Author Archives: Braden Kelley

I came across a couple of interesting articles on businessweek.com about relatively new payment solutions that people are looking at. The first article is about a company called National Payment Card that links your bank account to your drivers license or store loyalty card – creating a virtual debit card protected by a PIN. Transactions are processed as e-checks through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) bypassing costly interchange fees charged by Visa, Mastercard, and others for processing debit and credit card payments. In the areas where this is up and running, some consumers find this payment option quite handy (especially when coupled with a discount) and others avoid it out of fears of identify theft.What do you think? Would you sign up for a solution like this?The second article is about the GratisCard (which is now known as the RevolutionCard). The RevolutionCard is backed by Steve Case (founder of AOL) … Continue reading

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I popped over to YouTube the other day to watch a music video and it struck me that artists are missing a huge opportunity for self promotion. Instead of clamoring for YouTube to take down their copyrighted material, artists of all types should be instead clamoring for YouTube to help them promote their material.Now I know YouTube has been avoiding having advertisements, but will be forced to have them now that Google has acquired the company and expects it to make a profit. Now it is only a question of timing, and Google figuring out how they can distribute their ad inventory on Google in the optimal way to maximize revenue without chasing the audience away to other video sites.But will this Google ad syndication approach be the best thing for YouTube and the content that usually ends up there? For Bob’s homemade video, sure maybe, but what about for … Continue reading

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We went out and got our Christmas Tree last night and it turned out to be more rewarding than last year for a couple of reasons.Reason #1 – A still-bound six-foot tree fits through the 40% fold-down of a Honda Civic sedan with the trunk closedReason #2 – My wife had the great idea of wrapping the still-bound six-foot tree in an old queen-size fitted sheet before putting it in the car and carrying it up the two flights of stairsThe end result was that I had a lot less cleanup to do after un-binding and setting up the tree.Kudos to my wife for the great idea!

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The holidays have always been more about family, faith, and giving than spending money which is good because people should be spending less this holiday season. If you’re trying to figure out what to buy for people this holiday season, make the smart move and conserve your financial resources for the coming financial winter.Things are about to get a lot worse in the American economy, so give yourself a gift this holiday season and focus on building up your financial reserves instead of drawing them down. Employers are likely to start handing out pink slips in the new year at the same time that people are getting their credit card statements. Hopefully you won’t be one of the chosen few, but if you are you are, then you will be much happier if spent conservatively during the holidays.The economy is going to inevitably slow because the housing piggy banks that … Continue reading

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Some say that if you have your health you have your happiness. So, during this holiday season may you and yours remain healthy and thus happy for many years to come.At this time of the year, in addition to being grateful for my family I also feel grateful to those who have taken the time and energy to nurture my core, my creativity, and my career. But at the same time I would like to express my gratitude to those who have allowed me to nurture their core, creativity, career, hopes, or dreams. I have always felt fortunate to give and receive this gift.Finally, I am thankful to all of you who invest your precious time reading what I write here. I hope you find it of some use. Please feel free to leave your comments on this or any other article with any suggestions, or topics you’d like me … Continue reading

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According to an article in Fast Company, we use 1.6 billion gallons of oil every year to make plastic bags. Plastic bags that ultimately end up in our landfills, streams, storm drains, public spaces, and other places when we are done with them.Municipalities are starting to rebel against the externalities that are being passed on to them, and have just started to require retailers to use compostable bags and support them with a curbside recycling effort, starting with cities like San Francisco (which currently spends $8 million a year on bag cleanup).Companies like Wal-mart and Whole Foods have started recycling campaigns, Target has launched an education campaign focused on possible re-use options, and Ikea has started charging for each disposable bag a customer takes. Ikea’s approach is the best in my opinion because it combines a negative incentive (charging people five cents per bag) with a positive incentive (dropping the … Continue reading

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Amazon announced their new Kindle e-book reader this week amid much fanfare at a price point of $399. It uses e-ink technology and incorporates wireless access to the Kindle online store using Sprint’s network. The Kindle comes with its own e-mail address and has a built-in keyboard. They say battery life is one day with the wireless turned on all the time, or one week with this feature turned off. Will it catch fire in the marketplace?Personally, I think even now the Kindle is still early to the marketplace and overpriced. People can buy fully-functional laptops with wireless connectivity and color screens for $399, so it doesn’t feel like good value at that price. Given that this device is competing against printed magazines and books that cost a few dollars that can be dropped and don’t need batteries, I find it hard to believe that e-books will ever catch on … Continue reading

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