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9 days and counting, my new Surface will arrive.  As an avid gadget guy, I’m pumped about this launch with Windows 8.  Could this be the breakthrough consumer product that competes with the iPad?  Maybe.  Here’s why.

1.  There’s the USB port which I plan on using with external drives, scanners, and the like.

2.  A microSD slot which also allows me to add additional memory and download photos from my camera that uses microSD (really nice when traveling).

3.  It comes with all the productivity tools like powerpoint and excel.

4.  A seamless experience with my XBOX.  It also allows me to remote desktop to my work computers.  All of which I cannot do with any of my current tablets.

5.  And, it’s just under 1.5 ounces.

That’s a tremendous amount of promise - if it can deliver, I may be using the Surface as my go-to tablet.

I also have a very short attention span, if I can’t figure out a strong use case for that device quickly, it’ll end up becoming an expensive doorstop for me.  The iPad/iPhone/Apple TV combo has been by far the most compelling ecosystem for me followed by Nexus 7/Nexus Phone/Google TV.  If the Surface/XBOX combo works extremely well, I could very well be on the path to Windows Phone 8 and to the Microsoft ecosystem.

Microsoft is taking a huge leap here building devices that compete directly with their distribution partners or OEMs.  Bravo for doing it, takes courage, and sets the bar high for its partners, consumers, and its competitors.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this fight turns out - Apple vs Google vs Microsoft - and I can’t wait to get my hands on the Surface to see if it’s the real deal.

Let me know what you think.

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Physical Pain

April 5, 2012

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Bad timing.  I’ve been on bedrest now for almost 5 days with more pain than I have ever felt and nothing seems to be working. Pain meds, acupuncture, chiropractor, deep tissue massage, physical therapy, epidural injections, etc. I can’t stand up for more than 10 seconds without shooting pain from my back to my foot. I can’t sleep, can’t shower, can’t drive, can’t sit, can’t stand, can’t walk, can’t do much. Feel pretty bad - miserable.  Not super inspiring.

On the upside, I’m watching a few movies on my new iPad, I get to work on some work stuff without distractions, grew some facial hair, and enough time alone to reflect on stuff.  Figured I’d post some stuff that I’ve been thinking about.

Some of the random stuff that I’ve thought about:
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Enjoying the Present

November 16, 2011

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Been a while since I’ve composed some thoughts here as I’ve been on the road non-stop.  I recently re-read an article that came out awhile ago that reflects the “danger” of being so focused that we forget about life enjoying the moment, the present, the NOW.  I can work so hard that I wonder if I miss the beauty of life itself that surrounds me.  I have a hard time seeing beauty through what seems to be the mundane.  A world class violinist by the name of Joshua Bell played a $3.5M Stradivari Violin in a crowded metro station during rush hour a few years ago.  He is a violinist that sells out music houses around the world at prices over $100 a piece.  As you read the article (it’s a great article, be sure to read the whole thing) and see the video, hundreds of people pass him by without even so much as a glance.  They are so focused on their everyday lives and responsibilities that they miss the beauty, art, and talent of Joshua.
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Soaking the rich

August 16, 2011

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Let’s soak the rich - apparently that’s what most Americans think should happen to reduce the deficit including Warren Buffett.  A recent CNN poll says that 63% of Americans wants to raise taxes on the rich.   Everyone knows that our federal deficit is unsustainable.  It’s clear to me that one of the biggest bubbles that we’re building is the government debt bubble - we’ve shifted the consumer, housing, and financial bubble to the government.   The stimulus we’ve put into the economy is nothing short of staggering.  We have to get more efficient and make hard decisions on the federal budget.  Should we follow the public’s outcry to soak the rich?

