Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Just found out who was Googling me from Sweden

wow........it is amazing how you can find someone 25 years after last saw them. Almost as amazing as the fact that I can say I have memories of 25 years ago.............

The downside is that it doesn't look like I am up for the Nobel prize (did they have one for sarcasm?)

Someone in Sweden Keeps Googling Me


Someone must be nominating me for a Nobel prize..........

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Trust - You either have it or you don't

My business runs on trust as do most if not all finance businesses. All of the paper in the world can't protect you from someone intentionally setting out to fuck you.

Came across this need little diagram on trust on this site with a great (short) work up on trust.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

99 Problems But a Bitch Ain't One?

Sounds like my new song, well sort of, in a white boy, running a business sort of way................

Vote for Me........or Else!

I'v been nominated for a best blog award in a contest being run at Recruiting.com. Click on the image to vote (for me)!

Best Blog Awards

Sublime to the ridiculous?

-Excuse me sir, can we just agree on how much responsibility I will have to assume before I actully fuck up?

Big Four Look to Limit Liability
Waivers of punitive damages and jury-trial rights are quietly finding their way into audit contracts.
December 14, 2005
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche, and KPMG are trying to minimize their exposure to liability lawsuits by requiring companies they audit to limit their right to sue, reported Bloomberg.
According to the wire service, waivers of punitive damages and jury-trial rights are quietly finding their way into Big Four audit contracts — and attracting criticism from watchdogs who feel that liability caps will make accountants less vigilant. As a result, Bloomberg pointed out, five U.S. banking agencies are preparing to bar large banks from agreeing to these clauses (continued...)

-Don't blame me, I'm just the auditor? Fucking gutless cowards..........

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bitch Session

No, I wasn't chasing skirts tonight (What do you mean I have a wife already.............)

Every once in a while (about every month to be exact) I get together with a few other morons like myself and shoot the shit about fending for yourself. No grey hairs here, just a bunch of thirty-somethings who are trying to figure out how it all works.

Hop on the Bus (The economics don't work)

I tried, I tried...........

Since I moved downtown with the wife and Lil' Guy, I have decided to see if it would be possible for us to ditch the car and take the bus/subway on a daily basis. The wife works downtown, Lil'Guy's day care center is across the street from her and I work at Bay and Bloor..........so this should work, right?

Well, not really.

Let's look at it from both a cost and convenience point of view.

The distance of the drive is minimal, about 2 miles to the wife's office and then another 2 miles to my place - for a total of 8 miles a day.

It cost me $8.00 a day to park near my office. My car uses about 1.2 litres a day for this drive. I'll be conservative and say this cost me $1.20. Total cost of driving is $9.20 a day

A ride on the TTC is $2.50 for an adult and come January when Lil'Guy turns two, he will cost $.60. So right now this would cost $10/day to get to work. This will go up to $11.20

If we buy tokens in bulk, we can get this down to $2.00 a ride or 8 bucks a day for the wife and I. Lets assume that the wife and I live in a perfect world and always have tokens on us (In the real world, I always manage to lose tokens, but that is another story).

Assume that we would take the bus 2 times a day, 5 days a week - so about 20 times a month. Doing the math on this works out to $2 x 2 rides x 2 people x 20 days month = $160 a month or what it cost me to park at the present time.

Now add on the $1.20 x 20 days a month or $24.00 for Lil'Guy once he turns 2 and we are up to $184.00 a month for public transit

Buy a transit pass you say, well the economics on that are less attractive - $98.75 a month per person or $90 a month if you commit to an annual contract. So for the two of us to buy a monthly transit pass we are looking at a cost of $180 to $197.50, plus the $24 for Lil'Guy to ride the rocket and we are up to $204 to $221.50 a month.

Wow, I have a new appreciation for the daily struggles of people confined to wheelchairs who attempt to navigate downtown Toronto and the public transit system. Where to start.

Let go from the point of leaving the house in the morning.

1. Getting a stroller on a streetcar is less than fun. Luckily, we leave early (like 6:40 am early) so crowds aren't an issue. Taking a stroller on a streetcar during rush hour is less than fun. The only thing less fun than this is trying to transport a 30lb child over a longish distance with out a stroller (Just for reference, 2 year olds don't walk that fast and sometimes decide not to walk at all).

Some of the Toronto buses are easy to get on to because they have build in ramps and hydraulic systems that lowers the bus down.

