Taking Back Twitter

October 12, 2016

My Twitter account has been unusable for years. According to Twitter, I joined in April of 2007 – closing in on 10 years ago. I really haven’t used it lately – other than watching Donald Trump’s train wreck of a Twitter feed. So, I’m starting over.

Here’s what my account looks like now in terms of accounts that I follow. More SPAM here than you can shake a stick at.


Step One: Unfollow (using UnTweeps) any account that isn’t active. In looking through the UnTweeps results, it’s amazing to see how many accounts are inactive (and have been so for several years).

First step is completed. I just unfollowed more than 2,500 accounts that aren’t actively using Twitter.


Next step is more time consuming. I need to spend some time in my feed unfollowing SPAMMY, irrelevant accounts, and stuff that I’m really not interested in.

I’m looking for guys like this dude below. Brainlessly return following all accounts was a really dumb move…


I’m unfollowing personal trainers, gold traders, life coaches, wacky political types, inspirational speakers, search engine experts, people who talk about Jesus a lot, etc. How many online marketers are there in the world, anyway? Enough for this round – I’m taking a break. I’m now following < 2,000. My goal is to take my account down to ~500.

Update: Boom. I did it. Currently following 238 accounts. 4,462 accounts unfollowed. See below. Time to give Twitter another chance. I kept The Donald in my feed. It’s hard to look away from a train wreck.

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The incredible rate of tuition inflation

November 20, 2015

This graph, presented at Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller’s Ted Talk on online education is truly amazing. With all of the attention paid to healthcare costs, the rate of inflation for higher education is substantially higher.

Coursera is addressing this issue by making great content from great universities available globally. Courses are free (certificates may be paid for).
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The impact of this approach is revolutionary.

Aside from using technology to make educational content more widely available, Coursera has the potential to reduce the costs of traditional higher education be offering more efficient (cost effective) ways to deliver basic lecture-hall type courses. In the longer run, it could even create downward pressure on educational costs be creating competition.

Should education be thought of as a fundamental human right? Yes, and approaches like this make it a reality. Our world is getting better.

Law school debt crisis

November 10, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 4.59.09 PMThis is pretty outrageous stuff.

The average debt for a law student graduation from Florida Coastal Law School exceeds $190,000. That’s probably greater than the average mortgage loan in Florida.

Too many lawyers, not enough jobs, expensive tuition, fewer applicants, lower bar passage rates, higher loan default rates. That’s pretty much the story.

This article in the NYT provides Crushing law school debt.

When I attended the University of Washington School of Law in the late 1980s, in-state tuition was approximately $700 dollars a quarter. That’s a crazy good deal. Although my Mac 512K computer with no hard drive cost about $5,000…

Why I hope my kids go to the University of Oregon

September 16, 2015

Great article in the New York Times about the value of college.

There is essentially zero difference in work engagement between private and public schools:

The breakdown of this again suggested minimal advantage to a private school or an especially selective one. While 39 percent of public-school graduates were engaged in work, 40 percent of graduates of private nonprofit schools were. For graduates of national universities in the top 50, the figure was 41 percent. It did tick upward — but only to 47 percent — for graduates of top 50 liberal arts colleges.

Other keys to finding job fulfillment: finding a mentor and working on a meaningful project or internship.

What else augurs well for success after college? Graduates fared better if, during college, they did any one of these: developed a relationship with a mentor; took on a project that lasted a semester or more; did a job or internship directly connected to their chosen field; or became deeply involved in a campus organization or activity (as opposed to minimally involved in a range of things).

And debt is bad.

Significant amounts of debt do have a long-term impact on graduates’ well-being, so it may be a mistake to borrow more money to go to one college over another. You think you’re expanding your horizons, but it’s possible that every subsequent step is circumscribed by the need to repay loans rather than any larger professional strategy.

My cable bill versus digital subscriptions

September 2, 2015

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Very interesting data regarding the relative cost of digital subscription services and cable in Marketwatch. In my case, I’m spending about 50% of my cable bill in other digital services. If I could get high quality live sports (basketball, tennis) from a source other than Comcast (plus, obviously, Internet access) I would cut the cord.

A couple of interesting stats. The average cable bill is $112 per month (Internet included?). Cable customers only watch 17 of 189 channels, on average (9% utilization). In my case, it’s substantially lower than that.

Of all of these services, Netflix and Spotify are the greatest values (and both awesome services – although I haven’t given Amazon’s video service a fair chance yet).

The end of college education as we know it?

May 1, 2015

Exciting times.

Just as information technology has made it exponentially cheaper to create a start-up technology company in Silicon Valley, it will make it exponentially cheaper to create a start-up college, almost anywhere.

Read more:  http://www.businessinsider.com/the-end-of-college-2015-4#ixzz3YuEC2ILW

In addition, the boundaries between what we traditionally describe as “higher education” and adult learning (or training) will begin to fade and ultimately disappear.

The Value of Education, Continued

November 6, 2014

Here’s a great presentation on drivers of economic growth by Amy Liu, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and co-director of the Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program. This slide is particularly interesting – and worth showing your kids…

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Return on Investment for Colleges

October 29, 2014

Really interesting data about ROI by college on PayScale.com.

A few selections. I’m guessing that the Ivys and the like rank high because they feed finance and professions. State schools with a technical or engineering bent also do well.

Here’s a sample:

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The Real Revolution in Online Education Isn’t MOOCs

October 20, 2014

“Something is clearly wrong when only 11% of business leaders — compared to 96% of chief academic officers — believe that graduates have the requisite skills for the workforce. It’s therefore unlikely that business leaders are following closely what’s going on in higher education. Even the latest hoopla around massive open online courses (MOOCs) amounts to more of the same: academics designing courses that correspond with their own interests rather than the needs of the workforce, but now doing it online.”

10 Hackerish Partnership Tips and Observations

October 14, 2014

Recent post on Portland Incubator Experiment’s (PIE) blog

PIE Blog

Swiss Army KnifeI’ve served in business development and product roles at four startups—two in California and two here in Portland. If I count the digital media group at the LA Times, I can call it five. I also headed up new business development for Knowledge Universe, where my job was to look for new business lines for the billion-dollar education company. Given these experiences, and given that I’m a closet lawyer, I consider myself to be a Swiss Army knife of all things business and partnership development.

Here are 10 simple tips and observations, in no particular order, that might be useful to you:

1. Term and Termination are the most important terms in your deal. As a startup, your visibility into the future is very limited. It’s certainly not uncommon for strategies and priorities to change several times in the first two to three years. When negotiating contractual terms, term and termination…

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