Burton Snowboards – The Anti- Apple

One of the most disturbing aspects of design trends over the last decade or two is the cult of Apple, and the various sound bytes that they use to be able to convert people into their design aesthetic => my specific issue is with this hyperbolic “minimalism” mantra that they have been spoon feeding Americans for the better part of 20 years now.

Now its important to note I am not against “minimalism”, “simplification”, “usability”, or any of the other things that Apple likes to focus on with their products and marketing. In fact, I actually see them as very important design aesthetics and mantras. What I am against is the notion that minimalism is the sole design aesthetic, and that it is somehow the greater good thus a reason to build a dogma around it.


Minimalism should be in context. Where would we be without Picasso’s cubism or Cézanne beautiful use of color or Van Gogh’s deep detail that required careful consideration. It was only later in Pop-Art and Minimalism movements that we felt the need to reduce twice over as an “antithesis” for many of the busy and colorful artistic movements from before.

Thankfully, when I was reading Purple Cow it Came to me that one of my all time favorite companies, Burton Snowboards is actually an exact opposite to Apple inc. Here are some examples:

Major Features of Apple:

Plain high contrast colors
“easy to use”
User friendly
Design over Technology ( consistently a technology laggard technically by specifications)
Very few products
Larger than life CEO

Major Features of Burton:

Active Designs
Products that are harder to use => Snowboarding over skiing
Extremely colorful
Technology leads to design
Many products and varying features to each product line
CEO that prefers to be out snowboarding

Burton’s approach is pretty much the exact opposite to Apple but their brand and products are every bit as strong as Apples (they just function in a smaller marketplace). For Example, Burton is aggressive about creating the best technology where as Apple traditionally sells technology that is 20% slower, less powerful, and smaller in capacity than the existing marketplace. Burton is very “active” with their designs and they consistently out design their competition (competition that focuses on Minimalism). Additionally, they have tons of products- yes they primarily sell snowboards but you have many choices within the Burton environment.

I think there is a lot to what Burton is doing that other Companies could learn from, and I would urge people to consider their design Aesthetic in context.

Apple is great, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones that can get it right.

Wedding Hacks


  • Practice over-smiling cause the day of you will smile more than you ever have in your life, which will literally hurt the next day if you don’t actively practice smiling a lot
  • Be prepared to answer these questions frequently in an interesting or different manner:
    “Are you excited?”
    “so when are you going to have kids?”
    “so whats next”
    … you will be asked them a lot, and if you don’t have fun answers, the questions will actually start to annoy you which can create a small amount of tension with loved ones.
  • The cheapest flasks are coleman, and can be found at target for $7. Buy at least 3-5 of these and fill them up with things you can drink straight. Assign a flask to each of your wedding party, and make them responsible for having the liquid disappear.
  • For the invitee list:

  • make sure that you get a couple of people that ignite parties on there… A wedding is a ritualized party. Some people are better at partying than others. People that make for a good time ARE MORE IMPORTANT to your event (the thing your will remember for the rest of your lives) than relatives you see once a year or less.
  • For the Photographer + band etc…
    Use Escrow.com. Otherwise they might ruin your night by making you run all over asking people for checks or to go find your checkbook. Or even have to worry about it on your honeymoon. As long as the money is there its easy.
  • Plan activities on the honey moon. This falls on the dude.
  • On your gift registry: good set of knives, good set of pots and pans. If you have friends that you know don’t have a lot of money, assign special gifts to them that take a lot of time, but not a lot of money. IE. Taking funny photos with disposable cameras printing them and get the prints, etc
  • budget out and contract specific times to socialize with your friends. This is a really big deal. Try and knock out family stuff before your friends show up.
  • Do your thank you cards when you send out your invitations… makes your life soooo much easier. Yes this is less personal, and you’ll have to make adjustments, but life quality goes up so do it anyway.
  • Buy her white canvas allstars for the reception. Whatever $1000 dollar shoes she’s wearing will more than likely not be broken in yet.
  • Turning 30

