From the monthly archives:

March 2010

How To Block Out Your Neighbors…36 Eugenias

by flickr on March 27, 2010

Eugenias are the perfect privacy hedge. They can grow up to 4 feet per year. Spring is the perfect time to plant them.  Eugenias are sometimes referred to as Monterrey Brush Cherries (MBC’s), the only difference being the the MBC’s are a little less prone to attracting little bugs that can make the leaves bumpy.  We’re using the Eugenias pictured above to block off our neighbors on both sides of the yard.


by Ryan on March 26, 2010

Twitter Logo Pictures, Images and Photos

I’m not the first to point this out.  From what I can tell, the first to point out Twitter’s shark jumping was the Inquisitr back in June 2008.  The next was Steve Rubel in March 2009, only Steve’s analysis was based on traffic peaking.  Most recently, in February 2010 Marck McKinnon of The Daily Beast noted the Shark Jump too.

It hit me a hard few weeks ago as well – TWITTER HAS JUMPED THE SHARK!  

Jump the shark Pictures, Images and Photos

Why do I feel this way?  It’s really an emotional analysis but I started actually reading tweets from the people I follow from the bornryan account.  Yes – it’s true…I actually read other people’s social media blab and I must admit that’s a rare thing for me to do (absorbing, as opposed to creating, publishing, and distributing content).  What I noticed while absorbing Twitter content was a lot of @ at replys # pound symbols RT retweets and other twitter short hand “Twitter specific crap” from inside of tweets.

Reviewing all the “Twitter specific crap” led me to personally conclude that Twitter has indeed jumped the shark.  But why?  The reason is simple.  The Average Internet User (AIU) does not understand “Twitter specific crap” nor do they care to ever learn how to use it.  Outlets like Facebook are far more simple for the AIU to understand and participate in an no amount of reading, observing, or studying is necessary to participate in the Facebookosphere.  In short – Twitter is NOT for the AIU. Twitter for silicon valley elitists (please take that as a compliment, not a knock – I’m a wanna be “SVE” myself) and those that do not use RSS and want to be fed information from celebrities, bloggers, and rich influentials.  It’s main problem – “Twitter specific crap and etiquete”.  This stuff is just not for everyone.  I believe Twitter has peaked in terms of the number of celebs, bloggers, and VC folks that will participate in its pool of information gathering and link sharing.  In order to grow, it needs the AIU.  But the AIU will never become an engaged Twitter user.  For Twitter to grow and prevent shark jumpage, the AIU must join and participate in full force so that advertisers can feed ads to the lucrative AIU. It is for this specific reason – that the AIU will never adopt Twitter – that I believe “Twitter has Jumped the Shark”.

There’s good news and bad news to all of this.  Shark jumping is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, it happens to all companies at some point in their life.  75% of the companies in the S&P 500 in 1980 are not in the S&P 500 today.  That means 75% of companies that were once considered among the top business in the world have too “Jumped the Shark”. Jumping the Shark does not mean your days are numbered, it just means you are unlikely to grow your valuation any further.

A few questions to sum up all of this…

Do I personally dislike Twitter?


Will I continue to use Twitter?


How much do I think Twitter is worth?

Around $2 Billion

What’s all this mean?

The Twitter founders should cash in and sell the company shortly – within 2 years, tops.

Kill You Home Phone Without Going Strictly Cellular or Magic Jack

by Ryan on March 2, 2010

How to reduce home phone bill

I still see the need for land lines – they are superior in terms of quality and far better for actually having a conversation where both parties can hear one another and for folks with home offices and long distance relatives, call quality can be important and using a cell phone exclusively is not an option for many. Land lines are also a little better for your health than mobile phones (or so we think).

But now, it’s time to kill the ridiculous home phone bill without losing the home phone quality.  I’ve been thinking about eliminating my home phone bill for 3 years now and this past weekend was the time when I finally did it.  Even on Time Warner’s All the Best Package with cable, internet and phone service bundles, you still end up spending $20 a month on a home phone, or $240 per year.  Chances are that you already use a digital phone service from your cable provider.  If you don’t, then your already wasting an additional $300 a year on an analoge line and taking the steps in this post will then save you over $540 a year.  Read on to learn how.

If you have a wireless router in your home, you are already half way to killing your home phone.  You just need to take one final step to eliminate your home phone bill forever, without sacrificing the land line quality you are so accustomed to.

The final, bold step is to get a Skype number ($2.99 per month or $36 per year ) and a Skype landline phone.  These physical Skype phones run for about $170 (free shipping included) for a nice one and they do not require a computer to function, just a live wireless connection and a router with an available Ethernet port.  So now you’re out just $206 for a your first year of Skype home phone loving and just $36 per year thereafter.   Compare that to $240 per year for the cheapest home phone service you can find (Even Vonage is $15 per month or $180 per year – Ugh!).  Sure – once every 5 years you’ll probably need a new physical Skype phone but that’s not too bad considering you’ll have saved yourself around $1K over that 5 year term.

The final trick is to get a Google Voice number and make it forward to your Skype phone.  Give our your Google Voice phone number as your home number for life and you’ll never have to switch home phone numbers again – ever – not even if you move out of the country!  With Google Voice, you even get free voice mail and voice mail transcriptions.   The hilarious Google voice mail transcriptions are worth the switch alone.

After you’ve made the move, feel free to dig a hole in your backyard and bury your old home phone there.  Or, you can save a little more money and drop it off at your local Salvation Army for the charitable tax donation, just be sure to get a receipt.