Posts tagged: Entrepreneurship

My Best Worst Website Ideas

By , August 24, 2011

All the talk of late has been speculation as to whether another tech bubble is in the works. If so, there are no doubt dozens of venture capitalists running amok, eager to throw money at anyone with an idea for a website. Since I’m not the techie type, I’ll never get my hands on any of that money, but here are some ideas I’ve had of late for terrible web pages. I hereby donate them to anyone who wants them– go ahead and get rich with ’em if you can. It’s on me.

1. Bad Dating Site– Are you and your significant other constantly fighting? Beating one another? Cheating? This is the site for you! Monitor just how bad it is using our advanced in-site metrics. Share your lack of progress towards happiness with your friends using graphs and counters on your profile page. Proudly display “THIS RELATIONSHIP HAS GONE XXX DAYS WITHOUT AN INFIDELITY” and watch as the number grows each day, or resets to zero when you finally lose the will to resist your secretary’s advances.

2. Fiendbook– Are you embarrassed by your profile pic on the local law enforcement agency’s web page? Imagine Megan’s Law, but with social networking functionality! Interact with other criminals to boost your sphere of influence, and garner new partners-in-crime at the same time. Maybe you’re planning a bank heist and need a getaway driver. A simple search on our page is all you need. Or are you looking for the scoop on potential victims? Which local child is most prone to fall for the “lost puppy” scam, and which will eagerly hop into a windowless van if candy is promised? What area widow is poised to part with her former husband’s vast fortune? Does the owner of that corner market keep a gun behind the register, or can you waltz in with impunity and rob the joint? At last, a site that has the answers you seek.

3. Geolocation for Drug Dealers– If you sell illegal drugs, or merely use them, you will be interested in what we are offering. No longer will you have to stand for hours on the corner peddling heroin to junkies craving crack. Likewise, the days of being forced to smoke angel dust because you couldn’t locate the LSD you sought are over. Dealers can check in using our app on any GPS-enabled mobile phone and list what they have to offer. Users then know exactly where to go for what they need. It’s a win-win. As a built-in security feature, you have to answer the question “are you a police officer?” with a “no” before being allowed to log in.

4. Rate-A-Hooker– We borrowed some functionality from the above drug dealer app to enable prostitutes to check in at the street corner of their choice, but the real winner here is the John. Thanks to crowdsourcing, you no longer have to wonder “how much?” or “is she any good?” That’s right, once you’ve used her, you the user can rate and review her. Was she a five-star experience, or did her service seem lacking? What are her normal working hours? Does she have any diseases? No more guesswork for you, and no more disappointing “dates.” Special log-in section for pimps allows them to offer daily deals, group rates, or whatever specials they’re running, as well as track their hoes and make sure they’re out there earning that money.

5.– Everyone loves a puppy! But what’s the one problem with a puppy? That’s right, it grows up to be a dog. No one wants a dog! Puppies are so cute and funny and tiny and fluffy and omg they are just the best. Dogs are just kind of there. Worse, there are so many kinds of dogs, who wants to be stuck with just one breed for a decade or more? Fear not, for is here to make everything better. Once a user signs up for our service, an adorable puppy is delivered to his or her door. A month later, we return with a new puppy of a different breed, selected by the user, to replace the old puppy. The returned puppy is taken out to our custom-built van, euthanized, and chopped into the new puppy’s first meal. That’s right, we recycle the old, unwanted puppy. We’re a green business! Everyone wins with!


Wireless Fidelity

By , January 25, 2005

Have I written before about how wonderful the wireless age is?

I’m now sitting in a Starbucks cafe in San Francisco. With my T-Mobile wireless account I can get online at any Starbucks or Kinko’s, as well as any major airport. I’ve been able to check e-mail in El Paso and post to my journal from New York City. Good stuff.

There really seems to be no limit to what one can do these days. Things like real-time chat, and even voice or video chat, are the norm anymore, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. From this little table in a cafe I can broadcast my streaming radio station, and thanks to the miracle of software I can mix it turntable-style, live, using only my Powerbook. I can snap pictures or take video clips with my mobile phone, use Bluetooth to instantly upload them to the computer, and share them with the world mere moments after they were taken.