    I’m celebrating my 30th birthday November 4th. I am completely flabbergasted that I have lived this long. So in honor of my 30th I’d like to put out to the world a list of things that could have killed me, or could have led to situations that could have killed me. * Fell off a cliff at a rock quarry into a foot and a half of water * Broke my back snowboarding (later broke my clavicle snowboarding) * Fist fight at our christmas formal that Heavy B saved me from having a 1.75 bottle of Jack Daniels smashed through the back of my head. * Having a old guy crash through the window into our retail location with his car. * 3 car accidents * 1 near car accident because we were having a 6 person Nerf gun fight in a mini-van I was driving, but its okay because we won * Almost hit by a NYC subway * Food poisoning in Tianjin China. * Almost drowned surfing hurricane swell at Salt Creek (double overhead) * Guy at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown pulled his gun on us * Almost drowned by pod of dauphins * Hit a deer with a car in Minnesota * United almost crashing the plane on my way home to California (totally not kidding) last December * Not really life threatening but I feel like its worth mentioning I was almost Deported back to Canada (I have dual-citizenship) * Fell off a rooftop in Philadelphia

    2 Weird Celebrity Business Theories



    I’m skipping articles about these topics because they have already been written about widely but I think they are really worth mentioning:

    1) The Seinfeld theory of productivity:

    When Jerry Seinfeld was starting off he had trouble writing and subsequently created a method to be more productive. “Don’t Break the Chain” as the theory goes… The concept is that you will be motivated by the current size of your accomplishment to continue accomplishing more… so long as it is well documented. What Jerry would do to make this a reality is take a big calendar and draw a huge red X on a day, so long as he wrote (for a certain amount of time) that day. After a certain number of days there was clearly a streak going and Jerry would try extra hard to not break the streak. Crazy thing happened- He did more work and consequently became more productive.




    2) The Anne Hathaway Effect

    When Anne Hathaway stars in a new movie, Warren Buffet’s net worth increases due to the buzz on the internet about Anne Hathaway… this is related to the name of Warren Buffet’s company being called “Berkshire Hathaway.”  Theoretically, modern financial instruments are plugged into big data on the internet so well that they can pick up activity of people searching and talking about “Hathaway” online. Since Warren Buffets choices literally shift market dynamics that information is worth a lot and people want to be the first one to make moves.




    Carry On

    Random thoughts


    Couple of things… Nothing substantial enough to make into a longer piece.

    First of all, it is absolutely insane that Tesla is opening up their patents. Fucking amazing- and I’m continually amazed that Elon Musk can even walk around considering the size of the balls he has to carry. Remember the scene in “Glen-Gary” where Alec Baldwin pulls out the brass balls? Elon Musk manufactured those in his own likeness and “sold” them to Alec’s character in that movie.

    It’s worth noting that  I own stock in two companies right now Tesla and The Storm Cloud Group. Both continue to surprise me.

    I don’t know what all of this means as far as intellectual property and whats going on with open source versus proprietary but the word is “sea-change” kids

    Next, I’ve had some weird experiences with recruiting/ hiring lately. For Starters, I haven’t really ever done it but I’ve watched a lot of people fuck it up, and a few people do it okay… and I’ve watched it closely. Here’s my official perspective:

    In order of importance to me: 1) Hustle 2) Talent 3) Heart 4) Skills 5) Experience.

    Hiring shouldn’t be a finite thing… good people will make you money, bad people will suck away your money and spend it on stupid things like drugs, or big screen televisions. I don’t understand why more companies don’t just make it a performance based situation if they run into someone good? We are going to run commission only as long as I have a choice… my question is for all these other companies- why wouldn’t you take a chance on someone if you think they could be good

    Also… Why the Fuck does being a small company mean that we aren’t professional? I work way too fucking hard to have to explain to someone that a Linkedin account, a C.V. / Resume, and professional correspondence is a minimum. None of our collateral/ marketing materials would indicate that we’re amateurs. My team represents our company really well…  I’ve hired 2 amazing hires this year, I’m actively recruiting (on a long time-table) 4-5 other people, but I recently had 2 possible recruits seek us out (which was flattering) that couldn’t even meet more than one of the aforementioned minimum criteria.  What gives?

