Flywheel CEO says to expand at customers’ pace
By The Associated Press
Thursday, October 25
NEW YORK (AP) — In “Pass It On,” AP beat reporters ask executives to share experiences and insights that will resonate with anyone managing a business.
Sarah Robb O’Hagan , CEO of Flywheel Sports, recently sat down with The Associated Press. The indoor cycling company is known for adding technology to workouts. Cyclists compare their workout to others in the class on large screens in the workout studios. The company is now expanding to other types of workouts and an on-demand service for those who can’t make it to one of the company’s locations.
Q: What defines your company?
A: We’re all about fitness. We talk about this notion of working hard to play harder. So people who come and workout with us are not kind of getting off the couch. They’re like: I’m all in, and I want to do this because I want to play hard in my life and get the most out of my life.
Q: What’s your advice for someone starting out a business?
A: Really personally understand the consumer problem that you are trying to solve. Don’t just see analytically through some study that this is an opportunity. Make sure it’s something that you personally deeply care about. You’re going to have to make decisions every day that cannot be informed by data. A lot of it has to be instinctual. If you are someone who is the consumer, you have so much more chance of really following your own gut.
Q: How do you get to understand your customers?
A: Well I’m in the fitness business, so I sweat with my customers. I literally get out there and work out. I ride with them and I chat in the locker room.
Q: You’ve been fired more than once?
A: I’ve been fired twice actually. I’m pretty proud of that. What I learned from those experiences, more than anything, was a giant dose of humility, recognizing that you’re only as good as what you’re doing today. And secondly I think a really big sense of grit and resilience and that you can come back from something like that and you will actually be a better executive because you’ve learned from your mistakes.
Q: How do you find the right pace for expansion?
A: You can only expand as fast as the consumer will let you. So you always want to have big ideas to really rally a team around and a vision that they can see where they’re going. But the consumer will only move as fast as they’re willing to go. And you have to be very mindful of that as you execute.
Q: Where do you find your best workers?
A: I find talented employees everywhere. It is not in like just scanning LinkedIn and looking for great business school credentials. It’s people who are passionate about my business, who I see riding in the studio, who are interested that I think hey they can be a great employee.
For more small business insights, sign up for AP’s weekly newsletter: https://discover.ap.org/ssb
Fine Art Photographs of Freddie Mercury & Queen
An Exhibition and Sale Featuring the Work of Music Photography Legends
Morrison Hotel Gallery presents KILLER QUEEN, a special exhibition and sale featuring legendary rock band Queen just in time for the release of the highly-anticipated Bohemian Rhapsody biopic that documents how the champions of rock and roll rose to earth-shattering stardom.
Opening on November 2nd at the Los Angeles gallery inside the Sunset Marquis Hotel and opening November 5th at the NYC gallery in SoHo will be Killer Queen, an exhibition featuring never before seen images of the band captured by legendary rock photographers Mick Rock, Richard E. Aaron, Lynn Goldsmith, Patrick Harbron, Steve Joester, and Paul McAlpine who all worked with one of the world’s most iconic bands throughout their meteoric career.
Marcelle Murdock, gallery directory in NYC said, “Killer Queen will be a celebration of Freddie Mercury’s legacy, and with the occasion of Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody release in theaters, it’s only fitting that we pay homage to the rock royal with a special tribute of our very own. We are extremely pleased to not only exhibit some of our favorite Queen fine art photographs taken by the men and women responsible for immortalizing some of Mercury’s most iconic looks and milestones.”
In a photo series by Lynn Goldsmith, Freddie Mercury – the king of Queen – appears resplendent onstage in a crown and royal cape. Similarly, a shot of the singer stripped down to red suspenders and circus-striped swim briefs further augments the flamboyant legacy of a dynamic performer described by photographer Richard E. Aaron as “an absolute diva about his appearance – but not to the point that it affected his performance.”
Mick Rock said “In the early days of my friendship with Freddie, he said to me, ‘The most important thing is to have a fabulous life. As long as it’s fabulous I don’t care how long it is!’ His is generally regarded as the greatest voice to be spawned by rock n roll. He could – and did – sing in a myriad of styles. He was also a superb songwriter. I’m happy to have been the progenitor of his most durable imagery, including the Queen II album cover, which was adapted for Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ video. A taste of this imagery will be on display at the Morrison Hotel Gallery, including several prints that have never previously been exhibited publicly. May God Bless Freddie Mercury!”
