No Email On Fridays

No email on Fridays at Veritas. The vice president of marketing declared no email on Fridays after he realized he was spending several hours a day on email. You can call or walk over, but no email.

My first response was wow. My second was, wait, I’d get nothing done. My third is, I wonder if they’ll end up building better relationships?

Fridays at Veritas

For those who can’t say no

Now, not only are their services to lie for you, there are also services to tell the hard truth for you. You can hand out telephone numbers and email addresses that lead to prerecorded messages with the same theme, “the person who gave you this number does not want to talk to you.”

Wired News: Rejection 2.0

Traveling Anonymously

It’s no longer possible to travel anonymously within our own country – at least by airplane. John Gilmore filed suit against the government asking to see the law that requires ID to fly and he’s asked the courts to declare it unconstitutional.

Wired News: Flight ID Fight Revived

Donald Trump

For some reason when I explain how funny, twisted, and clever some of Donald Trump’s deals are, people just stare at me.  They make me laugh.  They’re not right, they are not good, but they are devilishly clever.  For example, he was trying to evict tenants from rent control building in New York City.  Something next to impossible to do.  So he decides to let homeless people live in the empty apartments until the remaining tenants decide to leave!  He argues he’s a good guy, yet who’s going to want to live in the same building as a bunch of homeless people?  They’ll leave!  (He decided not to do this one because his lawyers said it would be as hard to get rid of the homeless people as it was to get rid of the original tenants.)
For this and other deals that are so clever and twisted they made me laugh outloud, read Donald Trump’s first book "The Art of the Deal".

Too much expertice required

Everything you do today requires an expert. From drafting a will to selling a home, you spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to people that have an advanced degree and know the rules. My reaction to this is I’d better learn the rules! However, is the world really this complicated or do these experts just make it seem that way? Hundreds of people sell their own home each year. Many people draft their own will. Do the experts provide value add or merely the comfort of knowing you got it right?

I’d argue that we need more of a tiered approach. Most of us are probably relatively satisfied with a standard format will. Most of us just need a realtor to show the house. Paying a full fee, whether it’s $250/hr to an attorney or 7% commission to a realtor is rather steep.

This topic came up when I was reading Realty Bites – Why do you still need an agent to buy a home? By Douglas Gantenbein. The author strongly believes that everyone should sell their own house in order to avoid giving large amounts of the profits to a realtor.

Tax Laws

If you’re really interested in the details of the recent tax law changes, the Congressional Budget Office has put together a publication called “Effective Federal Tax Rates Under Current Law, 2001 to 2014” that provides tables that show how the laws affect different categories of tax payers over time.

Make Prisoners Pay for Their Stay

Making prisoners pay for their prison stay is an appealing idea. I can definitely see why it would be popular with voters. However, you can also see the other side. How saddling people with debt, in addition to a criminal record, can make it even harder for them to fit into society and make ends meet when they get out of jail.

Decisions and policies like this hinge on whether or not our goal for prisoners is punishment or reform. Making prisoners pay for their stay add, perhaps justly, to their punishment. But it makes it much easier for them to reform when they get out, and we already don’t offer them many resources for reform.

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