Archive for August, 2010

The College Search Process

In the past few months I have been driving around dozens of college campuses, in search of a school where I will be happy at studying as an undergraduate. The process has been very lengthy thus far, and certain resources have made finding the right information a lot easier. Essentially the admissions office at any school is the sales team for their institution, and almost all of the schools today start sending out information e-mails and brochures years before fall of senior year. A lot of the brochures are helpful to understand some of the statistical information at each school, but I’ve found that nothing replaces the individual conversations with students on campus or student review sites. The most insightful information that I have come across is through little tips on college tours while school is in session. Seeing and hearing students interacting on campus is the best way to understand if the students at the school are the people you would enjoy being friends with for the next few years.

For the times when you need more in depth information about either the questions many people are afraid to ask, or just want a second opinion on a certain issue, the web has become an excellent resource.

My favorite site that provides up to date and straightforward information is Pronounced “uni-go”, the site launched a couple years ago with a mission to bypass the misinformation told in college information guides and offer valuable student reviews. Each school has a general overview written by one of the Unigo editors, then visitors can navigate to the individual opinions from current and former students. They have recently partnered with The Wall Street Journal to provide various video segments on a wide array of topics in the college admissions process. Similar informational sites based around student reviews include and

One interesting resource that a I stumbled upon a few months ago is the service named WiseChoice. The service works similar to a dating site profile, where you answer several thorough questionnaires about your likes and dislikes. Personally, I haven’t used the site extensively but they claim to match you with the best school for your needs.

Many students know about these sites today, and ask why colleges would bother sending informational brochures in the mail and email invites to open houses when that surely costs the institution a great deal of money. In reality the schools are actually very capable of affording these promotions. Go figure: School X sends out information book, total cost $1. Student applies to school, school generates $50 for application fee. The ROI is pretty substantial, especially if the student chooses to enroll.



08 2010

Productivity Meets Portability

For over a decade now it has been possible to work offline with various portable tools. Thanks to the recent development in 3G infrastructure and 3G enabled mobile devices, it’s now extremely easy to work on things online when you are on the go. For example, I am now much mote productive because I can spend my down time doing time eating tasks such as checking my Facebook, reading news headlines, and much more. Then when I get home I can spend more time on proactive tasks rather than reactive tasks such as gasping in awe at a full inbox. This blog post was written entirely an NJ Transit train on my commute home from New York City.


08 2010

Tech Startups: “Not All Sunshine and Rainbows”

Recently the tech community has been endlessly trading opinions about the best place to start a business, which city offers the best quality of life for a startup employee, and various other aspects of the environment that a startup is based. Regardless of whether you’re a tech startup based in Silicon Valley (aka San Francisco-San Jose), Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, Boulder, Boston, NYC, etc., each area has seen its good and bad days, and each area has benefits and turn offs. The reason for this heated discussion is primarily because many people believe that Silicon Valley is losing its edge and startups elsewhere around the world no longer need the competitive advantage of being based in the San Francisco area.

Take a look at some of the popular articles by mainstream media and bloggers alike:

Financial Times (UK) – Can VCs replicate the valley in Europe?

New York Times – Boulder Colo., a Magnet for High-Tech Startups

CNN – The next Silicon Valley? It may be New York

AdGrok – New York will always be a tech backwater, I don’t care what Chris Dixon or Ron Conway or Paul Graham say

Direct negation of AdGrok post: New York is the greatest city in the world…I don’t care what Antonio Garcia-Martinez says

Perhaps all of the Silicon Valley wannabe’s should just follow the advice of Paul Graham, as he describes the best way to emulate a Silicon Valley tech hub is not to pick a sunny spot on the map, but rather to attract the right people. (“How to be Silicon Valley“)

Whichever city you choose to base your startup in,  it will not be the sole supporting factor for your startup’s success or failure. (That is unless you decide to start your skiing business in Florida.) No matter which tech hub you are in, there will always be hurdles and challenges to overcome. To Silicon Valley’s credit, they still remain the most powerful tech hub*, but they area is “Not All Sunshine and Rainbows”. For example, take a look back at the tech bubble that burst in 2000. Yes, it’s true for both sides, more companies have succeeded and failed in Silicon Valley than anywhere else. However, as Rocky demonstrates in one of the most motivating movie scenes of all time: “It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… how much you can take, and keep moving forward.” So far, Silicon Valley has survived as the most powerful tech center in two major economic collapses, so it’s safe to say they are the winners for now.

*The dominance of tech center is determined by the amount of venture capital funding invested in companies located in each city every year.


08 2010

The State of the Kindle

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos being interviewed by Charlie rose.

Last week marked an important milestone for Amazon customers and anyone else looking to establish a digital library. Amazon released details on its newest Kindle generation as they plan to ship the revolutionary reading device towards the end of August. Special arrangements made for the announcement of the new and improved Kindle include showing a personal letter written from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to visitors on the home page. In addition, Bezos made an appearance on PBS to do an interview with Charlie Rose last week, where he answered many pressing questions regarding the Kindle as well as the tablet PC market.

Take a look at the interview, the insight on the newest Kindle as well as other potential customers is worth tuning in.

Some highlights from the interview include:

  • Bezos believes the Kindle has the ability to transcend the readers mind into visualizing solely the page, just like a book.
  • Amazon has a leg up on the competition because their mission is to be “the earth’s most customer centric company”.
  • The Kindle price point is affordable, unlike the iPad among other e-readers.
  • Over 600,000 books are available on the Kindle in 60 seconds or less. (Most for $9.99 or less)
  • Clothing is the fastest growing segment on Amazon. Their philosophy is buy 3, return the 2 that don’t fit.
  • Bezos projects that in the future, people in society will fulfill their needs through an array of devices.
    • Kindle for reading, smart-phone, laptop, tablet PC.
  • The new Kindle’s one month battery lifespan relieves battery power anxiety.
  • The Apple iPad is not a competitor to the Kindle because it offers one of the best web-browsers. Therefore, more customers are shopping on


08 2010