Amazing Grace. How Sweet The Sound.
Jun 28 2015

What a historic week it’s been here in the United States of America!  Whether you agree or don’t agree on the rulings, the research, the findings, the laws, and/or the songs sung, I think we can all agree that it was historic.  Check out Fred Wilson’s post called What A Week for a better write-up than I have time to create about the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) rulings on the Affordable Health Care Act, Marriage Equality, and President Obama singing Amazing Grace at Clementa Pinckney‘s funeral.

Here’s an interesting article on businesses reactions to the marriage equality ruling: These 35 Companies Just Told America Exactly What They Think About the SCOTUS Marriage Ruling

My absolute favorite hymn is Amazing Grace.  I sing it to my kids often.  To hear President Obama unexpectedly sing it with a voice less than the almost perfect ones we typically hear on mass media, reminded me how vulnerable and human (not perfect) we all are.  We all deserve and should offer grace and forgiveness to others.  I think it took courage for him to sing that wonderful hymn (video link embedded below) for so many reasons.

Here’s to experiencing more amazing grace for our country and the world…

Author: | Filed under: FYI, Just For Fun, singing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

How and Why a School was Born
Jun 6 2015

LatinoMag-How and Why a School was BornI was recently given the opportunity to write my story about the founding of The Magellan International School for Latino Magazine.  Here’s the link to the article on our school site: How and Why a School was Born.  It’s been an amazing experience to be involved in the ground floor of starting such a phenomenal school!

I have not been involved in the day to day activities or in many of the big achievements since it’s founding because I chose to take more of a behind the scenes role.  I gave birth (and have the illustrative scars) to the kids who inspired it’s creation, so I think that counts for something. 😀

I decided to take care of myself and our kids while my ex husband and others did much of the heavy lifting to get us where we are today.  The kids seem reasonably well adjusted despite the chaos, and they have benefited greatly from being able to attend MIS!  I guess we will know if they turned out alright, if they are sane in their 30’s.

It has been a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve been busy having a lot of fun as well as re-learning lessons that I should have learned the first time!  Lesson learning is tricky because each time the situation seems to have slightly different variables and people involved so you unwittingly let your guard down thinking you should give the people involved and the scenario the benefit of the doubt.  But then boom, you get a little blindsided. In hindsight it is much easier to spot the red herring. [insert red herring emoji]  However, the recovery time is faster, you see the signs earlier which means you don’t put your guard down as much, your good friends become greater friends, the experience makes you stronger, there’s a lot of red wine involved, and you (well me) gets just a bit wiser.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, FYI, parent stories, parenting, success story | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Entrepreneurial Traits and Multi-tasking
Jan 15 2015

Happy New Year!  I thought I’d get a new post out before the 15th of January, but here we are half way through the first month of 2015!

My boss shared this link: The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs (Tenacity, Passion, Tolerance of Ambiguity, Vision, Self-belief, Flexibility, and Rule-breaking) with our team a while back.  I was surprised that they said most entrepreneurs weren’t neurotic.  I’ve met more than a few neurotic entrepreneurs and have felt like one myself at times…maybe they define it differently than I have seen others exhibit it.

There are so many moving parts to a new business that I think it helps to be able to multitask, but sometimes it hurts a business too.  A friend sent me the article below about the Supertasker test that helps you figure out if you are one of the 2% of the people in the world who can actually multitask vs. ineffectively task switch.  It made me wonder who those supertaskers were and if they could do the same thing they were able to do with two kids in the back seat asking you every 5 minutes to look at something, change the radio station, or telling their sibling to quit making some noise or the other. :-)  Check out these articles:

Only 2% of People Can Multitask Successfully [INFOGRAPHIC] – Mashable

Take The ‘Supertasker’ Test To See If You’re A Genius – lifehacker

Is Your Brain Multitasking – Psychology Today

How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking – Harvard Business Review

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Crossing the Corpus Callosum – Music & Analytics
Dec 27 2014

Entrepreneurs can be a little conflicted at times.  Some of us are very analytical and logical.  Some are very creative (artistic, musical, etc.) and conceptual.  Some are both. For those of us who cross the corpus callosum often, it can cause some interesting right brain/left brain integration challenges and short circuits.  I know this from personal existential experiences…we can sometimes be misunderstood.  We know how to use a spreadsheet, but all of our ideas and feelings can’t always be confined to a logical process of deduction.  Maybe it’s like wearing bi- or tri-focals when the switch happens…seconds or sometimes hours or days of disorientation?

