Monthly Archives: October 2006

Herb Kelleher – Southwest Airlines Speech

Yesterday I went to a speech given by the famous founder of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher. As always, watching Herb speak was a great time!

I have great admiration for this man and his unconventional ways of running things. His willingness to be different and exciting eventually earned the envy of all other airlines.

“Professor” Kelleher speaking:

The speech started off with the actual professor of the class (Who is a Southwest Airlines board member) showing “Malice in Dallas” which was a spoof video about a Southwest Airline lawsuit where an aviation company threatened to sue Southwest for using the motto “Just Plane Smart.” Herb Kelleher challenged the CEO of the company to an arm wrestling match to settle the issue (seriously). The video ended up being shown world-wide and is sometimes billed as the greatest publicity stunt ever. The video was absolutely hilarious!! It really showed Mr. Kelleher’s funny side:

The entire time Mr. Kelleher spoke mainly about company culture….constantly instilling into everyone in the room just how important people are, and how if you take care of your people, they will take care of you. I’ve heard the same thing from other CEO’s, but he literally talked about it the WHOLE time…..and he’s obviously quite serious that his #1 priority is the people within Southwest. Some quotes from his mouth were:

“If you ain’t got culture, you ain’t got shit.”

“Competitors can buy tangible assets, but they can’t buy culture.”

He also just like last time lit up a cigarette soon after he started speaking. The man is notorious for loving cigarettes, Wild Turkey Whiskey and candy bars. So the day before I bought some props from the liquor store to use in the picture I would inevitably take with him!

It was actually the first pack of cigarettes I ever bought. In the Q&A session he answered questions pertaining to his many law battles all the way up to the Supreme Court (half the room was law students) and questions about how Southwest became the envy of the entire airline industry….and has become the only one to be profitable for so many years in a row.

One thing I really admire about him is his personality. The second he entered he room, he turned it from dull and quite to loud and FUN. He obviously loves having a good time, and you can see that reflected in the Southwest staff. A great example of leadership by example.

At the end of the speech I got out my Wild Turkey whiskey and cigarettes and took a great picture of me and Herb. I still get a kick out of this picture!

Then after the speech we both went to Cancun and ripped it up!!

Ok, that last part was obviously fake….but the speech was fun anyway! The guy is absolutely hilarious, smokes like a chimney and drinks like a sailor….but is one of the most famous CEO’s of all time because of his willingness to put people first and do things different.

New Camera – Cannon S3 IS

I’ve been taking lots of product photos lately, and my Casio Exilim does the job, but not very well. After the screen was crushed, I can only see the bottom part of the screen, meaning it still works fine, but I can’t see how to change light settings or set the automatic timer. This is a big problem, and renders the camera almost useless for product photos.

Another problem is the low-light settings aren’t great on the Exilim, at least not for product-photo purposes. So I went ahead and got some advice from a photographer friend and bought a Cannon S3 IS.

Now this camera isn’t going to fit in my pocket or come out to parties with me, rather this is more of a tool to help me take more creative product photos.

I’ve been setting up my ghetto photo studio in different places, but I’ve been finding the kitchen seems to be the easiest because I can regulate the lighting within that area pretty well. I’ve taken some pretty cool pictures so far with this basic setup:

Who says you need an expensive studio for photos?? This new camera isn’t as point-n-shoot as the previous cameras I’ve had, so I’m starting to learn more about photography. Since most e-commerce sites nowadays have such a generic feel to them, taking original product photos is something which can set a site apart….hopefully this theory pans out for me in the next few months!

I’ve been learning how to set the ISO, white balance, shutter speed, night settings etc. to help make photos look great in different light settings. This is an example of dark light setting where I should have changed the settings to make it less grainy, but it still looks nice:

Here’s a black light photo I really liked of some Lucite shot glasses that glow under black light. I think this photo looks really cool. This new camera has already proved its worth.

Here is a low-light shot of a color-changing candle. This basic photo already far surpasses the ones provided by the manufacturer:

Here is a best seller item on my biz House Of Rave called Oggz. I’ve already put some of these new photos on House of Rave to give customers a better idea of these things. The image below hasn’t even been Photoshopped except for size cropping. The camera does an amazing job at catching the vibrant colors.

I think that shot looks much better than anything the manufacturer has, and it will be unique only to my site. Hopefully this $350 investment will pay off, I have a feeling it will. I’ve been trying to do one or two products a day along with their descriptions, and it’s actually pretty fun “work”!

