Monthly Archives: June 2008

Sunday at Scobleizer’s


Sunday at Scobleizer’s
Originally uploaded by hardaway

Milan is standing. No, that’s wrong. Milan is about two weeks from walking. He’s the strongest kid on the planet; he actually has a six-pack! And you can tell that he’s just ready to take off, in which case Robert and Maryam are going to go through another life transition. Following a toddler around is a career in itself.

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Phoenix Country Club Gets its Due

When I was a young mother (before Mommy blogging) I belonged to Phoenix Country Club. Well, I didn’t, but my husband did and I got to go along for the ride.

I made several key mistakes at the “Club”: I showered my children in the Ladies’ Locker Room with me, instead of at the pool showers. I took them to watch my tennis matches. And one of them got loose on the golf course at age 2. I also crossed the threshold of the Men’s Grill one day to retrieve my husband, who was having a coke with some friends. I couldn’t get his attention without yelling, so I just walked in, past the (female) waitresses.

Later, I got divorced and started a business. When you get divorced, your name gets wiped off your locker at Phoenix Country Club. It took a long time for them to realize that a woman (not a widow) could be a member on her own. But by 1980, that had happened, and a client of mine put me up for membership. We thought it would be a slam dunk, because many of the members were my clients.

He was asked to withdraw me, because I was considered a troublemaker. The men told Ed their wives didn’t like me because of my behavior in the locker room. Ordinarily they would have blackballed me, but they were afraid I would sue, because they knew I WAS a troublemaker. So they begged him to get me to withdraw.

You pick your battles in life. I didn’t want to get him in trouble, so I withdrew. But I never forgot. I have been waiting all these years for karma to assert itself. And of course, it has, because it’s a law of the universe.

Not only has Barbara van Sittert, a colleague of mine from thirty years ago, challenged the segregation of the Men’s Grill. but she has gotten the New York Times to write about it, and tonight I see that it is one of the NYT’s most emailed articles.

How perfect? What corporation, in this day of diversity, would pay for a golf membership for one of its executives at a club that has segregated dining??? It took thirty years, but I predict these barriers will fall, and I will not even have to personally bring them down (although I must say I would be proud to).

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Are You Leaking Money the Way I Am?

If you don’t regularly look over your credit card and online bank statements, you probably are. And it’s incredible how much it was, in my case.This week I decided it was time to get the Macbook Air and a new display, and all the stuff that goes with it (drives, cables). The quote came to about $5000, and the payment on a 2-year $1 buyout was $259/mo. I always lease equipment because I know I will want to get rid of it after two years, and I have been taught never to buy depreciating assets. (That’s why I don’t own a house in Phoenix right now).

But because we’re in a recession/depression/crash or whatever, I have the mentality that I can’t spend any more money. This meant I would have to find $259/mo. somewhere to cut out of my budget.

If you know me, you know this is a sick joke. I don’t budget. I don’t balance my checkbook (I don’t even HAVE a checkbook) and I usually assume, as one of my mentors once told me, that if I want more “stuff” I just have to make more money.

But I think it isn’t going to work this time, so I began looking for places to cut. I go first to my Visa bill, on which Environment California posts a $10.00 recurrent contribution every month. ON the same bill is Privacy Assist, to which I pay $9.99 a month to be protected from something I don’t even remember. And then there’s $11.96 from SixApart, which is still billing me for a free trial that I canceled before its end.

So there’s about $32.00 right there. Then I went to my Amex bill, on which I found Rhapsody, a service I never use, for $12.99 a month. You can’t even cancel it because it’s Real Networks and they only let you cancel by phone during certain hours. But I’m on it.
And then what is AT&T Worldnet Service? That’s $16.95 per month. I can’t even find out what this is or how to cancel it.

You get the picture. There are about a dozen of these things that I either have cancelled or need to cancel. But that’s before I get to the big news: my online banking. It seems I sold a car eight months ago. The payments were being taken directly from my bank account by the dealer’s finance company. When I sold the car, they never stopped debiting the payments: $703.90 a month. Times 8. Over $5600!! It turns out I had inadvertantly saved up for my new MacBook Air over the past eight months.

So we are really not in a nationwide recession; I was in a personal recession. Of my own making.

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Fathers and Sons

In all the posturing and ranting around Web 2,0 and who is the best/worst puppet, Robert Scoble continues to march to his own drummer, taking his family with him on his life’s journey. This week he’s in Washington, D.C. with Patrick, who is fourteen, sharing with him all the experiences Robert has because of Scobleizer and FastCompany.tv. For Patrick, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime civics lesson.

This is what Robert says is the highlight of his week:

Patrick, my son, told the commissioner that if he tries to censor the Internet it’ll make him just want to seek it out even more. I shared with him how smart the kids are and how they will get around any blocks you try to put in place. Patrick told him he turned on all of his own parental controls just to see what they did on his Mac. He said they made his computer unusable. I love that Patrick was able to stick up for his ideas with the FCC Commissioner. Afterwards Patrick said to me “I hate it when people try to censor what I see.”

The rest of the Friendfeed thread is here. Patrick’s going to be great. Robert is investing the time and energy to make sure he’s that way.

