Venture Funding is Painful, but Necessary

You hear it everyday, startups receiving funding from Investor XYZ or Venture Capital Firm ABC. It’s like money is being showered upon new businesses, and builds a great deal of excitement and energy which is what makes Silicon Valley the center of innovation, technology and growth.

While receiving venture funding is great, it’s also painful. For the money you gain, you give away a percentage of your company – whether it is in the form of decision making, the total profit you’re generating, or other means of acquisition of income. In addition, executives find it difficult to respond or answer to board members needs and demands, sometimes the demand are against the vision or goal of the executives or founders, which creates internal conflict and leads to stressful work days as the dream you were hoping to build turned into a task – the task of building someone else’s dream.

The alternative to venture fundings are numerous – including receiving paying customers and gradually expanding. That’s what my last startup did.

The chief executive despised the concept of venture funding, and focused on plans that targeted large businesses as customers and receiving large paychecks. The reasoning is that the large paychecks will pay off the lengthy sales cycle, and can provide sufficient funds to sustain operations in the business. Logically, this is a good idea! As a business, you are not in debt, nor do you have to respond to anyone else. In addition, the chief executive knew that our startup had a great partnership with a large network technology firm, and eventually the startup will be acquired for a great fee.


However, as we were waiting, the burn rate started to increase, and we were nosediving towards red. With the field of social media changing and shifting, product development cycles did not evolve fast enough to meet the demands of the customers. In addition, the competitive field became more intense as few competitors received venture funding, and maximized their focus in capturing markets.

That’s the key to venture funding, capturing the largest possible market and establishing your base.

The goal of venture funding enables businesses to scale much more faster than it were possible through customer funding.

In the future, I hope businesses will consider the value of venture funding, and while it is painful to let go of your dreams, it can provide the leverage to create a more solid foundation, and a better path to growth.

The 5 Stages of Job Search

That time in your life where you look for a job…

Searching for a job is a frustrating and tiresome experience.

It all starts with you building your resume (or trying to find where you placed your old resume), writing an eloquent cover letter, and then spending hours on LinkedIn, Monster, Craigslist, and other job directories.

For some of you, you’re lucky enough to do this with a group of friends or colleagues and empower each other, work together, and review each other’s resumes and cover letters to increase the chances of getting an interview and landing a job!

In the course of my job searching experience and helping colleagues and friends, I’ve noticed that there are 5 stages of human experience that people face during this crazy expedition. Let’s dive in!

Stage 1 – Enormous Confidence


You recently graduated from college/university, or you recently quit from a job you didn’t like, or you got laid off, or you’re simply looking for what’s out there.

Whatever’s the case, you know you’re the hot stuff!

Most likely you brushed up your resume, put some glitter on it, and launched it out to every big name firm you’ve ever dreamed of!

You apply to places like Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Intel, IBM, Tesla Motors, etc.

You know you’ll get it! Right?

I mean, look at that spanking clean resume combined with the MBA-class cover letter! Who can even reject that?

This is exactly what those recruiters over there are looking for!

Sometimes, you may have so much confidence that you even say that you’re looking at other places.


What a recruiter experiences when opening a resume that was built during the “Confidence” stage

That’s until you receive your first set of rejection letters, or two weeks of silence (because, you know, recruiters have no mechanism to inform you that your application was rejected – welcome to the 21st century!).


Recruiters and HR, please please please please use this feature in your email


Stage 2 – The Tactician/Strategist



Rejected? How can this be possible?! Inconceivable!

It’s the third week of job search, and you’re starting to feel slightly defeated, but your pride will never admit defeat!

You notice that you had few spelling errors in your cover letter, including some ridiculous grammatical errors in your resume.

Maybe you had no errors in either your resume or your cover letter – but to apply to all those companies without considering their background, needs and career path isn’t really a great idea.

You start developing strategies.

You write your resume in a way to reflect the needs of the job listed. You start listing your accomplishments and successes.

You even list your personal interests! Hoping it will attract the attention of the recruiter who also enjoys playing the Battlestar Galactica board game.


The game is actually decent…yet I prefer Dominion and Catan

Your cover letter expands further on why you’re interested in the company, and you further expand on some of your successes.

You have search queries pinned down; targeting jobs with specific titles, keywords, the date the job was posted, and even becoming more lenient with salary levels (maybe $150K right off the bat was too high?).

At this point, LinkedIn and Monster became your top visited pages on your Google Chrome homepage!

Screenshot 2015-04-10 16.48.45

Jobvite and LinkedIn as my top pages? Shit just got real!

Yet, despite your strategic approach to job search, things don’t go as well as you’ve wished for.

You actually receive emails expressing that you are a great person, but not a great fit.


But few weeks pass, and you realize you cannot wait any longer…

You really need a job!

Stage 3 – Whatever Works! (Desperation)

At this stage, those who were simply looking around for what’s out there are counting their blessings – they are happy to have a job.

For those who do not have that opportunity, it’s getting bad!

You’ve spent your 4-5 years in college learning something that you thought was valuable.

