Friday, September 26, 2008

My Linkedin groups

A few weeks ago Linkedin implemented a change in the number of group an individual could join on the network. I was a huge proponent of joining groups as a way of attracting new invitations. But with the policy change I've had to make some decisions on which groups to remain a member of. So I culled my original member list of 480 groups down to the 49 you see below. The criteria was simple; a) group had to relevant to my interests and or needs as an owner of HTC Research Corp b) had to have at least 1000 members and c) had to have at least some activity in the discussions area

I chose the above criteria for the following reasons:
a) the group had to have relevance as there's no need for me to be a member for a group called "Friends of Uzbeckistanmonia" even if it has 3000 members as I probably have no interest in what they would be talking about and I don't speak the language:-) (Unless of course I was getting a ton of invties from other members of this group)

b) I want the group to have at least 1000 members to increase the chances of receiving invites from other members. This is still a great way of building your network with very little effort. I get at least 15 invites a day from people who say they are a member of xyz group and they want to connect. Of course I accept, as I accept all invites.

c)had to have activity in the discussions group. If you have 10,000 members and little/no discussion that tells me something. Most likely the group moderator has multiple groups under the similar names and he transferred membership from one of his "more popular groups" to this group. Activity and discussion will ultimately prove the value of a group. Also I looked, albeit briefly, at the content of the discussions if the first few were request for connections of job postings I deleted the group as I feel the moderator was not actually moderating the content which can make a mess of a group in short time and kill relevancy.

My Groups (49)

Candidate Pipeline Development ™ (click to join) Members: 2,655
Court Time

1 Big5Hire - Passive Recruiting Search Engine User group
2 Blue: The DallasBlue Business Network (23,000+ members)
3 Deloitte.
5 Fans of Mashable
7 Innovative Recruitment Forum [6500+ members]
8 Integrated Alliances
9 Invites Welcome! (Open Networkers)
10 J.D. Edwards Professionals
11 Leading International Open Networkers (LION)
12 LI Recruiters Network
13 linked PMP ( 9000+ members!!!
14 LinkedHR: #1 HR Group (55,000 members)
15 LinkedSEO
16 (Open Networkers)
17 (Open Networkers)
18 Networked Recruiter (18,000+) 4th Largest Recruiting and 3rd Largest HR Group
19 Open Networkers
20 <>
21 (Recruiters & Staffing Professionals)
23 PricewaterhouseCoopers employees and alumni
24 Real Estate Open Networkers
25 Recruiting Animal Show
26 Recruiting Professionals Network
27 Group
28 Recruitment Consultants (14.000+)
29 Recruitment Process Outsourcing
30 Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo
31 Search Marketing Salon
32 SHRM Networking Group
33 Sourcers Guild
34 TalentBar: HR and Recruiter Network
35; your daily tech-news presents; "Online Advertising"
36 Technical Recruitment
37 TechSoup NetSquared
38 The Executive Search Group (10,680+ members)
40 The Recruitment Network
41 The Talent Buzz
42 Top Secret Candidates
43 True Wealth Creators' Network
44 Tweeple
45 Wireless Telecommunications
46 Worldwide Management Consultants (10,000+ members)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Recruiter friend in Africa doing some charity work for OneMama. Her email diary back to friends and family.

So Siobhan has been an amazing friend, collegue and business partner of mine for close to 8 years now. A few years ago she got hooked on this idea of going to Uganda to help out in a birthing clinic. She quickly realised that the people in this village were lacking basic necessities for life let alone for giving birth. When she came back to San Francisco she put together a non-profit organization called OneMama with the intention of providing basic healthcare needs for mothers in the region.

Here are her emails from her latest trip. They remind me of a diary or journal that you would read in a novel from 1920. We are so far removed from that reality and reading her emails make me very happy to be living in the USA. More on OneMama

Give if you can and forward if you are moved by what she has to say.

