Friday, February 5, 2010

The Superwhat?

I mentioned to the boys this morning that this weekend was the Superbowl. I asked if they knew which teams where playing. N's answer was "the Superwhat?". I guess that since C & I are from Venezuela and they go to a French school it is understandble that they don't care much for (American) football. Ale asked if Stanford was one of the teams playing... P guessed the 49ers... I confessed that I didn't know who was playing either.

They were aware of the value of the half time commercials. I mentioned that such value was likely to decline, as now there were alternative ways of reaching tens of millions of users. A correctly guessed that Facebook was one such alternative.

I asked them if they knew who was competing in the America's Cup next week, and to my disappointment they didn't. I told them that the defenders were the Swiss (Alinghi) while the challengers were from our hometown of San Francisco (Oracle BMW). Oh well, I am sure they will know who is playing in the Soccer World Cup final...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

mixing hobbies & work

N asked me how come I didn't work with a kiteboarding company - since I like kiteboarding so much and work with many companies. I told him that that could potentially be a lot of fun, but that mixing hobbies and professions had risks. Last year I met Neil Pryde, the founder of the largest providers of sails for the windsurfing industry. His company also built sails for sailboats and kiteboarding gear. I mentioned to Neil how lucky I thought he was to be able to build a company around his passion for sailing. He said, "not at all... the company almost ruined my passion". Turns out that what used to be pure fun, i.e., sailing, became work. So, they actually stopped making sails for yachts and focused on windsurfing and kiteboarding. And now Neil is happy that sailing remains purely about fun for him. Of course, if you can make it work, the combination must be terrific. But sometimes it might be better to keep hobbies and work separate.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Making an average apple shine

I watched part of the Grammys last night. One of the performances had Taylor Swift (who I believe is 21) with Steve Nicks of Fleetwood Mac (who I am guessing is ~60). It struck me how young Taylor looked next to Stevie. Don't get me wrong, she looks young on her own, but the contrast with Stevie made her look even younger. She seemed 15! By the same token, Stevie looked older than I think she would have on her own. I told the boys about this, and how one can make something look better (or worse) by showing next to something else. Take an average apple and show it next to a gorgeous one, and people will probably rate it worst than if they saw it on its own. Or, show it next to a rotten one, and people will rate it higher. The boys wanted to know how to make the rotten apple look good. We came up with a few ideas, but I think I'll leave them off the blog ;-).