563022_10151485163896276_622480642_n

 

This is number 11 of 55 things I have learned in almost 55 years. You can find number 10 here , ten days ago, and that brings me to number 11.

“Just accept that you can’t always do everything.”

I’m very bad at taking this advice, as anyone who has ever met me can attest. Last night, Darling Daughter #3 had a world title fight in the UFC. That is mixed martial arts, which involves punching people and not actually art, as believed by a confused colleague who asked at what museum my daughter’s work could be viewed. It was viewed at the Honda Center where she won by an arm bar in the first round. I was so nervous that the fight was 24 hours ago and I am STILL nervous even though it’s over and she won, because I had nervous left over.

More people than I can count called or texted me and I did not get back to a few who I really should have gotten back to because they are good people and good friends, but I could only call so many people.

Also during the past 18 days we have had a Kickstarter campaign under way, which will (I am sure) come to a successful closure in less than three days. That has taken up a lot of time and it probably should have taken more but there was a proposal that I was writing that is really significant for our company, plus there was the fight. (I also had a book on matwork for judo and mixed martial arts released last week which I should have spent more time promoting.)

Since I am pretty certain the Kickstarter campaign will be successful, and I also have two proposals under review to complete further work on this game,  I should be working on game design and coding. Incredibly, I got a good bit done from Friday through today while stressing about my daughter, it gave me something to take my mind off of her fight. Still, I should get more done.

I have clients. Who pay me. Half of our income comes from consulting and I have had wonderfully forbearing clients over the past few weeks as all of this craziness has happened but I should be doing more to support their needs.

644611_10200656185714164_1913912609_n

 

And my beautiful grandchildren are visiting from the east coast, so I should be spending time with them. At Disneyland. With princesses. Or so I have been told approximate 246 times.

Carl Rogers called this “the tyranny of the should”, saying that we make ourselves miserable by constantly feeling bad about the things we SHOULD have done, but didn’t. Often, he says, we didn’t because it wasn’t really what we believe but what we think we are supposed to believe is best for us.

In fact, there is no way on earth I could have done all of those things because there are simply not enough hours in a week. So, I figured out what I COULD do. I could only go to my daughter’s fight on Saturday because they’d sold 15,000 tickets so they weren’t going to reschedule it for my convenience. My grandchildren were only in town a few days. I did the 106 Miles demo in Santa Monica because, again, it was only on Wednesday and no one was moving it for my convenience. Doing the demo forced us to do a quality review on the game with a fine-toothed comb, so we did make some progress there.

The database I have been working on for a client can be modified later for the game, so progress is being made.

Still, I had to face up to that I could not do everything this week. I had to put off some of the database work and put off some of the book promotion. I will have to get together with some people in the weeks to come.

If you can’t always do what everyone wants when they want it, that doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human.

Speaking of humans, as in young humans, also known as children … click on over to our Kickstarter for Spirit Lake – an awesome adventure game to teach kids math – and please back us. You’ll get a fun game and other prizes. Your children will also get smarter. What more could you ask?

 

Are meet-ups worth your time? In a word – maybe.

2013-02-20 21.22.13

It’s often said that half of the money spent on marketing is wasted but nobody knows which half. I’d say the  106 miles meet-up we attended at General Assembly in Santa Monica was worthwhile for several reasons.

1. We were doing a demo. If you have a chance to do this, jump on it. The most valuable part came before the meet-up. We think in terms of worst case scenarios so we spent days before the meet-up testing our game and found a few minor bugs we fixed. Then, we went back and made a list of changes that would make it better. Some of those we were able to implement before the demo. It’s one thing to play a game in your office or have faceless people download it from your website. It’s another to consider the possibility of it not working while you are telling someone how great it is and how stupid you will look. Big motivator.

2. Other people were doing a demo. My favorite was teachmeo that allows anyone to teach one on one over streaming video. If I wanted to tutor you in statistics or judo, I  could offer my services on their site. Check it out.

3. No doubt this had to do with the fact that we did a demo but I met more people at this meet up than others I had attended. I think many developers and other technology people are not the best at small talk, so having specific topics to address was helpful – what is your product, where do you see yourself going?

4. I gained at least one new twitter follower, Jun-Fung, who won the poster for being the first person from the meet-up to follow me.

