A while ago a very entrepreneurial friend of mine suggested I read a book called, “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki.  This one book is responsible in no small part for the website you see today.1  Guy worked for Apple and later started an influential and innovative venture capital firm, Garage.  As if that wasn’t enough, he’s a frequent lecturer, best selling author, and avid blogger.

In one of his recent articles, he talks about “Plan B for Fund Raising.”  Here’s my take on Plans A and B:

Plan Bee*
Plan Bee

Plan A

Anyone who was alive during the late 90’s has heard of “Plan A.”  Build a prototype, put together a PowerPoint presentation, get some venture capital, and spend venture capitalist money.  You know how this story ends.  The company gets bought out and everyone is rich or the company never goes anywhere and its assets are sold for scrap.

Plan B2

Anyone who was alive during the 70’s knows all about “Plan B.”  These are the people who started businesses in their garage.  I suppose we really only hear about the success “Plan B” stories.  No one’s surprised when a home business doesn’t go big so no one talks about it.  Plan B is where somebody believes so feverishly in their own idea they work on it nights and weekends after they come home from their day job as a barrista.

The whole reason I’m writing this blog post, indeed the reason why I have this blog and website at all, is because of “Plan B.”  At its most hectic in the last year, I was working a day job, doing contract attorney and techie work for various clients, while marketing and programming these calculators.  While I didn’t live with my parents, I participated in a surprisingly (and embarrassingly) large number of the activities Guy describes under Plan B.

This is NOT something I intend to do ever again.  Thankfully, the hard work of building the calculators is done.3  These days my only continuing time commitment to this site is writing blog posts and answering fan mail.4

  1. So, if you don’t like it – blame him!  Haha! []
  2. Original photo courtesy of Eye of Einstein []
  3. Well, more accurately, its always almost done.  ;) []
  4. But, mostly blog posts. []

Obama and McCain on heathcare
Obama and McCain on heathcare

October was another pretty good month for PDRater.com. During the month of October, the traffic for this website increased by about 25%, I added a few new calculator features, I completely changed the look of the website, and we passed the 200 registered users mark.1

In no particular order, I’m including my favorite “photoshopped” pictures from October on the right side.  The footnotes below link to the original photographers.  None of them are to blame for the photoediting. 2345

Top Posts Awards:

Obama vs McCain: Round 3
Obama vs McCain: Round 3

2008 Presidential Election Coverage:

2008 Economic Turmoil Coverage:

*PDRater up, the Dow down
PDRater up, the Dow down

I added on to my “Road Warrior Checklists”:

In case you’re interested, here’s the best of September 2008.

  1. At the time of this post, 227 registered users! []
  2. Special thanks to the kind people who use Flickr for making their photos available for use. []
  3. Photos courtesy of richardmasoner, C_Dave, and mikewade. []
  4. Photo courtesy of DaveHogg. []
  5. Photo courtesy of Daniel Martini. []

It doesn't smell that bad!
It doesn't smell that bad!

…but once you’ve tried it, feel free to hate it.1

My favorite pizza is Hawaiian – ideally with red pepper flakes.  Don’t turn up your nose quite yet.  If you like pizza, ham, pineapple, and spicy food – why not try all these things at once?

Obviously, not everything that tastes great separately also tastes good all mashed together.  Actually, a friend of mine has vowed never to eat at a Chinese-Japanese-Italian-American-BBQ buffet ever again for this very reason. 2

A few weeks ago I decided to try a new pizza… which lead me to compile this short list of the oddest foods I’ve tried:

  • Baby octopus. I’ve had the chance to eat baby octopus at several different restaurants – sushi and Chinese places.  Interestingly, each time the baby octopus had the very ends of their tentacles chopped off.  What’s up with that?  They were a little too chewy for my tastes.
    • Verdict: They were okay, nothing to write home about.
  • Peanut butter and baked potato. Admittedly, I ate this in order to make the point that anything tastes good with peanut butter.  Fortunately, I was right.  Actually, my theory is that anything tastes good with enough peanut butter, ranch dressing, or barbecue sauce (but not all at once).
    • Verdict: Great!
  • Frog legs and snails. They were both on the menu and I’ve never tried either one before, so why the hell not?  The frogs’ legs tasted like chicken and the escargot tasted like garlicky scallops.
    • Verdict: Tasty!
  • Anchovies and pineapple pizza. I like Hawaiian pizza, so why not try a pizza with anchovies instead of the ham?  Well, that’s what I thought.  Not terrible, but clearly not me at my culinary-decision-making-best.
    • Verdict: Extremely salty, but edible.
  • Blood sausage and dandelion greens pizza. We were eating at a very “upscale” restaurant in Chicago and this was the only thing on the menu which looked somewhat familiar.  We settled on this restaurant based upon the recommendations of a friend of a friend.  Everyone shared their dishes, so I got to sample a little bit of everything.  Unfortunately, my selection out the large list of unacceptable options, was the blood sausage and dandelion greens pizza.  It tasted much worse than it sounds.
    • Here’s what I learned from that last item on the above list.
      1. I strongly suspect that the friends of our friends did not like our friends very much at all.
      2. I do NOT recommend trying pizza with blood sausage.
    • Verdict: Skip this restaurant and thank me later.