Dearest Family and Friends,

I have now been in Uganda for about 4 or 5 days days. I have lost track of time here. It is taking a some time for me to adjust back to this life here with no real access to the outside world. It is like being completely unplugged from any kind of life we know in our part of the world.

A few thoughts...
The smell of night jasmine fills the air, my skin is semi permantly tanned by the red clay dust.... And the kids follow me everywhere I go singing and dancing with me...

I am sleeping next to Jamira the midwife for OneMama in her room with her right next to the birthing area.
I have to admit the first couple nights were a little rough getting use to. Jamira gets up at all hours of the night to help the local woman give birth when they come calling at all hours of the day or night.

The conditions are in great contrast to what we are use to in the states. Even though I have been here before it is still hard to adjust to living like this. There is no running water but I do get a bucket to bath with hot boiled water everyday.
There is also no power sources of any kind to utilize for lights or to power electronics or lights. We use fires ,candles or solar flashlights. I have brought a solar generator and solar panels from the US, but they have not yet proved to be successful. It is suppose to take up to 48 hours to charge. So we will see....

I am going thru technology withdrawals. I am usually on the phone about 8-9 hours a day with work and talking to friends. Then there is the internet the closest connection is about 2 hours away by car. Right now I am driving with a friend late at night to go find a power source and internet.
I hope you get this at some point since the first email I sent letting everyone know I was going to Africa still seems to not have gone out for some reason. Data ,,,,I need data and to speak in English....UGH!

Jamira... She is so sweet she was so happy when I showed up with supplies and showed her the work we have done so far. She just grabs my hand every chance she gets and says "webale" over and over... This means “thank you”...
I really don't know what to say back so I nod and say it back and smile.,,

I meet with all the local officials in a couple days to get all the paperwork in place.It really is hard to put into words the way things work here. It is just a different way....Hmmmmm

I will send pictures when I can....i hope to have more stories soon..
Love and Light Siobhan

Siobhan Neilland | Founder OneMama
“We are all OneMama on this OneMother Earth!
We all want to feel like we are loved and we matter in this world!”

OneMama Donations:
Your contribution will benefit the women, children, and men of this community.
If you have any questions about your donation, you may contact OneMama by phone at 866-485-1447 or online at OneMama

You can now donate online with a credit card!

We now need volunteers in US and in Africa.
Please contact us if you want to get involved and feel like you are making a difference in the world!

Your donation of time and money is going toward a great cause!
Please be assured that you have made a direct impact on the people of Kirindi, Uganda, where OneMama begins its pilot program

We hope you will remain involved as we continue to grow and accomplish our mission.
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

Sent July 10th
My Dearest Family and Friends,
We just came back from Jinga today to go use internet and computers about 1.5 hours away. That is when you got the last email from me. Everything concerning technology is so labor intensive. It took me 2.5 hours to get out just a few emails and do a little research.

We got some supplies, went to banks and ran errands.

We got to see Jessica and Wilfred who are an amazing local married couple who do are working with us on this project. I have not seen them since I was here last time. They are both interpreters for another NGO in Jinga. Jessica and Wilfred are the first ones that really helped do all the initial work on this project. They are just wonderful!

We also drove up to Bugagali falls before we left to get a chapatti that I was craving and for me to say hello to a few of my local friends that live up there. I could not believe how many people remembered my name and everything about me with out seeing me for 2 years. It was so endearing. I will be staying there a few days before I leave to come home.

Then we stopped to meet Jeremiah's uncle who owns a local hotel spot in Jinga. They were a lovely couple and excited to hear about the project..

Then the very long drive on crazy bumpy roads back to the village....
We did not get back till very late in the pitch black in our our borrowed vehicle. At least it was not a boda boda(scooter) this late in the rain and crazy road....which usually we ride 3 at a time... Not so safe but quite an adventure..
Till more adventures..
Love and Light

Sent JULY11
Today was one of those days that you start to look back on and see how things change the way you think. Living here and doing this is changing how my brain works..HMMMMM

All week Jeremiah and I have been trying to get everything in place to meet with community & village leaders and the community as a whole to present the whole OneMama Vision.

