Donate a Game – Help a Kid

One of the best things about running my own PR firm is that I get to choose the people I get to work with.  It makes life and work a little better when you work with clients who are passionate about what they are doing, and even better when what they are doing is trying to make life better for kids with rare diseases.

The logo above is from  They are an incredible organization based in Southern California that collects donated video games and consoles and sells them and then donates the money to research for diseases that afflict children.

Jim Carol started DonateGames when his son Taylor was undergoing treatment for leukemia at Seattle Children’s Hospital. This week DonateGames is kicking off a new drive with all benefits going directly to Seattle Children’s. If you live in the Seattle-area you can drop off a game at most UPS Stores or if you don’t you can still donate a game.

Check it out, donate a game, buy a game, help a kid.


Below is the press release announcing the Seattle drive.

DonateGames and The UPS Store Help Turn Video Games into Hope, Joy and Health for Seattle Children’s Hospital

Donate New and Used Video Games at The UPS Store Locations in Greater Seattle Area


LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28, 2011 — Now through April 28, DonateGames and The UPS Store ® are encouraging residents in the Pacific Northwest to donate new and used video games to help ease the pain and suffering of sick children at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Residents can drop off video games at 87 participating The UPS Store locations in the Greater Seattle Area. DonateGames will resell the video games, and one hundred percent of the proceeds will directly support children at Children’s, who are battling rare diseases, such as pediatric cancer.

“We are honored and inspired to learn this wonderful charity was born at Seattle Children’s Hospital in 2006 when the founder’s son was in long-term care and received a bone marrow transplant.” said Eve Kopp, director of Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. “DonateGames brings together the healing power of play with research and care. You can feel good knowing that by participating in the DonateGames drive you are supporting patients and families at the hospital.”

“My family spent a lot of time at Children’s when we were in-patient, realizing that joy and hope can be as important as the incredible work being done by doctors, nurses, researchers and staff to help kids fight tragic diseases,” said Jim Carol, founder of DonateGames. “In our darkest days, we were humbled by how many people we had never met supported our family – a true testament to the kindness of strangers. This inspired our family to create a social enterprise that would help others who were sick and suffering.”

DonateGames funds research and programs for those affected by rare and neglected diseases through the collection and resale of new and used video games. The organization embraces the game companies and gaming community’s ability to play a role in helping sick children suffering from rare diseases by donating their used video games.

Games, consoles and accessories are also available for purchase at, with all proceeds going towards funding research for rare diseases and supporting sick children.


For more information about Seattle Children’s Hospital please visit


About Donate Games

Donate Games was founded in 2008 by an award-winning software entrepreneur and philanthropist. After his son was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer in 2006, and witnessing the extraordinary healing power of video games, he created an innovative social enterprise dedicated to reselling your donated games and gear to raise money for rare disease research. In 2010, DonateGames was able to build operational infrastructure, grant wishes for sick kids, and fund research at many leading research foundations, as well as deliver more than 3,000 new video games to hospitalized children. Learn more at


About The UPS Store

With more than 4,700 locations, The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. ® network comprises the world’s largest franchise system of retail shipping, postal, print and business service centers throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. In the U.S. and Puerto Rico, The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. locations are independently owned and operated by licensed franchisees of Mail Boxes Etc., Inc., a UPS subsidiary. In Canada, locations are independently owned and operated by licensed franchisees of master licensee MBEC Communications, L.P. For additional information, visit or



Do I need to sign an NDA?

As part of my work and just part of life I talk with a lot of people who are starting companies. Once in awhile people ask me to sign an NDA, I do it but I try to pass on this piece of advice I was given by someone a few years ago:

If you think someone can take the little bit you are going to tell them and pull together a team and execute faster and better than you, than you aren’t the best person to try and build that company, or its not that good of an idea to start with.  More often, you are likely to gain a customer or an investor than lose a company or a great idea by not having someone sign an NDA.

Most real VCs and experienced Angels won’t sign an NDA anyway, but I would also apply this to advisors and friends.  There are obviously some examples of instances where this wouldn’t apply but don’t assume you HAVE TO have everyone you want to talk to sign something.