Maybe you should’ve paid more attention to that Data Structure or Financial Engineering class.

You wished you had a time machine to go back in time and convince yourself not to pursue that art degree.

At this stage, you wish Dr. Who was real and he would show up and take you back in time!

It’s time to humble yourself. Maybe it’s better to start from zero. How about an internship? Or even a co-op?

Your aim is to get your foot at the door, right? Do whatever it takes!

You look through entry-level jobs, even though you have years of experience in your hand.

You attend job fairs, and you’ll notice you’re not the only one at this stage of job search. This is a serious pestilence plaguing the job searchers!

At this stage, you actually care about how many job openings President Barak Obama opened…and for once, you feel the pinch of the unemployment index (you didn’t even know what this meant until a few days ago!).


“Thanks Obama!”

You apply and wait, similar to Stage 1, but you don’t receive a response or feedback. Because it seems from the perspective of recruiters that entry level jobs hardly need any feedback…

It’s now plaguing your soul.

Your pride is crushed, your ego is demolished, and after weeks of trying, you start feeling hopeless.

Stage 4 – Hopelessness

Few months have passed, and you realize it’s hopeless.

You feel that no one is accepting you.

You’re chained to this sense of guilt, disappointment and shame.


“What in the world happened? Am I useless? What’s my purpose?” Those are some of the questions you ask yourself.

At this stage, some give up and simply start watching a lot of TV, maybe Netflix it up, club a lot, or even hide in your home. Some drink, some resort to drugs, some smoke – either way, they seek these things to distance themselves from difficulties.

Among the privileged few, some rely on the support of their spouse, parents, or their savings. Some move into their parents’ home or their friend’s home.

Some, unfortunately, lose their homes, their family, or their life!

It’s a really dark period, and it sucks!

But gradually, you pick up the pieces.

You break free from these self-made chains of despair, self-hate, and sadness!

You start taking few college classes to gain some more experience: Maybe a class in iOS development, fundamentals of design, or even writing!

You might even change your career path completely!

You dedicate a year to exploring your talents!

In the end, you look at the process rather than outcome.

This is where you enter the last stage…


Stage 5 – Detachment and Growth

You’re at the Zen stage.

The results don’t matter, but rather, you focus on the effort and the work you’ve put in.

At this stage, you develop new talents.

You started playing the guitar again, or you joined multiple MeetUp groups and gained further domain knowledge in something you were interested or something completely new, you may have improved your skills, or even explored new exciting talents like 3D modeling.

You initiate your tiny little business – providing professional services to friends, family, or even old co-workers.

You brush up on your resume, you write a very beautiful cover letter, but wherever you apply, you don’t feel attached to it.



You feel detached, you feel light and happy!

You learn that life is a constant process of growth!

Eventually, you will get few interviews. You’ll be cool, comfortable, and content.

Then one day, a wonderful news arrives.

They are asking if you can start on Monday!

To celebrate this joyous moment, you invite your family and friends, and have great time together.

Deep inside, you feel happy, rejuvenated, and joyous!

Deep inside, you knew you were the BOSS all along!



Did “Square Order” use my Launch Hackathon idea?

Today, one of my friends shared with me a link. He mentioned that this product, Square’s Order, is very similar to the idea I once shared with him during February 2014. The idea was about a coffee ordering app that utilizes a very simple interface and design to eliminate the hassle of ordering coffee. In addition, it was designed to be very generic so the user could order (nearly) the same coffee regardless of the coffee shop.

This idea was brought to life on Feb 23, 2014 at the Launch Hackathon held in San Francisco. My colleague Asitha de Silva and I spent time building this phone app and placed all our effort to create a simple, yet effective, way of ordering coffee. We also enabled the application to order a coffee on your behalf through the phone using Twilio. You can see the basic idea of our app in the following link:

Here are screenshots of the application Asitha and I developed:

GetCoffee Interface-1

GetCoffee Interface-1

GetCoffee Interface-2

GetCoffee Interface-2

GetCoffee Interface-3

GetCoffee Interface-3

When the judging time came – our idea was evaluated by Dani Behrendt (Honda Innovation & Strategic Alliances) and Jessica Lessin (Editor-in-Chief of The Information)  – we received a mediocre result (6/10). Our judges stated that while our app has a great UI, it wouldn’t be able to penetrate the market.

“Think about reaching out to an independent shop for an early trial just with them. Very cool.”

“Very well designed app and I like how it is platform independent. I worry it is low barrier to entry.”

For Asitha and I, hackathons are a learning experience, and our days moved on.

But things have changed.

After seeing Square’s Order (which was launched in May 2014), I felt a bit uneasy. Are hackathons used as a medium to simply exploit from the ideas and endeavors of its participants? The application looked similar to our platform, including the distribution of the coffee content, the simple design. While it is not a direct reflection (given we only had time to code our app in 24 hours), if we were given the resources and time, we would’ve built something like this:

Square Order Interface

What do you think?

Do you think Square’s App and our app is similar? Do you think hackathons are providing the environment for individuals to create freely?

Lasheen Yusuf

They say Alchemists Do Not Exist

They say alchemists do not exist.

