Monday, December 31, 2007

An ABC promotional site for LOST fans ( has been hacked

I am a fan of the ABC show LOST and from time to time, visit Lostpedia to get updates on the show and also to see all the details that fans have uncovered.

Today, I had some free time (many of us do!) and visited the site. I stumbled upon an article on the Apollo Bar (a candy bar that has made several appearances over the last three years) and started to read. Envious of the fans that had a chance to eat one of the bars, I watched a commercial for the candybar (see below)...

...and then preceded to visit the Apollo Candy website (dub dub dub apollocandy dot com). appears that ABC has been a bit careless and allowed the site to be taken over by some pornies. There is no reference to the hack on Lostpedia (so I added it) or by searching Google...looks like I found something! Running a whois search, I see that the site registrant doesn't appear to be associated with ABC/Disney. I gave an ABC contact the details of this...let's see how long it takes to clean it up.

As Seth Godin mentions...a website is forever, you need to keep/maintain it (or at least not let the pornies take it from you!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Glow in the dark cats from South Korea

My first thoughts after reading this story about glowing cats...

Pros for doing this to humans glomans:
  1. Easier to pick things up in the dark
  2. Raves would be much cooler
  3. Halloween is year round!


  1. Glomans will never win at hide and seek
  2. A gloacist society will most likely emerge…pitting greens against pinks against the oranges
How do you feel about this research and where it could lead?

IFTF's latest report: A Model World: Simulation Literacy and the Future of Virtuality

IFTF's Technology Horizons members will get to read this report in its entirety. Non-members will be able to read it in December of 2008. Congratulations to the authors, David Pescovitz and Alex Pang.

From the Introduction:
A new language is emerging that will transform how we conduct business, make life decisions, and interact with our world over the next decade: it is the language of simulation. At the most basic level, a simulation is an imitation of a real thing, experience, or process. But in recent years, it’s become possible to create computer simulations that are much higher fidelity and more accurate than ever before. In the next decade, the best simulations won't be judged by how realistic they are but how real they are. They will become real in the way that the Internet has become real over the last decade—not only as a platform for learning or academic science, but also as a platform for providing human social interaction and commerce; as a platform for designing the world in real time; and as a platform for inventing and reinventing our individual lives. With some simulations, we will twist the knobs, press "go," and see what happens. In others, we will be key players, interacting in digital space with virtual artifacts, phenomena, and each other. Some simulations will even play out at the intersection of the virtual and real worlds, enabling us to bring a sense of physicality to our digital data.

STIRR's 2nd Annual Statup Holiday Soiree (Dec 19) is almost sold out!

Announcing the STIRR Holiday Soiree: An upscale holiday gathering for entrepreneurs, their teams, loved ones, investors, social media moguls and more. We've secured one of the most beautiful venues in SF (the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange Building) and will fill it with free flowing wine, a Champagne Welcome, the culinary delights of Chef Paul, Live music + DJ + dance floor, and a great crowd of entrepreneurs and those that support them. If your startup hasn't had a holiday party yet (or wants a second), feel free to bring the team. We're partnering with our friends at Women2.0 and Girls in Tech to make this a night to remember. Ticket prices will start ratcheting up as we get closer to the date so please purchase before
the prices go up

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wikipedia "occasional" word of the day: Retrodiction

I received an email today from someone who mentioned the ability to predict the past and called it retrodiction. I laughed...shared it with others, then was dumbfounded when I found out that it is a real least according to Wikipedia.

So...who would like to leave a comment with some retrodictions?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Blind tasting night with friends

We spent Saturday evening hosting a blind wine tasting with some friends. The rules were simple...bring a somewhat pricey wine (>$75). My thinking is that a Napa cab would be the default selection brought by guest (my personal bias running rampant?). I was surprised that only two were Napa cabs. Here is how they rated, along with a link to CellarTracker (the best wine site for tracking your personal collection):
  1. 2001 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Napa Valley Merlot
  2. 2003 Cliff Lede Poetry Napa Valley Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
  3. 1997 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  4. 2004 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Tuscana IGT
  5. 1994 Lyeth North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon
In the end, we were all winners as each of us had the opportunity to enjoy great wine with great food (lamb, ribs, salad, rosemary potatoes, sausage fried rice, several cheeses and a variety of desserts) with great friends. We decided to have a blind tasting every three months and to select themes around a specific varietal. We also realized mid-tasting that we should have planted a wine in the mix for fun...either something more reasonably priced or just all together different. Next time!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A thank you card from my nephew

