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@ForrestHiggs I agree 100%. It is a problem and it isn't easy, but that's no excuse to pass the core issues by simply to shove technology down people's throats.
3 weeks, 6 days ago on Why online education is mostly a fantasy
@elicolner Which is part of the reason the dropoff rates for MOOC courses are so enormous. You'll hear the folks at Coursera or EdX talk about the enormous number of signups...they rarely, if ever, talk about the small percentage of students that finish the exercises, view all the videos, or show any mastery of the topic.
4 weeks ago on Why online education is mostly a fantasy
@Crystal808 I agree with you on the library analogy. Even with fairly open and easy access, there are still issues with libraries, particularly in communities that suffer from underperforming school systems. That being said, online learning is far from some magical silver bullet.
There was an insipid discussion of MOOCs last night on Charlie Rose. More blithering nonsense from the folks behind EdX and Amplify (some classroom bullcrap from FOX) as well as the harbinger of BS - Thomas Friedman. Seriously, any time Friedman is on board, any critical thinking goes straight out the goddamn window.All these clowns could do - clowns with some of the best educations and access around - was to cite the vanity metrics of signups as a sign of success so far. They could barely admit that there is no clear evidence that any of this is making a difference, although they did touch on the fact that the business model is non-existant at this point. I loved the garbage around never having had any data on how kids learn - because, you know, teachers never give homework, quizzes, or tests. Ridiculous.While the zeitgeist seems to be about blaming our education system for all sorts of failures and to automatically prescribing technology as a solution, we are failing to look closely at what is really wrong with education in this country. There is plenty of data out there to show that the issues are far more about socioeconomics and that the "issues" clearly show up when you segment out the minority of underperforming schools/student bodies. The solution isn't tablets in every child's hands, but dealing with the instability and risk factors in children's lives. Less broken homes, more employment, less starvation and poverty, more community support...handle the public policy stuff and you can bet schools will be more productive places where kids will learn a great deal more.
So you thought you needed money and you pitched VCs. Then you didn't decide to accept any offers, although it is unclear whether that means you received legit terms sheets or just had some interesting overtures made to you. What really changed your mind? Was it a decision that bootstrapping and retaining ownership was best or did you simply not get any offers that were attractive? It certainly seems like you worked to get the attention of guys like Fred Wilson...yet you raised no money? To put in that effort and decide to change course...there has to be more interesting things to say about that then what you wrote above, no?
4 weeks, 1 day ago on Why I turned down investor money for my startup
Anyone who thinks there hasn't been any innovation in education since the printing press is a fool. Not all that long ago, most children received little to no schooling whatsoever. One of America's great contributions to humanity was the creation of public schools, education available to all and funded by the government so cost would never be an issue. You could add to that the creation of state colleges, land grant institutions, etc. as well, all of which has happened in less than 200 hundred years. It is not a coincidence that our nation has risen meteorically during this time. So, sure, education can use some shaking up, but it isn't exactly the stodgy institution some make it out to be. It is part of our very core as a citizenry and any innovation we take on should be considered in historical context.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Should you pay $250K to go to college?
Most people doing the sharing don't give a crap what the people they are sharing with might think outside of what those people will think about the sharer. Really, all this bullcrap of peddling advice - advice which is almost always someone else's - is just a sad attempt by many to drape themselves in a false cloak of wisdom and experience. You know, if I tweet shit out all the time that sounds smart, it must mean that I'm smart. I am amazed at how many folks just go post Paul Graham or Fred Wilson or Steve Blank's stuff, over and over again. Not a knock on those guys, but tweeting that stuff just shows that you know how to use your browser to find their old blog posts. Good for you! Hell, it doesn't even mean you read the stuff, let alone understand it and have applied it to anything you actually do.Me? I tweet stuff sometimes. But I have three rules when it comes to sharing content. First, I better have read it and have something to say about it. Second, it better not be the same old crap that everybody else is sharing (meaning I only share stuff that I haven't seen elsewhere). And, third, if I don't agree with it or do it myself, I better be sharing it to start a conversation or an argument about something because I think its important. Sharing isn't about shining up my own reputation or persona - my actions are. So, any content I share had better come from a place of engagement and provocation than shining up my stupid online image.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Please stop with the recycled hypocritical advice
So, wait...you busted your ass for two years to build the company and then relaxed, right? I agree with your core point, but don't gloss over what you had to put into MetaLab to get to the point where you could delegate more, relax a bit, and get some breathing room. If most businesses don't start out with a hair-on-fire attitude, they will never get to the point where they can benefit from your advice at all.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on You don’t have to make yourself miserable to build a great company
@Thedisco Whoops. A great place to LIVE!
