Archive for July, 2011

Idea of the Day – Books & CDs

July 19, 2011 2 comments

It’s been a while since I’ve written about an idea I have and well this one is just too good and it is like a brain itch that I have to scratch. Let’s talk about e-readers, paperbacks, CDs, and MP3 players.


I buy CDs. Yes I still buy them, sometimes it just doesn’t get any better than being able to buy a CD and have it in your collection. (My last one was an autographed CD by Michael Buble, let the judging commence.) Now when I purchase this CD, I am free to listen to is as I wish meaning, in my car, in my home, or on my computer. As such, once it is on my computer, I can transfer the music to a portable device (mp3, smart phone, etc).

I buy the CD = I’ve bought the music, of which I’ve purchased the right to listen to however I wish and on whatever I wish.


I buy a book. I have the book. It is on my shelf as a reference guide, a small trophy of achievement, and to be a part of my small library of books. If I want to read the book, I have to carry the book. If I want to read the book on my computer, well…I can’t. If I want to read the book on my mobile device, well….I can’t.

I buy the book = I’ve bought the words, the lessons, the text of which I should have the right to read however I wish and on whatever I wish.

What I’m saying is that books need to have a Napster moment. E-Books/Readers are great but I have a few free e-books and I want desperately to just print them out and read them. I have a few books I want to read on my upcoming vacation but honestly, I don’t want to add the 6 pounds to my luggage by carrying the physical book.

The idea

You buy a book. Each book has an ID that allows you to download the book to be readable on a Kindle, iPad, smart phone, any device. This will increase the cost of books but I don’t particularly care. Books are still pricier than they should be with some getting as high as $24.95 or $30 for 300 pages. If iTunes allows me to buy a song for $0.99, I should be able to buy a chapter of a book for $0.99 or cheaper.

Different approach. Each book has a built in receiver of some sort or perhaps a unique UPC code, QR code, what have you. Your e-reader/smart device scans the code and you have the book electronically for a week on your device. If you need it more than a week, you have to re-scan that same unique code to refresh it. The unique code keeps people from running into a bookstore/library and scanning all the books and hoping to steal them.

Seems feasible but this is just a daydream. I’m sure someone out there will tell me it’s impossible whhich may be true, until it happens.

That’s my idea for the day. Thanks for reading the ramble 🙂

Rock on,


Categories: Ideas

Run Your Own Race At Your Own Pace

This was originally posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 at 9:15 am on 

I ran a half-marathon recently and (as most things in my life) I found a way to relate it to my higher education career. Alison Black, Assistant Dean of Student Life at Olin College, is a marathon runner with the goal to run a marathon in every state. According to friends, she is currently at 13 states checked off the list. (Do they even run marathons in Alaska??) In any case, it was Alison’s advice that stuck with me post-race, “Run your own race at your own pace.” It’s Orientation season so let’s take it there.

During my graduate assistantship and first professional position, I was able to transform an orientation program with a very large budget and an amazing talent pool of legacy orientation leaders. I say “legacy” orientation leaders because this particular pool had four very strong candidates that all had something in common. They all referred to their orientation leader, who happened to be the same student for all four. I’ve never heard of such a thing. One here or there sure but four from the same orientation leader?! It was incredible.

During this time I was able to reallocate monies to new initiatives, cancel speakers whom have been attending the orientation for years, and also add new positions (logistics chair, parent orientation leader chair, parent orientation leaders). It was an incredible transition that was successful beyond my wildest expectations. It led to presenting at NASPA 2009 in Seattle and NODAC 2008 in Boston about how to take an orientation/first-year program to the next level.

Now as I dig into the orientation program at my current institution, I have another group of very talented, aspiring, and established student leaders but I do not have a very large budget. In fact, as a matter of comparison, the budget for student give-a-ways at my former institution is the same size as my entire training, program supplies, and miscellaneous-last-minute needs. Smaller school, different location, different philosophy. Now enter that quote I mentioned before, “Run your own race at your own pace.”

If I tried to run the half-marathon like those around me (some finishing in around 90 minutes) I would have passed out by 7-mile mark. Instead I ran “my race” at “my pace” and, in my assessment, my goals were met with great satisfaction. If I try to program and plan my current institution’s orientation like I did the orientation I planned in my first professional position, we wouldn’t have had a budget by the end of April.

My point is this, as professionals we work all over the country for all sorts of institutions and go to conferences attending sessions where institutions show off their proudest programs and best practices.  They are running their race at their pace. Whether that race is orientation, RA training, campus programming, community service programs, or whatever your area responsibility is. You need to remember one thing, “Run your own race at your own pace.”

Categories: Ideas