Inevitable Detours: Life and the Pursuit of Happiness


flickr photo: alisdair

Hi. Welcome back.

Hopefully, the past year has been good to you and yours. In light of the recent emotional-political-economic roller coaster, I offer a toast: May there be more good days than bad days ahead, and may we learn at least a little something from both.

Yup, I haven’t worked on Strain in a year. About the time the first draft trickled to an end, I got caught up in some new research. It’s Alfie Kohn’s fault. See, I identified some crossover between my attempt to be a better, less-overwhelmed, more-understanding dad and the underlying motivations found in neuroeconomic/behavioral economic marketing. There are some striking similarities between the two approaches towards understanding behavior and influence. But that’s an ENTIRELY different blog. Let’s leave it by saying I was consumed; still am, but now that I’m out of the immersion, I’m ready to get back to a balanced post-office hours evening filled with kids, darling wife, a little Strain, and a little of the new gig.

The New Gig

While we’ve been able to get by on my income alone, it sure would be nice to have a second source of income. For a while now, J’s been talking about going back to teaching. She loves teaching and helping students, but the idea of returning to a school setting was less than motivational: classroom management, school politics, and hours and hours of paperwork at home.

J is passionate about teaching kids. And big on one-one-one, or individualized, instruction being a key to a student’s education and growth. We talked about her working as a tutor and kicked around some other ideas, but nothing really sang the sweet song she wanted to hear. Then it occurred to me: I write interactive tutorials, demonstrations, web seminars, speeches, you name it. I’ve written close to 600 of ’em for our clients over the last four years…(Is this beginning to sound like her elevator speech? Because if it is, and it’s good, she’ll start using it.)…why not write interactive tutorials for students?

And her little business was born. I’m part of her little team of bootstrappers.

The idea is this: the fundamentals of education are still the same: 2+2, i before e, except after c, etc. Common technological advances make available alternative (supplemental) methods of delivery. So, she’s developing a dynamic learning environment that helps students identify their individual learning style, create multidisciplinary (science, math, reading comprehension) lessons, and adapts the content delivery to the student’s learning style. The dynamic environment monitors the student’s progress and adapts to their skill level, while providing a setting that encourages students to take chances without the fear of failure or embarrassment of being ‘wrong’ in front of their peers. (Notice a subtle crossover with neuroeconomics/behavioral economics? I certainly did.)

J leads the enormous task of developing the curriculum, I’m the typing monkey, and we’ll gather together her team of smart designers, animators, and developers to help us build the thing.

We’re working nights and weekends. It’s exhausting and exciting, and we’re flying by the seats of our pants. We’ve been having a wonderful time working together. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

So, I’m starting this new phase of the book nice and clean. We’ll talk about that next time.


One Response to “Inevitable Detours: Life and the Pursuit of Happiness”

  1. I’m in the money - unclaimed funds! « Tap Says:

    […] handy if the amount coming was in the thousands of dollars. That would go a long way with our New Gig bootstrapping […]

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