Great article from fast company on the Standford d.school – ditching the cubicles and going for project based work spaces. The d.school’s grand opening was today. Thanks to Mike Levinthal’s help on Orabrush, Jeffrey and I met William Burnett in their open conference room a few weeks ago and Professor Bernard Roth gave us a tour of their building. The kinds of projects they’re working on were fascinating (pumps for under $20 to change a community for example).

The students we interviewed to help us with product design were all extremely high caliber people and product designers. Very difficult choice.

Dave Kelly, who’s a schoolmate of Mike’s, also gave us a tour of IDEO. The culture of those organizations really opened our eyes to an incredible way to set up offices. I loved how they hung their bicycles from the ceilings (sounds like the tree houses we built as kids). Thanks to Kathleen (Dave’s assistant) for helping set the interviews up for us!

We’d like to recreate something similar at the Provo Town Square or some other place with character for Orabrush. If you know of any places in the area that we could do something creative with, we’d love to know.

I’ve been searching for a replacement for my lost Kindle.  I’ve honed in on one display technology, the Pixel Qi screen, and I’m watching the outcome of the following devices:

  1. Plastic Logic Que
  2. Microsoft Currier (this one currently sounds like it most fits my life, but I’m worried it has back-light screen)
  3. Notion Ink Tablet
  4. Apple Tablet

My requirements are:

  1. Non-emitting light screen (I like Pixel Qi because it supports video and text editing so I could do all my work on it)
  2. Web browser
  3. Wi-Fi
  4. Text-editing/file system
  5. Kindle reader program (this may be optional depending on the availability of a digital library on the device)
  6. Full-text search of both books and my personal notes
  7. Pen or written input

We’ll see how the different systems stack up.  I would appreciate any insights into new options to fulfill my requirements.

My son has become interested in business at a very young age (he’s 6 right now) and I would like to introduce him to inspiring stories of young entrepreneurs to give him ideas.

A little background. My son, of his own accord, has successfully sold his jokes by giving 1 for free and charging a $1 for more. He set up a toy sale out by the driveway at 5. He asks questions about the difference between Walmart’s and Apple’s margins. He hires his sisters (with his Halloween candy) to do work for him to make more money. This is a greater level of interest than his Dad for his age.

I want to encourage his interests in business and need some help.

We recently read of James C. Penny (founder of J.C. Penny) who set up a watermelon stand near the fairgrounds (his Dad scolded him for taking advantage of those within the fairgrounds who paid for selling permits). We read of Orville Wright and when he partnered with his 8-year-old sister to collect scrap iron from the neighbors and sell it to the junk yard (they had a bully attach them when they took the metal to the yard). Great stories.

This morning it occurred to me that if we could read together inspiring stories of young entrepreneurs, then it would give us both ideas.

Particularly, he wants to sell something this year for a project and has discovered from his toy sale (that only earned him $0.25 because he did it on a country road with little traffic) that he needs to find something he can sell and a place with more people to sell it. He needs ideas.

So, what are your favorite child entrepreneurial stories that my son and I can share together?
– Something a famous entrepreneur did when s/he was a child (famous examples).
– Something someone close to you has done that was interesting (non-famous examples).
– Stories you’ve heard as alternatives to the lemonade or toy stand (perhaps ideas that could work for a boy who lives in the country).
– Any children who’ve created very successful enterprises.

Please answer on LinkedIn, via a trackback from a post on your blog or in the comments. We’ll both be grateful!

Thank you Robin for letting me know that the Audible folder supports Mp3 files. Thank you Paul for the great place to find FREE Mp3 audio books.

I dream of the day when Kindle is opened up for developers and someone creates an application that combines text-to-speech, Audio books and the actual text. What a killer application for teaching my children to read. I know the technical difficulties of syncing the actor’s voice with the actual text. But one can dream :)

Mark Cuban’s recent post is extremely thought provoking and, as an avid Kindle fan/user since its launch, I believe he’s onto something for the content business. I’m saving the link here for future reference.

A friend of mine from my very own Burley, Idaho, Biff Hutchison, just won the Professional Big Air competition at the Pogopalooza in Pittsburg. I’m thrilled for him.

When Paul Allen offerred to let the first 10 entrepreneurs who contact him to run a survey on his 50 million users, I took him up on it and decided to gauge the publics awareness of pogo as a sport.

Here are the results (I’m thinking these stats will look very different over the next year as I see this sport taking off).

I’ll post the final after all 1000 responses come in…

  What do you know about pogo as an extreme sport?   (1215 responses)   September 2nd, 2009

I want a FlyBar or other stunt pogo stick 1%
I’ve heard of Pogopalooza 4%
I know some punk kids who do tricks on pogo sticks 4%
I don’t know anything about pogo as a sport 90%
I have a family member who wants or has a pogo stick for stunts 2%


Here’s a plug for FamilyLink (thanks for the survey Paul!)…

 If your business would like to run a targeted survey with our 50 million users, please contact info@admazing.com. We can provide hundreds of thousands of responses in a very short time period with demographic targeting.

As a backdrop, we are living in unique times and the challenges our generation faces are not a few:

At church, in the community, when I talk to siblings, everywhere I go, the conversation tends to be skittish and fearful.  The study of the scriptures and Elder Christofferson’s recent address about Zion, has brought new insight into how Zion will protect us during difficult times as those we do and will face.

Elder Christofferson points out:

 Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, “the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard. It will be necessary (1) to become unified in one heart and one mind; (2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and (3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us. We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen—Zion will come only as they happen.

Zion means being united because we choose to be, being holy and taking care of the poor.

