Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur

5/21/2008

Bonne Bell Lipsmackers

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 11:18 am

I saw this ad and I immediately thought of fifth grade. That was the year Bonne Bell’s Lipsmackers were THE most popular thing.

Click to see full size ad

This advertisement doesn’t do them justice because you can’t see how freakishly large they were. They just look like a normal chapstick-sized lip gloss. But NO, they were at least three inches tall and an inch in diameter. They were large and the cool girls would have them sitting on their desk like a plastic column of Dr. Pepper scented popularity.

Dr. Pepper was the cool flavor, by the way. If you were unlucky and your mom bought you a 7-Up Lipsmacker instead, you might as well leave it at home. The Hires rootbeer flavor was a close second, but I never saw the Tootsie Roll or Good N Plenty flavors.

When my grandmother was starving me in Montana, I used to put on the Dr. Pepper Lipsmacker on my lips and pretend I was eating something sweet. I was tempted to eat it so many times. If you licked your lips, they tasted sweet.

I can almost smell it now…

Photo via: Stuck in the ’70s — 1970s products

9/11/2007

Twitter Log: 2007-09-11

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • Software for Starving Students needs a Digg if you’ve got one for them: http://www.softwarefor.org/ #
  • @ missbhavens Ryanne’s handy, I’m not. Yet I was able to do it. If I can do it, I KNOW you can. #
  • Where is everybody? #
  • @ ashbuckles Good morning! #
  • When is the Blogger Dinner? #
  • When is the Blogger Dinner this month? #
  • @ msjen Sending good karma your way, babe… #
  • @ whyisjake Wow! You guys went from 17 Diggs to 440 in a hurry. Good job! #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

7/19/2007

Twitter Log: 2007-07-19

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • @ missbhavens Sending good karma your way. Pass it on to the injured for me -K-? #
  • @ Schlomo Dude! We need to see you while you’re here! #
  • @ michaelverdi San Francisco is so cool, they even have wifi on their buses! #
  • @ kitykity Sorry, I’m at the gym. I wish I were sitting at home, though. Say hi to everyone for me -K-? #
  • I am the number 2 search on Ammonia Scented Sweat. See? You just have to pick something and be the best! http://tinyurl.com/ywvg55 #
  • @ missbhavens You work on the psyche ward, right? No? Maternity? REALLY?!!! #
  • @ libel_vox Basketball? #
  • Awoken to the sound of Linda puking. She is starving to death because she doesn’t like her KD food, but any other food makes her puke. :( #
  • I thought maybe Twitterific was malfunctioning, but it just looks like no one is talking. #
  • Feeling crabby today. Twitter out. #
  • Feeling better. Twitter In. #
  • @ ashbuckles Be safe, buddy! #
  • Can’t decide. Where should we eat for lunch? #
  • @ kitykity THANK YOU! We’re heading to Jason’s Deli! #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

3/13/2007

SXSW07: Bust 2.0

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 9:29 am

SXSW07: Bust 2.0

We survived Bust 1.0. Is there a Bust 2.0 coming up?

Gina Bianchini CEO, Ning Inc
David Hornik General Partner, August Capital
Eric Hellweg Sr Editor, Harvard Business Review
Narendra Rocherolle Co-Founder/Principal, 30 Boxes
Michael Sippey VP Prod, Six Apart Ltd
Lane Becker: Satisfaction Inc

Lane Becker: I lived through the first boom and bust. Are we headed through a bust 2.0? When is it all going to fall apart and why?

David Hornik: It all starts with a panel.

Gina Bianchini: I don’t think it’s going to fall apart. We now have 1.2 billion people online. The amount of ad dollars is huge. There is tremendous opportunity. Perhaps not every startup will not be YouTube, but the opportunity is great for building something for the future. Some startups will make it and some won’t. I think we are in a fundamentally different situation than we were in 7 years ago.

Eric Hellweg: I do agree that things are different right now. I DO think we are headed for a shakeout. I don’t think it will be as catastrophic as it was in 2001.

David Hornik: It’s okay. It’s just MY money.

