Friday, July 27, 2012

Looking forward

I notice happiness depends
on if we share it with each other.
So when this craziness is through,
I'll spend my happiness with you: hopefully not standing in the shadow of what you were waiting for....

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Give & Take

You seem too good. Too good to be true.
You're holding me stronger; stronger than I'm used to.
A gift that I carried for weeks before giving to someone special
A Promise is never broken
Don't go out with the boys tonight;
I won't sleep a wink wondering what you're doing.
Don't go out with the girls tonight;
I will turn to drink wondering who you're screwing.
You seem too good, too good to be true.
I'm loving you longer, longer than I'm used to.
I let go. I fell in.
Feel the pull. Call your name.
I'm alone. Once again.
I cannot keep my path, when I cannot stay motivated.
I cannot pay my dues, when it becomes too complicated.
I'm alone. Once again.

You will never know how much strength and courage you brought into my life.

And as the day comes closer to an end, I find no reason to pretend.
At last, I feel I am closer to a beginning.
I'm alone. Once again.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thank you, Zofran, Dilaudid, and Insurance Companies!

Zofran (ondansetron) blocks the actions of chemicals in the body that can trigger nausea and vomiting.
Zofran (ondansetron) blocks the actions of chemicals in the body that can trigger nausea and vomiting, typically in patients undergoing chemotherapy. I have had and continue to have the pleasure of taking this medication during my various medical procedures and undertakings. Ironically, one of Zofran's more pronounced side effects is its unique ability to trigger headaches. Since I have been a long term migraine and headache patient, I find this amusing. I have been on a cocktail of various pharmaceuticals for the last ten years or so with my fair share of interesting side effects. But more to the point, I was prescribed Zofran after chemotherapy medications to prevent or as an abortive medication for nausea and vomiting. Alas, it worked! However, the headache that followed was awful. Insert the conundrum:
Mixed within the various pharmaceutical cocktails that I have been taking over the last decade, there have been many powerful opioid painkillers prescribed to offset the chronic pain I was suffering and to offset the pain from various in and outpatient procedures. Now, since I was opioid naive, I did not tolerate these medications well at all. The opioid medications prescribed to relieve the pain I was in were now producing unwelcome and sudden nausea and vomiting. However, they provided much-needed pain relief and quality of life. My physician's solution? Increase the dosage of Zofran to offset the nausea and vomiting caused by the opioid painkillers. Seems fair right? Well, I obliged and increased the dosage and of the medication and as a corollary, the frequency and intensity of my headaches increased. I didn't see the big picture at first, so I simply increased my opioid medication to offset the headaches which then increased the nausea which increased the usage of Zofran. Such a wonderful cycle I had started.

When I finally realized the problem and cyclical nature of my nausea and headaches, I spoke to my physician again. We simply changed the opioid medication  to one I "may" tolerate better. I started my pain medication with Dilaudid on at 8mg dose by mouth. (If any physicians, pharmacists, nurses, pharmaceutical reps, or people with a working knowledge of Dilaudid and dosing instructions, this is the highest dose made in pill form in the United States... you may now pick up your jaw from the floor...) Since I was opioid naive, this was a VERY high dose of a power pain medication...but given the circumstances and general condition and outlook of my health, I suppose it was acceptable as it did relieve my pain and give me quality of life back. I did ask my physician, after not tolerating the 8mg tablets of Dilaudid well, if I could switch to a 2mg or 4mg tablet. He said he would have prescribed that, but since there was a nation-wide Dilaudid shortage, only 8mg tablets were available in our region and he suggested that I "split" or "halve" the tablets using a pill cutter. I didn't like this idea very much.

At the time, I didn't understand what a nation-wide shortage of a prescription drug or controlled substance was yet and it made little sense to me. In short, the pharmaceutical companies that create these drugs that are considered controlled substances by the US DEA, having a production quantity limit or ceiling for each calendar year. In the beginning of the year, the pharmaceutical companies submit their requests or estimates for the total number of a controlled substance that they are going to produce for that calendar year based on a number of factors. In mid to late 2011, for those who take Adderall as adults or purchase it for their children with ADD or ADHD, you may recall the nation-wide shortage and all the outraged parents because they couldn't control their hyperactive kids. It is estimated that the same Adderall shortage will continue and repeat itself again in 2012. Why you ask? Simple. Market demand exceeds that of permitted lawful production in the US by FDA and DEA regulations. In my case, it happened to Dilaudid and the generic form hydromorphone as well. Why you ask? See above. Except doctor's didn't start writing more Dilaudid prescriptions because it was a new miracle painkiller or the doctors had some sexy pharmaceutical rep in their office offering free complimentary incentive sample for the prescribing physicians. Quite simply, it was that it became a popular drug for patients or drug-seekers to abuse which jeopardized the supply and skyrocketed demand and pharmacies began dispensing the medication by the wheelbarrow. As such, patients like me could only acquire the dwindling supply of the higher dosages that most doc's usually don't dispense. The same thing happened with Adderall and/or the generic forms often called Amphetamine Salts in 2011 and again in 2012.

Al Capone Prosecuted under RICO ACT
Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone
I think I went a bit off topic there in terms of background, but after I became tired of the Dilaudid shortage and I tried several other CII opioid pain medications (that later also went into nationwide shortages coincidentally) and found a fair balance between Zofran and the pain medication.... Either that, or I simply became opioid tolerant, which is my personal opinion. Anyway, this is what brings me to my point and my  "salute" (sarcastic one, at best) to pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies for jacking up the prices of drugs and in all likelihood participating in some sort of price fixing that in ANY OTHER INDUSTRY would be prosecuted under the US Federal RICO Act. Yet, the pharmaceutical companies, pharmaceutical sales reps,  insurance, pharmacies, wholesalers, distributors, investors, pharmaceutical patent-holders, are exempt from this. Yes, I understand that research and development costs a lot of money and that pharmaceutical companies have a limited window of opportunity to recoup their monies from R&D before their patent expires and some third party can make a slight seemingly-innocuous change to the chemical makeup of the original drug and then market the "new" version of the original patented drug as a generic without spending anywhere near as much as the original patent holder/pharmaceutical company did when creating the drug. That doesn't seem fair but that's a story for another day. In addition, the original pharmaceutical has to recoup their monies spent on marketing their product. I can only imagine what those budgets are...

