Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama and Entrepreneurship

Last night while watching the election coverage, a good friend of mine sent me a text questioning how I expected Obama would accommodate my entrepreneurial lifestyle.

I've had various thoughts on this, but his inquiry was the first time I've written any statement.

Here is the response I gave to him -


Obama will certainly change the US entrepreneurial climate drastically, both in an economic sense and a social sense.

Economic Shifts
  • The traditional model of of entrepreneurship will face a downsizing in the overall industry, limiting the amount of entrepreneurial activity our economy can sustain. A rise in capital gains taxes will limit the incentive Venture Capitalists have to invest in startups.
  • Obama certainly recognizes the economic value of small business and start-up acitivity. He has suggested various measures such as an employment tax credit ($500 per employee to small business owners) to apply towards health care and other benefits. Also, he has pledge to develop job creation incentives, as well as small business lending aid initiatives.
  • Ultimately, I believe Obama will shift the enormous entrepreneurial energy towards something that is more constructive for our economy as a whole. There may be less financial capital available, but it will still be there.
Social Shifts
  • I believe Obama will help facilitate an environment where all various types of entrepreneurship carry elements of social entrepreneurship. This means that entrepreneurial activities will be incentivised by more than the prospect of personal financial gain. New business endeavors will carry elements of creating a social well-being, along with economic prosperity.
  • I do not think it is a coincidence that the regions of the US which are the hotbeds of innovative and entrepreneurial activity are also the most socially progressive in their political thought (San Francisco/Bay Area, Colorado Front Range, Boston Area). An overwhelming majority of the technological achievements which make our everyday lives better come from the regions most concerned with social welfare and wealth distribution. Obama will shift the overall entreprenuerial climate to be more like those with the most innovative success.
  • Socially conscious entrepreneurial efforts, such as green entrepreneurship, small business in impoverished regions, and non-profit development will become far more prevalent under an Obama presidency through various economic incentives.
Ultimately under Obama, entrepreneurship will be less financially rewarding. However, I doubt most entrepreneurs and small business owners will take issue with that. It is doubtful that the next Rockefeller will emerge anytime soon, or ever (even Warren Buffet and Bill Gates combined don't come close to Rockefeller's fortune).

Entrepreneurs generally have a command of wealth which many other people lack. Money is simply a tool to make one's self effective, it does not offer self-worth or validation.

I believe Obama will help harness the entrepreneurial spirit and derive world-changes which are far more valuable than any dollar figure can quantify.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Life of Moments

I just voted for the first time in my life. Political commentary aside, I've seen a lot of hype about that first moment of political participation.

However, throughout the course of my life, I've learned not to put a lot of stock in a simple moment. Time after time, people tell me that a certain moment will be amazing, incredible, or even life-changing.

More than not, upon reaching these moments, I've realized just how over-hyped they were. I believe that the value of an experience has no confine of time. The derivatives are infinite. Attempting to place inordinate enthusiasm on a specific moment is selling short the overall experience.

Here are a few examples of the moments I am speaking of -
  • First solo flight
  • Getting laid for the first time
  • Initiation into a fraternity
  • First time voting
  • Skydiving
  • First sight of (any major piece of art or landmark)
  • Religious transformation
The list goes on....

Ultimately, I don't want to live my life always looking forward to a moment in the future, or finding solace in a moment in the past. Whether it be saying "I do", reaching a seven figure bank account, having a kid... moments are meaningless to me.

Rather, I will endeavor to find value in overarching experience, to live life as a moment.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Recent Journeys

I recently returned from a journey which yielded a vast number of new experiences and enlightenments.

In the days and weeks leading up to my departure, I immersed myself in financial news, succumbing to ever-present talking pundits and info feeds of cable news and the internet.  

My recent journey served as a wonderful release from these info dependency and allowed me to see first hand some of the financial environments of various places around the country.

I traveled to the poorest place I've ever been in the United States (Jackson, MS) and some of the richest (Beverly Hills, Bel Air, etc.).  

