I woke up this morning in the middle of a vivid dream. I was standing in front of a large auditorium style classroom and teaching a bunch of college students. I was calling on people. Asking questions. Making jokes. Having fun. Teaching.

I've done that before. I taught classes at Penn to help put myself through grad school. And I've done guest lecturing so many times it is like second nature. But this dream was a bit different from what I've done in the past. It felt like it was my class and I was a faculty member.

My dad was a college professor (at West Point) in addition to a long military career. I've always thought that, like him, I would teach as a profession one day. It's the only thing that really interests me other than venture capital.

But I wonder if the classroom is the best place for me to do that. At some level this blog is my classroom. I look at what Sal Khan has done with his Khan Academy and I am inspired to think of new ways to teach.

MBA Mondays is an effort to understand what is possible in a blog format and what is not. Putting concepts down in a text format that anyone can read if they can get on the web is powerful. And the comments section allows for further discussion. The comments on the MBA Mondays post are often way better than the posts.

But every time I sit down in front of group of assembled entrepreneurs, I realize that the "in person thing" is different and better in some ways. I feed off the energy of real people sitting in the same room as me. I like the back and forth. Asking questions. Making jokes. Having fun. Teaching. Just like my dream this morning.

MBA Mondays can be a burden at times. I sit down in front of the computer each monday morning at 5am and churn out another post. It is work and it is not that much fun for me. Contrast that with stepping into a classroom of a hundred or so students armed with a topic for the day. That is a blast for me.

I've been thinking about the ideal model that combines all of the above. A freely available curriculum on the web that grows and evolves over time. A physical space where people can come and take classes that are recorded and broadcast live and also available for viewing after the fact. Some version of that seems ideal. Should it happen in connection with an existing education institution (an engineering school or a business school), or should it be its own educational institution? Not sure.

But the one thing I am sure of is that teaching is god's work and I love it and I'd like to do more of it.

#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Professor Wilson,The combination of online+meetup is an excellent idea. I think the lines are blurring a bit in terms of what can be done, since you could live broadcast during the physical lecture and have people participate remotely as well. Imagine a canvas of Skype video windows on one wall complementing a room full of people. I’m sure one of the local NY universities would love to have you as an adjunct professor. Maybe you’ll get an offer in the comments today!

    1. fredwilson

      I wonder if Google’s new multi person video chat scales to hundreds ofpeople at a time

      1. Julie Dango

        If there is one thing I learned in life, if you don’t like doing it, stop. Not joking. Find a new way to express yourself. Life is too short.”I sit down in front of the computer each monday morning at 5am and churn out another post. It is work and it is not that much fun for me.”

        1. paramendra

          Wrong. Don’t stop. 

        2. Donna Brewington White

          This makes what Fred gives even more valuable and even more generous.  Sometimes generosity is its own reward.But I have to agree that maybe this dislike for the task signals that something needs to change. In some way, even if not wholesale change.

      2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        Did not know about multi person video chat…but if it can accomodate 100’s then it will obviously be the next big thing for blogging…it will turn commenting into discusions.  It will also bring the concept of consumer centric ecommerce to a whole new level!In 1981 I was a grad assistant at OU, where I taught American Government, which was a required class for all undergraduates.  I taught two classes with a total of 180 students.  Nothing is more boring than to lecture on American Government and nothing is more tedious than grading coursework in American Government.The second semester I decided to do something totally different with the finals.  I would break the classes up into groups of equal size and have them meet for an hour and discuss one question that I would throw out at the beginning.  Then they would grade themselves and each group member and their final grade would be the sum of their grade, the groups grade for them, and my grade.No need to cram because they had no idea what the subject would be.  Most groups met outside, and every single one went way beyond the established length.  I will also say that almost to a member everyone graded themselves lower than their group members did and in all cases they as individuals grade themselves and their group members lower than I did.I also gave out the required questionaires where students rated me after the exam and I ended up with the highest ratings of any prof/lecturer in the political science dept…..I think the idea of video chat rooms is the ideal way to share and learn……learning has to involve reading, hearing, and seeing……and its best when its give and take…..which might explain why MBA MONDAYS are tough for you and seem like work….its more a lecture to you than give and take with commenters….

      3. JimHirshfield

        http://livemind.com/ Live, online, contemporaneous…a platform for teaching and learning. It might scratch that itch.

      4. Geoffrey Vitt

        As a first go around, you could probably just use the YT livestream and townhall comment/questions program. It’s not as interactive in terms of real time Q&A but it’s a starting point.

      5. Rick

        You might not need multi-person video chat. Just a way for people to see you talking and for you to turn video on for other people if they have questions or other comments. That is, distill it down to the people talking.For something like this, you might check out Vokle: vokle.com/

      6. Applecrm

        Try webex,,Mr.Wilson

    2. paramendra

      Maybe it can be scaled. 30 people in person. And a #fredwilson hashtag to allow people to ask questions from all over the world. Maybe Christina can help plow through the questions and dig up the best ones to ask. If I can watch live and ask questions over Twitter, I might not hold against you not being there in person each time. 

  2. Luis Correa d'Almeida

    Personally, teaching was/has been one of the best ways to learn.

    1. fredwilson


  3. Julian Sametinger

    This post tells exactly why I always loved the idea of creating something like an accelerator for education, e.g. a 12 week program in which students have discussion classes with experts from various backgrounds, maybe resulting in small projects to stimulate pro-active learning.Boy, I’d love to have 12 weeks of dicussions about philosophy with Hubert Dreyfus, insights to social and thus real business à la C.K. Prahalad (RIP), outlooks to the future of science, banking and so on and so forth.IMHO we have way to many narrow-minded specialists out there as many academics lack the broad background. Great things come into existence when many different things merge. You have the network to pull something like this off and I’m sure as hell that this could be a profitable business as well. C’mon Fred, go for it! I’d be your first customer 😉

  4. KirstenWinkler

    I think the format of a webcast would fit pretty well, similar to Leo Laporte, Andrew Warner, Jason Calacanis, etc. Call-ins could come from meetups or even incubators around the globe, I think we have about 4 in Paris. You could do live calls / Q&A with two or three of them in one episode.Streaming either via Ustream.tv or Livestream as you could embed them into a Facebook page which would then be another point of engagement.The recorded videos and transcripts could be hosted at a platform like Udemy which already has a great library of free and paid courses. There you could share extra content and people can comment and share the lessons.

    1. Luis Correa d'Almeida

      Absolutely. Although Mark Suster already hosts a show called This Week in VC that covers similar ground.

      1. KirstenWinkler

        True, but Mark likes to mix it up a bit. I liked the early episodes best when he and his guests were really geeking it out.

        1. Luis Correa d'Almeida

          Maybe Mark should start by inviting Fred. 🙂

      2. fredwilson

        his is news orientedi’m thinking more education oriented content

  5. Rohan

    Live video webcast/Google+ Hangout sort of thing? 1 hour every week?

    1. fredwilson

      yup, great model

      1. Rohan

        Awesome. I feel you just need to be on a streaming service like ustream/veetle and we should be able to ask questions. Multi person chat would be great as you have pointed out below though. Look forward, if you do decide to give it a shot!

  6. David Haber

    You should teach a few classes on Skillshare and give the profits to DonorsChoose. Love the idea of every city becoming a campus – every person a teacher or student. We all have so much to share!

    1. fredwilson

      i like what skillshare is doing

  7. Luis Correa d'Almeida

    Interestingly enough, I spent about a week in Boston recently and around MIT Sloan. Having always had an interest in higher and continuing education, I keep an eye on what some of the business and tech schools offer. There is still a gap in the market – it is hard to find a programme that speaks to entrepreneurs (beyond the fact that most would rather learn by doing). Would be great to have a programme that would cover marketing for startups, product development, interface design, engineering practices, bootstrapping techniques, financing, etc… I suppose at the moment incubators are filling that gap. They are probably the new millenium entrepreneur’s MBA.