Scientifically, no one was ever able to transform base metals into noble metals, such as silver and gold. But, there was an alchemist in our midst.

WIth the ingredients of happiness, humor and wisdom, he sparks life. Leading with example, the alchemist inspired many apprentices, even mentors, whom have led and inspired others. I am grateful that he has invited me to accompany him on many trips and occasions to programs and events where he shared his insights on life, love and spirituality. Half-jokingly I would call him ‘Guru’ because of that.

Lasheen was an alchemist. He may have not transformed physical items into silver or gold, but he transformed our hearts and helped us to become joyful and happy beings.

I miss Lasheen Mannayath: I miss him for all that he has done for me and the community, and I hope to become the alchemist he once was, and will forever be.

Friends from the Heart, Forever

Distance is annihilated and prevents not the close and intimate association of two souls that are closely attached in heart even though they may be in two different countries.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 101)

Since mid-November, I was in the United Arab Emirates working on my residency documents. Due to needed government work, I have to stay in the UAE until some of the necessary papers are completed. While being in UAE and working at weird hours to fit the USA schedule, I was hoping to spend some time reflecting on few things and examine my capacities, life and spirit. It was an ideal situation as I was away from all the clutter, noise and distraction of the Silicon Valley market – fighting for innovation, competitive atmosphere, and a limited scope of activity based on mainstream interests. In the mist of all the musing, I thought of a wonderful idea: why not visit my friends in Europe while I’m on this side of the Atlantic Ocean? That idea has lit a powerful engine in my mind, and my blood was rushing so quickly in my body. I didn’t hesitate to reach out to my dear friends immediately and share the news!

I had very little expectation, and packed very light to make my journey as easy as possible. The goal, as stated before, was simply to see my friends. My planned route of travel were London, to Paris, to Munich and finally Kehl; a city that borders France and hugs Straßburg with the famous La Passerelle Mirmam.

On December 23rd, I sat on the plane leaving from Dubai to London. It was a surreal journey, and I was slightly nervous: It has been a while since I’ve last seen my friends, and most of my interactions with them have been through the Internet. I was not sure for a second whether this was a good idea. I landed in Heathrow, went through the passport check, and my first encounter of seeing my friend has completely changed my mind.

It was only during the summer that I have studied about the definition of true friendship. True friendship encompasses the qualities that help one grow and prosper, both spiritually and physically, through mutual support, encouragement and channeling hope, energy and inspiration to one another. Those qualities were found in the heart of those friends who have hosted my during my short trip to Europe. Those are the friends that made Europe feel like home. And every departure from their region or home felt like being homesick. Homesick not because I miss UAE, or USA, but homesick because I will truly miss those beautiful friends.

Despite the pouring rain of London, the lousy restaurant service and train service in France, and the ridiculous Winterpause of German stores – none of them have changed my mind of the countries and cities I’ve visited. For me, the cities and towns that I’ve visited carry the memory of the compassion, love, kindness, and generosity of my hosts and friends.

To the wonderful hosts, friends and family that have made my Winter journey and reflection beautiful and illuminating:

Thank you so much, and I love you all dearly.

The Forum – Nature and Universal Law


Every other week, I hold a gathering in my house called “The Forum.” The purpose of my gathering is to engage in dialog and consultation on developing the framework of action with the goal of promoting the betterment of mankind.

The gathering revolves around the Abdu’l-Baha’s “Some Answered Questions” because I felt the topics were rich with meaning, approached the matter with logic, and conveyed the message in the spirit of learning.

Even though this may seem like a deepening session, the gathering is open to all to gain a better understanding on the Teachings of the Baha’i Faith, and underlining the universal purpose that humanity has in this world.

Nature and Universal Law

To understand the basic principles of existence, Abdu’l-Baha explains what natures consists of, and how nature is governed by conditions that allows it to grow, expand and live. In Some Answered Questions, Abdu’l-Baha states:

“Nature is that condition, that reality, which in appearance consists in life and death, or, in other words, in the composition and decomposition of all things. This Nature is subjected to an absolute organization, to determined laws, to a complete order and a finished design, from which it will never depart—to such a degree, indeed, that if you look carefully and with keen sight, from the smallest invisible atom up to such large bodies of the world of existence as the globe of the sun or the other great stars and luminous spheres, whether you regard their arrangement, their composition, their form or their movement, you will find that all are in the highest degree of organization and are under one law from which they will never depart.”

Abdu’l-Baha’s definition of nature, and the things the nature is influenced by, resonates very well with a concept in the field of Physics regarding string theory; a sub-quark element that is responsible for all the forces that a mass is influenced by (weak, strong, and electromagnetic). Edward Whitten, a renowned Theoretical Physicist at Princeton University, can the following statement about superstring theory, which is a derivative of string theory:

“Superstring theories provide a framework in which the force of gravity may be united with the other three forces in nature: the weak, electromagnetic and strong forces. Recent progress has shown that the most promising superstring theories follow from a single theory. For the last generation, physicists have studied five string theories and one close cousin. Recently it has become clear that these five or six theories are different limiting cases of one theory which, though still scarcely understood, is the candidate for superunification of the forces of nature.”

