Finding Funding

If you are looking for seed money to get your idea of the drawing board you can always try to bootstrap it. Here are the typical funding source for most small and start up businesses.

  • Friends and Family
  • Home Equity
  • Bank loans
  • Peer-to-peer loans
  • Credit cards

Ask Your Customer Base

The December issue of Entrepreneur had a nice article by Barry Farber about asking your customer base what keep them coming back. Barry offered ten basic questions you should ask your customers.

  • What key characteristics do you look for in a successful vendor relationship?
  • What am I or my company not doing that we could be doing to serve you better?
  • What is the one thing we would have to do to lose your business?
  • What are the three most important criteria you look for when investing in our types of products and services?
  • Who are your main customers, and what are you trying to accomplish with them?
  • What’s your biggest turnoff when dealing with salespeople?
  • If you were running our company, what would you do differently?
  • What could we do to make life easier for you?
  • What have vendors or sales reps (from any company) done that really impressed you or made a difference in the sales process?
  • If you were in front of a room filled with newly hired salespeople, what would you tell them not to do, and how would you advise them to be successful?

In running your business, start-up, or your career it is import to ask key questions.

Text of the Obama Inauguration Speech

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Cut Costs

The economy keeps spiraling and companies are struggling to save money and cut costs. The October 2008 issue of Inc. Magazine had five ideas of saving green profits are in the red.

  • Send your employees home – telecommute
  • Share your staff – consult
  • Get customer to put away their credit cards – avoid transaction fees
  • Cut back on travel – video conference
  • Try do-it-yourself marketing – social media viral web 2.0 youtube clips

In these tough times, penny pinching and belt tightening are not only a virtue but a survival necessity.

Influential Women in Technology

The February 2009 issue of Fast Company has a nice feature on the most influential women in technology. Here is the list of the top influential women executives in technology.

  • Genevieve Bell, Director/Intel
  • Sandy Carter, VP/IBM
  • Safra Catz, President/Oracle
  • Susan Decker, President/Yahoo
  • Andrea Jung, Board Member/Apple
  • Julie Larson-Green, VP/Microsoft
  • Ann Livermore, EVP/HP
  • Marissa Mayer, VP/Google
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO/Facebook
  • Linda Sanford, SVP/IBM
  • Megan Smith, VP/Google
  • Stephanie Tilenius, GM/eBay
  • Sophie Vandebroek, CTO/Xerox
  • Padmasree Warrior, CTO/Cisco

Holiday Reading List

This past holiday season I got to catch up on some books I have been having in my bookshelf for some time.

SeinLanguage, Jerry Seinfeld
All I have to say is this book is full of Yadda Yadda. Seinfeld is truly the master of his domain with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The comedy of Seinfeld is full of observations of human nature and relationships. For example he writes, “One of the great mysteries to me is the fact that a woman could pour hot wax on her legs, rip the hair out by the roots, and still be afraid of a spider.” Its funny ’cause its true.

Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Wess Roberts
This is a really short and insightful read. In this short book you follow the career of Attila who unified and modernized his people at the expense of other nations including Rome and Constantinople. The leadership lessons are demonstrated by Attila by his example. Attila first learned about diplomacy and military strategy as a hostage in Rome. He then proceeded to unite and consolidate the Hun tribes into a single force. Attila won the honor of his allies and the fear of his enemies. There definitely is a lot to learn from the life of such a man, for there are few like him in the records of history.

Spilling the Beans: Loteria Chicana, Jose Antonio Burciaga
Burciaga is one of my favorite Chicano writers, so of course I enjoyed reading Spilling the Beans, a collection of essays. Reading from another Chicano’s perspective I learn more about myself since I easily relate to what he is describing in his essays. As a veterano Chicano he has a lot of wisdom which he makes available in Spilling the Beans. I passed the book along to my dad for his personal enjoyment since he too is growing up Chicano.