    1. Julian Sametinger

      You should add a few non-business courses to it, I’d say. Let’s take interface design – why not have psychology classes in addition to understand what people want from an interface? Or some lessons on painting? When you talk about product development, why not add e.g. social entrepreneurship classes to adapt your product to the needs of third world countries?I think the foremost goal of education should be a critical mindset and activating spiral instead of linear thinking.

      1. Luis Correa d'Almeida

        Absolutely. Was just trying to give an example rather than flesh out a comprehensive curriculum.Completely agree that there are peripheral subjects that are extremely interesting and very relevant. That might be the difference between the 12 week incubator programme and a broader academic curriculum to be tought as part of a graduate degree.

        1. markslater

          this type of program must be taught by people who have direct experience. that why lean start up, incubators etc are where the best material is. its like someone teaching you how to fight when having never been in one. 

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. Tereza

            The format could be this:  Fred puts out a post with the concept and his own experience/spin on it.  Then he opens it up to the crowd to submit 2 min video examples or “mini-cases” of what they experienced in real life.So the learner can see what Charlie, Andy, etc. did in the situation, a range of experiences on the topic.And the comments ban be about clarification/more technical….or really whatever people want.But a catalog of real case studies would be really beneficial and on video it would have much more rhythm and personality.Fred needs to move it from a lecture to an apprenticeship.

      2. ShanaC

        I think also history should be added.

  8. Josh

    Just wanted to say thank you.Thank you all for sharing your thoughts, comments, ideas, questions with all of usNot just Fred, but every single one of you – Thank you for taking the time to teach and learn together in this amazing community.

    1. tyronerubin

      Josh I could not have said it better, I totally agree with your thoughts on being appreciative for this sites teachings.

  9. tyronerubin

    I feel that teaching through video is the second best way to learn, first being obviously with a teacher in the classroom physically, or maybe video can even somehow top that with interactive commenting and yes Google Hangout for example. I absolutely dream of you brining teaching through video to all of us somehow. I do love This week in startups and This week in venture capital but they are very much a talk show / learning show. I would love you to think about using video to teach in an ongoing way. You would get so many people, like myself who would watch, interact and benefit. Video can truly be powerful. I would suggest not only livestream as that becomes time dependent. It would be great to have all the video in one place, maybe after a livestream. Videopress could be nice for that. Sir if you charged entrance I would pay. As far as aligning with an institution, that would give it some form of credibility and support, but maybe at first, option an open platform. Maybe walk us through the learning experience you have gained from facilitating some of the greatest web companies like Twitter, Tumblr and Etsy. I could type all I can to convince you to teach through video but will stop and urge you to consider it, please, thanks DJ Tyrone Rubin. p.s. if you would need any assistance in any form of video creation, production, editing, uploading, deployment, I am definitely your man, would love to help in anyway I can.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve got a PA in SA 🙂

  10. toddmck

    Fred, sorry for not chiming in more in the past, but if you are weighing the value of this particular lecturn vs. having a physical room full of undergrads, please stay here.In many ways, you are a mentor and teacher for people who you don’t even know. I, for one, appreciate it. I’m well past being able to spend my days sitting in a lecture hall and learning. I’m much more in the stage of my life where I am paying for my children to have those experiences. It would really sadden me if one of the best sources for inspiration and information for “post-graduates” were to get sucked into the abyss of higher education.I guess the way I would position it is that your dream is probably a very viceral manifestation of what you do on this blog, every day. It’s a bit intangible, but so very real. From an investment perspective, and “how should the world work” angle, I think you’re on to something. You provide me with value and useful insight on a near-daily basis, yet you have almost no idea who I am. You have tremendous goodwill with me, approaching a traditional brand, but something better.Is there some way to harness that latent value? Dunno. Should be. I would guess, that even after this back and forth, that we really understand very little about each other. Someone should fix that.

    1. Julian Sametinger

      I didn’t get the notion that he’s considering to start a career in higher education, I guess Professor Wilson was pondering how he could pass on his knowledge in the most effective way for the “students” and for himself – without having to change the modus operandi of what he’s doing right now too much.

      1. toddmck

        yep, very well could be that I’m reading too much into this post. I guess my main point was two-fold:1) Lotsa people you don’t know, or even interact with, actually feel like thy have some kind of relationship with you. Lonely at the top, but worth remembering.2) There has to be some way to make money off of that unstated but implicit relationship. Not that anyone here necessarily cares about that, but still, it might be a nice service to mankind if you could figure out how to make it more “real”.Also, FWIW, anytime someone says something like “MBA Mondays can be a burden at times. I sit down in front of the computer each monday morning at 5am and churn out another post. It is work and it is not that much fun for me.” you have to wonder if they’re considering whether it’s worth the effort or not. I was attempting to say very loudly “YES, IT IS”.

        1. fredwilson

          that’s what keeps me going. it is very powerful compensation

          1. JamesHRH

            Fred – I have posted this before, but it is appropriate again here: the surgical residency learning triangle of SEE, DO, SHOW.The theory is that you do not have total understanding of a surgical procedure until you watch someone do it, do it and then show someone how to do it. Each aspect has a unique perspective and creates unique knowledge for the surgeon.You’ve seen it done, you’ve done it, now you have the urge to show it. Not surprising that AVC is not a satisfying vehicle – writer’s have long complained of the process as an emotional one way street……..you are officially in the serious writers’ club!

          2. Robert Thuston

            You have my wheel turning, can SEE be handled through video on the internet… even real time… what if you could watch a surgery in real time and make personal note of the insights you learn through the surgery.  Then after, you could see the insights and notes from your collegues and other surgeons to find what they found particularly insightful that lined up with or differed from your thoughts.I’ve been bit obsessive with the field of management  for a while, and I crave seeing good managers in action… whether realtime or past-video… what questions do they ask in a business review, what questions do they ask in a board meeting, a training session, a professional development review, etc.  Finding this content is few and far between.  I’d love to be able to curate video content, and overlay my personal insights, and log it into a developing library of personal insights… I want to own my insights and the development of them through the SEE, DO, and SHOW phases, and be able to share in a format consistent with others developing libraries of insight.Thanks James. I’ve enjoyed your past comments on the blog as well.Just going back through the posts I missed over the weekend, Robert

          3. JamesHRH

            Robert – thanks for the comments. Hilariously, while I have friends who ARE surgeons, I gained this insight from a close friend who was working at a major brewery! They were using it to keep young people from thinking they knew it all, when they wanted them to understand that you could be competent without knowing it all.AVC is a super dynamic – what brings you to it?

          4. Robert Thuston

            Encouragement and learning. I’ve been developing an idea, and slowlybuilding the courage and know how to do it. As you mention, AVC is adynamic community, and a great place to learn about developing trends,unique perspectives, and standard business know how. I’ve been soaking itup like a sponge for the last year.Sent from my iPad

    2. fredwilson

      i’m not leaving the blog format. it’s become part of me.i’m just jonesing for more personal interaction around the education part of it

  11. Jorge M. Torres

    My background is in law, and I’m just starting out in VC.  There’s a teaching dimension to both.  Whether advising clients on legal problems or coaching founders through tough decisions, the teaching aspect is one of the things I love about each profession.  Sometimes, I’m at my happiest giving lost people in GCT directions, helping them from get from point A to point B.  It’s what teaching is all about.

  12. awaldstein

    Capturing the dynamics is key…the intersection of people around an idea with leadership. Mingled inspiration.The workshop concept is a good place to start, combining teaching and channeling the group.Take a topic that is never black and white, that extends through the lifecycle of every company…like marketing or early community adoption;) Build ten topics with ten different start-ups (one each session) who are tackling that stage and a live group to interact.The key is not technology, it’s dynamics. Keep the group small enough, let them be the live connection, stream, record and share.Make it interesting and real, the format will find itself from that. There are enough ‘shows’ on the web. We need a new type of community based learning.

