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* BFU Weekly Journal *
documenting creation of a
Visionaries Learning Center

Bastiat Free University offers internationally accessible and actionable student-directed learning to visionaries and entrepreneurs.
Your BFU resources are now available without cost.

Start Today
Rediscover the pleasures found in self directed learning.

BFUniv, BFU college, self-directed e-learning, Bastiat Free University

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Long Tails - Fat Tails - And Standard Distributions

Life is not linear.

Statistics are useful for a broad view - but not for dependence on details.

A standard bell shaped curve gives useful guidance - until it doesn't.

Statistics can give us a broad view of past actions and imply trends for the future. Unfortunately statistics can mislead even the wisest practitioner about specifics.

About ten years ago
Long Term Capitol Management (LTCM) was formed around the concepts of Nobel Prize winners. The Nobel Prize winners - and the LTCM clients - lost about four and a half billion dollars when they encountered the "fat tails of finance." Events that should only occur once in hundreds of years have a bad habit of showing up far more frequently.

Life is not linear.

The other story - long tales - is a broad view rather than a "statistical probability with a high level of confidence."

In the industrial age marketing departments and product developers shot at the bulge of the bell shaped curve, that's where the economies of scale resided.

Today savvy Internet marketers are looking at the long tails of consumer demand. The low cost of entry into a specific market that will soon encompass the world allows an individual to pick a niche that they understand and serve it extremely well. These niche markets are under served by large companies that consider them small segments of broader categories.

long tail markets can represent millions of dollars in sales to a small business or a sole proprietorship. Pick one item and concentrate, persist and you may become recognized as the expert for that single product.

When numbers are thrown around to prove a point remember two things.

As part of the Netcohort we need several attributes but one is most important:

  • Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
  • Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
  • Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
  • Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
  • Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
  • The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
  • - Calvin Coolidge

The key is to find an opportunity and keep learning about it and working on it.

Expect to fail, then get up and try again. It is easy to quit if your statistics failed you - it is easier to get up if you believe in your knowledge and apply your persistence.

Do the work - fight the fight - reap the rewards.

Life is not linear.


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Monday, February 20, 2006

Free University - You Get What You Pay For

Even though the Free in Bastiat Free University is about freedom from government control rather than free beer it does elicit the response - you get what you pay for.

If we believe that items are worth what they cost - perhaps a Mercedes is worth three times the cost of a Volvo - for the first year.

Some one pays that price, to them it is worth the difference. They get what they pay for - even if what they pay for is ego enhancement - not for a better car.

With a university it is the same sort of decision. You can learn more on your own, faster, and of better quality, than you can at any accredited brick and mortar college or university.

So that "what" you are paying for must be something other than education.

A modern accredited university's diploma is primarily a self marketing tool.

Pay enough, do well on the entrance exams, and/or have the right connections, and you can add internationally recognized educational ego enhancement to the "what" you are paying for.

If the "what" you want is a salary slave job in a bureaucracy - a college degree gives you what you paid for.

If your goal is quality learning, you need direction, not an industrial age education machine stamping out cookie cutter graduates.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

For those of you still reading - consider BFU. If learning is the "what" you want, why pay so much money and time for ego food that depreciates or spoils?

So many degrees are being stamped out by the world wide machine that are losing value.

Future success will require something other than just a degree.

Rediscover the pleasures of self-directed distance learning.

Register for free - think free - be free.


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Sunday, February 19, 2006

"What You Are Will Show In What You Do"

Thomas A. Edison said it so well we'll repeat it:

"What you are will show in what you do."

It is not the letters behind your name, the family that you have, the advantages you have or don't have, or even if you were blessed with executive hair and have a nice tan and smile.

What you do with your life - shows who and what you are.

Seek out teachers, leaders,and mentors from those that accomplish great things. If instead you study under professional students that became professors by default - expect to learn how to be an industrial age bureaucratic student.

If your goal is to do great things - study people that have done great things.

For most people their whole lives make as much difference as putting your hand in a bucket of water and then removing it - a few ripples and the impression is gone.

Find those doers that will be remembered - study how they became that way - do it yourself.


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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Best University Available - Bastiat Free University

Of course Bastiat Free University is tied with other free universities on the Internet.

The basis for this incredible boast - a quote of
Shelby Foote:

A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library.

This was pulled from the masthead at the well written Libertarian Librarian blog.

The Internet is the best library available. You do miss the satisfaction of holding a book in your hands to read it - but copies of books are just a click - and sometimes a few days away.

What you do have is a huge, somewhat organized, research and entertainment facility based on reading materials and their supporting documentation.

Bastiat Free University is unaccredited, one of the many costs of accreditation is a physical library. To meet accreditation BFU could not to afford to let you register and monitor courses for free. We would have to raise our very inexpensive degree track education to a much higher cost. We would have to be just like everyone else - there would be no benefit
in BFU.

Bastiat Free University is unlike other schools, but you knew that. Our goal is to allow you to determine what you want to study - and to what degree.

Rediscover the pleasures of self-directed learning at the best school in the universe - the one you create for yourself - at Bastiat Free University.


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Thursday, February 09, 2006

On Vacation

I should be back about February 20.

Take a look at our Renaissance Education page or the comparison of distance learning with brick and mortar colleges.

Another area to check would be the posts before the vacation notice at the entrepreneurial business e-learning site.

enjoy life


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Saturday, February 04, 2006

The University Experience at Bastiat Free University

Bastiat Free University may not be for you if your goal is "the university experience."

If your reason for attending university is to learn useful knowledge - Bastiat Free University may be exactly what you want.

The university experience is a coming of age story created for high school and prepretory (prep) school graduates. This story has two focuses.

Mainly for parents consumption is the promise of a good job, respect, and high earnings after the university race has been run. Principally for the students are the promises of parties, relationships, adult privileges - freedom from restraint.

These two university stories are not mutually exclusive. The student may look at university as a route to a good job; their parents may look forward to their own freedom when the kiddo heads off to school.

If you identified yourself in the above - skip Bastiat Free University.

Bastiat Free University is about learning useful knowledge.

An example would be a prep school graduate that started a business rather than head directly to university. Successful - they now want to acquire knowledge to aid them in their business. Bastiat Free University allows them to select courses they want to pursue for their own reasons - at their own pace.

For many students focused on learning - rather than the university experience - Bastiat Free University and self directed learning may be what they want.

A degree is an option for a student that has their own successful business. Learning is the target for their attending a university.

What kind of student are you?


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"Free" University or Church defined

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