AIDs, Cancer will never be cured…

… unless we change the way we currently motivate our best minds.

The world is flushing trillions of dollars down the toilet in the way it currently is trying to find a cure for deadly diseases. The incentive system is all wrong. Researchers and scientists have no pressure on them to cure a disease, all their motivation actually leans the other way. Why? They receive huge annual grants and tons of cash and live very comfortable lives with everyone around them thinking they are heroes. If they cure the disease, then they have to find a new purpose to their lives and their cash flow dries up. The current system doesn’t promote the best minds; it promotes those who have the best people skills at getting grants. How do we fix this? Change the motivational system; let private enterprise go to work. Take all the money that had been going to researchers and put it into a giant fund and give the award to the person or group that cures the disease. Venture capitalists, hedge fund managers and CEO’s will now determine the distribution of capital; and trust me, they will push HARD for results. Financial managers could care less about researchers’ people skills or seniority; all they want is the best of the best so they can see lots of black on the bottom line. The same power that pushed Brin & Page to create Google, or Gates to create Microsoft or Jobs to create IBM, or Henry Ford to invent efficient manufacturing will drive the best researchers and best ideas to the forefront and cures will be found with amazing rapidity.

The current system is inherently corrupt and will only move at a glacial pace as it hemorraghes resources. Put the enormous pressure of the free market on the problem and you will see it quickly unraveled. How many more have to die horrible deaths because our current system is incredibly stupid and inefficient?

Your bath is killing your babies

Recent research conducted has shown that sitting in hot water for 30 or more minutes a week impairs sperm production and motility. This includes sitting in hot tubs or bath water. For non-smokers, if you avoid hot bathwater for six months, your sperm count will increase 500% (though not to previous unaltered levels). The bad news for smokers is that your sperm will not increase much again: smoking is a “gonadotoxic” behavior. I’ll let you ruminate on that word. “Gonadotoxic” hahhaha. I’m still a 12 year old at heart.

Plato, get out of your claw foot bathtub before future Findley’s die.

Don’t Mess with the Kremlin

Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsk was an extraordinarily powerful man. in 2004, he was the 16th wealthiest man on earth. Mr. Khodorkovsk was a Russian oligarch at the head of massive Yukos, a former corporate titan. Khodorkovsk got a little big for his britches though and funded a Russian political opposition party. Putin apparently didn’t much like this and Khodorkovsk was convicted on trumped up tax-evasion charges. Today, the former billionaire is in a prison camp in Eastern Siberia. He used to live in a mansion and now lives in prison camp number 13. Appreciate what you have while you still have it.

Putin quote of the day: “There is no such thing as former KGB.”

Word of Mouth Marketing

The music industry today is facing enormous challenges. How do you market new bands and singers to people who no longer listen to the radio? MTV rarely plays music and when they do it’s prepackaged, bubble-wrapped remakes put out by established superstars. People in their twenties and early thirties listen to music almost exclusively on their Ipods and MP3 players and usually that music is ripped or illegally downloaded online. Focus groups, studies and other research have shown time and again that most people now make their musical selection based on word of mouth marketing/ viral marketing.

The old behemoths of advertising; radio, television and printed media are no longer nearly as effective as they used to be. Music companies have poured billions of dollars down this new black hole with little results and they are desperately looking for new methods. Many of these major media companies realize that they need to get involved in word of mouth advertising, but they have no clue how to do it. Major companies in other industries have stumbled badly when they attempted to control viral marketing; Wal-Mart secretly paid bloggers to write nice things and when they were outed it was a huge black eye. Dell’s poor customer service towards a major blogger led him to write an expose on them and caused severe brand damage. Bosley Medical harassed a patient so much he created a major negative website about them that has greatly harmed sales numbers and brand value. Obviously, music companies need to try to avoid similar problems.

Sadly, the music industry has not yet learned. By trying (and failing) to stick to their old model of selling music via albums in record stores, they have completely missed the new digital paradigm. To make matters worse, they have made vast swaths of the population their enemy by trying to fight for the old, obviously outdated ways. The music industry successfully sued and shut down Napster several years ago, only to watch in dismay as their steep decline in profits only steepened. Now they use spyware, traps and other shady methods to try to trap their own potential customers, creating enormous ill will and sending their brand values into uncharted negative territory.

Recently, Columbia Records has begun to see the light and hired Rick Rubin, a free-thinking man who could lead Columbia into the new age and bring Columbia monstrous profits if he handles it correctly. Rick Rubin understands that he needs to focus on word of mouth marketing, but does not yet know how to do it effectively. Viral marketing is a strategy that encourages people to tell their family and friends a marketing message.. and then have that message be strong enough that those people share it with their family and friends and it continues to spread. Apple has mastered this strategy. The way they built hype around the new iPhone and got people excited about it was sheer genius. Steve Jobs understands the power of the internet and it’s relation to communities of individuals and how to leverage both to completely dominate word-of-mouth marketing.