Ok, if you're still reading, you are probably wondering why I am giving you a brief education in the pharmaceutical industry and about RICO statues, collusion, price-fixing, and how another company can come along and make a minor change to your patent and re-brand your product as a "generic" and sell it for far less than the original patent-holder because the original pharmaceutical company did all the R&D and now the new company comes along, makes a slight compound change, and CHA-CHING! Near instant profit... Especially since in a majority of states (I will use Massachusetts as an example here) require pharmacists to follow Drug Interchangeability & Midstream Interchange... Basically, it means that pharmacists are required to dispense a generic or less expensive medication to the patient unless the doctor specifically writes "DAW" (Dispense As Written) or "No Substitution" and that does not happen often, according to my pharmacist friends...
According to Massachusetts law, pharmacists must dispense a less expensive, reasonably available, interchangeable drug product provided that (a) the drug product is listed in the Massachusetts List of Interchangeable Drugs (MLID) and (b) the prescriber has not indicated "no substitution". A pharmacist shall interchange accordingly when dispensing a new prescription or a prescription refill presented after the effective date of interchangeability.
Former Valium Marketing Material To Doctors To Protect Brand Sales
 Insurance companies have a field day and deny deny deny when doctors write "DAW" or "No Substitution" because there is hardly ever a medical reason to do so. It just seems unfair to me that the original pharmaceutical company spent the money on R&D, marketing, FDA approvals, educating doctors, and trainings and some third party company can "tweak" the original formula and slap their generic label on it and sell it at a fraction of the cost while still making a profit. An example (left) of former marketing material sent to physicians encourages doctors and/or those licensed to prescribe to protect their practice and patients by ensuring that the pharmacy and pharmacist follow the explicit instructions from the prescription and not permit any substitutions: even by any comparable generics that act chemically the same but are produced by different companies. Perhaps if we did not have these ongoing price wars or patent wars, the prices of our prescription drugs would not be so astronomically high.

Anyway, this brings me to my point. My particular health insurance plan (considered one of those "Cadillac" health plans & not to be confused by the car) has a great prescription formulary list and covers a lot of drugs that a majority of companies do not. My co-pays are reasonable and deductibles non-existent. However, the company plan only permits 9 (nine) 8mg Ondansetron tablets per month. The company plan also only permits 4 (four) 8mg Zofran per month. As you probably guessed, Ondansetron is the generic form of Zofran which is patented and made in EU, UK, and USA by GlaxoSmithKline. Does this make sense to anyone?
  • An average chemotherapy patient will likely use more than 9 or 4 tablets of their anti-nausea medication during a month. These are figures I used from my health plan's formulary list 2011/2012 and quantity limit. 
  • My Health Insurance Plan does let me obtain more of the drug but I am required to pay additional co-pays:
    • My generic co-pay amount is $25 and my brand co-pay is $50
    • Thus, since I am prescribed 90 (ninety) 8mg Zofran a month and my pharmacist substitutes Ondansetron to "save" me money, my co-pay for this drug is $250 ($25 per 9 tabs multipled by 10 to account for the 90 tabs dispensed)...
    • If I were to have the Zofran dispensed in lieu of the generic, my co-pay would be $1,125 ($50 per 4 tabs multiplied by 22.5 to account for the 90 tabs dispensed)
  • After doing some research on pharmacy and drug prices in the US online, I found the following as of July 25, 2012:
    •  The average cost per pill for brand name Zofran 8mg was around $19 per pill cash. There were some sites and pharmacies that charged more and some less, but some appeared less reputable than others:
      • This means that the total (not accounting for any "discounts" or "negotiated rates" between the pharmacy and patient's insurance carrier) would be $1,710 for 90 (ninety tabs) of 8mg brand name Zofran and after you deduct my co-pay of $1,125, the insurance company pays the pharmacy $585 (again NOT including any discounts or negotiated rates with the insurance plan)
    • To further my point, the average cost per pill for generic Zofran, Ondansetron, was around $3.90 per pill cash. There were some sites and pharmacies that charged more and some less, but some appeared less reputable than others:
      • This means that the total (not accounting for any "discounts" or "negotiated rates" between the pharmacy and patient insurance carrier) would be about $351 for 90 (ninety tabs) of 8mg generic brand Zofran, Ondansetron, and after you deduct my co-pay of $250, the insurance company pays the pharmacy $101(again NOT including any discounts or negotiated rates with the insurance plan)...
      • And in my case, I saw the following on my receipt/paperwork that I think I was not supposed to get. 
        • Insurance Paid: $0.00
        • Customer Paid: $250.00
      •  So it appears that the pharmacy made money off me and the generic? Does this make sense to anyone? My other prescriptions that I picked up today that had co-pays of $25 said that the Insurance Paid "$87.43" or whatever the amount was in addition to the Customer Paid "$25.00"... 
        • So clearly for the generic Zofran, something is odd here. Do they have an incentive with the PBM or the wholesaler setup where the distributor is giving generous discounts out based on volume pricing or the manufacturer is giving the same discounts so transactions like mine above go STRAIGHT to the bottom-line as profit?
 I know I don't have the whole story here but something seems curious. I know my particular pharmacy is not trying to rip me off per se... The pharmacy I frequent is a non-profit community health center that provides health care and discount prescriptions to those that could not otherwise afford them. Perhaps this generic Zofran transaction helps their bottom line, but according to their financials they have a separate donation line item for these programs.

I also know that there are certain insurance contracts or rules and maybe perhaps regulations that prevent pharmacies from disclosing "cash" rates versus "insurance" rates. For example, I am prescribed a medication that is not on their formulary and it is considered a "medical food" and the whole prior authorization procedure is a giant pain in my ass. I am prescribed a 90 day supply 4 times a year and have to go through tons of paperwork, phone calls, and faxes to get this approved and quite frankly it's just not worth it. To get to the point, when I picked up the prescription the cashier or pharmacy tech did a "double take" at the register when the price came up. He stuttered and said, "Uhm.... that will be $350 Chris... I think?" He told me that was the "insurance rate" that my insurance company paid or reimbursed them but since my prior authorization had expired, had disappeared, or simply sprouted legs and walked off to the local CVS, I had to pay that price because the insurance would not approved it. I asked the cashier how much the "cash" price was. There was a long pause. After a minute or two he said he wasn't supposed to do this but removed my insurance information for this transaction and said the cash price was $200. Can someone in the health care industry explain this to me? It just doesn't make any sense. I'm an accountant... can someone explain this bizarro health care law or even how this makes financial sense to me? I bill my time out at $450 an hour and the last time I did the paperwork, phone calls, faxes, and doctors notes for the prior authorization procedure, I spent over 90 minutes of my own time over several days. You do that math. Not worth it...

