print-at-home plans

Someone needs to start a business selling print-at-home furniture/home-improvement plans that include parts lists (and, ideally, costs) from their local Lowes / Home Depot / TrueValue / Ace / etc.

Most folks who want to tackle small projects don’t want to buy books or magazines that may (or may not) include what they’re interested in – but which will definitely include loads of stuff they’re not.

Having a simple webstore that offered complete build instructions, parts lists, and approximate costs (both dollars and time) would be awesome.

I’m thinking something like an on-demand version of eMeals, but for your workshop.

April 18, 2014 · antipaucity · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: ideas, modeling

why nations fail by daron acemoglu and james a robinson

I first came across Why Nations Fail at my local Half Price Books. After seeing it on the shelves a couple times, but still being unsure about whether I really wanted to read it or not, I reserved it at my local library.

Now I wish I had bought it (and likely will) – Daron Acemoglu & James A Robinson, while sometimes slipping into an academic, journalistic tone, present a fantastic historical, economic, cultural, and international view into the similarities, and differences, of “national” failures around the world over the last several centuries.

They spend a great deal of time expounding on the differences of countries that succeed and those that don’t – and offer insights into how failing nations could, potentially, turn themselves around.

Interestingly, the factors that play-into national success and failure are similar throughout history – critical junctures, inclusive/pluralistic political and economic environments vs extractive/exclusive political and economic structures, empowered citizenries, overbearing rulers, literacy, economic incentives (positive and negative), etc.

The Iron Law of Oligarchy:

the overthrow of a regime presiding over extractive institutions heralds the arrival of a new set of masters to exploit the same set of pernicious extractive institutions (p366)

My recommendation? Buy it. Read it. Share it. The background and conclusions this book presents and reaches should be required reading for anyone who wants to see their nation “do better” – politicians, businessmen, citizens, NGOs: all would benefit from applying what is demonstrated in this excellent work.

  • Quality of writing: 4/5
  • Quality of content: 4.5/5
  • Historicity: 5/5
  • Educational value 4.5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

April 16, 2014 · antipaucity · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: books, commentary, education, history, insights, politics, review

35 great questions, part 2

Part 2 of 5 in my condensed reprint of Inc’s article, “35 Great Questions” from the April 2014 issue. (part 1)

  1. What counts that we are not counting? –Chip Conley
  2. In the past few months, what is the smallest change we have made that has had the biggest positive result? What was it about that small change that produced the large return? –Robert Cialdini
  3. Are we paying enough attention to the partners our company depends on to succeed? –Ron Adner
  4. What prevents me from making the changes I know will make me a more effective leader? –Marshall Goldsmith
  5. What are the implications of this decision 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years from now? –Suzy Welch
  6. Do I make eye contact 100 percent of the time? –Tom Peters
  7. What is the smallest subset of the problem we can usefully solve? –Paul Graham

April 15, 2014 · antipaucity · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: reprint

you don’t need ideas – you need questions

Paul Graham asserts that startup ideas aren’t what’s important – and, in fact, think you need an “idea” is a major roadblock.

Convert your thinking from “idea” to “question”, and you have a potential curiosity to explore, tweak, develop, and deliver.

Your best work is going to come when you’ve thought about the problem but didn’t know you were thinking about it.

So stop trying to get an idea – ask questions, and chase them down.

April 14, 2014 · antipaucity · No Comments
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discover each man’s thumbscrew – law 33 – #48laws by robert greene

Law 33

Everyone ahs a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usually an insecurity, and uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure. Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage. –Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power (review)

April 13, 2014 · antipaucity · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: books, commentary

don’t blog

to “compete” with others.

There are great reasons to blog – but there are also lousy ones to do it.

If you’re writing because you’re trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, so to speak, you’re doing it wrong.

Don’t blog because others do. Don’t blog because others do it better. Blog because you want to. Blog because you have something to say. Blog to learn.

But don’t blog to compete. It’s a game you’ll never “win”.

April 11, 2014 · antipaucity · 2 Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: commentary

35 great questions, part 1

Part 1 of 5 in my condensed reprint of Inc’s article, “35 Great Questions” from the April 2014 issue.

  1. How can we become the company that would put us out of business? –Danny Meyer
  2. Are we relevant? Will we be relevant five years from now? Ten? –Debra Kaye
  3. If energy were free, what would we do differently? –Tony Hsieh
  4. What is it like to work for me? –Robert Sutton
  5. If we weren’t already in business, would we enter it today? And if not, what are we going to do about it? –Peter Drucker
  6. What trophy do we want on our mantle? –Marcy Massura
  7. Do we have bad profits? –Jonathan L Byrnes

April 10, 2014 · antipaucity · One Comment
Tags: ,  · Posted in: reprint

what viability would a subscription-based social networking service have?

You see stories like this one, and you wonder how Facebook is continuing to make it. So many people I know are either leaving, or reducing their involvement (including myself), that is seems it is destined to be the next MySpace.

Over the past couple years, I have seen companies advertise themselves by giving links like facebook.com/MyCompany. When it’s in addition to you “real” website (MyCompany.com), that’s not a bad thing.

But when it’s the only outlet you give people to interact with you? You’re outsourcing your business to someone else, and hoping they don’t screw you over.

That doesn’t seem to smart to me.

I understand Facebook needs to make money – they are a business, and not a charity (and even if they were the latter, they still need to pay for electricity, engineers, and equipment). But I think that the pure advertising model is not as lucrative as it once was.

Which makes me wonder how successful a subscription-based social network could be: call it something nominal – maybe $10-20 a year, but give users much fuller control over their “experience”: a mashup of MySpace’s crazy customizability, Facebook’s interface, and LinkedIn’s professionalism.

It’s a thought. Anyone want to build one with me?

April 9, 2014 · antipaucity · 6 Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: ideas

april adoption update

We’ve gotten an update in our adoption process. Please go check out our [private] adoption blog.

If you would like access to it, please leave a comment or email me.

April 8, 2014 · antipaucity · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: personal, update

the “best” industries for starting a business?

I generally really like Inc magazine.

But this article is kinda ridiculous: “The Eight Best Industries for Starting a Business.”

By the time an industry has landed on a list like this, the odds that you’re really going to be able to capitalize on it are super slim. There’s nothing “wrong” with starting a business in any of those industries – but you shouldn’t pick an industry because it’s “hot”; you should start your business in the industry you know and are ready to compete in.

If you’re already running a business, perhaps expanding your market reach into some of these “hot” industries is a good idea – and perhaps not. Make sure you are solving problems and delivering solutions.

The rest is gravy.

Sidebar – if you’re relying on mass-market publications like Inc to do your business research, you’re doing it wrong.

April 8, 2014 · antipaucity · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: commentary, insights