My advice to a theoretical unsigned musician who is trying to break his way onto the national scene would be to engage in an effective viral marketing campaign. How do you do that? Here are some basic steps to take in pushing a new album:

1. Have good music. Obvious requisite. But I have heard tons of good bands that are barely known in Seattle and no one knows of them elsewhere and that is who I am addressing.
2. Write/pick one really catchy tune, whether it be funny, sad, rockin’, whatever. The most important aspect of this song is that it be something people love or hate the first time they listen to it. Songs that exemplify this would be Tenacious D’s “Fuck her gently”, ACDC’s “Hells Bells” or David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. All 3 songs are very simple songs that grab your attention and you either love or hate right away. The key here is to generate strong emotion in your audience.
3. Put the aforementioned song on your own website, on both your band and personal myspace page, on your facebook pags in an easy to use music player. For free. Yes, I know this means giving up some small profits right now, but consider it an investment in the future for when you are 60 years old and playing the Super Bowl with your wrinkles flying around. Include at least THREE more of your other hit songs for free on the same pages.
4. Now it is time to kick off the viral marketing/ word of mouth advertising campaign full blast. Ask everyone you have ever met to link to your website with the anchor text “new punk rock (or whatever you play) music by Emo Boyz (your band name here)”. You are engaging in what is known as “Search Engine Optimization”. This will help make your website come up first when people search for “new ___ music” or “new music”… which people do literally millions of times a month. It will also make your website come up first when people go to Google and type in your bands name after one of their friends says, “Hey, i heard the new Emo Boyz song and it was great/sucked”. If they can’t find you in 15 seconds, they will forget about you and move on. Add every possible person you can as a friend on facebook and myspace. Singers recently have started to hit it big, just by adding thousands of friends on myspace. If you don’t want the drudgery of adding tens of thousands of people by hand and sending each an individualized message, you can pay to use the services of a ‘bot’. Yes, they are annoying, but they can get you a several thousand friends very quickly. Place fliers everywhere you go- plaster your city in fliers advertising your next few gigs and have your website URL in big, bold letters on it. Ahh, I almost forgot- pick the SIMPLEST possible URL. The URL needs to be a .com, because people are retarded and always type that in. Emoboyz.com would be ideal. Every time you play a show, go to class, pick your nose, or talk to a girl, tell them about your website.

Results: What will happen when you do all of that?

The opinion of the masses is a ginormous ship that is very difficult to turn, but once you get it headed in your direction it will be unstoppable. The goal here is to make a quick emotional impression on people with your hit song. You want people to send the link of the song they just heard to their friends, either because they loved it or hated it (hate works too.. look at the popularity of certain sob stories/ urban legends on the internet). You want people to tell their friends your name.. once people hear the name enough times they will look you up either through conventional means if they are old school or just by Googling you like everyone else. The viral part of it comes when you start to hit a critical mass of people and enough opinion makers are mentioning your name that it starts to stick in peoples heads and they start to listen to you. In today’s world of mass internet access, it will happen very fast… you could become a YouTube sensation overnight with millions of views in a matter of days.

Hello, Tonight Show. Goodbye, shitty venues and no pay.

Advice to UW freshmen, especially Justin…

… if he actually goes this year.

The University of Washington is an excellent school with a great balance of academics and a fun social scene. There are tons of great people and more groups and activities to be involved with than you have ever experienced before. Here are a few things I recommend you do while at UW in order to have the best possible experience:

-Be outgoing and be willing to befriend people who you wouldn’t usually talk to. You’ll meet some lions in sheeps clothing.

-Don’t start school with a girlfriend. Your wifey will make your college experience much less enjoyable. You will talk to her for hours on the phone every night telling each other how much you miss one another. My friend Richard did this and ended up not liking school at all. Being single and free will give you much greater independence to try new things.

-Party like a rockstar, but never neglect your studies. Remember you need to have a good college GPA in order to get a good job. Your community college GPA is meaningless, all people care about is how you do at UW.

-Take classes outside your comfort zone. I especially recommend Logic, Law and philosophy courses.

-You will have tons of free time, make use of it by working out at the IMA (Intramural Activities Center). It’s a great gym with lots of free and very cheap classes, basketball, tennis, etc.

-Pick a practical major and take classes you want for fun on the side; you will graduate and then will want a good job. Don’t end up flipping burgers at McD’s like a certain brother of ours lol. For instance, I was a business major, but took lots of english and philosophy classes because I was interested in those subjects. Look closely at Business, Engineering and Bio (if you want to be a doctor).

-Try as many new things as you can. There is a sailing club, rock climbing club, skiing club, etc.

Anybody else who went to UW want to add anything to this?

How to get more visitors and traffic on your blog or website

Are you looking to get more people to visit your website and wondering how you can drive search engine traffic through your blog? Well, you’ve come to the right place for some basic tips.

First, you need to decide what keywords you want to rank for. Do you want people searching for “purse” to come to your website or people searching for “specialty coach bag”? Usually this is fairly intuitive, but there are some helpful research tools out there to tell you how often people search on a certain topic. You can use Google AdWords tools or Yahoo’s keyword suggestion tool or smaller organization’s tools like Wordze.

Now you’ve decided that you want the search engine results page to return your website in the #1 position for “purse”. If you want to rank for a competitive query, you need to have lots of copy (writing) that contains the keyword “purse”. You want to get the word “purse” in as many times on your webpage as possible, without spamming. So place the word “purse” in your title tags, meta tags, headers, subtitles and the actual content itself.

Once your web copy has been written and is on the page, you need to take care of your internal linking. Make sure the “purse” webpage has links pointing to it from every page on your website with the anchor text “purse”.

To finish up, you need to get other websites to link to your website with the anchor text “purse”. You can do this by providing helpful information about purses and hoping people link to you or by asking friendly webmasters to give you links.

Self control

Theory: The primary factor that sets people apart from each other, that determines who the winner is and who the loser is in life, is self control.

The ability to perform an action that you do not want to do or not do something you desire very much, is vital to success.

Can you make yourself work 18 hours a day at something not enjoyable? Say hello to fabulous wealth, Mr. Hedge Fund Manager.

Can you tolerate incredible amounts of physical pain for long periods? Welcome to professional sports.

Can you force yourself to concentrate on minuteia for a lifetime? The Nobel Prize is just around the corner.