Friday, April 29, 2005

Question of the Day

Twenty years ago would you rather have been a B-student in Poughkeepsie or a genius in Shanghai? And today?
-Bill Gates in Wired

The Best Way to Conduct Important Business

Back after some international trips and blogger malfunctions.

The WSJ has a great story about a Japanese businessman using Rocks, Paper, Scissors to determine the outcome of a business deal.
The highest end of the art market is fiendishly competitive, and especially so as the two auctioneers fight over a dwindling supply of classic Impressionist paintings. Each offered lavish proposals. But they were so similar, says the 74-year-old Mr. Hashiyama, that he couldn't pick a winner. He initially asked the two archrivals to decide between themselves who would get the Cezanne. That idea didn't fly. So Mr. Hashiyama informed Christie's and Sotheby's that they would play a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to break the tie, a method he had used many times in the past to determine important business deals
The employee returned with the ballots. Christie's had picked scissors. Sotheby's picked paper. Per the game's rules, which automatically determine a winner -- paper covers rock, rock smashes scissors, scissors cut paper -- Christie's scissors triumphed over Sotheby's paper.
Christie's declined to say why it ultimately picked scissors. A Sotheby's spokesman said, "Sotheby's never comments on collections it is not offering for sale."

the relevant link

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Quote of the Day

In China, piracy is so entrenched that even the pirates complain about it.

the relevant link

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Cool API Tricks

This guy has combined Craiglist housing listings with Google Maps to show you real estate in your price range on a map. If the Craiglist posting has pictures, those can be viewed on the Google map as well. Having tried to use Craigslist before to try to find an apartment in NYC, this blows my mind.

the relevant link

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Quotes of the Day

We all profess to be in favor of more freedom. Freedom is the Platinum Visa card. We all want one. Responsibility is the credit rating. Not so much enthusiasm for the kind of discipline needed to earn one of those.


Many academics share the adolescent fantasy that government would be terrific if only the right leaders were in charge. They think that all of our problems would go away if only "the people" could get their way over the "special interests." Their model of politics is the old Jimmy Stewart movie "Mr. Smith goes to Washington."

A good way to cure the adolescent fantasy is to spend time in government. Up close, it is hard to tell the people from the special interests. The crusaders for more low-income housing turn out to be construction companies. The campaign for energy independence and clean-burning fuel turns out to be a plea for a subsidy to benefit a large ethanol producer. Conversely, those of us arguing against drug price controls do so not because we are industry stooges but because we believe that markets incentives lead to better treatments and cures.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Enforcing the HBP Rules

The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when...(b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball; If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.

When is MLB going to start enforcing the rules on hit batters? The rules clearly state that the batter must attempt to get out of the way and that a pitch in the strike zone is a strike, even if it hits the batter. Umpires currently ignore these rules, giving out free bases no matter the circumstances or how egregiously the batter leans into the plate or fails to make any attempt to get out of the way. The Yankees have really perfected the art of creating HBPs. I can't really blame them; if the umpires are going to allow this practice, the Red Sox need to start leaning in and taking some pitches. On the whole, though, it's quite frustrating.

the relevant link

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Long Tail of Complaining (pt 2 in a continuing series)

Two new sites have been launched to capitalize on the Long Tail of Complaining theory espoused on this site earlier.

Customer Retaliations will be the umbrella site which provides links to all other consumer oriented blogs as well as short descriptions of the relevant company and problem.

Playersonly Is a Terrible Place to Gamble Online is the newest attempt to force changes in customer service. It will describe how's online casino and sportsbook fails to deliver quality customer service or a good product.

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