Negotiation

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Buying a new house?  Maybe a new car?  How about asking for a raise.  All of these have something in common beyond terrifying a lot of people.  The art of negotiation is an often overlooked skill.  If I could give everyone sage advice on the topic, I would.  Instead, I reached out to my buddy Chris, who deals with negotiations all day every day.  This guy could get you a good deal on most everything.  The nuances are important.  Here are a few of Chris’s main points that we discuss that will help you keep thing in the right perspective:

1.  This is probably the most important idea Chris tried to get across – Every negotiation, in any environment, should try to result in a win-win situation.  Do not try to “beat” your purchaser or seller, an insulting offer from you can quickly turn into an equally insulting counter-offer and the termination of a deal.

2.  Do your research.  This always seems like a no-brainer, but it can’t be stressed enough, and it is important to know WHY you are doing the research.  Doing the research will give you things you can talk about and point out to gain leverage to get a better price.

3.  Have some backup plans.  If you are in love with just one car, or one house, your negotiations could potentially suffer.  Having plan A, B, and C will increase your bargaining power, and allow you more places to concede certain items to obtain the highest number of your must-have items/features overall.

4.  Keep your cool.  Being short with the salesman, or condescending with your buyer is not a way to show strength.  As Chris has learned over many years, a good relationship and a good conversation is better than a good price in a lot of situations.

5.  Know your buyer.  Any information you can gain about the needs of your buyer will help.  Asking “soft” questions to get the ball rolling is a great way to learn what a potential buyer really wants.  If you can determine that he or she hates not getting a real person on the phone, that can be used to your advantage.

6.  Think about the fringe.  In a lot of job/salary negotiations, there are tons of perks that can be hidden behind a dollar figure.  Getting more flexibility to work from home, extra vacation, or having more autonomy are all things that can improve your quality of life as much or more than another could grand.  Think about all of the things other than money, and value them before you talk to your employer.  Be prepared to give things up and gain some others.

7.  Know your goals.  Now that you have all your options lined up, make sure you think hard about which ones are really your favorite.  Have a solid ranking system in place and stick to it.

8.  Think about how you respond to the offer you are putting forward.  If you wouldn’t consider an offer, why should anyone else?

9.  Be prepared to do what you say.  If you threaten to walk, you better be able to.  Don’t “play too hard of ball”.

10.  Read up.  Practice.  Chris gave some good resources in the podcast you should check out.  amanet.org, karrass.com, impressionmanagement.com, kbb.com, daveramsey.com.

 

You can gain a lot of things by negotiating with a cool head, and a lot of options.  There isn’t a magic bullet on how to get a car 50% below sticker, but you can certainly do your part to get closer.  Think about your interactions using some of the above guidelines and you’ll give yourself a good shot at a win-win .

 

Alcohol Legislation and Subscription Bars

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The constitutional right to drink/sell/manufacture alcohol has been debated since the early 1900’s.  Most famous amongst these debates was the era of prohibition.  Prohibition was initiated in 1920 with the passage of the 18th amendment.  This U.S. Constitutional amendment made it illegal to manufacture, transport, or sell intoxicating liquors.  Conveniently for all people who appreciate the finer things in life (like Coors Light and other alcoholic beverages), the 18th amendment was repealed in 1933 by the passage of the 21st amendment.  Shortly after, many individual states adopted minimum legal drinking age policies which made it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcoholic beverages.  Due to the passage of the 26th amendment, which lowered the required voting age from 21 to 18, many states adjusted the minimum legal drinking age from 21 to 18, 19 or 20.  However, a dramatic increase in accidents involving alcohol use in younger people followed this decrease in the minimum drinking age.  In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act which set the minimum drinking age back at 21.  Any states not in compliance with this act were penalized by having 10% of their highway construction funds revoked.  Depending on the size of the state, this legislation prevented the distribution of 8 to 99 million dollars.  By 1988, all 50 states ratified the National Minimum Drinking Age Act but U.S. territories Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands maintained an age of 18.

 

Today, in the wake of this fluid legislative history, many states have additional regulations which control the sale and distribution of alcohol.  These laws stipulate who can sell alcohol, when alcohol can be sold, and how strong alcohol can be.  Every Good Guy To Know should be aware of these laws in their home states.  For more information on your states regulations visit this website:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_laws_of_the_United_States

 

And here is the article from Esquire that prompted this main pillar.

What If Bars Sold Subscriptions?