In case I did not mention it Jeremiah is Jamira's son who is now going to be the director of OneMama Uganda which is a Ugandan based and run organization. They will work with OneMama USA to create the best solutions and partnership to make this project a success.
That is the ultimate vision is to assist communities to start their own OneMama organizations that can be self-sustaining in what ever countries that we are needed. We helped them see that all the legal paper work and documentation is now now in place and is an established organization.

Well we met in a tiny little room with about 25 men and woman. I would present and they would interpret this very big vision and dream to a group of people who are not use to thinking big. Then the local OneMama Directors presented their vision...

It went Great...
The meeting with the leaders of these surrounding communities went so very well. Better than I thought they would. They tend not to trust mazaunga's and really with good reason...There is so little ever done for these people and they see us come and consume with so much money and stuff and they have so little.
.....Hmmmm I sit here and try to write about how all these meetings went and I realize I have no language to really explain these amazing interactions...

I will try to get better at these descriptions in the days to come.....UGH!
Love and Light Siobhan
Sent July 15th
Hello My Dearest Friends and Family,

Well..... today Is July 15 here in Uganda.
Today was another amazing as everyday seems to be here so far...

Today I got a call from a man with an organization here working with HIV/AIDs prevention and he is very excited about OneMama and is going to try to arrange something I never thought possible. He is trying to get me in a meeting with the first lady of Uganda before I leave. How Crazy is that....
We will see.... but what It was exciting to even have such a conversation.

I have been taking a couple day break here on the Nile river to get my thoughts together so I can really get things done these last few weeks.

This place is called the Harry Lemon it is an island in the middle of the river that runs completely on solar. This place is mostly used by rafters and kayakers who are coming down the river. There is not internet and very little cell coverage but is amazingly beautiful. I have a wonderful private banda over looking the river. There is a tree snake living in my rafters of my room and one on the front deck. There are two monkeys that live in the tree above me and love to throw nuts at the roof.
There is this fascinating bird that sits on a rock in the middle of the rapids on the river that I look onto. He is there off and on thru the day with his wings stretched full spread for 20-30 minutes at a time then he rests and flies around a little then comes back. It is so sweet to watch. Man he has the life!
Swimming in the river and in the little rapids has been so refreshing and just what I needed to recharge.Makes me miss swimming back home at Ocean Beach...
I love my queen quarters here living in what feels like luxury compared to what I have been doing...however it still is not the same as all the comforts of home.

Took a walk back to Jamira's today to show a woman from Tasmania the work we are doing. She is a sweet lovely woman who takes people on overland trucks around Africa. She may want to work with OneMama. It was a lovely walk and adventure. The kids followed us off and on the 4 -5 mile walk and played games with us as we journeyed. I missed seeing Jamiria the last two days. I cant wait to get back and stay with her and the kids there tomorrow. I really feel like a part of the family. The two days I have been away she has sent messages from different people to let me know she misses me. So very sweet....

I ran into a UK friend I met here two years ago tonight on this tiny little island in the middle of nowhere..... So good to see him.. The world starts to seem very small at times.

I have been practicing for a dance performance that I have in August while here in my little banda. I will not have time to practice again until I get back home. It is a funny reminder how I live in two worlds that are so very very different.

Now I am off to sleep....Love and Light to all..

Siobhan Neilland | Founder OneMama

Thursday, July 3, 2008

LinkedIn Joins the Billionaires' Club

BusinessWeek Article Here

5 yrs old on May 5th 2008 and now valued at 1 Billion!!!!

Estimating 30 to 35 Million users by the end of 2008!!!!

On track to hit $100 Million in sales in 2008!!!

If you are not a member on Linkedin now is the time to sign up and be apart of the explosive growth.


AND Be sure to send me an invitation

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Part I How Low can the Cost of Name Generation go?