Jackson is an interesting place in that the city is absolutely decimated by poverty, yet has wealthy areas.  Instead of pursuing legitimate economic growth to alleviate this blight, the young demographics with opportunity pursue careers of either medicine or law.  It is a place which epitomizes the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

Why do our current economic systems seem to always yield this result?  Poverty is very real, and yields destruction upon everyone.  Why do the people with opportunity simply pursue their own prosperity, rather than the prosperity of society?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Final Jeopardy

Category: The Emmy Awards

Answer: A former screen actors guild president, he's the only actor to win both comedy and drama emmys for playing the same character.

My Guess: Grammar

Response: Ed Asner


Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm a Yelper

In exploring new ways to use my iPhone, I've started to become an avid business reviewer on

Here is a map of the reviews I've done.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I downloaded a cool new app on my iPhone called iMapMyRun which will keep run logs and analytics for me.

Here is map of the first run I did with it.

Jessica and I ran around a lake in San Diego.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Final Jeopardy

Category: Award Namesakes

Answer: His "A Little Pretty Pocket-Book" of 1744 was one of the 1st books published specifically for children.

My Response:  Franklin (wrong)

Correct Response: Newberry

The Immediacy of Bad Decision

Have you ever made a decision, acted upon it, only to immediately realize it was a bad decision?

I've done this a few times.  Here are a couple examples of what I mean - 
  • I recently made the decision to purchase "Meet the Spartans" on demand.  As soon as it was too late to change my mind, I realized I would be wasting the next 90 minutes of life.
  • I went on a date with a girl I met online once.  She seemed eager to meet me, so I didn't vet her through rigorous IM conversations and text messages.  Immediately upon seeing her, I realized she had egregiously misrepresented herself.  I sought a dating exit strategy for the next hour.
I think our economy had one of those moments today.  Despite unprecedented public resistance, the Bush Administration and Congress passed a bailout measure that was supposed to save the day.  However, immediately after the applause ceased, the sell orders started pouring in on Wall Street.  On the Dow, a 250 point gain turned into a 160 point loss, after the bailout decision.

It is peculiar how once faced with the immediate reality of a decision, its true repercussions become infinitely clearer.  

Our economic situation is now as dire as ever.  As soon as Wall Street street was appeased, they were making more bailout demands.  The black hole of debt our society is built around was just fed $800 billion.

Perhaps the smartest thing I heard today is that the economy needs to bottom out, as fast as possible.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Entrepreneurial Objective

Boulder has a very strong tech entrepreneurial scene.  Through my connection into this tech savvy culture, I come across a myriad of neat new widgets, web applications, effectiveness tools, and such. 

This stream of information creates a stark contrast to another culture I am well connected in.  Having attended a southern liberal arts university, I have many future success-story friends who couldn't be less connected to the emerging web application scene.  These are lawyers, doctors, financiers, etc. who don't read any blogs, have one email account, are just getting used to texting, and are very reluctant to adopt new technologies.

I am realizing that as a young entrepreneur, a significant factor in determining my own success will be my ability to take the new technology from the tech-savvy crowd, and implement it for the success-story crowd.  

The vast majority of the concepts that I see are ways to make the tech-savvy guy "techier".  My objective is to create technology which makes the success-story guy more successful.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stock Purchase

Today I bought SKF @ $101.98.  SKF is an ETF which bets that financial stocks will go down.

My reasoning for this play -
  • Stocks rose big today, despite bad news for financials in that lending rates are rising, this suggests a downward correction in the near future.
  • Financials are sheltered by the current ban on short selling.  When this ban is lifted, presumably at the end of the week, financials should fall due to the reintroduction of a downward correcting force.
  • While a bailout may well be passed by the end of the week, the market largely factored in a bailout today.  Also, for a bailout to pass, it will need to be less favorable for financials than the one that was voted on yesterday.
  • On Friday, a myriad of bad economic news will be released.  The first target for this bad news will be financials.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Final Jeopardy

Category - 20th Century America

Answer - Experts say Glenn McDuffie is the mystery man in the classic Eisenstaedt photo taken in this year.

My Response - 1945 (Correct)

New Business Idea

In light of our current economic discombobulation, I've begun to pursue scams and thievery to grab the scraps of the US economy.

