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Jul 16 / Jason

How Is Trading Stocks Considered Investment?

I’ve been chewing on the following question for a while, and I’m finally ready to put my thoughts out in the open:

How is trading stocks considered investment?

What follows is my attempt to answer this question. read more…

Oct 25 / Jason

New Libya Government Preferred Vendor Email Scam

I recently received a rather inventive email from someone purporting to be affiliated with the new Libyan government. Here’s the pitch:

  1. The new Libyan government has funds but needs foreign companies to provide goods and services
  2. The new Libyan government has a new “preferred vendor” registration process that requires filing forms, paying a registration fee, etc.
  3. The person who contacted me claims that he’s very interested in our services, and that he would make an order once we have been verified.
  4. Fortunately, there is an expedited fee option…it’s just a little bit more money ($1,000 USD)
  5. If I wire the expedited fee to this man, he’ll get me an order as soon as next week.

Sounds almost real, doesn’t it? Too bad it’s total BS. Still, how many desperate small business owners would fall for this one? read more…

Oct 9 / Jason

Why I Donated To Occupy Wall Street

Last week I sent a paltry sum to the folks organizing the Occupy Wall Street protests. My reasoning is that the American public needs to raise their awareness of income inequality because…

1. Income equality in the USA ranks near the bottom when compared to the rest of the world – the gap between the rich and the poor in the USA rivals that of any country in the world. While I understand this fact in and of itself is proof of nothing, it’s interesting.

2. Over the last 10 years, real wages in the USA have grown about 4%. That’s less than real wages grew between 1929 and 1939 (you know, the decade that bracketed the Great Depression). Compare that to the growth in income of America’s wealthiest households over the last 30 years

3. Inevitably, income inequality leads to read more…

May 3 / Jason

PLEASE Stop Saying That America Is The Greatest Country In The World

Every time I hear someone say “America is the greatest country in the world” I have five thoughts:

1. So what? How is that pertinent to the issue or the discussion, exactly? It’s great to have pride (I have pride myself), but what exactly does stating that pride accomplish? Isn’t this sort of like walking around and bragging about how good looking you are?

2. What makes you so sure? For the record, I think America is a great country, and I’m glad to have been born here. However, I’ve traveled (at least a little bit). I have some basis for comparison. If you don’t have a passport or you’ve never been anywhere but an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, then you really don’t have any business making this kind of statement.

3. Are you taking credit for something? read more…

Mar 26 / Jason

Free Marketing Tip for NGOs – Only Use Email Communication For Online Donors

Every once in a while I donate a small amount of money to a few organizations whose mission I agree with. In order to avoid coming across as arrogant or somehow holier-than-thou, let me say right now that I’m not much of a donor. I give when it crosses my mind.

Here’s a list of organizations I’ve given to:

  • Amnesty International
  • UNICEF
  • Red Cross
  • Planned Parenthood
  • NRA (one of these isn’t like the other, LOL)
  • ACLU, Equality Now, etc.
  • …and a variety of politicians

Guess what ALL of these organizations have in common: I gave all of them money online, yet they all send me physical mail and/or call me asking for more money. While I understand the need to raise more funds, I think it’s incredibly dumb to call or mail an online donor to do it. Here’s why: read more…

Feb 23 / Jason

TV Can Change The World and Twitter Can’t

A few months ago I read an article in Foreign Policy magazine stating that, among other things, television would have a more profound impact on the world over the next 20 years than the Internet.

As an Internet marketing consultant who talks about the ‘power of the tubes’ every day, it seemed a little odd. However, the argument made perfect sense when I realized that: read more…

Jan 14 / Jason

7 Quick Reputation Management Tips for Individuals

First, a quick note: Did you know that the name Jason Lancaster is used by:

  • A popular musician
  • A possible felon in Arizona
  • A Tennessee teacher who was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student

Exciting, huh? Imagine if the next time I went to get a client, they searched for my name and found arrest records, sordid tales, or a scathing review of my latest album.

Which brings me to my point today: ”Reputation management” is jargon in the search engine optimization (SEO) community for raising your online profile. According to this blog post from Dream Systems Media, reputation management is:

The act of monitoring, addressing or mitigating undesirable search engine results or mentions in online media for a company or product

While I have no issue with this definition – it’s perfectly correct – I think that it’s limited. Everyone can benefit from a little rep management for their name – even my little old grandmother. Here’s why anyone can benefit from some individual reputation management and how you go about it:

read more…

Dec 7 / Jason

Follow-Up: Assange Shouldn’t Be Assassinated, but Info Terrorism is Real

I think the nuance in my argument in yesterday’s post about assassinating the WikiLeaks founder wasn’t too clear. Here’s the short version:

Assange’s decision to publish a list of potential terrorist targets has made the world a little less safe and increased the threat of violence for many of these places (and our country as a whole). The US govt. kills dozens of would-be terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan every year for simply threatening these facilities. Since Assange’s work has lead to increased threat of violence for these facilities, it would seem that Assange meets most of the criteria used to condone a targeted killing.

For the record, I’m not saying Assange should be killed – I’m just saying that he could be under the current moral framework we use to justify targeted killings. Obviously, today’s news that Assange has been incarcerated makes this entire question irrelevant.

After thinking about my post yesterday, I’ve come to the following conclusion: There may be such a thing as “info terrorism.” Examples might be: read more…

Dec 6 / Jason

Foreign Policy Question: Should USA Assassinate WikiLeaks Founder?

Let’s talk about one of the tools that governments use to take care of problems – assassination.

For as long as history has been recorded, there have been stories of important figures being poisoned, stabbed (Et Tu, Brute?), or blown up with a Hellfire missile (link is to a video) for political benefit. Like it or not, assassination – targeted killing – is a tool that all governments use to execute policy.

The USA – as far as I can tell – has been using a very slippery moral framework to justify targeted killings. It seems to go like this: read more…

Nov 7 / Jason

32 Feels Good

Today, November 7th, is my birthday. I’m 32 now. Unlike my last 2 birthdays, I’m in Denver for this one.

Every birthday I struggle with my own appraisal of my life – I never feel like I’ve done enough. I realize of course that this is silly – fretting about the past is time wasted. Still, like most people, I’m afraid of running out of time. I told Sara how I felt earlier this week using this complicated basketball analogy.

There’s five minutes left in the 2nd quarter, and how we go into the half sets the tone for the 3rd quarter. NOW is the time to bring the pressure and find the energy to outplay the other team.

I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but I think it goes like this: I’m going to play this year even harder than I did last year.

Highs and Lows

The lows of the past year, all of which have a silver lining: read more…