Monday, May 09, 2011

The Politics of Chotsky

Almost predictably, whenever news of major import breaks, ancillary stories about entrepreneurs cashing in with t-shirts seems to follow close behind.  Such was the case of Maurice Harary, a 23 year old business student out of New York, who reportedly sold 120 thousand dollars (or more) worth of "Osama is dead" themed apparel (at  He struck while the Internet iron was still hot and cashed in big time.

From The Village Voice:
As of yesterday, he'd reportedly sold 25,000 t-shirts at $12 per shirt. The disturbing frat-boy nature of the "Osama is Dead" t-shirts notwithstanding, it's pretty impressive that Harary acted so quickly and successfully, so props to him for that.
But wait!  The would-be Donald Trump has had a change of heart.
Now, though, he's giving all the money back? Seriously: he told CBS, "I will now be refunding all orders on Osama dead tees. Celebrating over the death of someone, whoever it is, is evil in my eyes."
Closer scrutiny indicates an element of bullshit could be in play here.

Based upon the t-shirt images from his website, Harary used other "schwag" fulfillment sites such as Zazzle and CafePress which actually render such products and sells them for their "merchants" one item at a time.  As the cheapest shirts on Zazzle and CafePress are more than $12 each, it seems unlikely that Harary could sell his shirts for that and make money UNLESS he had gotten a quantity discount by pre-ordering a stock of inventory. The start-up cost of this would be very, very expensive for a college student (prohibitively so).

Instead of the "moral issues" cited, it might be that actually closed up shop because Harary realized too late that his small-sized operation wasn't equipped to fill 10,000 orders and still be profitable.
    So, instead of politics, it might really be a matter of simple math.
    Read more!

    Friday, May 06, 2011

    It Depends On What Your Definition of "Is" Is

    Fun with Google Autocomplete.  Typing in "is" generated this roster of eclectic choices.

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    Thursday, May 05, 2011

    Tense Situation

    In case anyone is curious about what the people in the now famous Situation Room photo were REALLY thinking:

    Read more!