Here is an email I've drafted - 



My name is Jacob Barstrand the first Son of Nigel Barstrand, former COMPTROLLER of the US TREASURY. As you are aware if you listen to news on CNN or BBC, my country is in great turmoil. My father has resigned and handed over office to Mr. Moses Silverton having been given an automaton by America to leave office.

We have been granted Asylum in Nigeria, but which the Nigeria's Emissary seem to be fighting against, and has created a lot of misunderstanding or civil disorder in Nigeria since the 11th of August 2003. Nigeria is in West Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean from The United States, therefore there is no guarantee for security, hence my father sending me to South Africa to safeguard my life and that of my family. I came into South Africa with some money, which I have successfully deposited in Security Company, which would need your help to take this money out of Africa.

If you are interested and ready to help me, I will gladly give you 15% of the total sum of (US$700B) Seven Hundred Billion United States Dollar Which is currently laying in the Security company here in Johannesburg, for you effort and 5% can be set aside for any expenditure that may be incurred by you for saving me from the predicament while the 80% is for investment in your country.

Kindly treat this matter with high confidentiality, as you know the current situation, which you can verify from CNN or BBC. I would like you to reply urgent as to enable me know where you stand as time is of essence.

Thank you and God bless.

Best Regards

Jacob Barstrand.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I just had a terrible weekend...

Thursday night during one of my numerous information absorptions, I was ecstatic to learn the USC had fallen to unranked OSU.  I thought that the football gods were going to bless me with yet another wonderful weekend.

Coming into the weekly cycle of American male-validation, my teams were all undefeated.  Sadly, they're all leaving this cycle no longer able to make such boasts.

Nebraksa lost to Virginia Tech, Colorado lost to Florida State, and the most hurtful, the Broncos lost to Kansas City.

So to all USC, Florida, and Georgia fans, I'm there with you...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I need a Bailout

I've kind of got myself into a jam recently.  Due to a highly unfortunate and unlikely chain of circumstances, most of which are totally out of my control, I need some big-time help.

I'll be blunt with you, I need $700 billion.  If I don't get it, everyone around me will lose their jobs. The standards of living which we are used to will crumble.  People will be on the streets starving, the dead will rise from the grave, dogs and cats will live will be mass hysteria.

Look, I know I have been wrong about these kinds of thing in the past.  You probably remember when I asked you to buy into that plan I had to win free gas for life. I realize that the results of that decision have yielded a quagmire of ego from which there are no signs of escape, but I promise this is different.

Here is how I got into this mess. I am sure you will sympathize with my decision making processes -
  • It all started back in the early 2000s when you gave me all that money from the internets.  Haha, we all got a little carried away with how much money we bet on the internets, but we still came out with a lot.  Instead of being responsible with that money, I sort of had this bet-big-on-the-next-homerun mentality.  I wanted to make a safe, educated bet though so I put it all on...
  • Housing, and I bet real big.  My highly educated professor from a prestigious university told me the price of housing never goes down.  I accidently built slightly too much though...No biggie.  I'll just sell it to a few people who may not normally be in the housing marketing, I'll sell to...
  • Sub-prime borrowers, c'mon, my motivations were altruistic.  I really put on my philanthropic hat and allowed people to own houses who couldn't normally afford it, a win-win.  I was packaging and distributing an Econo-American Dream!  Some people were hesitant at first, but I simply leveraged the post-9/11 patriotism surge and the record low interest rates to manipulate the masses into a deal that was...
  • Too good to be true, only it wasn't.  Well, maybe by some interpretations it was.  I noticed that perhaps some of these decisions weren't the best.  No worries though, as long as I could conceal the risk of my minor mistakes, I could distribute them evenly amongst the major financial institutions which  comprise my lifeblood.  The detrimental effects probably wouldn't be long as we don't experience an...
  • Economic I thought the business cycle was only relevant hundreds of years ago.  Anyway, the black-hole of debt I created began to feed on itself an everything around it.  Those banks who I thought would be able to handle the minor hiccup...turns out they are collapsing.
Long story short, I need a bailout.  In order to close up this black hole of debt, I need more money than has ever been given to anyone ever, ever.  