Link to Full Discussion on ERE

I get calls 4-5 times a week from outsourced providers all over the world offering their services to help me offset my internal sourcing/Name Generation costs.

They all promise the highest quality, fastest turn around and exclaim that their researchers are typically, BA, BS, MS, MA PhD's whatever.

What I'm amazed is that the cost of a Name varies greatly from country to country.

How low can the cost of Name Generation go?

When I started out, in 1995, we charged $10 a name (all phone generated by the way) and paid our researchers $5 per name. Then we went to $15, then $20 then $30 and today HTC charges $50 per name and we haven't raised our prices in at least 5 years.

I know there was a discussion on this forum a while back about how Name Generation has become commoditized, especially Internet Name Generation but at what point does the value of the candidate's name or access to it out value the cost to produce or the value a Company would get out of it?

At what point does quality outweigh the cost?
Do clients care, if they can buy a name for $5 or $50
at $5 does quality really matter that much?

Are Internet Generated Names inherently worth Less than Phone generated names due to the ease of generating them. And if so why aren't Internet Name Generators lowering their prices to be more competitve with offshore options.

FYI I have yet to see an offshore Sourcing company offer phone based Name Generation. Why not, isn't the fact that they haven't offered phone Name Generation so far a testament to how easy Internet Name Generation is and how difficult Phone NG can be?

Jeff Weidner
HTC Research Corp
925 313 9005 X 200

Part II How Low can the Cost of Name Generation go?

Let me make some clarifications on some of the comments so far.

Mary: Please re-read the original post. This is question about the cost of delivering a service. It's not about process. No matter how you slice it if Sourcing Firm A base in India/South America/Eastern Europe/Africa etc pays their people $200 a month and the US based firm pays $1280 (min wage of $8 per hour times 160 hours per month) then all the process in the world will not make a difference in the price the US firm can charge their client, it can not be lower that the cost to produce said service. My point was that Internet Name Generation can be done by anyone, anywhere in the world at any time. All you need is access to the internet and a few hours of training and off you go. (I'm over exaggerating the amount of training needed to make a point) But it was a nice plug for SGA none-the-less no matter how irrelevant I feel your comment was to the topic at hand.

Josh/Vipul - Great banter. Good points made and let me add that employee costs will climb for companies in those offshore locations. The more companies have to compete for experienced employees the more their employees costs shift. In the beginning these offshore companies will spend a lot of time and money training employees, as an employee base gains experience over many years other companies will attempt to recruit them away to reduce their training costs. By speaking with many RPO companies in India, SA and Eastern Europe I'm seeing this happening already. A few companies are in those three areas are in strategic battles with their competitors to keep employee costs to a minimum. In one area employees costs have tripled in the past 5 years and are continuing to rise. Inevitably, as the market matures and employees gain more experience, there will be more employment options for people with those skills and salaries in those offshore areas will rise. Disclaimer: As with any investment opportunity individual results may vary. These statements are not in any way a guarantee that you or your company will obtain any level of success should you decide to take part in this opportunity. Use of, being associated with or providing these services may cause fever, fainting, rash, sleeplessness, vomiting and in rare cases body odor and addiction to caffeine, chocolate or other substances. Sorry, I felt had to lighten the post up a bit

Cultural issues and language barriers will not be barriers for much longer. These companies will find ways to offset those issues, they will shift their training tactics from a "how and what to do to" to a cultural training and language training. Admittedly this is (from my understanding) is much harder to train for but the successful companies will hire people that were educated here in the USA or UK or Australia so that they will have less of a hurdle. In short, it is difficult but not impossible. There are challenges but they can be overcome with the right training and if they companies hire people with the right backgrounds.

Patrick: CPD-Candidate Pipeline Development(TM) is actually trade marked by my company HTC Research and so as not to confuse the market I'd like to state that the prices quoted in your comment were not HTC's prices or service offerings.

