sincerest efforts I have been unable
to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision.
While it remains a burden to sedulously avoid it, it is not unexpected, and
thus not beyond a measure of control. Which has led you, inexorably, here.

Neo - You haven't answered my question.

The Architect - Quite right. Interesting. That was quicker than the

*The responses of the other Ones appear on the monitors: Others? What
others? How many? Answer me!'*

The Architect - The matrix is older than you know. I prefer counting
from the emergence of one integral anomaly to the emergence of the next, in
which case this is the sixth version.

*Again, the responses of the other Ones appear on the monitors: Five
versions? Three? I've been lied too. This is bullshit.*

Neo: There are only two possible explanations: either no one told me,
or no one knows.

The Architect - Precisely. As you are undoubtedly gathering, the
anomaly's systemic, creating fluctuations in even the most simplistic equations.

*Once again, the responses of the other Ones appear on the monitors:
You can't control me! Fuck you! I'm going to kill you! You can't make me
do anything!*

Neo - Choice. The problem is choice.

*The scene cuts to Trinity fighting an agent, and then back to the
Architects room*

The Architect - The first matrix I designed was quite naturally
perfect, it was a work of art, flawless, sublime. A triumph equaled only by its
monumental failure. The inevitability of its doom is as apparent to me
now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being,
thus I redesigned it based on your history to more accurately reflect the
varying grotesqueries of your nature. However, I was again frustrated by
failure. I have since come to understand that the answer eluded me because it
required a lesser mind, or perhaps a mind less bound by the parameters of
perfection. Thus, the answer was stumbled upon by another, an intuitive program,
initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche.
If I am the father of the matrix, she would undoubtedly be its mother.

Neo - The Oracle.

The Architect - Please. As I was saying, she stumbled upon a solution
whereby nearly 99.9% of all test subjects accepted the program, as
long as they were given a choice, even if they were only aware of the choice
at a near unconscious level. While this answer functioned, it was obviously
fundamentally flawed, thus creating the otherwise contradictory
systemic anomaly, that if left unchecked might threaten the system itself.
Ergo, those that refused the program, while a minority, if unchecked, would
constitute an escalating probability of disaster.

Neo - This is about Zion.

The Architect - You are here because Zion is about to be destroyed.
Its every living inhabitant terminated, its entire existence eradicated.

Neo - Bullshit!

*The responses of the other Ones appear on the monitors: Bullshit!*

The Architect - Denial is the most predictable of all human responses.
But, rest assured, this will be the sixth time we have destroyed it, and we
have become exceedingly efficient at it.

*Scene cuts to Trinity fighting an agent, and then back to the

The Architect - The function of the One is now to return to the
source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting
the prime program. After which you will be required to select from the
matrix 23 individuals, 16 female, 7 male, to rebuild Zion. Failure to comply
with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash killing everyone
connected to the matrix, which coupled with the extermination of Zion will
ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race.

Neo - You won't let it happen, you can't. You need human beings to

The Architect - There are levels of survival we are prepared to
accept. However, the relevant issue is whether or not you are ready to accept
the responsibility for the death of every human being in this world.

*The Architect presses a button on a pen that he is holding, and
images of people from all over the matrix appear on the monitors*

The Architect - It is interesting reading your reactions. Your five
predecessors were by design based on a similar predication, a
contingent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest
of your species, facilitating the function of the one. While the others
experienced this in a very general way, your experience is far more
specific. Vis-a-vis, love.

*Images of Trinity fighting the agent from Neos dream appear on the

Neo - Trinity.

The Architect - Apropos, she entered the matrix to save your life at
the cost of her own.

Neo - No!

The Architect - Which brings us at last to the moment of truth,
wherein the fundamental flaw is ultimately expressed, and the anomaly revealed as
both beginning, and end. There are two doors. The door to your right leads
to the source, and the salvation of Zion. The door to the left leads back to
the matrix, to her, and to the end of your species. As you adequately put,
the problem is choice. But we already know what you're going to do, don't
we? Already I can see the chain reaction, the chemical precursors that
signal the onset of emotion, designed specifically to overwhelm logic, and
reason. An emotion that is already blinding you from the simple, and obvious
truth: she is going to die, and there is nothing that you can do to stop it.