    1. Julian Sametinger

      Why narrow the whole thing down on startups only? Why not invite other inspiring people from different backgrounds?It’s obvious that people come here for the startup sauce, but entrepreneurial thinking and valuable lessons for startups can be found in many other areas and disciplines. Although it may sometimes require some thinking to translate it into startup language.

      1. awaldstein

        True…I was talking from my reference point of working with start-ups and early-2-mid-stage companies. With marketing, I like to focus on what you are building with the customer community.With large companies that discussion starts to include internal structures and politics and takes it in other directions. Valid, but you end up generalizing around the structure of individual cultures. Just a different direction.

    2. fredwilson

      founder labs works so well because it is a workshop

      1. awaldstein

        That’s my idea of education. It’s more about leading than instructing. I got the same sense when I’ve had great teams reporting into me. It’s less about managing and more about channeling and directing.

  13. Sebastian Wain

    Education is one of the areas where we are behind the real technological possibilities.In my opinion these are the key areas to solve to bring a disruptive change.- Reputation: Offsite programs from known universities with high reputation. There are a lot of remote education offerings but not offered by the best universities.- Fun: Gaming style education: the possibility to move forward and test yourself without the constant need of a human teacher.- Scalability: New tools for teachers to handle communication/questions to thousands of students instead of a few. This is more than a forum or mailing list.

  14. Michael Lewkowitz

    As someone involved in unschooling our kids you’re describing much of what happens for us. We live together, ask questions, look things up online, find teachers and gather with others for shared learning. The only thing that’s really different is we don’t gather in the same place every day. It’s more fluid which makes for more dynamic, diverse, and interest-driven gatherings. And it gives a lot more space to just be, explore, experiment.Here in Ontario we’re lucky that we can come and go from the school system whenever the kids want. They can decide to take a grade and then leave the system again the next year. We’ve been able access school facilities and programs – even getting into the university science labs with a range of homeschoolers from 6 to 16.Our schools are a great community asset. Our ‘teachers’ and ‘students’ are just the fringe of the rest of the whole of humanity that has something to teach and something to learn. Our knowledge and experiences are being shared among more people at an accelerating rate. Education has changed. It just takes time for the institutions to catch up. And side note… am just reading “Driven” by Lawrence and Nohria – who reasoned that Learning, one of the four foundational human drives, is the one responsible for the ‘intrinsic’ motivation we experience. It’s uniquely human. Just learned that last night, lying in bed, reading a book I found out about on a blog and then Kindled to my iPad.

    1. fredwilson

      so you can opt in and out of your kids school on a class by class basis?

      1. Michael Lewkowitz

        Technically yes, but practically it’s resisted. What does happen ishomeschoolers might decide at some point to go to school for a year or twoand then go back to homeschooling. From what I’ve seen, it tends to be abouttrying the experience that is the norm in society. Either that or familysituation changes and parents find themselves financially unable to have atleast one parent home.

        1. Teri Flemal

          Families move in and out of the schools here in the U.S. too, from homeschooling to traditional and vice versa. (As far as I know, only private schools let you opt in and out class by class.)  No diploma after grade 12, but so far it hasn’t mattered for the families we work with, as colleges are very open to homeschoolers with documentation like standardized tests and detailed academic records.   Sounds like you are doing a great job with the unschooling, really an excellent example.  There is a subset of unschool advocates in the U.S. who think of the “un” part as meaning “let your child do only what they like and call it an education.”  

    2. markslater

      have any good sources of background on the un-schooling movement? – would be most appreciated.

    3. Mike O'Horo

      Read Daniel Pink’s “Drive.”  He talks about Motivation 3.0 being shaped by three anthropologically-hardwired needs: 1) Autonomy; 2) (pursuit of) Mastery; 3) Purpose (larger than oneself).

      1. Michael Lewkowitz

        Know it well. Reading ‘Driven’ by Lawrence and Nohria right now. Takes thateven deeper. Excellent work in understanding the roots of human motivation.

  15. LIAD

    the desire to teach, to pass on our knowledge, to share what we know is a profound human need. I see it as an abstract form of procreation.To educate, inform and enchant gives us a very deep pleasure.As we move up maslow’s hierarchy it makes sense that this internal longing gets ever louder.

  16. Boss Hogg

    You’re on to something with your combined model. Existing or new? Doesn’t matter as long as accredited, using standards yet to be worked out — that will be the challenge.

  17. Dave W Baldwin

    Beautiful dream.  Psychologically, we all feel a different platform in the near future allowing multiple teachers interacting with students 24/7.  What will spike this is the Cross Category related to those more in research, philosophy, art, music, business and so on will share vision, storyboard, execution, earlier market sample/opine and dissection regarding a more mature Cross Categorization.Looking at the picture, moving forward, we need:1)  Cameras, low cost and focused… with evolving ability to control (this goes with that Skype/Microsoft thing mentioned, Fred… it’s all about camera angle).2)  Microphones, like cameras that will evolve thru the devices attached to allowing ease.3)  Translation/Fragmenation/Understanding-  This is where my side comes in (what I’ve been preaching about) where you have to think of the end run, both sides.  Those sharing knowledge will be doing give and take.  Problem is, everyone has a day job. By moving over to the higher AI cognitive level, the oral lecture can be translated into text, broken apart and placed in the cloud where what is key in a lecture, part of lecture, paragraph and/or main point can be transmitted per request of the learner. A boomerang effect happens as the learner asks (not type) questions and will be presented with fragments from multiple lectures/lecturers and the expanding circles that happen.At the podium, through the breakdown of multiple questions analyzed, questions will appear that offer ability to answer multiple questions at once instead of 1 by 1 that bumps into time.Speaking of which, the above shows the actual definition of Real Time.This really is a matter of Social converging with Education as we strip away the stiffness related to Education and people realize they do have something to share.

    1. fredwilson

      i can’t wait for all of this

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Because you exude confidence and humility, it is a goal worth attaining… Sooner than later.Enjoy the weekend!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          “…you exude confidence and humility…”That is such an apt description, Dave.  Also, inspired by the vision you painted above…at least what I comprehended of it.  😉

          1. Dave W Baldwin

            Thanks. What I describe above still fits into the ‘Twins’ stage where the mobile and land stations become an extension of you.When we meet down the road, if I were to tap your forehead and you became two, would you be able to get more accomplished?Do have a great weekend!

      2. Aboyeji E Iyinoluwa

        We are working on it.Bookneto.com

        1. Robert Thuston

          Fascinating.  Keep up the good work.

    2. Robert Thuston

      Good points… “Cameras, Microphones, and Fragmentation of content, start to create a boomerang effect for learners.”  I think this is the starting point for the disruption of higher education, and I hope it starts with this community and it’s members helping forge the path.I think it starts with a network of learners fragmenting and sharing content that already exists.  Once this happens, videos and microphones will have more value, because as a teacher “not in the tradition sense” (more people like Fred) you will be able to video-tape yourself in real time, and then your students curate the content to share the most valuable portions.Thanks for the practical insights in your comment.  Hate I missed this blog posting over the weekend while in the woods, Robert

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        It is a matter of Accleration.  This decade will see amazing feats as the different roadways of progress running slightly off parallel become highways and those highways begin to merge.For instance, at this point, instead of biotech and nanotech, we have bionanotechnology.At the same time via prosthetics/robotics you have more mimic of the biological enabling the connection to bio that takes you outward and inward.From those of us whacko’s doing the next discipline you enable faster real time to both the bio’s and artificial’s.Not too far out, you’ll laugh over the blurring of audio and video capture.

