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Is there a Worst Business Bureau? Self.Newsletter - Issue #25

Dan Hugo
Dan Hugo
“Everybody has plans until they get hit for the first time” —Mike Tyson

If Only
These are first world problems, to be sure, but if I may also quote John McClane:
Oh man, I can’t f***ing believe this. Another basement, another elevator. How can the same thing happen to the same guy twice?
Okay, here’s the situation, I had that no-cause non-renewal notice back on about July 10, 2021, wherein I would not be allowed to exercise the renewal notice I had already received to add on another year at my humble abode in Centennial Hills, Las Vegas, Nevada (“no-cause” is literally, for no reason given). I walked over to a better apartment building 0.62 miles away, applied, got approved, and come 13 July I had received my move-in notice, that I was completely approved with a date and other details spelled out.
Not a binding contract, mind you, but there it was, all neat and tidy, with about 90 days to move-in. This left a gap, as the finale of my stint of eight years would be on or about September 6, 2021, but that was a perfect time to visit the parents after my dad had been in the hospital and has been recovering for several months, and with all of us vaccinated, why not remind myself why I don’t actually live in Phoenix (that is another story) while visiting that old house?
On 6 October 2021, I received a phone call from the property manager at my (soon to be?) new place, informing me that the apartment I had reserved with cash and good cheer, would not be available, but that there were other, more expensive options, if I would like to reserve the one apartment that was anywhere near the size and price before it got snapped up. If you are wondering why they would not have had me opt OUT of that option, rather than calling to have me opt IN, since I had already paid a reservation fee about 90 days ahead of move-in, you and I are on the same page, which is a completely different library than where these folks hang out.
As the clock ticks down, with absolutely zero opportunity to find alternate digs any time soon and anywhere near the monthly rate, their offer of a smaller place at a higher monthly rent and a shorter lease, compared with returning my interest-free reservation fee along with best wishes on being homeless, was really the only practical walk of shame for me to take. Business plans in the greater Las Vegas area, especially aiming for January 2022 time frame, make neither dillying, nor dallying, a reasonable way to pass the time.
The final slap, they do not appear to see the irony in sending me another move-in document and my asking if this is as valid as the one I received on July 13. They do blame the tenant who decided not to vacate the original unit in question, but they they do not understand what uncovered options are, nor that that other tenant was not a party to any of the business at hand (perhaps a business triangle, but with only two legs).
Not the first time, but I would like to think that I had a plan, again, until I got hit, again. Where is that whiskey drink?
Thank You For Your Support!
With the various bits of excitement during my stay in Phoenix, I have squeezed in a bit of a break from podcast production, updating newsletters, and publishing projects. Well, I have actually been working on the projects, I have been resting my voice and topic mind for a fresh new season of episodes on return to my newly-over-priced abode in Las Vegas, and I believe there might well be a new project aimed at outing bad landlords, property managers, and untenable situations for tenants of all shapes, sizes, and walks of life. Not only in Vegas. Stay tuned for more on that when the dust settles.
DanHugo is Making Podcasts, Streams, Technology Projects, and more...
That is still my out-of-band links page, and of course it happens to also enable coffee-tagged financial support possibilities, which thus far three have indulged in.
Kevin, Gil, and Oum, have each contributed to the caffeine supply that powers all of these efforts. Much appreciated, and of course there are coffee toasts being made frequently even though you may not hear them.
Sitting where I am now
I almost hate to do this, but I feel another quote coming on, this time from Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) and later from Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) from Up in the Air :
Anybody who ever built an empire, or changed the world, sat where you are now. And it’s because they sat there that they were able to do it.
This is, of course, ridiculous, but it sounds good. See the movie, especially if you travel a lot for work.
I wanted to find a side gig or two, for the extra bread of course, but also to interact with people, get some fresh perspective, maybe add on some opportunities to travel around a bit, if only a state or two away. While in Phoenix (technically, Glendale), I jumped on (a site I had always been fond of, though now that I have used it for real, no) and sent out about 70 faux applications over the course of two weeks. Absolute disappointment in the entire process. This needs to be fixed, if a quarter of the people using tools like this in a job seeker marketplace like this are experiencing one quarter of the angst and disappointment I did in my small survey sample.
