Treppin’ on Education
Education is a hotbed of entrepreneurship and innovation…said no one ever. Well, until recently. Over the past year, MOOCs have promised a revolution in how we learn; and yet they fail to deliver. As broad and intriguing as Coursera’s catalog is, as sleek and sexy as edX’s user interface looks, it seems these MOOC providers have only extended the capacity of colleges without reforming them. Furthermore, all efforts in this field have been fairly restricted to higher education, which is arguably our strongest educational institution. Where’s the love for primary and secondary school?
Our priorities seem to be inverted: we need stronger primary and secondary schools so more kids can get to college, and be better prepared when they get there — not stronger colleges for the kids who are probably gonna be alright.
The question is, what are the problems we can sustainably solve here? In higher education your market is simple: the people you’re selling to are the people using your product so the chicken and egg problem is minimized, and there’s a societal norm that college costs money, so charging for your services isn’t something that phases your customers — you just gotta get the price right. For primary and secondary school though, you wanna help parents, teachers, and students, but you’re gonna be hard-pressed to sell something to the kids, and if you’re trying to proliferate real institutional change then your customers will most likely be administrators, rather than your actual users. Administrators are notorious for being too far removed from the problem to give any real fucks, so if this is territory you want to tackle, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Business in a Nutshell:
- get skillz
- find friendz with skillz
- combine your skillz and build cool shit
Good Guy Gates, at it again.
So once 3D printers go through the same phases as computers and end up being appliances found in most households, the piracy problems we’ve been experiencing with digital media are gonna repeat themselves as people with 3D printers torrent blueprints for PS3s and guitars and all kinds of physical goods.
I’ma print me some swag, maybe a hat.