When I was a kid my (much) older brother was in England earning his master’s degree. Perhaps once or twice a month we’d receive a letter from him, and we’d respond just as often. International phone calls were just too expensive to warrant more than one or two calls per term. Were he going to school in England today, we could communicate, for free, using iChat. We could see one another, again for free, using a webcam. Yet, neither of those things seems even remotely amazing– in the short time such forms of communication have existed they have become commonplace and pedestrian. Who knows what we’ll be able to do wirelessly in another 10 or 20 years, but odds are we’ll take whatever it is for granted in much the same way.

I just answered a phone call. I forward my 800 Number to my mobile phone, so anyone, anywhere in the U.S.A., can reach me for free no matter where I am. This time, it was a woman who had searched Google for a party planner and found me. She hired me on the spot to provide a casino, DJ, and clown for a party she is hosting.

Wireless life rocks.


Final Casino Party of ’05

By , December 16, 2004

Huzzah! The final casino party of 2004 has come and gone. No more loading and unloading, setting up and breaking down, sorting chips, and most importantly no more staffing. I do have a few more DJ gigs, but those are significantly less work.

Speaking of which, here I am, hard at work. It’s a tough job, but I guess it beats digging a ditch.


Today’s event was a nice, early one; it was over by 7:00 PM. It was fun to watch the Sun Microsystems engineers dancing to the surf rock band. They had loadsafun, those techies did.

After Saturday I am free for the rest of the year. I can hardly wait!


You Probably Think This Post is About Me

By , March 4, 2004

As I think it is pretty ridiculous that the first pictures I ever share of myself here (at least of me as a grown-up) be of me pretending to be a model, I will preface the pictures from the modeling session with a few of me as I normally look.

I am seen here in my natural habitat, foraging for food.

with my nephew
My nephew and I pose for the camera.

parents' back yard
Me in my parents’ back yard– the closest thing I had to a glamor shot before today.

Now that you have some semblance of an idea as to how I look “in real life,” here, as promised, here pictures of Peasprout the Model. As I explained in the previous post, I really, truly, honestly only did this as a favor to a client and I feel awfully vain and silly sharing them. I did, however, promise, so… enjoy?

Blue Steel
I like to call this pose Blue Steel.

Le Tigre - Le Tigre
A little something I call Le Tigre, for obvious reasons.

Le Tigre - Le Tigre
Can you see why I refer to this as Ferrari?

Le Tigre - Le Tigre
Magnum– a work in progress.


The Things I Do for Clients

By , February 26, 2004

I was chatting with a client the other day, merely making delightful chit chat, when she mentioned that she’s been taking photography classes. “Bravo,” said I, “a worthwhile endeavor, to be sure.” She went on to say that they often need models for their photo shoots, and asked if I knew of any. I mentioned that from time to time I do work with models, but that they charge a premium rate. That wouldn’t do, she explained, she needs volunteers– models willing to pose for free.

There was then a bit of bandying back and forth, an offer or two was made, a hint was dropped, and suddenly I realized that in order to keep the client happy, well, that is, I mean to say, the upshot of it all is: somehow I am now committed to posing for her and her friends. Don’t ask me how or why it happened, it just suddenly became clear that if I hoped to land the gig I would have spend three hours posing for snapshots tonight.

Currently Playing: Rupaul – Supermodel

I had barely relegated myself to the role of model when even more smashing news arrived. She’d polled the other photographers and it seems that it’s imperative that I bring several outfits, including “attire that a DJ would wear,” and that I accessorize with “cool DJ sunglasses” as well as “vinyl records” and “possibly a mixer.”

Today’s Question: Do the rest of you often find yourselves in such situations, or is it just me?

I can hardly wait to strut my stuff. I have been promised pictures as compensation; I shall certainly post them for all to see.


Ring in the New Year

By , January 5, 2004

I have been an absentee blogger for some time now, the reasons for which I explained in my previous post, but as things have settled down somewhat, I should be able to offer up regular material once again. Thanks to all who wished my Mother well. She is home recovering.

