Posts filed under ‘rants’

Wow, I Can’t Believe It!

I can hardly believe this blog entry from the New York Times. It is just crazy. I mean, even proved that membership revenue pales in comparison to ad revenue, so I think this is just snobbery for snobbery’s sake.

The Gated Social Network

By Brad Stone
from the New York Times

“I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member,” Groucho Marx famously said. He would have loved the Web’s newest social networks.

Sites like MySpace and Facebook are designed to attract a broad base of users. A newer breed, like and the forthcoming Diamond Lounge, are building business plans based on exclusivity and the age-old custom of keeping out the riff-raff.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about earlier this month. The name says it all; you have to be invited by others to join and the company rejects about half of all applicants based on appearance.

Last week, I spoke to a similarly inclined entrepreneur, Arya Marafie, managing director of the London-based startup, Diamond Lounge. Mr. Marafie said his site would be even more exclusive than the four-year-old, 270,000-member, A Small World, which the Times wrote about earlier this month. A Small World has lost its intimate feel, Mr. Marafie charged. “If you look at other sites trying to be exclusive, they let every single person in and over the long term that’s a disaster. We’d rather have 100 members than 5000 of the wrong kinds of people.”

Diamond Lounge is in beta testing now and will launch more broadly in October, aimed at celebrities and the affluent. An independent committee that approves members has accepted only 5 percent of about 5000 applicants, Mr. Marafie said. The company will ultimately charge members around $60 a month (can’t they afford more?) and forgo advertising.

At the end of our conversation, I tremulously asked Mr. Marafie if I would qualify for his exclusive new online club. After reviewing my qualifications, he generously said that I probably would, depending on what I could bring to the community. When I told him I would most likely bring nothing to the community, he changed his mind and said that I would be excluded.

“We are trying not to be elitist but we recognize the way things are on the Net, there’s a need to have an element of a gated system in place,” Mr. Marafie said in conclusion. “Once you have the wrong people on these social networks, the whole thing is over.”


September 19, 2007 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

Unlocking the iPhone

A lot of noise can be heard today regarding the unlocking of iPhones – which is to say, jimmying the iPhone so it can run on a network other than AT&T (blech!). (source and source)

Locking popular phone models is reasonable to a consumer when that consumer gets a price break on the phone. Often times, there is a choice to buy the same model directly from the manufacturer at a much higher price point and activate the phone on the network of your choice. The Motorola Dolce & Gabbana Razr comes to mind. Phone model subsidies – great way to incent consumers to use your network.

Why can’t I buy an unlocked iPhone for $499 from Apple, and a locked iPhone from AT&T for $299? FOR EXAMPLE. This trend in unlocking the iPhone is just another example of the erosion of control of the carriers over our technology. What if my high-speed internet provider (in this case, Comcast) said, “Hey you can only use IBM computers on the Comcast network – Macs will cost you another $20 per month”. Everyone would be laughing at the ludicrousness of that idea. Yet, no one laughs when our mobile phone carriers apply that same logic. Odd. Kinda makes me feel like my rights are being infringed upon.

I was not planning on getting an iPhone for several reasons, including the AT&T network and the poor battery planning on the part of Apple, but now I want to buy one, unlock it and use it on my T-Mobile network as a simple expression of my consumer rights.

August 26, 2007 at 8:16 am Leave a comment

Poop Sandwich Award

1. Happy Star Wars Day – May the 4th be with you.

2. Today’s Poop Sandwich Award goes to two people who think it is terribly funny to go on a booze cruise in Baltimore, get all likkered up, and drunk dial me in the middle of the night. YO! I wake up at 4:30 AM to go to the gym! So. Not. Funny.

May 4, 2007 at 7:50 am 3 comments

Bringing Frenchie Back, Part Deux

I’ve been bemusedly watching the French election process in recent weeks; I’ve been watching in your stead, dear readers, since I am sure you have been too busy to follow, to know which 2 politicos have advanced to the second round of voting (yes, there are two rounds). I don’t really like either of them – ni l’un ni l’autre is a true statesman, gender aside.

I’ve been a big (esoteric) fan of Jose Bove since I first came to France. I was especially entertained with his campaign against the mal bouffe (junk food) and the siege of a McDonalds restaurant (can I call it that?). But really, he is no big player on the political scene, more of a cultural icon, or touch point. I appreciate that he lived in Berkeley, CA.

Now as M. Chirac prepares to leave the political scene in France, with all arrondissements in Paris calling for “Reform!” from every romantic roof top or chambre de bonne, I don’t think we recognize the political vaccuum that he leaves behind. Sure, sure, there was wide spread corruption…*cough* Mayor Daley *cough cough*…and some unrequited grievances from France’s minorities…*cough* wall between US and Mexico? *cough*…but was Chirac as bad as people say??

