How-To lifehacks

Day 13: Minimalist Winter Gear

It’s day 13 of my challenge not to do laundry in washing machines and dryers and just hand wash for a month. So far it’s going great. $20 saved which I’ll use for tacos once I finish this post.

Let’s talk winter gear.

What’s the least you can wear and still stay comfortably warm? I recently went to Tahoe for work, and had this chart to work off of. The idea behind Clo values is that a Clo value of 1 will keep you comfortable at 70 degrees Fahrenheit without having to move. The colder it gets, the higher the clo value.

The chart below is the recommended clo values for keeping warm and comfy while not moving.

clo	degrees F	degrees C
1	70		21
1.3	66		19
1.6	62		17
2	59		15
2.3	55		13
2.6	52		11
3.2	45		 7
3.8	27		-3

I was on the slopes and perfectly comfortable thanks mostly to the North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket which has a clo rating of 2.08. This jacket packs down to a small 7″ x 4″ rectangle that you can attach to a carabiner on your backpack.

Also of note is the ExOfficio Trail Crest Flannel that has hollow threads for a high warmth to material ratio, and the ExOfficio Kahve Hoody. Both dry over night in 8 hours after washing and both are warm enough to be the only layers you’d need while walking around when it’s around 40 degrees.

If you look at the chart below, you’ll see that what’s minimalist is skipping ski pants in favor of a lighter rain pant, and skipping the outer shell. Instead of looking like a stay puff marsh mellow on the slopes, you look lean and mean.

I was very warm in below freezing weather thanks to the gear below.

Item				Clo Value
patagonia long johns		0.35
exofficio nomad pants		0.2
LL Bean rain pants		0.28
briefs				0.04
exofficio flannel		0.3
exofficio kahve hoody		0.37
thermoball inner jacket		2.08
boots				0.05
socks				0.1
gloves				0.1
scarf				0.1
hat				0.1
TOTAL CLO			4.07

Handwashing Clothes for a month: Day 3

When I was traveling through Iceland in November, I tried to travel as light as possible. I did this by handwashing my clothes: long johns, shirts, socks and underwear. If I could go 14 days without having to do laundry while traveling, could I go a whole month without doing laundry. This Saturday, I started in earnest and am on Day 3 of doing no laundry and just handwashing.

Why handwash?

Laundry can be a negative suck on time and energy. By handwashing items that can dry overnight, I am totally saving time. Instead of having that 2 hour block of time devoted to laundry each week, I can instead, put my clothes to wash in the sink with soap, take a shower, and then dry me and my clothes.

Here is what I’ll be wearing this month:

Lots of gear from ExOfficio because this gear can hang dry from anywhere from 2 hours to 8 hours. This is perfect for travel.

On top of saving time, I’ll also be saving money. I usually spend about $10 / week doing laundry, so by handwashing, I can save $40 per month.

Social Media

The Post Friendship Era or Friendship is Dead

People use words for things that don’t exist. It’s how many authors do fiction. I’d like to add one more word to the set of things that don’t exist: Friendship.

Philosophically, the idea is old. The 18th century philosopher Kant even contemplated the idea of a friendless world:

“Even if there has never been a single example of a sincere friend, we would still be under the moral obligation to maintain pure sincerity in friendship.” (Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals)

I know friendship is dead because to be honest, I don’t have any friends – at least not the friends that existed for me from 2002 – 2006, or the friends I had in high school and college. Friendship was a full-time affair, and really shouldn’t it be? If what makes life worth having is the company of friends, how is it that technology is more important than friendship?

I look at old blog posts here and here, and can see that friendship was hanging out almost every day in the pursuit of some common good, and if not every day at least once a week.

Last year there was someone I knew that was suicidal. Who helped her? The two people that weren’t on Facebook, and on facebook this someone has over 2,000 “friends.”

I’m not going to say that the Internet is bad or that good and even miraculous things don’t come from the Internet.

I do agree with the theory found in “A General Theory of Love” written by two awesome doctors from UCSF that as biological creatures we need proximity and touch in order to heal, maintain, relate and friend.

We have to admit, those who have been around before and after the smart phone and before and after Facebook, that something is qualitatively different.

We have to admit there is something machine-like and sinister about our inability to authentically connect with others.

What can we do?