Dear Uncle Sean,

thanks for the $100 dollars
my parents were mean
and told me to save $50
for college.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tasting along the Wine Road in Sonoma

We spent the weekend up in Sonoma and participated in the 9th Annual Wine and Food Affair. Of all the visits that we have made so far this year, this one had to be the most scenic. Sonoma offers many different varietals and the land is very hilly, so the contrasts and colors and forms (combined with the beautiful weather) was something to be experienced. Glad we were able to go! On Saturday, we visited:
  1. Arista - The most beautiful place we visited
  2. Hanna
  3. Alexander Valley Vineyards - Bought a 2004 Syrah
  4. White Oak - Picked up two of their 2004 Napa Valley cabs
  5. Simi - Bought a 2003 Landslide Cab, a 2006 Late Harvest Chardonnay and a 2005 Late Harvest Zinfandel
  6. Bella
  7. Zichichi
  8. Gopfrich - Picked up a 2005 Estate Cuvee

STIRR Founder Hacks III -Tuesday, November 13 (San Francisco)

119 Utah Street
San Francisco, California 94103

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

There's no single playbook for how to grow a startup. Come hear some of the current tricks of the startup trade from financing to hiring to managing the board to scaling up and more. Each of our presenters are bringing one of their favorite hacks to share in STIRR's short-form format.

The Presenting Founders will kick things off around 7:20pm:
Both Ev and Michael will be available to speak with the attendees after the talk. We'll also have a short Q&A this month.

Previous talks:
Purchase tickets here.

More details on the Facebook event page.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

IFTF's 2008 Technology Research theme and agenda has been set


Reality is up for grabs. Emerging technologies are transforming everything that constitutes our notion of “reality”—our ability to sense our surroundings, our capacity to reason, our perception of the world. Twenty years after William Gibson coined the term cyberspace as a metaphor for a place we “visit” to interact with information, the term is not only played out but on the verge of irrelevance. The wireless Web, virtual worlds, augmented realities overlaid on top of physical ones, advanced simulations, and networked knowledge promise to transform our everyday experiences into a symbiotic blend of analog and digital experiences of human, and machine. Digital information won’t feel like it exists in an alternate place that we go to but rather as a layer atop everyday life. “The Network” will finally become intertwined with the fabric of our lives. Even our minds will be augmented with the wisdom of the global brain.

In 2008, the Technology Horizons Program will examine this future of blended realities and blended lives. Our key research questions will be:
  • What does it feel like to live in a blended reality?
  • How do people integrate or navigate multiple realities?
  • What new skills may be acquired?
  • What are the challenges, pains, needs, and fears?
  • What new desires are emerging?
As part of our continued research on human-futures interaction, we will take a people-centric approach. We will start with the human experience and ask questions about how we’ll navigate a future where we have multiple personas, play games to solve serious problems, and how the interaction between individuals, groups, and machines is creating new kind of knowledge.

Our research will be broken down into the hotspots and deliverables below. We’ll also conduct a separate research project on the future of manufacturing.


1. Realities Are What You Make Of Them
Our personalities are becoming multiple and portable. We’ll soon be able to carry our avatars from one context to another, from conventional games to user-created worlds like Second Life and even into reality-based environments like Google Earth. We’ll be able to create imaginative 3D environments and overlay them on the real world, creating a new kind of blended reality. What will the user experience be like? How will this future of blended realities affect our psychology and sense of self?

2. The Future of "Serious" Play
The next generation of digital games wants to do more than just entertain—they are designed to investigate real-world issues, to solve real-life problems, and to inform long-term planning. Serious games over the next decade will take many forms, from personal life-management games to massively multiplayer global development games; from virtual worlds developed as collaborative scientific research platforms to immersive corporate learning environments that cultivate innovation through play. What new opportunities and dilemmas emerge as we cross the old divides between serious work and play, between reality and virtuality, and between tools for work and tools for play? We’ll examine the viability of virtual economies; the unique persuasive power of games; the challenges of representing the complexities of reality in serious game design; and the implications and stakes of new mobile and augmented reality platforms for play.

3. Emerging Markets: Stories of Lead Mobile Users
Over the next ten years, the proliferation of mobile phones in developing regions will reveal innovative usage practices that will shape future mobile experiences and industries in the rest of the world. In contexts where resources and infrastructure are limited, new kinds of lead users are the drivers of innovation. They are often rich but poorly educated farmers or impoverished migrant workers whose only connection to various resources, from family to jobs, is the mobile phone. Based on firsthand ethnographic work in India, China, Russia, and Latin America, this research endeavor will examine key drivers shaping innovation in mobile space in these regions, and forecast what innovations might diffuse globally and why.