All I know is this: From my perspective, my "Cadillac" insurance plan "jacked" up the price of a medicine that requires a prior authorization but if I did not have any insurance I could buy it for $150 less, not including my co-pay. Even if "Cadillac" Insurance Plan had paid for the medication, I'm sure there is no way they would have received $350.... They would be reimbursed a small percentage above cost plus a small fee for the computer processing time, label, and pill container (maybe $1.50 - $3.00) per prescription?


Thursday, July 19, 2012

An anonymous message

I received a rather poignant anonymous message earlier today and thought I would share it with others:
I was looking out of my window today, watching the trees and the grass sway in the wind, and it hit me: it has been a little over a decade since I tried to kill myself.

Even after I tried to kill myself, for several years after that I was still miserable and depressed and thought about ending it all, all the time. But something strange happened, something I didn't think would happen.

Time went on, and all of a sudden, I was happy. Not just happy as a momentary feeling, nothing the result of instant gratification. I'm talking about happiness as a state of mind. I wake up most days, and I'm honestly thrilled to be alive. I look in the mirror and I can tell myself that everything is OK. Before when I did told myself that, deep down inside I knew it was a lie, and that perhaps nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing was alright. And as I sit here and type this, and I get all choked up and tears creep into my eyes, I know deep down inside that everything is alright. I am no longer lying to myself, it really happened. I never thought I could live this life. The happy, simple life.

And I just wish I could go out into the world and find all the people like me. The black sheep, the outcasts, the lonely. I wish I could hug each and every one of them, hold them in my arms, tell them that everything is going to be alright. Tell them that all you have to do is survive, just keep going, no matter how much it hurts. One day it will stop hurting. You just have to hold on. But I can't. This is the best I can do.

I know that horrible, black, endless abyss inside. I've been there, I've been so lost there. I used to live there. I remember looking around in the darkness and asking, praying, begging for things to change. It seemed like time would stand still and the pain would last forever. That I would never get out.

But time goes on and will keep going on. And one day things will change, and one day you'll be looking out of a window, amazed at how fast time really does go by. And you will be happy.

Please, don't do it. Please, just hold on.

Hold on.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Thank you, NPR...

Can't remember the show but it was talking about dopamine production which is kind of a 'feel good' element our brain produces so that we will eat, mate, and do other pleasurable things that are conducive to the race continuing...

Seems like some monkeys were rigged with strategically placed needles and wires to record bursts of dopamine.

The monkey being studied was locked in a room. The researchers would walk down the hall, open the door, turn on a light, say 'Hello, Monkey', and give it some orange juice.

As soon as the monkey drank some orange juice, the receptors monitoring dopamine release sounded. As the days (weeks?) of the test progressed, dopamine release would be recorded at earlier stages starting with 'Hello, Monkey', all the way back to the footfalls in the hallway.

One conclusion drawn was that the brain will look for patterns which might presage a burst of dopamine release. It wants it. It will try to determine how/when it might be delivered so that it is ready. The researchers did not go so far as to say that the brain might try to set up events favorable to dopamine release but I inferred they thought it might be so.

Which is all just to say, enjoy that anticipation of the next lemon drop martini. We've gotta have a -little- feeling of pleasure in life, don't we?

File Your Taxes!

IRS Tax Man
A federal appeals court held that bankrupt debtors who filed their income tax return 17 months after their income taxes were assessed were not entitled to have those taxes discharged in the bankruptcy proceeding (In re Wogoman, No. CO-11-084 (B.A.P. 10th Cir. 7/3/12)). In doing so, the court considered what effect a 2005 change to the definition of “return” had on bankruptcy law’s treatment of tax returns, but declined to adopt a bright-line rule.

What does this mean for me, you might be asking? It means that it is very important to file your tax returns even when you cannot pay the taxes that are due while you are contemplating bankruptcy! Otherwise, you may be stuck with paying the taxes as the amounts due might be ineligible for discharge via bankruptcy court...

The debtors filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy relief in January 2011, and the next month they filed a complaint to determine the dischargeability of their federal income taxes for various years. The IRS conceded that their taxes were dischargeable (or that they owed no taxes) for all the years in question, except 2001. The IRS said the debtors had not filed a return for 2001, and therefore their taxes were not dischargeable under Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(1)(B)(i), which provides that a debtor is not discharged from any tax debt for which no return was filed.

The IRS had assessed a deficiency against the debtors for their 2001 taxes in February 2005. The debtors did not pay the assessed liability, but they did file a 2001 Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, in August 2006. The IRS then abated part of their tax liability and penalties, and in March 2007 the debtors entered into an installment agreement with the IRS.

The IRS argued that the 2001 tax liability should not be discharged in bankruptcy because, at the time the 2001 taxes were assessed, the debtors had not filed a 2001 return. The debtors argued that the express language of Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(1)(B)(i) does not require that the return be filed prior to assessment to be effective for dischargeability purposes. 

The lower court held that the tax debt was not dischargeable because “it came into existence prior to the filing of the Form 1040 by the Wogomans in 2006” (In re Wogoman, No. 11-11044 (Bankr. D. Colo.  8/19/11)).  

The Tenth Circuit noted that the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) added new language to Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(19) to define “return” to mean “a return that satisfies the requirements of applicable non-bankruptcy law (including applicable filing requirements).” 

The court also reviewed pre-BAPCPA law, which required that the debtor’s return “must represent an honest and reasonable attempt to satisfy the requirements of the tax law” (In re Hindenlang, 164 F.3d  1029, 1033 (6th Cir. 1999)). The Tenth Circuit held that because the debtors did not file a return until after the IRS commenced an examination, sent them a notice of deficiency, and assessed the taxes, their 2001 return did not represent “an honest and reasonable attempt to satisfy the requirements of the tax law.”

When is a return filed too late?

The court noted that the Fifth Circuit has already interpreted the definition of “return” in Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(19) to mean that a late-filed return is not a return for bankruptcy purposes, even if it is filed before the IRS assesses the tax (In re McCoy, 666 F.2d 924 (5th Cir. 2012)). Surprisingly, the IRS argued for a more-lenient standard, and urged the Tenth Circuit to adopt the position that the time of assessment is the proper dividing line for determining that a return is filed too late for purposes of Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(19).