Further evidence Chico just might be the center of everything

This evening I watched a portion of “The Bachelor” for the first time. Why did I watch it? They were going to visit Chico since one of the final contestants is a funeral director in Chico at a funeral home right across the street from where I went to junior high.

Shortly after watching that I opened up the Wall Street Journal site and saw an article about Pinpointe Laser, based in….Chico. Pinpointe has been working hard for several years, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the CEO, John Strisower, several times. While this first application of the laser is to treat toenail fungus, yes you read that right, there are several other incredible possible applications of the technology.

So, for today at least, people around the world will talk about Chico and think about funeral homes and toenail fungus. I never said being the center of the world was glamorous did I?



How Twitter Can Bring People Together Behind a Common Cause- Viva La Crema!

Twitter gets a lot of credit for bringing people together into groups and quickly harnessing the power of many behind a common cause.  Today, we saw Twitter in action.  Sometimes, Twitter can be a force for good, and can inspire profound change in the world. Not in this case.  Today, Twitter quickly brought together a group of people behind a common cause that I can not support:  the use of sour cream on burritos.

If you’ve seen my Twitter bio, you know my feelings on this subject:

At a little after 5 p.m. today in response to a comment about Sacramento ranking relatively high on Forbes recent ranking of “Miserable Cities,” someone invoked my thoughts on sour cream on burritos:

Over the next half hour, more and more people became involved

The next step is the formal organization of the group:

They create a common rally flag:

That’s how a revolution begins, with some people with a common idea and a common goal, even if it is, like in this case, misguided.

To those, who support this cause I support you and stand with you to say “Viva La Crema!” Even if it’ll never be on my burrito.

About “The Tiki”

Earlier today I posted a picture on Twitter and Facebook of our backyard Tiki that was blown over in the current storm. Lots of people have asked about the Tiki. Here’s the background.  The Tiki was made for my grandparents in around 1960 to sit by the pool of their home.  The Tiki is about four and half feet tall.

When the Tiki was delivered, to my grandmother’s horror, it was ahem…anatomically correct. She just couldn’t have this!  So she called out the man who had lovingly hand carved the Tiki and had the poor Tiki neutered.  Yes, our strong, proud Tiki is unfortunately built like a Ken-doll.


Forbes Calls Stockton America’s Most Miserable – Greg Basso and Stockton Fight Back

I went to college at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. I didn’t go home a lot during college, so for four years Stockton was my home.  Stockton is a rough town, there’s no doubt about that. It’s been that way since it was founded as a river town by gold seekers coming up through the Delta from San Francisco Bay on their way to the gold fields.

Forbes Magazine’s Kurt Badenhausen recently called out Stockton at the top of “America’s Most Miserable Cities.”  Greg Basso grew up in Stockton. He raised a family in Stockton, and he built a very successful family business in Stockton. He takes issue with Forbes and strikes back with all the good that Stockton has to offer.

My favorite part comes up at about 3/4 of the way through, “Right now if you’re having a Manhattan, that cherry is from the Stockton area, the nuts at the bar, not the ones drinking, but the ones in the cup, the almonds and the walnuts, they came from the Stockton area, and for that wonderful New York pizza, the tomato paste came from the Stockton area.”

This is pride.  This is what keeps secondary cities like Stockton going. It’s people who build businesses and then stay in the community.  Stockton’s not perfect, but like in a lot of places in America, there’s people like Greg Basso that aren’t going to let that keep them from trying to make it a little better.

PS – Greg knows the right way to pronounce “almonds.”

We’re going streaking! And other bad moments in communication

When many people hear, “We’re going streaking!’ they think of Frank the Tank. If you haven’t seen “Old School,” Frank runs off streaking thinking everyone is behind him and also part of what he was doing. They weren’t.  He was alone, and embarrassed.

Dell recently introduced their new tablet computer, the Streak.  For an internal introduction by a group within the company, “One member of the marketing group wearing dark clothing and a skull-pattern mask held small metallic items aloft as he ran through office areas yelling, “Go to the lobby,” police said.”

Yes, that said “police said.”  This is because two employees were charged with “misdemeanor deadly conduct,” and “misdemeanor interfering with public duties,” respectively.

A few things before you go about communicating:

  • Know who’s behind you
  • Scaring your employees/co-workers isn’t good business
  • Think of everyone who might have a problem your methods