I love watching you on Shark Tank. In fact, so do many of my friends. You’re one of the few entrepreneurs on the stage that doesn’t criticize ideas, but focuses on the execution. You’re the best form of silicon valley representation on the show.
I was in intermediate school. A few months earlier, I was evacuated from school by my parents on the notion that being next to a NASA schoolwould induce an awful event on September 11th. I endured about a year of…
Reference and Learning Resources for Industrial Engineers
I use these resources somewhat frequently and try to stay up to date with the latest technologies in data mining and visualizations. This list will most likely grow. If you have suggested resources or links email them to: engineer [at] kumar [dot] vc.
Transportation and facility location planning are tough. A few technologies have arisen that may make it easier to plan scheduling, locations for new facilities, and coverage zones for any type of infrastructure related project or venture.
Wolf Price: Photos of War, Happiness, and Women's Rights
[Foreword: I met Wolf Price through friends in Silicon Valley. His story is a Shantaram of its own. We come from completely different backgrounds, myself from the world of technology startups and he from documentary film making and travel. We hit it off and became friends and slowly I began to learn more about his passions, goals, and desire to build something sustainable for the women of Nepal.
In short form….. He traveled the world, settled in Nepal for a 24 month stint, saw a problem with women’s rights and education, and used his skills to try to to solve it. He’s one of the ten most interesting people I’ve met thus far in my short life. I asked him to collect photos with short captions to describe his journey. Wolf spends his days in between California and Nepal focused on bringing Nepali women access to education. Enjoy. ]
By Wolf Price
The Start of my World Travels. Morocco and Europe.
I had gone to Europe for 6 weeks when I was 17, the summer after my junior year, all with my own money. After getting back to the USA, I graduated high school a semester early and returned to Europe for 3 months. Moroccan street merchants in Spain urged me to take the short ferry to Africa. Suddenly, my mind was blown. Sitting on rooftops in Fes experiencing the developing world for the first time was unforgettable. I was hooked on anything that was worlds away from my world in Palo Alto. Before Morocco, Europé had been crazy, but now my craving for unfettered adventure really exploded. I met an american traveler, the only traveler I had met younger than me. She had recently come from Asia and looked at me with something magical in her eyes and said ”You must go to Nepal.” After getting back to the States and being completely free for the first time in my life, I booked a 8 month round trip ticket to Asia, in the name of education and photography.
Before Nepal I spent about 2 months in Thailand and Cambodia. Above is a picture of a Coke sponsored warning about landmines. Cambodia was a great place but I learned some heavy lessons about suffering considering most people had lost at least one immediate family member due to a recent genocide I had never heard of, which was more a relevant symptom of a lack luster US History education than my own passions for discovering these facts.
When I made it to Nepal, I really had the time of my life. I was teaching a hybrid of English, Art, Science, and Math. They threw me in front of a class and the children copied everything I wrote and repeat everything I said.
After Nepal, I headed for India and got to see some amazing inventions like this backyard sugar refinery.
The 8 month trip only got more amazing. I had just turned 19 in India when I headed to Bangladesh to do volunteer work documenting a non profit in Rural Bangladesh for a month. The boys in white are laborers standing at the entrance of a school they can’t attend. All the other kids are trying to get to class.
Glen Cheriton, my oldest creative partner was my partner on the project in Bangladesh. We attended a womens’ Rally on International Womens’ day (march 8th) and we both gave a speech after I took this picture.
Bangladesh was a good time. Living the country, moving around on these cool flatbed bikes. I woke up at sunrise everyday and did yoga. We hated the food so we ate french toast for most meals which was an option for some reason. After a month we headed south for a tour, and things got a bit more tense.
Witnessing a brutal beating As we left a small island at the southernmost tip of bangladesh a small boy started to get publicly beaten with a stick. The police (see far left) demanded I stop taking photos but my thought was ”fuck you –you’re on camera.” Honestly, I thought they would stop beating him if I took pictures, but they didn’t stop. Our boat pulled away form the dock while they were still beating him.
Biking from Palo Alto to Mexico
After such a legendary coming of age journey in Asia I really had to raise the bar, so I biked from Palo Alto to Mexico and continued by bus and boat overland to just beyond the equator although my goal was to reach cape horn during the 6 months I had designated.
My friendly Neighbors while living in a house directly on the beach in a village in Panama as an apprentice building an earth bag Eco-dome.
Getting attacked by a Glue Addict
It took 7 days at sea but I made it to Colombia by boat from Panama and it was pretty satisfying. Colombia was great except for when I got punched in the face by a glue addict in the street, he got tackled by cops and I slipped away. I had to do it quickly, since I could have gotten deported for not having my passport.
