Spring Semester: March Madness

I have ten minutes to write this. Go, me!

On Court: My bracket is holding up well with all four final four teams intact. The first weekend of the tournament really is one of the best weekends of sports all year. I’d put it up there with the Majors in golf and Tennis.

Off Court: This entire month has been a whirlwind of activity. I’m running in circles trying to keep up with my tasks that seem to be swept further ahead with each passing day. I have two major assignments in the immediate future.

1. A Business Entities Taxation midterm, which is falling very late in the semester. It will cover exclusively partnership law. The good thing is that the final will not be aggregate, so we’ll be able to “forget” partnership tax to the extent that it does not apply to corporations. I have a feeling we’re not going to be allowed to forget enough.

2. A presentation on Justice Benjamin Cardozo for Judicial Opinion Drafting. I will be discussing the persuasiveness of six of his opinions that I’ve carefully selected. While this isn’t exactly public speaking, it still involves speaking in front of people – something of which I’m not a huge fan. In preparation, I’ve Googled “presentation advice” and perused some tips on what makes Steve Jobs an effective presenter. I’ll let you know in a week if the advice translates to my classroom discussion.

My ten minutes is up. Say hi if you want. There’s a woefully underused Contact page in the top right of your screen. Have a good day!

Follow Up on Friending vs Following

The first time I joined Twitter I followed way too many people that I didn’t know and businesses that I wasn’t interested in. This led to me being overwhelmed with five to ten tweets every minute! This made Twitter too unidirectional for me. I couldn’t keep up nor did I care to keep up.

In my previous post I mentioned that one of Twitter’s advantages is that a user can follow another user without first having to be accepted. That is one of the advantages of Twitter that gives it such potential.

On three occasions this weekend I’ve heard celebrities profess how great Twitter is for them because it allows them to speak directly to their fans. These are the celebs that have hundreds of thousands of followers. They tweet and we receive. No PR interference. No media misquoting. No interference. Thus we see the usefulness of Twitter on the large scale.

What about the rest of us? What I have to say is rarely (if ever) funny, informative or interesting beyond my close circle of friends. I tweet simply because I can. Because I like to create little things, and Twitter allows me, as a busy person, to feel like I’m adding to the web. It’s that simple. I don’t care if I’m followed. It’s just me, and maybe you. But mostly me. That is why I have made a point to, with a few exceptions, follow only those people who I have met in “real life.” At least their uninteresting tweets may fall within my universe from time-to-time.

What does that say of the difference between me following someone and me friending them? My following people on Twitter who I know would accept my friend request on Facebook lessens the difference. And thus, we see both a further similarity and another difference between twitter and Facebook. As a non-celebrity I live a small life, both offline and online. I don’t need to be followed by non-friends. I don’t need to follow them. Thus my Twitter universe is roughly equal to my Facebook universe. They’re both at a place where I can be invested without feeling overwhelmed. They are both a two-way conversation between me and my followers/friends.

The celebrity Twitter experience is far different. It’s simply a megaphone for them. They have headphones to hear what others are tweeting, but hundreds of thousands of followers create too much static to be heard. It’s like I experienced with my first Twitter account. It made me give up because I was looking at it wrong.

There’s a lot to think about here. Pretty interesting. A big future for both companies.

What is Quality of Life?

A post by Julia Allison prompted me to think about what “quality of life” means to me. My take is as follows.

My initial thoughts: Quality of life is the perception that everything in “my universe” is okay. This perception is often fleeting, as each day holds a new challenge. The economist in me quantifies the quality of my life in terms of security – financial, health, trust. Those seem to be the fundamentals from which to begin my assessment. Beyond the measurables, I’ve found that I get the most quality out of my life in either of two situations: 1) I’m pursuing something I believe in; 2) my life feels balanced. The former negates the second, and vice versa. But I can get away with it because, like business cycles, quality of life ebbs and flows from hyper focus to balance and back again.