Be highly skeptical of the use of the word, “friend,” in social media. I won’t name names, but if you are a venture capitalist and somebody is calling you “friend” on Instagram, they are really only after your money. No, your photos are not awesome. Having money to buy great gear might give you bokeh or “sharp at the corners” but it doesn’t make you a photographer. You have to troll people these days to get an honest critique of your photos on Instagram.

If you find yourself calling someone a friend, ask yourself seriously if you’re confusing your feelings at the moment with the pre-requisite sincerity (see above) that is required of friendship.

Throw a dinner every now and then and see who invites you back. Honestly I’ve stopped throwing my Wednesday night dinners because:

1) I don’t feel I could ever meet the standards of people who throw dinners for me. This is only 2 people.
2) The majority of people I’ve invited over for dinner have never invited me over for dinner. About 33 people on Facebook that I just want to un-friend right now.
3) I’ve probably enjoyed your hospitality in some other way, but honestly, you and your crowd never made me feel good enough.

Such quibble as above is hardly worth the trouble. After all this is the post-friendship era.

Friendship is dead. Long live “friendship.”

iphone Mobile Apps Social Media TechBiz

Instagram Flexes Its Marketing Muscle with CommunityFirst

Instagram hit 200 million users a few months ago.

Of those 200 million users how many can Instagram engage?


The marketing team at Instagram sent out boxes to select users. Users with follower counts as low as 188, and as high as 679,450 got these boxes. These users posted photos to the #communityfirst hashtag. I created a list of likes and followers.

In the first 24 hours here are the stats:

117 users posted photos of what they got in these boxes
3506478 followers were a potential audience for the #communityfirst hashtag
78230 people liked the photos posted
2 percent were engaged

If a like is a “click through” which is highly dubious, a 2 percent CTR is about average. Explore diverse seo reseller programs tailored to various business needs and objectives.

blogging How-To Mobile Apps TechBiz Webalytics

How to Get More Instagram Followers Free Honestly

We now know that you can get fake followers and brands won’t know the difference. These brands give tons of money to fakers. We also know that Googling “autolikers” will show us a bunch of apps that can be used to game around 200 followers per day. What does honest engagement look like?

A network graph visualization will easily show fake followers. In Gilad Lotan’s article linked above, more purple means more fake, i.e. accounts that follow exactly 2000 and are followed by less than 20.

Honest engagement *cough* might look something like this chart below which you should please click:


1. If you drop followers are dropped, if you have good content you shouldn’t have mass un-followings. I dropped 449 followers and only lost 30.

2. If you stop adding followers, like I did around November and December, and just focused on engagement through adding photos, about 25 per month, then you can get follower growth.

3. Do you have to post almost everyday? It turns out that if you add 5 followers per day, spend 15 minutes in the morning and evening liking every good photo in your feed, and do 15 photos per month, you can get about 75 followers per week.

These stats aren’t hard and fast rules, but seem to be true for my account.

I’m going to dig in more and get better stats via the API in an upcoming post.

Social Media TechBiz WebApps

High Quality Engagement from Instagram Photo Walks

Last year I hosted over 25 photo walks organized through Instagram and about half of these were branded “experiences.” I did this to learn more about photography, marketing and working with brands and services from It was a fun experience but not so fun realizing I helped generate millions in revenue and just got an Instagram mug from it. 😀

I was able to reach a large audience for a fraction of the cost of a TV commercial (< 50%) , and was able to produce measurable and actionable results. stolioriginal

Here’s some data from the Stolichnaya photo walk which had the hashtag #stolioriginal :

followers 234564
likes       9328
posts         67
guests        32

1240 (drinks & food)
1200 hotel + flight for organizer

$2440 for 234,564 viewers

Commercial for a show like Two and a Half Men
$215,000 per 30 second commercial
8.5 million viewers
$0.025 per viewer

In one evening Stoli was able to reach over 200,000 eyeballs at a cost of a penny per eyeball! Great stuff, right?

Bitcoin TechBiz

RIBS for Bitcoin

I just found a piece on Hacker News called PR Advice from Facebook’s Head of Tech Communications

To develop a compelling message, Marooney advises running it through the RIBS test (will your story “stick to your ribs”?)

