Pursue your dream

One of the great things about the tech revolution is the low barrier to entry for lots of things. Used to be it would require a receptionist, stat typist, full-sized copy machine, and large bookshelf with lots of expensive books to start an accounting firm.

Now you can start a firm at a desk with equipment that fits on the desk. I know it can be done. I did it.

Same with writing, publishing, creating music, and any business that involves professional services or selling over the ‘net.

So why not pursue your dream?

Philosiblog expands that idea with If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.

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“The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”

The quote is from Helen Keller and Philosoblog discusses it in a post of the same name.

Deep down we all want our life work to make a big impact on the world. Those of us working or volunteering or donating in the nonprofit community want to change the world.

Continue reading ““The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.””

Impact of the technology revolution has barely begun

That we haven’t seen the full impact of IT is a comment I heard the first time a few years ago. That sort of made sense but didn’t really register. This blog is focused on sorting out that change. The idea that the technology revolution has barely begun finally clicked for me with a column by Matthew Yglesias – Why I’m Optimistic About Growth and Innovation.

A few industries have seen huge impact from technology. Think of book publishing, journalism, and music. Those industries have been turned upside down. I read a lot and listen to a bit of music so am quite attuned to those areas. The way everyone consumes news has been transformed. I regularly read dozens of blogs a day. They just appear on my computer screen with a mouse click or two. I’ve always been a news junkie, and my consumption has soared in the last few years.

However, as big as those industries are, they are a small part of the total economy.

Continue reading “Impact of the technology revolution has barely begun”

How much working, success, and capital gains do we want?

“A tax on income is the price you pay for working; a tax on profits, the price you pay for success; and a tax on capital gains, the price you pay for taking risks that work out.”

That is Steve Forbes’ great one-sentence explanation of taxes in Forbes magazine. When you tax something you get less of it. Here’s a few questions:

Continue reading “How much working, success, and capital gains do we want?”

Before you think about suing a blogger…

….you might want to read this:

Libel in the Blogosphere: Some Preliminary Thoughts by Glenn Reynolds. It’s a free download. Only 14 pages long.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Although the paper was written in 2006, it is remarkably current.

Full disclosure time. Yes, I have a biased and vested interest in the idea of not suing bloggers. Take my comment with whatever size grain of salt you wish.

The biggest issue to consider is the pushback you may receive from the rest of the blogosphere if you even threaten a blogger.

A few minor points are that most bloggers don’t have enough of a deep pocket to make litigation worthwhile and you can probably get a near instantaneous correction with a polite request.

Back to the major issue.

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Is this really wise? We feed our cars almost as much grain as we feed our livestock.

We are diverting increasing amounts of corn into ethanol which goes into our gasoline. That is driving up grain prices. That in turn is driving up food prices here in the U.S. and around the world.

And that at a time when our domestic oil production is going through the roof.

Carpe Diem reminds us of two older articles in More on the lunacy of turning corn into demon ethanol.

The first is from Slate, in July 2012 – Food as Fuel. The second is from far left economist Paul Krugman from April 2008 – Grains Gone Wild.

In the Carpe Diem post, Prof. Perry says that anytime you have Paul Krugman agreeing with fifteen named sources (including commentators from both left and right) that ethanol is a lousy policy …

… you know that ethanol has to be one of the most misguided public policies in U.S. history.

Continue reading “Is this really wise? We feed our cars almost as much grain as we feed our livestock.”

Price of admission to the American frontier was steep – part 2

The Homestead Act, signed into law 150 years ago in May 1862, opened up the American frontier.

This was the deal:  Claim 160 acres of land, farm it for five years and then the government gave you title for no charge.

Does that mean it was free land? Not a chance.

The price of admission was extremely steep.

Continue reading “Price of admission to the American frontier was steep – part 2”

The frontier is open again – part 1

The frontier is a major part of American history. It is a huge factor in our identity in the U.S.

From passing of the Homestead Act in May 1962 in the middle of the American Civil War until around the turn-of-the-century, the frontier was wide open.

What was the appeal?

New opportunities.

You could leave the crowded, rodent infested tenements of the East Coast for lands of unlimited opportunities.

Get in a covered wagon, head across the plains, stake a claim, work the land, and make as good a future for you and your family as you wanted.  Farm the land for 5 years and it’s yours.

Price for admission?

Continue reading “The frontier is open again – part 1”

Don’t project backward

Don’t ever make the mistake of projecting into the past what we know today about the result of an event. – from Prof. Gary Gallagher.

That’s a rough paraphrase of a comment by Prof. Gallagher in his course on the American Civil War from Great Courses.

That’s a powerful concept.

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Recorded lectures are a great starting point for online education

I finished listening to two series of lectures from Great Courses. This is the first time I’ve used their material. They have great stuff.

I’ve long thought that the concept of taking their recorded, college-level lectures and adding a reading list plus a test could produce a high-quality, college-level class. I’m more convinced now than before.

The courses were presented by subject experts. Even with my above average level of knowledge on these two topics, I learned a lot and was stretched intellectually.

The courses were Continue reading “Recorded lectures are a great starting point for online education”

At one of the state universities, do students pay tuition to fund instructors or the non-instructional support staff?

My central point: Merely based on cost structure, the emerging alternatives to traditional higher education have tremendous room to maneuver.  There are huge opportunities.

By way of background, there is a host of comments I want to make about education, the energy industry, publishing and space exploration. Yes, I plan to tie them all together, but haven’t allocated the time to do so. One part of that discussion will be the radical changes taking place in higher ed.  Bear with me while this posts advances those yet-to-be-introduced ideas.

Carpe Diem suggests the answer to my question in their headline title – Administrative bloat at Ohio State, where the ratio of full-time non-instructional staff to full-time faculty is more than 6-to-1.

Continue reading “At one of the state universities, do students pay tuition to fund instructors or the non-instructional support staff?”

If you don’t know something, it is so easy to look it up

Several times recently I was wondering about the meaning of a phrase in common use. Spent a couple of minutes searching the ‘net and learned.

When I get a cold call from a potential client, first thing I do is check out their website and browse the 990. Then I return the call.

It is so easy to get simple information.

That’s the whole point of the post from Seth Godin earlier this week. In his post, The curious imperative, he says: Continue reading “If you don’t know something, it is so easy to look it up”

On buying pixels by the terabyte

I followed a link from one article, to another, and to yet another site.  There I found a blogger at the site Hogewash.com with this tagline:

Never pick fight with a man who buys pixels by the terabyte.

There’s two funny things in that line that got me chuckling.

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What number did you have in mind?

The executive search committee had narrowed down the candidates for the company’s next president to four people.  The final four:  a high school algebra teacher, an attorney, an engineer, and a CPA.

The subcommittee had one final question to distinguish between the four. With everyone gathered together, they asked “What is 2 and 2?”

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