Archive for September, 2010

The Paradox of College Choices

Early one morning in your high school career, there may have been a guidance counselor walk out on stage and proclaim that you should not worry about finding a college, since in the United Sates alone, there are over 3,000 accredited institutions. You can begin choosing which college you want to attend by flipping through a review book, but after a few minutes of initial search it becomes similar to flipping through hundreds of TV channels and then saying there’s nothing on TV. Tim Harford, a reporter for the Financial Times, makes an important note on choice theory: “We are often offered an apparently pointless choice between two equally good products, not appreciating that they are only good because we have been offered the choice.”

With hopes of choosing the right school, the renowned psychologist Barry Schwartz describes how we decide on choices for almost anything. The first step would be deciding on your goals for college, and decide which goals are the most important. With a dozen or so potential options that can fulfill your goals, Schwartz writes on the importance of evaluating whether or not each choice can successfully fulfill the goals. Whether they are academic, athletic, artistic, financial, social, or any other combination, many students often find that there are multiple options that they would be happy to choose. The dilemma lies in the thought that if we decide to go to one place, we will be unhappy because we are missing out on x, y, and z which is better somewhere else. Claire Williams, co-author of The Choice Effect chimes in on this idea:

“What stops so many of us from making a commitment is our fear that once we make a choice we have to close the door on all the other options… Choosing doesn’t limit choices—it just changes them. So feel free to pick that  [college] knowing that even commitment brings a whole new set of options to be excited (and angsty) about.”

Perhaps the area where college choice is paradoxical is admissions. It’s up to the admissions office at each individual school to make sure your choice meets there criteria. Even with a narrow list of safety, target, and reach schools, more highly qualified students are applying to college than ever before, and rarely is any decision guaranteed. Other elements of the admissions process can make students even more happier, such as the choice between commitment binding Early Decision and the freedom of Regular Decision. But that’s a completely different topic with a whole other set of costs and benefits to analyze. Whichever college you do choose, I encourage you to be a satisficer. “Satisficing is a term psychologist Herbert Simon used to describe people who have criteria and standards, but are not worried about the possibility that there might be something better.”


09 2010

A Quick End of Summer Blog Stats Review

This past summer I garnered a lot of attention and reaction on a few pieces of content published on this blog. Most notably this past weekend my project aiming to map out the Hacker News users has been up-voted on the homepage of for well over 24 hours. This recent project harnessing the attention of thousands of Hacker News users has launched my overall unique visitor account twofold for the summer. To be precise, I just surpassed the 10,000 unique visitor threshold this hour for my total summer count. I’m extremely happy that visitors from numerous referral sources have been interested in accessing the content on my blog over the past three months. Thank you!

Summer 2010 Traffic Fast Facts:

  • Visitors came from 109 countries. Most popular countries in the following order: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany.
  • 93% of the visitors were accessing the site for the first time.
  • 12,000+ page views sitewide.
  • Most popular site content: Hacker News page, Air France Concorde story, The State of the Kindle.
  • Most popular referring keyword: “playlists for parties” (“John Marbach” was 7th with 9 referrals).
  • Most popular traffic sources:,,
  • Web browsers used: Chrome (44.4%), Firefox (27.9%), Safari (19.3%), Internet Explorer (03.6%)
  • Approximately 50 social media reactions.
  • Most popular mobile devices: iPhone, iPad, Android. To support the argument of rising popularity in the mobile web, about 1 in every 11 visitors accessed via a mobile device.


Interesting fact:

The most popular operating system was a near tie with Macintosh (Apple) edging out Windows (PC) by less than 80 visitors. 3,788 for Mac and 3,714 for Windows, or 37.97% Mac versus 37.23% PC.

Let the Mac vs. PC battle continue!

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09 2010

Start A Legitimate Company In One Weekend

Take a look at almost any tech blog today, and there is a high chance that you will notice a headline related to a startup incubator because of a company that is associated with one of the various entrepreneurial seed funds. These programs have attracted a lot of interest in the past couple years, as many people lost their jobs and are now interested in founding their own company. Programs such as TechStars, Y-Combinator, Dreamit Ventures, and the Founder Institute all have numerous portfolio companies that have graduated from their programs and have gone onto being highly successful companies. In fact, the jobs creation and local economic stimulation by these programs has garnered interest from New York City Mayor Bloomberg, who initiated a public fund for entrepreneurial pursuits in New York. In exchange for the seed funding, each of the programs typically takes a small share of the company. This way the programs can continue to fund more successful and not successful companies to their credit in the future.

Adeo Ressi, founder of the Founder Institute, has the most geographically diverse set of startup incubators in tech centers around the world. His mission is to found 1,000 companies per year through his semester long programs. People such as Adeo are bringing a vision to entrepreneurial communities across the world, showing them that they can be part of an accelerated startup if they posses the necessary characteristics to execute their ideas. I believe that the best part of these startup incubators is that they are instigating a wave of innovation that will ultimately improve the lives of others and make the world a better place.

Do you already have an idea that was scraped a few months back because of some common excuse? Follow Adeo Ressi as he guides you to making your idea happen for less that $2,000.
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09 2010