Lewis Croft: A Community for Business Owners

And we’re off…. after a little over a year of development and testing, Lewis Croft is now available to the public. Membership is currently free but will be changed to a yearly paid subscription in the future. So if you’re interested in joining, now is the best time.

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

Lewis Croft has been an idea for years and a project for the past 14 months. The goal it to build a community that I would want to be a part of. A community to help small business owners.

While running my own company for the past 9 years, I have been very fortunate to meet and learn from a number of other business owners. The advice and guidance from my peers has been what made my own success possible. I think every business owners should have access to this kind of community. That is why Lewis Croft was built.

I would like to thank everyone that helped in building this site. A lot of people offered their time, advice, and skill to build this site. You will find all of these people in the members area of the site and on the discussion forums. They are all great resources for anyone running or starting a business. I encourage you to reach out to them in the forums. I will be introducing many of these people in the coming months, in the form of blog posts, articles, and interviews on Lewis Croft.

Thank you again to everyone that helped build this site, and to all the new members I hope you find the same benefit from this community as I have in running my small business.

Quotes from The Soul of A Man Under Socialism

Oscar Wilde was a Irish writer in the late 1800. Writing in many different forms; plays, novels, essays, and poetry. Many of his works are now considered classics. He is also the author of one of my favorite works of fiction, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”

Recently I read one of his shorter essays, The Soul of A Man Under Socialism. Written in 1891, I found many of the quotes relevant to today.

Here are a sample of some of my favorite quotes from the essay. I highly recommend reading the entire essay to get better context. I’m leaving this quotes mostly comment free. Please leave your own interpretation of them in the comments.

On property, minimalism, and personal growth.

For the recognition of private property has really harmed individualism, and obscured it, by confusing a man with what he possesses. It has led individualism entirely estray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know.

On the past, classics, individualism, and progress.

The fact is, the public make use of the classics of a country as a means of checking the progress of Art. They degrade the classics into authorities. They use them as bludgeons for preventing the free expression of Beauty in new forms. They are always asking a writer why he does not write like somebody else, or a painter why he does not paint like somebody else, quite oblivious of the fact that if either of them did anything of the kind he would cease to be an artist. A fresh mode of Beauty is absolutely distasteful to them, and whenever it appears they get so angry, and bewildered that they always use two stupid expressions—one is that the work of art is grossly unintelligible; the other, that the work of art is grossly immoral. What they mean by these words seems to me to be this. When they say a work is grossly unintelligible, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is new; when they describe a work as grossly immoral, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is true. The former expression has reference to style; the latter to subject-matter.

On American Journalism.

We are dominated by Journalism. In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever. Fortunately in America Journalism has carried its authority to the grossest and most brutal extreme. As a natural consequence it has begun to create a spirit of revolt. People are amused by it, or disgusted by it, according to their temperaments.

On information overload. 

The fact is, that the public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.

On being present. 

For the past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.

On human nature and change.

The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. Change is the one quality we can predicate of it. The systems that fail are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development.

On selfishness, self-development, and society. One of the more philosophical quotes where Wilde talks more about why socialism is how society should be structured.

Or a man is called selfish if he lives in the manner that seems to him most suitable for the full realisation of his own personality; if, in fact, the primary aim of his life is self-development. But this is the way in which everyone should live. Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognises infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it. It is not selfish to think for oneself. A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. It is grossly selfish to require of ones neighbour that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he? If he can think, he will probably think differently. If he cannot think, it is monstrous to require thought of any kind from him.

I encourage you to read the essay for yourself, and gain some better context. Even if you don’t agree with what Wilde suggests, its always good to get another perspective. This work is available for free on archive.org.

Let me know your thoughts and favorites in the comments .

Mesh Networks in Education

I have been very interested in mesh networks recently. It’s not a brand new idea, but has received a lot of public interest lately. The software and technology has come a long way. The popularity of smartphones and tablets provide a new and more prevalent system for developing the mesh network.

Mesh networks are a natural fit for school systems. A system that is densely populated with devices all using one network in a limited area (the school). However, I haven’t seen many examples of a mesh network being used, and would be curious to see it deployed.

A mesh network is a network topology in which each node relays data for the network. All mesh nodes cooperate in the distribution of data in the network.

For many school, that are relying on aging hardware and infrastructure to support growing use, mesh networks provide some relief from the network stress by allowing devices to act as nodes. Not putting all the strain on single access points or switches.

Are there any school systems or companies working to implement this? I have seen commercial uses, but little in the K12 education sector.

The Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools

Published and distributed by Media Smarts. This is a massive resource for anyone interested in digital literacy. Educators, administrators, and parents should all have an understanding of digital literacy. As more technology is in front of our students, more work is being done outside the classroom and on the Internet. It is important for everyone to understand what that means. When you visit a website, how is data being collected? How is your data being turned into advertisements? What does anonymous mean online? What is public, what is private? What is a good password? How do you keep digital information secure? It is a new way of thinking and learning that we need to understand. Less and less of what we produce is physical. It is digital code stored on a server. 

Being Authentic with Your Writing

‘Content is King’ and Other Reasons You Shouldn’t Write Online by Hillary Weiss. If you’ve ever written something that will be read by others, this is worth reading.

The internet is a cacophony of competition imitating itself. So if you want to stand out, you have to really try.

Leave your comfort zone, and write what matters to you, not what ‘everyone’ will like.

When you focus on writing what’s really on your mind — instead of what you think you should be writing — you create more impactful pieces that will stand the test of time.

The author even has some tips for figuring out when you’re writing something honestly and how to know you’re on the right track.

Are You A Freelancer or Entrepreneur?

The Freelancer and the Entrepreneur by Seth Godin on Medium. 

A freelancer is someone that gets paid for their work. An entrepreneur is taking money to build a business bigger than themselves.

Which are you doing? If you are starting or already have a business is important to figure out what category you fall into. It greatly affects how you run and grow your business.

The Keyboard

“If the keyboard was invented today what would it look like?” 8pen

The QWERTY Keyboard has been around since 1873, and has been one of the constants in technology. Nothing seems to be as universal as a keyboard. The mouse, touch screens, hand writing recognition, and voice control have all come and yet the keyboard remains on just about every piece of technology (many smartwatches even have a keyboard). Will it ever be replaced? Progress tells me it should be replaced, history says it won’t be easy. 

Voice input has made a big resurgence as an input method. Siri, Google Now, Alexa, and Cortana have all put voice activated software on things we use everyday. Our devices are constantly listening for the next command. But it remains a novelty for most. I have yet to see anyone who interact with technology mainly by voice. Voice is a nice compliment to the keyboard at this point, but not a replacement. 

So what is next? The keyboard can’t be the height of our technical ability to interact with a computer. There is something better.

If the computer was invented today, what would it look like? Technology is a constant and rapid improvement, but it’s often contained by old standards. If the technology is too radical, it’s won’t be adopted by public use. And the keyboard must be the most comfortable way for anyone in our time to interact with technology. What will it take to leave that comfort zone?


Sources of Data Breach

Every week/day in the news there is a new attack on individuals or businesses data (emails, credit card information, social security numbers, etc…). These attacks all get categorized as cyber-attacks, but what is the actual source of the attack? Is it malware? A skilled hacker(s)? Social engineering? Outdated software? I want to know what is the actual cause of data being stolen.

Have there been any studies done on this? I have seen studies on the overall cost of a data breach, and why you should protect yourself. I have read articles listing all the different ways you can be attached. But if I wanted to put in measures to protect myself or my company, where should I put the most effort? What are the most common ways for these attacks to occur. And if I run a business, what should I be teaching my employees to look out for?