Laziness Expenses

posted by on 2010.03.24, under Other

This post comes after the recent video game that I posted, which has distracted a certain friend in Detroit all day from doing very important tasks for our auto industry….
Found an interesting article about the monetary impact of being lazy, especially in an entrepreneurial lifestyle…I have to admit, I am guilty of several of these, from waiting till the last minute to send mail, rebate offers,  and for finding the best savings rate online…check it out

How laziness costs you

Also, the dog image is actually a treadmill designed for dogs, so that their owners don’t have to walk them.


Healthcare Bill? Nope, just a post about the EyeWriter

posted by on 2010.03.22, under Entrepreneurship, News, Technology

FutureEverything awarded the 2010 prize to the EyeWriter

“The EyeWriter is a pair of low-cost eye-tracking glasses that allow artists and graffiti writers with paralysis to draw using only their eyes. Inspired by Tony Quan, a graffiti writer, social activist and publisher who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (AML) in 2003, The EyeWriter is the result of a collaboration with five other artists and a production company. It is an ongoing project to empower people suffering from degenerative neuromuscular diseases with creative technologies.”

This is one of the coolest inventions I have seen all year, and I can’t wait till we can get one for my uncle.  Check out the video below to see how it works, and watch the artist project graffiti art in real-time onto LA buildings from his bed.

The Eyewriter from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

More pictures

Oh, and I guess there is some news about Healthcare today….I’ll let you check your facebook feeds for that though, I openly admit that I can offer no intelligent commentary on the matter.


March Madness (in the Pants)

posted by on 2010.03.19, under Humor, News

Who would have guessed that vasectomies were a seasonal business.  I used to work in retail where marketing campaigns tried to incorporate seasonal promotions, but I have to admit, it was surprising to hear that such a medical operation could be promoted in the same way.  Offices are seeing an increase of 50% in appointments for the first week of March Madness!

It makes sense… its a perfect schedule the operation to maximizes recovery time (3 days on the couch) while giving an excuse to watch crucial daytime basketball and have a decent excuse to get time off work

Ten reasons for getting a Vasectomy during March Madness according to the advertisement.
1. Extended office hours during games
2. Continuous ESPN coverage in the lobby
3. FREE snacks while waiting
4. Office is less crowded than a sports bar
5. Complimentary recovery kid
6. Doctors orders – 3 days on the couch
7. Excuse to stay in bathrobe all day
8. Keep Austin Weird – not overpopulated
9. You’ll be ready to love in the post season
10. It’s HIP to get SNIPPED (wow)

This is probably the best execution of a marketing campaign in March Madness I have seen, next to the Pizza Hut/NCAA/Bookit I remember from 4th grade.  I just hope March Madness is not the only reason some of these fans are going in to get snipped…

billion dollar deathbed investing

posted by on 2010.03.12, under News

This will blow your mind.  AIG, Bank of America, GE and other corporate giants sell bonds with a provision that allow investors to redeem a bond at face value if one of the investors dies.  Guess what our financial genius’ started doing?

With prices as low as 50 cents to a dollar, investors are pairing up with terminally ill people to scoop up bonds at bargain prices, and holding on to them until the ill partner passes away.   Returns of up to 200-300% are common.  About $83 billion in outstanding bonds are being held with this “survivor” option, which was originally installed to encourage elderly people to invest in the market without fear of losing their money if they died. 

Just another short-term manipulation of our markets that will probably have a worse effect on the overall economy than these people thought when they started abusing the system.  When will we learn our lesson with all this nonsense?  Not to mention, how informed are these terminally ill people about what is going on? Hopefully they got/are getting their cut.

Post-Domain Squatting

posted by on 2010.03.06, under Other

I’ve held on to for years, anticipating the day that the internet would allow apostrophe’s is URL addresses.  Finally, in 2010, I have moved on, and now present to the world a my personal website that incorrectly spells my name, Jason D’Mello.

Dangerous Minds

posted by on 2010.03.06, under Academia, Shameless Plug

“I’m just an MBA living in LA” is the chorus for one of my new rap songs.  This city has given me more than it has taken in the 2 years I have lived here, and I am really fascinated with the inner-city culture that I get a glimpse of when I leave my beach neighborhood and explore.  Last week I taught my first high school class in a school in the Watts/Compton side of LA.  I was given just a day’s notice, and really didn’t have time to worry about spending a day in an area with 49% of the people under the poverty line and recognized around the world (thanks to rap music) for their gang violence.  By coincidence, I watched the movie “Dangerous Minds” the weekend before on TBS, and went into the experience with a willingness to teach a little karate or drop some Bob Dylan poetry like Ms. Pfeiffer.

As it turns out, Hollywood, the media, and Coolio had painted a picture of LA that I did not see that day.  What I did see was a brand new school, well behaved 17-18 year olds who were creative, energetic, passionate, and motivated to succeed.  They made the experience incredible for me, and really enlightened me on aspects of entrepreneurship that get missed in an MBA program.  I am excited to work with them throughout the semester to help them win a national business plan writing competition.

Today NPR featured a story that shows entrepreneurship causing controversy in this very neighborhood.  LA Gang Tours is a social enterprise that gives guided tours of the roughest parts of the city in a bus with former gang members.  They charge $65 per ticket, and tourists are taken to places that they would normally not feel safe going to alone, but like me, have had a certain picture painted in their minds through the the entertainment industry. Their tours have been sold out the last 5 months, and they make several stops, including the LA County Jail, the birthplace of the Black Panthers, and the birthplace of the Crips gang.  They stop at local businesses so that tourists can buy souvenirs, and supposedly donate a large portion of their profits back into the community to try to create new jobs, microfinancing loans, and other projects to help maintain a “cease-fire agreement” between the 3 major gangs in the area.

The founder, Alfred Lomas is a former gang member and has negotiated a deal with the gang leaders to keep gun free-zones for children to be safe in, and to keep the tourists safe on the trips.  The goal is to inform outsiders about this culture, help the economic health of South Central Los Angeles, and strive for peace.  Below is their explanation of how they keep tourists safe.

“5-10% of the gang population is responsible for 65-70% of all gang violence. LA GANG TOURS has access to the “5%,” those who have their fingers on the triggers. The participating gangs in the established gun fire free safety zones have agreed to allow LA GANG TOURS to operate in their areas, given our goals to hire their youth for employment opportunities and offer job and entrepreneurship training programs.
LA GANG TOURS has predetermined routes and times that are honored by each of the participating and opposing gangs. Every effort has been made, from the time of day to departure locations, to ensure a safe, pleasant and enjoyable tour experience.”

This story fascinates me, but I am not surprised to hear that certain community members are in complete opposition to this venture.  Some people view the tours as exploitation.  They argue that they are reinforcing negative stereotypes of the area, and taking advantage of  a group of people already going through hardships.   I admit that I thought of it almost like a jungle safari tour from the marketing.  However, after reading about the founder, I truly believe that this movement has positive intentions for the community, the tourists, and for peace in the area.  Perhaps I will take a date on the tour in the upcoming months.  Good idea?