Michael Sippey: How much do we care about David’s money. If you’re building a REAL business, when the bust comes and the private equity disappears, that’s different than what happened in 2001.

Eric Hellweg: The ad money is growing, but we’re dealing with a much smaller pie. Your slice might be harder to fight for. Right now we’re in a pretty frenzied state. I don’t know how long the center will hold.

Gina Bianchini: Your slice of the pie doesn’t need to be that big. You can get up and running for just a couple 100 bucks at most. You don’t need to make a lot of money.

Michael Sippey: One of the risks that we have is the need to expand the users of online advertising. Google needs to educate more and more small businesses.

Narendra Rocherolle: A lot of people are here because of publishing revolution that has been two-way. Now people will kill the great ideas early on. There are areas where it reminds him of Bubble 1.0. Part of this is a bit of a con. You’re trying to build something up and sell it. The web industry is a difficult industry.

David Hornik: There are smart investors and irrational investors. Find things that have meaning and are valuable. Most importantly, you have to be building a real business.

Narendra Rocherolle: I didn’t meant to generalize, but in general… VC plays a huge role in developing things, but it also provides a risk. It’s on a lower scale now.

David Hornik: VC people won’t say, “I’ll pay you a smaller price because I think it’s a small idea.” There are deals that haven’t proved that they work and there are those that have.

Gina Bianchini: It’s just as easy or hard to build a big business as a small business. I want to be around and do the thing that I started in five years. The shift from not-proven to proven has shorted. This is a great time to be an entrepreneur. It’s critical that you do things cost-effectively.

Question: This idea of a bust is based on the CPM of advertising. What about businesses that have huge communities? will that mitigate the bust?

Michael Sippey: We have a very diverse business for that reason. We sell subscriptions AND software. It helps us understand our customers and we think it gives us a leg up.

David Hornik: It is a lot cheaper to provide services JINGLE 1-800-Free-411 is a service that will give you 411 for free with an ad. It changes the whole nature. Wouldn’t it better if we did THIS? Let’s start it! These things are always a timing problem. Forget the bust.

Gina Bianchini: It’s important not to follow conventional wisdom. Every single consumer company turned into a B2B play. eBags and Zappos focused on their business and were mocked by insiders. Now, they have completely lived through Bust 1.0. There is value to know what your business is in your gut. Don’t build your business to look cool to VCs.

Question: How can bigger companies survive the next bust?

Eric Hellweg: Follow your consumers. Don’t blindly throw money online. It’s very easy to see where there is interest.

Lane Becker: All the community content, USA Today made sure that non of it would be read by Google.

David Hornik: What happened to the cable companies is happening to the television networks now. You have the capacity to focus on just the thing you want to focus on.

Question: Web 2.0 doesn’t seem that different to me. I’m curious about the idea that there isn’t going to be bust. How are the smaller people going to deal with it?

Gina Bianchini: I think that there always be survival of the fittest. I think it’s a good thing. If you define the opportunity as a bubble, it’s not quite right. It’s more like there is excitement. There will always be companies that make it and companies that don’t make it. It’s not a bubble, it’s life. That’s what makes it fun and why we don’t work at GE.

Lane Becker: Failure isn’t necessarily looked down on in this industry. When you look at it that way. Most of the truly new things started in 2001-2003. They all started when we were starving.

Question from Ted at Dogster: Inflation in salaries caused some of the problem.

Narendra Rocherolle: There are ways to get labor cheaper offshore. When salaries go up, think about the value of investing in that salary. During the lean years, people found ways to incentivize workers. The more you play into the inflation, the more you suffer through the downside.

David Hornik: When you’re starting a company and building something with a small team, the worst thing you can do is create a big distance between you and the people who are building it. It’s an investment. Is that an appropriate use of the money.

Michael Sippey: The difference between the markets. Dick Costelo: Ask the Wizard: Making hiring decisions. When you hire, no false positives.

Gina Bianchini: I think no false positives is bullshit.

Michael Sippey: Read his thing because he goes through it on job type. It’s really good.