4. Mapping Knowledge in a Networked World
Computing pioneer Douglas Engelbart forecasted in 1962 that “network augmented intelligence” will emerge at the intersection of the mind and the machine—the individual, the group, and the Web. What matters is what technology and people do together; how we use new information technologies to interact with the world’s wisdom; how faster computers allow us to identify valuable patterns in raw data; and how knowledge about our brain can enable us to better organize our thoughts and communicate ideas. In today’s augmented world, the Dewey Decimal System is making way for folksonomies and the wisdom of crowds is often more trusted than the opinion of credentialed experts. The Semantic Web, recommendation engines, the scanning of entire libraries, and natural language processing may lead to a redefinition of knowledge, a democratization of wisdom, and a reevaluation of what it means to be an expert. The Future of Knowledge Map will present a roadmap for the evolution of individual-collective-machine intelligence.

5. Manufacturing: From Massive to Lightweight
Globally, manufacturing is the engine driving an historic expansion of economic growth and innovation. But nostalgic visions of the industrial factory humming along, producing widgets describe only a tiny portion of the reality of manufacturing around the world today. On the one hand, in advanced economies, manufacturing is becoming more lightweight, more automated, more decentralized, more mobile, and more efficient. Yet in places like China and India, the world’s workshops, manufacturing is dirtier and more dangerous than ever, taking an enormous toll on human and environmental resources. We’ll take stock in these contrasting trends and develop plausible visions of how manufacturing may be remade over the next decade.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It is Giant Ass time!

One of the more humorous things about watching a Red Sox game is when a left-handed batter comes up when the Giant Glass sign is displayed. If the batter (in this case Mr. Big Papi!) is in the proper position, one can view "GIANT ASS" in the background.

When I was with my buddies at a bar back in Boston or Portsmouth, this always made us clink our bottles together and bring about laughter.

The Red Sox are again back in the American League Championship Series and on a National Stage. My question is whether or not Fox will take over that ad space and put their own up or leave the local ads there for the fans to enjoy. I hope it is the latter.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Gurgle...a site for new/expecting parents

A UK friend just announced the beta release of Gurgle. I am not in their demographic (yet), but some of you may get some goodness from this or know of people who would. I have never changed a diaper in my life and have had minimal contact with little ones (outside of short visits with my niece/nephew with friends who are parents), so having a resource like this in the future will be very helpful!

Gurgle is an online destination for expecting and new parents that combines a smart social networking engine with rich editorial material. Gurgle provides comprehensive advice and tips, and connects users with other community members at exactly the same stage as them.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Waiter, I have a Karl Marx in my soup...

While eating my soup last week, I did a doubletake. Whatcha think? Do you see Karl Marx? Here's the flickr image of it.

Pesco put this on BoingBoing, so I should explain some more...

I was out to dinner with a client in Seoul enjoying some water kimchi, when I noticed this slice of radish floating on top. I feel bad that I didn't take multiple (and close-up) pics...sorry! I ended up eating it, but in retrospect, should have pocketed it and returned to the US with it and put it up for auction. Perhaps a worthy gambling website would have bid on it...

I was in Korea last week

What a wondrous trip. Here are the pics.

Things I observed:
* Women do not smoke
* Big buildings always have a statue out front (it is the law)
* Public transportation is cheap
* Cable television programming in hotels is lacking
* Jetlag means the day starts at 5:30am (every day)...for some, this is earlier
* Vendors are NOT aggressive
* You drive on the right, but walk on the left (most of the time)
* Trashbins are next to impossible to find
* There are no old cars

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

How high can you fly?

This video is cool for a couple of reasons:
  1. I used to work at Tekscan back in the '90s and Mike (the fellow explaining the sensor technology) was an old roommate of mine
  2. In high school I very high vertical and fondly remember jumping over cars and hurdling all manner of things. However, the 45 pounds of mass that I've added since then have significantly curtailed my jumping abilities.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What do 110,078 people sound like?

I am so happy it is football season again!