    Lastly, our team has decided to work on and develop a Structured Markup or Framework for expressing Interpersonal Transactions with Motives. What does that even mean? Basically, the large body of literature and oral history surrounding “sales” is going to be restructured and rewritten by some kids working in a small tech company in Southern California.

    Why in god’s name would we waste our time working on a project like this? In short, to help. I’m a major champion of building intrinsic value, and there is no better way to do it than to create a better system to build it, index it, and teach it. “Sales” which is a really shitty word for the larger concept of interpersonal transactions when there are motives involved, is relatively unchanged from the way that it was 100 years ago. It is poorly taught, researched worse, and fragmented to the point of being incomprehensible. I’ve read hundreds of sales books and quasi-sales books to realize that the majority is a regurgitation of old information that isn’t backed by data that lacks innovation, creativity, and synthesis. 100 years ago polio still existed, there were no computers, many people still remembered the US civil war, and “modern” sales philosophies, tactics, and concepts were born. Yep just like the auto industry, its over due for some fresh ideas.

    On a Elon Musk side note: The Ford Model T in 1908 got 16-21 miles to the gallon. As of 2011 Ford, GM, and Daimler-Chrysler were still all at or below 21 miles to the gallon average fuel economy for their cars.

    Carry on…

    Motivation as a manipulation


    I’m going to open this up with a question: Why is possessing motivation binary? Meaning, why is motivation something that you either have or don’t have?

    I can’t think of any other facet of  life where people are perfectly comfortable with something being non-malleable. [Side rant: motivational quotes are almost entirely sports/war based… WTF?]

    Here’s a great quote from Lou Holtz on the topic of motivation:

    “Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated.”

    Here’s my thing… I totally get that from a football coach’s perspective. You work in an environment with finite resources, one of which being time so you can’t really be working on creating motivation with individual people. It is way easier to just replace the people that aren’t hustling. A football team is usually 120 people and you only need 11 on the field at once after all.

    That quote to me is short-sighted. I have to imagine people’s motivation to be fluid, just like any other emotional or psychological construct. However, I don’t have any proof or research to show otherwise. We don’t insist that people with depression are just fucked… we try to help them. I am totally willing  to say that I am under-informed but the best resources on motivation I have seen are Dan Pink’s “Drive,” and the pseudo-science work on “Neuro-Linguistic-Programming.” Nothing particularly concrete.

    Here are some of the normal references to what motivated people: Control, ~Hedonistic values(pleasure seeking), autonomy, mastery, purpose, money, sex, pain avoidance, and competition.

    While I can see these  elements as stimulating factors, maybe useful tools, they are an incomplete set. There is clearly something else at work that dictates the interaction of these elements with a human being- that’s the thing that we should be looking for. When I was reading up on motivation… I started running into the new round of pills that treat lack of motivation and was wondering exactly how you test animals to see if they are motivated. Similarly, how can we justify research in this area or work with it? Seriously? Just imagine one scientist saying to another scientist: “wow did you notice that lap-rat’s motivation seemed to improve when we gave him this pill”… sounds almost like: “its amazing how much more religious that rat is now that we have injected him with this mixture.” A similar consideration… If we are able to work with people that are UNMOTIVATED, shouldn’t there be an upper limit for people that are TOO motivated?

    I am particularly curious about this for when I am fighting burnout. Burnout is a real thing. It is something I have loose models/ paradigms that I work with for myself (ex. utilizing stress cycles)… but I don’t fully understand it nor do I have a particularly good way to study burnout in myself (how exactly to you put effort into keeping metrics about something that keeps you from wanting to do anything. lol).

