September 15, 2012

What is in A letter grade?

Posted in Agenda-less at 5:04 PM by Andre

So I’m just here reading some Structural Design notes and I glance at twitter, only to see a quote regarding formal education. I’m just paraphrasing btw…

“The A students work for the B students, the C students run the companies and the D students dedicate the buildings.” – Paul Orfalea’s (Founder of Kinko’s) Mother

Now I don’t care if this is true or not but it did foster some thought especially as I already believe that University is a breeding ground for middle managers. I feel like I need to add this disclaimer: To all the young adults out there, I’m not saying don’t go to College. Statistically speaking you will earn a higher salary if you attend college. If you don’t have the stomach to play the odds then go with the safe choice each and every time. It’s the right thing to do.

Obviously we can’t all be the CEOs, el jefe or rather leaders, the vast majority of us must be followers right? Is that true though? That’s what people that want you to shoot for mediocrity want you to believe I think. Now, they don’t want you to shoot for mediocrity for the wrong reason, let’s get that straight. They want you to shoot for mediocrity because they themselves don’t know better. It has already been entrenched in our culture that tertiary education is not mediocrity and I agree…it’s one step above mediocrity though. Education should never end.

We should embrace all facets of educating ourselves. College students and new graduates, if you truly enjoy hearing birds whistle then by all means listen to them, study them because there could be a business opportunity there if you have a creative enough mind to see it.

Ahhh, I’ve strayed away from the first point I’d like to make, can’t we all be leaders? Of course we can, we can all be leaders and followers. We just can’t all lead in the same area, we need leaders in tree growing, fan making, toilet paper innovation, sunlight harvesting, the possibilities are endless. Just like a genius isn’t only someone who over-excels at Mathematics, so too a leader isn’t only a politician. I watch Cesc Fabregas(semi-traitor that he is) and I think he’s a genius with or without the ball at his feet. Genius just like leaders come in all shapes, hues, shoe sizes, breath-holding ability or even javelin throwing technique.

It’s really great that I state up front as to what I blog about. I really have no agenda here. That one quote led me to think about leaders and followers and soon enough I started to think about our education system and how broken it is. Why is it okay for everyone to think that Formal education is the best use of Tertiary education? Clearly our education system is broken. We shouldn’t be happy that we have the ability to mass produce middle managers that will end up working from 8 to 4 in a job where they complain about their boss to their spouse when they get home at 6. I know some people love this when they start to think of the alternative, mainly because they don’t want the extra responsibility. They prefer that when they leave their job for the day they do leave their job behind for the day. If they loved that job though, I could bet your bottom dollars they’d be thinking about it at 10pm while lying in bed getting ready to wake up to start the cycle all over again.

Education needs to be reformed and I’ve come up with an idea. It will work once we iron out the kinks and we then implement it. It won’t stop big business from making big bucks. I don’t want it to be a disruptor to the status quo but I do want it to revolutionise the act of teaching a child, teenager, young adult, adult, middle-aged individual. Let me start off by listing the problems as I see them. Some of you might want to define it differently and if you do, write your own blog post.

Problem 1 : Formal education isn’t available for everyone.
Problem 2 : Informal education isn’t socially accepted as a legitimate form of education.
Problem 3 : Teaching is a job
Problem 4 : Teachers are generally underpaid.

All encompassing solution : Teaching students becomes a micro-investment.

Yup, that’s it. My work here is done. See ya’s!!!

Ha! Ok no I’m not done. I didn’t think an explanation would be the best way to get my point across so I’ll use an example to best convey my solution.

  • I start my own secondary school ( this can be extrapolated to primary or tertiary schools)
  • I only hire true A students (When I say true I do not mean the hard working idiots, I mean the passionate idiot-savant that truly cares about just that one topic) with tertiary degrees.
  • I only hire true artisans
  • I only hire true entertainers (this includes sportsmen, fighters, comedians, singers)
  • Every teacher has their own fund (a banks account where money can be sent to by anyone)
  • My school starts accepting students
  • Students are placed with any of these teachers. If a teacher sees a student that currently lacks passion they find out what the student likes to do and send them to another more appropriate teacher. If a child wants to do nothing then we watch what they do in that nothing time unless it’s sleep.