Giant Sticky Note Pads

I got a sample of these “Genius Pads” and it’s actually a product with some potential….basically a giant sticky note pad. Dan Sherman took the idea and started distributing them to the U.S. with his own website which has a much better name: Mega Sticky.

I thought this was a very neat and simple product, and I’ve been using them to draw out plans and sometimes detailed to-do lists:

It’s obviously a hell of a lot bigger than a regular sticky note, so it’s good for drawing out plans etc for review.

This is a product which has the potential to be sold in places like Staples and Wal-Mart, but their packaging is absolutely hideous. I say they don’t copy Post-It packaging, but at least make it slightly more professional like theirs.

I would also recommend the proprietors to encourage usage of these giant sticky pads in the office environment rather than aiming them towards kids. It seems big corporate contracts for these would be more lucrative than individuals or schools.

I can just imagine someone like a car designer, architect or engineer drawing out ideas on these then posting them on a wall to look at “The big picture.”

Neat little product. Good luck with it Arash & Kelly!

Poor Man Meal

I try not to charge fast food on a card, so I always use cash. If I don’t have enough cash and I feel like being a cheap, I’ll be forced to simply eat very little.

If I only have $1 and some change, I can get something from the value menu at most fast food places. This generally isn’t enough for a dinner…but if you’ve only got a dollar to spare, it’s the best way to fill your stomach on the cheap!

1.) Get the biggest thing with the most nutritional value for your money.
My last poor man meal was at Taco Bell where I got the 1/2 pound Beef Burrito because it contains lots of satisfying meat and costs $1.40 after tax.

2.) Get water.

3.) Slow down the entire eating process.
This is the trickiest part. When hungry it’s hard to slow down eating, but there are a couple of simple tricks to it. Make sure to put the burrito (or whatever) down after each bite, this stops the temptation of taking your next bite too quickly. Take sips of water, read a book etc.. Overall, it should take between 15-20 minutes to finish the whole thing. I have no scientific proof behind it, but it’s the only way to get myself full from a single value menu item.

In the U.S. we’re so used to eating such large quantities, that sometimes we forget it only takes relatively little to fill a stomach. Simply slowing down the eating process makes you feel much more full!

For example, to kill the time between bites I’ll bring stuff to occupy myself.

Of course if you’ve got the means to cook, Ramen is still cheaper, but for me it doesn’t satisfy hunger because it lacks almost any nutritional value.

Bon appetite!

Back from Bawwston

I went to Boston for a week to check the place out, maybe see if I’d like to live there. I had a great time there, flawless weather throughout the trip and a great place to stay. Check out the full panoramic view I had!

After visiting Boston for a week, cruising around, meeting friends, seeing businesses and partying….I found out that Boston is gorgeous in the summer, well educated, well established, but not the place for me.

My main complaints with Boston was the population was too young and there was a complete lack of flavor. Especially trying to go out. You can go to a very large selection of pub-style Irish places, but not much else. I was in the middle of New England, so I kind of expected that.

For partying, everything was relatively spread apart, and the whole place kind of goes dead before 2am, which I didn’t expect from an area with such a dense college population. I did however like the whole MIT/Harvard/BU/Downtown area with the Charles River nearby. It was gorgeous while I was there, although it’ll get cold as hell pretty soon (Something else I don’t particularly like).

So my comparison between Austin and Boston is done, and in my opinion Austin is the winner. Austin has a large amount of diversity in not only race, but also age. It also has different “flavors” around the city. Austin is also FRESH. It has an enormous upside potential, and it will be fun to watch as this city grows and changes. Boston will be pretty much stay the same even after 20+ years.

So based on my three places I could possibly live, Austin is my final choice.

I think my favorite part of getting back to Austin was seeing my Scarabeo in my living room. For some reason I got a kick big from seeing it indoors!

This was actually a very cheap trip overall. I spent $260 on the plane ticket and only $250 the whole time I was there….Not bad!

Boston Visit

I was toying around with the idea of moving, but Austin is just such a great place to be. My potential criteria matched three places, and before I knock it out of contention, I want to visit Boston for a while to see how it feels. So this Wednesday I’m going for about a week.

Oct. 4th (Wednesday) – Oct. 10th (Tuesday)

If anyone with an interesting story wants to meet up, please contact me. I’d love to visit some local companies, see how things are run etc…

Also, if anyone knows of any big events or high profile parties going down in Boston from Oct. 4th till 10th, I’d appreciate a heads up. A large purpose of this trip is to make new contacts, so if you’ve got any leads, let me know!