"We Are...Penn State" is the greatest chant. Hear what it sounds like when 110,078 people chant it!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Vinod Khosla doesn't understand why many people purchased hybrids

While reading VentureBeat this morning, I saw this post about Vinod Khosla's opinion on hybrid buyers. His thoughts:
But hybrid electric cars won’t succeed, he said in an interview. You have to pay $5,000 more on a Prius in order to save half a ton of carbon a year, which is more than most consumers will go for, he explained. Buying hybrids “is mostly about personal guilt trips.” It’s like wealthy investors giving money to “art museums instead of to starving people” in Africa, he said.
He forgets a couple of things. For many, buying a hybrid wasn't about making them feel less guilty, it was about saving them time and money:
  • Time: at the pump (less trips to the gas station) & in the HOV lane if you were fortunate to get the HOV stickers.
  • Money: at the pump (get much more miles for your dollar) & with those HOV stickers, you get to sail right on through the carpool lane on the bridges, saving you $4 each day. Add the gas savings and the toll savings and you have at least $1500/year for a bridge commuter.
The HOV sticker deal is long gone (but may come back...fingers crossed), but there are many reasons why people buy what they buy. Is Toyota making money from Prius sales? Yes. Is the environment better off? Yes. Are the buyers of the Prius happy consumers? Yes.

Methinks Mr. Khosla is just trying to drum up interest in the areas that he invests.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Netflix removed Grind House from my queue

While looking at my Netflix queue, I noticed the words "Click for Update" under Availability for the movie Grind House. When I click it, I get these words:
Update on Your Queue
Grind House has been removed from your Queue. We no longer have enough copies of the DVD to satisfy customer demand. Unfortunately, we are unable to purchase more of this movie and will no longer offer it for rental.

We realize this is disappointing and want to reassure you that we remove movies from our web site only in unusual circumstances.

We apologize for the inconvenience and hope you find many other movies to enjoy at Netflix.
How can they not be able to purchase more copies? Have Tarantino and Rodriguez decided not to sell anymore? Answer: Not exactly. The reason: the movie was still in my Saved hadn't even become available yet. Or maybe the Weinstein Company doesn't want the masses to see it. Anyone know the real answer?

Update...Netflix just sent me an email:
As someone who added Grindhouse, we want to clarify some changes that were made to Your Queue. Grindhouse is available for rental as two movies: Grindhouse: Planet Terror and Grindhouse: Death Proof. As a result, Grindhouse was removed from Your Queue and replaced by Grindhouse: Planet Terror and Grindhouse: Death Proof.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

STIRR Founder Hacks 2 - Wednesday, September 12 (San Francisco)

We are pleased to announce FounderHacks 2 - Wednesday September 12th, 6pm in San Francisco!

What are Founder Hacks? There is no single playbook for how to grow a startup. Come hear some of the current tricks of the startup trade from financing to hiring to managing to scaling up and more. Each of our presenters are bringing one of their favorite hacks to share in STIRR's short-form format.

The Presenting Founders will kick things off around 7:30pm:

  • Patrick Koppula, Founder - Vadver
  • Scott Rafer, Founder - Lookery
  • To be announced...
  • When: Wednesday, September 12th. Gathering begins at 6:00pm, talks at 7:30pm.
  • Where: Mighty, 113 Utah St, San Francisco
  • Cost: Founding Teams of internet, enterprise, mobile or bio/cleantech companies: $10 pre-event/$20 at the door. All others (consulting, hr, pr, legal, accounting, design, etc): $20 pre-event/$30 at the door.
  • Food: yes. Open bar from 6-7pm, no host bar after 7pm.
  • Pre-printed nametags will be ready at the door for all pre-paid registrants.
  • Register here

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bagged Half Dome again this past Saturday

* We woke at 4:05am
* Hit the trail (from Curry Village) at 4:55am
* Top of Vernal Falls at 7am
* Top of Half Dome at 10:10am
* 9.6 miles and ~5000' of elevation in 5.25 hours!
* We left the top at 11:00am
* Back to Curry Village at 3:30pm (blisters slowed us down)
* We came back down a quicker route ( 9.0) miles in 4.5 hours!
* 18.6 miles in 9.75 hours
* After an hour nap and then a shower (no line!), we had some dinner (no line!) and homemade sangria

Cammy...very happy!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Use Twitter (and/or RSS) for improving corporate and municipal communications

Seth Godin had a good post this morning about New York City's poor communication after yesterday morning's storm. His summary: "[in an emergency situation,] the first thing to rehearse is your communication strategy".

Earlier this year, I made a forecast that Twitter would mushroom as its commercial uses were adopted (see item #7). Several companies have began to use it. But it may prevail that the most useful uses for Twitter (and RSS feeds in general) will come from municipal groups (some quasi-) alerting citizens of fires, earthquakes, SF weather, Atlantic hurricanes, etc. Digging around, I found that there is a Bay Area Traffic Jam feed (though my bridge isn't covered) and a BART problem feed. Both are useful...but who knows about them?

