I have no post for today.

January 27, 2009

This is the first day I haven’t had a post ready on time.  More this week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

If you’ve never checked these sites out before, give em a shot:

www.newegg.com

bensbargains.net

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What to do with all that available Commercial Real Estate

January 23, 2009

2009_01_23As the market and the economy change, especially in the negative direction, brick and mortar stores are increasingly closing up shop!  But, what to do with all of the available commercial real estate open for lease?

 

Well, before addressing that question, let’s think for a moment about public schools.  When populations increase, property taxes increase as the properties increase in value.  Schools become beneficiaries of this increase in property tax revenue.  Now, public schools must expand in order to accommodate for the increase in enrollment.  Funding to expand schools, which in effect are brick and mortar institutions, increases as the property tax revenue increase.  But what happens when population and property values decrease?  The schools must still maintain their expanded size, but how do schools contract with the economy and population changes?

 

The solution: host public school courses in open commercial real estate leases!

 

Thoughts?


I’m a republican and I like Obama

January 22, 2009

Technically I’m registered non-party, but for most of my life the Republican Party has played an active role in my political decision making process.

 

Being a republican in San Francisco certainly comes with its challenges.  On many occasions during Bush II administration, many republicans went into diplomatic hiding rather than discussing politics with San Franciscans.  Yes, read that once again, San Franciscans are considered by default extremely liberal and almost entirely statically belonging to the Democrat Party.  The reason for Republicans in San Francisco to refrain from political discourse with folks from the other side of the aisle is natural; it is too difficult to discern whether a San Franciscan is actually a Democrat or just a Bush-basher.  Oftentimes, it seems as if Democrats stand for nothing except hating George W. Bush.

 

Democrats like to argue using feelings and quotations from non-factual based, biased non-academic works such as Michael Moore films.

 

I like that the majority of Americans support Obama.  I like that the nation feels united under an Obama administration.  But I like that my form of Republicanism is factually based.  But factually speaking, Obama is but ONE man.  In his inaugural address, Obama tasked the nation to step up and do the right thing.  Pardon my feelings for a moment, but I really feel that this is the exact thing Americans need to hear.  It’s far too easy to mask your misdeeds and wrong-doings under an administration like GW’s which was simply adept at doing the wrong things.

 

America, let’s wake up, let’s do the right thing.  Doing the right thing means taking action.

 

One right thing on the table is “Universal Health Care.”  But what does that even mean?  How many Americans even know about their policies or what choices they have for health insurance?  How many Americans have educated themselves about their own critical insurance policies?  Initially, post New Deal, corporations were tasked with securing employee retirement and group insurance.

 

But in our technology and information age in which careers span many more years than previously and as many companies for each decade of work, should it not be the responsibility of the individual to educate himself about retirement plans and individual health insurance?  Why don’t we privately insure all Americans first and then see how government can fix any remaining health care problems?

 

I have an individual health plan which I personally research and chose for myself and it’s a far less expensive option than COBRA and a less expensive option than any full time employment can secure me.  I have a plan that rewards my youth and healthy lifestyle, and I like that.  I specifically choose plans which include my GP in-network because my GP and his medical facility is the best option for my health.

 

Secondarily, I contribute to my own Roth IRA for retirement, and had I remained self-employed, I have at least two additional retirement vehicles totally up to $17,500 in contributions each year.

 

I live in the second most expensive city in America and I make less than the average income for this city.  And I’m proud, I’m proud that I took control of my finances and insurance.  I’m proud that my full time employment to begin in February will offer me additional 401K, stock options, and health insurance should I choose to accept those offers.  I would really feel cheated if my health care quality drops or my income tax increases to subsidize many other people’s health care and retirement costs.  Retirement and insurance are neither new concepts nor too difficult to understand for any and all Americans.  It requires maybe a week of sacrificing TV to figure everything out and start contributing, and can cost less than $100/month for full coverage and retirement contributions.

 

Writing this, I’m angry even thinking that I am working hard to insure myself, protect my health, protect my assets, and volunteer in my community, yet I will be punished, I will have to forgo my own security so that others don’t have to and soon won’t be able to research their own life plans.  But I am hopeful.  I’m hopeful that if Obama tells the nation to educate itself and take action, then the nation will respond.  And if the nation doesn’t respond, how will Obama hold the nation accountable?  Obama, just like all Presidents, is accountable to the nation, and not the other way around.  Lastly, I’m hopeful that Obama will inspire the nation to remember that we have options, even if you live paycheck to paycheck, you have options to create the life you want.  Hopefully, that life is driven to secure your own future without jeopardizing others’ futures.


Success = Be interesting

January 21, 2009

2009_01_21“The thing that is safe [makes it the antithesis] of interesting.” – Cal Newport

 

Have you read/seen any of Ben Casnocha’s or Cal Newport’s work?  One word: AMAZING!

 

Everyone should familiarize themselves with Casnocha’s TDTV and Newport’s blog StudyHacks (see links above).

 

The most important take away from their amazing material is this: compare yourself only to yourself and using your time to reflect your values.  These guys are competitive, but mostly with themselves.  They also know how to reward themselves and continue to achieve.  Each MASTERS his time to MAXIMIZE his life.  I admire these guys.  I hope to implement so more of their habits into my own life structure.

 

Too often I read single, just got out of debt, urban, female bloggers and older, white, married, male bloggers and both types of blogs leave me desperate for more inspirational material.  Thankfully, finding these two new bloggers, Casnocha & Newport, I will focus my blogging efforts on more positive, uplifting, and helpful advice in areas in which I’m interesting in excelling or in which I already excel.

