Monthly Archives: July 2007

iPhone Gets Hacked… Businesses and Individuals Need to Protect Themselves

The iPhone may seem like an immortal device, (check out this YouTube iphone spoof) but even it has its weaknesses. The New York Times has just released an article that states the iPhone has a security hole that allows remote control or hazing/fisching with fake websites. We knew it was bound to happen. It kinda reminds me of the line in Jurassic Park where Malcolm, (played by Sam Neill) says, “Nature will find a way”. But really when it comes to hacking, “People will find a way.”

The iPhone is the perfect item to hack as well. Limited supplies and relatively high-costs, (for a smartphone) mark its users as targets: Not only as die-hard Mac fans (for Steve Jobs’ next big product), but also as people with money who do a number of transactions over the internet. Intercepting or placing spyware could be very valuable to information theives. In addition to getting credit card information or typing histories, think of how great it would be to also pick up names, numbers, pictures, email addresses and more–all conveniently stored in the same location.

Identity theft has a long history. (Check out this wikipedia article.) The increased danger of hacked identity is more than a Hollywood storyline, (although The Net was a fun movie and one of Sandra Bullock’s better performances). The truth is that the advent of new technology is raising risks not only in the depths of thefts, but also in the breadth and number of people who can be affected.

For now, Apple has released information on a plug-in that can help patch the problem. Check out for more information. But really, big brothers, (like the NSA) or little brothers (like local scam artists) can be tough to shake.

Here’s a website that offers great information on how to protect yourself from scams and hacking. Anyone who does business or shares information should be familiar with information theft and its prevention. Check out the ID Theft Center website and the FTC Identity Theft website for more information.

Really though, we can’t live our lives in fear. The main thing is: be careful what unsecured wi-fi networks you join. And if we’re going to do business and live anyhow, why not do it with an iPhone?

As a Man Thinketh, Harry Potter to James Allen…

As the commotion dies down over the final Harry Potter Book, The Deathly Hallows, I have searched through the rubble for a lasting moral. Of course there are a lot of morals which can come from this story: friendship, sacrifice, love etc.. but the moral I enjoyed the most is the principles that really made Harry good and Voldemort, well, bad. (And more specifically, J.K. Rowlings–Successful).

The moral is simply this: What we think about ultimately makes us who we are…

Although this moral is almost as old as written literature, and transcends even the immortal walls of Hogwarts, it is also clearly described in the little book, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen.

I first read as a man thinketh when I was about 17 years old. Haunted by feelings of frustration and failure, I read the book and experienced a significant paradigm shift. Reading the book was more a stroke of luck and laziness than really looking for a solution. I was looking for something to read and relax but didn’t want to spend more than an hour finish the book. (It just happened to be in my parents’ library). I read the book and realized that my circumstances and relationships were really only a reflection of the reality I had created with my own thoughts…

Bad people don’t just instantly become bad. Good people don’t instantly become good. We are a result of a development process. Or rather we are sum of our thoughts–Which thoughts lead to our actions. Which actions lead to our habits. Which habits become our character. Which character becomes our destiny…

In business, family, or wizardry… We create our destiny. Really. Even Harry Potter… Just ask the brilliant writer who developed his story and got millions of people reading and shaping their own destinies… I’m pretty sure that J.K. Rowlings has read As a Man Thinketh… :)

Standing in the Bottom Line for Harry Potter

In just a little more than an hour, the seventh and final book of the Harry Potter Series will be released here in Utah. I love it! Lines for Borders, Barnes and Noble and Walmart are off the charts. It’s the kind of economic pandemonium that actually may shadow (the allegedly revolutionary–) iPhone.

As an entrepreneur and marketing manager, I get a kick out of Harry. How does he do it? It’s a fun thing to explore the incredible value of Harry Potter and his Deathly Hallows. A recent Harry Potter Revenues article suggests the Harry Potter brand values at more than 1 billion dollars. (Wikipedia suggests 4 billion.)

J.K. Rowlings is one great success story. Assuming she gets her 15% creative royalty, let’s do the math: Movie Revenues are already nearly 1.8 billion worldwide. Over 325 million copies of the book have sold–averaged at $20 per book) which means 6.5 Billion is sales. Not including paraphernalia, or the upcoming Harry Potter Land–J.K. is sitting at a cool billion herself. If only she could get a percentage of all the contra-ban rip offs in Asia:) I love this story.

But what about the otherside of the story? The side that funds U.K.’s richest woman–and the only person ever to become a billionaire from writing books?

The entreprenuer in me wants to know, “Why do people spend so much money for this paper and ink?”

Maybe I’ll run out to the bookstore and find out… There might be a few people there planning to spend a little money tonight… :)

HARRY POTTER 7–The Real Ending Uncensored!