How do you feel about this: French infants have a better chance of survival than American ones. The French live longer than Americans and they live healthier (at far lower cost). They are better educated and have first-rate public transportation. The gap between rich and poor is narrower than in the United States or Britain, and there are fewer poor people. (source)

NYU director, Tony Judt, goes on to say that conscious of Europe’s links to the Muslim world — and the cost of rebuffing and humiliating Islam’s only secular democracy — Mr. Chirac has steadfastly supported Turkish admission to the European Union, an unpopular stance among his conservative constituents.

Just go on, read the article from the New York Times, we’ll discuss it over a plate of warm crepes at my house!

May 1, 2007 at 3:21 pm Leave a comment

Shout Out!

To the woman driving the Suburban on Thompson Lane in Nashville today. You had 2 stickers on your car that said, “Jesus is my co-pilot”. I want you to actually think about that. Do you think Jesus would ride in a car that has such a damaging impact on our environment?! I’d worry less about who your co-pilot is and a bit more about your carbon footprint…that might come in handy on Judgement Day. Just a thought.

May 1, 2007 at 12:57 pm Leave a comment

Nashville’s Country Music Marathon

Wow – one year ago yesterday I ran my first (and only to date) half marathon (which actually set me on the path of blogging). I was so sick with food poisoning I didn’t have fun at all. But this year I think I would have liked it. Past Monday, I called to see if I could register – just to do it, you know! – and they organizers had capped participation at 23,000 half-marathon participants. YIKES!

The Country Music Marathon is a blast and it is getting super-duper popular since Nashville is an easy destination to get to and there is a lot of fun stuff to do, not to mention the marathon itself is a blast with bands lined up all around the course. In reality, the bands are lined up all around the half-marathon course. The full marathon course is sparsely attended by runners and fans alike and fairly challenging so I don’t believe there to be a ton of stuff going on in the back 13.1m. Ugh – and I LOATHED my training runs on the back half of the course, over the river and through the hood. Bad.

This year, I was a mere spectator. Hopped on my bike @ 7a.m. and rode over to Belmont to meet up with the Hedges to support our friends and colleagues. Shanan, of course, came prepared with non-fancy champy for Kir Royales to toast the physical prowess of those around us. We saw a LOT of people we knew run by – I was looking for my friend Rachael Rowland who was my running buddy last year, but I never saw her. I was bummed out about that. I really wanted to cheer her on. But I did see Marshall, who I work out with every morning, and was glad to see she was strong and in good humor at mile 7. HALF WAY, BABY! I put her picture on flickr so check it out. We saw Eddie George running with a 6-person security detail. Hilarious. But I can’t hate on him – he is an amazing athlete (and SO TALL) and a Buckeye – HOLLA! I seriously heart him.

After watching two hours of people first whipping by, then running by, then struggling by, then laboring by, then walking by, we (me, Shanan, and Anne) decided to call it a morning and go to the fair grounds for the monthly flea market. I wasn’t looking for anything other than entertainment.

Boy did I get it. Never in my life have I seen so many MORBIDLY OBESE people. I kind of got really mad – I mean, they are going to be a serious serious drain on our healthcare system in years to come (b/c these were people of ALL ages). For-profit healthplans will insure these individuals, who are often times poor or of lower income, and it will be MY premiums that go up. I think there should be a tax break or something for people who maintain their weight within a certain healthy range – yes, I know that is TOTALLY impossible to regulate and police. But something has to be done – this was a pit of adult onset diabetes and heart disease and lifestyle related cancer and just nasty fatness. I can guarantee these people haven’t seen their genitalia in years.

Anne and Shanan, after having their fill of the fair, wanted to go have drinks with lunch. I opted out and went to the gym to run 6 miles (almost a quarter marathon! LOLz) – and thought about how I never wanted to get heart disease.

April 29, 2007 at 8:25 am Leave a comment

Where’s the Beef?!

OH THE HORROR!!! Wendy‘s has closed the first Wendy’s ever opened! Dave Thomas is rolling over in his GRAVE! Earlier this year Wendy’s closed the first store Dave Thomas opened in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969. Now the No. 3 burger chain is considering selling the chain entirely as net income fell 71% in the first quarter. DAYUM!


Sure, downtown Columbus is a total dump, sure no one goes to City Center Mall, but dang, y’all! Why you gotta go closin’ down the first ever Wendy’s?!This is the worst possible news (you know, besides all that Iraq war stuff)! I love Wendy’s! I love dipping their french fries into my frosty. Shoot, I remember when they had those crazy beads for curtains. I looooove their food and passionately HAAAAATE McDonalds. I don’t think the answer to winning hearts and minds (let alone profitability) lies in selling out. They need to embrace a cause, be it corporate social responsibility, global diabetes awareness (just a thought!), childhood fitness – something! But a sellout? That’s for weak, reactionary bitches. Buck up and get a strategy. PS: that little purchase of Baja Fresh was kinda off message and reactionary to McD’s Chipotle success. Not super helpful.

Here’s to Dave T…and knowing how to make delicious fast food that is the best in the industry. PLEASE don’t loose the #3 spot to Hardee’s. WTF?!?!? (Now there’s a turn-around for ya…)

April 26, 2007 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

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