5. I found out what General Assembly in Santa Monica does (for-profit educational space), and that interested me.

6. I made three new connections on linked in, and the first one of those, Dave Gullo, won the dreamcatcher.

 

Does this mean you should run out to a meet-up? It depends. This particular one was helpful to me because it included a critical mass of people doing interesting work. One difference from some others I have attended is that the organizers specifically asked me,

“Do you have a working demo?”

I’ve been to other meet-ups where people have an idea for a business or an app but no actual code written. A powerpoint is not a demo. Sorry, but I’m not looking for someone to give me ideas that I can then turn into a product. I have plenty of ideas. What I need is time and money to pay the bills while I work on the ideas our wonderful team has.

My suggestion based on my admittedly small, non-random sample, is to put meet-ups with demos much higher on your priority list than any other kind. Even pitches too often turn out to be someone with an idea and not much else. I’m not denigrating that. Every product started out as an idea, but for us, right now, we’re in the doing work and seeking funding phase. Also, when you go to something where people actually have products they have made, you get a much smaller proportion of people pretending to be experts. The questions they ask and the suggestions they make are more likely to be relevant and helpful.

Our new Chief Marketing Officer was not overwhelmed with the meet-up because we did not see a big spike in pledges to our Kickstarter campaign as a result. I actually did think we might see a little more benefit in that respect than we did. Don’t hold back if you want to prove me wrong! CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR COOL VIDEO AND SOME OF THE GAME DEMO THAT YOU MISSED. I also think she might be a little impatient, because the meet-up was just over 12 hours ago. We’ll find out. One thing we are good at here at The Julia Group is analyzing data. When our campaign is done, we are going to trace as much as possible all of the pledges and see how these relate to media and marketing activities. So far, we have had some very surprising results. Stay tuned.

I wrote a post recently about how social media may be overrated for marketing, but that doesn’t mean, paradoxically, that I think social media is over-rated. I think social media is often under-rated for its value as information.

For example, as part of our Kickstarter campaign, I have received a number of questions and suggestions from people, most of them very reflective and thoughtful. Some made us change our design and some made us decide we need to explain our products, company and project better. Some were just amusing.

grandfathersm1. Wouldn’t 7 Generation Games have a wider appeal (and more potential sales) if you didn’t have such an emphasis on Native Americans? 

Probably. However, our games started on the Spirit Lake Nation and half of the people working on the project are from Spirit Lake or Turtle Mountain. Our original intent was to provide an adventure game to teach kids math that would appeal to children on American Indian reservations. It was only after we had developed a prototype with promising results that we started being contacted from parents and teachers off the reservation to find out how they could get the game, too.

2. Is the game installed on your desktop or played over the web?

Both. The game is installed and played on your desktop, which speeds up the graphics much more than streaming video. However, you log in to our server, where your game state and other data – specifically on the math problems you answered and the lessons you took – are stored.

3. Won’t people hate the fact they are paying for  a license rather than getting a permanent license? Isn’t requiring internet access a turn off?

Both of these go back to question 1. The schools WANTED a system set up to be as hands off for them as possible so they had minimum work to do. Having an internet connection allows automatic updates. Because multiple students will play the game in the school computer lab, it’s not like your own personal game console where you start the game you left off. A major factor for schools and teachers is having the automated scoring of math problems and the ability to get an average of their class or school, find out if there are problems their students as a group are having. All of this is easier if all of the data go to a central point. It is also backed up automatically. All of the schools have internet, even in very remote reservation schools. There may be some that don’t but we are not working with any of them.

4. How can you have children’s confidential data on your computer? Don’t you need mad security for that?

We don’t have any confidential information. We have a username, a teacher name, age and gender. We send the school a list of usernames and the teacher assigns them. The same with individuals or social service programs. YOU know that Greybear is Samuel Jackson, Jr. but we don’t.

5. Why do you only take payments through Amazon?

That is all Kickstarter is set up to  do. We have had people give checks or cash to a friend to back us on Amazon through their account. Yes that isn’t the most convenient way, but there are a lot of other benefits to Kickstarter. They handle the payments, people come specifically to Kickstarter looking for projects to fund.

