On the Danger of Using Email Addresses as Identifying Information (Humor)

On a lighter note, someone with a similar name to mine just used one of my email addresses to register for the Lexus Remote app. Judging by the email I got, using this email address that I own, I can register for the app and presumably do something about the car behind it. Does Lexus already offer a “summon” feature? Seems like the car is based in the U.S. so it would be good if it was amphibious.

The Footbridge From Ghost in the Shell

These photos are of the iconic (and rather ugly) circular footbridge in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. This location (and many others in Hong Kong) were the set for scenes from the Hollywood movie Ghost in the Shell, an adaptation of the classic Ghost in the Shell anime franchise. The footbridge was the backdrop for a major battle between the heroine of the movie and a tank.

Many of the shots in the life-action movie were made in Hong Kong, presumably because Hong Kong is closer to the Tokyo of anime fiction than, well, Tokyo itself.

When @GLS_Ireland Lost my Parcel

When? Well: Right after picking it up. The only funny thing is that it took GLS two months to pick it up in the first place.

In a nutshell, I ordered pick-up of a parcel at a warehouse in Ireland and shipment to Germany. However, GLS was unable to pick-up the parcel. I got various inexplicable explanations always followed by a “next time it will work”. They finally succeeded, two months after I had put in and paid the order.

Only to tell me that they lost the parcel right away.

I’m now in the second phase of being ridiculed, where I ask them to find my parcel. When asking, I get the promise they’ll go find it right away, only to never hear from them again. I provided instructions on how the parcel looks like, but the search parties always seem to go missing in action themselves.

I am at a loss of words for this incompetence. Sadly, I also don’t know how to finally get my parcel. I’d appreciate hearing any ideas about what to do about it!

Re: Your unsolicited email / our joint problem

To: ana.tackett@orcapr.com, eastonjohnston@iodimpact.com, digitalpragency@gmail.com, RobertP@informationhub.biz, gina@bloc.io, pms990@gmail.com, jillr@blackswansmedia.com, davidf@lfpr.com, khurst@harriswilliams.com, nancyt@vorticom.com, james@planet-dm.com, …

Dear PR professional:

With respect to our joint problem, Stanford researchers have found a solution!

Please see here for the answer: http://www.scs.stanford.edu/~dm/home/papers/remove.pdf

With kind regards,

Dirk Riehle

PS: If the research paper above doesn’t load, please see this copy: https://dirkriehle.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/remove.pdf

The Looming Bubble in Lego Bricks

In 2014, for a course that teaches students teamwork, I bought 20 sets of basic lego bricks for a bridge building exercise. The cost per set was 20 Euro. This year the number of students in our project courses exceeded what could be done with this basic set of legos and so I looked to buy more.

Two years later, the cost of these sets has exploded to more than 100 Euros per set. Mostly that’s because (a) the actual set was retired and (b) there is no proper replacement, just new “classic sets” that come with lots of pieces that nobody wants. I sense a bubble in the Lego bricks market… divest yourself now! Send them my way!

Do What You Are Great at Rather Than Follow Your Passion?

Interesting commencement speech by Ben Horowitz. When I attended Stanford, I’d regularly listen to the VFTT (View from the Top) speeches of well-known entrepreneurs and executives. I quickly got bored, first, and then upset, second, when these speeches all seemed to be one long slog of follow-your-passion (and everything will work out) talks. “Give me some operational meat,” I’d think to myself. I wanted to hear about real problems and real solutions rather than yet another high-minded speech.

Since then, however, I’ve actually warmed up to the concept of following your passion, as I have seen my student startups struggle when they took something on, outside their tangible realm of experience, because the market opportunity was so luring. Horowitz argues that people should pick up, as business ideas, something they are great about, rather than following their passion. I think this can only work if there is fun in doing or operating things, so what you are great at is something you’ll eventually get passionate about.