The Tenth Circuit was not convinced that the language of Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(19) means that no late-filed return can ever qualify a debtor for discharge of tax debts, but it said it did not need to decide that issue in this case. It also declined to adopt the IRS’s proposal that the time of assessment be the dividing line, noting that no court has adopted this position.

Here, the debtors’ return was not merely filed late, but was filed 17 months after the IRS had assessed the taxes, and the debtors provided “no justifiable reason for the delay.” The court held that this situation clearly failed to meet the requirements of Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(19), under either interpretation of the section and under the “honest and reasonable attempt” standard. Therefore, the debtors’ 2001 tax liability was not dischargeable.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Why does audio on my cell phone suck?

Is there any way to enhance the voice quality on my phone? I have an AT&T Blackberry Torch 9810 and have always had a Blackberry in some shape or form... There is something to be said about the old analog High Definition Voice by Orange in the Yes, it often had a lot of static if you are in a weak signal area and the battery life was terrible, but the voice and audio clarity sounded very clear and crisp; like a landline and there was no 1-3 second delay/lag as the audio was digitized and then re-digitized across the network... I know that analog was totally unsecured and anyone with a handheld scanner from Radioshack could listen to your calls...but at least you sounded good on the phone. Now everything sounds digitally enhanced. Back then cell towers were farther and farther apart because the phones had a lot more transmitting power (wattage)...especially those mounted in your car. Never had one of those funky bag-phone things which looked like a giant "man purse"... I also have a Verizon Apple iPhone 4 (CDMA - Blackberry is GSM) and the audio sounds the same, if not worse. I thought GSM was supposed to have superior call clarity or voice clarity. I remember before TMobile was in the United States, I had OmniPoint (back in 1998) which was later acquired by Voicestream in 2000. Shortly after that point, as Voicestream grew as it acquired other cellular companies, the voice quality changed dramatically for the worse...sadly. AT&T was analog back in the day too and then phased it out for TDMA...

The Get Smart Shoe Phone
The Get Smart Shoe Phone
Ever listen to an radio call-in show and you can hardly hear the caller or make out what they are saying? Never the case when the phones were analog before they switched to CDMA/TDMA and then GSM... Wish we had that enhanced voice quality back. Any chance that could be the case with LTE now? I don't know enough about the technology and bandwidth or available channels, but I know that Sirius Satellite does something very unique: For "talk" channels it decrease the quality of the stream because it's talk radio... and for music channels, it increases the quality of the audio and uses the extra bandwidth from the talk channels that are using less so the music sounds better. Since LTE has more bandwidth, is this something AT&T would consider doing? LTE is at least 10x faster than 3G and since unlimited data has been phased-out and the "data hogs" are getting kicked to the curb or at least paying for their crazy usage, wouldn't you think an effort would be made to improve voice clarity? Especially since true 4G LTE is supposed to me 100 megabits a second, though no national carrier is anywhere near this capacity.

I know my desk phone (VoIP Polycom phone) has something called "HD Voice" and the sound is SoundPoint_IP_550_VoiceIPSolutions.com_.pngamazing... and I heard a rumor that TMobile North America may be rolling this out and that it may be available with Sprint on their new HTC EVO when they roll out LTE in select markets (on a side note, they started selling LTE phones LONG before they had implemented the new LTE technology while phasing out their "4G WiMax" service...I wonder if Sprint customers knew they were buying a 4G LTE phone that they couldn't use for months or a year...maybe more as it was JUST in the news that they activated LTE today or yesterday in a handful [less than a dozen] markets? I would be a super upset customer if I knew that...'unlimited data' or not!)... It idea of HD Voice or higher quality audio has been out for awhile and called "Widband Audio" since the 1930's, I believe. I know HD Voice is available in Europe and other nations in the East via TMobile and by Orange but am wondering what about all of us "across the pond" in North America? :smileyindifferent: Why are we stuck using using the frequency/audio spectrum from the 1930's in the year 2012? "Good grief!", as Charlie Brown would say...

I would love to have that old voice quality back or for people to actually be heard clearly when they call in to talk shows. I am a regular contributor to a couple of radio shows that call me for comment on various topics and I ALWAYS have to use my office phone or some other landline because they will not put me on via cell - even with 5 bars and perfect reception. Go figure...

Not the right forum or company but I am reminded of the annoying, "Can you hear me now?!? Good." Verizon Wireless guy... Yeah, I can hear you VZW guy... but can barely understand you because your voice is choppy and skips in and out because it's been digitized and re-digitized a million times into an incoherent mess.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What I learned on my birthday this year

Chris Britt & Farnsworth on Lake Willoughby, VT July 2012
Chris Britt & Farnsworth on Lake Willoughby, VT July 2012
A lot has happened to me in the past five or six years. I acquired notoriety, success, confidence, and more money than a twenty-something year-old should have at such a young age. I was always mature for my age, or so I was told. But as quickly as those things I acquired appeared, they all disappeared; some with dire consequences.

I realized a few days ago, my birthday is in the first week of July for those that are wondering, that I had become hardened, bitter, and most of all very very angry. I had an anger brewing inside of me for years that occasionally erupted like a volcano. I was raised in a family where we did not show our emotions. From a young age I always pushed my emotions deep down inside and forgot about them. This proved tragic in my mid-twenties. The girls I dated treated me poorly. I had an affinity for finding girls or women that were manipulative. They would cheat on me and somehow make me feel it was my fault. They would lie to me and take advantage of my loyalty and good nature. I never cheated. I never strayed. Love was everything to me. I was loyal to the end...usually until they left me.

That process repeated itself time and time again. All of that anger surrounded my heart and hardened my soul. I met someone knew five years ago. We were acquaintances at first and then friends. Timing was never right as we were both seeing other people. Then one day, out of nowhere, we both pulled up to the same red light in Boston. I was in my oblivious "Boston" driving mode where you do not ever make eye contact with any other driver as that is a sign of weakness. I heard a horn honking repeatedly and a "Hey!!" yelling from the car besides me. I figured I must have cut someone off in traffic or some other moronic Bostonian driving thing. The honking continued until I looked over and much to my surprise, it was her. I smiled, waived, and said "Hello!"... The light turned green and we both smiled and parted our separate ways.