1 month, 4 weeks ago on Because of asset seizures, I am starting my new company outside California
Come to Virginia, brother. Much better tax structure, far friendlier to business, and just a great place to leave. And, lest you think it can't compare to NYC...there is an absolute mountain of tech and media talent in the DC metro region, the living is a bit more affordable (just a bit), and we can hold our own when it comes to things like culture, food, music, etc.C'mon, man. You will love it.
@cjcornell Good additions. I've lost count of all the semi-retired CFOs with corporate backgrounds who think every startup should be running to pay them as consultants.
2 months ago on How to scare off bad actors in the startup ecosystem
Wait! You mean all that talk of "Moneyball" investing might just be BS?
2 months ago on Terabytes of deafening noise
@Francisco Dao And now my "learn something everyday" checkbox can be marked. Ringelmann effect...good stuff.
2 months, 1 week ago on When does something become too big?
I think those calling themselves junkies aren't really addicted to anything other than having a phrase to describe a fleeting, albeit passionate, obsession with a segment of the economy that is currently enjoying the limelight. They spin their work or educational history, along with any number of other ancillary experiences, as having been part of or related to startups, no matter how tangential or remote. This is why you hear crap about lemonade stands or building stuff with Legos, why launch party attendees usually outnumber users after 30 days, and why there was even a shot at getting Randi's horrible mess of reality programming on Bravo for a season.
3 months ago on Startup junkies: What are they really addicted to?
This is the moment when you throw the mike down and walk off stage, @Francisco Dao. So spot on.
@Francisco Dao @benkepes Oh, the delicious irony of liking a comment about the dismay of getting likes.
3 months ago on The cult of ideas
@tianjerry Well, those companies all started before YC, so none of them even had a chance to be in a top tier accelerator. But, more importantly, the truth is that the "best" startups in any region rarely need the kind of support that accelerators provide.
3 months ago on Dear awesome startups, don’t join an accelerator, unless…
The general tactic at play here, one of using investor dollars to buy revenue and stack up the traction and growth to help propel the company to further investment or an exit of somer sort, is not just an issue with ecommerce companies. Look back at the numbers around BranchOut in the run up to their round last April, for example. The real questions are not just about why Jody did what he did or how did Ecomom end up in this situation, but what is wrong with the whole damn system?
3 months ago on Ecomom’s aggressive discounting culture should be a cautionary tale for all of ecommerce
@Pv Yes, nothing like coding Basic onto a tape drive, is there?I get you and I mostly don't disagree. But do you believe that all accelerators provide that education? If the choice is between Harvard and YC, okay. If the choice is between Middle No Name State and TechStars, okay. But what if it is okay school vs. second or third tier accelerator? If the program isn't well constructed and established enough to attract talented people (meaning product, design, etc. types and not just investors) and to provide a reasonable, albeit aggressive, curriculum...what is the point? How many of these 20 year olds are saving some money and wasting away in small markets...or worse, getting a head full of legitimately bad advice from people who have little idea what they are doing themselves.
@Pv I think you are either considering only to top tier programs when you say that or you assume a great deal when it comes to accelerators' ability to provide that education. Some can, but most cannot and will be incapable of providing a legitimate alternative to business school. I can't defend b-schools, but I also don't think that the vast majority of accelerators are providing the value that is reasonable for the equity they expect from the startups they accept.