How Startups Work (in code)

I saw this from Phil801′s post on Facebook:


90 Presentation Tips from Toastmasters

I usually don’t like long lists of things… but as a professional presenter I think this list is superb:

90 Tips from Toastmaster

Pricing Strategy Stuff

Here’s an interesting article on how to price your stuff:

How To Set The Right Price Every Time

Web design, marketing, conversion experts, feedback

This is a blog post to read a few times, and learn from. I don’t think you can read it just once:

Brave Website Owner Gets $25K+ Worth of Tough Love From World’s Best Conversion Experts (…It gets a little uncomfortable)

Green Smoothie Tips

A friend asked me advice on my green smoothies because I said I liked mine… lol, that sounds like a request from someone who takes a sip of his and thinks “bleh!”  Here are my tips:

  1. Use a really awesome blender.  We have a blendtec, which I see regularly at Costco for about $350.  It’s really expensive but totally worth it.  Totally, totally worth it. We’ve had ours for somewhere between 3 – 5 years.  Vitamix is very similar, but they apparently infringed on a blendtec patent… I haven’t studied it to see if it was a coincidence that their engineers came up with the same thing, or if they maliciously stole technology… but I have a hard time supporting a company that infringed illegally.
  2. Check out Green Smoothie Girl - we got her books, and she has a ton of stuff on Youtube.  Reading her books made smoothies make a lot more sense… it was a discussion on food and nutrition that was somewhat new to me, and she had a lot of things she presented as facts.  Not sure where she got her information, but sounded good enough to move towards this lifestyle.
  3. I like kale in my smoothies.  I hate kale raw… but in a smoothie I can’t really taste it because of the other stuff I put in, and I love that i’m eating a supposed super green.  I have grown kale for the last 3 years and it’s so awesome to pull a few leaves out of your garden, as opposed to buying an overpriced wilting bunch from the grocery store.  My family also loves sauteed kale… kale chips are too much work, imo, but they taste good enough to have made a few times this summer.  I’ll put in anywhere from 3 to 5 leaves into my smoothie… the leaves can be almost 2 feet long.  Lots of nutrition.
  4. GSG recommends spinach as a green that does not hardly have a taste… and that’s what she recommends for those starting out.  I get bags of spinach from Costco and put them directly in the freezer.   Right now, since I don’t have fresh kale, I put in about 3 – 5 handfuls of spinach, so I can get the green.
  5. I have learned to blend my smoothies in the blendtec twice (pushing the “smoothie” button).  This makes a huge difference…
  6. I like to buy ripe/old bananas, which are usually almost 1/2 off.  I buy them because they sweeten the smoothie better than bananas that are not ripe enough.  I usually put one in.
  7. I LOVE apples in my smoothie… I usually put one apple in on the second round of blending, because I like the chunks… it’s like a treat to get a crunchy, juicy piece of apple in a smoothie.
  8. We have ground up flax seed that we ground ourselves.  Apparently you can’t put in whole seed, or it won’t digest… so we grind it, put it in the fridge, and then you can put a tablespoon (give or take) in each smoothie for added nutrition.

Here’s a typical throw-it-together “recipe,” which is an adaptation of doing this for the last few years:

  • 3 cups of water
  • A bunch of spinach (3 – 5 handfuls) that was frozen, if I don’t have my kale. Next summer we’ll try to grow other “greens”
  • 1 old banana (sans peel – I’m not that weird!)
  • Probably 1 – 2 cups of frozen fruit from costco – preferably blueberries, but sometimes I’ll go with less nutritional fruit for the taste, or for something different.  Favorites are mangos and/or peaches.
  • About 3/4 cup of dry oats (yes, oatmeal!  Weird, huh?)
  • Sometimes 1 – 3 carrots… I usually have to chop them into 2 – 3 inch pieces.
  • sometimes the flax seed.
  • I used to use a few drops of liquid stevia to sweeten it, but I’ve done without it for so long that it doesn’t matter anymore… but if this tastes like a dirty garden to you, then get the liquid stevia and it will transform your drink into a sweet, heavenly delight.