Question: People are shifting their attention from TV, radio and print to the Internet. What’s your outlook on this shift?

Narendra Rocherolle: Consumer media is really hard. It is really difficult. Very few ad companies have put it together. Banners are being thrown out the window, so now we’re asking them to try all new things. There is a lot of money being spent, but it is probably still on the horizon.

Eric Hellweg: The advertisers are reluctant to put ads around video, despite its popularly.

Gina Bianchini: It takes a while for advertisers to figure it out. When it happens, it HAPPENS and it REALLY happens. There is enough money out there right now for people to build smart businesses.

Lane Becker: We have figured out a way to make customer service entertaining and fun. There is a huge market there in the future.

Question: Interruptions and user experience. How long will people’s attention will last?

David Hornik: People with more time than money and people with more money than time. You have to be able to help both segments of that market. There are people who are willing to give attention to advertisers for content and then are people who would just rather pay you. Make sure you give options to both.

Lane Becker: ABC is just fighting the medium and it’s just not going to work for them.

Question: Do businesses understand the concepts of Web 2.0? It seems like some companies are just using Web 2.0 to use it to do what they already want to do.

Narendra Rocherolle: Avoid the topic sentences. Web 2.0 is great conceptually. Email is still as important as it was before, but Widgets is the popular thing right now. There is no magic bullet. Everyone is launching a social network, but it’s not a magic bullet.

Gina Bianchini: What’s so much fun right now is that anyone with passion and a good idea can make it big. One person can do a lot more than big business because they aren’t restrained by legal departments. Authenticity is MOST important. People’s bullshit meters are so fine tuned. You have to not be a poser.

Eric Hellweg: Grasp on the CONCEPTS like authenticity and transparency. It’s such a new concept to so many people. There IS a business value for welcoming in the community.

Michael Sippey: The USA Today was a very big thing. If you can see an implementation that is done in a way that can see how it has been done. Then it will be a lot more real. More and more media will be social.

Gina Bianchini: eBay 11 years ago was doing communities. This isn’t new.

Eric Hellweg: It’s easier now.

Gina Bianchini: If USA Today does it, then it’s somehow better.

Eric Hellweg: The USA Today going to be an interesting experience. Can a brand like them embody some of the social ideas?

Question: Outsourcing 10 years out, all this labor saving outsourcing that we are doing is going to kick our butt. What will that creative scene look like?

David Hornik: I’m sure their skill is excellent. This is a communication issue. USA is the “creative engine” of the world. Does that change over time. I hope there will be a lot of interesting innovation in the Bay Area. Over time, there will be increased pressure.

Gina Bianchini: A small team of REALLY productive people can do more than numbers alone. Don’t you want “good” engineers? Thinking of people as expensive or cheap doesn’t work anymore.

Michael Sippey: It gets really hard to deal with engineers all over the company. It’s always hard to communicate and we still suck at it.

Eric Hellweg: Forecasting 10 years out, there are pricing issues already. In 10 years, they will probably be making as much as we are.

Eric Hellweg: Can the market support 15 video sharing sites?

12/27/2005

CES Press Pass

Filed under: Musings on Being a Writer — Laura Moncur @ 6:58 pm

CES Press Pass

My CES Press Pass came in the mail today. I’m smiling as I type this. This is my first piece of external validation. I want to kiss it.

I had no idea that so many companies would want to feed me because I’m a member of the press. Why couldn’t they have fed me when I was poor and starving?

11/22/2004

Looking For Christ: Chapter Eighteen

Filed under: Looking For Christ — Laura Moncur @ 4:29 pm

Here is Chapter Eighteen…

Chapter Word Count: 3158

Monthly Word Count: 30,173

(Continue Reading…)

8/24/2004

The Fall of The Wall Street Journal

Filed under: Art and Photography,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Wall Street JournalSometimes it all smacks me in the head like a sledgehammer. Friday night, Mike and I were walking to the Farmer’s Market in Sugarhouse and it hit me. The vision of it was so striking that I couldn’t speak. Mike was talking, but I didn’t hear him. There they were, piled up and forgotten by Lifestyles 2000. There was a pile of unread and yellowing Wall Street Journals, forgotten and ignored.

