Category Archives: Thoughts

Validation: Sometimes as an entrepreneur you think you are crazy.

As an entrepreneur you are constantly coming up with ideas, some good, some bad, and you are always looking for someone that will buy your story.  So,  sometimes when a 1st customer, an investor, your parents, or even when a competitor just gets what you are up to feel set free, validated and even empowered.  Now, no entrepreneur likes to loose, but sometimes just knowing that someone else is thinking what you are thinking, well, it validates you and your hair brained ideas, and sometimes that feels good.

So, when I saw that eventbrite had revenue of $100 million in what they thought was a $35 billion dollar market place, it kinda gives me goose bumps.

Over 2 years ago I started pitching a company called “Social Helix” and then and now I am still excited about the idea of connecting people thr0ugh events.  I always felt like profiles like myspace and facebook were a bit lifeless compared to the real thing.  I mean the people we care about, really care about, well we meet them in person don’t we?  And when I realized that, I started to get really excited about changing the way events work.

Today, I am working on a few other ideas, some with potential investors, and others are just engineering projects with a possible revenue upside, like, but in those cases, SocialHelix got me in the door, but we never got the money we needed to make it happen.

Sometimes as an entrepreneur you think you are crazy, not because other people tell you so, but you really wonder if your bet is right.

Today I received some validation that I am not crazy when eventbrite announced revenue.  Eventbrite claims they have revenue of $100 million ( some of that goes to event curators ), and placed their market size at $35 Billion.  $35 billion is an interesting number because that is what we predicted with SocialHelix nearly 2 years ago.

The event space is huge and ticketmaster plays a role in such a small space of it.  It’s the classic problem of long tail vs short tail.  Ticketmaster went after some of the worlds largest venues, and secured deals with those locations.  Large Venue style ticket sales which are usually divided into primary and secondary sales total about $1.5 billion and $6 billion respectively.  While movie ticket sales are around $10 billion a year.

Sites like Eventbrite and SocialHelix would rather target long tail sales which are usually personally, or organizationally curated instead of venue curated.  In that industry we have several interesting segments, and this market is huge, it so huge that most people don’t think about it.  Groups and Meetings which include corporate events, business meetings, and

Federated Twitter bots

Just a quick thought.

I wonder if all of the the twitter bots are a result of people trying to gain free api access to twitter.  Normal rules allow a certain number of requests per minute or or something.  However if yo were to have 1,000 accounts, you could perform 1,000x that number of requests and searches per hour.

I bet if twitter looked for accounts that were performing high volumes of API requests, they would find accounts that were most likely linked to bots.

I am not yet sure if it is worth it for twitter to remove these accounts or if they are oddly good for the ecosystem.

‘The Calorie-Restriction Experiment’

Read ‘The Calorie-Restriction Experiment’ ( NY-Times )

After reading this article I am convinced that calorie restriction will at least improve the quality of my life, but it may also extend it. New evidence is showing that adding ‘some’ exercise to your life, and reducing calorie intake will reduce your chance for cancer, and or heart disease by more than 50%.

While living in Wisconsin, I used to eat till I was full, and it was leaving me to not feel healthy. This spring I decided to start changing my behavior. I bought a bike, and started biking. At first it was just to and from the beach, or Mitsuwa ( ). Later I moved on to up along the beach towards Topanga Canyon, and before long a 5 mile ride was achievable. The next leap I made, was to start biking to work, an 8 mile ride there, and an 8 mile ride back. The 1st time I did this on a weekend, and I went there and back, the full 16 miles. It took me 2 hours 15 min. I felt tired, and sore, but I felt great. All the while I started having just yogurt for breakfast and bring in Apples and Bananas to work to snack on, and although I was feeling better, I was not loosing weight. I think this was because for lunch and dinner I was still eating out.

Come June, I was laid off at work, and my income drastically changed.  It was a good excuse for me to start changing my habits.  Once nice thing about consulting is how it allows for more time to exercise.

