Entrepreneur Evolution

 

Lessons from the Edge:

Lately I have been really thinking about what kind of business person I want to be. My son has made it into high school and is happily building his independence and does not need me around as much. As he grows I have more time and room in my life for my business. To date I have, it turns out, been a freelancer who moved into solopreneur. I have built businesses that are growing without me, so I have also been an entrepreneur.

For my next challenge: build a business that will run with or without me and that I stay and keep growing…

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In case you are confused – here are some definitions:

  • Freelancer: Get hired on a project basis for specific task.
  • Solopreneur: Freelancer with staff.
  • Entrepreneur: If you get hit by a bus your business will still happily chug along without you and/or your personality.

In the words of my favorite guru Seth Godin, “Freelancers get paid for their work. If you’re a freelance copywriter, you get paid when you work. Entrepreneurs use other people’s money to build a business bigger than themselves so that they can get paid when they sleep.”

To put it another way, “If you can create enough momentum in your business that you’ll still make money, regardless of what you do on a day-to-day basis, you are an entrepreneur. And a badass.” Entrepreneur Mag (It’s an interesting article if you are so inclined)

So, yes to build your business and revenue you can publish e-books on your expertise, give your personal accounts of success and failures and generate endless “Top 5” posts.. but in order to build something bigger than yourself and your personality you have to think bigger, more global, push further than just your social media nose.

  • What are you really passionate about? Narrow it down to a laser focus.

For me it’s creating situations and environments that enforce and promote connecting people and building community. That’s why I produce events.

  • What is the bigger issue you are addressing?

This one took some thinking and we decided it has to be a focus on advocacy with an eye towards all human rights organizations.

  • What human problem are you addressing?

When was the last time you went to a networking event and actually found a lasting connection AND had fun? Networking … just the word can send chills.

  • How are you disrupting the status quo?

For us it’s by bringing back the power of high quality hospitality, superior customer service for our clients as well as participants and treating every participant as an individual VIP.

Once you have YOUR answers to these, you will have a road map to your entrepreneurial business and true success.

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Holiday Survival Guide – Chappy Style

I know that this can be a difficult time for people. Family histories are hard, feeling alone and end of the year stuff brings judgements and other negative feelings. I get my dose around New Year’s after all the fun of Christmas dies down and I am left with my thoughts, doubts and self flagellation.

Here are some things that may seem corny but help:

  1. Be Present. Leave the phone in the kitchen drawer and take a break from the Jones’s
  2. Wrap your loved ones in hugs
  3. Send peace in the form of cards and notes to everyone you know
  4. Donate food, clothes and anything you can afford, including time,  to those who’s holiday might be in jeopardy or thin
  5. Make sharing your love the priority not your disagreements
  6. Be your own light in every room

When the gloom sets in, recognize it for what it is and say hello for me. Know it will pass. Make yourself make a coffee date with a close friend (I’m free) and get out in the fresh air. I have been known to throw a party as a F’you to the gloom.. works sometimes. Try it.

Happy Solstice

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukah

Happy Kwanzaa

Happy Arba’een and Mawlid an-Nabī 

Boxing Day

St. Stephan’s Day  … etc & etc.

Sending you and yours love and light for the holidays and the New Year!

PS: I always say Happy Holidays because I am not so arrogant as to believe everyone else celebrates Quantum theory like I do  😉

 

 

 

 

 

Education, education, education ..

It’s the drum I beat in every political, civic or social discussion I have. It is so basic and so necessary that it seems too obvious to be the fix we are looking for. Fixing, improving and expanding our public school systems is no easy task. I understand, personally, I did my best with our local K-8 school and it was a snake pit obstacle course with head winds. There are vast competing interests, egos, philosophies and economies, the deck is very stacked against change. If we are going to close the divide in this country we have to dig in and start here.

I am not talking about test scores. That is a fools distraction and proves only that special interests are the winners. Real, enriched and in-depth education that promotes thinking and real problem solving for all our children is what I mean. This includes literacy, art, music, civics, global history, math – beyond just the rote numbers, the sciences and all in a safe place with well paid teachers. No small task. We have to get there. We have to invest in this or we will loose our country for good.

Let’s look to countries like Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland who spend some of the most money on education as a percentage of their gross domestic product, according to the World Bank. These Scandinavian nations all ranked in the top third of Best Countries istock_000014186302mediumby Education, generally outperforming Asian nations. (Source) We can take what works and improve on the rest. These countries, not coincidentally, also rank among the top 10 places for quality of life for all it’s citizens.