    Anyway… Totally open question for high performers: what besides the aforementioned gets you motivated?

    Ultimately, the question that I am wondering is how do I manipulate motivation in myself and others? How do I MAKE IT HAPPEN?

    Noted: Yes this blog article lacks direction… Please email me @ jonpaul.act@gmail.com if you have some insight.


    Emotion, Design, and Data addictions


    Random quick thought:

    So they have different terms for barriers to mastery: The bottleneck, the plateau, speed bumps, etc… and that really got in my head (right now I’ve been constructing a data driven “model” of what sort of girl I would really like to date/ marry/ pop my kids out). On of the ideas that I sort of stumbled upon was that I might be relying on paradigms, models, frameworks, architectures, rubrics, data sets, etc. way too much.

    First, there is nothing that can strip the enjoyment of an activity like over analysis or being over prepared. Personally, I have always found the depth and knowledge base of a subject to be a solace. An activity that is worth doing is an activity where you cannot become top 5% in the world in 6 months. So I relish activities where being “great” takes analysis, work, luck at the right times, interaction with others. However, there are moments where caring too much about the nuances and being too processed takes a lot of the fun out of it.

    Second, I’ve become increasingly aware that more often than not, the best in their field make their decisions fast- Unfortunately, there is only one way to do this: emotionally. Decision making as a whole is an emotional process. Simon Sinek has a great video about it. It makes sense if you think about it: once you have a carefully executed mastery over a subject (which takes a while),  the only thing that holds you back is speed of execution. From a efficiency standpoint, if you know something really well taking a lot of time to make a decision about something is extremely inefficient.  Hypothetically, if you are going to be right 90% of the time when you make a decision in 5 min or less, versus being right 94% of the time if you take an extended time to make a decision… that 4 percent can cost you a lot of time, thereby rendering your ability to execute in that lost time as a net loss.

    Additionally, my formal training (professional) has been in the field of sales. It’s a weird job to say the least. The interesting thing about sales is, that due to the nature of  the repeated tasks, a lot of times human beings that are functional retards are just as good at the job as human beings with brilliant minds. I will still argue that to be the best at it you need to be sharp as a tack, but to be top 5% doesn’t require any advanced empirical knowledge or processed thinking.

    So enter in my realization:

    Maybe the thing that is holding me back from mastering certain topics (like the process of finding a really good girlfriend- not that I’ve been looking recently) is the fact that I rely on empiricism too much.

    Check out this image:


    Perfect example of trying to make something empirical that doesn’t need to be (as well as an awesome graph).

    In my new industry (light tech), I’ve noticed that everyone is outrageously data-driven. In general it is both necessary and cool. Then there are times where I’m wondering if it is the best solution to real world problems that exist.  Two key examples of creations that were heralded: Amy Webb and Chris McKinlay .  They both relied on data, systems, and process to find love for themselves. Personally, I was enamored with  the stories, super entertaining and in many ways useful. Also, I find myself compelled to use similar practices to figure out many of the problems that I have in my own life.

    Is it the best way though?

    At the end of my life would I be happy with the fact that my most complex/enjoyable problems were as simple as solving an equation?

    I learned long ago when going on dates that if you start the date with an agenda the date can go both the way that you want and not the way that you want. If you just focus on enjoying, reacting, and seeing where it goes (That is, keeping your mind open) you can’t be let down. The worst that can happen is that you will have an experience.


    One last thought: One of my friends is experimenting with a process in painting of where she starts something not knowing where the painting will go. The process has led to a higher level of enjoyment and some beautiful art. This process is specifically designed to where you can’t know where it will go until it is finished.

    I’m wondering why we can’t apply this mentality to the things that we do in life. Linear thinking is a big problem for enjoyment and getting the most out of life… as well I’m starting to think that the bottle neck might be empiricism to truly being great at something. Maybe emotions have more of a place than I’ve been giving them credit for?

