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April’s Notes from the Road: London Revisit (2008)

July 26, 2008 by  

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I returned to London late last week for the first time since I left and moved back to San Francisco in 2006. What a fun trip down memory lane: Marylebone, the Wallace Collection, the British Museum (saw the famed crystal skull of Indy Jones lore — quite disappointing in fact), park after park after park… I love that city, at least for visiting, even if I’m not constituted to live there long-term. I had some business meetings too, and went to the stunning new Allen & Overy offices. Beautiful! They have masterfully built an all-glass structure immediately on top of and around the old market at Bishops Square, and turned the entire surrounding area into a delightful pedestrian area. In my opinion this is about as good as it gets, at least for a law firm (in which one is likely to spend long hours, you might as well have amenities like A&O does). Took a true deja-vu excursion to the Tate Modern rooftop cafe for the view and late-Friday-night drinks, followed by the best tapas I have ever had under a railway…

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Henry Miler II – Perspective VIII : The Little Things III.1

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More from observation, cranial crevaces and the cracks in the sidewalk. Henry Miller continues in the coloured type. - The castaways continue with a man who has only been to Vietnam twice and been injured twice, both times in the same leg. His first visit, courtesy of Uncle Sam, landed him in the MASH unit with a shrapnel wound – his second, brought a busted heal after drinking to much on a tourist bus and misjudging his exit drop. But he dutifully plods down from his room everyday to shuffle to the string of low-rent bars on my street and ingratiate himself to the older ladies who long for the days when the Yankee boys were here in ernest. And he has a following. Learning that wounded trick in the war taught him something. -“What I had begun, in brief, was a book of the hours, of the tedium and monotony of my life in the midst of ferocious activity.”- And the dog beneath my table pick away at the fishbones and such as I plow my way through a deep fried porkfat morsel of uncertain title. -“the skyscrapers gleaming like phosphorescent cadavers”- “David Bowie!”,


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Swayam: P2P Investing in Human Capital and Education

July 22, 2008 by  

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I recently became an adviser to Swayam, a new socially-minded investment platform that is slated to enable individuals to invest in the higher education — and hence futures — of entrepreneurs who would otherwise not be able to afford their degrees (or would otherwise be burdened with heavy loan obligations).  I originally met the Swayam team while serving as a judge at the BASES social enterprise competition at Stanford earlier this spring, where Swayam was one of the top finalist teams.  I was attracted to the Swayam proposal for several reasons, not least the synergies and similarities it has to certain models of microfinance investment. The Swayam initiative is a work in progress, and a pilot program with graduate students from Stanford is underway.  The Swayam team is actively seeking more Swayam Fellows (students) and Swayam Angels (investors).  More information is available on the Swayam site, and definitely check out the Swayam blog as well.  I believe the potential impact, benefits and efficiencies of Swayam could be huge — in the United States and around the world, and for students, professionals, investors and universities alike…


Heather Armstrong and Stephanie Klein at BlogHer

July 21, 2008 by  

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As a follow on to my blog post from this year’s BlogHer recapping an on-stage discussion with bloggers Stephanie Klein and Heather Armstrong, below is a short video clip I shot on-site (the quality isn’t great but the audio is good enough to follow….)


Bush Cheerleads While the Economy Dives

July 21, 2008 by  

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I was extremely confused by Bush’s rosy economic speech. Here my local bank, IndyMac, is collapsing, with distraught customers waiting in line for hours last week to get their money. Gas at my neighborhood pump has surged to nearly $5 a gallon, the price of oil plunging aside. California’s unemployment rate just jumped to a new dispiriting high of nearly 7 percent. Then friends are losing their jobs because a real estate mogul is having his own billion-dollar cash meltdown and can’t pay his debts. And well, why does a major American newspaper need all those journalists anyway? And recently the New York Times reported that people worried about losing their homes are shopping for roommates so they can make the mortgage. Good thing we’ve got a full basement and I know a few college kids because the way things are going it just might come to that. But Bush thinks we’re all going to be OK. And the two-term president who didn’t realize that gas hit 4 bucks a gallon long after most teenagers were begging their parents for more gas money must know what he’s talking about. It’s simply our attitude that’s wrong. Even as fed chairman Ben…

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Int’l A-List Blogger Roadshow in South Africa on the Cards

July 21, 2008 by  

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Have some great breaking news. Simon Barber from the International Marketing Council (IMC) and Brand South Africa is putting together an event, where some big-name international (but mostly US-based) bloggers will be doing a roadshow in the country. Planning is at an advanced stage. Budgets have been approved and the trip is being arranged by Renee Blodgett (of Blodgett Communications) in San Francisco, who helped put together a similar bloggers’ tour to Israel earlier this year. (Robert Scoble, JD Lasica, Craig Newmark — among others — part of that tour). Simon, who is based in Washington DC and is the US IMC Country Manager, also blogs on his own blog IZWI and Thought Leader. Simon has put together previous such events which involved a tour here of well-known US journalists. This initiative is Simon’s brainchild, conducted under the auspices of the IMC. It is being planned by local journalist Graeme Addison and is anticipated that it will take place around about the beginning of December/end of November. I’ve been assisting Simon with a few ideas, names and contacts, but I thought I’d also…

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Armstrong & Klein Talk About Their ‘Blogging Lives’

July 20, 2008 by  

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Elisajpg BlogHer’s Elisa Camahort Page moderated the last panel at BlogHer yesterday. It was essentially a fireside chat with Stephanie Klein and Heather Armstrong. Elisa asks them what their lives were like ‘before blogging.’ They largely talked about how their blogs impact their lives today as a way to demonstrate the difference. Blogging (and writing in Stephanie’s case, who is also an author and journalist), is clearly a substantial part of their lives. Heather says, “if i stopped my website, I’d probably sleep for three weeks. There’s a lot of stress that goes into maintaining a website every day. If I miss a day of blogging, people email me or post comments as if ‘how dare you for missing a day.’ Sometimes it makes me think ‘walk away woman, walk away.” For Stephanie, its also a personal outlet. She says, “I write for TV, have written memories and books, but its not the same feedback as getting feedback right away from your community. I need to get it out there, particularly to people who don’t know you personally. It’s great to get feedback from people other…

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Favorite Sessions from BlogHer

July 20, 2008 by  

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Favorite sessions from BlogHer this year included the photography session led by Me Ra Koh, the women without children and the blogosphere session with Laurie White, Teri Tith, Suebob Davis and Laurie Scott. Being childless in your thirties, forties and fifties is a ‘life’ issue, not a blogging one, however women with blogs, have an open and very public venue to express their feelings about it. Some chose not to vocalize their feelings publicly on their blogs but one thing was clear – everyone wanted to talk about how they felt about it. They varied……women who had fertility treatments but never got pregnant, hated the notion of being fat and going through the birthing process, never having the maternal instinct to reproduce, forgetting until it was too late, being too busy with career and academia and then realizing it was too late, disliking children altogether (that was a rare sentiment), loving their free lifestyle too much and general fear. There was also the beautiful readings on the first night of several bloggers chosen by the BlogHer community. A few I missed I would have loved to catch were the ones on the political landscape. They had…

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