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World Unfurled… An entrepreneur travels the world. » 2005 » May

Brazil’s Bikini Girls

May 25, 2005

Flickr? More like a roaring bonfire of hot, sexy photo love!

I have started playing with Flickr to store my photos. My challenge is that I plan to produce a lot of photos on my trip around the world. I estimate 200-400 photos per week. A 7 mega pixel jpeg is about 3 megs, so I expect to be producing 2 to 4 gigs a month of new photos. I’d like to store these somewhere other than with me on the road. This way I won’t lose them if I lose a bag. Additionally, I’d like to share at least some of them online with people as I travel.

I had originally planned to host the photos myself on my website, but ultimately I am not likely to do this because…

Hosting them myself is work.
I’d have to pick a software package to use. It would probably be an open source package called gallery, but I’d need to research it some more to be sure. Using an open source package would give me maximum flexibility and control. But, whatever I picked, I’d need to install, manage and customize it. That would take time and effort.

Hosted disk space is expensive.
My web hosting company, Dream Host offers great deals for hosting (use promo code 777 and pay $9.24 for the entire year, not per month, but for the entire year of hosting). However, it is quite expensive if I want to add 40 gigs of additional storage (to the 2.5 gigs I have) for high res photos.

Not hosting the photos makes back up hard and means additional work.
If I don’t upload all of my high res versions to the web then I have to burn them to CD / DVD and mail them back from my year long trip around the world. I may do this anyway as backups between uploads when I am in remote places with little or no Internet access, but having to do so all the time is a burden, it also doesn’t facilitate sharing them.

Since I am still comfortable ensconced in my home office with a cable modem and a large supply of unhosted photos from previous trips, I thought I’d give Flickr a try. I have a little time before I head out on my trip around the world in September, so if it doesn’t work out it is not too late to change.

I decided to try Flickr after being caught in the Yahoo buys Flickr media storm. My interest in Flickr was in large part based on the fact that I have a lot of respect for Jeremy Zawodny and he seems to think about many of the same issues of data storage that I have been thinking about. He is also coming to many of the same conclusions.

As I began uploading my photos to Flickr I found that it was a pretty powerful application and that there was an active community there. It was still not quite as quick as managing my photos form the desktop, but it was pretty good and it offers nice features for tagging, sharing and searching. If anybody from Flickr is reading this I have a pro account and I’d really like to pay double to be able to upload twice as much.

I got a nice note about some of my Brazil photos from Lorenzo and a few people marked some photos of kids or street scenes as among their favorites. This was nice and made me feel good about my photos, but as I uploaded more photos and played with Flickr it seemed that pretty girls in bathing suits (or less) got all the attention.

As an experiment I grabbed a handful of photos form the streets and beaches of Rio De Janeiro and cropped out some women in bikinis. I added some descriptive tags and POOF. Within 15 minutes of uploading the photos in my Brazil’s Bikini Girls set each of the photos had more views than any of my other photos that had been uploaded for days. Now that the swimsuit clad ladies of Copacabana and Ipanema have been up for 24 hours they have more views than my other 600+ photos combined. In fact the only photo that can even compete a little bit with girls in bikinis is Kentucky Fried Santa

I must confess this post itself is a little experiment to see if it too will increase the exposure (no pun intended) of my site in the same way that my flickr photo set has.

For all my friends and colleagues and those of you not looking for sexy Latin ladies, here are some other photos from Brazil:

“So where are you going?”

May 21, 2005

South America Itin Map
Or, “Where are you going first?” seems to be the number one question I get when I tell people that Soyan and I are taking a year long trip around the world. When I answer, “I’m not sure yet” they seem mildly annoyed as if they were some how going to be personally inconvenienced by the fact that we haven’t finished planning our trip.

Since I don’t want to annoy anybody, let me go on the record with our current thinking. The big picture is: south through Central and South America then north through Africa, the middle East, Turkey, Greece and a tiny slice of eastern Europe. Then Dubai to India to Nepal and Bhutan and on to South East Asia, Papa New Guinea, the Great Barrier Reef, and perhaps China and Korea. Then back to the States, unless we still have energy left.

Since I don’t mind annoying anybody, let me tell you that it is all subject to change.