    MC Hammer and the Art of Negotiation


    Clearly I have an avid fascination with weird celebrity business stories. One of my all time favorites is MC Hammer. This one is a quick read too…

    MC Hammer is actually known best for his series of poor business decisions (example basically blowing all of his money keeping an large entourage 200+, and a touring staff of something like 50 dancers… the entertainment industry equivalent of magic beans), but at one point he had sold over 50 million records worldwide and was making up to $35 million a year. Credit where credit is due, Hammer was legitimately good at making money (alas, not saving it).

    To me though the most interesting part of MC Hammer’s story was way in the beginning, long before his $15 million dollar house with a swimming pool built in the shape of trousers. Hammer got his start by convincing dance clubs to let him and his dancers perform songs from his records live in the club. Meaning they would go to a club, throw a song on and dance to it. The spectacle was such a big deal that everyone in the clubs would clammer to buy his records that day. He was literally selling records out of the trunk of his car. MC Hammer was selling a lot of them too…

    Hammer knew that if  he wanted to scale his business up though he would need to have access to a larger distribution channel. It’s important to note that the music industry at that point hadn’t yet been completely destroyed by technology (napster, itunes, bit torrents, etc) and they were pretty agile.  It wasn’t too long before the music companies had heard about MC Hammer and sent reps to go try and make a deal. Standard practice at this point was to find the talent before anyone else did and have them sign off on contracts that were not in their favor. Basically, take advantage of naive artists before they knew any better and cash in on their success. The record labels were the ones that were going to make you famous though- for many people trading all their cash to be famous was worth it.

    MC Hammer knew all of this. So when the first major labels came in to try and make a deal, he was prepared. They of course made a low offer thinking that they would clean up. Hammer refused the offer. The record labels were stunned… they had offered good money to sign Hammer  and he said it wasn’t enough. [ Just for some scope… pretend someone came to you and offered you $750,000 (today’s dollars) for a 3 record deal… Most everyone would jump on that deal]

    What the record labels failed to realize was that MC Hammer was selling a ridiculous amount of records out of the trunk of his car (estimated around 60,000).  Basically he had already worked himself out of being a new artist to being a nice little cash cow, and the record labels were effectively insulting him with a really low offer. Capitol records later came back to the table with $1.5 million as an advance and a multi-record deal.

    I basically use the MC Hammer negotiation method for almost all of my negotiations (I don’t call it that):

    1) Be Prepared. Be so prepared that you know more about what the negotiation will look like than anyone else participating in it.

    2) If possible make them come to you.

    3) Use hard data. Hammer’s decision was entirely based off of his sales numbers. His negotiation reflected what he was really after was a larger market and to scale his business up… he didn’t need the money. Conversely the record companies were so used to using cash as their best negotiation tool they were caught off guard when Hammer’s negotiation didn’t reflect their normal procedures.

    4) Be able to walk away from any deal.

    5) Remember that terms are a huge part of any negotiation.

    6) Don’t be afraid to ask for over the top things.

    7) Negotiate to get what you want

    8) If you find someone that can sell 60,000 records out of the back of their car. Hire that person


    JP goes all “27bslash6″

    Check out this site: 27bslash6.com (recommended Missing Missy). I find David Thorne to be an amazing satirist. Anyway, I had an unfortunate incident at a restaurant that will not be named, where they pulled a bait and switch on me. Here is the resulting email chain:

    I’m sending you this to express how absolutely frustrated I was at my experience today at your restaurant.

    First I want you to know I have written exactly one letter like this before in my life, and that was because my credit card was scanned by a server and used fraudulently.

    Basically, I went to have “happy hour” at your restaurant today and purchased a few drinks at what I was expecting to be “happy hour prices” or around $4 as was listed on pretty much every single piece of paper in the place, as well as the flyer that I was given on the street by the Santa Monica information desk. If you are looking for the location of the flyers they are tucked very neatly with the drink menu so that everyone can see them.