  18. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    I came upon this Japanese proverb back in 1981:”To Teach Is To Learn”

    1. fredwilson

      yup, i totally agree with that

    2. Guest

      Have some firsthand knowledge with this. You are so right. A great proverb.** hides from wife, told her I would not do much blog stuff this holiday weekend **

  19. William Mougayar

    @dtapscott:twitter  in his book Macrowikinomics has a pretty good chapter dedicated to “Rethinking the University”. One of the ideas mentioned is to enable a student to receive a custom education from a dozen universities, with the help of a “knowledge facilitator”. I would take this further, and don’t see why this can’t be facilitated online. Maybe a new startup could aggregate online courses from a variety of places and the student assembles the ones they want, and get a “custom degree” at the end of it! 

    1. Aboyeji E Iyinoluwa

      The trouble with this is the aspect of managing the relationships with the universities, many of which offer the same courses and are genuinely concerned about the prospect of students having the option of a market place style arrangement in choosing courses (instead of simply going with courses they can take wherever they can get admitted).That said, this is an amazing idea that we have been working on at Bookneto.com. Overtime, I think with wide adoption, the schools would come around.

  20. Tom Labus

    What I find truly amazing with the Khan Academy is that you never see Sal yet it is so compelling and personal.  Is it his voice?There’s no “high tech” there just a real desire to share information and knowledge.

    1. Mike O'Horo

      Khan has a unique gift for clarity and simplicity.  That’s why he can teach so much in 9 minutes.

  21. Dave W Baldwin

    An example of learning from unexpected sources, here is a link from Michael R Litt on Twitter: http://t.co/yR02JJW regarding RIM.  Go down to the letter from the anonymous employee who finally decided to speak out. Very useful lessons, including the following quote:–“Let’s obsess about what is best for the end user. We often make product decisions based on strategic alignment, partner requests or even legal advice — the end user doesn’t care–“I have been discussing what Devs need to be truly working for being the end run user.  You do that and your investor will get their return.  It blew me away seeing this part of the anonymous employee’s letter.Everyone have a good weekend and appreciate what has been done by those that precede us enabling the opportunities we have today to truly disrupt the world… and make it better.

  22. Andrew Bradford

    Would you still be as excited about teaching if you felt compelled to do it on a regular basis?  You may love the idea of it now, but would you still love the idea if it became a regular thing (a la MBA Mondays has become)?Even though (I assume) you make little or no money from writing MBA Mondays, you seem to feel compelled to do it every week.  It has become work that’s required, even if the only reason it’s required is because you now have a following who expects it.  You don’t want to let the followers down, so you write.  We, the readers, greatly appreciate it!  I’m sure your proposed students would love your teaching, too.  But would it feel different?

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t know. good question. i know i wouldn’t particularly enjoy giving tests and grading them


    Totally agree with the value of the “in person thing”  —  a fact I often remember is how much people pay for a ticket to a live sporting event to participate with complete strangers often in horrible weather when they could watch it in high definition at home with friends, warm and dry. This is why I think the missing opportunity is – what if the virtual increased or improved in person participation in the physical world?  There is so much untapped talent.  There are assets in communities which are dormant. Which would catapult our economy, society and culture more (and have the most value)? – expanding the reach of one professor to more people, virtually, for free, or, networking all the talent and assets in the physical world virtually to support each other, help individuals discover what all the possibilities are, and connect the curious with the best resource to learn more.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s what i’m looking for, a feedback loop that reinforces each



    2. Donna Brewington White

      Well said, K.Provocative thoughts.

      1. COMRADITY

        thanks.  love this topic.

  24. Paul Sanwald

    I love MBA mondays. I think a lot about teaching, too, my mom was a science teacher for most of her career. It’s very hard work for not a lot of comparative pay. She has a phd in psychology and could have done a number of things, but chose to teach, and I really respect that. I’m super excited to see platforms like the Khan academy grow and also to see someone like John Resig join that team. The interactivity thing is interesting as well, because there are many sides to it. the mongodb tutorial in your browser window is just plain awesome.I got an ipad not too long ago and the main thing I use it for, other than testing my apps, is watching lectures. I am very much an auditory learner and hearing things makes an impression in my mind in a way that reading things cannot.education is, in my mind, the most important thing we can use the internet for.

  25. Jan Schultink

    Ideally, you would have some Quora-style voteable searching/ranking mechanism for educational content. You type in “discrete mathematics 101” and up comes the best DIY course stitched together by an enthusiast (own content + text links/videos/exercises). Personal reputation replaces the university brand name as endorsement.

    1. Mike O'Horo

      Bingo!  That’s the sea change that we’ll see, IMO.  Right now, the universities’ brands are based on the cache of their faculties.  I saw an analysis once of what these top professors earn annually.  One speculated that with Harvard Law salary, publishing, speaking and consulting, Alan Dershowitz likely earns a total of $1m/yr.  What if an online learning venture offered him $2m/yr plus equity, and the opportunity for bright students worldwide to learn constitutional law from him?  Such talent erosion would function like a run on banks.  Once you hit the critical mass, say, a software prof from Stanford, B-school star from Penn or Chicago, a Harvard Law guy or gal, etc., it would make it easier for other luminaries to jump ship, too.  Soon, the universities’ brand cache has been seriously eroded.  Then, as an earlier poster suggested, students could configure their own degrees, learning from the best of the best without regard to geography.It’s the geography that creates the unfair imbalance, especially at the primary- or secondary school level.  Urban school systems have less money to buy technology, hire top-tier teachers, upgrade physical facilities, etc.  Just because my family is poor and lives in one such district, am I stuck with a poor education?  Online learning will break the geographic/financial constraints that form the permanent disadvantages that are the opposite of the permanent advantages that Gladwell describes in “Outliers.”Online education will be far more egalitarian than the current system.

  26. Kevin Drost

    Fred, I’m on the board of NYU Stern’s Entertainment, Media and Technology alumni group. We just had a meeting on Wednesday about Stern’s involvement in New York’s start up and VC community. If you’re interested in possibly working with NYU’s business school in any capacity I’d love to see if I could help out.

    1. fredwilson

      i am on the Board of NYU and working to help make that connection real in a number of ways

      1. Kevin Drost

        Guess you got that covered, if you’d like any help getting the business school alumni and student body involved, please let me know

  27. Maurice Bernier

    Teaching, mentoring or whatever you wish to call it, brings more satisfaction to the heart than one who has never done it can imagine. Calling it God’s work is a very good term for it and, I truly believe that God is the one placing the good feeling in your heart after you see what you have done for someone else. Sal Khan is definitely a master at giving, teaching and is truly a very good person who gave up what could have been billions simply to help others! Thanks for giving him the mention and for this great post!Maurice


    In reply to David Baldwin comment: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201… . . . that the employee advocates for the “end user” “anonymously” and in your impression “finally decided to speak out” speaks volumes about the fact that it takes more than technology for self expression to happen.  For example, the printing press was invented in the 15th Century. Three hundred years later the ideas of the Enlightenment were printed (the 18th century).  The American & French Revolutions were only decades later.  Why did it take so long to build the confidence to use the technology for self-expression and how do you accelerate that?

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Simple.  The Law of Accelerating Returns works both biological and artificial.  You had the extremely long Paleozoic leading to shorter Mesazoic to shorter current Cenezoic leading to evolution thru opposable thumb to expansion of language (grunt/sign over to grunt/pitch/syllable) to writing to the press…. each major disruption comes in less time than the one before.The ‘anonymous’ was not the first to do something brave by far.  Remember that this weekend for Washington, Adams and Jefferson would all tell you they had the easy job compared to those that lost limb, blood and life.  Those that froze while starving would laugh about the thankless job someone had back home and so on.So, yes it does take more than technology… but techology will enable group thinking on the level where we can achieve helping one another without trying to get into that other person’s wallet.  We do like to help one another and when you tweak how a person can do this, more will enjoy… and it will accelerate (time span shrinking between each doubling). The vision set regarding communication/collaboration I’ve visited before over the past year… is not a fool’s dream, but something set forward with a lot of faith from some of the better minds in the world.  What makes our strategy key (along with all of the details set…whew) is knowing the most important participant in establishing a better world is… you.Have a blessed weekend.