Speaking of Harry Potter Seven, (Who isn’t speaking of Harry Potter these days?) I read a fascinating article on the internet about some pictures of the new book that have been circulating. This is making big news, (and big money) in China (who’s surprised?).

After extensive research to find the legitimate ending to Harry Potter 7, –not some lame book seven spoiler– but I was able to find the following picture…



As further proof, I retrieved this video from Google Video. (Never mind who uploaded the video… :) )

Video Lost…

After all my research, (as much as any entrepreneur needs to do), I believe this is the only true ending to the Harry Potter series. However, in case you still want to verify the legitimacy of this video, you can always be a good muggle and check out the underground Harry Potter site to make sure…

You can also checkout wikipedia for the fully edited reviews of Harry Potter Book Seven (Be careful though, this really will spoil it if you haven’t read it :) .

Copyright Protection for Harry Potter in China? Now that’s Fantasy.

I love Harry Potter. But I’ll admit that I’m not drawn into the popular culture as a common muggle trying to live proxy through the boy wizard. I love Harry Potter because it sells. J.K. Rowlings has created a global literary fashion that has in turn launched the perfect platform to demonstrate the gambit of global cultures international legal and economic standards.

I was in Thailand two years ago for the release of Harry Potter Six. Two months before the real Harry Potter Six came out a Thai verson of Hally Potta 6 hit the stores. It was an instant success and then of course an instant scandal… The Thais certainly didn’t seem to mind; Fakes were as interesting as the real ones.

I recently read a fun little article about the international suspense for Harry Potter SevenThe Deathly Hallows. Of course Harry Potter Seven is already out in China. Here’s an article that reminds us that Harry Potter is always ahead of his game in China.

Can a business-man not be a hit-man?

I just finished reading the book, Confessions of An Economic Hitman by John Perkins.

It was a fascinating novel with a very basic and well supported premise: Giant corporations work with the government to secure large contracts and make lots of money.

As a student of international business and development, I find myself torn in his analysis. I do agree with his logic that we could spend more money on relief and less on defense contracts. I do agree that the greed of giant corporations is creating a significant imbalance in world perceptions. I do not completely know (yet) if giant MNE’s are really such a bad thing. What about the shrinking world of Thomas Friedman? Don’t more McDonalds means less wars? Although I do question John’s zealous efforts to label himself as an Economic Hit Man, I believe the patterns he discussed do exist. I’m still struggling with the complete assault on Friedman economics.

I think before going into more analysis I need to read some of the basic documents of the United States of America, to get a more clear understanding of the ideals that John Perkins frequently made reference.

I do not endorse this book as revolutionary truth, but it is a thought provoking read for anyone involved in business. John Perkins does a great job to illustrate the three major relationships that exist in all business ventures, big or small, domestic or international: The interworkings of Companies/Products, Governments and Consumers/Workers.

Really though I would enjoy to hear the thoughts and experiences of others…

Utah Inventions… High on Ideas–Low on Capital

I recently had a business idea that I was sure would revolutionize the home remodeling industry. I talked with my brother (Patent Attorney) about it and he helped me understand that to take an idea to market takes a lot of steps.

  • First, I needed to run a patent search. This typically costs about 1,200 to 2,000 dollars.
  • Next, I needed to write up a provisionary patent. This would cost only a few hundred dollars.
  • Getting a lawyer that knows what they’re doing to help write up and file the real patent starts at 5,000 (this is a favor) and can easily reach 10,000 dollars.

Well, what if I didn’t have that kind of money yet. What options do I have?

After speaking with a relatively successful idea entrepreneurs he talked about how he sometimes starts with the poor-man patent. That is, he makes a working prototype of his idea, takes a picture of it, writes up a brief description of how it works, seals it in an envelope and sends it in the mail to himself. Definitely an option.

Okay, so once you’ve got the patent, then comes the marketing and further development for mass distribution.

This is the step where most people really get stuck. (Or bankrupt at least… (especially in Utah:))

There are of course a few organizations out there that do have more capital and plenty of experience in helping inventors bring their ideas to lucrative market. I did a little research and came up with a few different names that might interest readers to further research. (I’m sure similar organizations exist in your home state if you’re not from Utah).

I’ve known some incubator groups, and of course there are a number of Utah Venture Capital Firms, but really I think the resources are somewhat limited for people who have an idea but no other business experience.

There is no substitute for hard work. When you put your idea on the table, if you don’t move on it, others may.

I have heard however, that if you have an idea and want to turn it into a marketing reality, you may want to speak with a gentlemen by the name of Stuart Reeves as a great guy to point the way on this subject. You should be able to contact him (or his secretary) at his company,Technology Solutions Group.

I’d also be interested in any more useful leads for this subject. Let me know!