The biggest problem isn't creating those feeds, it is educating consumers how to use them. My girlfriend's 15 year-old brother doesn't know what RSS or Twitter is. My mother doesn't know about them; nor does my brother or his kids. I would expect that 90% of America has no clue about them. So...the do we educate people about using feeds?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What is up with Portfolio Magazine?

Today, I was reminded of my Portfolio Magazine subscription when Valleywag wrote about their not-up-to-snuff website.

I commented about the lack of delivered issues (nothing since May) and decided to give their subscriber services department a call. Apparently, the May issue was just a Premier issue and the monthly editions commence this month. If your September issue doesn't arrive by Aug 31, then it is late. My only problem with's not mentioned anywhere on their subscription site. (Note...this is not a recommendation to subscribe, simply a way for you to easily fact-check my statement.)

BTW...there was a bonus gift provided for 2-year subscribers: an umbrella (see that snazzy red/green there in the picture?). Mine was shipped in paper-thin cardboard and arrived in two off to the trashbin it went. Did anyone else receive a broken umbrella? Why would they even bother offering a piece of crap thing like that anyway? Conde Nast must have had an extra few thousand green umbrellas laying around from a golf promotion and didn't know what to do with them.

Thanks, Portfolio Magazine...thanks for sending me a cheap-ass broken umbrella. How about some focus on those monthly magazines!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A gem of a hike in my backyard

Last night, we drove up the road a few miles to check out a couple of abutting nearby parks: Garin/Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Parks in Union City. I was quite amazed! If you are looking for a great Bay Area place to hike, see great views, and be almost by yourself (we were on the trail with only one other hiker)...this is the place to do it! The park is open from 5am-9pm.

We started at 7:10pm and finished up around 8:55pm. Our route was the High Ridge Loop Trail ~ 5 miles. They charge $5 to park there, but only when the kiosk is manned (it wasn't when we dropped by). There were "signs" of cows, but we didn't see any.

This will be a great place to spend some time in the early morning getting ready for Half Dome in mid-August. I think Cassi (our dog) will like to join us there as well.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

STIRR Founder Hacks was covered by the San Jose Mercury News

Nice! STIRR and the Founder Hacks event made the cover of the Business section and here's some video of the night as well.

I'll add more to this post later...

Ready for Saturday!

Last night, I was reading through some of the links on MyBlogLog that lead to my blog and I stumbled across this search phrase..."half dome jmt time running "how fast"" which led to my post of two years ago when I hiked half dome for the first time. Wake up call! I'm going back there in 4 weeks and am waaaaaay out of shape!

So, I decided to wake up and hit the gym early. Success...woke up at 6am and began my task to get back into (long-distance hiking) shape. After the gym, I picked up a copy of the San Jose Mercury News to see the article on STIRR (more on that in a later post).

Today's activities call for a pretty fun day: a brunch at a friend's house; 3/4 scale indy style racing at Malibu Grand Prix; and then dinner with some friends at Straits Restaurant at Santana Row to celebrate my bday.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I saw Sicko today

Sicko is an eye-opener. This hurts a lot. The best question he poses..."who are we?" The answer is not one we aspire to.

He makes a good argument. We have free police, free fireman, free (pre-college) education, how can free healthcare be bad?

The moral of the story: don't get sick. And if you do, move to another country...

Go see it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Demos at the STIRR FounderHacks event

Sure, the presentations are one reason to come to the STIRR FounderHacks event. But we also have some great demos for you:

  • - share more content to more people in more places
  • - people-powered customer service
  • - a new Voice Entertainment Network

Friday, July 06, 2007

Get There Early...a new book from Institute for the Future

Many of my friends and family are a bit baffled about what my employer does. I now have something nice to show them!

IFTF Distinguished Fellow, Bob Johansen, is soon releasing a new book called "Get There Early: Sensing the Future to Compete in the Present."

This new book explains how IFTF uses Foresight to Insight to Action, with a range of case examples drawn from the last 35 years of 10-year forecasting.

The official publication date is August 20, but you can pre-order it via Amazon.

An added bonus: the book's jacket is actually one of our maps. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Colin Bulthaup of Potenco visits IFTF

Today, Colin Bulthaup, CEO of Squid Labs spin-off, Potenco, spoke about their pull-cord generator. Steve Cisler provides a great write-up on the visit.