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/should-bars-sell-subscriptions-13029784

What would it take for you to “subscribe” to a bar?  Leave your comments below and thanks for listening!

 

References:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Minimum_Drinking_Age_Act_of_1984, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_laws_of_the_United_States

3D Printing

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***Here is a link to the bracket – password is goodguys.  Good Luck!  http://ggtk.mayhem.cbssports.com/e?ttag=13_cbspaste ***

I heard about 3D printing about a year ago, and at the time, thought it sounded kind of cool, but it also sounded a little over-hyped. I remember whatever pundit was talking about it claimed that it was going to revolutionize manufacturing, and disrupt our lives as we know them. Comparing it to the personal computer, internet, etc. I’m not positive that this is the case, but wanted to learn more and in through my research, I’m getting a little more sympathetic to the view that this could indeed change our lives dramatically.

First have to give a little primer on 3D printing; basically it’s making a physical object based on a digital model. You’ll also hear the term “additive” because the items are created by gradually adding layers of material to the object to create the desired shape. This is significantly different than traditional “subtractive” manufacturing where objects are cut/drilled/carved out of a larger item.

The first question I had when I started to hear about 3D printing, was ‘what is the stuff that you use to make the object?’  This kind of depends on the flavor of 3D printing we are talking about, but a few examples 3D printers have printed stuff in; Plastics, Wood, Glass, Rubber, Steel, Concrete, Human cells, Cheese, and Chocolate.

The material you are using kind of drives the flavor of 3D printing we are talking about. Probably the most mainstream one and the one I’m going to be talking most about is extrusion. This is where the solid material is heated up so that it’s liquid, and then squeezed through a nozzle. Once it is ‘extruded,’ it very quickly hardens back into a solid object.

The other flavor that is interesting is the ‘granular’ method which is used when 3D printing with metal. Here you basically have a sandbox full of metal powder that a high powered laser shoots and melts layer after layer to create the metal object. One area I did not research heavily, but sounds awesome, is the organs that are printed off with human cells. I have no idea how that works, but they have successfully printed working human bladders, bones, etc.

While the medical uses are super cool, the potential for disruption really lies in how these printers can change manufacturing. At the moment, probably the biggest use for 3D printing is called ‘rapid prototyping.’ So here a company/university etc, can try out all sorts of designs very quickly and efficiently. Before 3D printing, an artist or sculptor or something would have to create a model of the thing, would use that to create a mold, and then finally they could use these molds to build the item. If they screwed up, or found a design flaw, all of that overhead is gone. 3D printing allows the designer to upload his file, and a few hours later, be holding his design in his hand.

I was surprised to learn that companies have been 3D printing since the 70s. So why is 3D printing such a hot topic now and why is it being thought of as a potential disruptor? $$$$. The printers that companies have been using are super big and expensive. So only companies that were very R&D intensive and had sufficiently large budgets for the initial outlay were able to take advantage of the technology.

Today, a basic 3D extrusion printer will only run you like $1500. This opens the door for small business and even personal hobby users to have a 3D printer. This is where we start to see the case building that 3D printing could be extremely disruptive. Does the following summary of where 3D printing sound familiar to anyone: Large, expensive implementations of the technology are used only by large companies for very targeted and specific use. Over the years the tech gets cheaper and cheaper, allowing smaller companies to get in the game. Finally, the technology becomes so inexpensive that early adopters start using the technology in their homes just for fun. Last step is that the technology becomes ubiquitous, and used in ways that no one could have conceived of when the first companies started using it.

Sounds just like the track of the computer + internet, no? So we are still fully in the mode where the only people that have these in their homes are the hobbyists. I would argue that these are the same people that bought the first apple computers. They dropped like $2K in 1986 to get a clunky computer that could do some word processing. In the same way, today, you can buy the new “Makerbot” for $2K that allows you to make small plastic items.

So one cool example I stumbled across is StackSoap. This guy saw a need for a better way to deal with that annoying last little turd of soap in the shower when the bar is almost gone. He had the idea to solve the problem with the shape of the bar. So he designed a bar on his computer that had a built in groove that you could easily cram that last bit of soap into. Once he had this computer model, he emailed it to a 3D printing company and had a prototype of his bar of soap in a few days. It wasn’t quite right, so he was able to tinker with it a handful of times before arriving at the final product. This type of flexibility and agility when it comes to design was impossible 10 years ago.