I realize this goes against every value we've ever held dear, and represents a total reversal of the mindset which has allowed us to achieve our historical level of success.  I realize that it doesn't make much sense to solve debt problems with more debt, especially when I'm taking out a debt from the people that yielded the bad debt in the first place.  

No worries though, I asked my friend who is 12 credits away from his MBA if this was a good idea, and he didn't see why not.

Please make the check out to "Fail", actually, just make it out to cash.  I'll pay you back I promise.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Final Jeopardy

Category: Novels

Answer: This title of an 1851 work doesn't show up until chapter 133.

My Response: Uncle Tom (wrong)

Correct Response: Moby Dick

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Final Jeopardy

Category: Presidential Lasts

Answer: He was the most recent US President not to serve as a governor.

My Response: George H.W. Bush (correct)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Final Jeopardy

Category: Royalty

Answer:  It's the name of today's longest ruling family in Europe, in power for most of the last 711 years.

My Response: Castile (wrong)

Correct Response: Grimaldi (Monaco)

9/11 - Seven Years and 1 Day After

Everyday, I attempt to absorb as much of the internet as I can.

There is no more effective tool towards understanding the world around you than the world wide web.   I have regular routine of broadcasts, news aggregators, industry dashboards, and message boards which allow me to keep my finger on the pulse of humanity.

Yesterday, I noticed a 9/11 reference just about everywhere I looked.  I began to question how far we have come since 9/11.  How we as a country have handled the conflict, and asked myself if we are a stronger nation for it.

Despite my optimistic demeanor, yesterday I only felt a weakening pulse. The objective pragmatist in me came to the conclusion that barring any drastic correction in our course as a nation, 9/11 will prove to be the event that leads to the Great American Demise.  If you offer me just about any major problem with the state of our being today, I can formulate and argument attributing it to 9/11.  
  • Sub-prime Housing Crisis - After 9/11, the economy needed a kick start to reestablish confidence.  The Fed lowered rates to unprecedented levels, spurring massive buying sprees financed by debt.  Sure we experienced a short lived economic boon, but now we are paying the price and there is no end in sight.
  • War in (insert Middle Eastern country of choice) - I doubt there has ever been more unabashed hate in the US than there was on 9/12.  Who can blame us?  We wanted justice.  However, our failure to capture the figurehead of 9/11 responsibility (Osama bin Laden), has allowed that desire for justice to fester into a blood lust.  Now we stand as fallen global leader, consumed by our own hate.
  • Deterioration of the Airline Industry - Nearly every American relies on the air transportation infrastructure in their life routine.  There is no place that I feel more pain attributable to 9/11 than when I fly commercially.  Our fear has caused us to take ridiculous measures and expend preposterous resources to instill a (false) sense of security during our perceived vulnerability.
The list goes on.  As much as I want to root for us to pull through the 9/11 attacks, I really do not believe we will.  Sure it is a possibility.  However, the analyst and futurist in me simply does not see the American people ever overcoming this obstacle.  We are too bitter, too materialistic, too self righteous, too vengeful, too fearful, and too small minded to survive a mere pin-prick to our ego.

Prove me wrong - vote for Obama.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Final Jeopardy

Category: 19th Century Novels

Answer: (Quote) "My two natures had memory in common, but all other faculties were most unequally shared between them"

My Response: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (correct)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stock Purchase

Today I bought SOLF @ $11.75

Is it okay to be excited about the Broncos again?

I am a sports fan.  Furthermore, I am a local sports fan.  In most contexts, I believe a blind affinity for one's geographic location is destructive; however, in sports it is good fun.