So where to first…

Well I haven’t booked anything yet, but I have been playing with Airtreks.com an online travel agency specializing in “multi-stop international air travel service.” I first learned about them from The Practical Nomad, an extremely detailed guide to the minutia of pretrip planning, by Edward Hasbrouc, who happens to work for Air Treks. Practical Nomad offers a lot of insight in to the travel industry, and although it has a little too much detail to be a “fun read”, it is however a great resource. If you are thinking about a round the world trip, and you want a good book to start with, I’d recommend Rough Guide’s First Time Around the World.

Alright, alright, I know what you really want to know is where am I going. The tentative plan is to visit my parents and grandmother in Houston at the beginning of September and then follow an something itinerary like this:

  • Houston
  • Guatemala
  • Panama
  • Colombia
  • Venezuela
  • Aruba
  • Suriname
  • French Guiana
  • Chile (Santiago)
  • Easter Island
  • Argentina (Mendoza)
  • Chile (Punta Arenas and Ushuaia)
  • Antarctica
  • Argentina (Buenos Aires)
  • Africa starting in Johannesburg

It turns out that the airlines would like to send me from French Guiana to Santiago via Miami and that doesn’t sound like any fun, so I am still trying to figure it out. Savvy South American travellers may be wondering about the absence of Peru and Brazil. We’ve skipped them because we have already travelled there (the photos on the right are from Rio, more photos are coming soon). Returning to Brazil may however be the answer to avoiding Miami, so all of you that want to know just where I am going will have to sweat it out a little longer.

The end of an era.

May 17, 2005

I began building the first of my three companies my junior year at the University of Chicago, and I have been hard at work at the practice of entrepreneurship ever since. It has been an exciting and fulfilling experience, but also a challenging and tiring one.

The highs have filled me with an elation that far exceeds my rush from skydiving for my 30th birthday. The lows were so devastatingly painful and gut wrenchingly scary that the agony they evoked far exceeded any anxiety that accompanied my jumping out of a plane.

I am feeling reflective about all I that have learned, about myself and about entrepreneurship, because last week I tendered my resignation from the company my brother and I founded six and a half years ago. We sold the company a little more than six months ago and have been working for the acquirer since then.

My last day of work will be the day I head to my 10th college reunion, and that seems to have heightened my sense that this is the end of an era. It is, after all, almost 10 years to the day, and I am leaving everything that has been my life for the better part of a decade for a series of new adventures.

I am filled with enthusiasm and excitement as I look forward to the next decade and what it will bring. My first adventure is a year-long trip around the world with my wife, Soyan, starting in September.

At the same time, I am very sad to be leaving, even more so than I imagined I’d be when I originally decided to quit. I’ll miss the people I work with and an environment that is really supportive, encouraging and fun. My company has provided the pleasure and privilege to work with really outstanding people. I owe much of my success to these people and count them as not only colleagues, but as friends. I hope I have given these people half as much as I have learned from them, and that we get an opportunity to work together again.

I don’t want my rosy retrospective glasses to lead anyone to think that our company was perfect. It was not, but through trial and error, we built something special. People who work here care about each other, both at work and outside of work. They are creative and innovative. They work hard and play hard. They are an amazing group! I am sure that the strong culture will continue. I hope I am lucky enough to experience something like it again in the future.

When other people have left the company before me, I was always conflicted about their departures. I sincerely wished them well, but I felt a bit like they had abandoned me. I am saddened to imagine that’s how people will now feel about me. I hope they know that I’ll miss them terribly and that I will always treasure the time we spent together because in just the week since I resigned that has become even more clear to me.

Now that’s a trip around the world!

May 2, 2005

For my 30th Birthday I jumped out of a plane. The nice folks at the Atlanta Skydiving Center gave me a waiver that essentially said, “You could die doing this. If you do, it is not our fault, we warned you.” Then I watched a video that explained the waiver and reinforced the point that, “You don’t have to do this. People get hurt. Ask us, we’ll give you a list.” I signed and initialed at least 18 times. Then I jumped out of a plane.

The only scary part was when I was squatting on the lip of the plane’s cargo door at 14,211 feet, feeling like I might fall. Then I realized, I was certainly going to fall! Once out of the plane it was not what I expected. It didn’t feel at all like falling in a dream, and even though I was going 120 mph it didn’t feel so fast because there was nothing nearby to measure my speed against. That’s the way it goes when you jump out of a plane. Of course, when someone base jumps from a building, bridge or cliff it is a little different.

I just watched this 9 minute video clip of a base jumper’s trip around the world and I was sweating the whole time. It is a 30 meg download, but one of the best videos I have ever seen.

Thanks to Jimbo’s excellent Link Dump for the video.