Back in March 2014, I put two Songs In The Wild and although I’m light years away from being rich off of them, the experience and the journey of creation were huge learning experiences for me.  I think creating music is an entrepreneurial endeavor fraught with danger, risk, fear of rejection, as well as a low chance of a big or any payback.

My kids created iMovie videos of my two songs in the wild: Save Me From Myself (YouTube) and Soul Escape (YouTube) a month or so ago and I’m finally finding the time to blog about them.  They did a great job under a lot of pressure, with very little direction from me on a very low budget.  I gave them an extension on their mini-contract because we wanted to use photos from our recent trip to Sri Lanka. We had some breakdowns in negotiations and delayed deliverables (mostly due to my lack of proper oversight of the process), and I had to tell them that whining, crying, and feigning ignorance doesn’t help when you are trying to finalize a deal. :-) A good life lesson!

The videos will hopefully make you smile and laugh at the sometimes random, funny images they chose for the songs. I love them and I love that they and their friends have told me (they could have been lying to protect mom’s fragile ego) they liked the songs.  A couple of my son’s friends even purchased them on iTunes!  Please watch the videos and let me know what you think.  They are embedded below and are on YouTube.  Thank you in advance for taking the time to watch and listen to them!  Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MetaphorMania

Co-written by Aruni S. Gunasegaram (lyrics & singing) and Brett Jason Wintermeyer (musical arrangement). Produced, arranged, & recorded by Ron Wikso. Chris Tondre (Guitars and Bass), Derek Morris (Keyboards), Chad and Natasha Hudson (Background Vocals), Ron Wikso (Drums).  Album cover designs by Marla Shane .

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun, music | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

Happy Boxing Day – 2014
Dec 26 2014

I wonder why we don’t celebrate Boxing Day (aka St. Stephen’s Day) here in the US?  It seems like a mighty fine holiday to me!  The weeks leading up to the holidays seemed extra busy this year, so I had to take “holiday card” off the list of things to do this year.

In lieu of a festive blog post, here are some interesting reads:

Women at Work: A Guide for Men – The Wall Street Journal – This is a very good article about women in business!

Time’s Up for ‘Timeout’ – The Atlantic
A progressive group of neurology researchers wants to redefine “discipline.” Decisions about parenting affect not only children’s minds, but those of adults as well.

The meritocracy trap – Seth Godin

A Meditation on the Art of Not Trying – The Wall Street Journal

Finding the Right Metaphor for Your Presentation – Harvard Business Review

The stories we tell ourselves – Seth Godin

The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs – Entreprenuer.com

How to Improve Your Business Writing – Harvard Business Review

A Mark of a Loving Person Is Courtesy – The 5 Love Languages Blog

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Transitions are Constant
Nov 24 2014

Change is constant. We are always transitioning from one thing to another and/or from one stage of life to another.  I find that when those transition times happen for me, they tend to be good times to sort through and organize stuff I rarely make time to organize.  My home office is just a little more organized as of yesterday.  I’ve shoved things out of view into closets, file cabinets, and drawers which makes me feel better and helps create space to process the transition.

I’ve also been cleaning out my email inbox, and I found some articles I’ve been meaning to post about:

Thirty years of projects – Seth Godin.  He writes about his numerous projects and career transitions.  It was strangely comforting to see all the different things he’s attempted over the years and their different outcomes.

The Creativity Myth – Kevin Ashton. Mozart did not create his music by magic or overnight.  Creativity takes time.

Cassandra and Pollyanna – Seth Godin. “Things don’t usually explode. They melt.”