Humanity is a part of Nature; however, what distinguishes humans from other bodies, organisms and elements on the earth is the fact that humans are intelligent beings that are able to promote the progress of their community and society; break the barriers of knowledge through innovation, experience and discovery. Abdu’l-Baha explains further:

“But when you look at Nature itself, you see that it has no intelligence, no will. For instance, the nature of fire is to burn; it burns without will or intelligence. The nature of water is fluidity; it flows without will or intelligence. The nature of the sun is radiance; it shines without will or intelligence. The nature of vapor is to ascend; it ascends without will or intelligence. Thus it is clear that the natural movements of all things are compelled; there are no voluntary movements except those of animals and, above all, those of man. Man is able to resist and to oppose Nature because he discovers the constitution of things, and through this he commands the forces of Nature; all the inventions he has made are due to his discovery of the constitution of things. For example, he invented the telegraph, which is the means of communication between the East and the West. It is evident, then, that man rules over Nature.”

Abdu’l-Baha’s proof of intelligence is also agreed upon not only by scientists, but also laureates, other religious bodies, and scientists. Reflecting on two short quotes that relay such understanding:

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald (author of The Great Gatsby)

“The senses, they say, are great. Greater than the senses is the mind, greater than the mind is intelligence but greater than the intelligence is He.”

– Bhagavad Gita (Sacred Hindu Scripture)

It is clear and evident that humanity has reigned over Nature since the start of time. However, the greater question that arises is what intelligence developed Nature? For anything that has been created, whether an atom or a mountain, an intelligent source is needed. In the realm of science, we utilize the basis that it is through chance and chaos that such a wonder was achieved. Yet, even numbers show elegance and uniformity that it cannot merely be chance, but a very well calibrated design, a design that enables us, and Nature, to live and foster. Abdu’l-Baha sheds light on this matter:

“Now, when you behold in existence such organizations, arrangements and laws, can you say that all these are the effect of Nature, though Nature has neither intelligence nor perception? If not, it becomes evident that this Nature, which has neither perception nor intelligence, is in the grasp of Almighty God, Who is the Ruler of the world of Nature; whatever He wishes, He causes Nature to manifest.
One of the things which has appeared in the world of existence, and which is one of the requirements of Nature, is human life. Considered from this point of view man is the branch; nature is the root. Then can the will and the intelligence, and the perfections which exist in the branch, be absent in the root? It is said that Nature in its own essence is in the grasp of the power of God, Who is the Eternal Almighty One: He holds Nature within accurate regulations and laws, and rules over it.”

In addition to the clear and logical message presented here by Abdu’l-Baha, I decided to venture online and find out if any other figures and entities from the past have shed light on this idea. And it was amazing for me to see the universal agreement, spoken in different tones and languages, to describe what Abdu’l-Baha mentioned about what governs Nature, and of the essence of God.

To clarify, God is not merely a man in the sky, nor an entity to which we can comprehend and grasp. It is best to consider it as an Intelligent being that is beyond our realm of comprehension, yet present. A better example of this is the value and concept of infinity, which is beyond the realm of comprehension in our mind. However, it provides the answer to missing links and questions in Mathematics, especially in mathematical series.

Among some of the individuals who have discussed this matter include Max Planck, where he shares a fundamental message in the realm of Quantum Mechanics:

“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

Derived from the lecture, ‘Das Wesen der Materie’ [The Essence/Nature/Character of Matter], Florence, Italy (1944). Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, Rep. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797.

Previous religious Holy Writings, from Quran and Bhagavad Gita, gave their interpretation of Intelligence and essence of God:

It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when ye knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affections: that ye may give thanks.

– The Quran, Surat Al Nahl (The Bee), verse 78

When a man puts away all the desires of his mind, O Partha (Arjuna), and when his spirit is content in itself, then he is called stable in intelligence.

– Bhagavad Gita (Sacred Hindu Scripture)

And finally, Isaac Newton, in the Untitled Treatise on Revelation, under “Rules for interpreting the words and language in Scripture”, which was one of Newton’s writings and research dedicated to understanding and how to correctly interpret the Writings of Bible, states in Rule 9:

“It is the perfection of God’s works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order and not of confusion. And therefore as they would understand the frame of the world must endeavor to reduce their knowledge to all possible simplicity, so must it be in seeking to understand these visions.”

The Elegant System: Neither Capitalism or Communism

Whether communism, or capitalism, both systems are flawed and unsuitable for this time and age. It is time for a new Keynes, Marshall and Adam Smith influential economist to develop a new, global model.


There are three solid observations:

  1. No human is perfect, thus immoral and irrational matters occur.
  2. Neither system will work at all given the foundation of both systems, which assumes humans are rational and morally sound.
  3. Both systems assume the outside world is in a constant state that we can assume to be ideal, and that the foreign relations are stable. Reality is that the world is more random. Like a nth sided dice, where “n” is the different factors that affect the world beyond borders: Nature, education, wealth, resources, politics…etc

Despite the popular idea in the West to decentralize all institutions, Government has an important role to play in the development of economic standards of a nation. Government is needed for any case, regardless of any system. But I’ll leave that to some PoliSci genius to identify a new form of administration that breaks away from the Greek Senate system that is old and outdated, or the British Parliamentary system, which is like a massive party rather than a governing body.