Life Line-Umbilical Non-Profit

My wife and I have been doing a little research into the options of preserving our upcoming baby’s umbilical cord. I cannot believe the prices of preserving these cords. The low packages start just under 2,000 dollars and then charge another 5,000 dollars to store the cord over a 40 year period. Also the number of people doing it is relatively small, so the if your cord doesn’t match, then you might run into problems getting one to work.

I once spoke with a very wealthy individual who was in the process of setting up a rather substantial non-profit. His organization is going to do amazing things to help the people of this world. During our conversation he said something that I’ll never forget. He said, “Look John, at the end of the day, a non profit is about money. If you can’t fund it, you don’t have one.”

Umbilical cords, like blood and plasma, are things you can’t just sell. (Contrary to popular belief, you donate plasma and they compensate you for your time). Yet, when a hospital or pharmaceutical industry buys blood or plasma, that is extremely expensive. There’s a reason why the Red Cross can afford to pay its executives so much.

My first impression is that a non-profit that stores umbilical cords would easily be able to acquire them. (My wife and I would donate our child’s.) This increase of supply would almost certainly lower the per unit cost of preservation. In addition what is the value of finding a cord that matches an individual’s needs? That blood would also be very valuable and would certainly be able to help fund some of this venture. In addition to that, wouldn’t it be awesome to help so many people?

This is an undertaking I would love to be involved in, although right now I’m pretty busy battling global illiteracy. If anyone has heard of a social venture like this taking place, please let me know.

Out of This World Small Business Opportunity

I recently had the opportunity of meeting with Lynn Taylor, Owner and Operator of the Utah County M.A.R.S. (Miracle Appearance Reconditioning Specialist) — mobile detailing company. I was impressed by his genuine character and also his reasons for being involved in the franchise.

I spoke with him about why he chose to be involved with MARS when there are hundreds of different opportunities–many of which have reportedly higher margins. He said the company and people involved were trustworthy and it provided him with the flexibility he preferred to grow and coast. The price of the franchise plus materials were close to 100K. Not a small amount, but certainly not the end of the world if things go sour.

I wish Lynn the best of luck in his venture and any other entrepreneur looking to get things on track.

I would be very interested in looking at the success rates of first time franchisees across a spectrum of different opportunities… If anyone knows where to get info on that, please let me know.

Business and Government and Senator Bob Bennett

Most business owners or managers can verify the importance of being involved at the local level. It was after the advice from a very insightful mentor that I decided to take the jump and join. My experience thus far has been positive and I have only seen benefit from my participation.

At a recent business chambers meeting I had the opportunity of Listening to Senator Bob Bennett. There were a lot of things said, (what else can we expect from a Senator?) But the format was pretty much a question and answer period.

I took the notes from my blackberry, so it’s a little condensed. But I still believe there are some interesting things there…

Senator Bob Bennett


Brief history of the electoral college. It was originally installed because the founding fathers thought the country was so large, no one person could be known by everyone, so a group of people were elected to nominate the top three candidates… Clearly outdated here in the information age, but still, we have it. Learn how to learn from it. :)

Q What can do for our part to help the nation heal more?

A We [Senators] say it a lot, “We want to Change. We want to Heal.” What you need to do is thoughfully write your reps. Please lower your voices. Let’s use less venom. Do not overwhelm the senate. –The recent bill for immigration is a perfect example of burning our the senate to prevent a real solution from being found. It got so bad that Senator Bennett was recieving death threats.

Q As a small business owner, I’m concerned about the national tax code. I’m in favor of a Fair Tax. Is it possible?

A Our tax code is perverse. Our taxes were developed under depressed and industrial cirmcumstances. We now live in an International economy in the information age. I believe Taxes should be to raise money to run government. Now decided government measure percentage of GDP

Ground rules change every 18 months. No one understands the code. Used to be 18.5 – 19.5 percent of GDP. Starting 2008 retied people will double. I would abolish payroll and income tax. We should go to a 20% of GDP rate. Consumption tax for 10 percent. Flat tax for other 10 percent. No more winners and losers. Q What does it take to make a difference?

A Senators are not bought and paid for. Money is given to people who already agree. Integrity now is higher than ever. Problems will be dealt. The question is when. Usually

Q Small business problems and some senators have backed down? Why?

A some times honorbound prevents somethings from happening. Things hurt. Wounds take time to heal. Just look at the example of Adams and Jefferson!

Q What do you think about American ignorance?

A America is founded on an ideal not a tribe. It is vitally important that we preserve the idea. The idea is found in three main documents, the Declaration of Independence, The Consititution and the Ghetty’s Burg Address. This is Winning our freedom, Ordering our freedom and Keeping our freedom. If allowed to split into tribes America wouldn’t make it. It may take many generations but eventually the idea gets everyone who lives here.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile