Hopefully, this won't be as painful as an infomercial or any of the countless used car ads running in a continuous loop on my TV.
So, if you haven't figured out yet, the side project that I've alluded to over the past few months is indeed - NNY Math. So, please excuse this shameless plug for my new venture.
In the past, I've sought out different ways of impacting the education of children in NNY. Whether it was my time on the board of a non-profit preschool, my years with the PTO or my current role as a school board member, I've tried to give back to the area that made such a difference in my life as a youngster.
Frankly, like many in my industry, I've just grown tired of the markets. There is no edge anymore. The computers and policymakers run the markets and a simple "buy and forget it" policy has worked well this year. I think there will be trading opportunities in 2013 but I've grown bored of watching the same stocks move in unison every day.
So, when looking at ways to serve the community, start a new business to help our local economy and ultimately improve the lives of my customers I arrived at the concept for NNY Math.
First, I'll say the name is a little misleading because we are equal parts math and science, but it was the shortest URL I could find for a reasonable price. In the future, I have some other names in mind, but for now it's NNY Math.
The concept is simple -- kids don't hate math, they hate not being good at something. So, I'll help them sharpen their skills in our computerized math lab. Kids will spend the first 20 minutes of every class doing work at their own customized level on Khan Academy. The power of Sal Khan's videos and practice pages are evident to me and I think it will work wonders for our clients.
From there kids will typically spend the next 15-20 minutes "playing" logic and math games. Games like Math dice, Math war, Rush Hour, etc., will teach kids a great deal about problem solving while they think they are just playing a game.
Finally, we'll wrap up each class with an interactive science experiment geared toward their age group. The science will be fun but educational and best of all messy (think Steve Spangler science, if you are familiar with his work).
Classes will be 1 hour long and will be grouped based on grade level - grades 2-3, grades 4-5, grades 6-8. My initial plan is to offer classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays (3:30-7:30) and Saturday (9-1), however that is really subject to demand. If we have more interest, we'll open more sessions. It may also skew toward the weekend if that is when people are free.
There are two points of differentiation for our model - 1) We are math and science. There are lots of math chains (Kumon and Mathnasium, for example) and science chains (like Mad Science) but few combine the two offerings. 2) Our price point will be $65/month per student. This is well below the industry average but it will keep it on par with prices for dance, gymnastics, soccer leagues, piano, etc., in the North Country. There is also a $35 registration fee to cover materials, but we are cutting $10 off the registration fee to anyone using the code "GRINDSTONE" through the end of October.
I tend to have a fairly bright, informed readership of the blog so I imagine that you have many family members, friends, or neighbors that could be potential customers. I've really appreciated your feedback over the years and hopefully, I've cleared the muddy waters of finance and economics just a bit. If you have any questions don't hesitate to email me at brian at nnymath.com or stop by the new location at the mall (we're next to Sears). During this "soft opening" phase hours will be a little sporadic but I plan to be in the mall much of the day on Saturday.
Thank you again and this isn't the end of Grindstone Financial. I'll keep writing, but the posts may be spread out a bit. As we near the election and as our next battle over the debt ceiling looms there will be plenty of clutter and inaccuracies to sift through.