His example of unity and the companion scripture from Isaiah is what lead me to my thoughts:

 At the end of July this year, young single adults from several countries in eastern Europe gathered outside Budapest, Hungary, for a conference. Among this group were 20 young men and women from Moldova who had spent days obtaining passports and visas and over 30 hours traveling by bus to get there. The conference program included some 15 workshops. Each person needed to select the two or three that he or she most wanted to attend. Rather than focus exclusively on their own interests, these Moldovan young adults got together and made plans so that at least one of their group would be in each class and take copious notes. Then they would share what they had learned with each other and later with the young adults in Moldova who could not attend. In its simplest form, this exemplifies the unity and love for one another that, multiplied thousands of times in different ways, will “bring again Zion” (Isaiah 52:8).

Awesome – in every sense of the word. This is not an assignment, this is a group of young people who understand that the principles of Zion are the best way for each of them.I followed the scripture in Isaiah and, with tears streaming down my face, I found myself reading 5 chapters rather than that just 52:8 (the chapters were Isaiah 52-56). Do the principles of Zion lead to:

Are not these the answers to the problems of our times? Do these words of Isaiah have the power to change the outcome of my life?

One morning in late September I woke to start a new day and – after having about everything that could possibly go wrong in that month go wrong – I stood on the cold wood floor of our home thinking about the news, the prophecies and the financial debacle. All the random details seemed to sink in and a deep realization hit me that we are probably headed for something on the scale of the Great Depression.

Surprisingly, deep inside my soul, the realization had the exact opposite impact on me as I expected – instead of despair, I felt hope. Instead of fear, I felt faith. Instead of confusion, peace. It was almost as if I heard inside of me, “this is your time. This is your lot. Lift!”

Then I thought to myself, with a smile as it were, “It’s time to get to work!” I felt happy.

I haven’t written about this for so long because I’ve been hard at work. In the midst of so many things going wrong at the time, I have since asked myself, “why this unexpected reaction? Where did that come from?”

I really don’t know for sure, but it’s real. I feel grattitude that I have the chance to help my family and my friends through such a time. I feel so optimistic about the future.

If I were to put my finger on it, I would pin the reaction to something to do with Zion in her infancy and with the peace of her children.

I would credit my Father and Mother’s struggle to stay together during difficult times. A 3am college application with Mom. My in-laws resilience. My Grandpa Harmon’s tireless work on homes. My Grandparents financial assistance. Aunt Lillian’s car. Theron’s Rupert home. Michelle’s phone calls. Tod’s lumber. Ty’s tomatoes and canner. Daniel’s vegetables and cash.  Jeffrey’s call to help a brother with work. Dallin and Troy and Toby’s service. Jenny’s notes. Truman’s, Jordan’s, Kaylisha’s, etc. unpaid babysitting and cleaning. Family.

One half a table. Children waiting for remaining food after the missionaries were fed. A fridge from an unknown sender. An officer rolling up his sleeves to change a tire. Huge smiles on Christmas mornings filled with gifts from thoughtful others. Farmers digging beets together. Snow shovels. Empty garbage cans. Warm homes/beds. Grateful satisfied stomachs. Community.

The Lord’s words through Isaiah do have the power to pull us through these times. Zion is the answer. These words are for me. They are for you. They are for those who haven’t heard them. Let’s share them.

“Come to Zion.”

You must watch this before heading for your gifts this year! 

Last week, as my blood boiled when I thought of the freedoms we might loose as a result of the $700 billion transfer of power to the secretary of the treasury, I found myself reading articles, trying to understand what was happening, learning whether I could make a difference. It felt like a worthwhile thing to do, after all, the future of our country was on the line.

Then I read Seth Godin’s post on looking for an opportunity to do less, which hit home for me. I decided to write and call my senators and representatives and then forget about the housing crisis. Stop reading the articles. Stop wasting my time on something I had no power over.

Instead, I spend my time on our company and my family.

In a conversation with a good friend, he spoke of how wonderful a time this is to start a company. As the job market softens it will be easier to attract good talent to your team. He recently spoke with a technical leader in a large organization. Their research suggests that their ability to hire new programmers is going to surge in two months, not because they will have more resources, but because people will be looking for the work. He also commented that competition is so worried about their our cashflow problems and margin pressure that you have a chance to really grow if you dig in and work.

It’s a marvelous time to build a business, attract talent, stay lean and provide value to society.

So, the only reading I will be doing is studying the previous financial crashes historically to understand where is the best direction to steer our business. Did you know that the movie business thrived during the Great Depression? People needed an escape during difficult times…so they went to the movies. There are silver linings on the darkest of clouds. I thank Seth for reminding me to look at mine.


That’s what President Uchtdorf called it today. Just saying that word makes me feel better.

I think I’ve come across the most innovative idea I’ve seen in a long time…doing something good while eliminating SPAM.

reCAPTCHA is a project of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and is stopping my comment SPAM while digitizing books that will be available at the Internet Archive. Very, very cool. I wish I would have thought of it. :)

I sent them an email to ask who will own the digital indexes they are creating of these books. I suspect it won’t matter as long as it’s freely available on the Internet Archive.

I’m positive there will be many more “enhance the world” ideas that come out of the Internet age.

UPDATED: The folks gave me back a response within an hour.

  from reCAPTCHA Support <support@recaptcha.net>      
  to Neal Harmon  
  date   Sep 19, 2007 11:02 AM  
  subject   Re: Rights  


When we put books through the reCAPTCHA process, we make the results available under the same terms as the original version of the work in question.

– Hide quoted text –

On 9/19/07, Neal Harmon wrote:


I’m curious because the information didn’t seem readily available on your website. Who owns the text and indexes after people decipher them? Will they be owned and openly available at the Internet Archive?

— Neal

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