About Morrison Hotel Gallery
Morrison Hotel Gallery (MHG) was founded in 2001 by former record company executive Peter Blachley, music retail industry professional Richard Horowitz, and legendary music photographer Henry Diltz. In 2012, author, director and photographer Timothy White joined the team, launching an additional West Coast gallery at The Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood. In 2016, the gallery launched its third location at Mick Fleetwood’s General Store in Maui, Hawaii.
MHG is the world’s leading brand in fine art music photography representing over 125 of the world’s finest music photographers and their archives. Their vast catalog of photography encompasses jazz, blues, and rock imagery spanning several generations through to today’s contemporary music artists and now includes iconic photographs in the world of sports as well. MHG has a robust online presence, featuring over 100,000 images searchable by photographer, music artist, band or concert. www.morrisonhotelgallery.com
TEACHER TENURE — POINT-COUNTERPOINT
Point: Tenure Safeguards the Rights of Educators to Speak Up for Students and Public Schools
By Lily Eskelsen Garcia
The Red for Ed movement has prompted educators to rise up and speak out for fair wages and fair school funding from West Virginia to Arizona, and now, across the country.
After enduring decades of resource-starved classrooms and falling wages, educators are saying enough is enough. They are marching and running for political office for the sake of their schools, colleagues, communities and — most important — for their students.
Most Americans — across political and ideological lines — are supporting this movement. They have stood with educators and thanked them for leading it.
However, some have tried to silence educators by threatening their jobs if they speak out. Some state legislators are even threatening to revoke educators’ licenses or hit them with criminal sanctions if they participate. These opponents just don’t get it: Education isn’t simply a job for most of us; it is our calling. And with that calling comes the obligation to be champions for students, public schools and our professions.
Teacher job protections — commonly called tenure — play a critical role in ensuring that when we fulfill our role as advocates and leaders, we cannot be pushed out of our jobs.
Look at the news, and you’ll see that educators are speaking out for many reasons. They are speaking out because they can’t keep working second and third jobs to make up for paychecks that don’t pay the bills. They’re speaking up because they can’t inspire students to love learning when they are forced to teach to a standardized test. They can’t cultivate tomorrow’s thinkers, leaders and artists when schools aren’t providing basic supplies necessary to excite students’ creativity. They can’t create the learning environments students deserve with 25-year-old textbooks, 30-plus students to a class, and dilapidated buildings that lack heat, air conditioning and clean air, let alone modern technology.
Illinois adopted one of the earliest tenure laws in 1917, and it won’t surprise you that the purpose was to protect teachers who were fired for protesting deep education cuts and unfair wages. It is no coincidence that today, many who underfund schools and undervalue educators — those who have caused the very circumstances educators are protesting — are also misinforming the public about tenure.
But the facts about tenure are simple. Tenure protections — the scope of which vary — simply provide protection and a process for ensuring that good teachers are not fired for bad reasons. Unfortunately, there are many examples of this.
There are cases in which teachers without tenure have faced termination for: reporting misuse of funding that was directed toward a reading program, but used for something else; complaining about a dirty classroom that lacked books and other necessary materials; writing a letter to the Department of Education about the school’s failure to provide legally required services to special education students and English-language learners; alerting authorities to sexual assaults that students reported to the teacher; and refusing to falsify test scores in order to demonstrate state-mandated “progress.”
Thankfully, teachers with tenure have fought off unjust discipline or termination. One of these was an award-winning science teacher who received multiple “Teacher of the Year” awards. Her school district tried to dismiss her when parents complained after she reprimanded their children for skipping class to smoke marijuana. Another educator who fought back and won was a math teacher who protested eliminating a math tutoring program. Other examples are a teacher who advocated to make sure her students with disabilities received all the services and accommodations they deserved, and a teacher who stood up for Muslim students in fear for their safety after 9/11.
Teachers are able to advocate for their students because they know that tenure will protect them. I think of the teacher in rural Appalachia who welcomes and embraces his LGBTQ students notwithstanding community pressure; the teacher who fights racially discriminatory discipline policies in her school district; and the award-winning teacher who uses creative curriculum, despite administrative pushback, to reach her marginalized students. Many of these students, inspired by her example, have gone on to become the first in their families to attend college.
At the end of the day, tenure protections should be preserved because they are good for our students and our communities. Now that many states are repealing or limiting tenure, it is critical that we renew our commitment to it. We need to recognize that just as we ask our teachers to have our students’ backs, we must have theirs.
