Thursday, January 19, 2017

WWBD-What Would Brandeis Do?

In 1890 Louis Brandeis, as a young lawyer, was concerned about the use of the Kodak portable Brownie camera and journalists who wrote unseemly articles about celebrities, so much so that he and his law partner Samuel Warren developed the “right to be let alone” articulated in their article “The Right to Privacy” for the Harvard Law Review. Years later, Supreme Court Justice Brandeis expanded upon this concept in his famous 1928 dissenting opinion in Olmstead v. United States, enshrining the concept as a constitutional right to privacy.

Brandeis was one of the first to recognize the perils of technology and its impact on personal privacy and national security.  Modern jurists continue to cite Brandeis in their legal opinions regarding privacy rights, and his 1890 article continues to be one of the most cited law review articles

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Go Get Your Lunch (You Have Time)

Most of my brain space this month is taken up by thoughts of lunch.

In large part, this is because I am about 11 days into the Whole30 program. Basically, Whole30 is a sort of dietary reboot (and not a diet, as the founders are quick to argue) where you militantly cut out all dairy, grains, legumes, sugars, alcohols, and everything else fun.

After 30 days, devotees argue, you experience huge bursts of energy, your skin gets clearer, and just maybe you lose a little weight. So far, I’ve mostly accomplished offending my mother by turning down her homemade spaghetti sauce, suffering through crippling sugar withdrawal headaches, and confusing the poor staff members at Gray Plant Mooty responsible for ordering team lunches. But, at least it has given me cause to reflect on the concept of personal discipline (and how it applies to lunch).

Thursday, January 5, 2017

“Sweaty January”—How Failed New Year’s Resolutions Help to Support Gyms

Within the past couple of days you have likely heard folks mention a common new year’s resolution: “getting back in shape” or “adopting a healthier lifestyle.” Doing so often involves joining a gym and many gyms experience a surge in January. Approximately 1 of 8 new gym memberships is purchased in January, and gyms often experience a 30 to 50 percent increase in gym attendance during January.

Excitement surrounding these resolutions quickly fades, and with it, so does gym attendance.  “Sweaty January” describes the unique economic model that gyms adhere to: subsidizing the true cost of membership by collecting fees from well-intentioned customers that won’t actually show up. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Little Drummer Boy: An Entrepreneurial Story?

As I was contemplating my latest post, I happened to be listening to The Little Drummer Boy. I can’t recall exactly which version it was, because I own several (I know you may think this is weird for a guy whose holiday season is filled with potato latkes, dreidelssufganiyot, and candle lighting). I can’t help it that I like Christmas carols—especially The Little Drummer Boy. As one of the characters from one of my all-time favorite musicals, Striking 12, says “You can’t ruin Little Drummer Boy.” He then proceeds to describe the weird version of the song sung by Bing Crosby and David Bowie as proof. If you don’t believe me, check out the video.

In any event, I started thinking about how I was going to find a clever way to connect The Little Drummer Boy and entrepreneurship. I mean, there must be something about the song’s author, Katherine Kennicott Davis, that connects to entrepreneurship, right?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Data Privacy: Is It On Your Holiday Wish List?

The holiday season is upon us! And with the familiar Christmas music and winter wonderland decorations comes the holiday shopping season. Holiday marketing campaigns enjoy a rich history dating back at least 150 years. Some of the most memorable include: 

  • Macy’s Holiday Window display (1874);
  • The Budweiser Christmas Clydesdales (1931);
  • Campbell’s Soup “Breeze Through the Holidays” (1948); 
  • Starbucks Red Cups (1997); and
  • American Express “Small Business Saturday” (2010).
With online shopping on the rise, these marketing campaigns have transitioned to the Internet and have come to have a serious impact on where consumers shop and what they buy. Although online marketing provides many benefits, businesses offering online retail services must be aware of the host of data privacy issues that go along with e-commerce, including the need for a clear and accurate website privacy policy. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Take Me to the Funk Zone

I just returned from my first visit to beautiful Santa Barbara, where my husband and I spent a long weekend adventuring to vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley, soaking up the sun on the beach, and sampling some amazing restaurants and wine bars.  With stunning views and architecture, Santa Barbara definitely lived up to its reputation as the American Riviera.  

We love to discover new restaurants when we’re traveling.  Sometimes we get lucky and stumble upon an amazing spot serendipitously, but I also like hunting for the best latte, cheese board, or brussels sprouts.  Snippets from a local’s recommendation, instagram, and Yelp led us to Santa Barbara’s hip neighborhood: the Funk Zone.  I was skeptical when I heard the name, but once we arrived, I was immediately enthralled with this hip area.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

As If We Didn't Get Enough During the Campaign...

If you shop on Amazon, or watch the late night talk shows, you have probably seen the Make America Great Again Red Cap ornament (available at prices ranging from roughly $150 to over $200). It is listed on Amazon as “by Trump”.  Of course it is.

But just to be sure, I checked the United States Patent and Trademark Office records and confirmed that Donald Trump had indeed registered the mark MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN for political action committee services and fundraising in the field of politics, as well as clothing, bags, buttons, bumper stickers, signage and similar items typically associated with political campaigns.  (The mark was assigned to the non-profit corporation Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., which currently owns the registrations, so “by Trump” may not be technically correct, but who really cares so long as the revenues are reported by the correct party.)