Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


A universe that needed someone to observe it in order to collapse it into existence would be a pretty sorry universe indeed.

Mutual, via

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

JR: What Type of Customer Do You Have?

Check out another pearl of wisdom based on insights for this week's National SBIR Conference in Oklahoma City over at the Journal Record's Start-Up blog:

What Type of Customer Do You Have?

Friday, October 29, 2010

OG&E presentation

I'm giving a presentation today for OG&E's leadership development program on entrepreneurship. The presentation is below.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Europe As France Sees it

Second in a series from The Big Picture. Not as funny as the first, but probably more insightful.

Europe as France sees it

The World According to Americans

I know this is old, but it's still funny.

The World According to Americans | The Big Picture

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

As I Was Just Saying...About Ignorance...Remember?

From Mankiw via Newmark's Door:

Bill Clinton channels Friedrich Hayek
(with an addition by yours truly)

Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit: "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

Bill Clinton, 9/21: "Do you know how many political and economic decisions are made in this world by people who don't know what in the living daylights they are talking about?"

 Homer J. Simpson: "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers."

Avoid Controversy? How About Avoid Effort?

Seriously? People are even considering voting for this person? The Lost Ogle has more:

Mary Fallin will work hard…but not TOO hard

The money section? "if Mary is such a hard worker for the state of Oklahoma, it makes me curious why she goes relentlessly dodges tough questions. Remember, she refused to debate Randy Brogdon leading up to the primary. What will she do as governor? Delay the “State of the State” address until Joe Dorman and Andrew Rice leave the room (under the current political climate, they may be the only Democrats in congress by the time she is called on to make such a speech)? Pause the TiVo until everyone who doesn’t think her American Idol candidate should win leaves her house? .... I don’t know, but whatever she does, I doubt it will be difficult for her."

Could be sloth...or just plain old-fashioned fear about being expected to take a position. However, Momma Grizz has just the thing for times like that.

"I Don't Know What I'm Talking About, But I Know I'm Right..."

This is a phenomenon that's moving through our culture, and not just in religion. Try to engage the "average" individual in a discussion about politics, and my point will be demonstrated. Since when did we forsake the obligation to actually have informed opinions and beliefs? 
Atheists Know More About Religion
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Essential Skills You Didn’t Learn in College

My post over at the Journal Record about Essential Skills You Didn’t Learn in College. It references a really interesting article from Check out both.

Monday, September 27, 2010

RIM introduces PlayBook -- the BlackBerry tablet

It's official. I covet.

RIM introduces PlayBook -- the BlackBerry tablet

Why Companies Should Insist that Employees Take Naps

I have LOOOONG supported this idea, and it makes even more sense as I return from lunch:

Why Companies Should Insist that Employees Take Naps

Reagan Tax Cuts & Increases

Reagan Tax Cuts & Increases

Check out the above post via Ritholtz:

Bruce Bartlett takes issue with the all-tax-cuts-all-the-time wing of the GOP.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Free EP download from The Social Network

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have designed the score for the new David Fincher film about the founding of Facebook, The Social Network. Click through below for instructions on how to get a free 5 track EP download for an email sign-up (don't worry; Trent definitely does NOT bombard your inbox with crap). [the official nine inch nails website]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Economic Stimulus? Try These 7 Ideas

Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture supplies us with food for thought by speculating on what he'd do to goose our economy. My personal fave? Number 6:

"Electrical Grid Refurbishment: This is both an economic and national security issue: The electrical grid is an unreliable mishmash of public and private ownership, vulnerable to both blackouts and cyber-attacks. It needs to be upgraded yesterday.

How to pay for it: A one cent per kilowatt hour grid tax."

Catch the entire piece at: Economic Stimulus? Try These 7 Ideas

There Are Two Venture Capital Industries

From Fred Wilson at A VC, this is why a lot of traditional private capital practices no longer make sense:

There Are Two Venture Capital Industries

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Not All About The Benjamins, Baby

Fast Company produces the quote of the day from Joie de Vivre hotel chain founder Chip Conley during an interview about how a reexamination and reengineering of Maslow's hierarchy of needs pyramid helped save his company:

"The bottom line is the ultimate motivator that says "I gotta to out of here" is not that you're underpaid, it's that you feel under-respected or under-recognized."

Word. Read more here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

JR: Lessons From Little Ones, Part 5

Final post in the series over at The Start Up about lessons entrepreneurs can learn from kids. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

JR: Lessons From Little Ones, Part 4

Part four in the JR series can be found here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

JR: Lessons From Little Ones, Part 3

Round number three in a series of five over at The Start Up:

Learning Lesson From Children, Part III

JR: Lessons from Little Ones, Part 2

Check out the second installment in a five part series on my entrepreneurship blog:

Monday, August 2, 2010

JR: Lessons From Little Ones, Part 1

Check out the first of five posts over at The Start Up about lessons entrepreneurs can learn from kids.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

JR: The Ultimate Car Wash

Enjoy this post over at the JR about a car wash on its face, but ultimately about how we price and value goods and services.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

JR: Looking for Opportunities

I'm proud (or ashamed) to say this post may be one of the few entrepreneurship posts I've seen based on a trip to the dentist. Definitely not painful.