The conspiracy lover in me thinks that the defunding methodically, over the last 20 years of public education and demonizing the educated has been a slow and deliberate plan to make the electorate ignorant, uniformed and susceptible to believing just about anything. It is much easier to rule an uneducated population. H.G. Wells was not wrong when he created the Eloi. All you need is to scare them enough and they will pretty much do whatever you tell them.

This election is a wake up call for all of us. Once the protesting and fervor dies down, I hope we will all get to the hard work of fixing what lead us here.

Read this article by Nate Silver: LINK

 

The Economy, Stupid…

Remember when that was the campaign slogan? No.. ok well then I am aging myself. James Carville (@JamesCarville) had coined this as a campaign strategist of Bill Clinton‘s successful 1992 presidential campaign against sitting president George H. W. Bush.

It is as relevant now as ever. The industrial age in the USA is over. Our economy is no longer driven by manufacturing. It’s not coming back. As a nation we have evolved into a new economy and turning back is just not possible. Time for us to stop being nostalgic. I am no economist and it is obvious to me… so why in all those red states they bought the snake oil that it could come back is just cruel and sad.

bn-gn464_smurf_g_20150120170633Looking at this globally, it’s other nations turn to manufacture goods. It’s their turn to be in an industrial age and revolution. The evolving world is transitioning into and through industrialization. We had our turn. At one time we were the makers of cheap goods with cheap labor for other nations. Cotton, Tobacco, Cars and so many other goods were bought by the European nations that complained about our advantage. Now it’s China, Latin America, Indonesia, India and beyond and we complain.

Where we collectively as a nation have failed is to innovate and educate fast enough. Government will need to be pressured to get off their haunches and push innovation forward. Education needs to be invested in and expanded. There are several sectors that could replace the coal mines, car factories and clothing manufacturers. Sectors like Bio Tech, Green Energy, the Medical Marijuana industry, National Infrastructure and so many more. We need a J.F. Kennedy moment and it is about 10 years too late.

In 1996 we entered the digital and automated age. Why focus on bringing all Americans into it was not a primary cause for the Democrats and Liberals is beyond me. Clearly not enough attention or resources was given to this issue. This is where they laid the ground work for the Alt-Right leadership we now have.

Education is the key to bring all those alienated laborers back into the economy. We are waisting a huge and powerful resource by letting them languish. Now, the libertarian in me thinks it is inexcusable to be ignorant or left behind in just about anything in this modern digital age. Anyone can get a MIT education, online, for free in your PJs and there is always Google. I digress, re-education needs to incentivized. Education and being educated needs to be de-stigmatized. We have to get American working again.

It is actually a versioning new golden age for the modern worker in this country. Starting in December the Labor Department will be cracking down on and enforcing new overtime regulations*, more transparency in salaries for all employees from C-level on down potentially will change pay and bonus structures nationally and it is more acceptable and easier than ever to make your own hours and work remotely. More companies are installing paid leave programs for new parents and diversity is on the rise. Unions and Governments alike will need to keep up if everyone is going to benefit.

Like I said earlier, I am no economist, but I know that when the majority of the population is educated and working we are all better off.

 

*the courts may delay this, but it is inevitable right along with a national minimum wage increase.

Engage – Act – Participate

Here is a list of things I have found that you can do to Act..

  1. Protest! Facebook has an events section most of your local protests are listed.6a00d834515f9b69e2017c36270638970b-320wi
  2. Wear a Safety Pin and mean it – Stand Up and Protect your neighbors
  3. BoyCott all things Trump : Grab Your Wallet
  4. Call on the Electoral College to be the grown ups: LINK
  5. Email the Electoral College Voters directly: http://asktheelectors.org/ 
  6. Use this speadsheet to make calls and make your voice heard. It’s important to actually call… block out 30mins during lunch three times a week and BAM you are making a huge impact : LINK
  7. Call the House Oversight Committee (202-225-5074) to support the call for a bipartisan review of Trump’s financials and apparent conflicts of interest. It takes 2 minutes and you get connected immediately. They are lovely. They said the more calls they get the sooner it gets out in their timetable!
  8. Call on your Senators and Congressmen to investigate Russian’s involvement in our election – Lindsy Graham’s office in particular. Tell them you support them on this : Article
  9. “Paul Ryan is conducting a phone poll on the ACA (Obamacare), hoping to hear overwhelming popular opposition to it. If you would like to express your support for the Affordable Care Act, call (202) 225-3031. Press 2 to weigh in on the issue. You’ll hear a brief recording about HR-3762, Paul Ryan’s proposal to gut the ACA, and President Obama’s use of his veto power to stop it. Then, you will have a chance to indicate your opinion with the press of a button. Press 1 if you support Obamacare, 2 if you oppose it.
    Copy and paste this, don’t click share!
    The phone won’t ring but may take over a minute to connect. Don’t hang up! It may take several calls.”
  10. Support watch dog organizations like the ACLU – they are going to be busy. Most take donations as small as $10.00 Here is a list from Jezebel – LIST
  11. Support your favorite news outlets. The press is under fire like never before. Consider getting that NYT Weekender delivered and reinstate brunch in your house on the couch.
  12. Go one strike Jan. 20th – STRIKE No Work, No School, No Shopping – No Fascists
  13. March on Washington – there are a few options – Jan 20th, 21st and 22nd.. I am sure you can find more.
  14. If you were “Charlie Hebdo”, then Register yourself as a Muslim  – At some point in the next four years, we may be confronted with our moment to pay forward the human decency of people like Master Sgt. Edmonds and King Christian X did in 1933.