So the other powerful thing that I see with 3D printing is when you combine it with the internet. In the same way people at home were able to create and share digital content with others in the last 15 years, 3D printing allows them to share actual things. The power of millions of people tinkering with designs of things and sharing them will theoretically create more and better items. Sort of the same concept of crowdsourcing of those protein folding video games that Geo talked about a long time ago. Just sheer numbers of people tinkering with stuff is good for everyone. So the company I mentioned before, “Makerbot” has an online community where people can share their designs, provide feedback, etc, called the ‘Thingiverse.’ It’s worth a quick perusal to see the type of stuff home-users are creating right now.

So let’s get a little crazy about the disruption as this technology gets better and we can print more and more materials… How about a world where the whole hardware store can fit in the space of a bathroom. If you need a certain set of screws, you just download the design online, and either print them out on your home-printer, or take it to 3DPrintHomeDepot and have them print it off for you. If I’m Home Depot, think of what this does to my logistics costs. Currently, I have to stock a huge variety of screws, spend a lot of money forecasting how many will last me to the next shipment, actually getting all of the product delivered to my store multiple times a day. In a 3D printing world, I probably get a couple shipments of the raw materials my printer needs a couple times a month, and when a customer needs something, I just print out exactly how many they need.

How about space travel and terraforming? How much stuff in the space station today are spare parts that will only be used in emergencies? Why not just send a 3D printer up there with a bunch of raw material, and they can print whatever they need for their missions? Once we get a planet terraformed, how do we build the stuff we need there? Do we really need to ship all the pieces there, or can we get a big 3D printer that is able to print somehow in whatever raw material is already there? This guy is already planning on building the first 3D house in the next 18 months.

I fully realize that trying to predict where technology is going to go is virtually impossible to do, so who knows if the things above will actually happen, but I think that probably the most powerful effect of 3D printing is less tangible. Our generation, and even more-so the next generation will be the first generation that has grown up with computers and the internet. I think there is more powerful than we give it credit for. Growing up knowing that all the information in the world is at your fingertips in a couple minutes is powerful. Just knowing you can create a podcast and distribute it across the world for free is powerful. Staying connected with friends and sharing ideas instantly is powerful, and the kids from today have never known a world where those things aren’t there, so they will create better and better things to increase our quality of life.

In the same way, I can see 3D printing taking this same track. A kid growing up knowing that if he has an idea for something, he can create it and physically have it in his hands in a couple hours is sneaky powerful. Growing up knowing you can pretty instantly create not just digital content, but physical content creates a fundamentally ‘new’ worldview that we haven’t seen before. THAT is what I think is the most exciting thing about 3D printing.

Conspiracy Theories

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Conspiracy Theories

What are we talking about?

A belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for an unexplained event.

Why do people believe conspiracy theories?

Often times, things happen in the world that are difficult for us to comprehend because they have no obvious meaning or causality. These events are typically quite frightening either because they represent a direct danger to us, or happen so infrequently that we question whether or not it could (or should) happen at all.

Leon Festinger (1957) proposed cognitive dissonance theory, which states that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes maladaptive behavior. According to Festinger, we hold many cognitions about the world and ourselves; when they clash, a discrepancy is evoked, resulting in a state of tension known as cognitive dissonance. As the experience of dissonance is unpleasant, we are motivated to reduce or eliminate it, and achieve consonance (i.e. agreement).

 

The following is from an article in Scientific American, written by Michael Shermer;

Why do people believe in highly improbable conspiracies? In previous columns I have provided partial answers, citing patternicity (the tendency to find meaningful patterns in random noise) and agenticity (the bent to believe the world is controlled by invisible intentional agents). Conspiracy theories connect the dots of random events into meaningful patterns and then infuse those patterns with intentional agency. Add to those propensities the confirmation bias (which seeks and finds confirmatory evidence for what we already believe) and the hindsight bias (which tailors after-the-fact explanations to what we already know happened), and we have the foundation for conspiratorial cognition.

Are conspiracy theories always wrong?

Nope. Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln and Franz Ferdinand (Austro-Hungarian prince), just to name a few, were all assassinated by groups of conspirators. Governments have been in on it too – here’s a list of amazing-but-true projects that the US Government has undertaken. (from cracked.com)

http://www.cracked.com/article_18955_6-crackpot-conspiracy-theories-that-actually-happened.html

Did we land on the moon?

Was 9/11 orchestrated by the US Government?

More here.