I immediately stopped walking. I handed Mike my purse while I fished out my camera. I needed a picture of it. Mike panicked, imagining the brawny and the buff inhabitants of the gym protesting at his wife turned paparazzi. When he saw me bend down to the ground, he quieted. I wasn’t pointing the camera at the exercising minions. I was taking a picture of garbage.

Not just any garbage, mind you. This was weeks’ worth of a newspaper subscription that was never read. The hope and inspiration of the open market was yellowing and untouched in front of the local gym. The vision of it said it all to me.

I remember. I remember when the Dot Com industry was skyrocketing. We placed our bets and hoped the big slot machine back east would pay off. We watched CNN religiously and checked the market on the Internet until 3pm every day. We thought we were investing, but we were gambling. That’s what the stock market is: gambling. Anyone who tells you any differently is lying, even if it’s The Wall Street Journal.

I was only twenty-five years old. Vegas and Wendover held no power over me, but Wall Street struck a core in my bones. I was investing in America and just like our great country, my investments would pay off. Gambling can look like investing if you’re young or a little stupid and I fell for it. I fell right off the cliff for it.

When the Dot Bomb happened, we not only lost our investments, Mike’s income was severely changed for the worse. I worshipped at the great altar of the Computer Industry and I found that my offerings were never eaten. They just rotted and attracted flies and maggots.

A funny thing happened when I stopped worshipping The Wall Street Journal. Things picked up for us. Mike found other avenues for revenue. Web advertising started to pick up again. I started publishing my writing every day without a thought about how much money it would make me. I could be silent no more. It didn’t matter to me whether it was profitable. I had sacrificed to the God of Profitable only to find myself selling my house and using the funds to pay off the IRS. I was finished with Profitable and all I wanted was to tell the world that I survived.

The minute I stopped hoarding my writing, my writing flowed far easier than it had for years. Sure, I’ve had days when I was tired. Sure, there are times when I feel empty. Sure, there are times when I shun the keyboard and the notebook for the video game and sci-fi. On the whole, however, I have been far more productive over this last year than I have in my entire life. I owe it all to abandoning The Wall Street Journal.

Seeing those papers on the sidewalk, yellowed and forgotten by their owner said it all to me. Come here! See the spectacle! See The Fall of The Wall Street Journal! Follow me and enjoy the bliss that I have encountered for the last year! That’s why I had to stop. That’s why I had to pull out my camera like a proud mother or starving paparazzi. I had to share the vision with you.

5/1/2004

April Search Phrases

Filed under: Blog Stuff — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

matt strebe

I had several hits looking for my old friend Matt. Or maybe it was Matt looking for what people are saying about him. I still haven’t finished talking about Gifted and Talented. I stopped writing about that experience back in March, but the story isn’t finished. It was just too hard to describe how we became so close. Instant friendship is so difficult to convey in print and that’s how it was for me. I instantly liked these guys. I’ll get back to that story, I promise. Until then, you can read it again here: Gifted and Talented.

caffeine withdrawals, how to quit soda, caffeine withdrawal, how to quit drinking soda, quit drinking soda, quit soda, caffeine addiction withdrawal, caffeine withdrawal from soda, quit drinking sodas, quitting soda, remedies caffeine withdrawal, benefits of quitting soda, caffeine pop carbonation, caffeine withdrawal advice, caffeine withdrawal cold turkey, caffeine withdrawal headaches, headache withdrawals from soda, and more so much more.