Thus, I offer a brief commentary on my favorite sports teams - 

  • Denver Broncos - Like all battered Broncos fans, I came into this season with limited expectations.  However, after the game against the Raiders last Monday, I have high hopes for this season.
  • Colorado Rockies - I'm still buzzed about our World Series run last season.  This season had its ups and downs, and we most likely won't make the playoffs.  My fanship this season has been tested, and I foresee the C-Rox carrying a devoted follower for many years to come.
  • Colorado Buffalos - The Buffaloes look good this year.  They play with a lot of heart, which hasn't been seen in Boulder for quite some time.  With the possibility of big time upsets this year becoming a commonplace, I think the Buffs could finish in the Top 10.
  • Denver Nuggets - I feel that we are so close to greatness (or atleast a playoff series win).  If the NBA can weed out the corruption, I stand to becoming a stalwart Nooglies fan. 

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Three Things (continued)

Three Things that Make Me Smile
  • Learning about emerging technologies.  The incredible rate with which our society is able to technologically evolve is astounding.  I enjoy witnessing and participating in the collaborative effort to awesomify our lives.
  • Observing and playing in our political process.  Despite its countless inadequacies and downfalls, I don't think anyone would deny that it is fun and incredibly entertaining when our nation gets all riled up about coming elections.
  • The excitement of what's around the corner.  Just when I start to feel summer coming to a close, I realize that snowboarding season is about to begin.  Although, I can always find something to replace the words "summer" and "snowboarding" with...
Three Things that Make Me Cringe
  • Communicating with visibly miserable people.  If you respond to the basic "how're you?" with anything less than "good", our conversation is already off to a bad start.
  • Working with materialistic people.  If you live your life with a storage unit leased on indefinite terms, I question your effectiveness.
  • People who are non-communicative, especially in the context of electronic communication.  I'm sorry if you hate the basic technological mediums of conversation, they're here to stay and you need to adapt.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Political Badge

Carpet Bombing a Letter to Newspapers

Through one of the various political mailing lists I am on, I received a letter-to-editor writing kit.  This particular kit was urging the willing to write regarding some of Republican VP Candidate Sarah Palin's extremist positions.

I wrote the following letter and sent it to 12 newspapers....

To: Various Editors
Subject: Beyond Palin's Surface

Sarah Palin in not a candidate to be taken at face value.

She holds extremist positions which do not coincide with the manner in which the McCain Campaign is attempting to market her to the public. For example, she believes the Iraq War carries a holy component as "God's task". Also, she has close ties to Big Oil companies, going so far as to have her inauguration sponsored by BP. Finally, several of her views on educational content are archaic and narrow-minded, specifically relating to sexuality and scientific origin.

Please do not allow the McCain Campaign's marketing of Palin's substanceless characteristics such as gender, socioeconomic origin, or family orientation to purchase your vote. Force candidates to earn your vote through more than mindless demographic affinity.

Three Things

After a recent trip, a friend sent me text message fodder requesting an activity status update.  I responded to her that I was collecting my thoughts on a recent business travel.  Indicating an interest, she asked me to tell her three things in various contexts - 

Three Things I learned about myself - 
  • I have a tremendous amount of opportunity.  Over a century ago, various collections of immigrants left Scandinavia for the US in pursuit of an obscure concept known as the American dream.  I represent the tireless fruits of their labors, having potential to bring their efforts into fruition on an exponential scale.
  • Possessing various genetic characteristics and learned qualities, I am extremely effective in my endeavors.  While I have not fully realized it in most regards, my leadership potential is vast.
  • I carry an ambitious appreciation for the dignity of labor.  Observing the value and improvement I effect on a situation through work serves as an unyielding motivational force.  I intend to harness this motivation and use it to serve me.
Three things I learned about humanity -
  • As Americans, we have an unhealthy appetite for inventory.  Too often, we allocate our self and energy to a tangible possession.  These possessions build up and begin to consume our effectiveness.  Our portfolios of accumulation yield graveyards of squander.
  • Our world develops on an exponential scale.  We search for comfort and stability, only to cling to an unfound value system.  It is limiting to shield one's self from emerging developments in favor of a proven status quo.
  • One of the strongest detractors (or boosters) of productivity is pride.  Capitalism brings with it an economic hierarchy through which there are inevitably under and over castes.  Adhering to this system by basing one's character and sense of self worth on income yields countless downfalls.  Pride for the fruits of one's labor must come from within, rather than external, material rewards.