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Why I’m planning on going to the ER in 6 weeks

A few weeks ago, I went to the ER and got an ultrasound. I had to pay $150 (basically ER fee) at the time, and I just got my bill from my insurance company: now I owe $128.50 for the physician’s fees and $111.07 for the ultrasound itself. Total ER bill: $389.57

As recommended, I scheduled a follow-up ultrasound in 6 weeks at the same hospital. The hospital recently called to inform me the ultrasound would cost me about $1600, most of which is applied to my deductible. 

Given this, I think I’ll just pop by the ER in late September, and pay ($150 ER fee + $111.07 ultrasound) $261.07, about 15% as much as if I schedule my appointment at the same hospital.

How strangers can view your private Facebook photos in less than a minute.

I do this literally all the time

katierileyco:

Your Facebook photos aren’t as private as you think.

A dear friend of mine who has been dating on Tinder lately taught me about this great/terrifying new way to stalk people online. It’s called Facebook Graph Search.

Oh, your Facebook profile is private, you say? I’ve got news for you—there’s…

SFMTA to Paint the Transit Lanes Red on Mid-Market This Weekend

Yay! This is a quick, cheap, effective tactic for speeding up public transit.

Airbnb has a new website design!

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Airbnb launched their rebranding today! I’ve been an Airbnb fangirl since the beginning, and so my friends who work at Airbnb were so gracious as to show me the logo and colors months ago. I like thinking about websites more than I like thinking about brands though, so I was eagerly awaiting to see what they had up their sleeve for the new site. It was high time for a refresh since much of Airbnb’s site (as of yesterday) was identical to when I first rented out my Copenhagen apartment over four years ago. Lots of other people have covered the new hobo-sign-inspired-and-maybe-sexual logo; I’ll leave discussion of that to them. Instead, here are my first impressions of Airbnb’s new site. 

Homepage (main)

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There were two things about the earlier versions of their site that I loved: the main heading and the design.

Design

Starting around 2012, Airbnb has pioneered a distinct design style that has become the standard. Its hallmarks were beautiful full-bleed images, a simplified call-to-action, and input fields to immediately start your personalized experience with the app.image

Main Heading

I’ve long been inspired by their commitment to having a user-centered focus. I often pointed out how their main heading since 2009, “Find a place to stay”, was about the user’s mindset instead of being an ego-driven description of the company. It immediately conveyed the message of what Airbnb was for, and hundreds of websites copied their refreshing design (e.g. GetaroundVayable, peek, Getyourguide). The new heading “Rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190 countries” is a step backward in this regard.  

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Auto-play video

Behind the main heading of the new site is an auto-play video. Auto-play videos on homepages are super trendy right now. But I expect Airbnb to be pushing the edge of digital design forward — not tagging onto to existing trends. Even the dinosaur of a company Paypal has an auto-play video on their homepage, and they beat Airbnb to it by 6 months! I was hoping that today’s site launch would be a preview of the next generation of design on the web, but this feels like a look backwards instead of forwards.

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Believe it or not, I’ve actually been looking for a cupholder for my bike for a while now. This innovative one is made by Bookman uses a spring to securely / temporarily attach to handlebars. Normally $40, I just got it on sale from Madewell for $12. If you want to get coffee and ride around the Mission with me, use coupon code HIGHSUMMER to get your own :)

Believe it or not, I’ve actually been looking for a cupholder for my bike for a while now. This innovative one is made by Bookman uses a spring to securely / temporarily attach to handlebars. Normally $40, I just got it on sale from Madewell for $12. If you want to get coffee and ride around the Mission with me, use coupon code HIGHSUMMER to get your own :)

I think California has a way of knowing exactly when I’m about to forget how amazing it is, and makes sure I see something incredible right before. Today, it was an 800 year old Cistercian chapter house, shipped here from Spain and currently residing as part of a rural Trappist monastery/brewery/vineyard.
More information:
Abbey of New Clairvaux
Crazy history of Chapter House stones since 1098
Tasting room at New Clairvaux winery
Ovila beer (collaboration with Sierra Nevada brewing company)

I think California has a way of knowing exactly when I’m about to forget how amazing it is, and makes sure I see something incredible right before. Today, it was an 800 year old Cistercian chapter house, shipped here from Spain and currently residing as part of a rural Trappist monastery/brewery/vineyard.