Also let's extrapolate Patrick's point a bit further. Instead of $8 a name what if a company opens up an office somewhere where the employee costs could be $1 USD per day. They would now offer their names at let's say 50 cents per name. And the quality is just as good if not better. This same thing happened to the data service providers when email addresses started being farmed on the Internet. Sales People and list brokers would sell names at a $5 per name not they are 50 cents, 5 cents, 1 cent per name and even lower for unverified Sales Leads. What force in the staffing market that will stop this from happening to Internet Generated names? AND if you can get a computer to do all of it for you that could reduce costs even further.

Stella: Time difference is not as big a problem as you may think. The fact that India is 12 hrs ahead of us makes little difference. India is not the only off-shoring country out there and SA is for the most part in the US time zone. The Internet is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now verifying those names by telephone is more difficult at night but not entirely impossible with the right techniques ;-) I know of one offshore company that does the internet name generation in India then they dump those names into their DB for their group in Eastern Europe and Africa to call and verify and then they have their group in SA recruit the candidates for contingency fees and all their business development people are based here in the USA. Amazingly though, they still charge a full 20%-30% placement fee. So it's what the market will accept.

OK I didn’t mean to ramble on for this long so enough for now, replies/rebuttals welcome.

Jeff Weidner
HTC Research Corp
925 313 9005 X 200

Monday, June 23, 2008

Is internet research enough?

A question originally posted on ERE.

And this is what differentiates Research Firms. Everyone has their search methodologies and strategies. Moreover what may have worked in the past may not work for the next assignment.

I can try to explain to my client how we go about starting a research assignment but honestly they wouldn't "get it". If I have an hourly research client, we charge the same rate per hour for a Internet Name Generator or a Phone Name Generator or a Pre-Screener/Profiler. All I do is split up the 40 hour work week among the group of researchers.

When starting a project I might allocate 20 hrs a week towards internet research knowing there's a lot of low hanging fruit out there, 10 hours towards phone research to pick up the pieces and 10 hours for a profiler to screen the candidates. Another project I might allocate 1 hour of internet researcher time, realize it's a waste of time and stick 30 hours towards phone research and 9 towards profiling.

But 2 to 6 weeks into a project I'll end up flip flopping the strategy. 30 hours towards profiling and 10 hours towards phone or internet research. This is because hopefully the name generators have filled a pipeline of candidate up and it's now up to the profilers to resolve those candidates.

This is where experience comes into play and having a bench of researchers that can provide the depth needed to perform the task at hand. Whether that be Internt research or phone research doesn't matter. Bottom line is the client doesn't care where and how you found the top candidate, all they care about is that you did find them and in a timely and cost efficient manner.

Obviously, it behooves the client to understand how their research firm actually does the research. Are they a one stop shop, can they only do internet, can they only do phone or can they do internet, phone and profiling?

There's lots of different flavors of candidate research, I for one am glad that most research firms only try to sell chocolate or vanilla. Especially since I happen to love Mint Chocolate Chip.

Jeff Weidner
HTC Research Corp
925 313 9005 X 200

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Play How games connect kids and parents: A Father's Day requiem for a gamer.

A dear friend of my wife lost her 12 yr old daughter, Kaela, earlier this year to pneumococcal meningitis. This blog was written by Kaela's Step Father.

Reposted with permission

On its top-10 industry-facts list, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) states that the average age of gamers today is 33 years old and that they have been playing videogames for 12 years now. As such, one would surmise that the majority of today's gamers already have, or are starting, families of their own, and that their deeply rooted pastime will be introduced to their children at some point or other. Meanwhile, everywhere you look, politicians and others seem to accuse games of having a horrible influence on people -- especially children. But can videogames really and truly be a positive influence in a family setting?

I'm here to tell you that the answer to that question is an emphatic yes! How do I know? Well, let me explain.... The nickname I gave to my 12-year-old stepdaughter, Kaela, several years ago was "K.K. Slider." I gave that name to her because of her fascination with the cool, guitar-playing canine character of the same name from Nintendo's Animal Crossing games. It started out as a silly joke, but she liked it, and it stuck.