If you find more please add them to the comments below!

#TheResistance #TeamHumanity

Certain Truths

There are a few Truths that I thought, naively here in my Libra-Bubble, we had all agreed upon…

  1. The Sun is the center of our solar system not Earth
  2. The Earth is round
  3. Gravity, while wondrous and magical is not magic
  4. Mass extinction and Climate change are real and happening
    1. and We as a race caused it. If you are not ready to accept responsibility for this mass issue – OK – I hear yah.. so let me put it this way, for our purposes it does not matter who is to blame, us, earth, time .. We can help to slow it down, everyday doing small things.. What do you say?
  5. Our Universe was created by the Big Bang
    1. OK creationists, before your knickers get all twisted, I offer that I believe there is more evidence of the Devine in hard science than in any man made book… Does that help?
  6. War is bad for everyone but Halliburton
  7. bill_of_rights_pg1of1_acALL humans are created equally and deserve to be treated equally before the eyes of the law.
    1. I know I am in grey waters here.. I am not totally sure that everyone believes this, as evidenced by who populates our prisons and who get’s their asses grabbed on the subway. Even if this is not absolute yet, shouldn’t we be working towards this?
    2. Being equal, having provenance over your own body? … I am hedging my bets – Reproductive rights? Anyone?
  8. Freedom of Press, Speech and Expression wether you like what someone has to say or not. Just please don’t insight a riot – Do all the protests Trump has started count?
    1. If I could add an amendment it would be that the Press MUST be impartial and Factual ONLY.. let story tellers, comedians and entertainers do their job, you do yours.
  9. A Right to Privacy – My life, my choices
  10. A Right to pray to whomever you choose and express your beliefs as much as you like as long as they don’t infringe on mine.

Given who was just selected as our president elect, I woke up to find out that these above were not all understood, agreed upon much less absolutes.. If as a nation we cannot agree on the most basic of issues, it’s not a wonder we can’t figure out genderless bathrooms.

Changing Demographics

Thinking about the myriad of reasons America chose the hateful, narcissist for our leader, one thing stuck out to me this morning after reading this article in the New York Times: The Two America’s of 2016. I have been thinking about why it is that the urban population, on the whole, voted for our neighbors and in rural America they voted against them. Other than the compression of humanity, access to culture and the other elitist things they tell us is why, I was wondering, why really? … What is it about the experience of a rural American that is so different. There are many things I am sure, but the one that struck me this morning is, we here in the cites are used to having our neighborhoods change constantly and whole new populations come through about every 5-10 years. Our cultural landscape is in constant flux. Beacons of gentrification and the wave of white privilege that follows are often the least welcome.
My mother has lived in the same neighborhood since 1962. In that time there have been waves of new groups who have passed through. When she moved in, the neighborhood was was the Puerto Rican and Cuban neighborhood of West Side Story – That’s right we lived in Shark territory, with it’s coffee shops and bodega’s. Then more Spanish speaking neighbors joined them from South America, Dominican republic and beyond. I remember a Santeria card reader who would sit on the corner and give us candies. As the 70’s marched in a new wave of black working class families started to move in. People from Jamaica, Haiti and Trinidad 5218635164_e2d1e7f71etoo. Music poured out on to the streets and ladies wore bright colored outfits. Following them in the 80’s were students of all colors, the first sign of gentrification. They were mostly from NYU and Juilliard; dancers, artists and musicians. The 90’s brought a wave of middle class professional gay families and the YUPIES. On their heels came the wealthy 1%. Now only the Saudi’s an afford an apartment in her neighborhood. The area has traveled through rich cultural influences, restaurants, boutiques, music, styles of hanging out on stoops to a white washed, sterile, amenities-less mall. White privilege is ugly, pretentious, cold and most of all brings NO practical necessities with it. With in a three block radius of my mothers house she has gone from having multiple bodega’s, groceries stores, hardware stores, and pharmacies to now there’s a Papyrus, Kate Spade and Sephora – Yay! The “ism” of the City is Classism .. we dread gentrification more than any population. Hillary’s “level the playing field” message especially resonates here.

