School sucks. I hated school so much that my brain would instantly fall asleep when I went to class. If I went to class. The same for when I got carsick or drove. Just an all around unpleasant experience. If I were an animal, I’d be a bunny. Who just passed out when shit got terrible. It all started in 3rd or 4th grade, when I started to get bored.
I had sleep studies done. They put me on adderall. Ritalin. I mostly just had more pocket money cause I hated that shit.
I tried everything.
Except going to a school that taught differently.
I went to Pinchot because it was what I thought school should be. You see, when I was looking at MBA programs like Stanford and MIT Sloan, they seemed like slogs. And they’d only teach me a tiny bit of the picture using a traditional teaching method.
Traditional is our tragedy as Americans.
I thought to myself, “higher ed should be taught on frequent, village-sized campuses, where everyone lives together in a community. And learns by doing at a rigorous pace with an inventive, memorable, workshop-based curriculum. The professors shouldn’t just be PhD’s like they are at MIT Sloan. They should have stories. They should have already made a big impact. And teach from experience.” I wanted entrepreneurial teachers who listened.
Sadly, I didn’t think this existed.
I opted out of getting an MBA even though it had secretly been a dream of mine to get those three, shiny letters. Walking away seemed better than throwing away a few hundred grand for something I’d do much better on my own (and did).
I put together a MOOC-based MBA. But only two weeks after I’d started, I found what I had been looking for.
At Impact Hub Seattle, we were suddenly awash with Sustainability MBA’s from upstairs. These new hosts were pretty great to work with. What’s more, they didn’t suck to work with.
Upon investigation, I learned about Pinchot (Chapter 3).
- Taught systems thinking
- Workshop and project-based
- Everyone came from diverse work backgrounds.
- The whole curriculum was integrated…like a system.
- It was taught in the woods where we got to hang out and live together for almost a week.
- The day I happened to visit, they were doing the Lean Canvas. Basically, my favorite thing to do.
- The perfect amount of our assignments were, go out into the wilderness and write about it, then tell us about it.
- While most schools studied systems, we did our own deep analysis by the end of December. It was also a white paper.
- While most schools studied case studies, we wrote our own by the end of March. Our whole curriculum was a case study.
- Our first field trip was living in a spectacular version of what’s possible on an island in the British Columbian wilderness.
- While most schools took five months (a semester) to teach entrepreneurship and how to write a business plan, we did it accelerator style in three. We got one big assumption though (e.g. our technology works), so it was great for learning at the maximum speed. Cause the second year was for actually doing a business, not the first. But sometimes folks used both for a real business.
I’m not even mentioning the sustainability parts, which are HUGE. I think we are queued up more than anyone on the planet to deal with what’s to come.
Even better, I transferred my second year to a Sustainability MBA program on Wall Street. It uses a non-integrated curriculum, so I can do deep dives into whatever I want. Which I have. And it still is almost entirely workshop and project based. Except now we work for clients at real companies to see what that’s like. Good, lord, I don’t know how people do it. Do meetings ever start on time? Seriously? How lazy can we be?
But I digress.
Can you imagine if traditional MBA’s taught this way? Both a sustainability-focused way and then a hybrid way?
The book, Makers and Takers, says that traditional MBA’s go into the program thinking that their job is to “benefit a diverse group of stakeholders.” But by the end of the second semester, they think that “greed is good”. And they think that the way to be greedy is to “increase shareholder returns at any cost and produce less high quality goods and services.”
What the fuck.
What’s worse is that every year we church out 156,250 of these people. Not you, of course. Because you’re not in a traditional MBA program.
Just the majority of 156,250.
Giving Voice to Values says that in traditional MBA ethics classes, they learn how to rationalize and justify unethical behavior and choices. Literally, a handbook of arguments.
So, I joined Pinchot cause I didn’t want to be an asshole.
MBA’s aside, most education in the US is garbage compared to what it could be.
Everyone knows the story of the Indian kids who were given a computer.
A teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be.
If children have interest, then education happens.
Arthur C. Clark
Our education squashes curiosity, so it’s no wonder that our skills gap is being filled with immigrants. Except that we stopped letting immigrants here. So we’re still going to have a bunch of unemployed people, and on top of that not enough skilled labor. Then American businesses will just die. And we’ll get wiped out because other countries are educating their people properly.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Hypotheses for the Successful Adoption of Mental Models around Entrepreneurialism
- The vast majority of people have experienced oppressive, suppressive, overly structured, unimaginative, wasteful learning methods for the majority of their education. These methods are based on the industrialization of the world in the early 1800’s and haven’t been updated with the pace of technology and science, despite being scientifically disproven and one-upped again and again. Bureaucracy and insecurity prevents us from improving education. It’s our greatest tragedy in America.
- The vast majority of people have not experienced a proper workshop with a proper team in a proper space. Experiencing this would make a positive and profound difference on how they see the world, themselves, and their life. Some percentage of these people will have a viral difference on the people around them.
- It’s been a while since Americans learned by doing, such as apprenticeships. Which is such a shame, since they’d be so easy and economical now, and other countries are doing them.
- The vast majority of people have not experienced a proper work environment and culture.
- The vast majority of people do not know how to plan for the future and are not prepared. They also have no hope for retirement.
- The corruption behind ITT Tech and University of Phoenix continues to set off a tidal wave of disenfranchised, negatively impacted students. When ITT Tech closed in Sept 2016, just at that time, they had 40,000 students and 8,000 employees. Students have been suing since 1998. That’s a lot of people, their families, and a giant chunk of our country.
Hypotheses for the Target Audience (at least one is true)
- They have no hope for retirement.
- They don’t want to have to work for anything.
- They’re afraid their job will be replaced by a robot. For example, truck drivers, factory workers, and accountants. In addition, I predicted that self-driving cars would predominate major cities within 4 years. Last Friday, Tim Ferriss predicted 3.
In which direction should I go to run a beta test? A small pilot with about ten people in the boonies. Eastern or Western Washington?
I say this with urgency as I’d love to just target kids and the education system. But the reality is that no one’s invested in our kids for a while, especially not us. And, we don’t have enough time to wait for them. We need engaged adults now. Like, right now. Now. Yes, now.