It has been almost two months now since I returned from Oxford. I wanted to take a little time to process things before wrapping up this blog. I’ve been working almost since I got home for Intraduce Transit LLC, the sponsor of my senior design project. This is a strategy company that intends to profit from coordinating the development of autonomous vehicles technology in Detroit. It’s a pretty good strategy, to out innovate the foreign automotive manufacturing competition rather than trying to compete on costs, where we will always lose. The work is pretty crazy.
So sometimes, being home now, it seems like Oxford was all an illusion. It went by so fast. It was a vision quest. This was my second vision quest. Some of the things that I saw surprised me. Oxford to me is another dimension to which I was able to transport myself at great cost. The greatest lesson was how to survive in another dimension. I had already done this when I was 19 and went backpacking through the south and east of Europe, but at that time I was living a transient existence which is easier and less expensive than living in such a way as to approximate permanence. I lived deeply in Oxford by choice. Sometimes it was difficult but money solves almost every problem and I was provided with plenty. I lived among the flowers gardens and the spires and churches and crucifixes and pubs. My neighbors were deans and tutors and BBC correspondents. My classmates drank tea and discussed peasant revolts. I drowned myself in anglophilia.
I made a lot of friends in Oxford. Some were foreign. Some were extraordinary. A lot were couchsurfers, people who I met through couchsurfing.com. Italian, Spanish, Austrian, British, French… We had a lot of fun. It always helps to have someone to explore with.
I took classes in subjects that wet my appetite. This was my intention and execution with each of the continuing education classes I took. I went for a pretty heavy load of courses each semester but they were relatively easy and I had latitude to remove myself from painful situations.
I definitely improved my poetry. The poetry class was one of my favorite things, and I learned a lot just from socializing with all the different people and hearing about their life experiences through their poetry. I am well on my way to a publishable collection.
I made a minor course of study in European history, which is of course my history. I think history is incredibly powerful, to be able to put yourself and your existence in perspective. It means that you can see things that others can’t, in fact predict the future better than other people. I studied my existence from many different perspectives– in relation to the physical universe through my cosmology course, with my excellent swiss tutor the metaphysical universe, up through the early history of man with my archaeology course, into early peasant riots and then the impact of the french revolution, which brings us about into existence as free men. See now you all didn’t know that I had a plan like that.
So I went away to England and came back more powerful. I think that is definitely the case. For that I thank the Jones Fellowship. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I think I effectively took my Industrial and Operations Engineering degree and extended it in a very unique and powerful way.
The question now is where to project that power. The internet connected baguette sandwich business concept I was pushing earlier this year got the most positive response I have ever had for a entrepreneurship idea, but after thorough review is not profitable enough to sustain at a low level of investment. I am moving on to another business concept I have which I am called Datumeta. This is a website that allows anyone to tag products, media, people, places, etc appearing in television shows and movies. That information is added to a wiki with monetized links and can also be used as a form of highly targeted advertising alongside streaming videos. Essentially, it is a replacement for television commercials. Revenue would be shared with the responsible contributors. I am looking into commercializing this idea through BizdomU, a one year entrepreneurship training program that is being run out of the Wayne State campus. At the end, you can receive up to $100,000 to finance your idea.
So last words on Oxford…
It was extra strange being in a place so similar to the United States on the surface, yet so dissimilar in the details.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
The pareto principle: 20% of the effort translates into 80% of the results.
Don’t be dependent on any one outcome. Failure is a component of success.
If you’re not living you are dying.
Life is supposed to be fun.
English people don’t walk on one side of the sidewalk in particular, they just want you to walk in the street so they can imagine they are of a better class of people than you. English people are secretly obsessed about class, especially older ones.
Learn to mentally time travel through difficult and boring times like train rides.
Driving righty is not nearly as hard as you would think, but you need to be able to drive a stick in the UK.
Always bring shower sandals and earplugs to a hostel.
The United States is much more than the sum of it’s states, but a principle of maximal liberty that no other place has yet matched.
The food in the UK really is terrible.
You don’t have to endorse checks in the UK, which is one thing we could learn from them.
On most other things they cling endearingly to the middle ages.
So thank you, Roger M. Jones Fellowship. I hope I did you right. I always tried to represent the University of Michigan well, in my near daily wear of my Michigan Crew sweatshirt or passing out business cards. The comment I heard the most was “isn’t it wonderful how you Americans encourage your young people to learn about everything and become whatever they want to be”. So at the very least I helped perpetuate the British inferiority complex, which is, after all, good for trade relations. I threw in a few “we saved your asses in the world wars” just for good measure.