Students won’t want to play football all the time and if they do, so be it. A student that’s showing the passion in a math class might get bored after 2 hours and 16 minutes and then feel like moving to the comedy class, so be it. Teachers will be paid whatever is the standard wage at the time. However as their students move on, if they do become successful they will always remember that teacher that pushed them in the right direction. We use this to ask them to donate to their teacher’s fund. The more successful students we produce, the more the teachers make in the long run and soon enough the short term. Students should always be seen as a resource and all forms of education are the tools we use to refine this resource. When the resource matures the connection they’ve had with their teacher is what compels them to donate to their teacher’s fund. If a student doesn’t want to donate, so be it, however most successful students always remember where they came from and what was their driving force. A successful comedian will remember the improv teacher that helped them hone their craft.

The reason passionate teachers are chosen is because passionate people like to teach passionate people. They feed off it. It means that the coconut picker that’s thought of a slight alteration to their coconut picking technique will wake up at the crack of dawn to try it out and after they’ve tried it out they’ll be the first in class to show this new technique to their students and they’ll be even happier when their students exhibit the same passion in getting the technique down perfect. This might sound ludicrous to you the marketing & communications student who is reading this but not everyone was cut out to do what you’re doing.

I don’t doubt that my solution is non-unique however due to ignorance or better yet, lack of education I haven’t come across it yet. So I came up with this independently so please don’t step on my bunions.

Alright, dissect away. I’d be lucky if one person dissected my argument and presented me with some flaws and a solution to those flaws. On a large scale I don’t believe this will upset the status quo as there will still be schools and administrators running the schools. All that changes is the hiring process or a change in belief of a teacher. Teachers should be passionate in the first place. They’re guiding our most precious resource. The only other significant change would be the creation of the bank account and the mentality that has to be fostered in all students’ minds: when you’re successful, give a little back to the teacher that guided you on your way. That’s a stickler isn’t it?


January 7, 2010

Puncheon and Hard Wine?

Posted in Agenda-less tagged , , , , at 6:52 PM by Andre

This isn’t an official post but I just wanted to share this gem done by 2 of my brethren. It not done yet but it still bad actually is done, my bad.

December 7, 2009

Global Warming/Climate Change weigh in

Posted in Agenda-less tagged , , , at 3:10 PM by Andre

I’ve wanted to write my own thoughts on this for quite some time and this article although I didn’t find it extremely thought-provoking did provide an impetus for me to put my musings on my blog.

Firstly let me give my stance on the Global Warming or Climate Change agenda which henceforth I’ll refer to as GW/CC. To do that I’ll define what climate means based on the Oxford American Dictionary(it’s the default on the Mac so don’t ask me why I didn’t choose an English Dictionary):

climate |ˈklīmit|
the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period : our cold, wet climate | agricultural development is constrained by climate.

Yes our earth is warmer than it was before. Yes the climate changes. It’s changing every day. Forget the macro level of climate change they all want us to fixate on for now, let’s consider that we do have seasons(for us in the caribbean it’s the Dry and Rainy seasons) which change over months. Going on an even more micro scale we do have days that are rainy, days that are more cloudy than others and some days with just blazing hot sun. I don’t think anyone can dispute that climate change no matter on what level is an ongoing process. If our climate didn’t change I think that’s when I’d be worried.

The real issue is whether or not this climate change is man-made. This I am not so sure about. The evidence provided by the main proponents of the GW/CC agenda has been without consensus. There are many scientists that agree with it and they have been giving a very vocal voice while there are many scientists who have disagreed and well their voice is quite negligible in comparison. Anyone that tries to deny GW/CC has been labeled quite appropriately a ‘denier’. And the choice of a stronger more emotional word could not have been better. ‘Denier’ has long been attributed to the very small group of people that deny that the Holocaust happened. It’s a clever choice of word to immediately cause an association with something we know that happened. Thus any denier of any cause subconsciously becomes a skeptic or a conspiracy theorist. Now while that might be true for some groups(the birthers? and truthers?) it doesn’t necessarily apply to all groups.

The Caribbean is very right in trying to obtain certain terms under which GW/CC will be regulated at the conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Hell, I’d say it’s in all third world countries best interest to obtain the best terms possible under which GW/CC is controlled. Why? Well because it can stunt our growth. Almost everyone’s purpose in life is some sort of advancement. Third world countries don’t want to have that status forever however if GW/CC is regulated by using Carbon Credits as Mr. Gore would have us do, then it would certainly hamper our growth. A tax for your carbon emissions? Does that mean they’ll tax humans for their carbon emissions over a long period of time? What about the cows? And the plants(only at night)? Yes, I am being facetious but I’ll be quite direct when I state that Mr. Gore in my personal opinion is an absolute idiot and by him winning a Nobel Prize for ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ just makes him an idiot with a Nobel Prize.