6. Why is a signed photo with Ronda one of the prizes/ why don’t you offer signed gloves or other prizes?

Kickstarter rewards have to be related to your product. Ronda was involved in helping us design the game and will be further involved modeling some of the poses for fight scenes (not too much fighting, since the game is aimed at children in grades 4-6 right now, and eventually up to grade 8). Read post 3 on our updates page for more information. Since her fight gloves, getting a seminar from Ronda and other UFC-related or MMA-related rewards have nothing to do with the game, under the Kickstarter terms of service, we can’t offer them.

7. Since you are 52% of your target with 8 days left, do you think you will make it?

Yes. According to Kickstarter, 98% of projects that get to 60% end up fully funded. We are almost to that 60%. We have an ad coming out soon on the American Horror channel on FilmOn host Hart Fisher did just out of the goodness of his heart. I just did two radio shows still to be aired plus several interviews with blogs, newspapers. In addition, according to most resources I have read, most campaigns receive a jump in pledges near the end as people who have been meaning to pledge quit putting it off. If you are one of those people, head on over to Kickstarter and pledge now. Get a license for yourself, give one to a school, get a signed photo, a cool poster or even be a character in the game.

8. Now that your game has received more widespread attention are you going to reduce the focus on Native Americans?

No.

 

Every time I see one of the websites that say

“Free Money! Millions in grant money going unclaimed!”

I want to shoot my monitor.

This is for my friend who has been a community college instructor for 30 years and has probably asked me 25 times,

How DO you get grant money? Why don’t you ever do a workshop on it?

I suspect most people who are fairly good at writing grants are too busy writing grants and then doing the work specified in those grants to do workshops. Quick background – when my children were little, my husband was sick and then died. This meant I had to work a lot to make extra money and I did a LOT of grantwriting. It was a major part of my business for years and I got many millions of dollars in funding. Most of those I wrote for other people and when the grant was submitted my job was done.  More recently, I have had the luxury of only working with people I really enjoy and on projects I really want to do.  Here, in random order, is some advice on grantwriting.

  1. Decide your objective. Your objective will determine which competitions you choose. Early on, my objective was to get grant money because the more money I brought in, the more clients I got and the more money I made. Now, my objective is usually to do specific projects, although occasionally it is to work with specific people because I think they are so awesome if their project was on relative weight of horse testicles in different breeds I’d still want to work with them.
  2. Decide on the competitions that best match your objectives. When I was a grantwriter-for-hire, I did not apply to anything where the odds were greater than 5 to 1. That is, if a competition the previous year had 75 proposals and funded 15, I would consider it. If they had 120 proposals and funded 3, I would take a pass.
  3. Take a pass on any competition that gives the anticipated number of awards as 1. I always assume those are already wired for a specific university or large non-profit / corporation. The odds are NOT in your favor.
  4. Select the competitions you want to pursue WAY ahead of time. We are submitting a grant due next week. We started on it two months before the call for proposals was released. How is that possible? Well …..
  5. Most agencies and foundations require pretty much the same thing year after year. There may be some specific changes, for example, the proposal I’m working on now, the commercialization plan used to be 10 percent of the score but now it’s 20 percent. That’s a pretty substantial change and that sort of thing does happen, but most agencies ask for 95% of what they asked for last year.
  6. Literature review. Nothing makes you look stupider than proposing something that has already been done. Even if it hasn’t been done, something related no doubt has been. If you are saying, “Nobody has done anything remotely like this before!” Unless you are creating winged monkeys from a mound of paper clips and sending them through a time machine to kill Hitler – well, you’re probably wrong. Start on the literature review now.
  7. When you think you’re done, you’re not. There are more parts than you anticipated and they will take longer. Related to that …
  8. Know the instructions in the Request for Applicants better than God knows the Bible. For example, you’ll have found that not only does it say that the project narrative can’t be over 20 pages and you are right at 20 pages. However, then you find that it also says you need 1 inch margins and you have half-inch margins. After you increase the margins you are two pages over. That sort of thing happens ALL the time.

If you liked these tips, head on over to Kickstarter, check out the game we’re looking for grant funding for this fall. We are submitting a proposal for $450,000 and getting the $20,000 on Kickstarter will increase our argument that this is a product with commercial potential. Pledge a few bucks, get a game license and maybe help out a student as well.

As I write this, our Kickstarter campaign has 119 backers at around $6,700. That’s not the significant part, though.

 

This week, I am truly humbled. We can see in the Kickstarter dashboard where the contributions come from. Well, our CMO can see, and she will call me and say

Do you know someone named  XXX? Because they pledged $250.