2. So now we are heading towards the subway. Good luck getting to the platform. Not all stations have elevators to the platform. In many stations, the escalators only run in one direction, so if you aren't going in that direction, you are taking the stairs, stroller and all.

3. So now we have gotten to the our final station and have to get out of the station..................what's that no elevator? No escalator to street level? That's okay, I can just use the underground tunnels in the downtown core to get to the day care..........who cares if it takes me 3 times as long to get there underground as it does above ground.....I don't mind a good sweaty walk. At least there aren't that many stairs. I love the fact the the little elevators they have for handicapped people or those people pushing strollers often require you to alert a security guard who then has to come and personally operate the lift.


  • Total time to get Lil'Guy to day care using public transit- about 25 minutes. Coming home takes about 40 minutes in the middle of rush hour. Driving is much faster, even in downtown Toronto.
  • Total cost of getting Lil'Guy to day care using public transit - $9.20/day + plus the cost of cleaning what ever it is that you were wearing the day because it is filthy from carrying a dirty stroller up and down flights of stairs
  • Total cost of getting to daycare when you use cash $10.00 plus $1.20 for Lil'Guy = $11.20
  • Cost of driving to work - $9.20 (probably less as I highballed the gas) plus no dry cleaning casualties

So what would you do?

Monday, December 12, 2005

A unique example of hedging

A new spin on death insurance?

Man loses bet by staying alive

"I promise you.......

that our quality is perfect"

read the email from an overseas manufacturer I have been in discussions with for the past 2 weeks.

"Sir", I replied. "I have yet to come across a manufacturer who claims that their quality is anything 'less' than perfect, but yet, my recent experiences teaches me otherwise. What makes you different?"

I can talk like this having spent about 20 hours or so fixing up some "perfect product" from another manufacturer that raved about the quality of their finished product.

Friday, December 09, 2005

OK, I admit it...........

I actually read an old article in Fast Company and thought it was worth mentioning............on Walmart no less. A good cautionary tale for anyone considering doing business with the Ogre from Arkansas.

The Wal-Mart You Don't Know

....Wal-Mart has also lulled shoppers into ignoring the difference between the price of something and the cost. Its unending focus on price underscores something that Americans are only starting to realize about globalization: Ever-cheaper prices have consequences. Says Steve Dobbins, president of thread maker Carolina Mills: "We want clean air, clear water, good living conditions, the best health care in the world--yet we aren't willing to pay for anything manufactured under those restrictions."

..It's Wal-Mart in the role of Adam Smith's invisible hand. And the Milwaukee employees of Master Lock who shopped at Wal-Mart to save money helped that hand shove their own jobs right to Nogales. Not consciously, not directly, but inevitably. "Do we as consumers appreciate what we're doing?" Larrimore asks. "I don't think so. But even if we do, I think we say, Here's a Master Lock for $9, here's another lock for $6--let the other guy pay $9.".....

In summary, Walmart can drive a company's revenue through the roof all the while killing its margins, canabalizing other sales channels and slowly become the center of its universe.

What ever happened to the good ol' days

-What ever happened to the times when Israel and Iran could at least hold hands in public?

(Hum the tune to "We Used to Be Friends" by the Dandy Warhols while reading this little blurb)

Once upon a time, in a galaxy not too far away, Israel and Iran used to be "friends with benefits" in geo-political kinda way.

Then the Islamic revolution happened, the Ayatollahs took over and decided that it wasn't kosher to have an inter-religious relationship with Israel. As it turns out, Iran's father was very upset that it was dating outside of its faith.

So Israel and Iran, needing to keep their relationship on the down low, were still hooking up for the munitions based booty call that would become part of the Iran Contra scandal.

And now this:

Israel calls Iran's president "very dangerous" - Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel called Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "very dangerous" on Friday after he expressed doubt that the Holocaust occurred and suggested the Jewish state be moved to Europe (continued...)

So is it really over? Do I have a chance with Iran? Do you think she puts out on the first date? Will I have to buy her dinner? Do I need to call her the next day?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Street Cred - Hamas Style

-But wait, she has 3 more sons to offer up. How did that song go........Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be................

Hamas "mother of martyrs" runs in Palestinian poll - Reuters

Ok, What Do You Really Want From Me?

No, seriously, just because you nominate me for an award we will not finance your business.

What? You don't want anything from me? You have me really suspicious.