I <3 Ecuador
This pic from an off the map location in Ecuador is still one of my favorite photos.
Escaping a Danger Zone in Georgia
I was heavily addicted to adventure by this time and had the crazy notion to go to Georgia, but 2 weeks before I went, war broke out with Russia. I stubbornly went anyway. In all fairness I did end up needing to be rescued by a stranger from the street when I was stranded due to closed roads and shell shocked attitudes. I was taken to a small village and treated like a hero because of USA helping Georgia obtain NATO membership. To escape Georgia, I disguised myself as a journalist in a car and was able to get past 2 military road blocks because of a PRESS tag printed on a sheet of paper in the windshield, but the people who brought me along as a journalist also turned out to be faking it. They had just printed the PRESS pass themselves. There were Russian tanks on the road and blown up vehicles. We stopped at the bomb sites in Gori as part of our disguise – a year later I found out that several journalists had been shot during that conflict.
The landlocked region I’d never heard of, Nagarno Karabakh
After escaping Georgia, I ended up hitch hiking around Armenia with 2 Russians I met couch surfing. They took me to a country I had never heard of: Nagarno Karabakh. The photo is from that obscure country. Our sleepover was in a cave that’s home to the worlds largest arcealogical neanderthal discovery.
Stockholm, Bangkok, Nepal, and India
I met Ada in India and we decided to go to Mongolia together to work on a documentary. We met up a few months later and spent 8 months travelling from Stockholm overland to Bangkok and then flying to Nepal and off to India by land.
Big Mountain Trek
While in Nepal we did the famous trek around Annapurna traveling 140 miles in 3 weeks reaching as high as 5416m( 17,769 feet). This photo is looking towards the entrance of Mustang, after crossing the pass the day before. Our entire group had altitude sickness besides me and Ada had it so bad she couldn’t see or walk and therefore could have easily died or gotten braindamage. She was laying on the ground crying in pain without hope to go any further. I explained to her stopping was not an option and she had to get up and say “Fuck yea” as a mantra. It worked and she survived.
Hacking lines in India
My favorite India Hack: instead of standing in crowded ticket lines for hours at hellish train stations just to discover the train is sold out… just board the train you want- sit on the ground like this and within an hour the ticket inspector arrives and if you just act casual, they’ll rush you to a specially reserved sleeper class spot.
Short Lived Distraction
After the wild documentary journey around Asia, I was offered the chance to lead the hippie community on a 150 acre jungle reserve. To me it was an offer I couldn’t refuse but I lost all my savings trying to build and furnish a house and managed to return to USA through Belize and the Yucatan. I was extremely hungry throughout this part of the trip.
Meeting Francis Ford Coppola
Once back to palo alto, still broke, I was taken in by an entreprenuer in Palo Alto. She fed and housed me for 6 weeks while I worked for her. She taught me how to function in a civilized manner after living off the grid. We went to a party in SF and I had a moment with Francis Ford Coppola. He wished me luck on my path as a filmmaker. After moving with the entrepreneur to Sonoma county I found a place to live. I worked diligently for weeks on a Kickstarter campaign with the Nepal footage from the Asia documentary journey. On December 26th my Kickstarter campaign ended and I had raised over $12,000. I went from broke to feeling relatively rich on my way to Nepal in a matter of weeks with new equipment (I had been buying D5100’s and T3is from Walmart, Best Buy and Target and returning them in perfect condition for full refunds when I had to pay rent).
Growing my passport
I had to get pages added to my passport because the 50 pages were completely full with stamps ontop of eachother or squeezed into corners. This is my passport after getting an additional 50 pages.
Heartbreak in Nepal
I was in Nepal for 10 weeks trying to get an update after 2 years away from Prathi, whom when I met at 18 in 2010. She expressed a passionate message regarding her desire to help humanity through medicine but that she would likely not be able to study. I finally found out that she had in fact been married and was pregnant with her 2nd child. I was in a state of shock. I decided to delay my documentary for a year to develop a fund for girls like her, as an agenda far above documentary timeline. Awareness is worthless without action. So the first 18 year old woman I met with the intelligence I had seen In Prathi, I personally sponsored $250 for her to obtain computer training for 1 year. As a trade she wrote me this essay.
Return on Investment: Priceless
Months after putting her in the computer school I got this letter from her and more recently this facebook conversation with the account I set up for her when I was there in April 2012.
Me and the CEO of American Apparel.
