Month: March 2016

Where to Find Great High Resolution Wallpaper

I’ve never been big into custom wallpaper/desktop pictures on my computer, mainly because I’ve never found a really good repository of them. Today, via a random Google search though, I came across Interface Lift’s great wallpaper section.

Holy crap there’s a lot of good stuff in there. All super high-resolution. All unwatermarked. Sunset Beach is workin’ nicely right now:

Apparently the site has been around for at least a couple of years, but hey, it’s new to me, so I figured I’d spread the word to any of my fellow rock dwellers.

Someone Predicted this Credit Mess Five Years Ago

Normally, I think of The Motley Fool as one of the most worthless financial sites around, spouting off attention-grabbing, sensationalist headlines just to pull readers into their abyss of mediocre financial articles. Here is a sampling of some typical headlines that have popped up over the past few weeks:

You get the picture.

However, today, a Motley columnist pointed to what may be the most prescient piece of content ever to appear on the site. Fittingly, it came from a reader on a discussion board and not an actual Motley Fool employee.

Here is the discussion board post. It’s quite amazing. It’s essentially a dead-on calling of the collapse of the bond insurance industry almost exactly five years before it happened. (For those who aren’t following, the bond insurance industry — specifically MBIA and a few other companies — has crumbled over the last few months and is threatening to take other pillars of the economy down with it… mostly because of bad subprime debt).

To have called almost this exact scenario five years before it happened is pretty amazing. I’m sure this person wasn’t the only one waving a warning flag, but it’s an incredibly interesting read.

In looking at the S&P chart below over the last five years, however, it’s clear that as bad as this development is, and as accurate as the prediction was, pulling out of the U.S. economy — at least so far — would have been a bad idea. “So far” being the operative qualifier there. :|

UPDATE: On a related note, this animated primer of the subprime mess is hilarious.

Slam Dunk Startups

I often hear people say things like “if only I thought of YouTube a year before YouTube did, I’d be rich”, implying that given first-mover advantage, that person could create a company as great as YouTube. A statement like this completely disregards just how difficult YouTube was to build, from having the balls to allow brazen copyright violation, to building a great user experience, to scaling out the ability to serve millions of video streams a day. In other words, 99 out of 100 people who may have had the same idea at the same time would have failed to create anything remotely as successful as YouTube.

Other startups fall into the same class. Companies like Google and Amazon owe most of their success to great engineering, great execution, and great scaling.

But which are the startups of the last ten years which really do owe most of their success to someone simply having a smart idea first and acting on it quickly? Perhaps an easier way to ask this question is “if you could have one business idea from the last ten years as your own, which idea could you most assuredly turn into a success?”

In trying to think of good examples, the best one that came to mind for me was HotOrNot.com. Super simple idea. Developed by two people. Very low expenses. Millions of dollars in revenue per year.

Any better examples out there? What are the most slam dunk ideas of the last ten years?

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