Even more here.

 

Mental Math

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Everybody has been stuck at some point in their lives without a calculator and too lazy to draw out 72 x 11 on paper to figure it out.  Or how about figuring out 9% of 60 in an instinct?  125 x 125?  No problem.  This week Perek brings a handful of useful tips and techniques to help you increase speed and ease for all your mental math needs.  As pointed out in the audio, at the beginning, it may help to write a couple things down.  Grab a paper and pen and follow along, the GoodGuys are already getting promotions and sportscars due to their newfound math skillz.  Below are some brief explanations of the techniques discussed.  Also check out the video below about the Soroban (abacus) we discuss at the end of the show.

Multiplying by 9

Multiply by 10 and subtract the original number from that result.  7×9?  taxe 7×10, and then subtract 7.  This helps more and more as numbers get larger.

Multiply by 11

For 2 digit numbers this couldn’t be easier.  Add the 2 digits together, and place that result in between the original 2 numbers.  72×11?  7 plus 2 is 9, put that 9 in between the original 7 and 2, to get 792.  To carry a 1 when the 2 numbers add up to more than 10, just add that 1 to the next digit to the left.  86×11?  8 plus 6 is 14, so keep the 4 and carry the 1.  Out the 4 in the middle and add 1 to the next digit to the left.  Did you get 946?  good.  You are already better than Mitch at mental math.

Multiply by 5

To increase the probability of doing this in your head, divide the number by 2.  If the original number is even, tag a 0 on the end of the halved result.  That’s it.  If the original number is odd, you will end up with a .5 once you divide by 2.  Just get rid of that decimal and you are done!  This is awesome on big numbers.  2,682×5?  Well, what’s half of 2682.  Most people can do THAT better than they could attempt to do that whole problem in their head.  Half of 2,682 = 1341.  Since 2682 is even, tag on a zero.  13,410.  There’s your answer.  For odd numbers, how about 4,215.  Half of that is 2,107.5.  Drop the decimal for 21,075.  Easy as pie.

Divide by 5

This is even easier to remember than multiplying by 5.  All you have to do is double the number, and then move the decimal one to the left.  193/5 seems difficult on its own.  but doubling 193 is easier.  193 doubled is 386.  Move that decimal over and you get 38.6.  193/5 is 38.6.

Square any number ending in 5

This one is a little more interesting, but still easier than the long way.  Take any number ending in 5, and forget about the 5.  So, 95×95?  That’s 95 squared.  forget about that 5, and all you have left is the 9.  Multiply the 9 by 1 + itself, so 9+1 = 10.  multiplying 9×10 is easy right?  90.  The last step is to tack on a 25 at the end.  9025.  95 squared is 9,025.  A little practice on this and you can do it in a couple of seconds.

Criss Cross Multiplication 

This concept I absolutely love.  It is so much easier to do in your head than the way we learned in school.  It’s going to be tough to describe it properly in words, so here’s a link to a video that can help!  This site has other examples that I duscussed as well.

http://www.mathtutordvd.com/public/Rapidly_Multiply_any_2_Digit_Numbers.cfm

Percentage flip rule

9% of 80, go!  That’s hard for me.  But the flip rule says that 9% of 80 is EQUAL to 80% of 9.  That’s easier for me.  I would take 10% of 9 (.9), and then multiply that times8 to get up to that 80%.  .9×8 = 7.2 (9×8 is 72, move that decimal back to get 7.2).  This is only really useful when one number is a multiple of 5 or 10.

 Day of week calculation

Warning!  Advanced maneuver in your head.  Not so bad, but just not exactly a clearly logical path (if you break it down it is, of course, totally logical).  Here is a link to a good site that lays it out:  http://www.eccentricgenius.com/wp/2008/10/29/any-day-of-the-week-the-perpetual-calendar-made-easy/

So – as I mention too many times in the show – these are all going to seem a little weird or difficult at first.  The important thing to remember is that these methods, although they will need practice, will pay off later because (IMO) they are much easier to keep track of in your head.  I’m gonna start practicing now.  Quick!  What is 127 divided by 5?

Professional Gaming

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Who doesn’t love to play video games?!  From kids playing Mario Bros to college students playing Halo, we all have some experience with the gaming community.  However, few of us are devoted enough to turn gaming into a profession.  In this episode, we interview Lester Chen (Twitter: @LesterHKM) about his experience as a professional gamer!  Find out what it takes to be one of the best gamers in the world!