The good news, I happened to have contacted an old manager and colleague of mine from the days of Umax, wherein we had a tiny room off of a main hallway in our L-shaped office, with a Basecamp board, a logic analyzer, a dev Mac, and two chairs. Not much more room than that (we did add on my desktop machine down the hall, on which I was running LinuxPPC, which enabled building the drops we were getting from Apple to build our CHRP/PReP/PPCP machine to run MacOS initially; Apple was using gcc on their RS/6000 PowerPC dev machines). Basically, where some interviews nowadays might include an hour of pair programming or a coding challenge or some other silliness that seems to say right up front that “we do not believe you,” JB and I did tens or hundreds of those hours in close quarters and actually brought up this custom PCI chipset to boot MacOS. Just in time for Apple to kill licensing, but crossing the finish line still counts.
It turns out, so many years later, that are both ideation machines with no shortage of possibilities on the to-do list, so perhaps joining forces would light a fire or at least fan the sparks that are there already. So we will join forces, grow the consulting empire with projects that are in the wind now and on the horizon, and unleash the complementary [certain set of] skills we had and have since acquired on this list of ideas, to find out which might actually work. Whatever that means.
That story is to be continued…
Why Las Vegas?
There are three projects in particular that I am hoping to mention during some wandering on and near the show floor during CES 2022, which fast approaches for January. These are Casa Nunzia, Workie, and SearchParty. That last one is actually something I would like to speak to CTA about head of time, but the timeline is not on my side here. There are also more project, so I may be flashing people with these three, more, a different set, maybe none, who can say? The show might even get cancelled in favor of full virtual again, if the covid oscillation continues.
This should answer your question, concerning putting up with the silliness above to spend time in Las Vegas. There are a few aspects that align with short-term goals and plans, and this unexpected residence gap and the associated headaches have been galactic in their scale of distraction and inconvenience, but the show goes on, at least in the near term.
There are certain possibilities, eg the interest City of Las Vegas has in drawing tech there (even after the VegasTech, um, thing), the tourist flow from far and wide and exposure to new products and services, obviously the trade show and conference crowds, the related interest CoLV has in Smart City and being up at or near the top of the list of such cities, and the list of facets goes on.
Is Las Vegas the next Silicon Valley? No way. Is it as reasonable in terms of cost of living as it was pre-pandemic? Not quite, but it is still a better deal that silicon valley was and is (even with the asinine rental debacle I described above, which may yet change until I have keys). It does fit in to several timelines, though, and in the medium term, it is easy to get in and out of LAS to fly far, far away (and to return, sometimes, maybe; see Up in the Air) not to mention colleagues new and old (and older) sometimes visiting for those conferences, trade shows, and sometimes to just visit the place.
How Funny
A running section with a few links, mostly to YouTube episodes of sets or bits or something in between from various stand-up comedians, some I knew as a fan already, others I discovered by The Algorithm, or other means. Either way, funny to some, maybe not to all, just like life.
That said, this week there is only one, very long, Bill Burr compilation video which some devoted fan put together (no video, which is basically the format of the podcast Burr does anyway).
Fall Asleep to Bill Burr Rants
Fall Asleep to Bill Burr Rants
Light Reading
I have the Lord of the Rings trilogy plus The Hobbit audio books reserved from my local library, when they become available. Having seen the movies and only read The Hobbit when I was about 12 years old, this seemed like it might be interesting. Some time later, as each audio book becomes available in some inconvenient order.
In the mean time I just finished The Secret Lives of Customers by David Scott Duncan (non-affiliate book website link below), and while it has been somewhat interesting to hear about the journey of Tazza, a fictional coffee shop chain about to go public, and their investigation with the Marketing Detective into why they are losing customers ahead of the big IPO. Note that this is a fictional tale. Frankly, if you are familiar with Simon Sinek and Start with Why, this is essentially illustrating that viewpoint with some contrived hands-on story-telling and practical methods to explore the intersections with customers. Yes, I have drastically over-simplified comparison, but why not actual, specific scenarios? NDA? Interesting, but maybe this is more of a marketing ploy to gain some new clients? Maybe.
A detective story for anyone looking to solve the mystery of who their customers really are, what they really want, why they leave, and how to bring them back.
Artwork Attribution
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
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Dan Hugo
Dan Hugo @DanHugo

Various topics of the day, whichever day, from home or abroad, about this and that and the other thing.
Engineer in Las Vegas, working on a variety of cool projects; Maker of Friends, Friend of Makers. Answers to most pronouns, you can call me Al.

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