Invariably, I DON’T know them. They read this blog, or they follow me on twitter, or they read my other, personal blog, which is half on judo and half on my ranting like a female, Catholic version of Lewis Black. If you go to our Kickstarter page, you actually see fewer $250 and $100 pledges than we have received because most people said not to bother sending them a poster or a license, just give it to another kid on a reservation.

That isn’t what has me the most humbled, though. In some cases, she would say,

“We got several pledges of $5 or $10 or $15. They came from XXX.”

Those are the ones that made me catch my breath because I know some of the places she mentioned. They are on American Indian reservations and reserves in Canada. I even knew some of the people. I knew that $5 probably meant they stayed home this weekend instead of driving anywhere because they just pledged their gas money to support this game. A couple of people who pledged emailed, DM’ed on twitter or posted private messages to me on Facebook apologizing(!) because they had to wait until they got their paycheck, disability check, Pell grant or student loan before they could afford to pledge.

To some of those people, $10 meant a lot.

Some of the people who pledged $500 or $100 aren’t independently wealthy, either.

We are pretty sure we’re going to make our $20,000 goal, but even more than that, we are very conscious of the fact that people who don’t normally support Kickstarter projects kicked in to make this happen. In short, people have faith in us. I talked to everyone on our team this week and we are all pretty sobered by the reaction. As I said this afternoon,

“Guys, people believe in us. We need to promise not to screw this up.”

CLICK HERE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN : Spirit Lake: The Game – adventure, math, Native American culture, awesome

tree-fir lake_edgesm grandfathersm smallmural

We started this Kickstarter campaign a little over a week ago. For those of you who are considering it, here are a few things I learned

1.Kickstarter was not nearly as well-known as I expected from my non-random sample of close family and friends. Many people outside that group, when I mentioned it said, “What? What’s that?” From the Kickstarter page …

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others. How does Kickstarter work?…. Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

2. You have to pay through Amazon. This turned out to be a problem for some people I knew who either were not too computer savvy, did not have credit cards or didn’t want to give their credit card number on line. There were more people than I had expected. I know a few gave cash or checks to a friend who then backed the project.

3. You cannot back your own project. This can be difficult if people want to give you cash or checks because you cannot deposit them and then “back” it on your own account.

4. Video editing takes a LONG time and thank God that the wonderful folks at American Horrors lent us a video editing expert. No, our game doesn’t have anything to do with horror, except the fear some people have of math, they’re just friends of ours.

5. There are a lot of steps in creating a Kickstarter project even after you have created the video. You need to register on Amazon payments which requires your date of birth, last seven addresses, name of your first pet, favorite gang sign, Zodiac sign, animal of birth in the Chinese calendar and four drops of  the blood of a purebred guinea pig. (Sorry, Patti)

Patty the baby guinea pig6. Once you submit EVERYTHING it does not post immediately. It’s more like moderated comments than a blog post, although it can take a few days, particularly, like us, if you submit over  the weekend.

7. It’s a lot of work to get the word out. I spoke to a really good friend of mine four days after we launched and he didn’t know about it. I thought I had been putting it on Facebook and twitter  so frequently to the point of being annoying, but he said that he owns a business and is not on Facebook that much and not on twitter at all (even though my twitter goes to my Facebook page). So, he noted that if I hadn’t posted it in the couple hours before he logged on, he wouldn’t see it, because he just scrolls down a page or two and then logs off.

8. You cannot have rewards that are not directly produced by the project or its creator. We have a UFC fighter (Ronda Rousey, also known as darling daughter #3) on our design team – involved long before she joined the UFC. We can send a signed photo of her playing the game or in poses we copied for fight scenes in the game. (Don’t worry it’s a game for kids in grades 4 &5, the fight scenes are pretty tame.) We CANNOT send copies of her gloves from her world title fight as a reward, or send out mass copies of photos taken  to promote her fights.

So far, in about 8 days we have had 115 backers and over $6,500 in pledges for our adventure game to teach kids math.

Check it out. Pledge. Come visit us at 106 miles demo and cocktails on Wednesday, February 20th in Santa Monica

If you have any advice or lessons learned on Kickstarter yourself, please, dish in the comments below!

 

Christmas tree with presentsIn The Christmas Choir, a nun asks a Wall Street businessman volunteering at the homeless shelter what the meaning of life is. He guesses to be happy. She says,

“The meaning of life is to be useful.”