We also review our JEOPARDY! challenge and Mitch proposes a new challenge that has us all watching what we eat.  Thanks for listening and a HUGE thanks to Lester for the great interview!

 

MacroNutrient Challenge:
Every meal you eat (snacks too) must include one distinct food item from each of the main macronutrient groups: Carbohydrate, Fat, and Protein. The goal is to smooth out the insulin/blood sugar response and see if that helps us sustain energy/appetite throughout the day.
Scoring:
  • 1 point for each meal or snack that is compliant. Max = 5 per day (3 meals, 2 snacks)
  • Perfect Site bonus: 1 extra point any time all your meals in one day are compliant (need to have at least 3 meals)
  • Streak bonus: That perfect site bonus turns into a streak bonus on days you are perfect in a row. So if you had 3 days in a row of perfect sites, your streak bonus that day will be 3.
IMPORTANT: If you put ANYTHING in your mouth that is a macronutrient without eating something from the other two groups, you are ineligible for the perfect or streak bonus that day. Combo foods are not considered a full, compliant meal. So even though a glass of whole chocolate milk contains some carbs, protein, and fat, you can only use this as one of your three items, so you can choose which one it counts for.
 
Macronutrient Foods:
All fruits/grains/vegetables/sugars count as carbohydrates
Meat, Fish and Eggs are protein
Fats are oils, butters, avocado, nuts
 
Note: Don’t forget about your drinks. Beer and regular Soda, fruit juice, etc are carbohydrates, so add a fat and protein if you’re going to have one to keep your streak intact

Nutrition

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This episode we welcome Michael Pilhofer of MSP Fitness back to the podcast. Last time we talked about Crossfit, and this time we tackled the behemoth of a topic; NUTRITION! Michael has been a personal trainer for 6 years, and if you listened the last time he joined the good guys, you know he’s a sponge for all sorts of information as he developed his own wellness philosophy.

nutrition basics

With such a hefty topic, we took a high level approach and left you with some nuggets that should inspire you to dig a little deeper. Nuggets include but aren’t limited to:

–          The audio fader-board metaphor for adjusting macro-nutrients (my favorite)

–          Intro to gluten

–          Is Calories in – Calories out a legit philosophy or is there more to it?

–          Why it’s so hard to change dietary habits

–          Intro to the popular “Crossfit” diets; Paleo and Zone

–          Food journaling (shudder)

If you’re interested in diving in a little deeper into some of the topics we discussed, check out these links:

Info on Zone diet:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/zone-what-it-is

http://www.zonediet.com/

Gluten:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten-free_diet

Paleo:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet – I do not know why Wikipedia chose such a disgusting picture for this article. So go here and here for better pics of paleo awesomeness.

Taubes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDneyrETR2o

Also, check out the MSP Fitness site, for more info on the programs Michael offers at the gym, and check them out on Facebook.

__________________________________________________________________________________
JEOPARDY! QUESTIONS:
Rules:  You have 15 seconds to answer each question.  Follow the link below and click on “Online Test Recap & Discussion (Central), January 9, 2013”.  Answers are included in the next post down.  Good luck and let us know how you do
 

 

2012, A Year In Review

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Another year of GGTK podcasts are in the books!  In this special edition podcast, we review some of our personal favorite podcast moments.  From different religious services to 50 Shades of Grey to our first (and only) hate mail, the making of this podcast has been an adventure for us all!  We also want to take an opportunity to thank each and every listener for tuning in, sending us emails, and spending your time listening to our rants.  We appreciate all of you.  Thanks again for listening and Happy New Year from the Good Guys To Know.

– Chad, Perek, Mitch and Geo

 

Is Santa Claus Real?

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As the holiday season rolls around, nostalgia strikes the hearts of even our coldest grinch listeners.  Looking back at the innocence of youth, we all remember the traumatic experience of learning that jolly old St. Nic, might not be real.  In this podcast, the good guys take a critical look on the age-old holiday question: Is Santa Claus real?  We start by examing the historical figures that gave rise to the modern day shopping mall Santa Claus and finish up by using physics to examine whether or not Santa could feasibly deliver Christmas presents to all of the good girls and boys.  Thanks for listening and Happy Holidays from Chad, Geo, Mitch and Perek!

Find the all of Santa’s calculations at http://www.mapleprimes.com/maplesoftblog/7059-The-Physics-Of-Santa-Claus