Entries Tagged as 'Business'

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Happy 4th to all you hot dog crazies

Look at this astounding chart from Flowing Data showing the spike in consumed hot dogs (+buns) at the Nathan’s Hot Dog annual 4th of July hot dog eating contest in the 2000s. Who will win this year? I hear Kobayashi san is on a mission…

Sunday, July 8th, 2007


Welcome thankable.com to the family!

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Buffett’s Philanthropy Buffet

As you all have heard by now, the second richest man in the world, Warren Buffett, has made the long awaited decision to give away the bulk of his 44 billion dollars to five different charitable foundations. The biggest beneficiary will be the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which, at $30 billion in assets, is already the largest foundation in the world. So, the two richest men in the world join their tremendous assets to create the most powerful philanthropic machine the world has ever seen.

The Gates Foundation deal was inked earlier today after a television appearance with the three principles on The Charlie Rose Show in New York City. Buffett’s divestiture plan (explained below) will give off approximately 1.5 billion in today’s dollars in July of this year and similarly for a number of years forward to the Gates Foundation. By design, most of Buffett’s annual gifts will be put to use each year on Gates Foundation projects.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focuses approximately 60% of its resources fighting viruses — like malaria and HIV-AIDS — and correcting poverty conditions around the world and another one-third on education reform in the United States. As you can imagine, their approach is well planned, strategic and calculated. Ultimately, it’s one of the best managed and efficient foundations in the world. Along with the fact that he has the highest personal faith in Bill and Melinda to be the shepherds of the “body of his life’s work”, as Melinda Gates put it on today’s Charlie Rose Show, Buffett felt it was a “no brainer” to make this gift.

Buffett will also give a significant amount of his net worth to four other foundations, each associated with a different member of his immediate family.

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, renamed after Buffett’s late wife, will receive approximately $150 million this year.

The Susan A. Buffett Foundation of Omaha, NE; the Howard G. Buffett Foundation of Decatur, IL; and the NoVo Foundation of New York City will each receive approximately $52.5 million this year.

The Deal

Here’s how this ingenious gift will work.

Buffett will slowly convert his A shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock (symb: BRK/A) — currently trading at $91,600 — into B shares (symb: BRK/B) — trading at $3,048 — roughly a 30:1 conversion. He has made an irrevocable agreement with each of the five foundations to earmark a set amount of B shares to be gifted slowly over the next couple decades.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (10,000,000 B shares)
Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (1,000,000 B shares)
Susan A. Buffett Foundation (350,000 B shares)
Howard G. Buffett Foundation (350,000 B shares)
NoVo Foundation (Peter A. Buffett) (350,000 B shares)

Every year in July, for the next couple of decades, 5% of the remaining earmarked shares of Berkshire Hathaway B will be gifted to the respected foundations. Buffett in all his optimism is confident that the annual gain of Berkshire stock on a year-to-year basis should make-up in dollar value the 5% in lost shares, such that in 20-years the amount of the annual gift remains about the same as it is today (not taking into account, of course, the effects of inflation).

The two main conditions of the Gates Foundation agreement are:

1. Either Bill or Melinda Gates must be alive and running the Foundation during the term of Buffett’s gift; and

2. His gift must be utilized in its entirety every year up to the amount of 5% of the assets of the Foundation plus the value of Buffett’s gift. So, the Foundation at $30 billion must give away 5% ($1.5 billion) of its own money plus the additional $1.5 billion of Buffett’s first year gift — a cool $3 billion of annual giving.

Click here to view copies of the actual letters of agreement sent by Warren Buffett to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others.

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

Corporate philanthropy up

A Reuters wire story indicates that philanthropy amongst America’s largest corporations was up in 2005.

Citing a survey of 91 of the largest U.S. firms by the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy, corporate philanthropy was up 14% in 2005 over 2004. This is close to the reported 15% increase in pre-tax profits from many of the same companies responding to this survey. Employee giving was also reported to have increased from $670 to $685 per employee in the same period.

The surveyed corporations indicated a combined $10 billion in philanthropic giving last year. A sure $300 million of that went toward relief efforts in the Gulf Coast.

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

Speaking of Karmadu

Check out the cool new social networking site, Karmadu.