I texted her later that night or the next. At this time I was fairly depressed. I had just broken up with my current girlfriend and my heart was broken. Let me rephrase, she broke up with the others. I took some time off of work and stayed home for two weeks on my couch watching old movies on television and keeping myself in a euphoric Vicodin coma. I quickly discovered that if I chose not to eat, the euphoria and effects from the Vicodin lasted longer. For almost a month I did not emerge from my condo. I found it hard to sleep in my bed...the bed that my former girlfriend and I shared. It still smelled like her. Instead, I stayed on the couch. I cried a lot. My day consisted of waking up, taking some Vicodin and then showering. I showered a lot. It relieved anxiety and since my bathroom was soundproof, none of my neighbors could hear my cry no matter how loud I was. I drank lots of water during this time and stopped drinking soda, coffee, and tea. I lost a lot of weight. I was about 20 pounds overweight anyway so I had the weight to loose.

Somewhere in to the third or fourth week I resumed texting with the girl from the traffic light. She must have known I wasn't in a good place, though we never discussed it. I had fasted for two weeks at a time before so it was not unusual for me. She insisted on taking me out to dinner for sushi because as she put it, sushi is a "clean" food. I agreed after some hesitation and she picked me up from my condo. I'll never forget her smile. She made me feel better. We talked and she introduced me to sushi. Time stood still and we practically closed the placed. It was not the first time we had been out together, but it was the first time we were out together and both single and enjoyed our time together. She drove me home and as we pulled in front of my condo building we talked for a few moments. It's that awkward "first date" conversation...or was it even a first date? I'm the chivalrous type and am never forward with women. As we said our goodbyes and I decided to exit the car, I leaned over to give her a hug and instead she extended her right hand. She thanked me for the time (though she had paid for dinner, which was a first for me and allow me to pay) and shook my hand as if we had concluded a business meeting. I smiled, shook her hand, and closed the door. I chuckled to myself and scratched my head as she drove away down the street. I didn't know what had just happened but I knew I was smiling for the first time in a month and felt good. That was one of the few times where I truly believe she had saved me.

I feel I am a bit off track here but the history was necessarily I think. Time passed and we began dating exclusively. A year went by. It was clear that she had fallen for me...quickly and hard. That always happens to me. Girls I date fall for me quickly and hard...usually within months. The same happened with her. It took me a year to reciprocate and say "I love you" even though she had said it a month before. I didn't realize how much it hurt her. I regret that. Because of all the anger and hurt that I had bottled up deep inside me from all the other women in my life before her, I guarded my heart and soul. No one was getting in. It cursed me. She wrote me a letter and an excerpt from some country song lyrics. It made me cry. I realized I had hurt her...and that I did indeed having feelings for her. Strong feelings. Love.

Then followed a series of traumatic and horrible events in my life that caused me and her much pain and embarrassment. Most of it was out of my control. The things I was alleged to have done and were charged with were untrue. In fact, the allegations were well before she and I had known each other and began dating. It stemmed from a series of poor business decisions and working with unscrupulous clients who lied to cover up their own fraud. She helped me realize that there were more important things in life than money, a huge waterfront office downtown, a 2005 Aston Martin Vanquish, Range Rover, BMW 7 Series, Dolce & Gabana suits, Prada shoes, a 12,500 square foot estate for a home, and fractional ownership of a G550 (bonus kudos to you if you figure out what I am referring to and what one of those costs)... She taught me love and happiness...things I had trouble grasping and understanding; let alone feeling. I struggled with that and loosing those things and with loosing the respect of my friends, family, employees, clients, and the local community that I served.

Titans and giants, including Ephialtes on the left, in Gustave Doré's illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy.
Titans & Giants - Dante's Divine Comedy.
She loved me for me, not like the others that may have loved me for my things I had or what I could provide. It was true love for once, plain and simple. I should be a better man for it, but instead I am damaged goods. I suffered a major identity crisis and was very angry.  I blamed others. I became blinded by anger. I yelled at everyone. Took shots at people that didn't deserve it. I became impatient, upset, anxious, depressed, and quick to anger. I would explode at a moments notice. My mood swings were horrible. She felt she had to walk on eggshells and watched her words very careful to avoid upsetting me or setting me off. She was scared to speak sometimes. I would never touch her in anger but I would be angry or upset and yell. She would panic, bringing up painful childhood memories. She would cry. I would apologize when I calmed down... but it felt like the waves of anxiety and depression kept coming and I could not stop them. It felt like I was being attacked on all sides from people that were supposed to be friends, from people that were supposed to be loyal clients, and from people that I thought were family. My world was turning upside down and I was falling apart. I was drowning and gasping for air...being sucked down a vortex that I couldn't fight. Everyone turned on me, except her. She endured quite a bit, though it wasn't her fault. I often blamed her for her unhappiness. I blamed others for my unhappiness. I was blind to see that maybe I was the problem. I didn't yet realize that my actions years before had consequences that were just beginning to surface and that the road ahead was a slow descent into the ninth circle of hell.

This all hit me like a ton of bricks this July. I was the reason I was unhappy. I allowed outside influences to hurt and change me. I had to find a way to release this anger and hatred that was buried deep within me from years of hurt, depression, and anger. I was afraid and scared that I had done too much damage to myself, to her, and to our relationship. I had been depressed, majorly, for the past two years because of the aforementioned fallout and events. I tried every medication under the sun for depression. Nothing worked. I tried psychiatry and therapy. It helped, but only scratched the surface. But around 1PM on a sunny afternoon on July in a remote cabin in Vermont by the lake, it all made sense. I was the problem. I was to blame. I needed to take responsibility. She was not the one making me unhappy. I was. I wasn't making her happy because of my depression. I blamed others for my life falling apart. I realized that I needed to take responsibility for my actions or inaction. It is no one's fault but my own. Yes, there were some instances that were out of my control but I could have handled them better. I could have changed the outcome. I could have stopped wallowing in this self-pity where I had given up on myself, my work, and others. I was in control of my life, my destiny, and my future. No one else was to blame.

 I shared this and my thoughts/realizations above when she came back with our dog from a walk. She listened intently, almost as if in disbelief. She didn't say much but said she was glad I realized these things and the hurriedly said she had to take the dog for a walk... I was confused because they had just come from a walk but I let it go and prepared lunch. She was there to support and love me...and I ignored that. I took it for granted. I took a lot of things for granted. I realized it was easy for me to blame others for my problems but in reality, I just had to look in the mirror. I can't rely on others or her to fix it and make it better. I had to help myself or I knew I would never recover from this. She returned thirty or sixty minutes later in a good mood and apologized. When I inquired why she was apologizing, she said that she needed to take a walk because she was in shock. She was in disbelief. She said it was a good thing, but never expected I would realize that I needed to take responsibility for my life and my actions and was truly happy for me because she said she was not sure how much longer she could endure the way things were going and my negativity. She hugged me and thanked me and said we would get through this.