Now if I get an email from you saying I have "won" something, you can bet that I will be keeping an eye on my cheque book.

Paranoid Much?

Wow, that job sucks

So I spent the last few days in a warehouse fixing up a small problem with a portfolio company.

This was a very hands on, repetitive, monotonous and tedious task, but it was something that needed to get done. Spent about 12 hours hunched over a table in a warehouse in southern NY state.

A delivery guy for a large shipping firm walks by me a few times during the day and at one point he stops next to me and says
"Wow, that looks like a shitty job you got there."

Obviously he did not realize that I was not an employee of the warehousing company.

"Ya dude, it is", I responded as I thought, "Driving a delivery truck would be much more exciting."

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Another for the Boo-Fuckin'- Hoo File

-Here's a quarter, call someone who cares............

Are Lawyers Being Overbilled for Their Test Preparation?

Published: December 4, 2005
Santa Monica, Calif.
MANY executives dream of dominating their industries the way BAR/BRI does the business of helping law school graduates prepare for bar examinations. Every law student knows BAR/BRI. Hundreds of thousands of them have taken its courses to pass the bar, an essential step in most states before a law school graduate can practice law. Some of the best law professors in the country teach segments of the company's courses, which are offered live in select locations and on videotape at others (continued... )

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Entrepreneurs Anonymous

Finished plowing through You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth About Starting and Growing Your Business" by Barry Moltz.

I would like to tell you this book is kinda like "Chicken Soup for the entrepreneurial Soul" except for the fact that I believe book already exists and is probably full of heartwarming cheeseball anecdotes meant to warm the cockles of your heart and help you sleep at night (like the rest of those god awful hokey books).

This book is more like "Bucket of Cold Water Dumped on You at 5:30 Am While You Are Sleeping". It's chocked full of little tidbits of knowledge that make anyone who has ever lived off the edge of their credit cards while starting their business re-live the experiences. This book will make you thank what ever god it is to which you pray that you have a loving, supportive and reasonable spouse who has the good sense to keep a steady job.

Bottom line, building a business is fucking hard, let me repeat that.......FUCKING HARD. You sweat, you cry, you grovel, you manipulate, you do things that are morally questionable. If you don't believe me, read the book. In fact, I think business schools should get rid of their ethics course and put in a reality course - get entrepreneurs to come in and tell the class horror stories about the way life works when money, not grades are involved.

The book is a perfect read for anyone running their own business, not someone "thinking" about starting their own business. Why? Well in addition to being an easy read (good for time crunched business owners), it lets business owners know that the "rough patch" they are going through is universal and the truth is that if someone always tells you that things are always wonderful they are either a liar or delusional. It is a great portable support group - "Entrepreneurs Anonymous" if you will.

Despite what they try to teach you in school, business is not an academic exercise. Do not read this book expecting to find answers, read this book expecting to find out that running a business is a "roll up the sleaves, get your hands dirty, holy shit I could go bankrupt" adventure. Do not take my word for it, spend a few bucks and buy the book.

I disagree with Moltz on the idea of "if you want money, get a job" - if you want short term money, get a job.

And remember, "the worst they can do is eat you and that's illegal" (my second favorite business quote)

Do something nice for your wife or husband

The Book That I Wanted to Write

A perfect example of the fact that "Someone else has already stolen your idea"

A few weeks back I was asked to review the book "You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth About Starting and Growing Your Business" by Barry Moltz.

And going against a promise I made to myself to never again read a "business book", I agreed.

I am currently about halfway through the book and for the most part, it was the book I wanted to write, except mine would have had a lot more profanity and grizzly details about the dynamics of business relationships.

From what I have read, this book gives a very accurate account of what it is like to go beyond the "tire kicking" phase of starting a business, the only drawback is, that with most things that have to be experienced to be understood, if you haven't had the experience of founding a business (Yes, founding, not being an early employee at a small young company - which may make you dumber/crazier than the founder of the business - but actually putting up your own money, assets and reputation) then you may not see the value of the book. This isn't a knock against the book, but rather a fact of life. I could read all of the books out there about the wonders of needlepoint, but since I don't have any experience with needlepoint, all of the reading in the world won't help me understand or appreciate it.

For me the value of this book comes in knowing either that, "Wow, I am not a total screw up, lots of people go through what I go through to run a business" or "Wow, there are a lot of screw ups out there, just like me". It just depends on the moment

When I finish plowing through the book, I will have a full "review"

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