Did Everybody Go?
Part I: Boredom
in the Classroom
I can’t believe
no one else is doing this!!
…Wait a minute,
I take that back. Yes I can believe it – in fact, I think
I’ve been through this before.
The year was 1999. I
had recently relocated to Athens, GA to attend the University of
Georgia’s prestigious MBA program. The world was still knee
deep in the internet gold rush and it seemed that every other course
at the time had been rewritten to account for the “new economy”.
favorite dot-bomb joke here>
Being a follower of the
Elliott Wave Principle for years, I expected this little craze to
end sooner rather than later, but it was still a fun time, especially
for students as we got to watch the professors struggle to keep
the end of the first semester, I was getting a little antsy. My
attendance was waning as I had already negotiated enough ways to
maintain my high GPA while only attending the few classes that interested
me (in other words, my law professor had no idea who I was when
I showed up for the exam).
And for some reason,
I started looking into the age old problems of the prices of textbooks.
New textbooks were expensive.
For example, you might spend $60 for a textbook that you only open
half a dozen times throughout the semester. Then, the bookstore
offers you a paltry $5 to buy it back. Three weeks later, the bookstore
sells the same book to the next student for $50 as a used book.
Oftentimes, the bookstore will buy and sell the same book half a
dozen times or more before the book is replaced.
Now, as a die-hard capitalist,
I’m not against anyone making a nice margin for their efforts.
But that was just too much. In essence, we were paying the campus
bookstore a 75-90% transaction fee to find a buyer for our textbooks.
Hey, wait a minute...There’s
this thing called Ebay where people find a worldwide market for
their old stuff. The market determined a fair price and Ebay takes
a small transaction fee – just a few percentage points. Why
wouldn’t this model work for a campus?
The model for IgnoreTheBookstore.com
was born - an online bulletin board where students could post which
books they had for sale and other students could buy them. I couldn’t
find a programmer, so I learned how to do the web development myself
(and a bulletin board was much easier than an auction site). Upon
completion, I spent hours walking around the campus, personally
handing out over 2000 business card-sized ads and posting 8 1/2
x 11 sheets letting students know about an easy way to save $200
or more a year on textbooks.
I expected to be a local
phenomenon – visions danced in my head of UGA cheerleaders
camping outside my door hoping to get a glimpse of the man, the
myth, the mogul…
second-favorite dot-bomb joke here>
Alas, it wasn’t
to be. After one semester, the idea couldn’t gain enough interest
to reach that crucial critical mass. IgnoreTheBookstore.com had
joined the thousands of other dot-com failures. I returned my focus
to school, began attending more classes, and finally graduated in
Nevertheless, I expected
someone else to take up the idea…an idea that I still believe
has a lot of untapped potential. But four years later, when I Google
“trade used textbooks”, I’m disappointed that
there still isn’t anyone who has made the idea work.
Part II: The
Resurrection of Genius By Design
I can’t believe
no one else is doing this!!
Having started this website
back in 1996, I was the primary beneficiary of Win Wenger’s
busy schedule. I had already recognized his work as one of the few
truly original and significant advancements in learning technology.
But at the time, there wasn’t much material about image streaming
available on the internet. Meanwhile, Win was sending half a dozen
or more of his writings along with every book ordered directly from
One day, I decided to
ask him if I could post a few of those free articles up on my fledgling
website. It was an easy trade. Win was able to make some of his
work available on the internet and I got to trade on his name to
make myself known to a small segment of this small industry.
But by 1998, my site
was far from the only game in town. There were quite a few websites
created in similar fashions--on creativity, on memory, on NLP. All
of them were free and all of them created by people who donated
their time and expertise for the benefit of many.
My last original work
was published in August of that year. Since then, twice I’ve
committed myself to getting the site back up to date, and twice
life distracted me.
My first distraction
was a noble one. I had reached a point in my own development
I knew I required a trainer. Books and home study courses can only
take you so far before you need someone who is considerably more
skilled than you to demonstrate, to model, and to train.
And so the time I had
previously devoted toward writing and website maintenance was
By 2001, I was ready
to give it another shot. But I was again distracted, this time by
a much more ambitious undertaking. I was asked to help bring the
technology of NLP & hypnosis into the digital video age.
I was to be an instrumental
part of building a video-driven website to accompany a series of
audio and video products that would, for the first time, clearly
illustrate and demonstrate a host of technologies that most people
don’t even know exist. I was to be part of a team that would
do to the industry what Tony Robbins did in the 1980s, only newer,
fresher, and more advanced. Genius By Design would have to wait.
But it was I who waited,
and waited, and waited. A year and a half after graduating from
UGA, the project couldn't get off the ground. I left Atlanta in early
and have now been out of the field of accelerated learning for
over a year.
Before this story starts
sounding too much like an episode of VH1’s ‘Behind The
Music’, let me get to my point.
Whether this video endeavor
would have been as successful as I was originally led to believe
is debatable. But my intentions weren’t. I was in it to make
something truly extraordinary. But perhaps my biggest miscalculation
was my assumption that time was of the essence. I believed I had
to drop everything else to make it happen because someone else was
going to do it first…and it wouldn’t be as good.
But today, when I look
around for all those other websites dedicated to the same ideals,
I can’t find them. I thought by now there would be dozens,
if not hundreds of sites that would make my site look embarrassingly
dated. Webspace keeps getting cheaper, web development tools keep
getting better, but aside from the fledgling blog phenomenon, I
don’t see the same spirit that existed before the dot-bomb.
The internet is reaching adolescence and it is boring me. I had
let my site languish for years and it is still one of the most current
And so now, after a long
sabbatical, I reappear. I'm a little older and a little wiser, but
I still have the same fire in my belly. And while the events of
the last five years may color my commentaries in some surprising
ways, I still believe in the promise of accelerated learning technology
and the role it will play in the redefining of education in the
There is a story waiting
to be told…a series of technologies that remain inaccessible
to most, not because they are difficult or unnatural, but because
so few have been able to introduce these technologies in a context
and perspective that makes sense to them.
And so the story begins.