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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
     Friday, October 10 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?

Joe Eckhart took early retirement as a mid-manager/finance executive from a Pennsylvania electric utility company when it announced the transition from old-style book-keeping using mainframe computers tended by specialists like programmers and keypunch operators to networked personal-size computers on everyone's desk doing everything from word processing and record storage and retrieval, to numbers crunching. Anyone could see that the desktop computers would save a lot of work and streamline most of the farflung company's tasks, but Joe felt he was too close to retirement to start over again. He had a good severance package and the time seemed right. Besides, he had spent most of his adult years building up a satisfying and even valuable hobby; he could now turn his full time attention to that avocation.

Not long after retiring, Joe wasn't bored with his life as you might have guessed. In fact, he and his wife, recent "empty nesters," were very happy with their newfound time to work on their shared love, buying, collecting, displaying and selling antiques and collectibles. But soon there was a slightly annoying problem that I know many of you reading this have experienced in your own ways in the past decade: Everywhere he turned, someone else was telling him that if he only had a personal computer connected to the Internet, he could really maximize his opportunities. He heard this as he travelled from Pennsylvania to New York, Virginia, North Carolina and beyond. Everywhere, everyone, it seemed, told him how much time and travel expense he could save and how many more people he could reach so much less expensively through a computer and the Internet.

Finally, and laughably ironically, like many of us, he relented. He bought a computer and joined one of the Internet services. Now his hobby is a very profitable second career, and he does it all through eBay. No more shows in convention centers and antiques barns. Now he shows everything he wants to sell via photos on eBay, which gives him money in hand before he sends out the merchandise. Everything in this little story, except Joe's fictionalized name, is true as I was told it by a member of his family.

I'm not advocating "work at home and make $5000 a week," nor have I any idea, beyond "very profitable," how profitable Joe's business is. I have heard on a network news program that a San Jose woman who never had a profession of her own, after being by divorced by her successful lawyer husband, started going to garage sales and reselling the merchandise through eBay and now makes more annual income through that endeavor than her husband does in his law practice. You've probably heard similar, or that same, story. A New York City 20-something guy sold everything in his apartment— everything—on eBay and then sold the story of that experience to a publisher and got interviews on TV talk shows. I don't know if he got rich from any or all of it, but at least it was enough to garner him his 15 minutes of fame.

This wasn't intended as a commercial for eBay, which is really incidental to the point I wanted to make, but it's also true that through the great recession in high technology, eBay, which has headquarters about two miles from where I work in San Jose, has continued to prosper and grow. Personally, I've never sold or bought anything on it, and have visited its website only twice; once when someone told me there was a historic Nanty Glo photo for sale on the site, and just now to make sure I was writing the company logo correctly.

Oh, and yes...I've been using desktop and laptop computers to do most of my work and most of my avocational stuff daily for at least 15 years.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Think about it (but not too long)

I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.

—Sent by Bill Dalrymple 

Thought for today



— Sent by Alice Prewett 

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