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Olson’s Observations

Technology. Innovation. Science. VC. Media. :: by Eric Olson

Archive for November, 2006

Ads on The Wannabe VC

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KivaI haven’t done much with ads on The Wannabe VC in the last 1+ years of its existence. I had experimented with Google Ad Sense but I didn’t see results that warranted it staying on my site so I decided to forgo the small amount of extra revenue and ads all together. However, a CPM (cost per 1,000 views) model would work great on the site and feed and that is just what we do at FeedBurner.

So, after setting a lot of other publishers up with our ad system and seeing great results I thought it was time to get FeedBurner ads going on my site and feed. What to do with the money though?

As you all know, I love microfinance so I was thinking of ways I could give my ad revenue back to the cause. My conclusion was to take all of my ad earnings, head over to Kiva.org and give the money out as microfinance loans. This way the money will essentially last forever and help the most people. I will keep you all in the loop about who gets the loans and what businesses they are in as time goes on since, without out you guys, the ads wouldn’t make any money and I wouldn’t be able to give the loans (you can also check out my Kiva lender page to see where my loans are going).

Thank you all so much for reading The Wannabe VC. I hope you will continue to read and help my thoughts and ideas grow through your comments.

Written by Eric Olson

November 30th, 2006 at 10:33 am

Reduce Global Warming with your PC

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LocalCoolingI was made aware of a unique new project today called LocalCooling. LocalCooling is the brainchild of Uniblue Systems, Ltd., a software company based in Malta. The guys at Uniblue have created a small piece of software, dubbed LocalCooling, that anyone (well, its PC only so Mac users are in the dark right now) can download for free. This software is a more advanced energy management interface for your computer which will allow everyone who uses it to save energy.

According to LocalCooling, it is estimated that 30 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) are wasted each year because people forget to (or choose not to) turn their computers off when they leave their office or home. The CO2 emissions the 30 billion kilowatt hours represent are staggering considering that 15 computers cause the same amount of CO2 emissions as one car over a given time frame.

Along with the energy management software, LocalCooling has also set up a community where LocalCooling users can see the energy that the community has saved in terms of trees saved, barrels of oil saved, and so on. You can even set up teams or enroll your company to see how much you can save as a group. LocalCooling has set up a Top 100 board for companies, teams and individuals on their site to add to the interactive experience. Nothing like some healthy competition to get people going, right?

I like the idea of LocalCooling and I am planning on giving it a shot. Let’s all help LocalCooling to get to its goal of 100mm users which could amount to about 30 billion kWh of gas emissions saved each year and about $3 billion in energy cost savings.

Side note: Don’t forget terrapass. For those who don’t know, they started off allowing all of us to offset our automobile CO2 emissions. They have since expanded their service to include terrapasses that allow you to offset your home energy and plane flight CO2 emissions. If you already have a terrapass or two remember that a terrapass can make a great gift this holiday season especially for the person on your list who has everything.

Written by Eric Olson

November 29th, 2006 at 2:24 pm

Posted in Science, Technology

Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony - December 10th

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Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and microfinance, will be receiving the Nobel Peace Prize this year. This is a very big step forward for microfinance and it should cause a lot more investment dollars to flow in. I urge you all to watch the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony live on Sunday, December 10th. There are a few ways you can do this:

  1. On the Web: NobelPrize.org - Live Broadcast: 1 pm Oslo time, 7 am Eastern, 6 am Central, 5 am Mountain, 4 am Pacific. The video will also be available for viewing on demand after the live ceremony.
  2. C-SPAN TV - delayed broadcast on Dec. 10th. Please check local listings for air times in your area.
  3. CNN International (as opposed to “regular” CNN) - There is a 60 minute special program at 12 noon Atlantic, 11 am Eastern, 10 Central, 9 Mountain, 8 Pacific. The program includes a long interview with Professor Yunus and only short excerpts from the ceremony.

The folks over at the Microcredit Summit Campaign have suggested setting up viewing parties. I love the idea and am thinking about setting one up myself (who’s up for it?). If you do decide to set up a viewing party the Microcredit Summit folks urge you to e-mail them at - info [at] microcreditsummit.org - with the party info including the date, time, city and country. Enjoy the ceremony!

Written by Eric Olson

November 29th, 2006 at 12:19 am

Posted in Microfinance

Deal Flow: Week Ending November 27, 2006

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Written by Eric Olson

November 27th, 2006 at 11:44 pm

Book Review: Metal Cowboy

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Metal CowboyI started reading Metal Cowboy, a collection of stories by Joe Kurmaskie, a few weeks ago at my Dad’s suggestion and have had a hard time putting it down. I finished it on Thanksgiving day and knew I had to get a review up in short order. Metal Cowboy is a collection of some of Kurmaskie’s stories from his long distance bike tours but I promise you that you don’t need to be a cyclist to appreciate this book.

Kurmaskie is a top notch storyteller who writes in a way that is relatable to anyone who would come across his material. He also has a knack for showcasing what is good among people. Joe’s optimism shines through even when he is in the worst of situations while on the road. He manages to make you feel as if you are right there with him experiencing everything he does.

One of my favorite stories in the book is called “The Tree Huggers versus the Tree Cutters as Told by the Fence-Sitter” and it begins with this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory, nor defeat.

The quote is a powerful one and it foreshadows the rest of the story nicely. In a nutshell, Joe runs across a logger while at a campsite who he becomes friends with. The logger then offers to let Joe stay with him when Joe makes his way towards his house in the coming days of his trip. Joe ends up at the loggers house but he is not home so Joe decides to camp in the woods where he meets a number of the “tree huggers” who are protesting the company that Joe’s logger friend works for. Joe, trying to be friends with both the loggers and the tree huggers, ends up having to explain himself to both the logger and the tree huggers and everyone ends up not caring for Joe too much since he wasn’t really up front about his true beliefs.

The story reminds us to not be afraid to talk about what we believe in and to be up front. It also urges us to step out of the gray twilight and take some chances. As entrepreneurs and VCs we are all taking our shot at changing the world. Yes, a lot of us will fail at some point in our lives but I, for one, would rather fail while taking a chance on something I believe in than to have never taken a chance at all and I think a lot of you probably feel the same way.

That said, I highly recommend picking up Metal Cowboy. You won’t regret it. My only warning is the book may cause an overwhelming urge to grab your bike, load it up and head out on an extended bike tour of your own!

Written by Eric Olson

November 26th, 2006 at 11:23 pm

Posted in Books

Music Review: Flyleaf

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FlyleafIt has been a while since my first music review but I promise the wait was worth it. I just picked up Flyleaf’s debut disc a few days ago and have been hooked on it ever since. Flyleaf is a quintet from Belton, Texas and is lead by singer Lacey Mosley. Lacey’s lyrics are very thought provoking and her voice is truly intoxicating. In the lead track “So Sick” Lacey leads off with a burst of intensity that gives way to a melodic track that is sure to hook you. Flyleaf has the right amount of edge mixed with just enough “sing-a-long” sections which should lead to some nice radio crossover success for the group. I highly recommend giving Flyleaf a shot if you like edgy, aggressive tunes with melodic and thoughtful vocals. Make sure to check out some of their tunes at their MySpace page when you have a chance. Rock on!

Also, be sure to check out Flyleaf live with Disturbed, Stone Sour and Nonpoint as part of the Music as a Weapon Tour.

Written by Eric Olson

November 26th, 2006 at 10:44 pm

Posted in Music

Deal Flow: Thanksgiving Edition

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Written by Eric Olson

November 22nd, 2006 at 5:05 pm