If we respect educators as trusted professionals with the expertise to ensure student success, we must make it safe for them to be our students’ most outspoken advocates.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Lily Eskelsen Garcia is president of the National Education Association. She wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Counterpoint: Teacher Tenure Does More Harm Than Good
By Chris Talgo
In 1886, Massachusetts became the first state to implement teacher tenure. At the time, teachers (primarily women) could be fired for several arbitrary “offenses,” such as getting married, becoming pregnant, dressing inappropriately, or even being out too late in the evening (even on non-school nights).
Over time, more and more states enacted teacher tenure, citing academic freedom as a central reason.
However, in 2018, tenure is no longer necessary. Over the past century, tenure has transformed into an obsolete, protectionist racket that does more harm than good.
First and foremost, teacher tenure creates complacency because it guarantees job safety. Unlike almost every other profession, teachers are commonly awarded tenure very early in their careers, which virtually removes accountability and the incentive for excellent job performance. As a result, public schools are inundated with ineffective tenured teachers who put in minimal effort and fail to adequately educate students.
In 2016, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute released a report titled “Undue Process: Why Bad Teachers in Twenty-Five Diverse Districts Rarely Get Fired.” The authors found “in seventeen of our twenty-five districts, state law still allows teachers to earn tenure and keep it regardless of performance.” In its current iteration, tenure attracts and rewards mediocrity and reduces exceptional performance.
Besides creating a culture of classroom complacency, tenure also makes it nearly impossible to fire underperforming teachers. In fact, “In most districts and schools, dismissing an ineffective veteran teacher remains far harder than is healthy for children, schools, taxpayers — and the teaching profession itself,” according to the report. Unfortunately, tenure has created a rigid system rife with countless legal barriers that prevent principals from removing inadequate (and even dangerous) teachers in a timely manner.
As if incompetent teachers in far too many classrooms don’t pose enough of a threat to quality education, the time it takes to actually dismiss an inept teacher is appalling. Furthermore, the sheer cost of the process is a severe and totally unnecessary strain on state and local education budgets.
“In many districts, simply recommending a tenured teacher for dismissal takes at least two years because the district must document both the teacher’s weak performance and its attempts at remediation, which may be indefinite in practice,” according to the Fordham report.
Even worse, in New York, firing a teacher takes “an average of 520 days from the date charges were brought to the date a decision was issued, at an average cost of $128,000. Proceedings addressing charges of pedagogical incompetence are even longer, spanning on average 830 days and costing on average $313,000,” according to a report by the New York State School Boards Association.
Additionally, tenure places seniority in front of all other factors (including performance) when staffing reductions must be made. This antiquated policy of “last-hired, first-fired” indiscriminately protects veteran teachers and punishes young teachers. Even worse, this backward procedure cripples cutting-edge teaching methods and innovations — which are far more likely to be introduced and honed by young teachers.
Increasingly, misguided tenure supporters have stressed it as a safeguard for academic freedom and integrity. According to their reasoning, teachers are constantly at the mercy of local political officials and thus need protection from fleeting political pressures that could unduly influence their teaching methods (and content).
However, this argument is not credible in today’s standardized testing environment. In 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act federalized the American education system. In essence, this law incentivized local schools to adopt a plethora of national standardized tests by dangling billions to school districts. Hence, teachers have little to fear in terms of local political pressures to their teaching practices, because local officials no longer determine major curricular decisions.
In the years since No Child Left Behind, other so-called education reform measures such as Common Core and the Obama administration’s Race to the Top Fund have basically maintained the tenure status quo. In a campaign meant to increase teacher accountability, the Obama administration “incentivized states to embrace teacher-evaluation reform via Race to the Top. … What happened next? Not much … we learned that 97 percent of America’s teachers are now deemed effective instead of 99,” according to the Fordham report.
In other words, Obama’s Race to the Top failed to improve teacher accountability measures, and had almost no impact on diminishing tenure’s tentacles.
Tenure is an archaic and sclerotic system that blunts education innovation, teacher accountability and student learning.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Chris Talgo is a former public school teacher and editor at The Heartland Institute. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Why believing in ghosts can make you a better person
October 26, 2018
Author: Tok Thompson, Associate Professor of Teaching, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Disclosure statement: Tok Thompson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: University of Southern California — Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
Halloween is a time when ghosts and spooky decorations are on public display, reminding us of the realm of the dead. But could they also be instructing us in important lessons on how to lead moral lives?