The most hits again this month has come from my article, How To Quit Soda. I don’t really consider myself a health guru, but there are so many articles out there about this that are just advertisements for herbal products that I guess I am one of the few sober voices in the crowd. On another note, this month, I bought myself a rice bed buddy at Shopko that was shaped like an eye mask. I was so excited to try it. When I had a headache just a week ago, I put it in the microwave to heat it up. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the directions. Only the inner portion of the mask could go in the microwave and I ended up setting the Velcro on the mask on fire. Mike took it out of the house using the barbeque tongs and we didn’t lose anything important, but I ruined my new bed buddy before I even got to try it out. Disappointed, I put my craft fair bed buddy in the microwave to ease my headache and pouted on the couch at my broken new toy.   gym babe, adult weblog, babe gym, bra trying on dressing room, changing room perverts, desire temptation weblog   Sorry boys. Just move along. There’s nothing to see here. Just look at the next site on the list. I couldn’t write porn even if I needed to.

eat raw potatoes

I don’t know what you’re looking for, but yes, I’ve eaten raw potatoes many times in my life. Mostly when I was really hungry for dinner and my grandma asked me to peel the potatoes. She wouldn’t be watching and that would be a moment when I could get a little extra food without getting into trouble. I never got sick from eating raw potatoes. They don’t taste extraordinary unless your grandma is starving you in the misguided attempt to make you lose weight.

barbie with tan lines

Yes, I had a Barbie with tan lines. She was a Malibu Barbie and she came with a pale blue bikini. I also had a doll that was the same size as Barbie called Tuesday Taylor. She would tan in the sun. You could let her sun bathe and you could see the tan lines under her suit if you left her out there for long enough. She wasn’t really a toy for children with short attention spans because it would take hours for her to tan. Plus, only her body tanned, not her face, so her head looked really weird.

Tuesday Taylor had another cool thing about her. She had a swivel top head so that she could be blonde one minute and then brunette the next. Of course it didn’t work perfectly, so she really just looked a little bit like Cruela DeVille with two-tone hair. In this day and age, that’s completely normal, but back in the late seventies, no one had hair like that except bad guys. Eventually, the swivel got loose and we couldn’t keep her hair in one place. I don’t know why a swivel top head wasn’t as scary to me as a child as it is now.

calvin hardcastle

One person found me looking for my friend, Calvin. Whoever you are, dude, email me and we’ll reminisce about him together. I miss that skinny guy.

christian cognitive dissonance

Yeah, this has happened to me. It was that point where I really believed that the Apocalypse was going to come and God would kill me for not believing he existed.  I believed both things at the same time. I believed that the Apocalypse was coming and God was going to kill me. I believed that God didn’t exist and was just a story people made up to make us feel better about our mortality. I was in seventh grade and I held both beliefs as true for a long time. It took several years for the vision of the Apocalypse to fade and for the idea of a vengeful God to be categorized under “myth” instead of “fact.”

My entry on Cognitive Dissonance was about something else completely and came up on your search string because I said the word Christian. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to answer your questions. I don’t know if you’re suffering, but if you keep searching, I’m sure you will find an answer that is helpful to you.

bosu ball

Yes, my Bosu Ball finally came in the mail and I’ve been too damn sick to play with it. I’ve watched the video that came with it and I can tell you that everything that we did with the step in that class we could have done with the Bosu Ball. I guess they just keep the step because you can make it really tall or really short depending on your fitness level. I haven’t been back to the gym since that Saturday when I was brave and practiced on the Bosu Ball in front of all the people in the cardio area. I’m going to go back as soon as I can breathe without coughing or snuffling my nose. Until then, I’ll do easy workouts with my Bosu at home.

On another note, the character in the comic strip, Neurotica, had the completely opposite experience at the gym. She went to the Boxing Room at the gym and there was a really friendly blonde there who helped her through the class. I wish I could change my bad memory with a good one like that.

laura lund

Strangest of all, two people who were looking for me, found me. Laura Lund is my maiden name. I didn’t get any emails saying, “Hey, Laura! Long time no see! I found your weblog.” Maybe they were looking for a different Laura Lund.

1/20/2004

2 X 2 Matrix

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:49 am

Mike and I really get along with Stacey and Dan. Everything we do, we think, “Hey, let’s call Stacey and Dan and see if they want to come along.”

That’s what Darrin and I call a 2 X 2 Matrix. It’s very rare to find another couple that the both of you can like. You should be grateful.