 The prior month I spent two weeks in bed, depressed. What did that do? Nothing. It was time for me to do something and change the direction I was going and grab hold of my life. She told me I wasn't the same person the last two years and she begged me to wake up. She wanted her best friend back. She said I was saying and doing things that weren't me and things that I would have never done years before. Depression and these medications had changed me. I allowed that to happen. I am to blame for hurting her and hurting our relationship and my life. I allowed myself to stop caring. I didn't care about anything anymore, let alone myself. I loved her and cared for her, but I often wonder if I did care for her as I did things to seriously jeopardize our relationship and hurt her that I normally would not have ever done. I'm not blaming depression wholly for that, but believe it was part of why I stopped caring about things that I was once passionate about. I realized I needed to fix this and regain control of my life. She said the Chris she knew and loved was still in there...and she was right. I had been sticking my head in the sand and ignoring everything going on around me for the past two years and expecting things to change without doing anything. I was an idiot clouded by depression. I was mean to her, my family, and others. My spirit broke and I fear I broke her spirit, warmth, and happiness. I simply could not handle the idea that I broke her spirit or happiness. She was a beacon of light and the happiest person I have ever met...and being responsible for breaking her or ruining that crushed me. I isolated myself from her, everything, and everyone that cared for me. My friends (both new and old) no longer speak to me. My family did not even call on my birthday. I had succeeded. I successfully isolated myself from everyone. I was alone and was pushing her farther and farther away from me. I was mean, angry, and having horrible mood swings.  I can't believe I was being so selfish. My self-fulfilling prophecy was coming true...I am so foolish.  I am deeply sorry for that. That ends here and now. I realized the error of my ways and how to take charge and fix it going forward. Dr. Keith Ablow, my former psychiatrist said something very powerful a few months prior but it didn't sink in until that morning: 
Chris, you are a very smart and brilliant guy. There is nothing you cannot do. We need to find something to motivate you in the right direction. Some awful things have happened to you, but you have survived and are hopefully wiser for it. But you have to understand people's perception of you now. You used to be able to operate in the 'gray' successfully with no ramifications. Now, you simply can't do that or bend the rules as you may find yourself subject to the same troubles time and time again. You will always be under scrutiny now: Black or white...your choice; no gray my friend. That's just how it is...
I may still continue to struggle along the way but I am waking up and changing and fixing my life while picking up the pieces. I am human after all, right? I owe that to her and I owe that to myself. I know without her, my life would be a lot less meaningful. I'll write more about that and her later. She may never know how I truly feel for her, even though I have tried time and time again to tell her...but I fumble with the words and emotions. I am "misunderstood" by her family, at least that's what her father said. I hope they see how truly and deeply I care for her some day. I would give anything for her and would pay the ultimate price and lay down my life for her if the opportunity arose. There is nothing I would not do for her to keep her safe, happy, and loved. That is what I also realized on that day in July. I may still struggle with relationships, given what I have been through in the past, but I know that she always stuck by me through the darkest hours of my life. I made two promises to her mother: one was to do the same and do my best to always do right by her. The other I won't share now. Those that know me know that I never break a promise nor make a promise that I know I cannot keep. I am a work in progress and change will not be overnight. I am trying to be realistic but I have made progress thus far that she would be proud of and that my family would be proud of...but I feel I have pushed her away. More to follow....

Visa & Mastercard $7.3 Billion Settlement!

Visa, MasterCard and the nation's biggest banks have agreed to pay $7.3 billion to millions of merchants to end a seven-year dispute over credit card “swipe” fees. The settlement includes at least $6.05 billion in payments to some 7 million merchants for past damages and a temporary reduction in fees valued at $1.2 billion. The temporary reduction is only set for the next 6 months but may last longer, depending on court findings and client agreements.

Visa alone has agreed to pay $4.4 billion to settle the class action and related individual claims from merchants who alleged the card issuers violated the Sherman antitrust act by fixing the fees imposed to process credit card transactions. The settlement, which still requires judicial approval, is believed to represent the largest payment ever in a private antitrust case brought under the Sherman Act.

 Over time, the reforms induced by this case and in this settlement will help reduce card-acceptance costs to merchants and businesnes, which in turn will result in lower prices for all consumers. The settlement agreement also would give merchants new rights to impose a surcharge on credit transactions, subject to a cap and other limitations. The rules governing such surcharges likely would be implemented in early 2013. Merchants also would be allowed to band together to try to negotiate better rates on the so-called interchange fees.

How Cash & Credit Terms Have Changed
Most consumers are unaware that the cost of accepting credit or debit cards are already built in or included in the cost of the product or service they are producing. Fees for accepting certain cards range from 1.5% to 3.5% of the total cost of the transaction, not including any "per transaction", "swipe", or "interchange" fees which are imposed in addition to the percentage that the card processor charges and then the intermediary banks impose.