Follow up: Converse to my initial response, I believe quality of life could just as easily be measured by my level of freedom. The freer I am do as I wish and be who I may, the happier I will be. With fewer restrictions on my life the quality increases.

Friending vs Following

Facebook and Twitter have received a lot of online and offline press in the past two weeks.

Twitter is blowing up. It’s more pervasive than a Top 20 pop song. Local news papers, churches, late-night TV, law firms, your neighbor, my imaginary friend – nearly everyone is twittering, whether they want to or not. The concept of posting a public text message about what you are doing is about as narcissistic an activity as you can find. But it’s the new new thing and is tremendously informative in ways I never would have expected. I’m mentioned, before, the prospective value of Twitter as a search engine.

With that said, can you blame Facebook for recently redesigning their homepage to look and act more like Twitter? The new homepage features a more “status” oriented appearance with live streaming updates.

Even with Facebook’s recent repositioning of a key area of their website to better compete with Twitter, I don’t believe the two sites are perfect substitutes for one another. This is less obvious than it first appears, and it’s not necessarily because Facebook has more features. Instead, where I see the fundamental divide between the two services is in how you connect with people on the websites.

Facebook has two primary methods of connecting. One way is to friend people and wait for them to accept you as a friend. If they choose to ignore you, then you’re out of luck and cannot gain full access to their information. Another way is to become a fan of a page. This is more of a unilateral process, depending on the page settings.

Twitter has one method of connecting. You follow people, yet they don’t have to follow you back. They don’t even have to approve your access to their tweets, unless, of course, they protect their tweets.

Each service has its own strengths and weaknesses, and most who want to be connected would claim to need both. But if it came down to it, I could more easily do without Twitter. After all, if Twitter didn’t exist, Facebook would take up the space.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

I like the new Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show. As with anything, I was wary of the switch from Conan to Jimmy, but from what I’ve seen from the first eight episode, I think I’m going to like Fallon even better. There is more variety to the show than I’ve seen in other shows of this type. It’s rough around edges, and I hope it stays that way. I especially like that many of the interviews are not stationary/static. Fallon has had a dance-off with Cameron Diaz, done a green screen with Amanda Peet and hosted a mock episode of Diggnation with Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht. It’s all fun stuff that gets more from the feature guest than the usual stories about their (often) lackluster lives. Plus he’s made a point to incorporate technology and interview more tech geek type guests.

Here’s the late night show switch schedule:

  • Late Night with Conan O’Brien went off the air February 20, 2009.
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon come on air March 2nd, 2009.


  • The Tonight Show with Jay Leno will go off the air on May 29, 2009.
  • The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien will come on the air on June 1, 2009.


  • The Jay Leno Show will premier in September 2009.

Catching On

In looking at the PGA Tour website and familiarizing myself with the field, tee times and television broadcast times of the tournament that started yesterday it occurred to me that golf is boring to a non-golf fan because they haven’t caught on yet. They don’t have a favorite player. They don’t know whether the tournament is stroke play or match play. They may not even know if the tournament is a Major, one of the four most important tournaments to occur each year.

Almost anything can be interesting if you know the subtext and are aware of the details. You’re enthusiasm can lack, but an intriguing side-story about golfers can be as exciting as one about basketball players, space, or whatever you are interested in. Further, taking the time to become aware of such a side-story is the critical thing I’m driving at. It’s only then, when you become aware enough of the universe surrounding the thing on which you are currently focusing, that you have a chance at overcoming your bias / lack of interest.

You can write off golf as being boring or say that you can’t learn how to do math, but it’s not your interest or ability that is lacking. It’s your willingness to catch on.

High Pointe Is Closing

Geoff Shackelford alerted me to this Traverse City Record-Eagle story about one of my favorite Traverse City-area golf courses, High Pointe Golf Club, is closing due to the poor economy. I grew up on that course playing tournaments while participating in the Traverse City Junior Golf Association. I had high school tryouts and tournaments there, and I played my first round of 2008 there with my dad.

Big bummer to hear about.