Tag: Consulting

Yearning for Learning…

We all have those points we reach where we re-evaluate where we are and what we want. I honestly think that it’s part of the process by which we make sure we’re not repeating mistakes and are on the path we want to be on.

As you all know, I started my own consulting business about a year ago, and it’s been a learning experience to say the least. I’ve learned more about the business world and finance and taxes in the last year than I had in decades prior.

It occurred to me that one thing I truly love to do is learn…be it people…trees…the wind…math…okay…maybe not math much anymore, but you know what I mean? My spark is still there…in scenarios where I have to immerse myself into an environments where I have no bearing, and no experience. While I am hardly getting rich by becoming my own boss, but I am enjoying a level of freedom that I didn’t even know when I was a kid. Part of that freedom has been having the time to take on learning TONS of subject matter I didn’t have time for beforehand, and recently, I’ve even started inquiring about tuition costs for school because unfortunately, some of the world I want to know lays buried in the books and lectures of professors I normally wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

The bottom line, I miss learning, I miss that feeling where I’m entering a completely new arena and have to soak in absolutely everything. It keeps my mind from getting too bored, which unfortunately is very easy for me if I don’t have a conversation going on…or a book to read…or the internet to soak in and learn about…well…everything. Well, as I’ve learned recently, an undergraduate degree acquired online costs over $70k. Yup.

That is what I said. HOLY CHRIST ON A POGO STICK…SEVENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS…

…and that is 100% do it yourself computer based training.

Unfortunately, as I stated above, I have time – but money like that – not readily available, especially considering my health problems and trying to buy a house this year…I know it’s simply not an option at rates like that.

So here comes that spark…

I’ve been a TED subscriber for quite some time, and the messages you hear on it are incredible…there are soooooo many people out there trying to broaden our horizons and make this world a far better place, it’s pretty inspiring. So much that I’ve tried to make sure I watch at least a few TED video’s every week or two so that I know what they know, or at the very lest can draw some ideas or inspiration.

And earlier today I saw this article on free courses offered online…

TED Blog – Completely free online classes? Coursera.org now offering courses from 16 top colleges

TED.com - Ideas Worth Spreading

And after that I checked out Coursera.org and found that t wasn’t the degree I longed for…it was the education, thee information, and the opportunity to soak more of the world or turn my brain to jello trying.

I went on to find a number of other organizations that offer free education and courses. I realized that some people and organization were finally trying to improve the world, by allowing the mind to grow. In a society that puts a price on access to virtually any information, there are finally a number of organization that are trying to share that wealth instead of profiteering from it.

Again. Me. Inspired!

So where did all that take me?

I have the time, I am going to take it and learn as much as I can while I still have it. There are already more courses out there than I could finish in the next decade, and I think that within the next few years the amount of curricula available will grow exponentially.

You’re probably reading this and thinking Jeez Tony you could have just said, “I’m going back to school.”

True, I could have, but then I wouldn’t have shared all these nifty links to all these places online that provide free education.

The Khan Academy – TONS of video and stuff…LOADS…I also found these guys from TED.

OpenLearn– I haven’t tried these guys yet but they have a huge course selection.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – Open Coursework from a great Medical School. Prize material for med students!

Tufts University – More Med school offerings


Stanford University
– That’s right, Stanford has buku lectures free via iTunes!!!!

UC Berkeley – More from UC Berkeley, available via iTunes!

OpenCulture – Has a FEKTON of courses listed available online.

Education Portal – Good information regarding online coursework.

What did I find for myself? A sustainability class, some newer Philosophy classes, loads of history classes I might actually like learning from…bottom line…enough for me to really enjoy regardless of where I learn it.

πŸ˜‰

-Tony




Inspiration…

I’ve come to expect the curve balls life threw at me. Life is a challenge. Sometime the challenges are barely worth the fight, and sometimes they mean everything to you.

Faith has always been the big one for me. I put everyone on a pedestal. People are amazing and the more you show this to them sooner or later, they begin to shine. Inspiration is a big thing for everyone. We all want and need to be inspired. I think thats a big piece of faith in itself. Inspiration. Inspiration allows us to transcend, to believe, to act, and with a little foresight allows us to be better.

Sounds hokey I know. But it’s always what I look for in people. Friends & loved ones…even the people I see in a mall. When someone does good, we shouldn’t just count ourselves lucky…we should be stocking up on karma like it was a rare metal. Some people think it is that rare, but it isn’t. I think it’s all about the people we want to be and the people we look for in friends.

That same inspiration, that faith…it makes it all worth it. If you see something that needs to be done. If you see someone that needs help. Do it. Help them. Along the way that same act will be contagious, and all of a sudden it’s not one crazy blogger writing a little post…it’s a few people that go out of their way to help others in need.