For example, let's say you (Johnny Consumer) goes to your local coffee shop. If the coffee shop accepts credit or debit cards (in all likelihood they do) and you decide to pay for your grande latte with plastic, here is an approximate breakdown of why your coffee costs about $4.00 or more nowadays.
  1. You are charged $4.25 for your grande skinny double-pump no whip latte
  2. You present your credit card for payment
  3. The cashier swipes your credit card through the terminal for an authorization
    1. An "authorization" is verification that your card is good and has funds available 
  4. The cashier hands you your card back and you go on your way enjoying your cofee! 
Now, here is what happens behind the scene with your financial transactions for your $4.25 transaction
  • The merchant is charged a $0.15 - $0.25 "swipe" fee per transaction
    • This is for each time a card is "swiped" at the terminal
    • If a card is "keyed" (not swiped) at the terminal the charge is sometimes twice that amount
    • If you use your card three times, the merchant is charged three "swipe" fees
  • The merchant is also charged between 1.5% - 3.5% of the total transaction amount called an "interchange fee"
    • This does not include fees imposed by the merchant or intermediary banks
    • This money is disbursed to the banks that process the transactions through the Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express network etc...
      • It pays the banks in-between your credit/debit card bank along the way while transferring funds through the network to the coffee shop's bank account.
  • Some merchants, depending on their contract, have to pay an "authorization" fee ranging for $0.05 to $0.15 per transaction
    • This is similar to a swipe fee and is actually quite common
    • This is not the same as an AVS fee but is more common for merchants that ship a product or service or process credit cards over the phone or internet to confirm the cardholder and present fraud. Typically these are $0.25 and it is unlikely your local coffee shop has this fee, but it's important to consider in other applications.
  • At the end of the day there is also a "merchant batch" fee, where the merchant submits all credit card or debit card transactions to their bank so they may collect the money for deposit into their account from your credit or debit card. This fee commonly ranges from $0.25 to $1.00 per batch. If for some reason the merchant batches more than once daily, though unlikely, the fee could be passed on twice.
    • For example, when your local coffee shop closes for the day and the cashier counts the cash in the register, the cashier will "batch" the credit card transactions and send them to the bank for deposit in one large group. If a merchant does not batch every 24 hours, those "interchange" or transaction percentage fees can double, costing the merchant more money.
  • Other merchant monthly fees: 
    • Statement fees: Some statement fees are $10 while others are $25 per month. 
    • Nuisance Fee: Which is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion... This is a fairly new fee that banks and merchant processors added to increase revenue. If your card was declined at the coffee shop and the cashier swiped your card a second or third time in an attempt to have it go through, the merchant processor or merchant's bank (coffee shop's local bank) will add an average $20 fee per additional "declined" swipe.
    • Chargeback Fee: Let's say you call your credit or debit card company and say you didn't recognize the $4.25 transaction from your local coffee shop because you forgot about it or maybe the transaction came up under a different name (some charges appear on our statements as the actual company name instead of the DBA [doing business as] name on the door... For example, Joe's Coffee Shop could show on your statement as Two Brothers Ventures INC because that is the official legal business name of the coffee shop)... For whatever reason, if a customer disputes a charge the merchant is immediately debited the amount of the transaction ($4.25 for the coffee) plus a "chargeback" fee which is usually $25. The merchant then has to find the receipt and fill in a report and fax or mail it back to the bank within a strict timeframe. If not, the merchant looses that money and is assessed the fee plus a possible fine of 1% of the total transaction.
  •  The Bottom Line:
    • Here is the breakdown of your grande latte:
      • $4.25 for the cup of espresso style coffee in revenue
      • ($0.25) for the swipe fee
      • ($0.10) authorization fee/inquiry fee
      • ($0.09) interchange merchant fee (assuming 2.24% standard Visa/Mastercard)
      • ($0.15) interchange merchant fee (for Amex customers only)
      • ($0.05) concervative estimate for this customer's share of the other fees imposed on the merchant by other customers as outlined below:
        • It's not possible to add this particular transactions share of the daily "batch" fee, any monthly chargeback fees, statement fees, or nuisance fees because this is a hypothetical coffee shop and I don't know how many transactions the business completes daily and how many chargebacks they receive etc.
        • It is important to remember that these aforementioned fees are passed on to each and every customer as they significantly impact the bottom line of the business.
        International Coffee Consumption
      • So how much did the bank and credit/debit card companies impact the price of your cup of coffee?
        • Of that initial $4.25 charge:
          •  $0.64 cents of that coffee went to "the banks"
          • Is that $0.64 cents really worth the convenience of using plastic instead of cash? For most, I argue probably not.
            • Unfortunately, cash or credit - Visa & Mastercard locked down the ability to pay less with cash instead of credit. That's what this settlement is all about.
          • According to a 2011 US report, the average American drinks 3.2 cups of coffee per day 7 days a week.
          • That means that the average American spends $2.04 in bank or merchant interchange fees a day. That is $14.37 a week...and is only part of the cost of their $4 grande latte. Does any of this concern you and how banks are ripping merchants and by proxy consumers off?
How Banks Changed How & How Much We Pay
How Banks Changed Prices In The Last 10 Years...

If you remember, in the 1980's and into the 1990's there were always two prices at gas stations: cash price and credit price. Visa & Mastercard made that go away... so now even cash paying customers have to pay the price as merchants/businesses increase prices to help offset these bank fees. Now, that may change as this is what the settlement is all about.

The proposal involves a payment to a class of stores of $6 billion from Visa, MasterCard and more than a dozen of the country's largest banks who issue the companies' cards. The card companies have also agreed to reduce swipe fees by the equivalent of 10 basis points for eight months for a total consideration to stores valued at about $1.2 billion, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs.

An additional $525 million will be paid to stores suing individually, according to the documents.
"This is a historic settlement," said Bonny Sweeney, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. "In addition to refunding billions of dollars to retailers that paid artificially inflated interchange fees, the reforms will create real price competition, leading to reduced card-acceptance fees for retailers."

Noah Hanft, general counsel for MasterCard, said the company believed its interests were "best served by an amicable resolution" of the case. Visa CEO Joseph Saunders said the settlement was in the best interest of all parties and did not expect the settlement to impact its current guidance.

But not everyone was pleased. One class plaintiff, the National Association of Convenience Stores, slammed the deal in a statement from its president, Tom Robinson, who is also president of Robinson Oil Corp. "Not only does the proposed settlement fail to introduce competition and transparency, it actually provides Visa and MasterCard with the tools to continue to shield swipe fees from market forces," Robinson said.
The proposed considerations are a far cry from the $50 billion in swipe-fees paid each year by U.S. retailers, he said.

The U.S. Department of Justice brought and settled a civil antitrust suit against Visa and MasterCard in 2010. As part of the consent decree, the companies agreed to drop certain policies that kept stores from steering their customers to cheaper forms of payment.

Want to help your local merchant when using plastic? When given the option opt for or press the "debit" button at checkout with the cashier. Any transaction that you have to enter your PIN on the keypad saves the merchant all of those fees I just mentioned. Debit "PIN" transactions cost the merchant $0.25 in most cases without any additional fees. If enough people follow this trend, merchants and businesses will lower costs on their products as they are charged less by their banks respectively. It's really common sense!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Cost of Government Day to all!

Do you ever wonder how much the government actually costs you? Not just as a percentage of total income over the course of year, but in terms of how much time you spend working for yourself versus the amount of time spent making enough money to cover your share of the cost of the government?