In five years, you'll see pull-cord generators everywhere.

STIRR Founder Hacks - Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We are happy to announce our next event: STIRR Founder Hacks! What are Founder Hacks? Tricks of the startup trade from financing to hiring to managing to scaling up and more. Each of our presenters are bringing one of their favorite hacks to share in STIRR's short-form format.

Presenting Founders:
  • When: Wednesday, July 18th. Gathering begins at 5:30pm, talks at 7:00pm.
  • Where: Trader Vics, 4269 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Cost: Founding Teams of internet, enterprise, mobile or bio/cleantech companies: $10 with RSVP ($20 at the door). All others (consulting, hr, pr, legal, accounting, design, vc/angel, etc): $20 w/ RSVP ($30 at the door).
  • Pre-printed nametags will be ready at the door for all pre-paid registrants. (Referrals welcome.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The 2007 "summer song" will be Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girl"

I am a little bit late to state this this year (apologies!): Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girl" will be the 2007 "summer song". I hit it on the nose last year with Gnarls Barkley!.

Any believers/dissenters out there?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The coming Reality Divide

I am in San Diego this week for IFTF's Technology Horizons Abundant Computing Conference and we are wrapping up with a insights discussion right now. This is probably the most fun part of the event: take the past few days findings and in a group session, discuss insights and implications. (Part of our Foresight --> Insight --> Action process.)

One of the insights that I came up with the poor will have access to virtual, while the rich will get to experience the real thing. Jane McGonigal (my IFTF colleague) quickly called this the "Reality Divide".

Years from now, everyone will be able to view real-time, 4k (or greater) resolution of pretty much everything: the ocean floor, 3821 meters down; the Sistine Chapel, Machu Pichu, etc. However, I think the real desire (aspiration) will be to see it in real-life...and you'll need money to do that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

IFTF is seeking Boomers for a survey

Are there any boomers out there who would like to be a part of our Boomer Survey?

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is an independent nonprofit research group. We work with organizations of all kinds to help them make better, more informed decisions about the future. We provide the foresight to create insights that lead to action. We bring a combination of tools, methodologies, and a deep understanding of emerging trends and discontinuities to our work with companies, foundations, and government agencies.

We are currently recruiting for a new research study called "Boomers in the Next 20 Years". For the purposes of this study, people who were born between 1946 and 1964 qualify as Boomers, and you do not need to identify as a Baby Boomer to participate. The study is about how you will respond to the changes and challenges in the next 20 years. We want to know about your experiences and the decisions you are making and foresee making in the areas of health, finance, work, family and community.

Participation would include a response to this survey, followed by a brief telephone interview and a 2 hour interview in your home to be scheduled between June and August, 2007. Not all people who complete this survey will be selected for further interviews. Participants who complete of all phases of the project will be given a stipend of $100, paid by American Express gift card.

We are particularly interested in interviewing people who live within 100 miles of city center of these cities:

  • Denver, Colorado
  • San Francisco, California
  • Austin, Texas
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Miami, Florida
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
  • New York, New York
Take our brief Recruitment Survey to get involved, or forward this message on to people you know who may be interested in participating. Thank you for your time!

If you have any questions about participating in the project, please direct them to mlueck AT iftf DOT org.


Sean Ness is more popular than Tiger Woods, Brad Pitt, Donald Trump and Bono!

Well, at least that is, on Twitter. I don't use Twitter all that last post was more than a one month ago (April 22). But while reading a Mashable post today about tweetVOLUME, I did the first thing anyone would do: ego search myself to see how many times my name has been Twittered. I ran a few names and phrases and discovered that my name has been twittered more than Tiger, Brad, Donald and Bono. This is a pretty good sign that the masses have not adopted Twitter yet...although it is catching (spoiler alert: very statistically sound methodology about to be used), as the following are all ahead of me: George Bush, Paris Hilton, Sanjaya & Steve Jobs (who happens to be #1 as far as I can tell).

If you find anyone more popular than it in the comments!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Energy 101: How to present a real energy agenda

On May 14th, President Bush presented his new energy plan to strengthen energy security and address climate change (he finally gets it!). After years of stating in his State of the Union address that America needs to wean itself of our foreign oil (six in a row with no action!), he introduces this dud of a plan: Twenty in Ten.

The good news is that we are nearing the end of his term and the Presidential hopefuls are coming up with real plans with real ideas. America needs to stop being coddled with low-cost energy and instead needs to be challenged and given real goals.