JR: Startup and Lawyers

Lawyers and startups, startups and lawyers. Odd but necessary bedfellows. Check out my JR piece here.

JR: Carried Interest Taxation

Here's my post on the VC issue that won't go away: carried interest taxation.

JR: Fat and Lean Startups

My first JR post was Fat and Lean Startups.

Too Much JR (or jrr2ok) Is Never Enough...

For those of you who weren't aware, the Journal Record asked me to blog about entrepreneurship a while back. You can check out my business blog here and the entire JR Blog Hub over here. Don't work, I'll link the stories on this blog as well. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Business Method Patents: Some Important News...Kind Of

Those of us who play in the software and innovation world have been waiting for a loooong time for the US Supreme Court to decide a case called Bilski v. Kappos. Well, the decision finally come out Monday, all 100+ pages of it. And it says...?

Well, on the issue, it says Mr. Bilski doesn't get a patent on his idea. However, the bigger question at issue here - can ideas be patented?> - basically gets a wave. According to the analysis over at Groklaw, the court acknowledges that the tests used to determine whether a business method is patentable don't really work for conceptual methods (think software or, even more extremely, bioengineering intellectual property). The problem with the decision is that, even though the court acknowledges the need for a standard to determine what ideas can be patented, it doesn't create that standard.

There's a LOT of discussion out there on this subject (search "software patents" and "VC" or "innovation" to read folks like Fred Wilson and Brad Feld on the subject, or explore Groklaw's collection of materials on the case, including the amicus briefs from companies like Google and Bank of America). The lack of a clear standard creates costs that a company must bear to defend its IP position. That slows innovation. That doesn't seem very just.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Some People Never Get Tired of Kool-Aid

Barry Ritholtz lets loose with a stinging critique of the recent WSJ editorial by Arthur Laffer, one of the primary proponents of supply-side economics (or voodoo economics, depending on your viewpoint).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Should Navin Johnson Be My Pen Name?

I haven't been this excited since the new phone book arrived. Check out my new hangout, second one down on the left. It'll definitely been more restrained and businesslike, which means things may get a touch more irreverent over here, if only for comparison's sake.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How Much Should We Pay Banking Executives? Less

Paul Kedrosky makes an interesting post on his Infectious Greed blog about how compensation appears to affect different types of activity. Bankers everywhere deny the results. Naturally. His ammunition comes from Dan Ariely's new book The Upside of Irrationality.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Out Of The Ashes...


OK, it's a leeeeetle dramatic, but cut me some slack. I've been cave-dwelling for a while...

Nice to see some daylight.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Roger Ebert: The Essential Man

I've been a big Ebert fan for years. This article merely reaffirms why:

Roger Ebert: The Essential Man

Posted using ShareThis

Now, This Is Politics...

Oklahoma Senate panel quashes beer, wine proposal |

Here's the full text of the article with commentary:

A Senate panel rejected a measure that would allow voters to decide if grocery stores could sell strong beer and wine.

The Senate Committee on Business and Labor killed a proposed constitutional amendment to allow grocery stores in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties to sell wine and high-point beer, with four members in favor of the measure and five against it.

Sen. Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City, said the measure was an "opening attempt” to change liquor laws in Oklahoma. Senate Joint Resolution 62 would have required voters to approve the change.

Full disclosure: Andrew Rice is my State Senator. I know Andrew, and support him whole-heartedly on most issues. He's a smart, level-headed guy with the best interest of his state and his constituents at heart. I look forward to seeing just how far he'll try to push this issue.

A rejected amendment to the original bill would have allowed Walmart to sell strong beer and wine. Currently in Oklahoma, beer in excess of 3.2 percent alcohol and wines can only be sold in liquor stores, although an exception is allowed for some wine sales at wineries.

Very interesting that they tried to fold Walmart in from the get-go. I would've liked to have heard the reasons why or why not on that one.

"Our liquor laws are antiquated,” Rice said.

In addition to his various other awards, Rice will now be nominated for Understatement of the Year.

Rice said several large grocery stores have inquired about coming to Oklahoma, but the state’s liquor laws that only allow low-point beer to be sold in grocery stores make the state unattractive for new business.

"It’s an economic development issue,” Rice said.

For those of you who don't know this, he's talking about Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Central Market. Grocery stores are extremely low-margin businesses, and they typically lose a lot of money while they're getting started. They also are more expensive to operate in urban environments (cost of land, utilities, labor, lack of in-store storage space, etc.). Having wine and strong beer available allows these stores to sell not only higher profit margin products (which subsidize the rest of the products in the store), but also to compete on service by helping their customers assemble full meals. Now, I realize it may shock some people around here to hear that alcohol may actually be consumed WITH meals, but it does happen quite regularly in most parts of the Western world and significant parts of the East.

Back to the point at hand, though. The number one issue regarding downtown (or even Midtown) living is the lack of grocery options within walking distance. Allowing wine and strong beer sales gives smaller specialty grocers a chance to survive, and makes downtown living more feasible (i.e. you don't have to drive everywhere). When downtown living expands, the cost of providing services goes down (because you don't have to transport services as far). When the cost of services goes down, everyone has more disposable income.