      1. Mike O'Horo

        Many of these ideas are presented beautifully in Tom Shaddyack’s limited-distribution movie, “I Am.”

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Thanks for the tip. This decade will be the disruptive of the disruptive.Of course the 20’s will be even more.For now, working on pushing what my team is doing backward to 2018 from2022-24 in the arena of AGI.



  29. Rvalentine

    Doesn’t MIT’s Open Courseware Project hit all of your requests?

    1. Derek

      Nope – there definitely needs to be an “in person” component

      1. fredwilson


      2. ShanaC

        do you think there is a way to optimize the distance learning/on your own time issues with OpenCourseware with that of in person learning.

  30. Peter Sullivan

     Teaching is one of those things that has double positive effects. One of the main reasons I want to have children, is the ability to pass on the knowledge I have gained from mistakes onto someone I love. I always loved hearing my fathers owns stories and the guidance he gave. The education system could really be disrupted by the presence of video learning. In some ways good in some ways bad. I think schools with strict budgets could see it as a way to record a lecture, or series once and never have a need for that teacher again. In many ways I feel college education is based on an individual learning the material themselves. As sad as it sounds I saw college professors having little impact. Of course there were always some that excelled and made an impact. 

    1. fredwilson

      there was one professor in college who knocked my socks off, kept me on the edge of my seat every class, i’d show up if i was hung over, i’d show up if i was sick with a fever, i looked forward to it every week. he started the first lecture with the word “socrates”. this was a mechanical engineering class and he started it off with a lecture on the socratic method. the guy was a brilliant educator and entertainer

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Those are the best, instructing the student outside the box.  They are not afraid to establish the student is smarter than they think.

  31. Marios Koufaris

    Fred, I am a professor of Information Systems at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. I teach a course on e-business for graduate business students (MBA, MS) which has a strong entrepreneurial content. Students work in groups to develop a business plan for their new e-business ideas. I would love it if you came and gave a guest lecture to the class this Fall. The students are always extremely motivated and often have fantastic ideas for viable new businesses. Baruch College is consistently ranked number one in the country in terms of student diversity, which makes for a truly interesting and rewarding class time. If you are interested, we’d love to have you come and talk to/with the students.

    1. fredwilson

      consider it done. there is a contact link at the bottom of this blog to reach me via email

    2. Kelley Boyd

      I suggest taking a hard look at business plan vs business modeling.  Alexander Osterwalders book; Business Model Generation – http://alexosterwalder.com/.  Electronic versions of the canvas are available in many places on the web.  Excellent tool.

  32. kirklove

    I hope you teach a class at Shake Shack. I’d attend every one.

    1. fredwilson

      i can’t eat burgers that often. it’s a guilty pleasure for me

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        Hmmm….Die from old age or from guilty pleasures…….Give me the burgers!

        1. CJ

          I’d expect nothing less from Carl Jr.

          1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            A “burger” is not produced but rather prepared, it is never served wrapped in paper but rather displayed on a platter…no one who has a box that you talk to place your order or a window from which they throw your order at you has ever served “a burger”The “guitly pleasures” of life should always be savored and should never be confused with something that you can accomplish in your car, or while doing other things…A really awesome burger is a work of art, that like BBQ, is very messy and to be considered a pleasure requires all of your attention…The key to living longer and better health is not watching what you eat but rather watching HOW and WHEN you eat…..if you can’t eat it at a table then do not eat it. 

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Fish finger sandwiches are an ideal compromise 😉

  33. Tereza

    God’s work? I thought you were atheist. ;-)Something to consider — converge methods we know that work in various fields. Think case study, lean methodologies (prove/improve/prove/improve cycles), multi-functional teams, multiple media. Developing the muscles to do the stuff is what’s really key to make it stick.Just last week I had a fun text exchange with my old Wharton teammate from 15 years ago, how we DS-ed ‘the huge marketing project’ by mashing up his analytical brilliance with my marketing/Int’l strategy. We jammed it 24/7, learned a ton and still savor it.And the other major learning was directing, writing, casting, staging, etc etc the Wharton Follies. Why? It was a major, 3-D problem and we were putting our learnings to practice. (oh yeah, it was totally fun too)So I think Founder Labs and Techstars harness this power too. Need to learn-do-learn-do.Also worth considering is the role of anonymity. In a physical classroom there’s no such thing as anonymous. We learn a lot through experiencing other’s 3D and 360-degree-ness. Anonymity has sone great value too (e.g. flash polls, suggestion boxes) but if we aren’t then put in a place where we are forced to try on a concept for size in concert with our personal identity, then we haven’t fully internalized it. Putting your name on something is a precondition for leadership. You have to own your mistakes and successes and that must be part of the mission.

    1. fredwilson

      i am an atheist or at least agnostic. if i can’t be sure about that, how can i be sure about anything?

      1. Rick

        Great post here about the difference between atheism and agnosticism. These actually aren’t opposite ends of the spectrum.http://www.reddit.com/help/…To summarize, quickly — a gnostic atheist believes that there is no god. An agnostic atheist lacks a belief in god (or gods) due to a lack of evidence supporting the existence of one or many gods.

        1. Mike O'Horo

          Thanks, Rick.  You wrote an elegant version of my cynical, “people’s imaginary friend in the sky.”

          1. Rick

            LOL. Definitely encourage you to checkout reddit.com/r/atheism . It’s a great community that’s helped me better understand what it really means to be an atheist.

      2. Mark Essel

        Yeah you caught me off guard with that line too.When I refer to the supernatural I prefer “digital jesus”

      3. David Semeria

        Are you having a Donald Rumsfled moment (unknown unknowns) ?



  34. markslater

    he’s lying people. He secretly wants to be on stage with a mohawk and neck tats screaming verse and chorus in to a microphone to throngs of worshippers preying on his every note. thats the teaching fred secretly desires 😉

    1. fredwilson

      i can’t sing, but otherwise i play a great air guitar

  35. Douglas Crets

    There are a few people working on what you describe. Edmodo is missing some of those vital elements. Not sure it’s the first stage of what you are looking for in this space. 

    1. fredwilson

      it’s a piece of the puzzle. wasn’t intended to be the first, middle, or last piece

      1. Douglas Crets

        True. I can see edmodo opening up to include work with other apps and otherweb platforms. But the messaging, it’s right now all about controlling thestudents. Monitoring. What about the learning and the discovery of teacherswho share similar views or ideas? What about finding the curriculum that wedidn’t know we needed? Or, that we know we need, but can’t find? Hopefullythe common core will enable a sharing of content and the use of discoverysystems that make edmodo more of a content platform and less of a processingcenter for homework.

  36. Neil Braithwaite

    I commented on a post some time back that you needed to do this. I have been a teacher and coach for many years – absoutly LOVE it! You are correct – there is nothing that compares to teaching “live” – it’s addictive.So stop talking about it and do it! Why get up so early alone? I bet you’d have dozens of eager students waiting for you – even at 5:00am! Online of course… unless you provide breakfast.FYI – I have found that I get more attendance and participation from a morning class than later in the day. When you’re first on an agenda, chances are you won’t get bumped. And, the classes seem more focused as well.I’ll be there.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for the constant push on this neil. i guess my subconscious is listening

    2. Vasudev Ram

      If I was there, I would like breakfast too – that yummy diverse New York City grub 🙂 Would pay for it too.

