All posts filed under “Funny

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Ben Edelman – Harvard Professor, pedant, twit

Ben Edelman is a Harvard Business School professor (and Harvard undergraduate and Harvard Law School grad), a pedant, and a twit.  My evidence?

Come again?

In a nutshell, Ben Edelman:

  • ordered chinese food
  • saw that he was charged $4 more than expected, so contacted the restaurant
  • found out that the restaurant hadn’t updated their prices on their website
  • proceeded to go nuclear on the owner.

This story has already gone viral… it’s what happens when a Harvard professor bullies a small business owner over $4 of food.  At his consulting rates, he probably wasted hundreds or thousands of dollars on this back-and-forth with a small business owner, and also managed to wreck any sort of negotiating power he had.  (Despite somehow being a professor in the HBS “negotiations” unit!)

Ben strikes me as the very definition of a pedant in that instead of focusing on righting the restaurant’s mistake, he dove into the depths of the legal issues around this $4 injustice, the legal consequences, and the actions available to him.  I know one or two other people like this, and while they always seem to have some grounding in facts, they are completely disassociated from reality.

I will admit to a previous minor bias against Ben, in that I was a Google employee for about five years, and Ben was famous for posting long screeds against various aspects of Google’s technology and implementation, while playing down the fact that he’s been a consultant to Microsoft for years.  I think some of his research is actually interesting, relevant, and important for consumers.  But frankly, there clearly aren’t enough examples of real widespread fraud online anymore, so Ben has to play minor disagreements as nuclear issues.

So if you want a funny story, I highly recommend checking out the e-mail chain on the article.  The patience of the business owner is amazing, and I congratulate the owner in dis-arming and defeating a Harvard Business School professor.

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Fun new video from the Rural Alberta Advantage

So I’ve become a huge fan of the Rural Alberta Advantage.  (You can check out my post about their London concert here.)  They’ve got a new album coming out on Tuesday, March 1st: “Departed.”

They played a couple of tracks from their new album at their concert, and they were great.  (It can be hard to get an audience into new songs they’re hearing for the first time live, but they did it.)  The band has just released their first official video from the new album, for the track “Stamp.”  It’s pretty cool; take 3 minutes and check it out here!

You can also pre-order their album (and posters/t-shirts) directly from Saddle Creek Records here.  If you liked the video you can download the “Stamp” MP3 too!

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A fun bookmarklet to change the web you see

Ever wanted to change what you see on the internet? Well, this little bookmarklet let’s you do just that. Just drag this link to your toolbar / bookmarks bar:

Edit My Web!

Go to any webpage, click “Edit My Web!” and play around. Instead of having a page of raw text, you’ve got a page of editable text. Of course, you’re only editing the text on your screen and not what’s on the actual site/server, but that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting.

I had a little fun with Fred Wilson and TechCrunch. Here are the before and after screenshots:

Fred Wilson Before:


Fred Wilson After:


TechCrunch Before:


TechCrunch After:



I take no responsibility for what you choose to do with this bookmarklet. (No matter how epic a prank you pull!) Also, I didn’t write it, I’m just the most recent to promote it after hearing some people at work talk about it. (Just click this link for Google search results for the javascript.)