Kaela and I shared a love of videogames, and she was about as hardcore a gamer as a tween girl could be. She was always playing something, whether it was on her Nintendogs-skinned DS, on the PC, or on one of the four consoles we own. In fact, she and I bonded through playing a videogame: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask for the Nintendo 64. I remember it distinctly: My wife and I had only been together for a short while, and this whole concept of a "blended" family was still very new to us all. Kaela was about 6 or 7 at the time and was, understandably, having a rough go with some of the more difficult parts of Link's second N64 adventure. She came to me for help, and over the course of the next few weekends, I guided her to the final battle with Majora's Mask, which we beat together. From that point forward, K.K. and I always had something to talk about, whether it was who was the best character in Super Smash Brothers, who could create the crazier characters in The Sims 2, or who was better on the drums in Rock Band. Videogames had become our means for understanding one another.

Common ground

John Davison, former Ziff Davis editorial director and president of What They Play, agrees, saying that parent-kid gaming sessions are something children will remember for a long time. "It's not mom and dad imposing something on the kids, or the kids dragging the parents into something that they don't want to do," Davison says. "For us, there's equal interest on both sides, and that's what makes it really special. I know it's not going to be that way for every family, but there are more and more games available now that lower the barriers to entry and make this kind of activity possible."

I know from my own experience as a father: Nintendo, with both its Wii and DS, seems to have the pick-up-and-play/gateway-type games that Davison speaks of. I can't tell you how many impromptu games of Mario Party, WiiPlay, WarioWare, and Carnival Games I've gotten sucked into over the last year and a half that we've owned the Wii. As Derrick Schommer, father of two and proprietor of game site Tech Diversions, relates, "Nintendo has this area conquered. They understand how to make a game appeal to kids and adults at the same time without having to alter any difficulty levels or give either side a major advantage to equal each other. These are usually casual games with thin storylines -- my kids can't read anyway -- and lots of Wii-controller motion. My daughter cannot grasp the Xbox 360 controller as easily as she adapts to the Wii controller so these games work the best. Kids seem to have some innate abilities to controllers based on touch and motion."

Lovable losers

Another way of bonding with your kids thorough videogames: losing. Let me tell you, there's nothing quite as humbling as having your butt handed to you by one of your kids. I'll always remember the first time it happened to me (a severe thrashing in Sega Soccer Slam on the Gamecube by my oldest son, Kyle) because it reminded me of the first time I schooled my own father out on the basketball court. Now, I was a bit older than Kyle was at the time (I was 14; Kyle was 9) and the venue was different (a real court as opposed to a virtual one) but the sincere feelings and emotions that came through in those moments were practically the same: "It's OK to beat Dad -- in fact, it's kinda cool!" This sentiment is echoed by parent and renowned game designer John Romero: "When [my kids] were older, it was fun to play as a team or go head-to-head. There was nothing like smacking the crud out of dad to make them get excited."

Working together as a team to achieve a common goal, as Kaela and I did with Majora's Mask, is something that another celebrated game maker, Fable's Peter Molyneux, does with his five- year-old son, Lucas. "We play games like Ratchet and Clank and Zelda," Molyneux says. "We will discuss the problems together and work with each other to come up with the solutions. I think [videogames] are a great level playing field. Lucas is about as dexterous as I am and this means we can play together as equals. I can't think of any other activity that we could do together where this would be the case."