    When I got my bill the average cost per drink was $9.50. So a bill that was expected to be $16 plus tax, rounds out to $55 after tip. Its just messed up.

    I need to stress that this whole thing has nothing to do with money. I have no problem paying $10 per drink. The drinks were good and the service fine. The issue is that I thought I was getting a good deal, instead I got the restaurant equivalent of Forrest Whitaker in Battlefield Earth. The wrong expectation was set, and that’s not cool. I’m glad you guys didn’t add on any hidden fees or something like that. I half expected an activation fee or something.
    People are reasonable. If you just put on your menu which drinks cost what during happy hour it isn’t a big deal. Charge $9.50 a drink. If the drink is worth $9.50 I’ll pay it.

    At the end of the day is this whole thing a big deal? No, not really…. and it actually seems like you are running a nice restaurant. Its just super frustrating to go to a place and expect one thing and get another- the cost of changing the flyers is less than what my normal tab would be for dinner.
    Don’t worry about replying to this email. I won’t be back, and I mean that sincerely. It matters quite a bit what establishments I put my money into. With the high rate of failure in the food service industry, keeping the people that actually care in business requires many people valuing your establishment for more than just the food you serve or the drinks you make. I am just going to tell my 12 friends that I’m pissed (industry standard) and be done with it. I just wanted to let you guys know because if I feel this way there will be someone else that does too.
    JP (not a crotchety old man)

    The Response:

    Dear Mr. Uritis,

    I would first off thank you for visiting [restaurant name] and for your letter.
    Our goal at [restaurant name] is to please all of our guests each and every time. Unfortunately, we have come to realize that this is an impossible task.
    I have attached for your review our Happy Hour Advertisement, Happy Hour Menu and a copy of your receipt. If you look at the advertisement it clearly states “starting at $4″, this means we have items at $4 and it progressively gets higher. The Happy Hour Menu lists the items at $4 and the other discounted items higher than $4. You received this menu when you were seated and actually ordered two items off of this menu.
    As mentioned earlier our goal is please each and every guest, if you had spoken with a manager I am certain that they would have done something to please you. In this industry and in Santa Monica nothing on anybody’s Happy Hour Menu is priced exactly the same.
    We thank you for visiting [restaurant name] and we hope to see you again.
    Guest Services
    My Response:
    Thank you for your cordial and prompt response (super quick, especially considering that I actually asked for you not to respond). As a closet stoic I sometimes miss having derisory conversation relating to everyday happenstance, fortunately corporate culture is always there to oblige me.

    …To be fair though I used to be required to have similar conversations relating to contracts that people signed, and had to explain to them that their signature at the bottom meant that they had read the document. Which got me thinking It might not be a bad idea to require some sort of a waiver for your Happy Hour Menu. Have you guys considered that? It doesn’t really have to be a legally binding document just something to help with dialogues like these.

    But to your response, I appreciate your interpretation of statements like “I was expecting to be “happy hour prices” or around $4″ as neglect of the fine print that says “starting at $4″ and expecting all of the drinks to be $4.
    I also totally appreciate you noticing that my real problem was with the price of the drinks [not being $4], as opposed to (I don’t know) getting confused by marketing materials that are connected to a list of classic cocktails (no prices) with the happy hour menu somewhere else not connected to said marketing materials.

    It’s probably statements like this that are confusing: “I need to stress that this whole thing has nothing to do with money, The issue is that I thought I was getting a good deal, instead I got the restaurant equivalent of Forrest Whitaker in Battlefield Earth. The wrong expectation was set, and that’s not cool.” … I apologize about that. The Forrest Whitaker metaphor is a little tough. I was trying to use Forrest Whitaker because of his great track record for amazing acting (notably Last King of Scotland, and Platoon), and his celebrity status to illustrate the point that his acting in “Battlefield Earth” was not what would be expected of an Academy Award Winner for Best Actor. Of course the reference is dated and there could be some argument over his celebrity status, but I thought it would hold up. I really should have gone with John Travolta. If in your response to this email you could include a short list of films and music (that you watch/ listen to) for future metaphors it would be helpful for the next email (of course I’ll most likely ask you not to respond to this email so I guess the choice is yours).

