Why I’m not looking for investment

Pete Warden:

That’s still a worthwhile use of time if the funding is going towards rocket boosters to strap onto a killer idea. I don’t think it’s lack of confidence that’s telling me none of the approaches I’m working on has crossed the threshold where it’s worth it though. There’s funding available, I just don’t think the strings attached make up for the help. Better to live frugally, consult when I have to, and focus on learning. The more progress I can make, the more I can learn before I need to buckle in to the rocket sled, the better. I’m looking forward to honing my ideas until I can build the real business I dream of, whether that’s fully boot-strapped or with the help of investors.

Wow…If I could distill my business direction into one paragraph, that’d be it.

Update: Just to show you this isn’t a rail against investment, Pete follows up the linked article with what he’s missing.


Really sublime post by Frank Chimero on what Merlan Mann coined as ‘Appropriatism’. After wading through all of the other pompous, windbag writings about minimalism, Frank comes through with the real spirit of what it means to be minimal.

Of all the gems I could pull out of it to quote, this one stands out:

Access trumps ownership, because access denotes utility and ownership means maintenance.

It’s the maintenance part that flys completely over the heads of most people.

Brazils Economy

Fabio Pereira on what can be improved on in Brazil(emphasis mine):

  • – The brazilian way: “Why do something today that you can pay someone to do it the day after tomorrow?”
  • Incredibly high taxes on almost everything
  • – 90% of the roads are still unpaved
  • – Public transportation
  • – Rich/Poor gap
  • – High tolerance for corruption
  • – Bureaucratic red tape

Interestingly, in after my brief visits there, it is #2 and #5 that I always refer to when people ask me about Brazil. In most of the country, the gap between the haves and the have nots is alarmingly wide. After seeing Brazils poor, it’s tough to come back to the US and look at our poor the same way.

One thing that I would like to see improved, that Fabio didn’t mention, is the relative safety of the country on a whole, especially with regards to electronics 🙂 You should have seen the faces of my hosts when I told them I wanted to work on my laptop at the local bookstore. Apparently I was begging to be robbed.

Just Once

Fantastic Rolling Stone article about the recent banking meltdown and the lack of arrests made.

“You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street,” says a former congressional aide. “That’s all it would take. Just once”

Reminds me of this classic George Carlin quote from Back In Town:

And I’ll guarantee you one thing. You start execute you start nailing one white banker per week to a big wooden cross, you’re going to see that drug traffic begin to slow down pretty fucking quick. Pretty fucking quick- you won’t even be able to buy drugs in schools and prisons anymore!

The NFL Labor Dispute Broken Down

Scathing article from the Ludwig von Mises Institute about impending lockout in the NFL.

The owners overspent on unnecessary stadiums, and now they want the players to work more for less pay to help pay down the debt. That’s your entire labor dispute in one sentence.

Of course, the author also touches on a topic I’ve mentioned time and time again: taxpayer funded stadium construction.

Since 1990, nearly every NFL franchise has either opened a new stadium, made substantial renovations to existing stadiums, or is currently in the process of obtaining a new stadium. Over this 20-year period the league’s franchises obtained over $7 billion in taxpayer subsidies raging from direct taxes to publicly backed bonds. Ten stadiums are 100% government-financed, while another 19 are at least 75% government-financed. Every single franchise receives some amount of government subsidies.

( H/T SmartFootball )

Do you know Chicagos Urbanophile?

One of the frequent attendees to the Chicago Bootstrappers Breakfast is Aaron M. Renn. Aaron blogs about Chicago, cities and urban lifestyle over at the appropriately named The Urbanophile. He has a real passion for the subject. If you’re at all interested in Chicago in particular and cities in general, you should check him out. Some great examples of his most recent posts:

He’s really an amazing writer and I’m constantly fascinated by his writings.

Beauty is not wasting a day

Jake Plummer walked away from millions in the NFL, seemingly turning his back on every mans dream. Now he lives in Idaho and runs handball tournaments. He even volunteers at Meals On Wheels:

In part because of his appearance but mostly because of his demeanor, Plummer is able to live in relative anonymity. One of his handball friends, Tye Barlow, tells how, a couple of years ago in Sandpoint, Plummer was volunteering for Meals on Wheels, and the organization ran into funding problems. The woman in charge put a hand on Plummer’s shoulder. “Jake, I’m sorry, we’re out of money this month. But keep track, and we’ll pay you for your gas.”

“Don’t worry about it,” replied Plummer.

She insisted. Again, Plummer assured her it was O.K. “No, Jake, you don’t even have a job!” she said sternly. “You have to keep track of your miles. You need the money.”

“I played in the NFL for a little while,” Plummer said. “I’m O.K.”

Dumbstruck, the woman appraised the scruffy man who’d been delivering food for months. “You’re that Jake Plummer?”

He was also a close friend to Pat Tillman, who also abruptly quit the NFL, except he chose to join the Army after 9/11. When he was killed in Afghanistan in 2004, Jake delivered a eulogy to his friend.

In April 2004 Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. Two weeks later, at the funeral, Jake walked to the podium wearing a suit and, in honor of his friend, flip-flops. He had been mulling what to say for weeks, and though at the time he meant the words as a testimonial to his friend, in hindsight they hinted at the path Plummer would choose. “I was in the store the other day and I saw PEOPLE magazine, and it had the cover of the 50 most beautiful people in the world, or America, and there was a picture of Pat,” Plummer said. “It was kind of ironic because I really looked and said, What is beauty? Is beauty a pretty face, a nice smile, flowing hair, nice skin? Not to me, it’s not. To me beauty is living life to higher standards, stronger morals and ethics and believing in them, whether people tell you you’re right or wrong. Beauty is not wasting a day. Beauty is noticing life’s little intricacies and taking time out of your busy day to really enjoy those little intricacies. Beauty is being real, being genuine, being pure with no facade—what you see is what you get. Beauty is expanding your mind, always seeking knowledge, not being content, always going after something and challenging yourself.”

He’s living his life according to some of the principles I’ve been making more and more important in my own life. As the world is devolving into a mush of reality TV stars and twitter wars, sometimes it’s best to resolve yourself to going slower and saying no to a lot of the noise.

Heroes? Role models? Plummer doesn’t see the point talking about them. He’s more than happy to discuss the things that are important to him, like his friends, his family and the joy he gets from sports. He’ll play an impromptu game of handball with a couple of random 16-year-olds, as he did at 11 p.m. on the Friday of his tournament in the near-empty athletic club, laughing and sweating. He’ll say, “I love you, Dad,” every time he parts ways with his father. He’ll walk you to your car, ask about your kids, buy the first round, give someone a ride home. But that’s not heroic; that’s just being a decent person.

And where’s the glory in that?

Where indeed. Glory, like success, is in the eye of the beholder.