This is the time of year at which it is customary to make resolutions for the new year, and perhaps recap the previous year. As this is my first post for 2004, I could try to do so, but I am not sure I’d have very much to write. I am fairly pleased with my first year’s output as a blogger. I have 82 entries under my belt, and while not all of them are masterpieces, I think I’m improving as I go. I don’t know exactly what to resolve, but perhaps I will try to balance the topics here a bit more evenly. I write about music far more than, say, food, and perhaps it will be more interesting to you, gentle reader, if I deliver more food, film, and cocktail posts your way.

Okay, that will have to suffice for my resolution and recap blog. I now resolve to enjoy the rest of this fine day. For more than a week I was so sick I couldn’t leave my bed, so I am especially appreciative of my health now that it has returned. Fortuitously, January and February are especially easy months for me, as it is a slow time for private parties and the like. I still have to tend to the clients who are booking me for events later in the year, but the lack of parties to organize and staff in the near future means more free time.

Today’s Question: What are your favorite months, and why?


Is It 2004 Yet?

By , December 5, 2003

Tomorrow the December holiday party season begins in earnest. I shouldn’t complain, for I make a significant percentage of my annual income in the month of December, but it comes at a cost. While everyone else is enjoying the holiday season, taking vacations, shopping for gifts, and generally making merry, I am hard at work. In some years I have had 15 day stretches in which I have at least one event per day. Some days I have had as many as five simultaneous events. It really ruins the month, and makes me dread December. I really cannot wait for this month to be over.

In fact, I am already looking forward to New Year’s Eve, as I think this is going to be one of the rare and wonderful years in which I don’t have to DJ that night. I read about a neat party on an aircraft carrier, at which a big band will play a salute to Benny Goodman. That sounds like my kind of New Year’s Eve party!

Pessi is going to be in town, and I imagine she will want to drag Fizzy and I to some swanky, trendy night spot, but I’ll definitely put in my sales pitch for the big band. Either way, the highlight of it all will be kissing my girlfriend at midnight. Though this will be the sixth time the calendars have changed since we met, it will be our first New Year’s Eve together, for in previous years either she has been in Los Angeles, or I have been working. I can hardly wait for a Fizzified smoochero come y2.04k.

Let the casino parties begin! Today’s Question: Do you hit a 3 card 16 vs. a dealer’s 10?


Who Needs a Job?

By , November 3, 2003

I am an event planner by trade, but I offer a couple services in-house, one of which is casino game rentals. That means my staff and I show up at a venue, set up casino-style gaming tables, and turn a party into Las Vegas for a night. It also means I need to keep 50 or so people on call who are trained to run blackjack, poker, craps roulette, or baccarat tables. Not that I ever need that many in a night, but not everyone can work every time, so I need to make sure I’m never short-staffed.

Early November is when I find out which members of my staff have moved away or found “real” jobs, for during the 11 months not named December most of my casino events are small, and there is seldom more then one on any given night. When casino events pop up, I’m able to work with the same handful of dealers at each of them. Then December arrives, and my calendar is filled to capacity with company holiday parties, and I suddenly find myself with 30 spots to fill on multiple nights. To make matters worse, many of my dealers are college students, and my busy season coincides with finals time.

In case you are concerned, this is completely legal. I have permits, insurance, licenses, and so forth. The games are not played for money, and the job is relatively stress-free. The parties are typically for adults, usually at a company holiday party, but not always– later this month a family is hiring me to set up a casino for their son’s bar mitzvah, so all the gamblers will be 12 to 13 year-old kids.

If anyone reading this is in the San Francisco metro area and looking for part-time work next month, contact me. I may have a job for you. I’ll provide all the training you need to run a gaming table. It’s a plus if you are charismatic and out-going, but taciturn dealers are fine, too. In short, this can be a fun, easy way to earn money; clients often offer free food and liquor to the staff, and cash tips are somewhat common.


