Chris Hardie

Blog, Tech, Business and Community Building

education

March 16, 2014

Educational attainment in Wayne County, Indiana

An article in today's Palladium-Item quotes the U.S. Census Bureau statistic that "7.9 percent of Wayne County residents have a four-year college degree. The state average is 14.6 percent." I haven't been able to find the data that supports those statements. According to the Census Bureau's 2012 American Community Survey 1-year Estimates, the numbers are a […]

March 14, 2014

How I learned to run a business

Meeting RoomContinuing in the theme of last week's post on how I became a computer geek, I thought I'd also share some thoughts on how I learned to run a business.

I get asked now and then what path led me to the world of business ownership/management, and I think the short answer is that I've always just learned what I needed to know to support my other interests and passions, and in one particular long-running case, that meant learning the world of business. I've never set out to run a business for the sake of running a business, and I don't have any formal educational training in that skill set.

I'm not sure that my story should be any kind of model for others; I don't claim that I've always learned to run a business well, and I'm sure that there are many things I could and should have done better over the years. But by at least a few traditional measures of my company Summersault's performance from 1997-2013 - profitability, financial stability and customer satisfaction - I think I can claim some success along the way.

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December 22, 2012

Preventing war, preparing for war

Civil War Reenactment - School ChildrenOne of the benefits of education is that it can provide people with the tools, perspective and knowledge they can use to meet their needs without resorting to intimidation, theft or violence.

In school buildings and on college campuses, we learn about our history, how the world works and how to coexist with each others` diverse ideas, experiences and backgrounds so that we don't have to use threats, force and domination to maintain a life together.

Some are saying that the educational experience now needs to be conducted against the backdrop of a heavily armed security presence. Moving past just having metal detectors and "zero tolerance" policies, that our children should wear bullet-proof vests in classrooms and that educators should be trained to take down intruders with deadly force.

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March 11, 2012

Learning to improvise

Seaport VillageIn December I received the great gift of a 7-week beginner improv acting class, which I've just completed this past week.  I'd apparently remarked casually several times in front of Kelly that it might be fun to take an acting class some day, and knowing me as she does around experiences that might be outside my comfort zone, she took matters into her own hands to see that it might actually happen instead of just being talked about.

And outside my comfort zone it was, but also incredibly enjoyable.

The instructor Kevin (a professional actor and playwright in his own regard) has a background that includes the Second City improv comedy theater in Chicago, and so he made heavy use of Viola Spolin's techniques for teaching improv.  There were lots of exercises and games designed to train us how to create an environment with only our bodies and maybe the occasional folding chair, how to show a character's age, social status, mood, origin, destination and other qualities by showing instead of telling, and how to build simple objects or circumstances into a full-fledged scene.  We didn't really start using dialog until the last few classes; building the foundation of movement and environment had to come first.

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January 2, 2011

Teachable moments in textbook errors

Educators in Virginia are wondering what to do with the thousands of copies of an error-ridden history textbook that the school districts there have purchased:

A panel of historians has found an "appalling" number of factual errors in a new fourth-grade history textbook used in many Virginia school districts, one of the experts said...The historical inaccuracies "are appalling in number,"...the book needs more than 140 corrections.

I hope they don't throw them away.  This seems like a great opportunity to teach students in Virginia and beyond some important lessons about education (things I wish I'd been more cognizant of in the early days of my education):

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February 17, 2010

Sustainability challenges in Richmond

I recently met with a local organization involved in environmental education efforts to talk about the status of sustainability education in Richmond and Wayne County.  In preparing for that conversation, I put together a list of what I see as some of the challenges our community faces when it comes to becoming more sustainable and self-reliant: - Read More -

September 21, 2009

Upcoming speaking events

I have a few upcoming speaking events that you might be interested in: Capitalism vs. The Environment: A small business perspective on doing well AND doing good. This coming Thursday September 24th at 4 PM at Indiana University East in Whitewater Hall Room 132 the Community Room, free and open to the public, no registration […]

May 7, 2009

The role of travel in establishing expertise

008_18.JPGAt a recent training I attended, some foofaraw was made about the fact that the facilitators had come all the way from Boulder, Colorado to Indiana to share their knowledge and expertise with us.  Those facilitators in turn made some note of the fact that their knowledge and expertise was derived from their own trip to meet with others at a training in the UK, and from some other journeys that they'd taken involving significant travel.

Around the same time I noted a historical reference to a 1959 headline in the Earlhamite, "Southern religious leader visits Earlham."  It was about a then only mildly well known Martin Luther King, Jr. visiting the College and speaking at the Meetinghouse there.  Being a religious leader from the South surely had different connotations then than it does now, but I was still struck by the headline's focus on the origin and destination of the speaker, less on his message or credentials.

Ever since, I've been thinking about the role that travel plays in establishing credibility and expertise for someone when they come to speak or teach on a given topic.

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March 10, 2009

5 Business Values I Learned Via Earlham College

Today I'm sitting on a panel at Earlham College where we'll talk some about the world of business and money-making in the context of an Earlham education.  As a part of preparing for it, I was thinking about how my time at Earlham, and my relationship with the College since, has informed my experience in the business world.

Here's a list of 5 business values that I think I learned via Earlham College:

  1. You can do good and still do well. While it hasn't been as black and white as Mark and I may have thought it would be when we started Summersault, we have found that it is generally possible to make ethical decisions and still make money.  When you do make ethical decisions and still make money as a result, it tends to feel better than other approaches.
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