Yesterday, Bill Richardson released his own agenda (Sean note: this link does not seem to work right now) that is the type of prodding America needs. The five elements to his plan:
  • Cut oil demand: 50% by 2020. Increasing the gas mileage of the average car to more than 50 mpg is just one way to help achieve this goal. (Sean note: look at how pathetic the US is compared to rest of the world...including China!)
  • Change to Renewable Sources for Electricity: 50% by 2040. We could save customers $21 billion a year by 2020 by changing to alternative energy sources.
  • Dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions: 90% by 2050. We must set strict limits on emissions. We'll do it by instituting a market-based cap and trade system.
  • Restore America as the world's leader. We must return to the international negotiating table and support mandatory Kyoto-style limits on global warming pollution. (We balked
  • Get it all done without breaking the bank. By reducing oil imports and raising revenue from carbon permits, we will create more than 10 times more economic value that we spend to make this program happen.
Image credit: caramba4u

Friday, May 18, 2007

Want an 8 bedroom home for $345,000?

My hometown of Smethport, PA, has many large houses on Main where the elite of the time (late 1800s) lived. One of the houses is up for sale and it has some space, all for only $345,000!

Billiard Room: 17' x 26'
Sleeping porch: 9' x 31'
Bedroom 3: 18.6' x 15'
Bedroom 8: 19' x 13'

No wonder that a few of them have served as B&B's over the years.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

What happens when oil starts to run out?

Over the weekend, a new ARG called World Without Oil launched. Backed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, it is a game that takes a look at oil dependency. One of the designers is my IFTF colleague, Jane McGonigal. It has been getting some good press!

Here are some words from Jane, lifted from BoingBoing (thanks Pesco!):
World Without Oil is a month-long collaborative alternate reality project funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and ITVS. It’s the first alternate reality game to tackle a real-world problem: oil dependency.

World Without Oil imagines we are already living on the other side of the “peak oil” moment. The alternate reality game presents a “reality dashboard” that updates daily with gas prices, fuel shortages, and measures of chaos, suffering and economic impact for different parts of the country. Players are invited to document their own lives in this new reality, through blog posts, videos, photos, web comics, geocaches, audio messages, and any other means necessary!

The goal of the project is to harness the collective intelligence of bloggers and gamers to create a bottom-up map of what it would mean to live through a massive oil shortage in the U.S. The project’s mantra: Play it, before you live it.

The game launched on Monday, and already there are hundreds of player created documents to browse—-not to mention the official “backstory” created by the game’s puppet masters..

The latest game updates include video footage of an underground car vandalism effort, instructions for how to throw fuel-free parties, and an eyebrow-raising transcript of the new secretary of state’s address to the nation.

Sign up to play now; the game runs though the first week of June.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saturday wine tasting

We went wine tasting on Saturday and visited several wineries in Napa. The Stags Leap District Winegrowers were hosting their annual Vineyard to Vintner (V2V) event and we hit most of them!
  1. Nickel & Nickel - (not part of the event, but we had free access to their Spring Barrel Tasting.) Our favorites (out of the 13 tasted!) were the 2006 C. C. Ranch and Rock Cairn cabernets). The barrel room was absolutely beautiful!
  2. Baldacci Family Vineyards - Tom Baldacci was cooking some nice sausage and steak on the grill in front of the cave. We learned his "secret" for tenderizing his steak and will be trying it out soon
  3. Shafer Vineyards - Was pretty busy here. They have a great name, so not surprised.
  4. Ilsley Vineyards - The tasting was out on the porch. Too bad the porch was small. We left shortly after arriving.
  5. Silverado Vineyards - This place was BIG! Probably the most corporate on the Silverado Trail.
  6. Taylor Family Vineyards - We met Jerry, Pat and Sandy. Bought a Reserve bottle here.
  7. Pine Ridge Winery - Only offering two wines (a red and a white). The skewers off of the grill were quite tasty (serving both lamb and shrimp).
  8. Steltzner Vineyards - They had the tasting in their cave and sampled a 1985 of their oldest. Near the entrace, they keep many of their library wines...look for all the dust in the cabinets to the left.
  9. Griffin Vineyards - Due to a trademark dispute, they are changing their name.
  10. Hartwell Vineyards - Bob Hartwell was signing bottles and his Shih Tzu was leashed next to him. She was had quite a reserved temperament compared to another puppy I know...
  11. Regusci Winery - Awesome tasting room...surrounded by boxes upon boxes of ancient vintages from around the Napa neighborhood
We've been to Chimney Rock Winery, Cliff Lede Vineyards and Robert Sinskey Vineyards before, so the only one that we really missed was Clos Du Val.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wikipedia "occasional" word of the day: involution

At an all-day meeting today, one of my colleagues used the word "involution", which made many a brow furl. What was that? What does that mean? How's that?