I thought of that this week when someone on twitter commented on all of the different activities I had mentioned lately.

The free rice group - this is the third time Ronda, has run a competition leading up to a fight. You go to the site, join her group and for every answer you get correct the sponsor donates 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme. To date, her fans have donated 83 MILLION grains of rice. The RondaUFC group for this fight alone is over 52,000,000. Mostly I just tweet and blog about that, ask companies that sell MMA and judo apparel to donate the prizes and then I mail them out, complaining all the while (I hate waiting in line to mail stuff).

Kickstarter campaign – we are making a game to teach math, with a MAJOR focus on students on American Indian reservations. We received $100,000 from USDA to develop a prototype under its Small Business Innovation Research program. With that, and a good chunk of our funds, we built and tested six levels, that had very promising results in raising mathematics scores. Now we are applying for an additional $450,000. A significant part of that evaluation criteria (20%) is your commercial potential. Which is why the Kickstarter campaign is important. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to tell USDA – see, it does have commercial potential. Go to Kickstarter. Pledge $35 – we’ll send you a license and give one to a student as well. If you pledge $50 we’ll throw in a signed photo of Ronda.

My book – yes, I wrote a book on matwork for judo and mixed martial arts. I doubt many people who read this blog are into matwork but if you are, it is called Winning on the Ground and you can buy it for the Kindle, Nook or Sony or other ereaders.  Here’s the Amazon link.  The paperback is out in March. Not only will it, I hope, teach some people matwork, but I told The Spoiled One to research charities for her Christian service credit hours and pick one to donate the royalties to. She picked a program for homeless youth.

I also teach judo at Gompers Middle School in south Los Angeles. I’m the evaluator for a project on the Spirit Lake Nation. I teach a doctoral course in statistics once a year.

I’m helping, a little, with the organizing of the Don’t Throw Up, Throw Down fund. Ronda is matching donations to the Didi Hirsch Clinic for outreach mental health up to $5,000 and to be sure they GET $5,000 she is doing a seminar at Glendale Fight Club in March.

When I run through all of this, usually there will be  at least one person who posts in the comments,

“Yeah, we get it, you’re great. You brag too much and …. “

and a lot more vituperation. My response is always to think, although I never respond because feeding trolls is definitely NOT useful,

“What the fuck is WRONG with you?”

No, my point is not I am great. My point is all of these activities I just mentioned have something in common – to be useful. To help feed people. To help teach people. To support programs that are doing good in the community.

That’s how the world gets better, you know. Each of those things I mentioned is not a major deal. It’s not the Gates Foundation. But it’s something. Too many people, because they can’t do something huge, don’t do anything. What most of the things I mentioned have in common is that ANYONE can help. If you are completely broke, you can go on over to the free rice site and answer some questions. If you are super-busy, you can go to the Kickstarter campaign and pledge $10 or $100, whatever. You can give to Didi Hirsch. Just put Ronda Rousey fund in one of the boxes on the form and bang, your contribution is doubled.

Or don’t do any of those things, but do SOMETHING.

Yes, I am busy all of the time, but I am busy doing things that are interesting and are useful. Otherwise, you may end up someone who has nothing better to do than write spiteful things to people they don’t know on the Internet.

There is never a day that goes by that I don’t turn to The Rocket Scientist and say,

“Don’t we have a great life?”

I think the secret to the meaning of life is this – If you’re useful, you’ll BE happy.

 

I was going to use SAS Enterprise Guide 4.3 with SAS On-Demand to do my mixed model analysis, but it did not quite work out.

First of all, if like me you are used to doing PROC GLM  where each subject is one record, you have to change your dataset to be one where each score has one record. You can do this in SAS Enterprise Guide using the Query Builder Task but I frankly find this more trouble than it’s worth. Right click on your dataset and from the drop down menu select “PROPERTIES”. This will give you the dataset name SAS has assigned to your data set. Use that name in your SET statement. The code below creates two data sets named pretest and posttest. It renames the pretest and posttest scores to the same variable “testscore”

data pretest ;
set SASUSER.QUERY_FOR_MATCHEDMATH_SAS7BDAT  ;
rename pretotal = testscore ;
testtype = “pre-test” ;
data posttest ;
set SASUSER.QUERY_FOR_MATCHEDMATH_SAS7BDAT ;
rename posttotal = testscore ;
testtype = “posttest” ;

This concatenates the two data sets to make one.
data matched ;
set pretest posttest ;
run ;

For some reason, I could not get the SAS Enterprise Guide windows to let me do the nested effect, so I finally gave up (okay, I spent about 10 minutes trying, because I was busy) and coded it like this:

proc mixed data= matched  ;
class group testtype  username ;
model testscore = group testtype group*testtype / ddfm = kr ;
repeated testtype / type = un subject= username(group) ;

This identifies three variables, group (control or experimental), testtype (pre or post) and username as categorical.