Given such observations, it is evident proves that neither system is valid for this time and age given the infrastructure and foundation present. A better model requires to be devised the focuses on empowering and encouraging people to act morally and rationally; leading to the development of economic standard and transforming society to practice trade and economics effectively and efficiently. So far, we have a system that gives people negative points (black points in driver’s license, three-strike law, criminal records…etc). Therefore, the question holds, why not create a reward system?

My opinion is to develop a new economic model that encompasses a global perspective on things, while standing on the foundation of resolving economic problems through moral initiatives and endeavors.

International Trade in Classical Models vs. Reality

Capitalism and Communist Economics express matters in a microeconomic scale limited to a single nation. And when International Trade is integrated to this matter, it focuses strictly on scenarios and events that occur at the port of the local nation of which the microeconomic principles are in play. Based on such assumption, the model limits the transaction to a system that extends as far as the borders of the nation, and anything beyond that border is considered “ideal” or “in constant state”.

Therefore, in an ideal scenario, Capitalist nations should work strictly in promoting their own interest and the Communist nation follow the same suit, too. These measures/ideologies are introduced in the form of tariffs, quotas, trade barriers, or even embargos (extreme case).

In the realm of Economics, Noble Prize winners Heckscher and Ohlin introduced Heckscher-Ohlin Theory, which explains how two countries can get greater gains from trading with each other if they have different resources. This model is independent of Communism/Capitalistic model. Even though this model only focuses on resources, it is a good step forward to proving the foundation of how unity in trade is the key to progress. In 2000’s, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz paved way to the power and benefit of globalization, and breaking the barriers of Capitalism and Communism by supporting more freedom in trade, more transparency, and great equivalency (this is like a mix of capitalism and communism if you think about it).

Anyhow, utilizing the latest information we gained from the new wave of Economics, and merging the growing field of Behavioral Economics, I think we are capable of providing a solution.

Role of Government

In Economics, the government’s duty is to ensure fair play of businesses in the field. Their task is to provide protection, guidance, and assistance when in need. Small businesses strive through Small Business Incentives provided by the government to grow and develop, while corporations have their rights protected by the legal clause given by government (such as patents). And in return, of course, government needs income through taxes and what not to maintain such complex legal and judicial system. But you already know this 😉

As for government controlling business, I can think of three ways:

1) Protection Against Monopoly: The traditional biological rule is survival of the fittest, and so the weakest company will die off in the cut throat market. I don’t support this model of thinking, but this is the current environment. Let’s assume the battle goes on until one company survives. Based on microeconomic principle, a monopolist can abuse its position to get the most profit from individuals. Not to mention, making it extremely difficult for new businesses to arise. And so far, this isn’t limited to Monopoly, but we can also say Oligopolies and Duopolies are as bad, too. Government limits such practice to protect people from such abuse.

2) Free rider problem: In the context of businesses, suppose there is a street, on which 25 people live, and which suffers from a litter problem. A weekly street-cleaning service would cost $2,500 annually. Suppose that each person is able and willing to pay $100 or more for the service. However, it is possible that some people on the street will refuse to pay, anticipating that the service will be undertaken regardless. It is possible that if enough people refuse to pay, the service will not be hired; an example of market failure. This is where the government has to step in and mitigate this problem, since again, people are extremely irrational.

3) Promoting National Interest: Sometimes, government control a business to push their own agenda, and this is visible in the field of agriculture and technology. For example, military/defense industry receives far greater funding than any other industry due to US government’s interest. As in terms of trade, the United States places trade restrictions on foreign fruits and goods not only because of environmental problem, but also to eliminate the competition of food within the United States and promote farming in the USA (otherwise, who the hell would farm. It’s very expensive to farm, which explains the need for subsidy). However, if utilized properly, this method can assist the government to focus on matters that are in great need of attention, such as encouraging medical research, developing new industries, transforming older methodologies and leading a progressive civilization.

Whatever it may be, In the end, I just wish to see myself going forward with innovative ideas and not feel afraid to let go of old models if it is deemed broken. And I feel that we are there, and we can all accomplish great things.

Looking forward to your insight and comments, and feel free to share your thoughts, too.

Dispelling the Myth: Firearm is more dangerous than Drunk Driving

After seeing all this debate about gun control and comparing it to drunk driving, I decided to find the facts out for myself. If there is a strong principle that I advocate whole-heartedly, it is this:

Independent investigation of Truth

And so, I set out to investigate the numbers on my own using the sources available to me by the Department of Justice and Center for Disease Control.