I sat there, feeling ungrateful for not noticing that we had such a good friendship. Penny seemed almost jealous of it, but there was nothing I could do. I think she left her last 2 X 2 Matrix in Arizona. She was obviously missing them.

We invoked the rights of our 2 X 2 Matrix last Saturday and fun was had by all. We met after my meditation class. We didn’t have much planned. Mike and I wanted to take them to The Melting Pot and I had found a store that I was sure that they were going to like. That was it. Our reservation was for 6:05 pm and we got together at lunchtime, about noon. I was feeling under the pressure because I didn’t have any thing in particular planned to keep us busy until The Melting Pot would let us in the door.

I guess I shouldn’t have worried. We found lots of things to do. We were going to check out the Chroma Gallery over by our house, but it wasn’t open at its appointed time, so we blew it off. Someday we’ll get to go there and enjoy more than just the paintings that we can see from the front window.

Instead of the gallery, we looked at an antiques store and I came this close to buying a Fisher Price Record Player. It had plastic records and wound up. It worked like a music box and each record would pluck different parts of the music box. It was only $28, but I realized that the only reason that I wanted it is because I would want my unborn children to have something like that to play with. I realized that if I ever do have children, they probably would be unimpressed with the Fisher Price Record Player. It was more a gift for my inner child and she really would prefer colored pencils or another canvas.

We also went to Experienced Books. Ok, we tried to go there, but there was a friggin’ oxygen bar in its place. I literally started swearing like a carpenter with a throbbing thumb when I saw the oxygen bar. Never fear, Experienced Books is still there, they just have sized down considerably. It didn’t stop me from finding three Somerset Maugham books and Mike found a couple of mysteries. B.Daltons all over the city are closing, but we still have Experienced Books, thank goodness.

I found a place for Stacey and Dan. Last week, Mike and I drove past it going forty miles an hour. I only got a glimpse of The Light Spot, but I was able to see enough to know that Stacey and Dan would love it. We don’t have IKEA here in Salt Lake, so we poor souls rely on local modern furniture shops like Manhattan Loft and San Francisco Design. I found a new place called The Light Spot.  They loved it and I fell in love with the Punk Rock Futon. All I would have to do to replicate it is take a black sharpie to my comforter. Cool

All of this and it was only two in the afternoon. We had four hours to burn before The Melting Pot, so Stacey and Dan took us to the Dutch Shop and Europa, which are two ethnic markets right by our house that we didn’t even know about. We got lots of Russian and Dutch candy. Mike bought four flavors of licorice and two flavors of pfeffernusse. Dan got some really cool caviar (By the way, you left it in my fridge, man).

After the candy-buying binge, we all went back to my house to eat the candy until someone wisely mentioned that we were going to The Melting Pot in three hours and we needed to “save our appetites.” We all nodded knowingly and each snuck one more bite of exotic foreign candy that tasted exactly the same as the home grown variety with different packaging.

Instead of bingeing, we planned our next family vacation. We chose the dates, reserved the cabin within a few miles of the Yellowstone border and decided on the type of vehicle we are renting that can hold all of us and our crap on the trip up to Idaho. The most surprising thing is how easy it all was. Mike and I had thought that we were going to go to Yellowstone and we should just ask Stacey and Dan if they wanted to go. Within an hour of asking them, everything was decided and we were going to take my mom and Reed too. A whole family vacation to Jellystone! Yeah!

When six o’clock rolled around, I was so hungry that I was ready to order the full four course meal at The Melting Pot. They were looking at having oil instead of broth, sure go ahead. I was starving. We ordered drinks and ate tiny bits of food on long forks for three hours. We even were able to decide what we were going to fight about on the Yellowstone trip.

Nine hours together and a good time was had by all. Just chillin’ and hangin’ out. That’s what a 2 X 2 Matrix is. The four of us were able to enjoy each other, plan for more good times and make fun of Russian television. What more could we have wanted? Ok, there was one thing missing from our evening. Next time we go to The Melting Pot, we’re going to smuggle in a bag of Nilla Wafers.

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2003-2007 Laura Moncur