New Joelx.com Upgrade

I have decided to simplify my blog greatly. I have moved blog.joelx.com directly onto joelx.com and moved the old seo / web design site to http://seo.joelx.com/. Still working to get the proper 301 redirects in place with Aman. I also changed to a super simple theme that is pretty minimalist and also activated AMP for mobile pages.

Education system

​Why do we stick with the technology of two hundred years ago in education? Back then, our cutting edge technologies were the printing press manufacturing expensive textbooks and other human beings repeating themselves over and over again to small groups of students.

Why do we still have millions of teachers and billions upon billions of dollars in textbooks and other physical infrastructure?

I suggest we try a new idea.

My idea is that there should be an online education platform for teaching that has teachers create and submit the very best lessons for each small topic they can. For example, each student might attend four lessons per day, and each of these lessons would receive thousands of submissions from teachers trying to create the very best one. You could use a sitting algorithm based on quiz results to identify the best lessons. Teachers would be paid for each time their lessons were used, so they would have enormous incentive to build amazing lessons. Once a lesson has been recorded once by the very best teacher for that topic in the very best way, it could be reused millions of times into the future.

Imagine being a third grader in ten years under this system. Every single lesson you have each day would be a world class lesson. Imagine how much faster you would learn and how much better your education would stick with you.

The best part of this system is that poor, inner city, underprivileged kids would get the same world class education that the richest kids received.

Perhaps there are some kids who can’t learn on computers (though if you look at video game statistics that percentage is probably far smaller than teachers unions would like you to think). For those kids – maybe 5 or 10%, we could keep traditional schools and universities open. Otherwise, we could allow kids to learn from anywhere for free… all the way from kindergarten through doctoral degrees.

We could even allow for kids of different learning styles to get different lessons specially tailored to that learning style. Kids could watch videos, play interactive learning games, read materials, look at pictures, or use a wide variety of other learning mediums.

Kids could pace the work however they wished. Smart advanced kids could rocket through and learn calculus in sixth grade. Kids who struggle could keep taking basic lessons until they really understood the subject. Smart kids would not be bored and slow kids would not be left behind.

Kids could go on vacation and continue their learning from Hawaii or India or Europe. Poor kids in Thailand could receive the same amazing education as the son of a New York billionaire.

The best teachers could really focus on perfecting just one lesson and could become millionaires just by being the very best at teaching one days class.

Learning would be far more efficient and kids would be free to pursue other things with the time they saved. 

What do you think?

Ground Fall

I have been climbing for six years now and yesterday had my first incident where I was on belay and my climber had a groundfall after clipping one bolt. Fortunately, we were indoors at Cliffs of Id and had thick padding so he was uninjured other than a rope burn. It was embarrassing and I felt really bad though… that should never happen when I am belaying.

What happened? Matt and Max and I were playing a game of trying to finish a climb using the least holds possible. Matt was the climber and I was belaying him. He did an impressive dyno to start the lead, clipped the first bolt, and went for the next highest hold he could reach.  He got up about a little past waist height with the second bolt. I should have said something, but Max called it out first to him. Matt started to downclimb a little bit, pulled on the rope to clip, then changed his mind. I pulled back in the slack when suddenly Matt slipped and fell. I didn’t expect the fall but still tried to sit down to remove slack but it wasn’t enough and Matt hit the ground from maybe ten feet up.

What lessons did I learn / relearn?

  • Allow absolutely minimum slack between the first and second bolt until that second bolt is clipped
  • While I usually need to jump to give my climber a soft catch, I need to back away faster and sit faster on falls on the first bolt
  • Don’t allow distractions to keep me from stopping my climber from making unsafe moves. Its easy for the climber to miss a bolt or get the rope around his heel or something or backclip and the belayer needs to call that out.

Thankfully, Matt wasn’t injured other than a rope burn and a sore calf. Could have been worse.

I have high expectations for my belayer when I am climbing, and need to have much higher expectations for myself. How can I expect a good belay if I don’t give one?

My Best Friend

I am very fortunate in that I have had the same best friend for my entire life – my brother Jordan. From the time we were very little we played and fought and worked together. We are only 18 months apart in age and Jordan was always only a grade under me so we were very close.

We’ve been so close that many times I take Jordan for granted. I would treat my other friends better and would sometimes not even realize that my most common playmate was Jordan. The same thing continued into adulthood in some ways; when I get frustrated at work I can treat Jordan in ways I would never treat my other work colleagues.  Fortunately, Jordan has been patient and has always seemed to understand.

I am continuing to work on my own behaviors and to constantly remind myself to treat Jordan and my family better.

I was Jordan’s best man and he was mine. I am grateful for that.

I am also especially grateful that I get to work with Jordan on building Coalition and for all the adventures we have had so far. I think we have had major accomplishments we both can be very proud of.

Working Weekends And Loving It

I work most weekends on Coalition and I love it. It’s time when I get all day uninterrupted to focus in and make improvements to the business.

This last weekend I spent 14 hours on Saturday trying to learn about websockets and get them set up on Scoretask. Unfortunately, this was a failure, but it did lead me to upgrade to the latest version (5.3) of Laravel.  Sunday I spent part of the day working on a memory leak issue from the upgrade caused by Queues (I had a cronjob running every minute to process php artisan queue:work which was unnecessary), and I spent the other part of the day building a basic todo priority list.

26 hours of work in two days and got a lot done. I enjoyed the work as it felt like I was making real progress towards my goals for the business.

I Shall Pass This Way But Once

I love this quote – “I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

I forget this sometimes. I get impatience, frustrated, or angry and then don’t treat those around me well.  I have been worked to treat people better, especially my colleagues (employees and clients). I am so focused on delivering the results promised to each that sometimes I can grind too hard and cause injury.

I will continue to work on this. I have made too many enemies already, I’d like to not make anymore and to do what I can to get along better with those who I’ve butted heads with.

Process Aging & Updating Processes

It’s amazing how quickly time goes by. The last time I updated our “Company History” document was two years ago… feels like I just updated it yesterday. We have created 390 GB and hundreds of thousands of tracking, process, and other docs on our Google Drive. Some of these have aged and need updating. I spent all day yesterday updating our primary processes we use for running the company and I still have a lot left to do. For core processes we do over and over again for clients, I am building Laravel web applications for managing these going forward so all of the data can be stored and managed in one place.

Coalition Site Redesign

I have been working for quite some time on Coalition’s own site redesign. Our current site is actually pretty solid, so to make a major improvement worth pushing live we need to really push the envelope. I am currently thinking about how we can improve the design look & feel, implement incredibly fast page load speeds, and increase our conversion rate. I think we are getting closer to where we need to be.

Bishop Rock Climbing

I went rock climbing this weekend in Bishop with the Paradiso CrossFit crew. Good to see everyone and hang out. I rode with Matt and Max, really happy was I was able to get to know them better.