The President defines the rich as someone who makes over $200,000 a year.  Some interesting stats - “About half of Americans who file tax returns pay almost all the income taxes; the top quarter of filers pay 86% of the taxes; 10% pay two-thirds of the taxes. A mere 1% of Americans earning income pay 38% of the tax revenues—in 2008, that was $392 billion paid by them, out of a total take of $1.03 trillion.” (Thomas Donlan, Dow Jones & Company).  Do the rich need to do more?  I’d argue yes, but not in the traditional sense of more taxes.
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Lately, I’ve been on the road often for business and pulling nearly all-nighters and packing the day so tightly with meetings that literally, we would have 20 minutes for lunch if that. We’ve been investing heavily in a new space and building a technology we think will transform the living room. It means that we’re heads down cranking away on product, strategy, and business development. We’re planning on launching the product in the next few weeks. It’s an energetic yet highly stressful time. Are you out there living the dream, surviving on adrenaline? If not, why not?
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I’m tired of unhappy people

February 14, 2011

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I’ve been told that happiness is 10% actual experiences and 90% is how you perceive those experiences. I absolutely agree with that statement. I have millionaire friends who seem to have life altogether, but are quite unhappy because they view their life through pretty clouded lenses. I have friends that live paycheck to paycheck who are always bright, optimistic, and generally very fun to be around. Life is way too short to hang around and work around people who view life through very pessimistic lenses. These people interpret every conversation negatively, they assume the worst in people, generally are passive-aggressive, and infect those around them even happy ones to become more negative. It seems like in the past few weeks, I’ve hung out with more of them than usual and I’m tired of it. Literally. I get tired and worn down by these people. It does no good for my soul, it changes my outlook even briefly as I “perceive” more closed doors than open ones even though the opportunities are greater than ever. The old adage “you are the company you keep” rings really true for me.
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All good things come to an end and so it is with the 2010-2011 Seattle Seahawks season as they lost today 35-24 against da Bears. I grew up a huge fan of the Seahawks and have followed them for as long as I can remember and this season short of winning the Super Bowl was one of the more inspiring seasons I’ve ever seen. For those of you who don’t follow the Seahawks, they finished 4-12 and 5-11 in the two seasons prior to this one in which they were probably worse than their record indicated. This year, they had over 200 roster changes, won the worst division in the NFL with a 7-9 record and won at home in the playoffs against the defending Super Bowl champs in one of the biggest upsets in the NFL. It was quite the ride for a season low on expectations. After the loss, I had a few random thoughts about the season and some lessons learned.
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Nothing like a New Year to write a blog post on building long-term sustainable value.  I was reminded of this strategic view of preserving long-term value by avoiding ill-advised short-term gains with a recent issue we had with a relatively new company.  It was rather surprising that any company would handle itself in such a manner that it was worth bringing up and hopefully you and I can learn from its mistakes. 

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Becoming a Rock Star

October 11, 2010




As a kid growing up, I idolized Rock Stars and was a fan of a bunch of old rock bands.  I’m still a fan of Kansas, Boston, Yes, U2, Jefferson Starship, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, GNR, etc.  I dreamed about becoming a rock star and played in several bands, I even owned a really cool red “key-tar” (a guitar looking keyboard for those of you who don’t remember).  We would practice for hours, play gigs, and try to hit it big by sending in demos to the record lables.  We would dream about getting that elusive record deal and become rock stars.  Although it never happened, I found that some of my fondest memories and happiest times were when we were “in the zone” practicing or playing in front of small crowds.  Have you ever felt like you were “in the zone”?  For me, that meant everyone in the band was on the same page, feeding off of the energy of each other, and making great music - it was raw and pure joy!  The same can be said for a business that is “in the zone”.

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My friends Marcelo Calbucci and Jennifer Cabala were gracious enough to give away 1 ticket to Startup Day to a reader of InspiredStartup.  The event takes place this Saturday 9/25 in Bellevue and tickets run from $245-$395.  If you are remotely considering starting a company, this is a great event to attend with speakers like Dave McClure, Keith Smith, Ben Elowitz, and Hadi Partovi - all of whom I’m a fan of.  I’ll select one reader to give a ticket to - all you have to do is answer my simple question - what is the biggest hurdle for “pre-entrepreneurs” to start a company?  Feel free to comment below or link to your answer on a blog or tweet.  I’ll do my best to select the winner by Thursday AM.

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