The RIBS test consists of crafting a message that is

  • Relevant
  • Inevitable
  • Believable
  • Simple

If I were to run an ad campaign for Bitcoin, I’d run it on the tagline of “Your Money, Your Responsibility, Your Destiny.”

I’d satisfy the relevance part by highlighting for merchants by highlighting the near zero dollar fees on bitcoin charges. I’d also highlight the fact that Bitcoin places the responsibility for your money in your hands. For example, during a tax lien, the sheriff goes to the bank, shows them the judgment, and takes your money. To seize your funds stored in bitcoin, the sheriff will have to seize the actual device with the private key, and make you type in your password to send the government the funds. Given that the tax system has done so many unfair things like tax the rich less and actually target people politically, this inconvenience for tax collectors is okay by me. It gives the average citizen more leverage against the IRS. As someone who was levied

The inevitable part of Bitcoin is that looking at FiatLeak you can see in real-time more and more fiat converted to bitcoin. A good example of adoption is Overstock hitting $1 million in sales through customers paying with bitcoin.

In order to make Bitcoin believable or credible, it’s important that exchanges become transparent. The debacle with the Mt. Gox exchange losing over 750,000 bitcoin or about $450,000,000 at the time of their shutdown would’ve been prevented with exchange data public. Credibility is Bitcoin’s biggest challenge.

The simple part can be fulfilled by showing how easy it is to make a purchase with an Android enabled app.

There’s lots of marketing and evangelizing work to be done for Bitcoin.

software TechBiz

Litecoin Mining: Building a Rig

Last week I built a Litecoin mining rig which cost $1673.96 to build. To break even, assuming I can produce 10 Litecoins, I need Litecoin to trade at around $167.40 USD. It is currently trading as of 12/16/2013 at around $25 USD.

The 2 important things to know about Litecoin mining or mining any cryptocurrency are:

  1. most mining profitability calculators are wildly off after a few days. They assume linear growth of Litecoins whereas growth is really logarithmic, and eventually mining becomes unprofitable. The most accurate one I could find is at Bitcoinwisdom and that assumes you guess the growth of difficulty accurately, and
  2. electricity costs determine your profitability.

If you have any questions or have anything you’d like me to write about, please comment below.

Mobile Apps Social Media TechBiz

A Social Media Guide to Growing Engagement on Instagram the Hard Way

We have clear, big data analytics from Curalate about what an engaging Instagram photo is. We can now create duck-face selfies, with lots of background and blue tones, at will, and get more likes.

I just hit 1000 followers a few weeks ago and average about 200 likes per photo. That’s an engagement of 20% that’s much higher than many of the brands or those on the suggested list.

How did I get here?

Well, thanks to those 1000+ followers, I grew engagement the hard way.

There are 3 reliable ways to do this.

1. Be engaged on Instagram: Like and comment positively on as many photos as your aesthetic sensibilities will allow you to. A good amount of time to spend reviewing and liking photos is 30 minutes a day split in the morning and evening. Think twice about leaving a critical comment since that isn’t really the culture of Instagram. If you are wondering where 30 minutes stacks up to the average user, it is 3 times more time than the average user. Like I said, this is the hard way.

2. Post really awesome photos: When you post a photo, post an awesome photo and use at least 11 hashtags. Here is a good sample of 11 hashtags to used based off of my interests and, a personal Instagram analytics site and viewer. This is the most effective method of getting new likes and follows within Instagram according to Curalate. When people comment on your photo, thank them or engage with them back in a positive way.
On weekends, participate in the Weekend Hashtag Project. If you have a personal brand that you are building and not a corporate one, you might get recognized by Instagram HQ from the Weekend Hashtag Project in a blog post. This will create even more engagement. Follow the Instagram account for announcements.

3. Best and funnest of all: go to the Photowalks. My Instagram account was stalled at around 200 followers for 2 years. It wasn’t until I started going out and meeting other Instagram users that I finally got to 1000. After every Photowalk, you can gain followers you met face to face, and then followers from those followers. Here’s awesome advice from a diehard Instagramer, Christian Beccara aka @throughthetinylens who has gotten lots of engagement, buzz, and met lots of folks on trips, recently to New York City:

For me it is about getting involved with the community, going out and shooting whenever possible, acknowledging other peoples comments and staying humble.

Great idea!


New Music


How do you keep up with new music? Spotify? Rdio?

I’d love to know! 🙂