More people die or get injured by Firearms annually than drunk driving. According the the Bureau of Justice statistics for period of 2005-2010, the average annual death/injury/terrorization by firearm is 155,250 victims (Source: – Page 7, Table 9)

According to Center for Disease Control, the 2010 statistics alone for drunk driving lead to death of 10,228 in 2010 alone (source:

For both cases, further control and regulation reduced deaths in each scenario.

Myth: Busted

Extra: Mental Health and Gun Violence

Data about Mental Health vs. Non-Mental Health that committed crime:

According to the Bureau of Justice, nearly 1 in 5 violent crimes are done by someone considered mentally unstable (whether psychological, drug based, or alcohol). Based on 2006 research, they found:

“Female inmates had higher rates of mental health problems than male inmates—in state prisons, 73 percent of females and 55 percent of males; in federal prisons, 61 percent of females and 44 percent of males; and in local jails, 75 percent of females and 63 percent of males.”

The cause behind such mental problems are:

“When compared with other inmates and probationers, the mentally ill inmates and probationers reported higher rates of prior physical and sexual abuse and higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse by a parent or guardian while they were growing up. Among mentally ill state prisoners, nearly a third of men and three-quarters of the women said they had been physically or sexually abused in the past. More than 40 percent of the mentally ill inmates said their parents had abused alcohol or drugs. More than half said a parent, brother or sister had also been in prison or jail.”

And finally, to dispel the firearm matter when it comes to mental health:

“Use of a weapon did not vary by mental health status

Convicted violent offenders who had a mental health problem were as likely as those without to have used a weapon during the offense (table 9). An estimated 37% of both State prisoners who had a mental problem and those without said they had used a weapon during the offense. By specific type of weapon, among convicted violent offenders in State prisons who had a mental health problem, slightly less than a quarter (24%) had used a firearm, while a tenth (10%) had used a knife or sharp object.”


Gun Control Economics

Today, twenty children and six adults were killed in a shooting in Newton, Connecticut [BBC Link]. Among the killed was the killer, who took away his life after committing his massacre. In 2012 alone, there has been four mass shootings. Among them include the shooting in a mall in Oregon, in a movie theater in Colorado and a Sikh temple in Colorado. Despite the numbers of death caused by guns, there are few who are adamant to bring the gun control issue up.

Before I resume, I would like to state that I am completely against guns, as I find its purpose is to kill. A purpose that lacks any moral and logical foundation, and is poison to our community and society. A human invention that has led to the death of people all across the world.

Gun Control – The Challenge

As mentioned before, there are individuals in our society who are adamant and unwilling to let go of certain opinions that promote and endorse the distribution of weapons to society under the banner of defense and freedom. Whenever the issue of Gun Control arises, those who advocate for it face many challenges. Among such challenges include: Lobby groups such as the NRA, the 18th Century Amendment in the United States Constitution, and lack of education and awareness by the public. Based on those factors, utilization of a legal policy to minimize gun usage, or implement gun control, through law alone is insufficient. Therefore, a different method should be utilized to address this matter.

Economics of Gun Control

Given the delicate situation, the medium I suggest to mitigate gun related crimes is through economic penalization and economic reward. How would it work? Let’s start with the fist of law:

Economic Penalty

At every crime scene, it is easy to determine the weapon and bullet used that inflicted injury or death of a person. With every casualty, whether death or injury, the institutions supplying such weapons and bullets will be penalized significantly. A good example can be as follows:

27 people died in this incident, with over 100 bullets were shot during the killing spree. For each casualty, it’s a $500,000 per body and for each bullet it is $1000/each bullet fired. The total would be $13.5 Million for deaths alone, and over $100,000 for just bullets alone.

The disadvantage of such process that I’m sure will arise in Congress is the value of life. Can life be really worth $500,000? How do we determine the potential capacity lost? It is a very sensitive subject, but it requires to be addressed.

The proceeds of such financial penalty will be devoted for the families who have lost their loved ones, the medical attention they need, and for the emergency team that have devoted their time and efforts to bring calm and peace to their community.

The increase in the cost will provide a pinch to the gun suppliers and producers. Promoting for the push for stricter rules to be implemented to minimize losses and finding an optimum point where cost and benefit balances (unfortunately, I don’t think gun organization view humans as beings but rather as an economic resource to which they wish to sell guns to).

Economic Benefit

The benefits that will be provided for a company whose weapons are not found in crime scenes, or have minimized the number of their weapons in the market, is getting better access to gun bids for government defense contracts, gaining a better stature in the public light. That’s about it. No monetary benefit or discount. The goal is to enstill a better sense of community and human nature in those institutions to view each casualty as a loss for the community, and the world.

This may be need to be revised, but it is a proposal I would like the world to know of, and I hope it is for the best.

In the meantime, I would like to share this prayer for the children who have passed away today in the world:

“That beloved child addresseth thee from the hidden world: ‘O thou kind Mother, thank divine Providence that I have been freed from a small and gloomy cage and, like the birds of the meadows, have soared to the divine world—a world which is spacious, illumined, and ever gay and jubilant. Therefore, lament not, O Mother, and be not grieved; I am not of the lost, nor have I been obliterated and destroyed. I have shaken off the mortal form and have raised my banner in this spiritual world. Following this separation is everlasting companionship. Thou shalt find me in the heaven of the Lord, immersed in an ocean of light.’”