On a whim…. I put the film on hold and dedicated my time to creating an endowment fund to sponsor girls like Prathi who had lost her one chance to use here historical literacy to change the world. My assistant found the phone number to the CEO of American Apparel online (he had posted it himself) and I started calling him. He answered my calls but when I asked if he had time to talk he kept telling me to call back in 30 minutes, then he would say to call the next day. After 3 days I decided we better go to LA and try to get facetime. We drove all night and when we arrived he gave us a meeting later that night. As we sat down with him he dug into his Big Mac and argued with his assistant in favor of giving his dog chicken nuggets. As I explained the time sensitive issue for the first literate and educated girls in Nepal he become more and more engaged. he had a lot of questions which I addressed with clarity. After watching my film he had tears in his eyes and seemed to be a bit shocked. Dov mentioned that the immigration and Gay campaign was nothing compared to this issue of women’s empowerment in Nepal. When he suggested free shirts for the cause I countered that actually a product partnership would be ideal due to the urgency. So he agreed to make a campaign that would give 100% of proceeds to the endowment fund.
When I left Sarada’s Village, my friend’s 94 year old grandmother said ”go and get lots of money.” Ive never had more focus and determination to get those girls and 1000’s of others like them into computer focused education programs. I’ve worked hard to fulfill the wish of the grandmother. Since getting back to the USA I have established major alliances with Robert E Levin, my executive consultant, and American Apparel which is contributing 100% of proceeds of a shirt we designed together. Speck Products donated $10k of crucial documentary equipment including a Macbook Pro Retina and a Canon 5DmIII.
Rainstorm Entertainment, the Hollywood based production company, signed on as the Executive Producer of ”Within The Four Walls,” my documentary about the struggle for secondary education for the first generation of literate women in Nepal
If you want to support Wolf’s work in Nepal, please feel free to share this article, make a donation, or buy a shirt through the links below.
These are some of the best articles I discovered this year.
Many of them are from Hacker News, a site I discovered in early March. #YCS2012
I read about 700-1000 words per a minute at a 60-80% comprehension rate and go through about 40-50 articles a day. If it’s a super technical article, I might read it a few times. Hacker News is worth the 30 to 40 minutes of time every day.
It should be incredibly obvious, but for some reason it is really hard to come to terms with the fact that you should do what you are really good at. For me, its sales. I am really good at making money — insanely good at it. I’ve been making people rich since I was 18 (CC Anthony Casimano - back…
In short, War, Taliban, Guns and/or US Military are in no way any reasonable danger or challenge for the average joe who wants to set up his business, shop, trade or whatever. So, what are? Here goes my opinion and experience:
Extremely low banked-population because of lack of trust, good governance and to little extent the literacy, awareness etc. This creates a significant burden on the average joe ‘cause he can’t get a loan unless he is not an average joe but he is so he tries to do what any one, in his situation, would do: ask family members/friends to raise some money to start something. This gets him to a new challenge.
This does not get better as one of the biggest banks, Kabul Bank was found plundering money to cause ‘one of the world’s largest banking failures relative to a country’s economy’, as The economist reports Source: Pitiful(economist.com)
As soon as he thinks of a business-plan or model, someone with means notices and usually the bigger and richer business families would put someone else in direct competition to him and try to get our average Joe out of that new import/export business or the new contract of office supplies or hotel delivery or whatever.
If somehow, our protagonist manages to remain low under the radar of the big guys who either ignored the opportunity or did not know, he now has to deal with something because of which Transparency International truly deserves the rank it deserves of a very corrupt values of dealing of business. How bad it is, let me draw you a picture without naming names:
A Telco wants to broadcast/air its advertisements and wants to make sure its other competitors are not seen or shown during that time on TV/Radio/Print, it not only buys the entire programming of let’s say 9-11pm it pays even higher price willingly which creates a very bad atmosphere.
You want to provide Oil to a company, the guy in charge of the procurement of the contract would take $1 on a $2 earned so it goes 50/50. Kickbacks are so rampant that it’s very easy to point out which business does not offer kickbacks.
Your local minister would not introduce you to the higher ministry until he can be part of your business in someway or get a piece of action in whatever you want to do.
There aren’t many countries in the world where a pretty hip technology such as Mobile Payments are introduced or are seen as a way to eradicate some of the corruption because it disrupts usual means of corruption.