Nobody Knows What the Hell They Are Doing – Oliver Burkeman. “The genuinely untalented, meanwhile, probably have no idea that they’re no good—because they’re too untalented to realize it.”  And “If you’re worried you don’t measure up, that could well be a sign that you do.”

“If you’re interested in building a business to make money, forget it. You won’t. If you’re interested in building a business to make a contribution to society, then let’s talk.” – Arthur Rock

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Read ‘Em, Weep, and Laugh
Oct 13 2014

Below are some really great, entertaining, and thought provoking posts & articles.  Please check them out and let me know what you think.

Good at math (Seth Godin) – This post arrived in my in box after my 9 year old daughter told me she wasn’t good at math.  I told her she was too young to make that decision.  I told her that only after she has taken Calculus that she could she tell me she didn’t like math or it wasn’t her best subject.  She then asked me what Calculus was and she, her brother and I laughed out loud at that silliness. :-)

Reconceptualizing Your Career  and Rethinking Career Management (Scott Uhrig) – Who hasn’t wondered what the heck is going on with their career?

People don’t resist change. They resist being changed. (gapingvoid) – A perfect cartoon to describe how people react to change.

Get Lucky (Fred Wilson) – Fred appears to be one of the luckiest people I know.  A famous VC and blogger, great family, good health, etc.  He links to an article Richard Wiseman wrote on lucky and unlucky people.  He said the money quote was “My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

“How do I get rid of the fear?” (Seth Godin) – No, the right question is, “How do I dance with the fear?”

The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People  (Cloe Madanes) – An entertaining read about honing your misery skills.

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InnoTech Women in Tech Summit – October 15, 2015
Oct 12 2014

I was fortunate enough to be invited to be one of the coaches at this year’s InnoTech Women in Tech Summit event.  InnoTech Austin, presented by Presidio, returns to the Austin Convention Center on October 15, 2014. The 11th annual event will include all new topics and speakers for a fresh and exciting conference.

I have not had the opportunity to attend InnoTech in the past. I’m looking forward to the experience and to networking with a bunch of new and interesting people.  For those of you in Austin, I look forward to seeing you there!

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How do You do Your Homework?!
Aug 20 2014

The cutting edge education technology company (Querium), where I run client services and operations, has submitted a a Future 15 session idea for our CEO, Kent Fuka.  Here’s an overview:

Ask any math instructor and they’ll tell you that while it’s nice to see a student’s answers to homework and test questions, what they really want to see is how the student got that answer. In this session we will demonstrate expert system technology that provides step-by-step tutoring assistance in a virtual, one-to-one experience. The system has students “show their work” by supporting handwritten work on tablets and reports on that work to instructors to provide insight into student thinking.

For a summary video of this the concept behind the session, check this out: http://vimeo.com/99060342

To VOTE, go here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/38969 (Thank you!!)

You will learn about:

  • The future of online math problem solving to help you, your kids, your students, and/or your teachers increase success in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects!  Will multiple choice questions in math related topics be a thing of the past?!
  • Cutting edge, A.I.-based software that evaluates student problem solving step by step.
  • Translation of student problem-solving data into actionable insight for instructors.

Thanks in advance for your vote and for sharing the link.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Here’s an overview of Querium:

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Trip of a Lifetime – Sri Lanka
Aug 18 2014

elephants - SLYes, the elephants did strike back!  The trip was amazing and despite me thinking I might have time to type up some blog posts on the plane, sleep, kids, and other distractions (free movies) got in the way.

I think we took close to 900 photos in the many cities and tourist sites that we went to on the island.  The kid’s impressed me with their ability to tolerate the long travel and long days with different eating schedules.  I guess that means it was the perfect age for them to go!

Last Friday I hosted a slideshow for the folks where I work (Querium).  Lots of people showed up in person and virtually (via http://join.me).  They said they enjoyed it and didn’t confess to being bored. :-)  My boss was able to “mirror” my iPhone on his Mac and hook it to a projector so I could flip through the photos for everyone to see.  It was pretty cool!

