Why “Level 98”?

When I’ve told friends, acquaintances (just realised I haven’t spelt that word in a long time!… gotta love the spell checker!) or enemies about starting Level 98, one of the first questions they all ask is:

Why “Level 98”?

So answering that question seems as good a place as any to kick off this blog.

Well, first, I wanted a short memorable name for the organisation’s online presence.

— start of (very mild) rant —

Many names are already taken, or being “squatted upon“, by organisations looking to make an unreasonable buck (in my opinion) from onselling – they’re generally doing nothing constructive with the domain names except hoarding them so others cannot purchase them for the original, reasonable, domain registration price. If I ruled the world, then the registration of TLDs (top level domains) would have restrictions similar to those of the australian domain registrar – they probably don’t completely prevent “cybersquatting”, but they would likely mitigate the situation encountered with TLDs.

Level98.com is taken, but if you navigate there, you’ll find (at least, at the time of writing this) it’s not being “used” but it’s for sale. Hence I’m using “.org”.

With the proliferation of TLDs other than “.com” (such as “.pizza”… seriously!) and the growing acceptance of TLDs other than “.com”, the situation may start to improve as the business model of the companies hoovering up domain names breaks down – it’s far more difficult for them to buy up all the various TLD options – hence why even the relatively known “.org” was available for “Level 98” when the “.com” was not.

However, if they ever offer the .com to me for a couple of hundred bucks rather than multiple thousands (hint, hint), I’ll probably capitulate and pay their squatting fee.

— end of rant —

So, why “Level 98” in particular?

There are a vast number of “educational organisations” that have gobbled up any of the relatively short “education sounding” names that I could think of – so I couldn’t use them. Also, searching through such names made me decide I wanted a name that was more generic, that prevents pigeon-holing the organisation – I believe the importance of education is interconnected with every sphere of endeavour.

But again… why “Level 98” in particular?

OK… well…

  • “Level” has connotations of “a fair playing field” which, I think, is one of the key things that education offers. It can help raise people up to play at the same level as those who’ve been luckier with their start in life.
  • The 98 is a nod to Chinese numerology (China being the most populous country on earth, why not choose their superstitions?… and while I don’t hold any store in such things, it’s a convenient shorthand way to convey ideas). Apparently:
    • the number 9 has connotations of “long-lasting” or “eternal”… links to ideas of “life-long learning” – I encourage you to never stop learning, and being willing to change your mind / outlook on life etc. based on new information and ideas!
    • the number 8 has connotations of “prosperity” or “happiness”. My main aim is not to make oodles of money out of Level 98 (though I do need to make a living!) but it’s about the 8 representing the idea that education is concerned with helping people progress, uplifting people, happiness, joy etc. Unfortunately, currently, the student experience is too often “boredom” or other negative emotions, but that’s one of the things I’d like to help change.

So, taken together, the parts of the name “Level 98” express certain aspects that I consider key to the foundations of education. Sure, I could have chosen “89”… I just thought “98” sounded better.

And… I’m not done yet… maybe I sometimes overthink things?!… I’m hoping the number 98 can become synonymous with education… a location / destination for learning!… similar to the way numbers have become associated with anything from locations to organisations in pop culture e.g. Room 101 in the novel 1984 (as well as related references in the Matrix Movies), and the “12 Monkeys” organisation in the movie of the same name.

BUT WAIT… before you go… one more thing… and this is a little freaky… but like I said, I don’t hold store in superstitions, fate etc…. there exists a pretty cool coincidence. It’s something I found out some time after deciding on the name, because I haven’t used Facebook much – might have to now!

On Facebook, where people have the same name, they add a number to the end of your facebook url to identify you.

My facebook url has “98” at the end of it.

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