More information:

More time, less hassle: outsource personal tasks

I use a service called Fancy Hands (referral link), an outsourced personal assistant service to take care of lots of things in my personal life. When I’ve chatted with my friends about Fancy Hands, they understand why it’s a good idea in theory: reducing time spent on obnoxious tasks allows them to focus on the areas where they’ll have more impact. Usually they have trouble imagining specific examples of what tasks they could send to Fancy Hands though. Now, I don’t know the details of their lives well enough to tell them what would be best for them, but I thought it would be useful to describe some of the things I’ve had Fancy Hands do for me. Maybe you’ll get inspired :)

Continue reading…

StartupOnomics

Earlier this year, I was so fortunate to be able to attend StartupOnomics,  ”the behavioral economics summit for teams changing the world” lead by Dan Ariely (of Predictably Irrational). It’s happening again this summer, and I strongly encourage you to apply! Applications are due July 7th, so go go go!

How to keep yourself from hyperbolically discounting

Hyperbolic discounting is a well-known model for how much less rewards are worth to people based on how long they have to wait to receive them. From the Wikipedia article on the topic

The standard experiment used to reveal a test subject’s hyperbolic discounting curve is to compare short-term preferences with long-term preferences. For instance: “Would you prefer a dollar today or three dollars tomorrow?” or “Would you prefer a dollar in one year or three dollars in one year and one day?” For certain range of offerings, a significant fraction of subjects will take the lesser amount today, but will gladly wait one extra day in a year in order to receive the higher amount instead.

A new study published in April of this year has found a way to counter this bias: just feel thankful. The research shows that feeling gratitude before being presented with a choice between different, time-delayed rewards helped the participants choose the rational choice, even when their own money was at stake!

Read a summary here and, (if you have a subscription to Psychological Science) the original paper here

How the curse of mediocrity keeps me from learning Windows 8

Most of the team at work uses computers running Windows 8, and I occasionally have to configure different parts of them. Every time I need to get to the Control Panel, I go through a convoluted process that is inefficient, but is a process I know solves the problem. I right-click on the network/wifi icon in the corner, open up Network Settings, and backtrack up to the main control panel. It’s embarrassing and inefficient.  I think “This is crazy, but I don’t have time to learn the right way to access the Control Panel, I have to fix this person’s computer ASAP so they can get back to work!”

These is a teeny example to illustrate a much broader and more wide-spread problem that is well known in the software training world. It’s sometimes called the productivity bias, since people favor being a very short-sighted view of productivity rather than investing a little time upfront to be more efficient in the long term.  

When I worked on a SCOPE project for Autodesk, my team referred to it as the “curse of mediocrity”, and used this image to represent it. 

In my situation, I continue to behave in this way even though I know that a better solution exists. That is, I know that this is a suboptimal solution. There are Photoshop users who will say they know there’s a better way to select the sky but rather than find it, they’ll instinctively reach for the magic wand, the easy tool they know best and can start using right away. 

However, it’s more often the case that a software user doesn’t know there is a problem. They may just manually add space between paragraphs in Word because they assume that’s how it’s done. This is much worse, because they won’t be searching for a solution if they are unaware a problem exists.

I learn the most when I have someone more skilled next to me showing me how to accomplish tasks, because they can tell me discover the unknown gaps in my knowledge. Without someone next to me, I discover features and better processes by stumbling into blog posts, following links from twitter, and google searches that start with “best practices for…”. This ad-hoc way of learning sucks, and I’ve started thinking on what could be a better solution. 

Nick has a friendly, Australian Airbnb guest staying with him now that runs a blog — my new favorite — called Carryology: Exploring Better Ways to Carry

Nick has a friendly, Australian Airbnb guest staying with him now that runs a blog — my new favorite — called Carryology: Exploring Better Ways to Carry

Freakonomics with Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner

Excellent event TONIGHT at the Castro theater!

From The Runway To Silicon Valley: Why Fashion is The Next Big Thing in VC

jaydengvc:

SaaS, enterprise, and mobile all have one thing in common: they are the bread and butter of most VC firms and angel investors. You would be hard pressed to find a VC who doesn’t have a portfolio dominated by tech startups.

But as the global economy evolves, we are beginning to see disruptions in…

Brand Over Brain

How our experiences are modulated not just by our senses, but by our beliefs

I know we need more women presenting at tech events. But when I saw this, I literally just put my head down on my desk for a couple seconds.

I know we need more women presenting at tech events. But when I saw this, I literally just put my head down on my desk for a couple seconds.

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