port-jefferson-long-island-ny-main-street-business-section-ca-1920s-postcard-badc3e3cfa0e840b68ae2cf8bf9d3bfcBy contrast a close friend of our family lives in rural Long Island, on the outskirts of a small town well past the end of the 495.  When he bought his house in the early 70’s it was a dominantly Polish and Easter European town filled with people who he and his family had known probably for generations. There were black people sure, but they were segregated to their own part of town, and his world rarely if ever crossed theirs. The town had always been this way. Seasonally there would be migrant workers who would pass through, to help with the harvests of potatoes, sod and other agriculture, but they never stayed. Then it happened. These migrant workers started to stay. There was enough work available that they bought houses and started to live all over town. Their children started to go to the local schools and they were in line at the grocery stores. This wave happened to be dominantly Mexican and following them were small waves of other Spanish speaking peoples. Our friend was/is very unhappy about this. While he may not think of himself as a racist, he blames ALL of that areas troubles on these new neighbors. So, when Trump demonized this population, our friend could relate.

There are racists in cities too, don’t get me wrong. There are people who grumble about the changing nature of their neighborhoods. You hear, “This was such a nice place to live before the (fill in the blank) moved in.” The difference is that in cities the “fill in the blank” changes all the time.. it is in constant evolution. In the outer, rural areas everything moves slower, including cultural evolution. The rest of us will need to take notice of this and respect how disorientingly fast the world is moving for these people.

Compassion is what is going to get us through the next four years.

#TeamHumanity

Silence is Permission

“Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear. Making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top, protecting our country and protecting our planet.” – Hillary Clinton’s concession speech full transcript: 2016 presidential election

http://www.vox.com/…/hillary-clinton-concession-speech-full…

Let’s please stop blaming the 3rd party candidates. They only made up about 3% of votes cast. One path to fixing the choices we get is to encourage third, fourth and fifth parties.

Here is some math from an angry Dyslexic:

Problem number 1 – There are 218,959,000 eligible voters in this great country. 146,311,000 of those are registered, so, 72,648,000 don’t care to participate in our democracy. Nearly 73Million people! ..Lazy? Disenfranchised?

Problem number 2 – In 2012, a year of huge turnout, 126,144,000 cast votes.. so the 20 Million difference who are registered just could not be bothered.

Problem three and why Hillary lost – Turnout this year? 124,344,129 (this is still evolving). That almost 18million (or 38Million if you count all registered voters) decided it wasn’t sexy enough an election to get their butts off the couch.

A non-vote is still a vote.. in this country if you believe in progressive ideals, you HAVE to vote. We win by turn out. No turn out = Conservative agenda. There are actually more of us than them, but it does not matter if you don’t show up.

#Silenceispermission

#TeamHumanity

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.”

— Edmund Burke

Not a Dys-Ability

I need to rant a little here today…3f4b7446e642eecc10735b7cf43fbae8

As you know I have been doing a lot of thinking, writing and reading on the subject of Dyslexia lately. A list has been made on twitter , News alerts on google, sites bookmarked and I am starting to think about getting re-diagnosed.

All this to say STOP thinking of Dyslexia as a disability. Just cut it out. It is no more a handicap than being left handed makes you the puppet of the devil or redheads turn into vampires when they die. In this culture where being sick is equal to being special, please stop counting Dyslexia among your lazy Susan of options to feel sorry. If I read one more “The Warning Signs” dun dun dun… headline I am going to scream!

Yes, we learn differently. News flash .. everyone learns differently from each other. We are not robots that can all easily fit into the industrialized education system we have made for ourselves. Not all of us fit so nicely in the warehouse model of “school”. It is not the job of “Education” to be a place to stash your kids while you go to work, make the lives of teachers and administrators easy, fit into silent rows of desks or for the love of Peter, expect good results on tests that measure NOTHING.

5009895781_6129f801b0_bCome on people, asking an 8 year of any stripe to sit quietly and still for 8 hours is the real issue here. Those that think this is a good idea are the disabled ones.. How stupid and out of touch with reality do you have to be? I mean really?

Why is it expected for us to conform to your system? We are 1 in 5.. And that is not including all the other learning styles out there.. When did the institution, School, become the god we have to all bow to? Where is the populist revolution I keep hearing about?

