Monthly Archives: March 2012

The new $180 million game – Play Pictionary with your friends, called Draw Something

The game is super fun and addictive. The first time I opened the iPhone app I played for an hour and a half. I drew all sorts of ridiculous things with my finger, which made them horribly bad, but also over-the-top funny.

The game has become so popular in the last 6 weeks that Zynga bought the entire company, OMGPOP, for $180 million based on this one game.

It plays kinda like Pictionary except over the internet. Which means that your drawing is recorded and then sent to the other player. You receive the video and watch the other player draw something while you try to guess what it is.

An old concept but with the dawn of social networks we know have hundreds more people to play with. No more Saturday night game night. You can play while waiting at the airport, like I did.

Go ahead and try it, and challenge me to a game if you want!

iPhone/iPad app

Android Store

Friend me on Facebook and challenge me to draw something!

“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” – Documentary on greatest Sushi Chef in the world

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar.

…he sees himself still striving for perfection, working from sunrise to well beyond sunset to taste every piece of fish; meticulously train his employees; and carefully mold and finesse the impeccable presentation of each sushi creation.

The feature film debut of director David Gelb, Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Facebook page) is a thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family, and the art of perfection, chronicling Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world, and a loving yet complicated father.

 

Jiro’s Sushi is like a Concerto, divided into three movements…

Are you ready to rent out your car? – ‘Personal Car Sharing’ brings in $2-300/month

Have you ever thought about renting out your car, like an automobile version of Airbnb?

The trend is catching on as “personal car sharing” comes to Los Angeles in March 2012. It already exists in Boston and San Francisco as a distinct service compared to Zipcar, which rents out cars owned by Zipcar-itself.

RelayRides, based in Boston, is expanding a service that allows car owners to rent their vehicles to other licensed drivers by the hour or the day.

Personal car sharing was legalized in California last year, but RelayRides and the other two companies that offered the service in the state (Getaround and Spride) operated only in San Francisco.

“AB 1871 allows Californians to rent their cars by the hour to offset their costs of ownership, as well as cars’ impact on the environment. Previously, California law prevented personal cars from being rented for commercial use.

Under the new law, individuals who rent their personal cars need to carry auto-insurance levels at least three times greater than the state’s current minimums of $15,000 for injury/death to one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person and $5,000 for damage to property.” via Greenspace

Car sharing would seem to work best where “it’s easy to live without a car,” Clark said, meaning a dense city with good public transportation. In areas such as L.A., where the opposite is true, Clark expects car sharing will be used as an alternative to buying a second or third car.

“A lot of families always need one car and sometimes need two,” Clark said. “Right now, their only option is to round up. The only way to access that car when they need it is to own one.”

The starting price for RelayRides rentals is $5 per hour and includes gas, 20 miles of driving and insurance. RelayRides keeps 35% of the rental cost. The remaining 65% goes to the car owner. Monthly payments, which average $250, are sent to owners.

via LA Times

 

From RelayRides:

Total convenience - No more walking a mile to some gas station to pick up a car: RelayRides cars live where you live! Whether it’s down the block, across the street, or in your neighbor’s driveway, RelayRides cars are always conveniently located.

 

Why do people make choices against their best interests

“Freakonomics” was the book that made the public believe the dismal science has something interesting to say about how people act in the real world. But “Nudge” was the one that got policy wonks excited. The book, first published in 2008, is about the potential for behavioural economics to improve the effectiveness of government.

Behavioural economists have found that all sorts of psychological or neurological biases cause people to make choices that seem contrary to their best interests. The idea of nudging is based on research that shows it is possible to steer people towards better decisions…

Very interesting, especially with the results of these trials:

In one trial, a letter sent to non-payers of vehicle taxes was changed to use plainer English, along the line of “pay your tax or lose your car”. In some cases the letter was further personalised by including a photo of the car in question. The rewritten letter alone doubled the number of people paying the tax; the rewrite with the photo tripled it.

A study into the teaching of technical drawing in French schools found that if the subject was called “geometry” boys did better, but if it was called “drawing” girls did equally well or better.

Research into why people did not take up financial incentives to reduce energy consumption by insulating their homes found one possibility was the hassle of clearing out the attic. A nudge was designed whereby insulation firms would offer to clear the loft, dispose of unwanted items and return the rest after insulating it. This example of what behavioural economists call “goal substitution”—replacing lower energy use with cleaning out the attic—led to a threefold increase in take-up of an insulation grant.

In one trial, green arrows pointing to stairs were put next to railway-station escalators, in the hope of encouraging people to take the healthier option. This had almost no effect. The other experiment had a series of green footprints leading to rubbish bins. These signs reduced littering by 46% during a controlled experiment in which wrapped sweets were handed out.

via Free Exchange, The Economist

 

Maybe they can stop using the term “taxes” and call it “paying for the military so we don’t get bombed.”

 

Check out the book – Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, happiness