Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Story of My Life

Random bit of video that hits close to home on some points and just made me laugh on other points. Nicely produced mockumentary on the whole Dungeons & Dragons nerd theme.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hamas & Israel

On NPR this morning, I heard a comment by an Israeli official that he would not sit down to negotiations with a Palestinian government led by Hamas. His statement was something like -- What are we going to negotiate, the means of our own destruction?

Part of Hamas' platform is the destruction of the state of Israel. This is clearly not a good way to make friends and influence people.

Perhaps Israel should not categorically refuse to sit down at the table with a Hamas led Palestinian Authority. Perhaps the answer to the question "What are we going to negotiate" has an obvious answer. Perhaps the first item on the agenda is the removal of the 'destruction' plank from Hamas' platform.

But I suppose it's easier for a diplomat to dig in his heels than to work towards a reasonable compromise. I can't say that I'm completely surprised. It's hard to work with someone who wants you dead, even if the best option for a first step is to get him to stop wanting you dead.

Herb Greenberg needs better listening skills

Let's look at what Greenberg is criticizing Netflix for:

Herbism #1 --
"So what if the "beat" was the result of lower general and administrative expenses?"
It would seem to me that the ability to improve the financial efficiency of a business by reducing unneccesary expense would be a good thing.

Herbism #2 --
"So what if higher margins for the quarter were largely the result of lower content costs?"
My assessment would be very positive if Netflix can leverage its increasing subscriber base to better negotiate with content providers, and can use its technology to steer customers to lower cost content that still makes the customer happy.

Herbism #3 & 4 --
"So what if average revenue per subscriber fell, hitting an all-time low, while subscription acquisition costs were up -- hitting an all-time high? So what if the company raised revenue and subscriber guidance while guidance for pre-tax earnings remained unchanged?"
Maybe Herb didn't listen to the conference call when Reed said that Netflix is going to first hit $50MM in pretax earnings and then grow that at 50% per year, then, everything else goes into marketing to accellerate growth, but SAC will never go above the lifetime subscriber value? Sounds like growing earnings to me. Sounds like accellerated subscriber growth without forcing economic losses on the business. Seems pretty efficient and well managed to me

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Where I Work

It's kind of odd, because my new work address isn't yet in Google Maps. So, I got into the neighborhood and then painted in a splotch where there isn't yet a road. Enjoy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Step one, get a million dollars...

So, over the weekend, I made my annual foray into the world of Bay Area tournament poker. I played at The Oaks Club in Emeryville in a No-Limit Hold'em tournament that is part of a series leading to a freeroll in June that will have as its first prize a $10k seat in the Big Dance. I've posted previously on last year's adventure.

I met my father-in-law there to guide him through his maiden voyage into the "wretched hive of scum and villany" that is Mos Eisley... err... Bay Area tournament poker. I got there a bit before noon and bought us both in to make sure last year's scheduling snafu didn't get repeated. Then we went off to lunch at a pretty good cafe within walking distance. I had the chicken & waffle, and he had the corned beef hash. Both tasty. We talked about strategy and the mechanics of the game in a cardroom, and in tournaments specifically.

We returned in time for the show, and sat down to play with 107 other hopefuls. I got one or two playable hands, and so at the end of the first three periods, had built my 1k starting stake into a whopping 1,240 (they use 20's instead of 25's at The Oaks). I rebought, and learned that F-I-L had rebought out of necessity a little bit earlier, but he had won a hand since then, and so had a bit over the 1,500 he got for the rebuy.

After the break, I got a couple hands, and in the next two rounds had built my stack up to a bit over 10k. Then I went cold. I didn't drag a pot until we got down to around 36 people left, and I was down to 2100 with 200 antes and 1000/500 blinds. Not looking good for the home team, but I woke up in middle position with QQ and it held up. Quadrupling through helped my attitude, even though I was still short stacked. From there, I built up to a peak of about 40-50k before busting out in 6th place. This gave me 5 points in the freeroll race. I figure I'm a longshot for playing again in June, but it could happen if the freeroll point distribution is heavily enough weighted towards a smaller group of regular tournament players. Of course, in the two weekly events played prior to yesterday, there were no repeaters. More news as it happens, if it happens.

F-I-L said he had a very good time, but it was exhausting. He managed to come in 25th, where 20 places were paid. An excellent showing considering that all he had was book larnin'.