*Neo walks to the door on his left*

The Architect - Humph. Hope, it is the quintessential human delusion,
simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest

Neo - If I were you, I would hope that we don't meet again.

The Architect - We won't.

posted on Wednesday, August 6, 2003 10:42:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback
# Monday, August 4, 2003

New mail has arrived...

When I got home today, my brand new custom made Torelli Brianza racing bike arrived at my door. Nohting beats hand made Italian frames. It arrived just in the nick of time since I have a major tri this weekend. Components are a Campagnolo Veloce/Mirage mix. This is a steel frame, I will have this forever. I am in a state of bliss. Now off to the bike shop tomorrow to pick out some nice clipless pedals, a cycle computer and new shoes.

posted on Monday, August 4, 2003 10:45:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Sunday, August 3, 2003

Ready for Mount Everest....

A nice climb up Mt. Rainer (14,410'), this weekend via Paradise and Camp Muir. We are all systems go for Mt. Everest in a few weeks...The altitude was no problem.

Over 7,200' was all snow. And a lot of it. Some cool snowboarder chicks hiked all the way up to Muir at 10,000' to then went on down, I have to go back and do that.

Kevin and I ran up the hill. We covered the run from the snow line at 7,200' to Muir at 10,000' in about 3 hours. (Coming down was less than an hour, virtual skiing.)

I am now publically giving some credit to my running partner Kathleen. She meets me 3 days a week, rain or shine (and it seems to mostly rain), hung-over or not (even if I was the cause of her hangover the night before), and likes to run fast. She also motivates me or rather likes to yell at me when I am dogging it saying things like "How are you going to get up Everest if you can't make it around the loop!" Thanks, I owe you one..

Photos up soon...

(WiFi Internet Access in the Airport rocks!)


posted on Sunday, August 3, 2003 1:51:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Friday, August 1, 2003

Preparing for Mount Everest


I am sitting at JFK airport waiting for my flight to Seattle. I have flown into Seattle at least 50 times since 1996 and each and every time I have went to Seattle in my life was to go do work or attend a meeting at Microsoft up in Redmond. Today is something new for me. I am going to Seattle not for Microsoft but for personal reasons. Ok, ok, I am going to drop by campus anyway and do lunch with the “RD Mom”, Eileen Crain, the PM for the Regional Director Program. (lunch doesn’t count) And after spending the week in New York at VSLive! with RDs Andrew Brust, Billy Hollis, Jackie Goldstein, Juval Lowy, and Ken Getz, this does feel like being summoned to the Mother Ship-but no, my visit to campus is completely voluntary. I am in Seattle for personal reasons.


In 29 days, I arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal to begin my trek to Mt. Everest with my pal Kevin Collins (who is the PM for SQL Server CE). Kevin and I are gong to do a high-altitude training run this weekend on Mt. Rainer (14,410'), outside of Seattle. Mt. Rainer is the second tallest mountain (by 54 feet!) in the lower 48. Ok, technically it is a Volcano (and an active one that is!). So it is the tallest Volcano in the continental United States! 


If you don’t hear from me soon, you know where to look for my body! No, don’t worry, while a few people die on Mt. Rainer each year, Joel Check (old Jet database engine Dev who is climbing with Kevin and I this weekend) and I have a tremendous amount of high altitude experience-and know our limits. Also, I can’t die, I have to be home for my teammate Tom Halligan’s birthday celebration on Tuesday. That is going to be a night of sin…

posted on Friday, August 1, 2003 4:57:01 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback
# Wednesday, July 30, 2003

No More Radio...

das Blog is live! Thanks to Clemens for all his help...

I installed from source, took about 20 minutes of actual time to install locally, import my old entries from Radio, deploy to my ISP, etc. (Real time was a few hours since I was doing this in-between my VSLive sessions and had to get the ISP to set up the correct permissions, install 1.1, etc) I got it working first on 1.0  at the ISP and then moved it to a box running 1.1: much better..Gonna start the redirect from Radio today.