Now I have tons of new photos to use in my TBD future blog posts and for my kids to use in finally finishing up the YouTube videos of my two songs!

 

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Elephants Strike Back
Jul 27 2014

IMG_0635[1]

Phone booths in Dubai

The title of this post comes from my son with affirmation from my daughter.  We are on a journey back to my homeland and plan to see and ride an elephant or two.  As usual, life has been busy and all the blog post ideas that fleet across my mind, never end up making it into a proper post.  I’m hoping that while we are on  numerous airplanes and airports that I will have a few moments to write up some posts to share after we return.

I’m writing this post from the Dubai airport in a lounge that has WiFi included.  Thank goodness for WiFi and modern technology!

We are on our way to my birthplace: Sri Lanka.  I’m such an American now (and I never knew the language) that they will view us as tourists.  It’s been 19 years since I’ve been there and that was when my grandfather passed away.  I still miss him to this day!  He was such a brilliant, unique, and funny individual whose humanity I only came to know about and understand as I got older and after he was gone so I never had the opportunity to talk with him about so many things I wanted to.

This is the first time my kids have traveled this far away from their home and so far they have been amazing travelers!

One of my next posts should include a photo of an elephant.  The photo in this post is of a high tech phone booth in the very modern looking airport in Dubai.

Author: | Filed under: FYI, holiday, Just For Fun, travel | Tags: , | 4 Comments »

Magellan International School’s Entry for the Gigabot 3D Printer Giveaway. Happy Father’s Day!
Jun 15 2014

Printing CapabilitiesMy son’s 6th grade class at the Magellan International School, that was founded 5 years ago, is attempting to win a 3D Printer in the The Great Big Gigabot Giveaway!  Their video entry is on Vimeo here:  http://vimeo.com/97991510.  I was trying to find a way to embed the video, but it doesn’t work like YouTube so I included a photo of one of their 3D printers instead.

Please watch the video to learn how they plan to use the 3D printer to design and create toys for children at an area hospitals or shelters as part of their community service endeavors.  Then please go to to younoodle.com/podium/jr/great_big_gigabot_giveaway_judging/public_voting#0 to create an account and vote for their entry to win. Their video is in the bottom row on the left.  The decision is based 40% on popular vote, so please vote and share this post with your friends.  Thank you!

Oh, and Happy Father’s Day to all you wonderful fathers out there!  You know who you are. :-)

Author: | Filed under: charities, father, Father's Day, FYI, Just For Fun | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Magellan International School’s Entry for the Gigabot 3D Printer Giveaway. Happy Father’s Day!

Songs In The Wild
Jun 3 2014

Save Me From MyselfI finally faced a big fear of putting my “art” out there for the world to judge, hate, like, love, or be indifferent about.  It’s been a multi-year endeavor, and I published them online via DistroKid back in March 2014.  Getting them on the sites below was the easiest part of this whole endeavor and apparently I’ve made $10.50 on them in March and April!  There’s a two month lag in reporting sales via DistroKid.  I wasn’t sure I’d even get $5, so I’m excited about the extra $5.50 that I can use to buy lottery tickets!

I didn’t create the songs for money.  I created them to stay partially sane during a very strange and eye opening period in my life, and I wanted to see if I could actually go from nothing to something consumable (darn entrepreneurial genes) in the world of music.  From what I hear in the music business, if I recoup my investment in a decade, I’ll be lucky.  To me the pay back is my kids humming my songs as well as some of their classmates telling me they downloaded them because they liked them…priceless!

Here’s the sparse facebook page for what I call this haphazard musical endeavor: Metaphor Mania. You can find the songs here:

iTunes:
Save Me From Myself
Soul Escape

Amazon:
Save Me From Myself
Soul Escape

Spotify:
Soul Escape
Save Me From Myself

SoulEscapeCo-written by Aruni S. Gunasegaram (lyrics & singing) and Brett Jason Wintermeyer (musical arrangement). Produced, arranged, & recorded by Ron Wikso. Chris Tondre (Guitars and Bass), Derek Morris (Keyboards), Chad and Natasha Hudson (Background Vocals), Ron Wikso (Drums).  Album cover designs by Marla Shane .