Last night I was watching Larry King, and Luke Russert was on, part of a Rock the Vote panel. How Luke has turned out is exactly the way Patrick will turn out. Investing in children, almost a cliche, is the best use of time and resources.

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Live Blogging the Connections Conference

Did you know there is something called the Multimedia Over Coax Alliance? It’s supposedly the standard for home entertainment networks, and will power all your entertainment.

BUT: it’s the usual story. It’s not really there yet. Representatives from ActionTech, Netgear, Best Buy and D-Link talked about it on a panel this morning at the Connections: Digital Living Conference and Showcase presented by Parks and Associates

No one technology will power the digital home, but this means we hear constantly that the industry lacks simplicity. Consumers buy these home networking products, get them home, can’t use them, and bring them back. And that’s because they are not developed beginning with the customer and they don’t interoperate well. Return rates now are 20% That means the industry has to change.

Interestingly enough, bringing this same kind of simplicity to the enterprise is equallly important because the workplace has become consumerized. Providers to the consumer have to think about what’s being done in the enterprise and vice versa, because the llne between what people are doing at home and what they are doing at work is blurring. (Best Buy employees want to get on the Internet and do personal things at work when they’re on a break.)

People are bringing their home applications to the workplace. Everyone knows that Web 2.0 is present in the enterprise, even if it has been implemented on a departmental level and circumnavigating IT.

A significant percentage of the workforce is ACTUALLY working from home, because of generational differences and the realities of travel. In Cisco, if people collaborate globally, they are probably working mostly at home. If they have to collaborate with people in the same building, they are more likely working on site.

This means the consumer field needs to concentrate more on communications technology. Cisco is going to bring its Telepresence product to the consumer space soon, so watch out if you are in the consumer electronics industry. Telepresence may come to the consumer as a service, instead of a product as it is now deployed in the enterprise.

Part of this is driven by the green movement. Telecommuting is increasingly driven by costs of business travel and environmental reporting.

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Full Disclosure

Every once in a while, people ask me what Stealthmode does. Simple: we incubate early stage companies. What does that mean? Well, it can mean many things, but in my own case (Ed’s involvements are separate for the most part) I’m usually involved in one of three ways.

Here are the categories, and here are the current companies. I’ve been involved with some of them for six months, and with three of them for more than six years. Most of their founders are also personal friends by now. And I love and respect them all. Sure I hope for an exit. But I also hope to spend each day being of service and having fun.

Every relationship is different, and except for the ones in which I have shares or options, most of them are not a contract, they are a handshake. So never ask Stealthmode what its “standard agreement” is. There isn’t one, any more than there’s a standard startup.

The one thing they all have in common? None of them are located in Silicon Valley. And yet, I seem to have plenty to do. Most of them have a social purpose, and one is even a not-for-profit. I believe in them and in their dedicated founders, many of whom are bootstrapping their way to fame and fortune.

Direct Investment:

38Minutes

UShow

Consulting:

ESS

Cartfly

Earth911

RealSelf.com

Advisory Board:

Desert Biofuels Initiative

CU Realty

EmpowHer.com

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The Healthcare ClueTrain Manifesto

Doc Searls is in the hospital in Boston instead of at SuperNova 2008. I’ve been following his blog as he goes through his various tests, and ends up with pancreatitis (a painful inflammation of the pancreas) brought on my one of the tests. He then has to take morphine. He then gets fluid in his lungs, which often happens to people in bed.

You get the picture. I’m not revealing any private information here; Doc is blogging about his hospital stay, even down to telling us what he would have said today at SuperNova.

But I, as the widow of a physician, a mother, and an unlicensed practitioner of American healthcare system mechanics, want to use this moment not only to wish Doc the best, but to draw a lesson: NEVER GO TO THE HOSPITAL ALONE. Take an advocate with you, and try to make sure that person is a New Yorker and very aggressive. Ask a million questions, and get your loved one the attention he/she needs.

The American health care system, while technologically still advanced, is — from an actual care perspective — woeful. You would care more actual “care’ in a tribal village. The nurses are interchangeable, harassed, and consumed by paperwork. The doctors are on a revenue generation treadmill, and the big decisions are made by insurance companies or government agencies. And even though the bioscience and medical device fields are right up to date, the IT support for health care professionals is not. You can thank privacy laws for that. Paper records are the straw that breaks the system’s back.

My son-on-law’s mother just got prescribed a chemotherapy agent that nearly killed her, when a newer, more benign drug existed. The older drug was cheaper, so they tried it first. They only switched when she couldn’t tolerate the cheap drug. Me, I was given a blood pressure drug that triggered bronchospasm, because it was the cheapest.

In addition to those horror stories, there are all the clinical errors that cause “iatrogenic” conditions — meaning you got them from being in the hospital. I suspect Doc has a few of those. A friend of mine went into the hospital for back surgery and emerged with a staph infection that nearly killed him and required intravenous antibiotics administered at home for a year.

I was so scared to have my hip replaced that I started a blog when I checked into the hospital, so if they killed me there would be a record of it on the Internet and my family could benefit from the long tail.

Fortunately, I didn’t die, and people from all over the world thank me for that blog.

Doc, get well soon. Everyone else, watch your back or get someone else to watch it if you have to be hospitalized.

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