Halloween Experiment – Risk Tolerance of Children

This Halloween I decided to be creative. It is a Wednesday, the Giants are celebrating because they won, and I have nothing better and cannot do much because of work. It finally dawned on me that it is Halloween; a day where children with their parents come knocking at your door to get a bite of that sweet tasty chocolate or candy you have in store.

I decided to conduct an experiment!

While I was doing my work, I realized what a wonderful opportunity it is to have those volunteers be part of my little experiment to test their behavior. There are many research in the world regarding behavior of customers and consumers when deciding on what risks to take. However, what about risk tolerance of kids. Are kids more risk tolerant than their adult counterparts? Do they even know what risk means? I can’t express how excited I was!

The following is the PowerPoint presentation of my experiment, and I hope to create a template in the future so we can test this experiment across the globe.

California Prop Analysis

Because of all the spam and bombardment of crappy information and confusion out there. I decided to write my own version analyzing all propositions as simply as possible, while at the same time, maintain a neutral status. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I do, because I believe voting is a very essential element for our democracy.

Below are the propositions that myself and my friend, Ariana Faustini, aggregated and edited to explain all the propositions to help California voters, like Ariana and I, to decide more efficiently and effectively.

Prop 30

Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment

A proposition that uses increase in taxes to fund university and education programs in California. Those in favor say it will help provide budget for California’s Education system. Those against it state that it is more important to streamline the current infrastructure than to put money in a broken system.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • You will support increase in sales tax from 7.25% -> 7.5%
  • Increase of income taxes for families that get more than $250K/Year for seven years. If you are less than $250K, you don’t get taxed
  • Puts tax revenues for 89% of highschools and 11% on community colleges
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 31

State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute

A proposition that aims to revamp and transform the method on how the government takes into account their operations. Basically, it provides a more “business-oriented” rather than “bureaucratic-oriented” perspective of balancing budget and taking financial statement into account. People who support this prop declare that this helps in improving government spending and bring into account their activity, whereas those who oppose it states that this will add further bureaucracy, because in the end, someone has to implement it and take this bill into account legally.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Establishes two-year state budget cycle
  • Prohibits Legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless revenues or spending cuts are identified
  • Permits Governor to cut budget unilaterally during declared fiscal emergencies if Legislature fails to act
  • Requires performance reviews of all state programs
  • Requires performance goals in state and local budgets
  • Requires publication of bills at least three days prior to legislative vote
  • Allows local governments to alter how laws governing state-funded programs apply to them, unless there is a veto in play the refuses them so
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 32

Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute

In simple terms, this proposition bans corporations and unions from funding a local or state candidate during elections; otherwise wise known as special interest money/funds. Those who support this proposition state that this will help bring out the voice of the residents of California and place emphasis on residents rather than special interest groups; on the other hand, those who oppose it express that this is not expanded for Super Political Action Committees (PACs), which are the main source of political funding, and state that the legislative rule gives Super PACs political immunity against this bill, making it easier for candidates to receive funds from corporations and unions via Super PACs.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Ban both, exclusively, corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates
  • Ban contributions by government contractors to the politicians who control contracts awarded to them
  • Ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics
  • Super PACs and other political affiliations are “NOT” bound by this prop, and have permission to fund candidates
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 33

Auto Insurance Companies. Prices based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute

This proposition was a tricky read, but made more sense after I spent around 20 minutes to understand what the hell was going on. In essence, this prop provides car insurance company access to your historical records in driving and base the price of premium, and discount, on your driver history; which includes how long you had your previous insurance, how long you drove well, and what you’ve been charged in the past. Supporters of this proposition state that this will reward insurance buyers with discount because insurance corporation can determine a better price for you; however, opposition states that the penalty is greater than the reward as the insurance firms have a better grasp of your driving history and can harm you through increasing the cost based on only if you hadn’t have insurance coverage in the past five years alone.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Changes current law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company
  • Allows insurance companies to give proportional discounts to drivers with some history of prior insurance coverage
  • Will allow insurance companies to increase cost of insurance to drivers who have not maintained continuous coverage
  • Treats drivers with lapse as continuously covered if lapse is due to military service or loss of employment, or if lapse is less than 90 days
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 34

Death Penalty. Initiative Statute

This is a sensitive legislation regarding the banning death penalty in California. There are 725 people on the death row in California, and the passing of this proposition will change their sentences will be replaced with “life in prison without the possibility of parole”. Those who support it state that death penalty is intrinsically wrong and will save money through layoffs of prosecution officers and attorneys responsible for death penalties. On the other hand, those who oppose this proposition state that death penalty is a necessary act for society to bring order and justice into community for crimes that are beyond the realm of traditional jail sentence.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Repeal the death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
  • Apply retroactively to persons already sentenced to death.
  • Require persons found guilty of murder to work while in prison, with their wages to be applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them.
  • Create a $100 million fund to be distributed to law enforcement agencies to help solve more homicide and rape cases.
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 35