 

Most importantly, success is being interesting, and being interesting generally requires taking the “less safe” path.  The “less safe” path is taken by people who have the self-discipline to focus on what matters most and eliminate those things that don’t matter at all.  But both of these bloggers maintain that anything that requires self-discipline is “transferable” and ultimately will lead to your success portfolio.  This means that on which you spend your time can and will lead you to success in: school, work, and life.

 

Especially in Newport’s case, these inspirational bloggers say that productivity should leave you more refreshed to contribute to your real relationships which exist beyond your challenges (college, work, starting a business).


Presidential Inauguration: Congratulations USA!

January 20, 2009

2009_01_20First, along with the nation, I am very pleased that Obama will lead our country for the next four years.  His composure and speech today were commendable.

 

Second, in other news, I hope his presidential expectations boost the markets for the long term.

 

Third, I feel like were on “reset” as a nation, and it feels liberating!  Anyone else agree?

 

Lastly, I received a competitive offer for full time employment in my area of expertise—I’m thrilled to accept this offer and be gainfully employed once again.  I’m mostly excited about building a new community with my co-workers and employing the career and management principles I’ve diligently studied this past year.


Book Review: Women Don’t Ask

January 19, 2009

Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide

 

Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

 

Summary

 

Women make 77% of every dollar a man makes.  In their book Women Don’t Ask, Babcock and Laschever use analytical research and historical anecdote to explain why women make less than men for the same quality of work and how to teach everyone to negotiate on behalf of themselves, men and women alike, and how to negotiate better.

 

In sum, Babcock and Laschever use statistics, real case studies, and anecdotes to prove that men make more than women because they ask for more and more often than women.  The authors go further into analysis of how much women really miss out on financially and in their careers by neglecting to negotiate at the beginning and each year thereafter of their careers.  Lastly, the authors explore the damaging consequences for society given the current gender differences in all negotiations.

 

Review

 

It says a lot that I recommend this book to every female I know.  I also bought this book for my Mom, who’s in the middle of a career change, as her Christmas present this past Christmas.  This book offers research and anecdotes to increase every woman’s self-confidence in negotiating at work and in life.

 

“Women Don’t Ask” is a great book to read in order to better understand negotiation and the gender divide.  In my opinion, it helped me build my confidence for asking for more negotiations and asking for more in each negotiation.  However, this book is not necessarily a “How-to” book on negotiation either.  What I liked most and what I will take away from this book are the research experiments which created identical outcomes for both men and women in a given negotiation.  Through these experiments, Babcock and Laschever open the discussions on which variables will more assist women in making an equal dollar for dollar as men through their own negotiating efforts.

 

Table of Contents

 

Preface: Why Negotiation, and Why Now?

Introduction: Women Don’t Ask

Chapter One: Opportunity Doesn’t Always Knock

Chapter Two: A Price Higher Than Rubies

Chapter Three: Nice Girls Don’t Ask

Chapter Four: Scaring the Boys

Chapter Five: Fear of Asking
Chapter Six:
Low Goals and Safe Targets

Chapter Seven: Just So Much and No More

Chapter Eight: The Female Advantage

Epilogue: Negotiating at Home


I feel empathy for the cable guy…

January 16, 2009

2009_01_16I feel empathy for cable and satellite installation guys because, I complain to them about my previous lack of cable or worse, my previous insufficient cable provider.  I project my angst onto him (possibly her, but I haven’t experienced that yet), and I ultimately communicate, if you don’t provide what you promised and I’m not in control as a consumer—watch out for my verbal wrath!

 

I take a step back from these irrational feelings and laugh at myself.  I laugh at myself to ease the power of remorse and guilt I feel for acting in this way, but I rest somewhat assured in that, when asked, the cable guy always admits that he, “gets the impression that a lot of people are dissatisfied with XYZ cable provider.”  I feel relief when he says that other people in this world have been wronged by cable providers; it reaffirms that this provider will fix the wrongs of other cable providers for me as he has done for a lot of other people.  But this is the job of the cable installation professional, to placate our emotions and install our cable as quickly as possible.

 

It is apparent to me that the cable companies and installation service professionals strive to maintain a distance from one another.  To the consumer, it seems like the two are trying to remove accountability from promises made by one or the other that neither have control over delivering.  To the cable installation guy, who doesn’t depend on sales quotas, speed and efficiency are paramount.  Get in, install cable, get signature, get out—the less counseling provided to the consumer, the better and the faster the job gets done.  Conversely, the sales professionals have the goal of closing more and more customers, and insomuch are given incentives to listen to in-market consumer angst and make promises of the services as desirable as possible.  The professional distance between both the installation guy and the sales person reinforces each reward set.

 

But I don’t have as much empathy for the sales professional as I do for the installation professional.  The professional I personally interact with, is the installation guy.  I stay home from work for four hours at a time to meet him, I let him into my home to drill holes in my walls, and he shows me how to use a fancy remote control.  I make a cable commitment to the sales person over the phone, but I sign the agreement with the installation guy in my living room.  I connect with the installation guy because he delivers the service promised to me, and he listens and he responds to my preferences and comments within his professional abilities.

 

I don’t need cable or satellite to be happy in life.  In fact, I find it quite satisfying to live a life without either service; I especially like having no monthly bill to pay too.  I have no TV shows that I “can’t miss” and I can’t stand commercials or shows that feel like commercials.  But without cable or satellite, I’d never get to meet the installation guy.  And if I’d never get to meet the installation guy, who do I have left to complain about how high my cable bill is each month and that I really don’t like TV very much at all?