Michael Ramirez / Creators Syndicate 2012
Michael Ramirez / Creators Syndicate 2012
Every year, the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, a nonpartisan, pro-taxpayer group headed by activist Grover G. Norquist, publishes a " Cost of Government Day" analysis that determines until what date during the calendar year the average American must work to pay for the full costs of government spending and regulation.

Current studies and projections show that they will have to work more than 6 months (nearly 7) to pay the cost of the US Government operations in 2012! This is absurd!

This year, Americans have to work until July 15 to pay for the burden of government, more than six months.
In a new report,  Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) has calculated that Americans will spend a total of 197 days toiling to pay for the cost of government through their payroll and other taxes.

"Cost of Government Day is the date of the calendar year on which the average American worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burden imposed by government at the federal, state and local levels," reads the report. 

The report, Cost of Government Day, shows that Americans will work 88 days to pay for federal spending; 40 days for state and local spending; and 69 days for total regulatory costs.

"From a different perspective, the cost of government makes up 54.0 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP)," reads the report. "What's more, the largest tax hike in the nation's history is scheduled to take place at the end of 2012 unless Congress acts to protect taxpayers. If this tax increase is allowed to hit, COGD [Cost of Government Day] could permanently be pushed back into August and beyond."

The largest driver of these costs, Americans for Tax Reform explained, is spending: "This year, Americans must work a full 88 days to pay for the costs of federal spending. This is in addition to the 40 days spent working to pay for state and local spending." Proving once again that former President Ronald Reagan was right when he said, "Government is too big and it spends too much."

"Another growing concern," the group said, are regulatory costs, as "taxpayers are forced to labor 69 days to pay for federal and state regulations, a workload that will increase exponentially as regulatory agencies continue to grow."

Things are not much better in the states. "As in past years, taxpayers in Connecticut must work the longest to celebrate their COGD, laboring all the way until August 9 to pay off the full costs of government. Taxpayers in Tennessee worked the shortest amount of time to pay off their burden of government, laboring until June 28."

Those who argue the Obama administration has been modest or centrist in its approach to governance should, in the face of these numbers, take the time to rethink their arguments. With the American people in all 50 states spending more than half a year paying for government, it is in fact fair to wonder if we are getting the kind of government we are paying for?

When Did Life Become So Complex?

Chris Britt Vermont Summer 2012
Chris Britt Vermont Summer 2012

When did life become so complex? When did I start believing in signs and karma and destiny and fate and all these other far-fetched desperations? When did your name become so painfully bright?

Weeks pass in this numbing bliss until, without a precursor or portent, I am thrust back into the binding constrict of bleaker days. I am catapulted to a fragmented time when my broken heart did not beat. I am tossed mercilessly into a time when tears articulated the words my voice couldn't speak. I am reunited with you only to relive this heartache.

I curse the heavens for the joyless reminder of your breathless name. I curse the heavens for this clandestine siege of my will. I curse the heavens for this nude vulnerability that remains with the abolition of my defense. I curse the heavens vainly in whispers that testify to this injustice.

Why must you dance these bewitching circles? During your absence, I am lulled into a false sense of complacency. Your presence only serves to ensnare my heart that much more deeply into this haunting torment of unrequited love.

It is the most blissful torture to love you. It is the most loathsome joy to hate you. My head and heart are divided in this. I wage this war against only myself.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The End

Chris Britt & Farnsworth in Vermont 2012
Chris Britt & Farnsworth in Vermont - Summer 2012

Endings are never easy. I always build them up so much in my head that they cannot possibly live up to my expectations. I usually end up disappointed. I’m not even certain why it matters to me so much; the way things end.

I assume it’s because we all want to believe what we do is very important; that people hang on to our every word…and people actually care what we think. The truth is, you should consider yourself lucky if you even occasionally get to make someone – anyone – feel a little better.

Chris Britt & Kerri Doherty at beach in Denpasar Bali, Indonesia
Chris Britt & Kerri Doherty - Bali, Indonesia

After that, it’s all about the people you let into your life. And as my mind drifts to faces I’ve seen before, I am taken to memories of family, of co-workers, of lost loves, even of those who have left us. And as I round the corner, they all came at me like a wave of shared experiences.

And even though it felt warm and safe, I knew it had to end. It’s never good to live in the past too long. As to the future, thanks to you, it did not seem so scary anymore. It could be whatever I want it to be. And who’s to say this isn’t what happens? Who can tell me my fantasies won’t come true…just this once?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What is The Chris Britt Foundation?

Chris Britt Foundation Logo
Chris Britt Foundation Inc. Logo
The Chris Britt Foundation Inc works with sustainability as a process and a way of seeing the world through which communities can transform social systems that damage our communities and our world. To learn more about our social cause that empowers people to create change, please visit our foundation. At its core, the Chris Britt Foundation is a social endeavor; to transform people, places, and the systems they function in.
 Join us today!

Chris Britt Boston

Chris Britt & Jonathan Maneri at Jerry Remy's Bar in Boston
Chris Britt (L) & Jon Maneri (R)  at Jerry Remy's
Chris Britt is chief executive of Priviley, a Boston accounting firm. He founded the firm after a stint doing finance in the hotel industry and finding that the work was not exciting him enough to stay. Britt is an example of the massive wave of young people who are testing big-company waters and then heading out on their own.Chris Britt Boston - The Chris Britt Foundation - >Chris Britt Foundation - - > - - - - > - Chris Britt Arrest - Christopher Britt - Christopher James Britt - CJ Britt -It used to be that you were either corporate or an entrepreneur. Today, people move in and out of big companies and start-ups, using the steady paycheck to fund the risky venture. This is what Chris Britt did, using the money he earned from the hotel industry as the seed funding for Priviley LLC Boston. This model gives founders the benefit of not having to divert their attention to raising investment funds via  angel funding or venture capital groups, which "allows the founder of the start-up to focus on what they to best!", said Britt.

The self-funding model has spawned a generation of scrappy founders, like Britt, who use virtual tools and low-budget marketing. Priviley, for example, provides services to a wide range of other start-ups, creating a community of entrepreneurs that model these larger trends.

And, of course, the self-funding model also allows founders to reap benefits and profits more quickly because they don't have to share large pieces of their pie with investors or partners.Chris Britt Boston - The Chris Britt Foundation - >Chris Britt Foundation - - > - - - - > - Chris Britt Arrest - Christopher Britt - Christopher James Britt - CJ Britt - work your way to entrepreneurship - target="_blank">work your way to entrepreneurship