Ad hominem arguments aside, Mr. Gore would like to create a system of trading a ‘commodity’ that would be global? This reminds me of something. Oil is traded everyday and at least for us in Trinidad, it’s a major factor in our economic growth. However when certain nations(yes you America) decided to speculate on oil trading(something that was previously forbidden but their bankers convinced their government to open up this market) we had a dramatic rise in oil prices which countries in the UAE used to fuel their economic growth and then a massive bust where some of these countries are facing bankruptcy. And now Mr. Gore wants to create another derivative market based on trading carbon credits that will only make the rich get richer and of course inevitably lead to another bust which affects not just one nation but the entire world? I don’t see how this is a good thing.

Despite the inconclusive evidence for GW/CC being man-made and the fact that Mr. Gore just wants to make him and the bankers even richer I have another reason why I don’t buy into the GW/CC agenda. All of the third world countries have been advancing at rapid paces. The BRIC(Brazil, Russia, India and China) are the emergent economies right now and as your economy advances quality of life improves overall. This means the use of cars, electricity plants, air conditioners, radiators etc. All of which don’t help the carbon emissions but improve the quality of life, at least the first world nations would say so since they are all ubiquitous there. However whatever is agreed upon in Copenhagen could entirely slow down the development of these nations.

Now I don’t care either way(should I?) about BRIC and what the quality of life should be like there but I do live in a third world nation. I want all the great technological advances that Americans and Europeans have taken for granted for a few decades. It irks me that they have ‘got theirs’ and now that we who are now catching up would like to ‘get ours’ they can come up with a way to prevent that. Saving the world is important(if you do believe it needs saving) however start with yourselves. Yes you Mr. Gore with your massive electricity bill and fleet of cars that all have the air condition on as they speed along to wherever you’d like to go, spewing the same carbon dioxide you’d have us believe is killing the earth for our future children. I just see this as another way to prevent the third world countries from advancing. Sorry. Call me a conspiracy theorist but it is in their direct advantage to do so. But why would they? Money of course. The world is controlled by money-men. They want more of it, they can’t get enough of it. Our labourers work for less. Our great minds work for less. Our natural resources(gold, diamonds, oil, aluminium, copper, labour etc) they can obtain for cheaper than if the third world country was now first world.

I have no problem if you disagree with everything I have said here. If you have any evidenceto the contrary to what I’ve been saying here then feel free to correct me. I just want to stimulate thought no matter what direction it takes, just so we can find the right solution. Ignorance is bliss. It’s extremely cliché but it’s an old adage for a reason. It’s very relevant. “Free your mind Neo!”. The only difference in this case is I don’t care if you choose the red pill or the blue pill!

Keep safe and think critically.

P.S. Shameless plug but my user-created news site (Yabil) is soon to be launched. Check it out and leave some feedback. Maybe post an article you’ve always wanted to write. The site’s aim is to provide news from around the world that’s written by a random user or amateur/professional journalists and to pay them based on the revenue their content has generated. I think I might upload what I wrote here on it, could be a nice op/ed piece heh!

P.P.S For the record I do know that Carbon Dioxide in excess can be bad for the environment. However as a greenhouse warming gas it pales in comparison to the contribution of water vapour. It can also contribute to raising the acidity level of certain bodies of water by creating carbonic acid but haven’t we been there before with the entire acid rain(Sulphur dioxide was the culprit then) movement. Haven’t heard about acid rain in a while. I guess it’s been eradicated by all those industrial corporations that have reduced their pollution levels(I’m being facetious again).

October 27, 2009

I’m back…no seriously, I am!

Posted in Agenda-less tagged , at 9:16 PM by Andre

I feel so terrible for neglecting my blog, ok no I don’t because I think I had a good reason. Right around the time that I stopped posting, I had a really great idea(in my own opinion of course) and decided to follow through wholeheartedly on it. I’ve devoted months into this project just fleshing out a business plan, getting developers, checking out the market reach, seeing what similar products are offering and incorporating the business and as the time to launch draws closer I find myself wanting to blog again.

