Monday, March 31, 2008

Rich Dad Education: Learn To Be Rich - Classic Bait & Switch

My wife and I attended a free Rich Dad Education "Learn To Be Rich" sales pitch. They sold us on a seminar ($500 for both of us), listing all this real estate information and different investment techniques that would be taught. We didn't know much about real estate so the seminar was marginally beneficial to us, but in hindsight was nowhere near the $500 it cost. It was a classic bait & switch situation where they gave you just a little information and tried to sell us on software and two day seminars with real "in depth" training. The seminar packages ranged from something like $7,500 to $60,000. While all energized at the seminar, we signed up for a $15,000 package with four two-day courses -- or something close to that. Luckily, my friend, a real estate agent, talked some sense into us and we decided to take a different course in our real estate education. We were still able to cancel. Beware to all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Why Americans Don't Like Soccer

Originally posted: Saturday, June 17, 2006

Well, maybe my title was a little strong. It's not that Americans don't like soccer, it's more that we just aren't as passionate about the sport as the rest of the world. As I sit here and watch the US vs. Italy game, I am reminded as to why I quit playing the sport at a fairly young age and why I don't enjoy watching the sport more than once every four years.

First of all, watching the average soccer game is equivalent to watching golf on the boring scale ... and that's pretty bad. From my point of view, there are five keys to soccer's monotony:

  1. Off Sides - In my early days of soccer, off sides always irritated me. As a soccer-watching adult, it's even more frustrating. If a team has the speed or the confidence to move their whole team downfield, let them do it. If they're too stupid to move their whole team and get caught with someone behind them, that's their fault. Why are we slowing down a game already suffering from (all too often) snail-paced play? Hence point #2.
  2. Pace of Game - World soccer is so slow. There is too much methodical passing forward and backward and side to side. Yes the game needs strategy and yes their footwork skills are impressive, but let's get things moving. Maybe the field and/or time of play needs to be shortened to pick up the pace, but change is needed.
  3. Scoring - Increased pace and off-sides elimination would naturally correlate with an increase in scoring. And let's be honest, as much fun as it is to watch someone's foot skill with the ball, I'd rather watch someone shoot at the goal. Why make me suffer through 87 minutes of drowsiness for 3 minutes of action? If you watch soccer more than once every four years, it's probably only the highlights ... or else you have the patience of a world class angler.
  4. Actors - As I've watched World Cup competition, I've been impressed with the US's lack of acting. So many other players must have studied theater in their earlier years. I've never seen so many pansies in one place at one time. I realize that the player is trying to sell the foul to the referee, but let's get real. Get some masculinity and suck it up. I've seen 8 year olds with more fortitude.
  5. Physical Contact - I enjoy watching soccer when the referees allow a mild degree of physical contact. Players are running after the same ball at high speed and collisions are natural. Just let them play when collisions are not malicious or intentional.
  6. Number of Referees - The sport needs more than one referee on the field. American football has numerous referees and they still don't catch everything. In a sport where fast breaks are essential, more than one pair of eyes is needed to keep things legit.

College graduation, lifelong learning, and the internet

Originally posted: Sunday, March 12, 2006

The other day I was walking across campus here at Brigham Young University (BYU) and started reflecting upon my last 5 years here. Time has gone fast as I've run track & field, and earned my bachelors/masters degree in information systems. I don't think it's really hit me that I'm almost finished with my formal education (I'm not sure that it really will since I have a track meet during graduation ceremonies). Five years. Wow, that's half a decade. But what have I really learned during that time? I feel like I can tell you a lot of disjointed facts from a multitude of topics, but as for laying out my acquired knowledge in a cohesive and well thought-out manner would be difficult. Yet, I know that I've learned volumes of important and applicable knowledge. My educational reflections seem contradictive in many ways.

My last year here has been stretched out so that I could finish my sports eligibility. I've taken up a minor in Scandinavian Studies and have only participated in a couple of information systems courses. I think this wandering educational focus has added to my loss of direction and academic purpose. I feel like the times when I was learning the most and when I was sure of my academic direction was when I was being challenged, pushed to my mental limits. I did have some tough classes/semesters (like the IS core my junior year). The information systems program here encourages us to be self-motivated learners. This is where I feel I've accomplished the most and received the most satisfaction. The internet has been an incredible tool to me. With a little research (and some factual filtering) you can educate yourself about nearly anything. What an amazing tool.

I come from an agricultural area of central Washington state in the United States. Our local Public Utility District (PUD), the Grant County PUD, has installed a fiber optic network called Zipp. It brings fiber to every power meter in the county. What an amazing opportunity this is! Some outdated, incompetent, sticks-in-the-mud have criticized the costs of such a system, but little do they know. The business, technological, educational, etc. opportunities of high-speed internet are explosive. Never did I realize the role the internet would play in my life when I first experienced it in 1996 on a Netscape browser, 28.8 Kbps modem, and images disabled (to make things bearable). Never in my wildest dreams did I comprehend the doors the internet could open to areas like central Washington. I left the U.S. to spend two years in Denmark and when I got returned -- bang -- the world was forever changed by the internet.

So, even though I find it hard to come to grasps with everything that I've learned over the past 5 years, I know that I've been taught one thing -- one very important thing -- and that is to learn. I've been taught both "how" to learn and been instilled with the "desire" to learn. I guess my mother was one of the biggest influences in my life, especially in regards to this. She realized the power of knowledge and education. Besides being a wonderful mother, she was a tutor/teacher. Later she became a World Book encyclopedia saleslady (one of their best). Often, when we went to her with questions her reply would be, "go look it up," and off to the encyclopedias we went. I realized that knowledge was always out there, we just had to find where it was located, and for that I am eternally indebted to her.

It is for this reason that the internet has been so life changing. It is a place where knowledge can be collected, cataloged, and analyzed. Did my 19th century ancestors living on Danish farms ever think that such a tool would be developed? They probably had a simple hope to receive an education in arithmetic, spelling, reading, writing, etc. Wow, we have so much to be grateful for.

Well, this ends far from where I began but I guess that it how much of my thought pattern (and internet browsing) goes (thank goodness for Mozilla Firefox tabbed browsing). Hope my writing has maybe inspired you to also make a habit of lifelong learning.