Three of us headed to Wikipedia for the translation and had a good time. The definitions led to many more raised brows and chuckles:
We know so little...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Would you like a Silverfish in your Laurel Glen Counterpoint Cabernet?

How did you spend your last Friday evening? Mine started out quite well! I arrived home from work and dinner was all prepared. Once I changed, we began to eat. Our first response was...this wine isn't so good. It was an extremely cheap bottle, so we dumped it down the drain and then decided to open up something from a trip to Sonoma a year and a half ago: a 2001 Laurel Glen Counterpoint Cabernet Sonoma Mountain. I poured two glasses and we dug in. I heard Cammy give a yelp and a then a scream. She said that there was a worm in her wine. I took the glass, looked inside and my first thought was that it was some cork floating. Since the light by the couch was dark, I went into the kitchen to scoop the cork out with a spoon. Upon doing so, I quickly noticed that she was right, it was a bug. A nice wine-pickled Silverfish. Ugh! Yuck! Phooey! DISGUSTING! How the hell did that get there? What kind of an operation does Laurel Glen run? Uggggggggghhhhhh! This bottle, too, is dumped down the drain and we both pledged to never drink Laurel Glen again...

Oh...if you don't know what a Silverfish looks like, see below:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

STIRR Founders Mixer 2.4 (Palo Alto, CA)

The next STIRR Mixer is tonight (April 11) at Illusions in Palo Alto.

Presenters this month include:
Thanks to Pivotal Labs, SUN, and K&L Gates for being our sponsors!

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My household magazine subscriptions

I noticed that the number of magazines that we subscribe to is getting to be pretty sizeable, so I thought I'd share the list to see how it compares to what others are reading.

Here goes:
  1. 7x7 San Francisco
  2. Backpacker
  3. Bon Appetit
  4. Business 2.0
  5. Business Week
  6. C
  7. Cuisine at Home
  8. Eating Well
  9. Fast Company
  10. Food & Wine
  11. Forbes
  12. Fortune
  13. Gourmet
  14. Inc.
  15. National Geographic
  16. Outside
  17. Portfolio
  18. Portland Monthly
  19. San Francisco
  20. Self
  21. Saveur
  22. Star
  23. Travel & Leisure
  24. U.S. News & World Report
  25. Us Weekly
  26. Wired
  27. Women's Health
What do you read? [Updated: August 9, 2007]

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Who will be on the next Presidential tickets?

My hunches:

Democrat: Richardson/Obama.

Republican: Giuliani/McCain

What do you think?

[Note: I am a bit biased and have contributed to the Bill Richardson for President campaign.]

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunday was Napa wine tasting day

The Silverado Trail Wineries Association had a weekend event where some of the lesser known wineries of Eastern Napa got together to promote themselves. We checked a few of them out, along with a few others (*), that were not part of the event.

  1. Judd's Hill - A new vineyard, no longer on the hill.
  2. Van Der Heyden Vineyards - Wine tasting or wine lecturing? We arrived and were seated while an employee held court and talked about the wine (but didn't feel it was important to pour). We made a move to leave, but the winemaker intercepted us and offered to help. Good that we stayed, as we found that they make an incredible late harvest cabernet (first time to see that!). They harvest the grapes in late November/early December. The 1997 was the best wine to ever set root(?) in my mouth. Purchased the 1997 and the 2002.
  3. Hagafen Cellars - This one got crowded fast, so we didn't stick around too long.
  4. Signorello Winery - Discovered that Mike looks like Ray Signorello, Jr.
  5. * Chimney Rock Winery - We are members here. The red tasting was great...some high-end wines!
  6. Robinson Family Vineyards - They have a nice, comfortable grassy area to relax.
  7. * Robert Sinskey Vineyards - One of Mike's favorites. Nice kitchen next to the tasting area. Surprised that more wineries don't provide some good tasting food to complement the wine.
  8. * Cliff Lede - We are members here. Relaxed and picked up an order of Howell Mountain Poetry.
  9. * St. Supery - Not on the Silverado Trail...but it was getting late and we wanted to hit one more winery.
We'll be back in a couple of weeks...Chimney Rock has a wine mixing event.