Human Trafficking. Penalties. Initiative Statute

This proposition promotes the increase of penalties and funding for Human Trafficking initiatives and programs in California. Those who support the ballot state that this will bring further justice and increases the training of the Peace Enforcement Officers regarding human trafficking, sex slaves and sex offenders. Opponents state that the legislation does not provide a good financial plan of this program, and this program can be abused due to bureaucratic and inefficient components of the judicial system.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Increase prison terms for human traffickers.
  • Require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders.
  • Require all registered sex offenders to disclose their internet accounts.
  • Require criminal fines from convicted human traffickers to pay for services to help victims.
  • Mandate law enforcement training on human trafficking.
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 36

Changes in the “Three Strikes” Law

This proposition re-examines and re-defines the “Three Strikes” Law rule in order to provide a fair judicial trial for those who have committed mild felonies, while at the same time, maintain or change sentences for individuals who have committed serious crimes. Supporters say that this will save the prison system financially and allocate proper justice to those who were convicted wrongly. Opponents state that this measure will make judicial system more lenient; thus, increasing potential crime due to leniency in the system.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Revise the three strikes law to impose life sentence only when the new felony conviction is “serious or violent”
  • Authorize re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if their third strike conviction was not serious or violent and if the judge determines that the re-sentence does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety
  • Continue to impose a life sentence penalty if the third strike conviction was for “certain non-serious, non-violent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession”
  • Maintain the life sentence penalty for felons with “non-serious, non-violent third strike if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation”
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 37

Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling. Initiative Statute

This proposition requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Supporters of the proposition state that this will provide consumers with the right information about the food they consume, and that this initiative has been implemented all over the world except for few countries such as United States. On the other hand, opponents state that this measure will increase cost of agricultural services in California and supports special Interest groups.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways
  • Prohibits labeling or advertising such food, or other processed food, as “natural”
  • Exempts foods from this proposition include: certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 38

State Income Tax Increase to Support Education

This proposition increases income taxes of individuals earning $7,316 and greater starting from 0.4% to 2.2%. The purpose is to allocate more funding of the taxes to California K-12 system. Supporters state that this will help California’s education system go back on track and open the schools that were shut down by the government. Proponents state that this measure lacks financial credibility and accountability functions that are stated in Prop 30 (which is mentioned in the Yes section as “Prohibits state from directing new funds.”

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Increases personal income tax rates on annual earnings over $7,316 using sliding scale from .4% for lowest individual earners to 2.2% for individuals earning over $2.5 million, for twelve years
  • During first four years, allocates 60% of revenues to K–12 schools, 30% to repaying state debt, and 10% to early childhood programs. Thereafter, allocates 85% of revenues to K–12 schools, 15% to early childhood programs
  • Provides K–12 funds on school-specific, per-pupil basis, subject to local control, audits, and public input
  • Prohibits state from directing new funds
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 39

Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute

The measure would only affect out-of-state businesses and not California-based companies or California residents. Currently, out-of-state businesses can reduce their California income taxes by not locating facilities or employees within the state. If passed, Proposition 39 would add possibly $1 billion to the state’s revenue and create approximately 40,000 construction and clean energy jobs, according to the non-partisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office. Supporters state that this will promote business and increase growth of California jobs by encouraging businesses to employ more Californian residents and base their businesses in California. However, opponents argue that this measure would increase business taxes and eventually lead to businesses to seek other states for business.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Require out-of-state businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California
  • Support the elimination of the “three-factor” method (tax loophole) allowing businesses that operate outside of California to avoid paying taxes for California sales
  • Dedicate $550 million annually for five years from the initiative’s anticipated increase in revenue in order to fund projects that “create energy efficiency and clean energy jobs” in California.
  • Of the revenue raised by this measure over the next five years, about half would be dedicated to energy efficiency and alternative energy projects.
  • Of the remaining revenues, a significant portion likely would be spent on public schools and community colleges.
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

Prop 40

Referendum on the State Senate Redistricting Plan

Supporting this proposition states that you support a non-political organization be responsible in redistricting California State Senate regions. In essence, this ensures that the organization responsible for redistricting areas within California are non-partisan, its commissioners are selected via lottery, and maintain a diverse and objective break down of regions. Supporters state that this gives citizens the power to redistrict their areas rather than have politicians influence redistricting; opponents argue that this method decreases chances for fair elections to proceed due to redistricting.

Selecting Yes Means…
  • Approving new State Senate districts drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission
  • If the new districts are rejected, the State Senate district boundary lines will be adjusted by officials supervised by the California Supreme Court
  • State Senate districts are revised every 10 years following the federal census
Selecting No Means…

None of the items in Yes will happen

The Tape

You miss someone so much as to wish your heart was made of water to forget and shift away;

staying up late to not sleep so you won’t dream of her, either.

You pray it’s just another tape that got accidentally played;

your mind scrambles around to catch the mischievous trigger.

It’ll be just fine, it’ll be alright.

And as time clocks away, things will get better.