Typical Day, For Reals This Time

By , October 2, 2003

I never care much to read blog entries that chronicle someone’s day in a blow-by-blow fashion. I do enjoy amusing anecdotes from a day, to be sure, but the “I did this, then I did this, then I did this” entries don’t hold my interest. Nonetheless, today’s entry is going to be in that vein, but in a more general way, as more then a few people have asked me of late: “Peasprout, what is your typical day like?”

Well, since you asked, it goes a little something like this…

I wake up at about 10:30 am or so. I make my morning commute to work, which is really just walking from the bedroom into the office. Sometimes there may be some traffic– perhaps I left some clothing on the floor– but I usually make it to work in a timely manner.

For the next three or four hours I make and answer phone calls, either touching base about pending events or convincing potential clients to hire me, and respond to e-mails. Every now and then I fax something, and sometimes even prepare letters to send by post.

At around 2:00 I shower, dress, and head out into the world. I head down Telegraph or Shattuck and eat lunch someplace while reading the day’s newspaper. The highlight of lunch is working the New York Times crossword puzzle. Sometimes I eat gelato after lunch.

After lunch, I walk about a mile or so to Ver Brugge, a local butcher, where I buy meat to cook for dinner. I then walk what must be another mile and a half to the Berkeley Bowl, my favorite market, where the produce section boggles the mind. Finally, I walk yet another mile home. By now it’s around 5:00, and time to start cooking.

My girlfriend and I dine together most nights. After dinner, who knows what we’ll do. We see a lot of movies, play a lot of Scrabble, and generally do fun things. Sometimes we just kind of do nothing together, but it seems like something just ‘cuz it’s us; even when we’re together doing nothing it beats a trip to Disneyland. Basically, I have the world’s most wonderful girlfriend. She’s also my best friend, and hands down the most remarkable person I’ve ever known. I bet if you met her you’d think the same thing.

Of course, I relish my “me” time, in which I read, write, play basketball, or hang out with friends. A lot of that time comes later in the evening, for Fizzy sleeps earlier than I do. I’m definitely a night person. I do a lot of reading, writing, DVD watching, and work-related tasks after midnight, and don’t go to bed until perhaps 3:00 am.

And that’s pretty much my day. Not much, really. And you can see why I don’t bore you with a daily recounting of said events: I’d have no readers.

Today’s Question: What is your typical day?


Large Apples

By , September 29, 2003

I just finalized reservations for a trip to New York City. Fizzy and I are going to be there from the 12th through the 20th of October. I don’t think any of my readers are New Yorkers, but if you are (or if you will be there then) please feel free to fire suggestions at us for where to go and what to do. Or find us and hang out with us. Just don’t rob our home while we are away; perhaps it is a bad idea to share such information in a public forum?

For the most part, we’re going there as a vacation, but not entirely as one. We’re considering moving to New York City some time next year. Sure, I have my business here, but I think I could do the same thing there, while still running this one; open a second office, as it were. Meanwhile, Fizzy can find a super-wonderful job and support us both. Right??

Fizzy doesn’t know New York, so this is her chance to see if she wants to become a New Yorker. Me? I am very familiar with New York, though only as a visitor. This will be a chance to see if I want to live there. I have always returned from previous trips with the sense that, while New York is a great city to visit, it would be a terrible place to live. This will be my first time going there with a proper mindset of “could I live here,” however, so maybe I’ll come back with a different attitude.

I’m not getting any younger after all, and I think I may need a new challenge; a change of pace, if you will. I mean to say, life here is certainly good, but perhaps I take it easy too often. I’m more then comfortable, some would say too comfortable, and maybe I need to struggle and claw my way to the top all over again. I may well regret thinking such things when I’m enduring a sweltering New York summer, or slogging through a January blizzard, and I will no doubt miss the 6-day “weekends” I now enjoy, not to mention the year-round perfect weather, great food, culture…hmmm…I’d best shush or I’ll talk myself out of it the move I even get there.

I think Evelyn Waugh summed up my feelings about New York City when he wrote, “in that city there is [a] neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistake for energy.” This is the Big Apple’s big chance to change my mind and win me over. I’ll report back upon my return and let you know if this young man is headed East.


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