this might not hurt, but close your eyes anyways

Apr 15

Lol: “Tell us about any foreign trusts,” says TurboTax.

“The crux of the “sharing economy” is that someone else’s property becomes yours for as long as you’re willing to pay for it, usually no questions asked. In the case of Airbnb, you’re going to miss out on room service, but in exchange for missing amenities, you get free reign of a stranger’s apartment, without regulation or oversight. This is terrific if you want to break the law.” — Valleywag: New York’s Prostitutes Are Saving Money with Airbnb

“For Intuit, it’s just good business. Return-free filing can only save billions of dollars because there’s billions of dollars being made preparing tax returns. And a lot of those dollars flow to Intuit.” — Vox: You are the IRS’s worst-paid employee

Apr 08

USA Today, citing a GOA survey: “[T]ax returns prepared by preparers had a higher estimated percent of errors — 60% — than self-prepared returns —50%.” The reason why will not shock you whatsoever.

Apr 07

“I just feel like a student-athlete, and sometimes, like I said, there’s hungry nights and I’m not able to eat and I still got to play up to my capabilities.” — Shabazz Napier, UConn men’s basketball guard, goes to bed hungry. Pay student athletes what their work is worth, already!

“Please do not write that I compared the Manhattan Project to Uber.” — Valleywag’s Sam Biddle is the subject of this New York Magazine profile.

Mar 28

Americans for Prosperity Pennsylvania State Director Jennifer Stefano thinks 133 percent of the poverty line is $94,000, because apparently math is hard.

Americans for Prosperity Pennsylvania State Director Jennifer Stefano thinks 133 percent of the poverty line is $94,000, because apparently math is hard.


Mar 26

Seamless sucked today

Here’s a thing: If you develop cool technology that has the potential to make people’s lives easier, it should work. If it doesn’t work, you need to have people around to explain why it doesn’t work to customers who are trying to use it.

My girlfriend and I ordered lunch on Seamless today. (It’s her birthday. Wish her a happy one, everyone.) She has a dairy allergy, so she reads menus very carefully. It’s probably obvious what happened next: Her food had cheese on it, but the menu didn’t make mention of this ingredient. So we called. And called. And called again. No answer.

Girlfriend, on not being able to reach @seamless: “I don’t understand. I’m hungry and mad at you.”

— andrew graham (@andrew_graham) March 26, 2014

Apparently Seamless doesn’t always suck; it just sucks today.

@andrew_graham We apologize you were not able to get through.We had a small technical issue but it has been resolved & phones are working :)

— Seamless (@Seamless) March 26, 2014

I would love to know what kind of “small technical issue” would render a company’s phones unusable. The technology that makes landlines work is pretty reliable. Maybe there was some city-wide outage early this afternoon I didn’t hear about. Or maybe Seamless uses VOIP phones, and there was somehow an internet outage at this internet-based business. But I suspect either Seamless just doesn’t make customer service a high priority or it isn’t aware I know their explanation to me is one steaming-hot pile of bullshit.

Most rants about bad customer service are boring and lacking in context. But here’s a broader point: A lot of people have invested money in Seamless, and soon it may go public. If your business uses technology to get food to people and your phones go down randomly during lunchtime in New York City, that’s a huge problem that stakeholders — including and especially investors — need to know about. And if your consumer technology makes customer service so little of a priority to the extent that a customer with a legitimate complaint can’t even reach someone to see what’s up, that too is a huge problem that stakeholders — including and especially investors — need to know about.

Eighty-nine percent of customers stop doing business with an organization after a single bad experience. Someone at Seamless will probably read this. Here’s who they should call for some help.

Mar 14

We talkin’ about practice. #basketball #workout #bball #wetalkinaboutpractice #kickgamecray

We talkin’ about practice. #basketball #workout #bball #wetalkinaboutpractice #kickgamecray

Mar 06

“I don’t care if the idea came from a good person or an evil person. Ideas stand on their own.” — Bitcoin’s chief scientist, Gavin Andresen, on the recently identified creator of the software.