I posted the song links on facebook a couple of months ago and received some encouraging feedback.  Just like I like, love, hate, and don’t care for some songs, I suspect others will feel the same about these, but I finally did it!  And, as they say, “beauty is in the eye (ear) of the beholder!”

My kids are helping me create YouTube videos for the songs since they know how to use iMovie and I have no clue how to make a video.  We are still searching for additional appropriate random photos so it’s likely the videos won’t be ready until after summer’s over and we return from some photo worthy summer trips.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to them and share them if you like them.  As always, I appreciate all of you readers and friends who have stuck around for so many years through my entrepreneurial, parental, and musical endeavors…

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun, parenting, singing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Lemonade Day Stand – 2014
May 7 2014

lemonade-day-2014We participated in Lemonade Day again this year on May 4, 2014 (May the 4th be with you).  It was so much fun and a great entrepreneurial lesson for the kids last year (see Lemonade Day Austin – May 5, 2013 – Entrepreneurial Kids), that we did it again at the same location.  The three girls made over $165 in profits this year compared to $91 last year.  We changed our product mix and provided coffee, muffins, and lemonade versus lemonade, sport bars, and muffins last year.  Since we were at the Rookie Triathlon, there were already sponsors that were providing free Power Bars!

My son did it again with two of his friends at the same location they did last year.  I haven’t heard the results yet, but they think they made a good profit as well.

The only downside of doing the stand at a triathlon is having to get up at 4:30 a.m. in order to be there by 5:30 a.m. (hence a photo of the stand in the dark) to get set up before the race started!  A true entrepreneurial experience: odd hours, lots of work, and you have to wait until the end of the day to see if you actually made any money. I’m guessing more money is made in some simple lemonade stands than in many businesses who attempt to get up and make lemonade every day…even when there is a shortage of lemons, or currently limes (The lime panic of 2014).  See also The Lime Shortage: Still Messing With Your Margarita.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun, random stuff | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

CELEBRATING 18 Years of BiG BUSINESS, BiG IMPACT AND BiG PARTNERSHIPS
May 4 2013

big-austin-gary_hoover-may 2013CELEBRATING 18 Years of BiG BUSINESS, BiG IMPACT AND BiG PARTNERSHIPS

Acknowledging the past, Celebrating the present and Ushering in the future is the theme of BiGAUSTIN’s 18th birthday celebration.  On Thursday May 9, 2013 from 6pm-9pm, BiGAUSTIN is inviting friends of the past and present who have been instrumental in establishing BiGAUSTIN’s status as a leader in the small business development sector.

This event will engage past and present clients, instructors, supporters and all whose stories have inspired 18 years of adventure for BiGAUSTIN.  This interactive event will consist of food, live music, raffles, and networking opportunities for all in attendance.  The BiG celebration will feature the unveiling of BiGAUSTIN’s training room and updated picture displays of current clients and their businesses.

This is a free event and all invited guests are encouraged to bring guests as well.  Attendees will have the opportunity to increase their business visibility and forge new partnerships by sponsoring BiGAUSTIN’s training room.  Sponsorship packets will be available at the event.

BiGAUSTIN is delighted to have distinguished entrepreneur and speaker Gary Hoover, one of the nation’s foremost experts in small business success having created pioneering book super- store BOOKSTOP, which helped change the nature of book shopping in America. This company was sold to Barnes & Noble for $41.5 million when it was just 7 years old. RSVP HERE…

About BiGAUSTIN

BiGAUSTIN is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing training services, one-on-one assistance, and loans to individuals who want to achieve self-sufficiency by starting their own small business.  BiGAUSTIN assists small businesses to successfully grow by providing comprehensive education, tailored business counseling and flexible loans.  BiGAUSTIN’s office which houses most of our staff and our training facilities is located at 5407 N.IH-35, Suite 200 on the 2nd floor.

Media Contact:
Happiness Kisoso
happiness@bigaustin.org

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