As a practice THIS is how we become a better society, a better people. I’m not talking about starting a government program to help the poor. I’m talking about helping the poor, and underprivileged…hell…I am talking about helping an old lady cross the street. Do it! It’s these same acts that serve as an example to others. It’s these same acts that should permeate our society rather than the indifference and social narcissism we’re beating into our kids. We raise the bar as individuals and society will fall in step. That increased level of inspiration could revitalize our faith in each other ten times better than the occasional tear-jerker article I see on the net.

May I am just ranting here but it’s a goal right? When I started my own consulting firm I promised myself it would NOT be one of those ventures that was just there to make as much money as possible and not give something back. I made the decision that my firm would donate every bit of money it could, and in some cases I’ll be donating resources…to the maximum amount I can without jeopardizing my future. I’m hardly giving up my ambitions, I’m just saying that my company will be a part of the solution, and not part of the many many problems we see in big business today. If you shape your business model to include giving back to the community, you will figure out a way to do just that. Instead of just one person going that extra mile…it’s an entire business. I think that if everyone in the city donated 4-6 hours of their week this would truly be a society worth being a part of. There are sooo many things that donated time and resources could resolve without spending any of our precious dollars that I think we’d find ourselves living far far easier.

And it comes back to that inspiration, that faith. We all want it, it’s just insane that we all don’t simple stand up and make it a reality. It’s pretty obvious this more a journal entry than some other edgy rant, but I still have to get these out there too. I rely on inspiration. When I read or meet new people, you can bet i am wearing some seriously rose-tinted glasses, because I want them all to inspire me, even if it’s only to teach me how to clean dishes with a big fat grin on my face…I still want it.

You might have thought I was going to lean on the more spiritual end for this entry, but the truth is I’ve been having a harder and harder time with talking about it lately. I feel like differences in opinion, and the psychological blowback from some really hard experiences from way back are finally coming to roost. I haven’t set foot in a church in over a decade, and I can count the number of times in the last twenty years on one hand. The difference is I grew up knowing, but slowly learned to question those beliefs. Before I was twenty I’d learned from the worst of people and many very hard and bitter experiences lessons that changed my perspective on what the difference was between learning how to be a better person and learning how to be what society implicates we should be doing. Fare more often than not I found myself having to take a moral high ground that made me feel more and more ostracized from both friends and family alike. I’ve since learned a happy medium with friends and family…but not so much where religion is concerned. That difference between knowing and believing, that gap between inspiration and faith, it’s still kindof a mess for me.

Okay enough with the rant…ending this sappy journal entry πŸ˜‰

Gnight!

-T




Great things happen…

Maybe not how we wanted…but they do happen.

Once…

As you may have guessed from references in some of my posts, I’ve been doing odd internet jobs for people for a long long time now. I’ve been offering hosting/email services for almost eight years now, and even been helping a number of online communities stay alive even longer. Not just to help them out, but get a feel for the market and see if I could make it in a completely different and far more satisfying lifestyle. The answer is yes, it’s working. Slowly but surely, I am getting more and more savvy in an arena of IT I’ve never really considered to be my forte. Well…as it happens, tinkering around with a gazillion operating systems, reverse engineering hardware, and breaking the hell out of websites eventually leaves you with a few skills. I can build a server blindfolded, have a business set up with a virtual office, email, and a competent website in less than 4 hours. I am not bragging, I’ve done all those things in the last couple months without realizing that it might actually be something that could make me a buck or two. So it’s happening. Slowly but surely as i build my business, hopefully it will someday enable me to shrug off the 9-5 and live a little better.

Twice…

Every time a new book is published from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, I have to get my hands on an autographed copy. This became problematic, or at least I thought it would become so, when this great writer passed away.

As it happens, the author chosen to continue the legacy, Brandon Sanderson, has been releasing autographed copies of each new publication, with an imprint of Robert Jordan’s autograph on the title page, directly above Mr. Sanderson’s own mark. Waiting for me when I got home was an autographed first print copy of the latest novel in the Wheel of Time series. This = Awesome.

Three times!

As if on queue, a final great thing happened. If you’ve been here before, you might have read about some of the insane problems a friend has been going through. I read some incredibly good news today regarding all this insanity. The abusive asshole that seemed to have been getting away with murder for years and albeit terrorizing her and her kids is finally seeing some repercussions for his actions and protective orders have finally been placed protecting them from him. I am sooo glad for you and the kids Andria. Take care and know that there is always light to see by. You deserve some happiness.

Anyhow…I am done sharing until the weekend. Have a great night!

-Tony