Fun and games

Psychiatrist and author of Video Game Play and Addiction, Dr. Kourosh Dini, sees great benefits in the "two-way learning" that videogames offer a parent and child. "Some of the best parenting I've seen occurs when parents are willing to learn from their children," he explains. "A parent is still a parent, and guides and protects as necessary, of course. But, a parent in wonder and support of watching a daughter as she makes it through a level...does several things [for the child]. It sends the message that the child is trusted by the parent to do things differently. The child discovers the capacity to do things differently. And, [thirdly], it tells the child that the parent may be willing to learn the ways of the child's world -- which will always be completely different from the one in which the parent grew up. Together, these sentiments can carry much value in bringing a family together."
Humor is also a great bonding element and that was always big around our house, especially when Kaela was involved. She just had a way about her that could make you crack up at any given moment. She knew this too, and she'd usually use this "gift" at a critical moment to make you lose whatever game you happened to be playing at the time.

It is a given: Kids do funny things while watching you play or playing games themselves. As TechDiversion's Schommer relates, "At one point we had both our kids trained to say 'Yeah Baby!' after we'd finish a Guitar Hero III song. It got to the point where they would be in the living room while I was playing Guitar Hero in another room, and after I finished the song I'd hear off in the distance 'Yeah Baby!' They knew the sounds of a successful completion and would scream 'Yeah Baby!' wherever they were in the house."

After their Zelda sessions together, Molyneux says that his son Lucas has become somewhat infatuated with that storied franchise's main character, Link. "This is all fine until you go out shopping and Lucas draws out his plastic sword from his back yelling 'Hi-yah' at passersby," he says. "The worst occasion was in a shopping center when a rather grubby old man was walking towards us. Lucas pulled out his sword and said, 'Look, Daddy, it's a troll!' I don't know if the poor old guy heard but thankfully he turned in different direction. We're rather relieved that the Zelda phase is staring to wear off a will make shopping trips easier!"

Unfortunately, all the humor and good feelings that this story evokes have to end here, for much like Ebenezer Scrooge, who foresaw a crutch without its young owner in Dickens' A Christmas Carol, I have Playstation, Wii, and Xbox controllers at my house that are collecting dust but are carefully preserved all the same. You see, pneumococcal meningitis claimed Kaela's life this past February. It was like she was walking down the street and got hit by a bolt of lightning. It was just that random and rare -- something that happens to other people or only on sappy television shows -- never directly to you. Honestly, I didn't even realize that people still got meningitis, or just how deadly a disease it can be. But, in a matter of hours it rendered her comatose and then, ultimately, brain dead. Yes, it was a shocking and most undeserved end because of her tender age, but also because you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who could, or would, say a bad word about K.K. And, in turn, it was a very rare thing to hear K.K. utter a bad word against anyone else. This was a genuinely good kid who possessed wit, character, and charm in spades and wasn't afraid to let you know it. And that is what set her apart. It is a damn shame that we will not get to see this singular personality in the full blossom of womanhood.

Sieze the play

Videogames have always been a very good thing in my life and in the lives of my family. From the various interviews I conducted for this article, it's clear to see that games are an exceptionally positive influence on the lives of many other families, as well. Personally, I know that they've provided me with endless hours of entertainment, information and education. To this day, I have "real world" friends because of videogames. I don't care what any pundit, or politician, or overzealous nutjob tries to spoon feed me -- those facts will never, ever change.

And, best of all, videogames brought me closer to a special girl, who I miss talking and playing with very, very much. But, I know in my heart of hearts that I will see my K.K. Slider at the Roost Café next Saturday night, 7:30 PM sharp. And I just know she'll be playing my favorite song. So, all you gamer parents out there, pick up a controller and play with your kids if you aren't doing so already. Let's do our level best to prove the naysayers wrong. I cannot promise that you'll have the same experiences that I've had, but I do know it is something you will always cherish and look back on fondly when your children aren't with you any longer for whatever reason. Take this advice from someone who knows all too well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When gas hits $5.50 a gallon will still be able to afford to drive to work?

I originally posted this on Linkedin
Fact: In Europe and UK gas is avging about $8.50 a gal. and the US is at $4.00 as per AAA survey last weekend.

