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February 26, 2013

Pi Wrapping Paper — Cheap at $3.14


Fair warning: Long before Christmas comes along this will be sold out.


Don't come crying to me.


Boo hoo hoo.

I don't know you.


[via Richard Kashdan]

February 26, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Don't do as I say (or as I do)" — Jason Hull on how handle money


The grand panjandrum of Hull Financial Planning offered this insightful essay in his newsletter.

When I worked at Capital One, the recruiting department was going full steam ahead at trying to hire every McKinsey consultant and Harvard Business School grad that it could find. The mentality at the time was that they were going to hire the smartest people they could find and put them to work at solving every problem that the company faced. It was, after all, one of the most analytically rigorous companies in the financial services sector. I had a team of PhDs and analysts who could outthink me with 99% of their brain cells tied behind their backs.

Yet, the super smart people who got hired to come up with brilliant and innovative solutions for Capital One found themselves bogged down in a bureaucracy and culture which would have made the U.S. government proud. Furthermore, a lot of them had trouble adapting to the environment and found themselves stuck in place.

Why was this the case? Because smart people are really good at solving specific problems, but when they fail, they have trouble reflecting on the cause of the failure and in adjusting their behaviors to adapt and succeed the next time. As Harvard's Chris Argyris showed, smart people are great at being pointed in a direction and solving a problem — what he terms single loop learning — but they're terrible at learning from failures — double loop learning.

How does this relate to personal finance?

Monkey Brain doesn't like to admit defeat or failure. Whenever Monkey Brain is presented with a situation that didn't go right, he likes to lash out at anything he can get his monkey hands on — other people, bad instructions, the moon not being in the fourth quadrant of Pluto, whatever he can find.

I often get questions like "got any tips on personal finance?" or "should I invest in Facebook's IPO?" While I can give you a point answer, all I'm doing is helping you to enter into the single loop learning cycle. After all, you're reading this article and you're interested in what I have to say; therefore, you're exceptionally smart, right?

What happens is that people fall victim to their biases when provided with a single answer that then goes contrary to their expectations. Let's say that you ask me if you should invest in Smith Company's IPO. If I tell you no, and then Smith Company's IPO doubles on the first day, Monkey Brain is going to take the one instance and extrapolate conclusions about how inapplicable my advice is and invest in every IPO you can. You'll have fallen victim to both the self-serving bias, which blames external events for failures, and to the recency effect, which causes you to remember selected events which serve your view of things. Because you're a very smart person (you are, aren't you?), you're much more susceptible to these biases than the average person is. Your bigger brain means that your Monkey Brain is bigger too!

That's why I take the approach of teaching rather than giving specific answers. I don't want you coming back to me with the same questions over and over. I'd rather teach you how to figure them out on your own. It's why I have the challenge of getting you into double loop learning and getting you to think about situations and how to apply what you know and what I teach you to your own personal financial situations.

It's also why you can't just go to a guru, read a book, and assume that you know everything. You're entering into single loop learning, and the moment that something doesn't go exactly as is outlined in a guru book, you're going to throw it all away and start over.

Instead, you need to get into a double loop learning mode to truly understand how personal finance affects your life. Question assumptions and learn how to adapt analytical thinking to situations as they arise rather than using the same mental model over and over again.

Otherwise, Monkey Brain is going to spend all of his bananas on every IPO and penny stock he can find, and if he runs out of bananas, he's going to really rattle your cage.

[via Diana Brewster, a world-class local web developer who prefers to stay under the radar]

February 26, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Robot Furball Vacuum Cleaner


Roomba is so over.


Everyone and his brother has one.


Why not go where no one else you know has gone?


I'm thinking this is Gray Cat's fever dream.

Gotta have it.

Pink, Orange, or Green.


Fair warning: This will sell out in a Tokyo yoctosecond (where else would it come from?).

Don't sleep on it.

[via The Green Head]

February 26, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

George Gobel — A legend long since forgotten (but not by me)

Growing up, I watched his show regularly because my mother did.

I loved it then and it's even better today.

Puts to shame fools like Seth MacFarlane who purport to be comedians.


Even the commercials of 1954 — 59 years ago! — are interesting.

February 26, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Bent Basket — "The best bike basket I have ever seen in my life — bar none."








Apply within.

[via CSYCB]

February 26, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

iPad: Success or failure? (Hint: depends on what you're trying to do with it)


A most interesting article by Jean-Louis Gassée in today's Guardian took a look at the iPad's strength (access to content) and limitations (creation of content).

I just loved the graphic (top) employed to illustrate the two worlds of computer users: normal people and propellerheads.

Like it or not, normal people rule now and if you don't make stuff easy for us TechnoDolts©™® to use, all the cool code and features in the world won't save you from the Palm OS trash heap of failure.

To that end, the fact that I simply cannot create posts for bookofjoe on my iPad — which at first annoyed the heck out of me — turns out to have been a blessing in disguise.


Because it accelerated my move to bookofjoeTV and away from my blog, which is gonna be pretty much a feature rather than the main event a year from now (I prefer that to it's being a bug).

Just as I can't imagine why I'd ever buy another iPad, no matter how much thinner and faster and sharper the display, I cannot imagine confining my Internet and web presence to six regularly scheduled posts a day in words and photos when Google Glass and Apple's riposte promise live bookofjoeTV 24/7/365 anywhere, any time, for any reason, with complete interactivity from anywhere on the globe.

Life isn't regularly scheduled nor is it a series of words and photos — it's far richer and deeper and more spontaneous and interactive.

To me, the difference between the onrushing real-time world of Internet broadcasting and personal TV and today's static websites, blogs, and pages is the difference between watching a movie and leafing through a book with photos of scenes from the film.

Which would be more likely to hold your attention?

No need to answer.

My rap name — nuf sed — says it all.

February 26, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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