Hit the smoothie button.  Then do it again.  That’s it… it’s a big meal, or drink it throughout the day.

Also, most of the time I put in chia seeds since we have a ton of them here… but I do it only in the cup, after I have blended the smoothie.  Putting them in the blender is a bad, bad idea (it is a huge pain to clean later).

There are a gazillion recipes, and really, when I make a smoothie I just look around my kitchen to see what should go into it… make up your own stuff based on nutrition and taste.

Grandpa Alba and Me

Here’s a picture from many, many years ago.  My grandpa died while my family was were overseas – I must have been around 12 or 13 years old.  Before that I remember seeing him a couple of times, but that’s it.  We didn’t live close to where they were.

The stories of him and his family, though, are legendary.  He had an impact on a lot of people, and apparently had this smile all the time.

As for me, I think I look a bit mischevious.  Look at those cachetes!  Chale.  And that shirt.  Geesh… where can I find one of those now?


Google Cardboard – seen it?

Last night I went to the LaunchUp event (website admittedly stinks, but sign up on the top-right to get invites to the monthly events, starting again in January) and saw Josh Coates speak… he was pretty awesome.  He got cut off for time, but if I ever hear of a chance to hear him speak again, I’m going.

Anyway, after all of the presentations, I learned about some new companies as I milled around.  One guy (I can’t remember who) showed me what his company was doing with Google Cardboard.  Haven’t heard of it? I hadn’t either.

He pulled a cardboard box out of his backpack and put his phone in it… and you now had your own virtual reality machine.  It was super cool.  I can’t remember what I was looking at – something with space, or a planet or something like that, but to use your smart phone as a screen, and a homemade cardboard contraption as the viewer… it really was geeky cool.

Here’s a short video on kind of how it works… on the Cardboard page you can learn how to make your own … (and develop apps for it):

Another Awesome About Us Page

A couple of years ago I blogged about a “brilliant About Us page“… I recently found another one that is just awesome.  This is from Canvas, which provides software (learning management system, or LMS) for schools.  Josh Coates is the guy who sold his startup to EMC for $76M, and he’s running canvas now.  Check out the Canvas (aka, instructure) Our Team page.

It looks fun and playful, right?


If you mouse over each person’s image, it changes from the playful image (Steve’s playfulness is his clothes, which you’ll have to go to the page to see) to a serious corporate image.  But it defaults to the playful one. Isn’t that cool?




Great job Canvas peeps!

The Quest for the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love a good chocolate chip cookie.

Just the other night we made cookies and I remembered advice from THE person who makes the most available cookies I’ve had.  Her dad owns a bakery and she has some kind of midas-food touch.

Her advice?

I simply follow the instructions on the package.

Yeah, like it’s that easy, right?  I do that to, exactly… with a few exceptions.

Those darn exceptions have got to be the downfall of “perfect.”

Anyway, it’s been on my mind this week, and look at this article I just found: Ask a Chef: Chewy chocolate chip cookies

Here’s what I love about this article: instead of a recipe (which there is, actually, at the bottom), it focuses on the science of making a good cookie.  When you have words like creaming process, seeping, “run out,”  hydrated, emulsify, brown the butter, etc. you know it’s going to be fun to read.


YouTube Celebrity: Kurt Hugo Schneider (musician)

Kurt Hugo Schneider is AMAZING.  Check out his YouTube channel here.

How is it in such a crazy, noisy, crowded space (music on YouTube) he can get hundreds of millions of views?

On the originals list, each of the uploads has over 1M views:


Check out his popular uploads… the lowest has over 30M!!


If you are interested at all in making money from YouTube, or getting credibility, or customers, etc., you need to become a student of Kurt Hugo Schneider and his work.  Amazing, and well done!