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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hiatus

For personal and professional reasons I'll be taking leave of blogging for a while.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's 1984

Has Been For Years


 ~ Lost in all the breathless coverage of the NSA eavesdropping brouhaha is that it isn't news.

Headline news: May 2006

While a small number of us worry about that our civil liberties are being steadily eroded, most of the American public actually trusts their government to snoop secretly into every communication they fancy. We traded liberty for security long ago, so what's the current fuss really all about?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Farmboat

Floating the Idea of Local Food


Produce for sale at Seattle Farmboat
 ~ Every Thursday from 11:00 - 3:00 through the week before Halloween, tour a vintage wooden boat and buy local farm produce:
The FarmBoat Floating Market is held aboard the historic steamship Virginia V docked at Lake Union Park Wharf. Vendors display locally grown produce, specialty foods and artisan crafts on board the 125' wooden vessel--just as it was done a century ago. Market visitors can tour the ship for free and learn about Puget Sound agricultural and maritime heritage while they shop. (There is plenty of space on deck to enjoy lunch with fantastic shoreline views of downtown Seattle and Lake Union).

Friday, June 7, 2013

Coffee is Your Friend

Live Longer


Coffee
 ~ OK, I lied. Here's more information that coffee is good for you:
Researchers primarily at the National Cancer Institute parsed health information from more than 400,000 volunteers, ages 50 to 71, who were free of major diseases at the study’s start in 1995. By 2008, more than 50,000 of the participants had died. But men who reported drinking two or three cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to have died than those who didn’t drink coffee, while women drinking the same amount had 13 percent less risk of dying during the study.
Other studies have shown salutary effects on cancers and various kinds of dementia. Time to brew another pot!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Blended Standards

Is E15 Gasoline Safe?


Blended gasoline and ethanol fuel choices
 ~ The American Petroleum Institute (API) is fighting the EPA over how much ethanol should be blended into gasoline. Is 15% ethanol content, E-15, safe for modern cars?
The [EPA] and the biofuels industry say the blend — which contains 15 percent ethanol, rather than the standard 10 percent — is safe for those vehicles.

But the oil and gas industry has produced studies finding that the mix would damage vehicle engines, and some automakers have said they would not honor warranties in cases where E15 was used.

“E15 could leave millions of consumers with broken down cars and high repair bills,” said Bob Greco, API group downstream director. “It could also put motorists in harm’s way when vehicles break down in the middle of a busy highway. We are asking the Supreme Court to step in and protect consumers by striking down EPA’s dangerous E15 mandate before it’s too late.”
Well, of course it "could". But will it? The API's studies have been called "scientifically weak" and there are, naturally, many other studies that show no harm. Could it be that the science is not settled?

Reminds me of another contentious argument of interest to the API...


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Where's It Wednesday—CXXVI

Where in Seattle is this?

Somewhere in Seattle... but where?

Answer next week.

Details on the weekly Where's It Wednesday puzzle here.
Other weeks' puzzles here.
Answer to last week's puzzle, after the jump.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Startup Leadership

Coda—The Song Remains the Same


Coda electic vehicle
 ~ Building a car company isn't easy. Building one from scratch is harder still. And building one using new, bleeding edge drive train technology is perhaps hardest of all.

It can be done, as Tesla shows.

Yet it is more likely to fail, perhaps spectacularly—DeLorean, Fisker, and the latest, Coda Automotive. Never heard of Coda? Launched in 2009, it aimed to produce a plug-in electric sedan for under $40,000. Last month it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Why did Coda fail when Tesla, with a pricier offering, has succeeded wildly?


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Passion

All Entrepreneurs Have It


Passion fruit daquiri
 ~ I've been accused at times, to my astonishment, of lacking evident passion for my startup venture. Somehow, apparently, during investor presentations, I focus too much on the factual details and fail to offer (say some) a higher level of dynamism at the podium.

Does this really matter? Do investors truly demand a theatrical exhibition of passionate enthusiasm? Or a concise and complete enumeration of the relevant criteria for evaluating a prospective investment?

A sober presentation is better:
From now let’s all agree that we’ll only use the word passion when it’s followed by the word fruit. Ideally then followed by the word daiquiri.

Passion is implied. Passion is why you are reading this article. Passion is why you don’t work for Deutsche Post or a big bank. It’s why you believe that in the face of all the advice that tells you not to do it, to stick to your nice, safe, salaried day job, you’re doing it anyway. Passion is no longer a differentiator, it’s a prerequisite. It’s why you’re at the race, but it’s not the reason you’ll win.
No passion, no chance. I wouldn't be doing what I do (rather than a safer, easier and likely more immediately remunerative alternative) unless I was deeply passionate, not just about the startup, but about the difference I intend it to make in the world. Nor would any entrepreneur.

Only the passionless could possibly be confused on this point.