What’s my business idea?? That’s none of your damn business and I’ll thank you if you stay out of mine(I can’t remember what movie that is from but I love saying it). Well ok, it’ll hopefully be your business a few weeks from now but till then…leave me be. Now what topic is out there that I’d like to talk about?

  • Health Care Reform?
  • Swine flu?
  • Obama’s Nobel prize?
  • Michael Jackson’s death?
  • Balloon boy?
  • Hmmmm…

    1. “I rock with Obama but I aint no politician” – Jay Z
    2. People that wear those masks and don’t have the flu are just dumb
    3. Win a Field’s Medal and I’ll be impressed Mr. President. Alfred Nobel was a hater!
    4. He inspired many a musician. R.I.P.
    5. WTF!!! How is this news?!? Send them to jail.

    Yea, I guess that’s that for now. You’ll be seeing more of me so don’t give up on me again.

    Keep safe and think critically.

    March 27, 2009

    Slick Tricks?

    Posted in Agenda-less tagged , , at 9:35 AM by Andre

    Are ladies really that slick when it comes to playing the field? Or is it that guys think they have that particular skill on lock and are too dumb to realise that women can play the field also?

    I was talking to one of my naggers(I wish I could embed that clip but either wordpress is being retunded OR I’m a retund)(apparently I can’t since it’s not a youtube video…meh) yesterday and even though this specific topic didn’t pop into the conversation, it immediately crossed my mind while he was talking about this particular chick.

    She(the chick), totally played the field and I was impressed because I never saw her capable of doing that. Interesting eh? Why didn’t I think she was capable of such a skillset usually only publicly displayed by men. And it hit me…

    She just did what we(guys) do but discretely.

    Haha! I guess that made her slick right? It also made me dumb for not seeing it coming especially as I’m a male and I know we do it waaay too many times a day. And don’t ask me “What did she do?” because that’s none of your damn business and I’ll thank you if you stay out of mine. Hmmm kind of a dumb thing for me to say especially as this is my personal blog and I am putting my business out there anyway.

    Anyway I’m trying to not go off on a tangent. So yea…if they can do stuff discretely, why don’t men do the same thing. We’d get away with so much more right? Instead for some reason all the games we play in the dark for the most part come to light and we get caught with our hands in the sweet jar(hahaha). We’re such kids. I guess that answers my title question…unless someone cares to show a different side to this. Till tomorrow peeps.

    Keep safe and think critically.

    March 26, 2009


    Posted in Agenda-less tagged , , at 2:28 PM by Andre

    My inaugural post and it’s not going to be a happy one. In keeping with my theme of having no real agenda and being extremely random(like the stuff that happens in my life) with this blog;

    I lost my wallet!

    I was pissed, annoyed and beating myself up at work. I’m actually praying it’s home. There are three things I never leave home without: my iPhone, my wallet and my keys. So now I feel completely naked.

    It’s amazing the number of little things that can just upset your entire day. And once your day starts off badly that theme continues throughout the day right? Wrong! Well at least I believe so, I hope so. If I was just more positive then it wouldn’t have affected my day to such a degree. Who knows…at least for right now I succumbed and was vexed all day.

    So what do I do now? I’m writing this as I sit in 2 hours of lovely traffic. There are too many damn cars in trinidad(see what I mean about being random??)! Seriously.

    • We need wider roads.
    • Less traffic lights on the highway
    • More turnoffs(flyovers)
    • More police policing the highways.

    Why? Driving in Trinidad is quite an experience.

    Where do I start: someone that turns on their indicator may not actually be turning and the opposite applies; drivers regularly use the shoulders for driving purposes; not obeying traffic lights is more a necessity than anything else. We get away with murder here…don’t take that literally(even though the murderers really do get away with murder, just check yesterday’s newsday frontpage). Yet I still love this country or I wouldnt be living here.

    Well that’s that for now. I’m going to pay attention to the road. As much as I’m moving no more than 100m every 30 seconds who knows what could happen driving on these roads.

    Keep safe and think critically!

    Update: (thanks Mar-see-uh for reminding me to update): I found my wallet. Yea…it was on top of my bedstand thingie. First time ever! Like the time I went to the airport and didn’t have my passport. Events I never thought would happen to ME!