  37. EmilSt

    If you are one of the best human routers in the world, than having in person lesons and brainstorming with you would be like geting the speedest connection you can get with that router. What could be better than that? If anything like that happens I would like to be part of it. It can start with another institution and then see from there. If there is any way I/we can help it hapend, let me/us know…

  38. paramendra

    The most dramatic beginning to a Fred Wilson blog post ever: “I woke up this morning in the middle of a vivid dream.”I was going to say you already teach through your blog every day before I ever read this line: “At some level this blog is my classroom.”And I thought of the video format before you mentioned it in the post. And then I thought of INSITE before you mentioned “educational institution.” Fred, I am one step ahead of you! 🙂 You are right: text is not enough. Now that USV has an event space, you should host a monthly chitchat with Fred thing. That might be a good name: Chitchat With Fred, to be broadcast live on the web – ustream/livestream and archived permanently. There would be 30 slots open each month. Current and aspiring entrepreneurs would compete to get in. If you get in once you would have to wait six months before you can get in again. You will have to figure out a way to say which 30 when 300 and 3000 people apply. I think you should accord priority to people who leave comments at this blog every day. (Self serving, I know, I know, but then the video will have grown from the blog). And hang the people who messed up the video on the last INSITE. Of course, I don’t mean literally. 

    1. fredwilson

      the USV event space is a great idea. weirdly i never thought of it

      1. paramendra

        That might be better than NYU or Columbia. They get you once a year, the USV space should get you once a month. I might say once a week, but you might think that was too often.

  39. jfccohen

    Fred – Some friends and I are toying with a concept of a Mashup Meetup – we take diverse sectors and get “expert groups” from each field to come in and share, teach, create and explore ways to combine the two different groups.  The idea is to capture what happens live, and disseminate the content on the online communities that we’ve created for each sector (different tabs on one site) so we can continue the conversation and hopefully inspire new ideas, businesses and ventures.If we assemble some thirsty minds, capture the content and disseminate the lesson so that people can share, comment, grow and explore further…would you be interested in teaching?  This would be something entirely different than the above, but similar structure in terms of capture and disseminate.Eventually, we can stream this live and get people to send in questions (twitter or online forum) that will inspire the discussion.  Q+A sessions can go 1 live question, 1 online question and so on.

    1. fredwilson

      kind of like our USV Sessions events

  40. Jon Birdsong

    Fred great post. You can come to OpenStudy.com and teach over 50,000 people who ask over 25k questions per month. The math group is my favorite: http://openstudy.com/groups… 

    1. fredwilson

      i will check out openstudy. seems like a great service

  41. Picnic CRM

    Fred – I think you should do you a Ustream.tv MBA Mondays session instead of writing a blog post where you can do some Q&A. I think that might solve your problems. 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      hmm. maybe i’ll do that when i finish my current topic

      1. andyidsinga

        Great post Fred. MBAMs are awesome. it would be wicked to have a ustream style live broadcast every monday morning with l live conversation segment . Maybe even with a lottery style system where 40 ( or pick a number ) of the participants are ‘view+talk’ and the rest ‘view-only + disqus’. People could give up there ‘view+talk’ if they only wanted to do view-only and another random participant would be granted ‘view+talk’

  42. Derek

    Ideally, there could be an opportunity to “experiment” with new teaching formats either in relation to the new engineering college that Mayor Bloomberg has called for or via a joint program that pulls from the various NYC universities.  The common challenges in NYC are space, money, and time, although I am always a believer that there are ways around each of those challenges with a little ingenuity and if the people running things are passionate enough to do it.Simple premise: get NYC university students engaged in more formally learning about entrepreneurship (it can even be specialized).I think there’s something here if there is the will to do it.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s part of what i am thinking about. i am hoping we’ll get two new engineering programs out of the RFEI process. i like both the Stanford program on Roosevelt Island and the NYU/Carnegie Mellon program in Urban Sciences and Engineering, ideally in downtown Brooklyn

  43. Rob Sobers

    I love the Khan Academy and blogs like AVC.  That I can learn from brilliant folks like Fred and Sal on a subway ride to work is a huge step forward.  The biggest limitation with this format, I believe, is that it doesn’t give you the experience of dealing with people face to face.  The human factors.  Some of the biggest challenges in business, engineering, etc. have to do with sitting down and negotiating deals, managing personnel, and building real relationships.

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, that’s sort of what this post is all about

  44. Christopher LoPresti

    Yale Open Classes:  http://oyc.yale.edu/

  45. Josh Rehman

    Sometimes you come off as a classic “maximize every deal for ROI” VC and sometimes you come off as a real mensch.I’m confused.edit: removed mark halperin

    1. fredwilson

      i’m both and quite a bit more

      1. Josh Rehman

        Not sure the two are compatible.The maximum ROI for a VC is when you pay less and get more from the entrepreneur. That is the strange calculus of VC: the entrepreneurs are horses you’ve bet on, and you want them to run fast. But they aren’t your customers. That’s the guy who gave you a wad of cash to place the bets as you see fit, paying you a fixed commission and a bonus if you pick right.The distinction comes when you’ve had a string of bad bets, your customer is unhappy, and you’re standing in the horse-stall with a hypodermic needle in your hand and a brush in the other. Which do you use?

        1. PhilipSugar

          I think one of the classic flaws of finance is not understanding time periods and putting a value on reputation.I’ve thought about this a bunch.  There has to be a way to quantify reputation but its very hard..Short term you are right it is better to pay less and get more.Long term that strategy doesn’t work in most industries, including VC. In the VC world if you take that short term strategy you get a bad reputation and don’t get to see/participate in the best deals.In the automotive world you build crappy cars like GM did for a while back and you get your teeth kicked in by people that wanted to build the best car, not pay the cheapest price for crappy plastic for the interior.It gets worse the more “financial engineering” you do.  For instance I would argue that both Lambert and Nardelli basically sucked the value out the repuation of their two stores.  People take a while to switch, but eventually if you make the experience crappy enough they do.In a perverse way once you milk out the reputation its very hard to get it back.  That’s why you see big signs: “UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP”To answer your question.  Then answer for all VC’s is to change the jockey (CEO), because you aren’t able to change the horse.

          1. Josh Rehman

            I don’t agree. There is a difference between maximizing ROI and maximizing value creation. Just ask a hedge fund manager, or a loan broker, or, on occasion, a VC.It is, unfortunately, possible to be handsomely rewarded for doing nothing, or even for doing something that is damaging. There are too many examples to list.Anyway, my point was that I want Fred to be a teacher. I think he’d be great at it.

        2. matthughes

          Quote: “Not sure the two are compatible.”I honestly can’t tell if there’s sarcasm in your comment or not?I definitely believe being a mensch and maximizing ROI are interchangeable.It’s not always the case but there’s no reason they can’t co-exist.

        3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      2. Vasudev Ram

        IMO, the above comment/statement by Fred – “i’m both and quite a bit more” – is the best of this entire thread (including both the original post and all the comments so far), because understanding that people have more than one (or even a few) dimension(s), is an important thing in human relations (like understanding diversity, which is related), and such understanding exceeds even things like teaching in importance.

        1. fredwilson

          Thanks for appreciating that reply

  46. RichardF

    I hope you do more teaching Fred.  I’m sure you make a great teacher.  My wife is an awesome teacher (at least that’s what her students say) and whilst she is now in a leadership role and doesn’t teach so much she is never happier at work than when she is out on the track with the students (she teaches Phys Ed).From my observation the best teachers are those that are passionate about their subject, have a sense humour and a generosity of spirit that translates into the time and effort they put into sharing their knowledge and experience.  From your blog I’d say you have all of those characteristics.I favour a less structured route when it comes to education.  A skeleton where the student puts the meat on the bones.  It’s a voyage of discovery and I think it should be framed that way.Whatever you do I hope you do simulcasts and recorded video because this is one area where the opportunity to disrupt traditional teaching methods is ripe.  The access that it gives to so many more people is truly liberating.Look at the TED talks 5 years, 1000 videos that have been served 500 million times.  Chris Anderson, now there’s a man that should be awarded a knighthood for his services to education.  It is fantastic what he is giving the world and yet absolutely gutting that he has had the most precious thing a father can have taken from him.  