I’m not saying that this restaurant is totally without merit.  My experience was probably simply just the result of poorly trained waitstaff, the most uncomfortable seating arrangements I’ve ever encountered, bad ingredient choices, the inability to cook things properly, and extremely severe lapses in judgment.  You know, that’s all.

Too harsh?

Look – that was the only time in my life that I left a restaurant still hungry.  We went back to our hotel room and got room service.  I ordered a platter of nachos so big I was unable to see it with both of my eyes at the same time.

  1. Photo courtesy of Piez. []
  2. Ray: No one made you eat all of that stuff at once… []

Wordpress Upgrade
Wordpress Upgrade

Quick Update

or those of you keeping score at home, I’ve updated to WordPress v2.6.3 last night. 1  This version was released as a security fix.  Unlike other WordPress upgrades, this one took only a few seconds.

Less Quick Updates

Admittedly, prior updates probably only take about 10 minutes, max.  This 10 minutes includes roughly 9 minutes of backing the website and database up and 1 minute of actually uploading the new version.  Since the 9 minutes of backing up is essentially all processing/downloading time, there’s nothing for me to monitor which makes the whole process very painless.

Upcoming Updates

The kind folks over at WordPress have been hard at work on the version 2.72  If you scan through the above link, you’ll get to see what the new WordPress 2.7 control panel/dashboard is supposed to look like.

Best Thing About WordPress

(If you just can’t wait, skip down two paragraphs.)  Regular readers have heard me go on and on about the virtues of WordPress3  The interesting thing about new versions of WordPress is that any upgrades would be seamless to a website visitor. 4

A website that is easy to read is a function of the author

Website content is really all that matters to a website visitor.  Visitors don’t care about what software a website owner is using – just as long as the content is useful. 5

A website that is easy to write is a function of the program

The single best thing about WordPress is that this program makes maintaining a website a breeze.  I would recommend WordPress to absolutely anyone interested in creating a website.  For the novice, the program makes it easy to write, edit, and delete single pages or the entire website without any knowledge of programming.  For the tech-minded, the program makes it easy to install, upgrade, and personalize a website.

If you know a little PHP, MySQL, and javascript you could do some c-r-a-z-y things with WordPress. 678

  1. Talk about unnecessary decimal places. []
  2. I call them “kind” since a lot of these people are working for free. []
  3. You know, you three should really form some kind of support group for people who read unnecessarily nerdy and self-referential blogs. []
  4. I think its interesting, anyhow. []
  5. If they don’t care about what kind of software, they sure as heck don’t care its version 2.6.3. []
  6. You could even put together your own workers compensation calculators and EAMS search engines! []
  7. Am I going overboard with these footnotes? []
  8. The answer is “No, I’m not going overboard.”  In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “You can never go too far.” []

Mr. Road Warrior, Esq.
Road Warrior, Esq.

Appearances, whether for a hearing or deposition, require additional equipment, preparation, and forethought.  Here’s what I carry with me when I’m scheduled to appear.

  • Cell phone
    • Phone numbers for the office, destination, and client programmed in the day before.
    • Photocopier code programmed into the phone.
    • Includes calculator.1
    • Alarm.  When parking at a meter, set the phone’s alarm for 5 minutes before time expires.
  • GPS
    • Address and phone number of destination programmed in the day before.
  • Money
    • $5 is the bare minimum, in case I need to be across a bridge on short notice.
    • Quarters for parking.
    • Bills for photocopies.
    • Copy cards.
      • Every time I use a copy card, I write the date and amount remaining on it in permanent ink.
  • BART tickets
    • I consider $5 a minimum, in case I need to be in S.F. on short notice.
  • Dictaphone
    • Extra batteries.
  • Leather bound folder
    • Legal pad
    • PD chart
    • Mini-rating manual for 1997 and 20052
  • Settlement documents.
    • You never know when a case might unexpectedly settle.
  • Record release forms.
    • You never know when a settlement might fall through.
  • Backpack

Previous “Road Warrior Checklists”:

  1. Since workers’ compensation is really just math. []
  2. I’ve created my own “mini-rating” manual.  Its basically comprised of excerpts from the 1997 and 2005 manuals.  Carrying this obviates the need for the 100+ page manuals. []