I started dining in, eating when hungry, and watching what I ate.

2 weeks ago, I was able to see that I am making progress.  I am now down to 202 / 4 where as in mid summer I was between 215 / 218.

Now, I try to eat a reasonable amount and try to ride 13 miles a day on my bike in Griffith Park ( but it’s probably more like 4 times a week ).  Out here in California eating till full just was not going to work, 1st, eating that much food causes you to sweat in this weather, so eating less means I have a lower body temp, so I can cope with the weather better.   It’s also the reason I am loosing weight.

It’s not a lot but it’s at a healthy rate. By the new year I hope to be well into 190. In college I was at 174, and I felt really good. I was able to run 5 miles a day, and lift weights for 1 hour a day. Right now I am getting good at biking 13 miles a day, and I may up the load again. I may add a 1 or 2 mile run 3 days a week. I put this out there so that you can spread the word to the people you care about. Eating well, and exercising is more than looking fit, its about quality of life.

;and I feel so much better now.

healthcare reform.

Dear John,

While I do not like government run institutions, there are a few things in life that the government has made our lives better while managing it.

Our government has the right to manage interstate commerce, and as I see it now, our Health System is an Interstate Commerce problem. Not only do companies have employees in several states, but people travel, move and have families dispersed all the time across our great nation. In addition, people who require help in an emergency, or people that have contracted a communicatable disease put a stress on all of us when their health care is not provided for. Either hospitals treat these people without getting paid, or they die, or worse they spread the disease to others.

As our country continues to grow to being more and more urban, we need to deal with problems as a set of communities rather than as a body of individuals.

So, in general I support a number of points of health care reform.

Early In my life I worked at a medical billing company and I know all too well how insurance companies skip out on paying bills, and how doctors inflate bills to get good payers to pick up the slack for other more dishonest insurance companies.

I urge those that are passionate about health care to help us simplify, streamline, and clean out the corruption in the healthcare industry. Our parents, and grand parents are at risk.

I propose several changes to the system.

1. provide leadership and standardize payment processing, require that health insurance companies pay 80-90% of claims. right now they pay less than half of all submitted claims.

2. provide a validation engine for said claims, such a validation engine has been built to determine if an HTML document is valid. I suspect such an engine could be built to validate a medical bill. this would validate the patients identity, the medical practitioners identity, and the payers identity. the system would also validate viable pairings of CPC codes ( medical care line items ). Items that are unusual could flag a review process by a board of medical practitioners.

3. record all bills and assemble a medical care census, and provide the data in aggregate, and autonomously to the public to crunch. with proper statistical records on care patterns people can dig into the information and get a good view on where innovation needs to occur, and where current innovation is not yet being used. right now only health insurance companies have this data, and this should be public data so others can help and map out solutions for our general well being.

4. provide leadership in sourcing funding for problems in the system that are identified through statistical methods. in some cases direct taxes might make sense to provide research funding, and in other contexts, businesses might rally together to provide said funding in a prize economics / ‘netflix prize’ sort of way. using the data from #3 we can very easily identify treatment pairs that are raising in cost and ones that need additional research done to better advance them.

5. require that insurance companies can not deny someone based on pre-existing conditions. this forces insurance companies to have a broad demographic.

6. allow young individuals some sustained benefit for purchasing health insurance at a young age and keeping it up. I think it’s silly to pay $2400 a year and visit the doctor once in 3 years. Paying straight cash for a $500 doctors visit is still cheaper. For people that invest in the system and don’t have health problems, some percentage of their payment should lead to reduced payments later in life. it should kinda be an investment vehicle, and if one pays additional dollars at a young age into the system one should get better care later in life, as health costs should always be more later in life than earlier in life.

7. build an infrastructure so that doctors can virtually review a patient together via video conferencing. reviewing patients with multiple opinions can reduce errors. In the programing space we call it extreme programing, or pair programing, and certain cases might be flagged for care that is prone to error.