    Thank you also for including print outs of the flyer and the happy hour menu (and the “hr” drinks my friend ordered, she actually didn’t look at the HH menu either, except for her food). I am including examples as well. I have attached the cocktail menu I was given that had the flyer right next to it. Since you already have the flyer there isn’t really a reason to upload that again… but it would be nice to have them side-by-side for some perspective of what I was looking at.
    I am totally willing to say I might not have spend enough time researching the menus and their offerings, as well as asking the service staff what the specifics were pertaining to happy hour. Again a waiver would have been extremely helpful. Upon further review of the happy hour menu and flyer you will find that we both made made pretty egregious errors … The Flyer clearly states “Join us for happy hour. Featuring Classic Cocktails and draft beer”… By my count there are only 4 possible candidates for “Classic Cocktails” on your whole menu. The Caipirinha, which was delicious and chosen mostly for its status as a classic cocktail. The Mojito. On the menu that you sent me there is also the Metropolitan and the “Mannhatten.”

    Personally, I believe that the Caipirinha and the Mojito have completely earned their place as what one would call “classic cocktails.” There is quite a bit of history for each one and the IBA even has both listed on their list of standardized cocktails (http://www.iba-world.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=88&Itemid=532). Now the Metropolitan that’s a little tougher. I’m willing to give you guys the benefit of the doubt for the Metropolitan. I find its reputation and history enough to be in the category but I still wouldn’t consider it on the level of say an Old Fashioned- this is of course a important argument that I’d be willing to have on another day (perhaps we could get drinks…)

    The last one that I wasn’t 100% on was the “Manhatten.” It seems to me that you guys might have just made a mistake in reading the the menu when you were proofing it (maybe Manhattan???), but as we already touched on in your previous email mistakes of that sort are really the fault of the customer for reading incorrectly. Don’t you worry I’ve come up with strategy and I will try and form a mild case of dyslexia so that I can read certain words the right way ( I’ve already succeeded in reading “subtext” as the word “buttsex” and am hoping to master “Manhatten” by the end of the week).
    As far as pleasing every customer… that’s plain crazy. Many People are nuts… to be honest if this email wasn’t so much fun to write I would probably be doing productive things that help me make the money I need to have to survive. I would recommend you guys doing the same thing but you’ve clearly read this far so I should make my last couple of points. (note: I actually did bring up the pricing with the server, who talked to a manager. I don’t make a big fuss unless its written, and like I said before this whole thing really isn’t actually that big of a deal)
    Sooooo…  In the effort of pleasing each and every customer as you stated is your wish… how do you do that? Well… um… ask them. Since it’s rough to ask that question (it would take 2-3 seconds of typing) … I’ll answer it for you. This is what would have pleased me:
    1) (Originally) just to have your happy hour stuff be a little more clear.

    2) I wanted to vent. I may have made a mistake reading everything properly, but your menu layout, typography, and marketing led me into that decision. In marketing its called a “bait and switch.” This is a perfectly reasonable tactic and people generally respond well to it, but there are pricing thresholds for where it is a bit much. So I wanted to let you know that. I wanted to vent, plain and simple.
    3) In the future be more careful about your collateral (anything physical that you let anyone look at/ use, so that you can sell them stuff)… or at least tell me that you you will be. Again, I’m fine with a good ole bait and switch but please set expectations accordingly.
    4) When responding to an email like this, don’t be a corporate stooge. Your email reads like a tombstone. Every problem is an opportunity in disguise. For all you know I might be the majority owner of Diageo or the the second coming of Jesus (from The Big Lebowski).
    Thats all.