    1. fredwilson

      gotham gal and i had dinner with chris and his wife jacqueline this pastweekthey are neighbors of ourshe really has done great things with ted’s content online

  47. aminTorres

    umm, Not sure whether this has been suggested already but potentially youcould make it so that people can ask 3 or 5 or 10 questions here somehow and you can try to answer them on ustream for instance or other live streaming video service.I will certainly tune in for it. I am also reminded that there is chat there so people could potentially interact with you live thought it may be distracting. But am sure you a format can be worked out where it feels more like an in person interaction.I also believe that you can save the live streaming so others can then later view it as well in case they miss the live broadcast.

  48. ShanaC

    A) thank youb) what ages would you like to teach?  Have you thought about what happens when you want to move away from VC?I know there are programs to get older people looking for a life switch into NYC public schools – you probably would qualify, and my guess is you probably could teach math, which would streamline you through the process.

  49. hansoo

    Premise: the world’s most precious resource is a great teacher’s time.Question: with the tools that we now have, how do we most effectively scale great teachers?Some commentary: it’ll be some “blended learning” model that combines synchronous and asynchronous, in person and online. I think people like Sal Khan are starting to find scalable solutions to this resource scarcity. But nobody has really cracked the code yet.My bet is on somebody outside the traditional education system. Maybe somebody in this community 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      i totally agree with thistechnology allows us to scale the great teachers



        1. COMRADITY

          BINGO!  (if you weren’t so scary looking FG, I’d give you a hug)K–

      2. Dave W Baldwin

        To go with what @Hansoo:disqus is saying, it is a matter of scaling all teachers. Raise all boats and the tribe of greats will have larger population.That is why my proposals go inward/outward.  You do it in a way that stimulates the child’s mind and you will end up with more.  Then you avoid the stiff/choppy parameters we have currently.It is time we face the simple truth… just about any piece of knowledge is accessable by just about anyone.  We have to stimulate and move into the application of formulas (more than math) to yield more creativity/objectivity.Trick is enabling this without threatening the current status quo that only rewards pro union/anti union. 

      3. Mike O'Horo

        For 20 years I trained and coached senior partners in BigLaw, i.e., the largest US law firms, to sell to Corporate America.  Because of the high-touch, just-in-time nature of the tactical coaching, I could only train 20 lawyers at a time.  Though we produced dramatic economic results, we suffered from five limitations common to human-delivered training:1) I wasn’t scalable.  There was no way I could train the hundreds of lawyers whose performance the firms wanted to improve2) I was expensive.  Even if there somehow were enough of me, nobody could afford to train a large population at those unit costs.3) I was synchronous.  Self-explanatory.4) I wasn’t measurable.  Sure, we got kudos for large, high-profile victories, but we never really knew whether the lawyers were learning and getting better, or merely enjoying the advantage of having a ringer on their side when competing against other amateurs.5) Inconsistency.  While I had a consistent and proven methodology, if you hired enough “me’s” to cover a large population, you’d have a management nightmare of different philosophies, vernacular, etc.Worse, perhaps in my application, such services were not available to SmallLaw, the 500,000 lawyers practicing solo or in firms of 10 or fewer.  I couldn’t afford to call on them and they couldn’t afford to hire me.That’s why we created RainmakerVT, the world’s first interactive virtual sales training for lawyers.  In our virtual world, lawyers manage an avatar through simulated networking events, sales calls, beauty contests, etc.  At each “say/do” decision point, they select from among five responses, and receive response-sensitive video coaching that explains the subtlety and nuance of why that choice is or isn’t optional.  We’ve built a quickie Practice Mode that lets them refresh and prepare in five minutes before applying the skill in the real world, and a Ready Mode that demonstrates that they’ve actually learned and internalized the skill.Those in this vibrant commenting community willing to invest 20-30 minutes to experience our demo and provide feedback will be much appreciated.  Go to http://www.rainmakervt.com and click on either of the Demo buttons.Thanks in advance for your blunt candor.Mike

  50. CJ

    First, I REALLY appreciate the MBA Mondays posts, I’ve learned so much from them and your blog.  I’m thinking that you should put that nice shiny USV event space to use and conduct a live class there and broadcast it on the net.  Throw up a Twitter Hashtag, similar to how the Hacking Education conference went a while back.  Then you can archive that entire nexus of information, the livecast, the twitter chatter surrounding it, the eventual articles and blog posts and comments into some new and as yet invented format and THAT becomes the curriculum on whatever subject you’re teaching.  As knowledge is fluid, the nexus evolves when new information is added.

  51. Nelson Rodriguez

    I concur with your passion for teaching, which is what I’m basing my new finance site on.  I’m not that concern with making it profitable for me right away.  What’s more important is the content and publishing knowledge that everyone can use or learn something new.

  52. Alex Murphy

    The in person is “fun” because you get instant visual feedback and you learn from the students.  Perhaps you need to recreate the mechanism for that?  The group chat function of Google+ seems like a possible way to make that happen online?  The life lesson of it is better to give than receive applies in so many places.  Teaching is the best place because knowledge is not a zero sum game, you teach, which leads many to teach, and the lessons reach far and wide.  The lessons this week of Globalization and others are great examples.  Intelligence is equally distributed around the world, and it will be to all of our collective benefit to bring everyone along.  I hope you find a way to make the process of your teaching more fun again so that the message can go far and wide!

  53. Marian Mangoubi

    Hi Fred,I’ve been reading your MBA Mondays posts regularly and love every one of them as well.  I leave with valuable information each time.I love the idea of streaming video and the ability to engage with you via twitter and/or posted questions.  Most people I know who have taken online classes, myself included, love them.  If you do decide to go the streaming video route or some other online video route, I’ll definitely be one of the first to sign up.

  54. David Semeria

    Fred, there’s no point me adding to all the comments thanking you for the many insights your blog has given us over the years (and the great Disqussions that have followed) or even joining the consensus that teaching is indeed a very noble vocation.I agree wholeheartedly  with all of that.So I’ll strike a discordant note and ask what does this mean?Teaching is strongly aligned with the concept of “giving back”. And one gives back when one has finished taking.Have you finished taking Fred? Are you thinking of your next step?I wouldn’t blame you if you were….



  55. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    Inc just release their “30 entrepreneurs under 30” list for 2011…..Not to demean anyone, and since it is Friday, wouldn’t the true measure of a societies innovation be if we had a “50 first time entrepreneurs over 50” list?

    1. Tereza

      Love that.BTW the AARP has recently announced a ‘scholarship’/grant for age 50+ entrepreneurs, to fund their participate at DEMO.  If anyone’s interested I’ll find a link and post it.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        What a great idea…scholarship/grant for age 50+ …although somewhat ironic that an organization for “retired persons” is sponsoring an entrepreneur grant.   It also seems odd that 50 year olds are considered to be their constituency.  Still, a great idea!  Who cares about the stigma attached when they are offering cash.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Need bigger population, lower age. 

        2. Tereza

          The ‘retired persons’ part of the name is really a legacy. It’s a joint not-for-profit (on the lobbying side) but also do the group buying of insurance.My friend heads of strategy there and my understanding is that they see that their constituents can’t retire the way they did in the past. And by and large, the women don’t retire, out of financial necessity. They work until they cannot (unless they have a pension, such as teachers). Since employability over age 50 (and frankly over age 40) is an issue, entrepreneurship in all its forms is the only way to fill that gap. So this is one program.Based on demographic realities I believe that entrepreneurship can’t just be a ‘special’ skill but instead a core, necessary one. And I think it’s possible. Many entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs out of necessity, not because they have a big dream. I’m not talking venture-great tech, just good healthy little sustainable businesses. There’s no shame in starting a business because you couldn’t get a job; we need to encourage that movement and increase their chances of success (by helping them find and execute in the profitable areas) while not overly punishing them for failure (by not requiring they spend their retirement savings on the business).

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Good words, T.And helpful explanation.How do you know so much?