Roots of Halloween
The origins of modern-day Halloween go back to “samhain,” a Celtic celebration for the beginning of the dark half of the year when, it was widely believed, the realm between the living and the dead overlapped and ghosts could be commonly encountered.
In 601 A.D., to help his drive to Christianize northern Europe, Pope Gregory I directed missionaries not to stop pagan celebrations, but rather to Christianize them.
Accordingly, over time, the celebrations of samhain became All Souls’ Day and All Saint’s Day, when speaking with the dead was considered religiously appropriate. All Saint’s Day was also known as All Hallows’ Day and the night before became All Hallows’ Evening, or “Hallowe’en.”
Not only did the pagan beliefs around spirits of the dead continue, but they also became part of many of early church practices.
Pope Gregory I himself suggested that people seeing ghosts should say masses for them. The dead, in this view, might require help from the living to make their journey towards Heaven.
During the Middle Ages, beliefs around souls trapped in purgatory led to the church’s increasing practice of selling indulgences – payments to the church to reduce penalties for sins. The widespread belief in ghosts turned the sale of indulgences into a lucrative practice for the church.
It was such beliefs that contributed to the Reformation, the division of Christianity into Protestantism and Catholicism led by German theologian Martin Luther. Indeed, Luther’s “95 Theses,” that he nailed to the All Saints Church in Wittenburg on Oct. 31, 1517, was largely a protest against the selling of indulgences.
Subsequently, ghosts became identified with “Catholic superstitions” in Protestant countries.
Debates, however, continued about the existence of ghosts and people increasingly turned to science to deal with the issue. By the 19th century, Spiritualism, a new movement which claimed that the dead could converse with the living, was fast becoming mainstream, and featured popular techniques such as seances, the ouija board, spirit photography and the like.
Although Spiritualism faded in cultural importance after World War I, many of its approaches can be seen in the “ghost hunters” of today, who often seek to prove the existence of ghosts using scientific techniques.
A wide, wide world of ghosts
These beliefs are not just part of the Christian world. Most, although not all, societies have a concept of “ghosts.” In Taiwan, for example, about 90 percent people report seeing ghosts.
Along with many Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam, Taiwan celebrates a “Ghost Month,” which includes a central “Ghost Day,” when ghosts are believed to freely roam the world of the living. These festivals and beliefs are often tied to the Buddhist story of the Urabon Sutra, where Buddha instructs a young priest on how to help his mother whom he sees suffering as a “hungry ghost.”
As in many traditions, Taiwanese ghosts are seen either as “friendly” or “unfriendly.” The “friendly” ghosts are commonly ancestral or familial and welcomed into the home during the ghost festival. The “unfriendly” ghosts are those angry or “hungry” ghosts that haunt the living.
Role of ghosts in our lives
As a scholar who has studied and taught ghost stories for many years, I have found that ghosts generally haunt for good reasons. These could range from unsolved murders, lack of proper funerals, forced suicides, preventable tragedies and other ethical failures.
Ghosts, in this light, are often found seeking justice from beyond the grave. They could make such demands from individuals, or from societies as a whole. For example, in the U.S., sightings have been reported of African-American slaves and murdered Native Americans. Scholar Elizabeth Tucker details many of these reported sightings on university campuses, often tied in with sordid aspects of the campus’s past.
In this way, ghosts reveal the shadow side of ethics. Their sightings are often a reminder that ethics and morality transcend our lives and that ethical lapses can carry a heavy spiritual burden.
Yet ghost stories are also hopeful. In suggesting a life after death, they offer a chance to be in contact with those that have passed and therefore a chance for redemption – a way to atone for past wrongs.
This Halloween, along with the shrieks and shtick, you may want to take a few minutes to appreciate the role of ghosts in our haunted pasts and how they guide us to lead moral and ethical lives.
John F. Gunn III, Doctoral Candidate, Family Science and Human Development, Montclair State University: Is there any evidence to support the claim that believing in ghosts makes you a more moral person? If not all I see here is a rehashing of the claim that you need belief and/or religion to be a good person (a rather tired and outdated way of thinking that is not backed by evidence).
robin wallace, In reply to John F. Gunn III: Well, in the middle ages, the author says people paid the church to absolve their sins when they saw a ghost … … but I guess that’s just extortion and people were then free again to sin and absolve, sin and absolve … hmmm, seems the more money you had, the more sin you could get away with and still go to heaven … yeah, as with religion on the whole, no evidence ….