When taking care of employees matters

When taking care of employees matters

I saw the newsflashes this afternoon about how Costco had just had a stellar November and beat analyst expectations. This despite their decision to stay closed on Thanksgiving day and bucking the trend established by their competition. Bravo, Costco; I’m glad to be a shareholder and a part of your ‘extended’ family. Costco came to the Des Moines metro about ten years ago, opening its warehouse in the newest commercial district around the Jordan Creek mall. My dad, a retired worker keeping himself busy working at a local grocer decided to give employment there a try. I remember his interview process well, and he was hired as temporary staff over the holidays. Each time we spoke that winter, I heard things from him about this employer that were...

Solving my projector dilemma with Raspberry PI and XBMC

I don’t watch sports. In fact, no one in my household cares about any sport on TV. So, it is no surprise that we cut the cord (to cable and satellite) many years ago. In fact, the advent of Netflix streaming and Amazon Prime have made it incredibly easy to receive entertainment without a cable bill. There remains a problem – getting broadcast TV in my home theater. The home theater setup consists of a 12-ft wide section of wall and a HD projector across from it. The projector doesn’t have a built-in tuner, unfortunately, so I can’t watch live TV in the room. The only other equipment in the room is a PS3 for streaming Netflix and Amazon VOD, and playing Blu-ray discs. Most past and present solutions are either gone, woefully inadequate, or...

When Bodypump converted my hatred for workouts into a habit

It was almost a year ago when my wife convinced me to join her group exercise class over the lunch hour. I clearly remember the Monday, walking in and setting up the bench, the weights, the mat and all, surrounded by women of various ages. I had two reactions (probably typical of any guy’s reaction to Bodypump on day one)  – i got this… light weights on the bar, no big deal and do I really want to be in this “step-aerobic” class? The instructor comes in, introduces herself as Sarah, and finding out that I’m new, recommends the ‘light bar, lots of reps’ mantra that I now understand as standard operating procedure. I look around and see most women, including my wife, with 10-15lb barbells, and setup my bar with 20lbs....

Learning to move well through diabetes

Growing up in India, I was acutely aware of the disease of ‘sugar‘, one that had afflicted various female members of my maternal family. Since my mother and grandmother both had it, and died from it, I was told repeatedly that I was at risk and should be aware of what I eat and watch my weight. I was also reminded that by age 30, if I didn’t watch myself, I was likely going to be diagnosed with the disease. My first ten years in the United States introduced me to the western diet. I grew accustomed to the diet but didn’t learn the workout ethic so prevalent in my communities… lunch often included fried tacos, burgers and fries (king size), regular colas and more. 182 lbs quickly went toward 230+ lbs. In those ten years, despite...

Is it fear or failure when you fold ‘em

The startup world is full of advice surrounding how and what to do for startup success. Though failure is often embraced and supported, the fear of failure or the outcome of failure actions is not often reported. As a regular subscriber to The Moth Podcast, I came across a story by Annie Duke that may be especially poignant in this area. Moth is a podcast of a live storytelling event. The events feature real life stories by real people, told candidly in a 10-minute stand-up format. Stories are as varied as the people who tell them. I would suggest subscribing for some free, though-provoking, and amazing stories. Warning – some will make you laugh hysterically, think deeply, and even cry. Though neither a startup, nor a founder of a tech company, Annie is...

Goodbye, Pikuzone

Today was the day I took the final steps to shutdown pikuzone. Created to provide a safe place for kids to be able to send emails to parent-approved contacts, it served several thousand messages for several hundred kids over the site’s three year life. It is being retired because of a cultural and a commercial shift. Culturally, the children gravitated toward the tablets and smart-mp3 players. They utilize games and secure text messaging applications and, just like Facebook, email is the old people’s platform. Commercially, the size of the market served is limited to parents who care about privacy and security of electronic communication. Many of these parents are hard to find and, therefore, expensive to market to as they themselves like to not be...

A Congress Paralyzed From Fear over Immigration

This post appeared in the Des Moines Register’s Business Technology and Innovation Section on July 20, 2014. ———————————————————— The battle over so-called H1B visas threatens to hamper the growth of Iowa’s startups, growing technology sector, biotech research centers and agricultural sciences. Our public and private colleges teach students from sub-Saharan Africa, India, Malaysia and beyond. Our corn and soybeans are consumed by humans and animals around the world. John Deere and Vermeer equipment drills, mows, seeds, and crushes in parts of the world many Iowans would have trouble finding on a map. The GOP, with thought leaders like U.S....