Aug 10

Crossing the Evolution Line

Posted by Simon

This is a thought experiment. It is not to be taken as a serious idea.  It is supposed to make you think about issues like work, humanity and the future.  Do not invest in this idea.

The Chimpanzee Carwash

Chimpanzees are in an evolutionary sense humans closest relatives.  They are trainable social animals that, with the right incentives, will perform simple tasks.  So the question is: If I trained some Chimpanzees to work in my car wash would I have to pay them the minimum wage?

  • Stop laughing and think about this.
  • We don’t pay dogs for herding.
  • We don’t pay cows for milk.
  • We don’t pay bees for producing honey in the little houses (prisons?) we supply them.
  • When horses win races do they get paid?  What about when they haul carts?

Even though it makes you uncomfortable it is something to think about.


Jul 8

Bird and Hike

Posted by Simon

This is a story about a person who has performed a valuable service for his community and has found at least a small way to monetize it.

Bird and Hike is an excellent website that give away lots of good information about outdoor activities in the area around Las Vegas.  What I want to show you is the way he is monetizing it.  Look at the lower right hand corner of the screen shot above.

It is a “Tips Jar” link that takes you to Pay Pal.  Where you can thank your virtual guide.

Good idea and usable in lots of different services.  What about adding a suggested amount?

May 13

Begging Plan

Posted by Simon

In Venice Italy last Autumn we saw lots of beggars and this one looked so much like an old crone that I was forced to take another look.

I used my cameras zoom and discovered that it was a young lady in mufti.

A brilliant acting job.  She was getting lots of money.


May 6

Sierra Madre Canyon

Posted by Simon

Back in the 1970’s Sierra Madre Canyon used to be full of Hippies.  It still has a few remaining Hippies but it is now mostly Hipsters and Yuppies.  I took my friend Ken G. up there for lunch at Mary’s Market (see last weeks post) and he quick as a wink drew this sketch:

Brilliant (but I thing my shirt was darker)

WDITOT (Why Didn’t I Think of That)

Apr 29

Mary’s Market Marketing

Posted by Simon

In Sierra Madre Canyon there is a tiny restaurant named Mary’s Market.  It is hard to find and when you get there it is even harder to find parking.  The canyon is full of tiny houses and lots of canyon tumbled stones.  Charlotte the proprietor has an excellent and low cost marketing idea.  She gathers up a few hundred of these rocks and has her customers paint advertising slogans on them.  Later she give than to new patrons to put in their yards or use as doorstops.  What a great low cost marketing idea.  It builds her patron community and brings in new people.

Lots of people want to paint Mary’s rocks:


WDITOT (Why Didn’t I Think of That)

Apr 22

At the B’nai Simcha Preschool in Pasadena Jenn L. a teacher and the students created an igloo out of one plastic milk cartons.

Brilliantly Creative.

It could have been a Henge.

Another view:

And a construction detail:

This is actually a very nice commentary on a potential consequence of global warming.

The first in an occasional series of non-business creative ideas that have come into my view.

Mar 24

Change is Good

Posted by Simon

Many years ago when we were in the frantic first days of building our company one of my slogans was Change is Good.  Until that is someone pointed out to me that some changes are not good like droughts or getting fired.  So we changed the slogan to Change is…… Implying not that it is bad or good but it is going to happen.

As we age we tend to get more resistant to change.  We want to keep things the way they were.  It turns out that even though I’m aware of this tendency I also resist change.  Here are two examples of changes that I was forced to make that turned out to be very good.

I was forced to get a new razor.  I’d had a Gillette Sensor for about 30 years and it was getting harder to find replacement blades for it.  So finally reluctantly I changes over to a Gillette Mach 3.  Wow! It gives a better shave, is much more comfortable to use and it looks and feels good.  Design genius.

I lost my wire cutters/strippers, which is another story, so I had to buy some new ones.  The new wire stripper is much better made it actually works.  I don’t know why I stuck with the old ones so long.

Now I’m constantly on the alert for other things that I can upgrade.  The pleasure of a simple upgrades to your life should not be underrated.

Here are a few that we have benefited from in recent years:  back up cameras in cars, smart phones, electric toothbrushes, WiFi everywhere, memory sticks instead of floppy discs, iTunes, nonstick pans, detergent pods and many more.


Nov 15

A New Collectable

Posted by Simon

Do you recognize what is in this picture? You can click on the picture to see a larger image.


They are the little label that come on fruit, you know, with the secret code number. I predict that they will become a serious collectable in the next few years. I checked e-bay and there are already a few for sale in amongst the vintage orange crate labels. Imagine the joy of having a 1995 Gala Apple 3548 from Oregon in mint condition. I think they will be the postage stamps of the future.

This would be a great project for elementary school teachers. The kids could collect a free thing that would relate to geography, health and math.  It would be a fun learning experience.  They could stick them all on a world map board for instance or try to figure out the secret behind the code numbers.

The reason I have such great ideas is that I am an Ideapreneur.

Oct 13

Football Every Night

Posted by Simon

The Movement for Football Every Night

Has a theme song and it is perfect.

YouTube Preview Image
Sep 2

Labor Day at $15/Hour

Posted by Simon

This year to celebrate Labor Day many in the labor movement are demanding that we raise the minimum wage.  Beware the urge to do good when it violates the laws of economics.

Cowpeople working

This year the major cry we are hearing on Labor Day is that we should raise the minimum wage to $15.00/hour.  I say don’t do it.  If you raise the price of something you are going to sell less of it.  Raising the minimum wage is a sure way to kill jobs, increase unemployment and decrease opportunity for the most disadvantaged.  It is a terrible idea and I can show you why.

Example One:  You run a fast food restaurant called Paul’s Burgers and the minimum wage goes up by 50% so you decide to buy an automated order entry system.  It will be like the ones they have installed at airports for boarding passes.  That way you don’t have to raise prices because you can eliminate most of the order writer jobs at the counter.  Good news for your customers: their burgers and the price stay the same.  Bad news for your future employees: there are four or five less entry level jobs at Paul’s.

Example Two: You work in a garment factory in Los Angeles, on a sewing assembly line, sewing sleeves on bridesmaids dresses.  You make just above the minimum wage but during busy times you get lots of overtime.  You welcome the increase in the minimum wage because it means more money for you right away.  But then you notice that the overtime has gone away and during the slow times your only working three days a week.  It turns out that the bosses have started sending the long lead time orders to a contractor in Mexico (or China or Myanmar).  Since labor cost went up it makes sense to organize to send more of the work to places where labor is cheaper.

Example Three:  You run a non-profit business that provides intensive English language and cultural training to recent immigrants from around the world.  Most of your trainers are college student who you train and pay roughly $10/hour for the mostly evening work.  Your source of funds is government grants, corporate sponsorships and private donations.  You welcome the minimum wage increase because it will promote “social justice.”  What you didn’t expect was that now your pretty constant sources of funding will only pay for about 60% as much of your services.  You have to lay off a third of your trainers and can now serve a third less clients.

A higher minimum wage is a trick.  It seems like it will help the poorest people but all it does in the long run is reduce their opportunities and therefore their net earnings.

BTW I think it is hypocritical to support a higher minimum wage and then to buy things on sale.  When you buy something based on price you are sending a signal to the marketplace that you want it to be cheaper.  So you are telling the supply chain that they should lower the cost of the item out of one side of your mouth and out of the other telling them to pay higher wages.  Make up your mind don’t be a hypocrite.