Thursday, March 22, 2007

Giving Meebo a try

This seems to be a great way of collecting your multiple IM names in one place. I don't know if this will be as effective as any one IM program is.

A leader that leads

This is an interesting time in the leadership of the United States. The obvious leader is the President of the United States. Like or dislike there are certainly things that you have to admire about his leadership. He has not backed down from a challenge he has faced. Unfortunately for the credibility of his leadership the decisions he has made have not worked out. His appointees to positions of leadership have turned out to be some of his worst decisions, i.e. Rummy as Sec. Def. The image below is another prime example.

The NCAA tournament has also brought about some potential leaders, as it does every year. This years George Mason is ironically the once glorified and much troubled running rebs of UNLV. The UNLV Head Coach Lon Kruger has taken a program that was put on probation for the sins of their success, and resurrected them. He has done so this season with the help of his son. Making it to the sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament is no short order, the way that UNLV has done it screams quality leadership.

Recently I stumbled on a leader that has been somewhat unexpected. The only reason for the unexpectedness of this leader is the reverse association. Bob Parsons is the CEO and Founder of Everyone knows the name from the infamous Super Bowl ads of the past couple years. What most people don't know is the success that the company has achieved.

I first read about the man behind the ads in a Business 2.0 article. What impressed me the most was his unapologetic success. He is a working class stiff, from a working class neighborhood, that seeks opportunity that he creates for himself. In the article it mentioned the different internet marketing outlets that Bob Parsons uses to voice his opinions and shape the world he sees. I checked out his blog and radio show. In his blog I stumbled upon his 16 rules to try to live by. These are pretty simple rules to live by, and if you can live up to them should make for a fairly enjoyable life.

Bob Parsons is a brash, unapologetic, often disliked, working class leader. These are the same qualities touted by our current President. So what in my opinion makes one a good leader and the other not. Its pretty simple really, as a leader you live and die by your decisions. When the decisions you make sink you and the people around you, then you are not fit to lead. When the decisions you make do work you get the label of leader rightfully bestowed on you. This is true whether people like or dislike you.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Something for the kids

Check this little invention out. Finally someone has come up with what college aged men have been longing for, catapulted beer.
Beer Fridge Catapult

Robotic Beer Launching Refrigerator - Click here for more free videos

Monday, March 5, 2007

Sometimes Free is Costly, and Sometimes Not

This past weekend I had the rare experience of getting two "Free" experiences in the same day. The word free implies without cost. That assumption only extends to financial costs, because there is no such thing as a free lunch. The two experiences that I had were starkly different in contrast with one another.

The day started out with a walk to the Maryland Zoo, in Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD. My fiance and I wanted to see how the Maryland Zoo stacked up to some of the other zoo's we had been to. As we crossed the footbridge over 83, the cars were stacked one after another for as far as we could see. This was the first sign that the "Free" day at the zoo could end up being a costly day at the zoo. After being turned away from one gate, because that would be too easy to allow people to use a convenient gate, we walked half way around the park to the main entrance. That's where the line of cars from 83 was backing up to. We stood in line for about a half hour with the massive crowds of Free seekers. When we finally made it in the main entrance, you have to walk all the way across the zoo to get to the animals. When we did get to the animals, it was like all the zoo's I remembered. Their habitats were in disrepair, many of the exhibits were empty, and the animals on display looked defeated.

While the trip to the zoo didn't cost me any money, there was an opportunity cost. I enjoyed the walk in the park with my fiance, but standing in lines to see comatose animals at a dilapidated facility was time I could have used to study for the GMAT (God I will be happy when that is done). Beyond the personal cost something else struck me about the experience. The goal of the "Free" zoo day, was to give people the opportunity to experience the zoo at no financial cost, in hopes that people would enjoy themselves and become members. With that goal in mind, the free part was less important than the experience part. The "Free" got me to the zoo, but once I was in the zoo my experience was that I couldn't wait to get out, and not come back.

Free experience #2, enter the savior of free. That same night a friend of mine told me that supergroup Wilco was going to be streaming their new album. Not just streaming a song, they were streaming the album in its entirety, before it has been released to the public. Wilco was prompted to make this seemingly generous move, because 4 of the tracks from the upcoming released had been leaked and spread through the internet.

Passionate Wilco fans, of which there are many, could easily get the Sky Blue Sky album by clicking on a few sites. The free album delivered exactly what it promised and more. Wilco was able to stop the bleeding of the pirated tracks by offering all the tracks to true fans. While there is certainly a potential to lose some control of the album release, the amount of buzz gained will more than make up for that. Wilco has thousands of their fans running around screaming about listening, to the newest, latest, greatest, album. They are the marketing that Wilco couldn't buy if they tried. One also has to wonder if the leak was not somewhat intentional.
So there it is. If you are going to give something away for free, think long and hard. That generous act of free could hurt, or could advance your cause immensely.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Finding Music Sites to Find Music

Most avid music collectors are akin to the hunter and gatherers of old. They seek out their prey and collect as much as possible. Similar to the H&G population scouring the landscape for sustenance, digital music collectors troll the the internet for new music.

Collecting music in the digital age is becoming easier and easier. First came iTunes, then came Myspace, then came Pandora in the baby carriage. The first two services are mammoth in the amount of music they contain. So much so that they are often a wash with music your parents would be embarrassed to own. True music fans have to wade through mountains of top 40, smaltzy, soulless music before they can get to the ones they want. And what do TV shows, games, and movies have to do with Tunes? The Users Also Bought and just for you features sound like ideal means of cutting through the music clutter. Why bother? The digital record crate digger, who was the early adopter instrumental in bringing digital music to the forefront, has been forced from the iTunes landscape. The precious kill the music fan so covets has moved on as well.

Their are some new tools that aid in the hunt. MOG, FineTune, Pandora, purevolume, and more that I am unaware of, are valuable resources in the fight. I have them listed in order of preference. With the help of these sites you can once again display your rare tunes like the trophies they are.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

What Kind of Person Are You?

I always enjoy taking personality tests, I think that it has something to do with the Communication Major in me. This is a pretty quick and easy personality test. Give it a whirl if you have a minute or two.

ENTP - "Inventor". Enthusiastic interest in everything and always sensitive to possibilities. Non-conformist and innovative. 3.2% of the total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

By the way... I found this via definitely worth checking out.