The dependent variable is testscore and I wanted to test for main effects of testtype,  group and an interaction effect of testtype and group. I requested the Kenward Rogers method of calculating the degrees of freedom.

Testtype is a repeated effect.  My subjects are identified by username and usernames are nested within groups, that is, each of the users was in either the experimental or control group.

 

Here are the results. mixedeffect

Group = the students  who played our math game or not (check it out here, it’s cool). Testtype is, obviously, pre or post, and you can see that there is a significant difference, even with the modest number of subjects in our pilot study.

Honestly, looking at how short the code really is and thinking about how much faster the SAS Web Editor is and the fact it works on the Mac as well as PC, I’m thinking it may not be worth the trouble of using Enterprise Guide. In this case it certainly wasn’t, since all I did was open the PROGRAM window and type.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The truth is, what I wanted to be talking about today was either data mining, text mining or mixed models. Those are three things I want to be doing more and would be doing more except that we have a Kickstarter campaign going on to fund the next six levels of our game that teaches math, which really is awesome < Seriously, it is .

So, even though I was feeling statistically deprived these days, I have to admit that sometimes simple statistics do give you pretty straight answers. Let’s take the test we created to see whether this game really works to improve students’ math scores. This is what we used to measure the effectiveness of the game in our pilot phase. Our original idea was to take released items from the state standards test. Turns out that North Dakota, where we piloted the game, is one of the states that never releases the items on its tests. So … we found other states that had identical standards, like, “Solve problems involving division of multi-digit numbers by one-digit numbers.”

Then we took questions released from those tests, like:

6. Valerie has 225 pennies. She divides her pennies into five equal piles. How many pennies are in each pile?

40

45

50

55

and created our test aligned to state standards. That is good for content validity – that is our test matches the content teachers were supposed to be teaching.  When we look at the percentage of each item answered correctly by grade level, we see two things.

4thgradeguess

 

First, if you look at those vertical lines, after the third, eighth and eighteenth questions, those are grade level. As I wrote about previously, this gives us some evidence for contract validity given that fourth-grade students answer most questions at the second grade level correctly, and relatively few at the fourth and fifth-grade level. (Because this was a low-performing school on other criteria, we expected many students to be below grade level.)

Notice the dashed horizontal line I added, though. That is at 25%. If students just randomly guessed, they would get 25% correct. Many of those who got those items “correct” , I would suppose just guess. This introduces random error and makes your results less reliable. Now correction of scores for guessing is not new. Frary, Cross and Lowry published an interesting article on the topic and how it affects reliability in the Journal of Experimental Education back in 1977 and there has certainly been plenty of discussion since.

Still, it would be much better to NOT have to correct. Looking at these charts was one thing that really convinced me to switch from a multiple choice to fill-in-the-blank format. Since the tests are taken on line there is no more effort to score if we use this method. Of course, that does mean we are not going  to be using the exact same items as the state tests, and, in fact, ours will be a bit harder. That’s okay, though, since we are comparing pre-test to post-test and not to any of the multiple choice tests administered for the states. Looking at these graphs was one of the factors that confirmed my decision to rewrite that part of the game using PHP and JavaScript instead of using a commercial service  - Surveymonkey.  Since we only had eight months total to write the game, pilot it in the schools and write up the analyses, we went with some pre-fabricated solutions, but now that phase is over, we are going back and revising parts of the design more to what we would like in an ideal situation. It’s really the point of a prototype.

Also interesting to me, notice how many questions are BELOW that line of 25%. Why do you think that is? Are Native American kids just bad guessers?  I know the answer to that question, but put your guesses in the comments and I’ll tell you on Friday.

