March 30, 2013

Death and opportunity in Singapore

I saw an article in the SF Chronicle about Singapore's attempts to spur entrepreneurship. It failed to mention what happened last year to one man who ventured to work there:

Shane had died a week before he was to return to the US. The police said he had drilled holes into his bathroom wall, bolted in a pulley, then slipped a black strap through the pulley and wrapped it around the toilet several times. He then tethered the strap to his neck and jumped from a chair. Shane, 6ft 1in and nearly 200lb, hanged himself from the bathroom door, the autopsy report said. 
So the Todds, along with two of Shane’s younger brothers, John and Dylan, were unnerved by what they didn’t see as they crossed the threshold. The front door was unlocked and there was no sign of an investigation – no crime-scene tape, no smudges from fingerprint searches. “The first thing I did was make a beeline for the bathroom,” Mrs Todd recalled. She wanted to see exactly how Shane had died – and she saw nothing that fitted the police description. The marble bathroom walls had no holes in them. Nor were there any bolts or screws. The toilet was not where the police had said.
If you start a company in Singapore, good luck. Just don't rock the boat.

March 21, 2013

Review/promote my ebook for a free copy

I'll be releasing my new ebook, Start Up Your Startup, likely by the end of the month. It's a step-by-step guide to turning your idea into a successful business. It will be available for sale (price isn't locked in yet) on VentureBreak. If you're a blogger and you think your audience may be interested, I can provide you with a free copy to read and review on your site. Please let me know via email: brad@venturebreak.com.

To everyone else: I'll keep you posted on the release date so you can give it a read as well.

March 7, 2013

Anti-gay bigotry leads to dead children

I just came across some literature by sex columnist, speaker, and podcaster Dan Savage. Here's the gist: after hearing an interview of Savage about his It Gets Better campaign, someone wrote to him criticizing his ill regard toward "people of faith" and saying that although she doesn't support gay marriage, she would never encourage bullying of LGBT children. Quite hypocritical, if you ask me.

Savage's opening line is priceless and spot on:
I'm sorry your feelings were hurt by my comments.
No, wait. I'm not. Gay kids are dying. So let's try to keep things in perspective: Fuck your feelings.
As someone who was brought up as a Catholic, Savage particularly criticizes churches and other religious organizations for their promotion of bigotry towards homosexuals like himself, both within their own congregations and in the general political and social sphere. He doesn't hold back:
And many of your children—having listened to Mom and Dad talk about how gay marriage is a threat to family and how gay sex makes their magic sky friend Jesus cry—feel justified in physically abusing the LGBT children they encounter in their schools.
And he doesn't go easy on the more liberal Christians, either.
I'm sick of tolerant, accepting Christians whispering to me that "we're not all like that." If you want to change the growing perception that "good Christian" means "anti-gay"—a perception that is leading many people to stop identifying themselves as Christian because they don't want to be lumped in with the haters—stop whispering to me and start screaming at them.
Dan does a great job at articulating something I find very frustrating (and gay people find infuriating) about the way our society talks about and views sexual orientation. For whatever reason it is still acceptable to be bigoted against LGBT people, when other bigotries (based on race, gender, etc.) no longer are. Someone brought up to me the idea that race and gender are clearly observable traits, while sexual orientation is not. That makes it very easy to draw the conclusion that while African Americans were born African American, gay people had a choice in the matter and could have elected to be straight. Obviously not true, but that could somewhat explain the acceptance of so much hatred.

That acceptance has very real consequences:
You don't have to explicitly "encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate" queer kids. Your encouragement—along with your hatred and fear—is implicit. It's here, it's clear, and we're seeing the fruits of it: dead children.
Sure, LGBT issues being mainstream is pretty new. But social change should be rapid. Once we as a society realize that something we've been doing is wrong, we shouldn't delay in correcting it. The more slowly we move, the more kids will die.

March 4, 2013

Uniqueness and diversity

Consider for a moment uniqueness, and just how unique you are. You are an individual—there has not been another like you at any point in history. On a deeper level, you were born into this life in order to be unique and build upon that uniqueness.

Old ideas of spirituality and religion saw Earth as a testing ground of sorts, or a lesson to be learned. That was the belief of reward and punishment, or heaven and hell. Derived from these beliefs was the idea of what a "good person" was, and the idea that we came here to evolve. And that once you had evolved, you could leave.

Fortunately, those ideas are beginning to shift now. We're beginning to understand that this life isn't some kind of lesson—it's the only life there is. The previous idea was all about getting back to where we came from, so why would we have left in the first place? We were all born the same, and those old beliefs would have us continue to be the same. On the contrary, we were born to be diverse. It's time to stop seeing the human as substandard, or inferior, and seeking to get back to the superior, or the divine. We should be working to bridge the two together, rather than abandoning the former for the latter. It's not about leaving here, or "ascending" from here, it's about understanding your uniqueness and realizing that you're here to be unique—not to be some ideal of a "good person."