Random Observations and Trends

I like to randomly observe what is going on around me to spot new trends or changes. Changes = Opportunity.

I tried to sell bottled water, this Real Estate Investment Club just gives it away to attract visitors to their booth:


I have seen this truck around Austin more than once, and I was intrigued by their unique way of advertising on the streets for free. This moving billboard can go to any high-traffic area and park, allowing their sponsors to target specific demographics and locations (e.g. Night time at 6th Street = Beer advertisement).

I read more about the company and found out they are using a loophole in the Austin advertising ordinance to stay in business. They use 100% green-biodiesel to power the truck, or people get mad they are unneccessarily polluting by aimlessly driving around town.


I noticed that this bulletin board in the Student Union used to be more crowded when I was a freshman at UT. I’m guessing most of these “For Sale” ads are replaced with CraigsList posts.


I enjoy seeing huge changes happen in front of me, and one thing I’ve seen taking a dramatic change is the function of libraries. The largest library at UT recently opened a coffee shop inside! College students + Studying + Coffee Shop…needless to say it is doing quite well.

An even more interesting phenomenon with libraries is no more books!
The UGL (A popluar undergraduate library) used to be a 3-storey library filled with books, a small computer lab and some desks. Now they have completely removed all the books and made the entire thing into a giant study lounge.

The 1st floor outside area is a loud, group-study area:

The 1st floor inside area is now void of books and transformed into a giant study lounge with IKEA furniture:

Nowadays, there aren’t as many people going to books for their research. The libraries are instead catering more towards computers and laptop users. Instead of finding something using an encyclopedia, you can tell someone to JustFuckingGoogleIt.

I find it facinating this LIBRARY doesn’t have a single book. I’ve also heard they are currently adding a coffee shop to this library also. The library is now becoming a much cooler place to go!

Blog posted on: September 30, 2005

23 comments on “Random Observations and Trends

  1. Cap

    are they going to digital book formats, like archieving ‘em digitally or totally removing books?

    cuz thats not really a library anymore then, is it? heh

    but yeah, many university libraries are now digitalizing their catalogs

    I think google’s still workin on that ambitious program of theirs to scan millions of book and make the text searchable online..

  2. Anonymous


    Can you please address these prior comments you made:

    “Believe it or not, there are times when the principle in worth more than the money.”

    “For some odd reason, I am very strongly compelled to leave this site free of advertisements because this is my personal financial journal. It is NOT a money making venture.”

    “Funny as it sounds coming from a financial blog author: I don’t want this site to be dictated by money.”

  3. Neville


    They have actually been digitizing books for quite a while. I know online I can checkout E-Books from the UT library.

    I doubt actual books will go away anytime soon, but for research purposes, the digitzed formats are much more useful.

    Yes, clubthings is and has been my supplier. I give this information away all the time, it’s no secret.

    Wikipedia recently surpassed the traffic The NYTimes gets, pretty impressive. I use it quite often!

  4. Anonymous

    When I did my masters at UT( 5 yrs bak) I spent a boatload of time at the PCL and UGL. So I am shocked to hear about the transformation at UGL.

    …And they used to have a very good movie collection at the UGL. With lounges, coffee shops and movies, the UGL must be attracting kids like honey these days!


    The PCL used to have a sign that said ‘No drinks and food beyond this point’ heee … and now they have a coffee shop inside it!

    Do you see these as gradual organic changes aka the Tipping Point or the University making a business decision?

  5. Dave

    Cool observations, Nev. Recognizing business ideas that other people execute every day helps you develop your own in the long run.


    Why the heck would Nev have to explain his prior comments? Is he a freaking politician???? NO!! Everyone has the right to change their mind.

    Dave’s Journey to Financial Freedom

  6. drex

    Hey Nev,

    Fellow Longhorn here, (alumn ’99) here. I always used to wish they would open a coffee shop at the PCL, it would be very convenient! Instead I had to get my finals time caffine-fix from Jester.

    I’m curious as to what time the coffee shop is open? I think night time is when most students drink coffee, hopefully they don’t close early.

    Anyways, the PCL has a neat idea on their hands. Bookstores put coffee shops inside, why not libraries??


    P.S. Anonymous is an envious idiot who is very obviously obsessed with you.

  7. Anonymous

    I just noticed the link to http://www.handanalysissite.com/. Interesting idea, but do you think there will be a reasonable demand for a palm-reading service? It seems more like something people do on impulse on a boardwalk or something, where the effort on their part is minimal. Perhaps I’m misunderstood and you just plan on generating ad revenue from static content? Also, regardless of whatever people anonymously post here, you obviously have a knack for evoking a response in people, whether it be positive or negative. Good luck in everything!

  8. Kate Bean

    Interesting post, Nev. It’s amazing the inconveniences we all deal with everyday until someone thinks of a better way. I wish the library at my alma mater went to digital books – we needed the study space!

  9. Anonymous


    Actually clubthings.com is not his supplier (at least I dont think) notice how both of those sites have the same thing when added to the shopping cart in the URL “sc/order.cgi?rd=1&storeid=*”

    I think he is using some kind of dropshipper which ships several kinds of products…would love to know which one.

  10. Anonymous

    clubthings…is the drop shipper…believe me what other club product company located in california and carries the same stock as nev ….this is his supplier..and if not…than hell I found a good drop shipper for myself

  11. emp

    What happened to your goals?
    I am interested in the 8 improvements in your online shopping site.. did you manage to fulfiull them all?

  12. Anonymous

    C’mon, Nev is a joke. If you are interested in actual entrepenuers building businesses, check out these blogs:

    David Hornik – ventureblog.com

    Kirsten Osolind – reinventioninc.blogspot.com

    Tim Wolters – timwolters.blogspot.com

    Joe Kraus -bnoopy.typepad.com/bnoopy

    The Cracked Cauldron ccspillings.blogspot.com

    Brad Feld – feld.com

    The Entrepreneurial Mind – forum.belmont.edu/cornwall

    Cool Business Ideas – coolbusinessideas.com

  13. Jase


    Like a commentor in the previous post said, “Anonymous has a man-cruch on Nev!”

    If you prefer those other blogs, please go read them! We get the point, you don’t like Nev.

    You are also missing a drastic point: Nev is MUCH much younger than all of those other writers.

    At my college in the NorthEast they are starting talks to “reduce” then number of books present in the some of the libraries. Real Estate is extremely precious in my part of the country, and students at my university needmore space, not more books.

    They are having problems because we don’t have too many libraries too export books to. I looked at the Utexas.edu website and saw your university has over 15 major libraries! No wonder they can empty a whole library!

    Anyways, take it easy! -Jase

  14. Anonymous

    Actually, some of those blog writers are not much older than Nev…and one of them was actually homeless before going to college and starting her business.

    Cool links!

  15. Brad Spencer

    I work in a library. Amazing but true about people not using books. Sad thing is they also don’t know how to use digital sources like Proquest or Westlaw. Amazing that seniors “Justfuckinggoogleit” instead of using scholarly sources.

    C’est la vie. I love your observations. I have seen cool trucks advertising the local Saturn Dealership in State College, PA. They drive around on Saturday “game weekends” with all the foot traffic. Definitely gets “impressions”.

    Keep up the great posts Nev


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