Sounds good, right? Not so fast. The bullsh!t meter is starting to make noise:

Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, who voted against the measure, said limiting sales to Oklahoma and Tulsa counties would hurt smaller communities.

Now, there's probably three easy ways to look at Sen. Brogdon's statement:

1. He's from Owasso, which would partially qualify (it's in Tulsa and Rogers Counties). His district also contains Catossa, which would not qualify. So, he's voting his district.
2. Virtually all of Owasso's commercial zoning (see their land use map here lies within Tulsa County. Yet, all of the long-term residential growth seems planned for the east in Rogers County. Schools receive their funding from county ad valorem tax assessments. That means less money for Owasso schools on the east side. Just a thought.
3. Keeping wine and strong beer sales in certain areas is restrictive and amounts to government regulation, which Sen. Brogdon absolutely opposes, unlike the current system, which...wait a minute.

Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, said the measure would threaten Oklahoma’s liquor stores, which are currently the only stores that can sell high-point beer and wine.

Wow. That's obviously a strong concern for Newberry, who, according to his website (under the Conservative tab), "believes people, not the Government, can and will achieve when given the opportunity." Except liquor stores. They need government. Just not the government Newberry says he wants less of.

Newberry also had reservations about how alcohol would be regulated if it could be sold at a grocery store.

See less government. Except for the good kind. Which doesn't exist. Expect for liquor stores. And the people who shop there. And admit it. Who wouldn't vote for me anyway.

Sen. Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa, said the constitutional amendment would create competition and modernize Oklahoma liquor laws.

Competition, good. Except for liquor stores. And that vote of the people stuff? Since when would we want to allow the people to determine what's best for them? Unless it's TABOR (see Sen. Brogdon again).

Members voting against the measure included Senators Sean Burrage, D-Claremore; Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City; David Myers, R-Ponca City; Brogdon and Newberry.

Senators voting in favor of the measure were Harry Coates, R-Seminole; Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City; Adelson and Rice.

It would be way too easy just to blame this all on lobbyist money and influence. Everyone knows that wholesalers hold a tremendous amount of power over liquor law reform (and if you care to hear their side of the story, there's an interesting history of and argument for the Three-Tier System here). This issue, however, is really a retail issue. The big parties against this on the retail side are the big brewers (Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors), who make a lot more money selling the public weak beer rather than strong (they charge the same for brewing at a lower cost), and the retail liquor shops, who get the benefit of selling a controlled product during controlled hours with a controlled amount of competition.

Here's the punch list to think about for today:

1. Why not let the voters decide for themselves?

2. Why do Republicans, who claim to want less government regulation in business, support government regulation of alcoholic beverages?

3. Why shouldn't municipalities (or counties, much like with the Liquor By The Drink issue in the 1980's) be able to control their own situations?

4. Why shouldn't liquor stores be subject to the forces of competition and free enterprise like everyone else?

5. Why should makers of week beer get an unfair advantage over strong beer producers?

Monday, February 15, 2010

It Ain't Rocket Science...

But it IS science. Here's hoping we'll actually listen:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm Building Me A Home...

Seesmic's acquistion of was big news, both in these parts and everywhere else, earlier this week. However, less broadcasted were the impending departures of one of OKC's top developers and one of its top social media practitioners. WTF, you may exclaim, are rats leaving the sinking ship? Perhaps you think it figures that they would leave if they were any good. Maybe you think that it's the city or state's fault that they're leaving.

I can't speak for any of the involved parties (or TwitPic or Vidoop or Kord Campbell or anyone else who's ever decided to move away from Oklahoma). I can always share a couple of thoughts. First, there's an overwhelming pressure from both investors and acquisitors to have their assets (and that's what is now, an asset of Seesmic) close to them. For now, we don't have a large player or a large fund that can active as a center of gravity to keep companies here. So, if you want to help keep tech start-ups in Oklahoma, either grow a large tech company (Cisco-sized should work) or raise a $300 million venture fund. Otherwise, a company's gotta do what a company's gotta do whether you like it or not. Let me also be very clear: even though I'm happy for the afore-mentioned entrepreneurs and wish them nothing but success, I'd GREATLY prefer their presence in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, to be precise).

As far as Jake and Chris are concerned (and even Kord to an extent), let me share this: I'm Oklahoma born and bred. I left...SEVERAL times (well documented here). I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. However, I'm here now. I stayed here this time because I want to build something, and I want to build it here. I think most people are builders at heart. I know the guys I mentioned in this paragraph fit that description. So, I'm gonna keep building right here and right now, because this is where I need to be, on many levels. My hope is that I can call on my friends, whether they're in Dallas or Cupertino or just down the street, to build things with me in ways we couldn't have collaborated just a few years ago.

Homes are very personal places. We design them to fit our own needs, as well as to fit in with our surroundings. Maybe someday we'll be welcoming familiar faces back into the neighborhood. Regardless, let's be good neighbors. That's what attracts people in the first place.

Good luck, Godspeed, and don't be strangers.