Now that I was the uber tester, I want to help Clemens somewhat in all of this. I have some ideas on improving the cache using the cache API w/ vary by param, gonna work with Clemens on that one.

Oh yea, comments work!!

posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 5:32:32 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [19] Trackback
# Monday, July 28, 2003

A Meeting with a Mentor..


Having a two hour lunch with your friend and mentor is one thing, having a two hour lunch with your mentor and two of your closest friends and business companions is just pure bliss. That was pretty much the state of affairs today at lunch with my friend and mentor, Peter Bloom and friends: Richard Campbell and Tom Howe. We talked about everything from the future of Linux (which we all agreed needs an economic incentive to progress, see below), visual pinball, the state of on-line poker and lots of other business.


Peter, who was always was a Microsoft skeptic, but not a Microsoft hater, said that his faith in Microsoft technology has grown very substantially over the last few years, especially since .NET has greatly improved. He has seen more and more portfolio companies in his fund make a mission critical business bet on Microsoft and have great success. He thinks the since .NET Microsoft has just gotten it right. That is good news and I have seen much better quality from Microsoft in the last 3 years with .NET, XP and other stuff.


Lastly we all agreed that without an economic incentive and a corporate leader, Linux can never succeed. The reason why is that since it is all volunteer based only the COOL features get built. Richard was talking about how in the open source database he is using, awesome features exist, but boring things like incremental backup don’t. (Which is a deal breaker for any RDBMS for me!) This is why you need  a corporate sponsorship of the whole open source universe. (sorry all my utopian society OSS friends, capitalism works, just ask our friends in the USSR…) Why doesn’t evil Larry say 10 million for the first person to come up with the needed boring feature? This will be fun to watch….

posted on Monday, July 28, 2003 6:45:16 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [83] Trackback
# Sunday, July 27, 2003

Five in a Row


So today Lance Armstrong won his 5th straight Tour de France. Only four other men have won 5 times. Lance (if you don’t know), returned from near-fatal cancer in 1999 to win his first Tour and today emulated France's Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, Belgian Eddy Merckx and Spain's Miguel Indurain. Besides Lance, only Indurain has won 5 in a row. Only one other American, Greg LeMond has won the tour before. Up and coming American Tyler Hamilton took 4th, despite suffering a broken collarbone on the second day of the tour. So basically Tyler rode 3,000 km with a collarbone broken in two places. This year’s tour was one of the most exciting and Lance only won by 61 seconds over his arch rival Jan Ullrich.


posted on Sunday, July 27, 2003 9:45:20 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Death to the RIAA


From The Register:

After issuing a subpoena to the MIT, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) finds itself in yet another legal battle as university officials have refused to divulge their students' names. MIT is protecting students suspected of trading copyrighted files, citing privacy concerns and improper legal tactics by the RIAA as a defense.“

Even Michael Jackson is concerned about the war on music fans. 'Why do the labels need such aggressive measures in their pursuit of our youth? Why not give universities a bit of time to look after the concerns of their students?'



Go MIT! I always liked techies from Cambridge. Michael, well you are strange, but you are correct this time. J


The RIAA must die. The RIAA is pure evil. They are anti-technology dinosaurs. They would rather litigate away the internet than embrace it as a new business model. They screw the artists and the consumers. This is why I openly violate all copyright laws and download MP3s to my heart's content. I am practicing civil disobedience with each download.


So RIAA, how can you stop me? On the techie front, you just can't, sorry. I am way too smart for you. (And when I am no longer smarter than you I have friends who are way smarter than me!) I can make my IP Address look like Saddam Hussein's. You can't shut down my ISP and I don't attend a University, so you have nobody to sue. Just try suing me, ha that would be fun. I have Tom Howe as my lawyer!


Oh wait. You can stop me. You can stop suing ISPs, Universities, etc and work with the artists and the technology industry to come up with a way to monetize MP3 distribution. You can't fight technology (Just ask the Peoples Republic of China and Google). Wishing that there was no file sharing and the internet is not going to make it go away. I am more than willing to pay THE ARTIST for each MP3 that I download. Where does that leave the RIAA. Hopefully in hell where they belong.


posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 2:45:14 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [22] Trackback