Across the street from my apartment is a Success Academy, I here the children chanting daily “Good Morning Miss …, A, B, C,..” and so on, in unison, all neatly lined up in a row against the wall in their uniforms. It makes my skin crawl.. It’s good to teach children to conform and submit to authority early right? Lesson learned at the Success Academy.

There is a huge and widening gap between school and education. Our society is suffering for it. The evidence is in our election choices and the rise of things like racism and isolationism.

Singling out the Dyslexics, spectrum, ADHD, behavioral issued and underserved as the excuse for a broken, ill conceived system is a losing proposition. It’s not the kids or the learning styles that’s the problem.

Further reading: The Dyslexic Advantage, Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. by Brock L. Eide M.D. M.A.  Fernette F. Eide M.D. (@drseide)

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9P

9P

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FP

To my true mind all of the sounds of the alphabet are arbitrarily assigned symbols that represent those sounds. It’s the arbitrary part that always caused me the most trouble. Someone, somewhere in the 1st millennium BCE – likely an old, mean monk – decided the sound “pah” should look like “P” combining at least three different alphabets. Everyone acquiesced and then POOF several thousand years later I am just supposed to agree? (I can hear an english teacher I had in the 8th grade shaking her head and say, ”dear, dear, Aryn, why do make it so hard?”…)

2015-03-05-04-54-34-pmIn a way Dyslexics are natural born linguistic philosophers. No part of letters or numbers is taken for granted. It is only through conscious repetition that sound and symbol eventually get married. Now, you are saying to yourself, isn’t that true for all kids? Yes, to a degree. The difference is that there is always a lingering skepticism. There is always some air between sound, meaning and symbol. This makes reading forever slow.

“The large brown cow grazes in the green meadow.” You skim, “Lg Brwn Cow Grazes Grn Meadow”. I read “The   large   brown   cow   grazes   in   the   green   meadow”. You will forget that sentence by breakfast tomorrow. I will forever have an impression of Ferdinand with a flower behind his ear grazing in the tall green grasses outside of Madrid not remembering where I read such a lovely sentence but glad nonetheless.

Teachers are the saviors for us Dyslexics. (They can also be our biggest hurdles.. I have heard some pretty terrible stories) Good, well trained, patient, loving teachers are what make the difference. I had three that I can remember clear as day. I’m even friends on Facebook with one of them – shout to you MM! There were others, like my Chemistry teacher in the 10th grade who seeing that I was smart, but totally ill equipped for science, and wanting me to at least learn something in his class, let me write a 20 page paper on the Armenian Genocide just to pass – Thank you Mr. A. (He is Armenian and was lobbying in his off hours to have the genocide recognized officially by the UN)

There were also the countless hours with parents and guardians hovering and helping. My step mother would take dictation and type my papers for me. Into the wee hours of the night my mother would all but write my papers for me. Uncle M. would help me with geometry and my poor dad would try and muster the patience to explain multiplication again for the tenth time – 7s still give me trouble. It always confounded him that I could grasp scale, but multiplying 9×7 was torture. All this and the tutors, it truly takes a village.

My stepmother tells this story, she challenged the then headmaster of The Calhoun School to stay true to her word, that they wanted children of all learning styles. It’s right there in the mission statement still, “At Calhoun, teaching and learning begin with the strengths, needs, questions and diverse life experiences of the individual student.” I can promise you telling my stepmom “no” is not easy. So, that is where I went for eight years. Thank goodness I did. Progressive education saved me.

Most class curriculums, including most progressive formats, are based on the concept that you build up on the lessons before it. This is done linearly. The essential assumption in that concept is that the students must commit the lessons to memory and be fluid with the information. Often we do not get fluid and some simply can’t memorize any more than they could turn themselves purple. Imagine trying to do Algebra when you are still counting on your fingers.

Things like Math and Science are taught with a heavy amount of rote memorization and “it’s true because it is so”. We have already established that, for me, that argument is fruitless. I have always wondered how much easier and fun it would be, not just for the Dyslexics in the room, but all the kids, if curriculums were turned upside down and inside out. Teach the concept, the reasons, the stories and then the facts and figures. Use the numbers and signatures to illustrate the content. This way you would have a population that at least understood the basic principles of physics, even if they cannot do the problems. It should be noted here that 1 in 5 Americans are Dyslexic. Progressive could take on a new gravitas and not just be code for small classes and hands on projects.

I have mentioned this over the years to a number of teacher friends and heard all the lazy reasons why it won’t work. I can tell you that A Brief History of Time and The Tao of Physics are among my favorite books. Smart is not the issue. Different is not lesser. Once culture truly absorbs that, then anything could be possible.

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#Dyslexia #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth #Adulting #Education #LearningDisabled #Neurodiversity