I installed some cork floors in our condo at Kirkwood this year (kitchen last year, living room and dining room this year). We bought the panels from Ecohome Improvement. The cork floors are manufactured by Qu-Cork (Carina) and it was a lot easier to install that I thought. Didn't turn out too badly. Now we have to see how well they'll last given the foot traffic of snowboard boots and ski boots.
Is agency the next big thing?
I was going to write this last week but it looks like the concept might be coming up again given this article per Mozilla's new hire and the concept of smart agent.
Basically the idea is this: the web is moving towards becomes a better agent. It takes the concept of the web browser as "user-agent" and really becoming an agent that works for you much like a real estate agent, travel agent, concierge, financial adviser, etc. In order for this to happen though, there needs to be a deeper relationship, the agent needs to know you better in order to give better advice and ultimately act for you.
Google Now, Siri, Pandora's results matching, Amazon's recommendations are all early implementations in the realm of personal assistant. Motorola Assist is another example as it knows when you're driving, having a meeting, or going to sleep in order to make recommendations for you. The initial phase is gathering the information, finding out what people are doing, and then building services around those actions. When the agent can actually act for you, buy that product for you, book that flight for you, make the reservation for your wedding anniversary dinner at your favorite restaurant, that's when we might have something.
Where is this evolving from? The concepts are "personalization" which we've seen with My Yahoo!, iGoogle, NetVibes; recommendation engines from services like Pandora, Amazon, and loads of other web sites; the notion of likes and having a "likes" database that could power better recommendations; avatars and the creation of mini-me type experiences on the web; if this then that type of services; identity, signing into a web browser and knowing history and bookmarks; and, web services in general that are talking to each other and they're letting us be our own real estate agents and travel agents. The next step is better recommendations, actual transactions, and then our interaction with our agent is maybe just the confirmation of the transaction.
tbd…and that's why the concept of a "real" agent is hard. But a real agency works when you have a deep relationship with your agent and he/she knows you. Can you take that to browsers, the web, and do you want Google, Apple, or somebody else developing the agent that's really going to work for you?
And ultimately, I'd love to be able to give my "agent" $1,000 and have it make me some money (should've bought some bitcoins)…
Tesla Model S
2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year
The two questions are: should you buy a Tesla car (yes) and the second, should you buy TSLA stock (also a yes)!
For the latter, I look at market cap, product line, ability to deliver, future revenue opportunities, leadership/vision/intangibles (and balance sheets of course). Tesla makes a damn good looking car and they've only really made one (and they got into the NUMMI plant for a song). If you think they'll make more and better cars to more markets around the world and that they're just beginning and that their market cap of 16.7BB is low compared to Audi, GM, Ford, or Toyota, then you should buy their stock.
Telsa is limited by product line and production, not demand. That's a good position. My target for TSLA stock is $250.
Thinking about a Veblen Index, companies that maximize the theory of the leisure class such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay etc. In essence, these companies are middlemen, they don't really make anything (physical goods), they don't have any inventory, but they facilitate transactions like nobody else.
Companies that maximize middleman transactions.
The alternative is a Veblen Index that looks at companies that make "Veblen goods" or luxury goods.