Life of Pi, Yann Martel
I bought this book because I heard nothing but good things about it. Then I opened the cover and was turned off by all the glowing praised from numerous financial, times, economist and literary newspapers. The Life of Pi waited in my To Be Read pile for months. In fact, I gave the book away to a friend from Tamil Nadu, I knew the main character was from that state. I lost track of my friend and wanted to find her again so I bought the Life of Pi again in hopes that I would find her there in those pages. This is what I found.
The chapters in the Life of Pi is written within numerous chapters, most the size of a page or two. In one day’s worth of reading I have already reached chapter 41. The book is written in the reminiscing voice of Pi, but there are small chapters where the Yann describes his meetings with the subject of the story. I like the structure of the book, as one likes the layout of a house. But I also like the landscape of the book, as one likes the pictures on the walls of such a house.
I especially like the description of the tourist village of Munnar, in the state of Kerala, with its three hills. One hill crowned with a Hindu temple, another hill topped off with a mosque, and yet the third hill radiating with a church. Pi was raised to a Hindu family and was filled with stories of the many gods and all there avatars, the multiple personalities of the Hindu pantheon. Interested in the Christianity, Pi, say “I knew very little about the religion. It had a reputation for few gods and great violence. But good schools.” Later on Pi was to say about that “Islam had a reputation worse than Christianity’s – fewer gods, greater violence, and I had never heard anyone say good thigns about Muslim schools.” Pi would later be a practicing Hindu, Christian, and Muslim receiving communion, reciting the Quran, and performing puja.
There is a funny episode when Pi’s priest, imam, and pandit discover the extent of his religious convictions and curiosity.

“Can this be true?” asked the imam earnestly. “Hindus and Christians are idolaters. They have many gods.”
“And Muslims have many wives,” responded the pandit.

I personally would be happy with many gods and many wives. And that is why I, like Pi, feel that I am a Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Taoist. Well, I feel like that because are religions are true, as Gandhi said, and because all religions are expressions of faith of what can only be attained by faith.

Books on Twitter

Currently on Amazon there are over nine books on the Twitter, and more coming soon. For those not yet using Twitter, it is a micro blogging service. Each message update sent to Twitter has a limit of 140 characters. Twitter always asks one single question, What are you doing? And from this one single question and 140 characters used to answer said question, Twitter has grown to become a cottage industry for mashup developer, marketers, and bloggers.

The question I is, do people really need Twitter for Dummies or Twitter in 21 days? I mean, Twitter is easier to use than a phone. I type a lot less buttons on my iPhone to tweet an update than to call out of my area code.

Tweet Sin City

I recently traveled to Las Vegas, Sin City… It is often said that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that is not the case when you Twitter about. Here is a compilation of my Vegas tweets.

  • Just landed at LAS on VX.
  • Hitting the strip.
  • Just had diner at Koi in PH, heading to the tables.
  • At the VIP section at The Comedy Festival at Ceaser’s Palace.
  • Heading to La Salsa Cantina for a bloody mary.
  • At The Palms having a smoke, second hand.
  • Been talking to cabbies, dealers, waiters, house keeping, etc… Business is down compare to last year. What is next? Vegas bailout?
  • Hanging around the casino for an hour must be like smoking half a pack.
  • Is my phone ringing or is that my ears?
  • What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so don’t say anything, I just came out of a BSB concert.
  • I have no greater hell than being front and center in general admission in a BSB concert, and I been detained in foreign countries.
  • I’m not a BSB fan, in my ladies fan.
  • Be sure to checkin snow globes… They are on certain FAA watchlist.
  • Playing Doom in flight on Virgin America’s Red entertainment system.
  • Back in PA/CA.

I frequently tweet and update my social status. If you like to follow or befriend me, feel free to hit me up on twitter,, and/or FriendFeed.

The Essential Barack Obama Library

There are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstanding about the man that will be the next President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. Even still, a large number of Americans believe he is or was once a Muslim. There is a lot that people might not know, for example in high school he was known as Barry and his middle name is Hussein. Here is a short list of books about Barack Obama and his historic race for the office of the President of the United States.

Tweet Politico

Twitter has become an sort of digital social soapbox. Here is an aggregation of recent tweet regarding government and politics.

  • Bush Foreign Policy: 1. Find a map. 2. Find Putin’s soul. 3. Find oil. 4. ?????? 5. Profit. 6. Find Osama.
  • President Bush is as committed to finding Osama Bin Laden as OJ Simpson is committed to finding the murderer of Nicole Simpson.
  • Republicans and democrats are two sides of the same special interest coin.
  • For every one iron curtain that has been torn down, one hundred barriers, barricades, blockades, embargoes, and walls have gone up.
  • $2+ billion election, 100+ millions votes… that’s $20/vote.
  • If the American Revolution was held today, Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride would have been a Midnight Tweet.
  • One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist, and the CIA will train both!
  • Lame duck ducks shoes.
  • What I would like to see out of the Obama Administration is an immediate and publicly available API from most government services.
  • I like an government API to access the US census, lost items found by TSA, government spending, economic growth trends, and other figures.
  • We need a new Department of Web Apps, the government needs setup something like,,,,

I frequently tweet and update my social status. If you like to follow or befriend me, feel free to hit me up on twitter,, and/or FriendFeed.