Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, May 31, 2021

Today, it took something like 10 minutes for me to flag down a cab.

Far from par. It was rush hour, on 42nd Street — there were taxis coming from every which way every few seconds. But the mojo just wasn’t working.

What’s worse, it wasn’t even for me. My friend Tom was trying to catch a ride to LaGuardia, and was cutting it pretty close to flight-departure time. So urgency was factored in. (I’m thinking next time I meet up with him in a compressed timeframe, it shouldn’t be in the Bryant Park area.)

Perhaps a remedial course on proper cab-hailing techniques is in order. Then again, I can count on my two hands the number of times I’ve taken a cab since settling in New York. I can coast for a while longer.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/31/2007 11:19:23 PM
Category: New Yorkin'
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wheeliesSo, those brand-new Rollerblade Twister II Pros that I picked up a couple of weeks back?

I managed to lose a wheel off the right skate. I didn’t notice the loss until well after the wheel and its axle were long gone, somewhere along (I think) a moderately bumpy stretch of sidewalk. Thinking back on it, I do remember a weird bump-bounce that made me do half a double-take, but at the time I neglected to diligently stop and check.

I’m not particularly thrilled about this. I’ve barely put these blades through a workout. This was only my second or third outing on them, and I haven’t even remotely put them through a stress workout. At best, I’ve given them fairly standard urban-trekking break-in period. And already a breakdown?

Partly, I’m to blame, because I didn’t double-check how tight the axles were out of the box. I’ve done so now, including on the replacement set I’ve since bought.

I’m just crossing my fingers that a loose axle is all this was, and that this won’t to be a persistent issue. If so, I’m going to have a very dim view of any Rollerblade products when making future skate-related purchases.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/31/2007 09:45:39 AM
Category: Other Sports
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A thousand bucks can go a surprisingly long way in the business world. DHL, UPS and FedEx are using microloans — traditionally the province of banks and other financial institutions — as a way to bundle shipping services to small businesses:

DHL has company in the rush to lock in lifelong business customers when they’re young. Through its UPS Capital division (capital.ups.com), UPS made more than $190 million in SBA-backed loans in 2006, up from $153 million in 2005; in 2004, FedEx (fedex.com) started a partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service (buyusa.gov) - a unit of the Department of Commerce that promotes U.S. businesses abroad - to teach small businesses how to export.

It’s a novel way to drill deep into the small business market, which corporate America has targeted as prime growth territory. And if a couple of those mom-and-pops go on to become giant-sized conglomerates, they’ll presumably take their early B2B supporters along for the ride.

This points the way for larger service providers of all types to compete with banks for mindshare among early-stage businesses. It also presents the concept of a partnership (at least perceptionally) instead of a traditional bank-lender relationship. An entrepreneur can make more hay out of claiming that Verizon and Office Depot are “supporting” him via a couple thousand dollars in loans and free/discounted services.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/31/2007 09:19:09 AM
Category: Business
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