    Again, there is no need to respond to this email. If you really press you’d damn better include movie and music references.

    Lindsay Lohan and the Value of Insurance


    4 arrests. 5 rehab facilities (250 total days). 6 times jailed. 13 days in jail. 20+ court appearances. 37 days of house arrest. $234,000 owed to the IRS. $1million for photos for playboy.

    So starting Salary for an actuary is around $120K right now in certain parts of the country. Totally blew my mind. And later when I was recruited to sell insurance, it was explained to me that the average sales rep for xyz insurance company makes $250,000 I about lost it…

    In the world of professional sales eventually everyone starts sniffing around in the finance world. How could you not- its where they keep all of the money. Investment bankers at age 29 can be making $2million to $5million in annual salary. Stock brokers have routinely told me that “if you can’t make $250,000 annually, then you won’t make it as a broker.”  The industry is just plain sexy. It drags you in. It makes business cool.

    On the other side of finance exists insurance- which in my mind, there couldn’t be anything less exciting. An entire sub-industry dedicated to when bad things happen.

    As an example, life insurance is known in sales as one of the most difficult sales- a person has to pay a lot of money for something they will never see a direct benefit from. They get to that point only by imagining all of the terrible things that could happen to the people they love and imagining something terrible happening to them. Additionally, in insurance there are no big market upswings; you make money the same way that most people die or bad things happen- Slowly. As one District Manager told me: “there is nothing glamorous about playing defense, but that’s how the game is won.” – then insert my yawn right next to yours.

    But of all people it was Lindsay Lohan that made me realize the real value of insurance in business.

    I lived in Cold Spring Harbor for a little while and actually got to meet some of Lindsay’s family on several occasions (who are some of the nicest, most amazing people ever). Knowing them causes my ears to perk up pretty much every time she is brought up in conversation- It gets my curiosity going.

    One such conversation got brought up when I was on a plane recently. “Something, Something, Mean Girls, something, something, Tina Fey, yada, Lindsay Lohan…”

    To which I commented: “Yeah, Lindsay Lohan hasn’t done much recently- I wonder why?” I said this statement totally as a rhetorical question. However the answer I got back was this:

    “Well no one will hire her”

    I came back with: “It’s such a same that someone’s reputation can damage them so badly that no one will work them. Everyone should be allowed a second chance…”

    “Thats not why… from what I’ve heard she’s quite pleasant to work with.  Its actually because no one will insure her.” (my jaw drops) What the F*ck???? Lindsay Lohan isn’t working because of insurance? I then got a brief history of film industry insurance.

    Basically, you are a movie company and you are going to spend Xmillions of dollars to make your amazing film. Part of that money gets spent on insuring the production (cast, scenery, etc) because if Lindsay were to die or say end up in Jail and the company can’t finish their film, they are out Xmillions of dollars. Think Chris Farley or John Candy.

    For some movies insurance can cost as much as 4% of a total movies budget. For a movie like Avatar that would mean almost $12 million. If you have a star that is a particularly high risk for catastrophe (e.g. Charlie Sheen, Rhiana, ) they can mess up your entire budget by being too expensive to insure… and I found out there is a weird niche insurance called incarceration insurance.

    Lightbulb business moment. Lindsay may not be the best example because she is too far to the extreme, but the movie business has the same cost controls to work with as any business. When someone hires Lindsay Lohan they are making a really aggressive bet. And furthermore, my favorite business buddy “externalizing costs” (see walmart) has a close cousin called “externalizing risk.” So the conclusion I realized about highly insured businesses: These guys aren’t pussy’s for using insurance (well maybe some of them), they are geniuses-If you externalize some risk then you can take bigger risks!

    So thank you Lindsay Lohan for two big revelations: 1) Insurance isn’t for pansies without confidence in themselves- it’s for the really insane people that are super high risk, and 2) Robert Rodriguez is even more badass than I thought he was before.