I have written before but just to elaborate further, the bigger warlords or drug-dealers who have made fortunes (and this is where US Military is a big challenge in a curious way) under the very noses and complicity of NATO forces through Opium and drugs. It’s a fact proven rather many times that Opium trade has increased many folds under NATO regime than the notorious Taliban etc. Now, these people, because of huge pile of cash lying in their houses, make a lot of investments in order to look ‘clean’ and make their wealth ‘white’ which also gives them sustainable income of money but also puts undue challenges for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The silver lining that you see in some of the stories are when some of these powerful families who control trade and politics choose someone from their family or acquaintance to run one of their dozen businesses and he goes on to make enough money for himself to make a name for his tribe and family. If you are not successful through the wealth of someone dealing in drugs and arms supply, you will likely find some support from the otherwise God-fearing and virtuous religious leaders, who undoubtedly have their own means of making money to further their own agendas.
Did I mention how the smaller businesses and guys get taxed like crazy because the country does not have enough means to generate capital to sustain its various programs? Of course someone well-connected can get away with many tax-evasions but not your average Joe, sir.
I decided to make a short list of innovations from the space program after seeing just how difficult it is to find a good indexed list of innovations from the space program. I really don’t like NASA’s spinoff website. At the moment, I think space exploration is well worth the investment.
I have not studied linguistics. These are just a collection of my own pseudo-random hacks to learn a language. If you have any additional pointers feel free to submit them here.
Use and memorize pangrams. Pangrams are holoalphabetic phrases that contain every letter of a word. Some pangrams contain every type of pronunciation of a letter. My favorite pangram is in German: Victor jagt zwölf Boxkämpfer quer über den großen Sylter Deich.
Frequency Word Count. Learn the top 1000 spoken or written words of a language and couple them with watching and reading the right media content on a timely basis.
Quirky ethnic television shows. The voice, (name of nationality) idol, and world news are a great way to learn and remember a language. Take for example, this rendition of a Michael Jackson song by Dutch Artist Waylon or robotic dancer Atai Omurzakov’s Kyrgzstani dancing troupe on Ukraine’s Got Talent.
Native language buddy. Have a group of 5-10 people you can randomly text questions to about the language. I use whatsapp and have a network of 5 to 10 friends who help me along the way with every language
Foreign Memes. Find foreign meme fan pages and groups. Subscribe to them and learn what they mean.
Dual Language Magazines. I love Delta airlines magazines as they are in Spanish and English. I can flip between pages and see how things get lost in translation. While I can’t speak Spanish fluently, my ability to read it given the lack of formal instruction always surprises many of my native speaking friends.
Memorize phrases, movie titles, and colloquialisms that have significance to you. Here are a few of my favorites that always remind me of different people and places. If you have any, please submit them here.
"das ist nicht gut" —A yiddish phrase repeated to me by an investor describing the due diligence process. "Estudiante de postgrado"— Whenever I see my Spanish PHD friends at Georgia Tech, I think of this phrase. It reminds me that in Spanish the adjective usually comes after the subject. "Tak Tak" - polish for "yes." I remember it because of a few of my polish friends at Georgia Tech who exchanged witty banter with these words and more. "Buongiorno Principessa" My favorite Italian movie phrase in La Vita e Bella. Il Divo and Gomorrah, both stories of Italian crime and politics, are my second and third. "Jak Zapomniec"- A famous polish rap song. ”Du bist meine Göttin.”- A german kumpel(buddy) was one of the singers on a large performance with a song called “Göttin" He is the one wearing the white beret. "faghedaboutit"- I can say this in a few languages. I grew up watching American mafia movies and found significance in this word. This list goes on and on for different languages. On occasion this hack will score you a gold-mine sentence that serves both as a reminder of pronunciation, grammar, and full alphabets.
Use Online Tools. Babbel and Verbling are my favorites. Rosetta stone, pimsleur, and Michel Thomas are good, but somehow I’ve always felt they are an ineffective tourist trap. I’m looking forward to when Verbling completes their addition of more languages. Learning grammar is always the uphill battle.
Foreign Music. Ask your foreign friends and native speakers for song suggestions. For German music, I constantly check Tape Tv.
Swing for the fences. I met an Uzbek pizza shop owner in Nashville. I asked him if he’d make a custom menu for me and some friends. He taught me more about the culture, cuisine, and language of Uzbekistan. If you happen to be reading this, thank you Farhov Abdulomavich. He goes by Frank if you ever happen to be eating pizza at his restaurant, say hi.
Grammar is always the toughest. I’d love to hear your suggestions here. One of the most powerful tools I’ve ever used for language learning and translation is DakWak. It’s an excellent way to perfect your error detection and correction skills on relevant websites. Also if your friends have a website, you can offer to expand their service area with a translated site at an extremely reasonable price. I did this and improved my language skills in Spanish by 3x to 4x. Also using DakWak on my friends site got him more business.