This site is dedicated to the building of good karma. It allows users to send messages of goodness, kindness, niceness…whatever can be defined as promoting good karma. Each message you send gives you karma points. If the message you send strikes the fancy of the larger community, other users can give you bonus karma points.

What do you do with all of your karma points? Good question. The answer is absolutely nothing. You simply get to continue on in life knowing that you kicked serious karma butt.

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Washington Post sends kids to camp

The Washington Post raises nearly half a million dollar every year for their Send a Kid to Camp campaign.

This a tremendous amount of money for a company to raise, for any purpose. Raising that much money for a private equity venture would be a feat in and of itself. Raising that much money annually for a nonprofit organization is a significant effort. The Post has been sending local Washington kids to Camp Moss Hollow now for nearly thirty years and they should be very much commended for this perennial act of extreme kindness. Also to be congratulated are the readers of the Post who regularly contribute to this campaign.

The money pays for kids in the city who could not otherwise afford a summer camp a chance to get out of the city for a week in a wooded setting in the foothills of Virginia’s Shenandoah Mountains. Camp Moss Hollow describes itself as having provided camping experiences to at risk youth for over 100 years.

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

Random Acts of Cone-ness

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is at it again.

They are declaring “Random Acts of Cone-ness” in three American cities in the next month.

New York, week of May 22nd (that’s right now!)
Chicago, week of June 5th
San Francisco, week of June 19th

Ben & Jerry’s will be giving out 50,000 free samples of their new novelty cones through what they are calling their Cone Samaritans. If you live in one of these three cities, check out benjerry.com now.

For those living elsewhere, you can enter the Random Acts of Cone-ness Contest by nominating your favorite Benn & Jerry’s fan to be “coned” (i.e. receive a free cone). With your nomination you include a note, in 100 words or less, explaining why this person deserves to be coned. I just entered my best friend. I did a poem which I will post after the contest ends on July 31.

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Moveable drive-in theatre

The world of the tech savvy geek-o-philes continues to astound me in its capacity to introduce and maintain outstanding services and products for free.

MobMov is the latest greatest service fitting the gratis mold. If you live in Berkeley, CA, you need to sign-up with MobMov and begin receiving notices regarding “guerilla drive-in” movie venues that pop up periodically around the city.

The concept is simple: MobMov (contraction of Mobile Movie) sends out notices to its members with the time and place along with the appropriate FM radio station to use in order to pick-up the drive-in style movie audio. MobMov is outfitted with a completely portable movie projector and audio system that can be set-up virtually anywhere. Members gather, sometimes in a vacant lot, and watch movies on the side of an abandoned building.

As stated above, everything is free. These guys do this just for the thrill and challenge of staging a roaming drive-in theatre experience. It’s geeky cool. The effort to get this done is tremendous, and the fact that no obtrusive moneymaking apparatus is fueling any of it is quite refreshing.

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006


We found this cool site via a trusty and entirely friendly source down in Charlotte, NC.

HappyNews.com is a news aggregator and feed that is focused on, you guessed it, positive news. The site also enlists an army of Citizen Reporters around the country who submit good stories about good things going on in their hometowns. This is a great and professionally run site that deserves a look see.

According to their website, HappyNews was the brainchild of publisher Byron Reese, an online content pro who began to question the lack of positive stories in the media. Reese thought that a site focused on the good stuff in life would be just as successful as a traditional news site. So far so good. After only a few months online, HappyNews has gained enough of an audience to begin running their own advertisements.

Indeed, we are thrilled that HappyNews is out there also working on the mission to put some good, positive and nice content online. We are also encouraged by their growth. The more sites out there like ours the better. And the more successful we all are the more we can say with confidence that good news is here to stay.

Saturday, February 4th, 2006

ING Unsung Heroes

What’s ING?

That tag line from the often played series of television commercials featuring people who are loittering near ING billboard advertisements mistakenly thinking a passing stranger is asking them aobut ING while some random scene is developing behind them (like a crazy man dressed up like William Shakespeare, doing Shakespeare in the park), has another meaning for classrooms across the country.

The ING Unsung Heroes program awards educators and students with up to $25,000 for presenting innovative teaching methods.

ING Direct, the retail banking branch of this Dutch financial conglomerate, is a great product, allowing you to open up high-yielding savings account with no minimums. And now, you can feel good about banking with a company that has a leading edge philanthropic ethos too.