 

Dr. De Mars

Logan can kiss my wrinkled, grey ass. I’m 54 years old. I don’t say I’m 54 years young or you’re only as old as you feel because some days I feel 92. I feel zero impulse to go get a facelift or any other procedure to make me look younger so I can compete with the younger crowd. I’m not competing for Miss America. For those of you, like our CMO, Maria Burns Ortiz who pointed out  that Logan’s Run itself is an old person reference -

Logan’s Run was a book (and movie) with the premise that the maximum age in society was 21 years old. At that age, one was to show up and be put to sleep, or suffer the consequences of being tracked down and painfully killed.

On twitter, @techstepper commented that many start-ups make him think of Logan’s Run. He wasn’t the first to make the connection, in fact, Quigley, a venture capitalist, says on his blog

“So, not to be an ageist, but if you’re old, you should probably be looking for career opportunities outside the startup world. By the time you’ve reached an advanced age, you are a prisoner of having the big paycheck, feeding a family and making house payments.”

Okay, Mr. Quigley, after going to USC and getting an MBA from Harvard, you ought to know that saying “not to be ageist but ….” doesn’t NOT make something ageist any more than saying,

“Not to be racist but Latinos aren’t good at statistics.”

wouldn’t make that statement not racist.

The definition of prejudice is to pre-judge someone, that is, make a judgement before knowing the facts. I was ASTOUNDED that no one took him to task for this comment, but maybe no one wanted to piss off a VC. I know budding entrepreneurs are loathe to do that, and I thought about that for about four seconds, and then I thought, “Fuck it.”

I’m 54. The Rocket Scientist is 57. I had my first child at 24 so she is now married and feeding herself. Same with the second child. And the third. We don’t have a house payment. I sold two houses in the 1990s and since then we have lived in a rent-controlled townhouse where my husband moved when he was a graduate student at UCLA. We are not prisoners of having a big pay check.

Quigley goes on to say,

“ If you can’t handle changing your lifestyle, and/or can’t handle working 2-3 years with essentially no money, then don’t work in startups.”

Actually, since The Rocket Scientist is brilliant, he managed to save up enough money and work our expenses in such a way that we could both afford to work for no money full time since we finished our SBIR Phase I award in December. We both worked full time for a lot of months over the past year. I’ve always worked 80 hour weeks so now I work 10 hours or less a week to cover the expenses that our 401k and pension funds don’t cover and then work another 70 hours on the 7 Generations game.

In the past WEEK, I’ve submitted a grant proposal to the Institute of Education Sciences small business innovation research grant competition for educational games, kicked off a Kickstarter campaign and finished the first draft of a SECOND proposal that we’ll submit for SBIR Phase II funding to USDA. While I’ve been doing that, The Rocket Scientist has been revising the beta version of the game that was played by kids in the schools this fall. We are also getting ready for a demo of our game at the 106 Miles Southern Cal edition in less than two weeks. Oh, and by the way, Black Belt magazine released a book I co-authored on winning in judo and mixed martial arts, called Winning on the Ground.

And that is what I did THIS WEEK.

This article by Business Insider cites a lot of the ageist attitudes I have seen -

“Older people have families so can’t do a start-up” – that is hilarious because they are defining 40 as “older” of course, people in their fifties may have raised their children. One unique thing in our situation is we had a child fairly late – The Spoiled One is in ninth grade – but another unique aspect is that she received a scholarship to a wonderful college prep boarding school where she is all week and some weekends (because, “I have plans, mom. With my friends, mom.”)

“When you’re young, you think anything is possible. You don’t realize how hard it is to start a business.” – Or, maybe as in my case, you know it is possible because you have DONE it. Three times now. 7 Generation Games will be our fourth venture. I’ve made a profit since 1985.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a client about a program they wanted written. I said,

It will take two weeks. I’ll send you over a contract.

They protested,

We’ve been working on this for over a month and haven’t been able to solve it. How do you know you can do it in two weeks?

I answered,

Because I’ve done it before, so I know how to solve it. Writing the program the first time took me two months. Revising it for you, around my commitments to other clients, will take two weeks.

So, yeah, Logan’s Run can bite me. Oh, and I’m Latina and I’m REALLY  good at statistics.

If you would like to support our awesome game to change the way math is taught, please go over to Kickstarter and pledge.

If you just want to rant about ageism in the comments, go right ahead.

 

 

Next Page →