Last weekend I played paintball with a bunch of my friends and the group next to us was talking about high gas prices in the San Francisco bay area ($4.50 a gallon) now, though I found it for $4.31 gal this am. He said that he has a job where is has to drive all day and pays his own gas, about 60,000 miles per year. His car get 20 miles per gallon, and at $4.5 a gallon that's $13,500 a years in gas... at $5.50 a gal (which is approx equivalent to $135 a barrel) that's $16,500. He said that he can barely afford gas as it is, and is stuck in his current car cause he's upside down so his solution is to go get a desk job.

Have you seen this as a staffing trend in your area of the country yet?

Do you think this will be a bigger concern for long distance commuters?

Do you think it could have a ripple effect on the housing market as people would want to move closer to public transportation or work in general?

Could this be the coming of a mass migration back to the cities and out of the suburbs?

Jeff Weidner

Clarification added 23 hours ago:
Well I'm glad this is getting so much attention and replies. Thank you all for participating in the discussion.

A few points I'd like to make for those out of towners (international responders)
A) The United States is very large and since the industrial revolution and WWII Urban populations have been moving to more suburban areas. This makes biking to work next to impossible. 30-50 miles one way commutes are common place so walking or riding a bike is not practical.
B) In Northern climates it quite cold during fall and winter and snows and rains all the time. This further contributes to the difficulties of riding a bike to work or walking even if you are only 5 miles from your destination.
C) The gas prices in the US have been historically low because we're a huge producer of oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. Especially in comparison to say France or Spain which produce virtually no oil.
D) There has not been a significant increase in production, mostly due to lack of available oil fields ready to be tapped into for the past 10 years. But demand has increased exponentially especially overseas in places like India and China.
E) Is not just cars that use oil. Every manufacturing facility uses some type of oil or oil based lubricant for their machines. Think about all the petroleum based products you use each and every day; plastic, ink, paper, shoes, glue, clothing, paint, sporting goods, you name it and it probably involves a petroleum based product in some way shape or form.
E) Lastly, I live 5 miles from work but again it would be next to impossible for me to bike to work every day as there are a lot of foothills and one big one in between me and work. Not that I couldn't bike it, as I have but it takes about 45 mins to 1 hour depending on how hot it is. Not to mention it would be very hazardous as the road I'd have to drive on is a major artery in and out of town and it has thousands of cars.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Latest Buzz from JigSaw

Dear Jigsaw Insiders,

Well, June 4th has arrived and I can finally spill the beans as to what Jigsaw has been up to for the past few months. Today Jigsaw announced the Declaration of Data Independence in the face of the traditional data companies that charge for company data. Put simply, we are giving away every one of our 1 million+ company profiles for free.

As an Insider and Jigsaw expert, you may at first react with a “big deal” type response, since you know that all of our company profiles (which come complete with company URL, HQ address, main number, revenue, industry and number of employees) have always been readily available on the website and included in a contact list delivery.

Watch as we declare
Data Independence Day

However, according to a project we’re calling the Open Data Initiative; now anyone can download any or all of the company profiles they wish for direct import into the corporate CRM system of their choosing. We might not have quite as many companies as the Data Dinosaurs (yet!), but we’re betting that we have plenty to run your prospecting and marketing efforts. And besides, what other data company out there can compete with free?

This is a win for all segments of the Jigsaw Community. Individual users or small companies can now populate their CRM systems with the same number of target companies as big companies. Large Companies get the benefit of the updates from the almost 500K Jigsaw members. The Play and Free members benefit from a large influx of new members interacting with their data, gaining royalty points and increased accuracy of the contacts. Jigsaw still makes money selling specific contact info, subscriptions and cleaning and maintaining the CRM databases. Only the dinosaurs lose, forced to leverage their relationships and distraction techniques in order to continue selling a product for a price that the market will no longer bear

Check out the revolution at You can see the full length video of Jim and me, dressed as the founding fathers, as well as see the CRM partners and other information about the Open Data Initiative.


VP of Community and Co-Founder