Thursday, July 24, 2008

Be All That You Can Be...Pick Up An Xbox

The craptastic 80s movie "The Last Starfighter" featured one of the most brilliant plot hooks of all time: An alien armada threatens the galaxy, and to recruit pilots to meet the threat, aliens plant a "Starfighter" video game in Earthly arcades to identify the best flyboys.

Seriously, how can a movie that combines videogames AND a massive alien armada go wrong? Alas, it does. Don't believe the cult following, this movie sucks AND blows.

However, it appears that the Raytheon corporation disagrees, and has unleashed all kinds of awesome to prove me wrong.

Apparently, the first generation controls for the military's UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) were classic government work--clunky and dependent on keyboard commands. Why not just give them a command line interface?

Raytheon got the bright idea of hiring a bunch of game developers and creating an improved version based on the Xbox processor. It's basically a super arcade game, with wraparound monitors, adjustable foot- and arm-rests, and individual air conditioning.

But that's not the most awesome part. Get a load of the statements from Raytheon's spokesmen:

"The current generation of pilots was raised on the PlayStation, so we created an interface that they will immediately understand," says one Raytheon spokesman. Another points out, "The Air Force will be able to recruit pilots who already have the dexterity required."

But hey, as long they're using human pilots rather than killer robots, I'm happy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Don't Let Your Decisionmaking Bonk

The latest post from Scientific American says that exercising self-control can deplete your brain's decisionmaking muscle.

It turns out that resisting those chocolate-chip cookies or deciding which movie to see exhausts the same muscle that you use for making important decisions--the so-called "executive function". If you tire out your executive function with petty tasks, it won't be able to respond when you call on it to help you make an important decision.

When I was young, I often read Russian folktales about Little Vassilia, whose magic doll would often counsel her when she was distraught and facing a dilemma, "Go to sleep, Little Vassilia, for the morning is wiser than the evening."

Her doll might as well have said, "Go to sleep, Little Vassilia, for you have exhausted your executive function, and eight hours of sleep will recharge you."

P.S. I'm currently in a biggest loser competition, and by exercising extreme restraint in my diet (a typical lunch = carrot sticks, tomatoes, a slab of baked tofu, blueberries, and eight almonds), I've managed to lose 18 pounds in 30 days. By improving my health, am I hurting my decisionmaking ability?

Just in case, any entrepreneurs looking for funding should probably send their executive summaries in before the contest is over!

Entrepreneurship is about getting someone else to do the work

One of the most important of Yeh's Laws of Entrepreneurship is simple but universal:Get someone else to do the work.

I'm not advocating laziness in entrepreneurs--entrepreneurship is hard work. But you have to realize that hard work is insufficient.

Even the most dedicated entrepreneur is hard-pressed to work more than 12 hours per day.

That's only 84 hours per week, assuming you never take a day off. And towards the end of those long days, I'll bet our workaholic entrepreneur would only be working at 50% effectiveness--or less.

In contrast, if you simply get three reliable people to work for you 40 hours per week, that's 120 hours of productive work, in addition to whatever you get done.

It often seems like young entrepreneurs think that working ridiculously long hours makes them morally superior. All it really makes them is tired.

Professionals work hard, but understand that the real key is figuring out how to get others to do the work.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Book him, Dano!

Today my friend Ramit showed me an email and asked, "What does this person mean when she writes, 'Book him, Dano.'"

I said, "It's from Hawaii Five-O."

"What's Hawaii Five-O?" he asked.

At that point, the other two people within earshot who were above the age of 30 burst out laughing and felt incredibly old.

Man, I am old.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Give Yourself An Early Birthday Present

Those of us who came of age in the 1980s have a very distinct memory of Princess Leia's metal bikini in "Return of the Jedi." While I was a bit too young, others have told me that they felt a distinct stirring in the man region.

Fortunately for us, the metal bikini has made a heck of a comeback. Behold the glory.

If you are a metal bikini connoisseur, you should definitely make your way down to Comic Con in San Diego for the group photo on July 25th.

But the true connoisseur is not satisfied with a few peeks during a convention...the true connoisseur needs his or her own metal bikini costume.

For a long time, the only way to get one was to make it yourself, but now, thanks to mass production, it's available for $66. If you want to thank me, use my affiliate link. Something tells me that this item is going to be popular....