          2. Tereza

            hahaa few reasons.1. i am a knowledge whore2. i dealt with working thru my mom’s decision around insurance and at the time AARP was her only insurance option3. i was part of a volunteer task force/think tank about aging in westchester county because we have among the highest concentration of aging seniors in the country so had to start getting creative about dealing with the issue 4. i’m well-connected in my community and am very aware of who’s who among the seniors and what i see corroborates with the data5. coincidentally a former colleague now heads up strategy at AARP

          3. Mike O'Horo

            Most of those reading this thread will live to be 100.  The national average right now is just a tick under 80.  Those who avoid environmental toxins as much as possible, exercise, avoid undue stress and have love in their lives will easily reach that age.  The challenges are a) not outliving one’s money and b) continuing intellectual challenges to keep one’s brain healthy.

        3. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          The reality is that people are living longer, much longer, and with the financial meltdown are going to have to work much longer.  We also have hiring discrimination now in the fact that the older unemployed are finding it harder to get jobs.This represents a vast pool of experience and talent that we could put to work in a variety of ways.  Why not hire them for and put them in schools, in troubled neighborhoods, or let them work overseas.The reality is at 50 someone has at least 20 years…My uncle is 84 next week and he is on his third career….he says he can only give a job 20 years then he gets bored. The reality is these are baby boomers who are in their 50’s and 60’s right now, and I believe that their desire to change the world will be rekindled as more and more of them retire….they are going to pick up their crazy hippie ways again….I just cannot see having an asset sitting there being underutilized….but then again that is how I look at most things. 

    2. Mike O'Horo

      Damn, I sure hope so.  I turned 60 last December and we’re launching something new right now.  Wish us graybeards some luck.

  56. Rick

    Hi Fred. I’m part of a company that’s working on this problem. A customer recently described Ruzuku as WordPress for learning communities. I think that describes us pretty well — hopefully we’re a bit easier to use than WordPress. ;)We have several folks using Ruzuku in similar ways as you’ve described here: have an online/asynchronous component that enlivens your live component.Angela Maiers (http://www.angelamaiers.com/) recently concluded such a course. She and her students would work inside Ruzuku throughout the week and would have live sessions every Thursday night. After each meeting, they were given the next week’s lesson via Ruzuku (as well as an archived version of the previous week’s lesson).She said it was an amazing experience. She even said that ruzuku helped humanize the online component.I’m gonna email you account details for ruzuku just in case I’ve piqued your interest at all.Hope you’re having a great holiday weekend.Thanks!Rick

  57. Goal

    Congratulations with the Zynga IPO!  You’re on your way to being the next billionaire VC. USV has 5.5% stake. Valuation at IPO estimated at $20B. 5.5% = $1.1B. 20% carry for you and partners = $220M.

  58. Eunice Apia

    I would join your class if it was either FREE or cost $20 or less per class. I believe Cooper Union was free for many years before it became very popular and “they” started charging a fee. I think that’s a good model.I would want to learn how to become an Entrepreneur and Venture Captialist: How to create, run and invest in companies.My idea of a great class would be one where most of the students are either novices or “failed” at creating a company and want to give it another shot. A class filled with up and coming; undiscovered Developers, Programmers, Entrepreneurs etc… Where the only successful people in the class are guest speakers or mentors who only come on “special occasions”. Students won’t get homework but a monthly or weekly project to complete as a team or individually. I prefer monthly. In order to get in the class if it’s annual would be to be “needy*” or go through an interview process where Teacher decide if you are eligible for class. The class location would be in Manhattan, the room would be spacious. I like General Assembly structure.My idea of a bad class would be a class filled with successful people talking shop about their success and ambitions, networking and taking up room where a more needy student who hasn’t achieve yet could be sitting, learning and developing. A popularity contest and yearbook of the who’s who, young successful CEO’s of Forbes Fortune500. (example: I don’t want to see Sean Parker or David Tisch in class except if they are guest speakers.)*Needy: To be Broke, struggling and with little to no experience but a desire and passion to learn and succeed.Disclaimer: This is just my opinion…hope no one gets offended. I’m a thinker and a dreamer

    1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

      Eunice,I am really, really, old….like 53.   I read an article many years ago where they had interviewed and surveyed 100 of the most successful business leaders at the time.  One of the interesting results was that these successful people said they failed at 70% of what they attempted…..they failed more than they succeeded!  What made them an overall success was that they kept trying and kept learning.Personally, I don’t look at things as a “success” or a “failure” but rather I see processes and evolution.  I am in the midst of the biggest failure of my life right now, today….but its not A failure but rather some issue someplace that I have not resolved.I have been really fortunate in life and have been able to meet some really successful people….and you realize that ego has nothing to do with ones successes or failures….There really are no “tricks to the trade” for being successful….but I can give you a list of things that will surely lead to failure…..learned them the hard way!  



      2. Eunice Apia

        I also believe that “success” or “failure” is a matter of opinion. Success could mean Money, Fame and Power to one person and Happiness, Peace of mind and Love to another. I’m always open for advice.

  59. Guest

    Fred,This type of face-to-face interaction will certainly play a big part in the future of the Web (lately I’ve been pondering a side project related to my company along the lines of an “expert roulette”) I learn so much from you, Feld, Mark Suster, Chris Dixon, Paul Graham, etc., just from reading your blogs. To be able to interact live and ask questions would be incredible. And that’s just in the realm of startups; think about the potential of this type of interactivity in fields like sustainability, tech, public health, nutrition, etc. So much collaboration and learning is not happening simply because technology in education still lags behind what is (easily) possible.I think the type of forum you’re talking about is basically what we’ve been building: http://www.learnitlive.com/ The intro video pretty much explains our perspective. We all got started in international development work, and giving people easier access to thought leaders like you is the goal, and one we know is urgently important. (we launched publicly last month)Obviously i’d love to hear your thoughts on it. But more than that, i’d love to see you act on this post ASAP. I know i’ll log-in! (i know the tech around this stuff pretty well, so do get in touch if you have questions on pros/cons of the platforms out there)

  60. Donna Brewington White

    Dreams can be powerful.  I often take them seriously.  Fits right in there with subconscious information processing.Dreams seem to help us to get in touch with our longings, and those longings are there for a reason.I think that you are truly onto something with the model you describe above.  Whatever technology piece you come up with, the in-person aspect needs to be a given.  This is clear.I would also vote for a pub setting for at least some of those “classes.”I’m a little sad to hear that MBA Mondays are painful for you to produce.  But, maybe it’s your opportunity to feel solidarity with those of us who have given birth.  You know this, I think, but the gift you provide isn’t just what you write, but the platform that you create.  Few other people I’ve come across have the ability to create the sort of space for exchange of ideas that you create and the quality of the exchange on MBA Mondays is consistently meaningful.  I am incredulous that this is all created in WRITING.  Sometimes AVC truly feels like an actual place!  Would be so cool if it was.So, anyway, my initial response after reading this post was “bring it.”  Everything about it just resonates!

    1. RichardF

      I agree Donna, it does feel like a place.MBA Mondays is sorely missing curation of the comments.  Something like a Wiki that could be related to each topic would be awesome.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Perhaps, @wmoug:disqus can come up with a solution.  Maybe that’s an extension for  @eqentia:twitter  — curating comments — sort of like the Disqus of curation. 

  61. Donna Brewington White

    I have often referred to this as AVC U.  Maybe that’s your “institution.” 



    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Moving into now and over the next 5, there will be a little more interaction between tribes (Science, Finance, Market) where the different tribes learn what the other need.As this takes place, the tribes will begin to realize they are not seperated and the artificial space in between will begin to dissolve.The other tribes (Art, Vocations, Philosphy…) will also begin to melt into the above forming a stronger tribe encouraging solutions to short term in order to better set the long.Enable all tribe members with truly useful tools enabling the chance to let what they learn sink in which will be more in focus as they sleep at night and you will have true disruption.



        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Thanks… removed first paragraph.

  63. Mike23042

    Fred, may i make a suggestion: Start Simple- Videotape yourself “lecturing” MBA Mondays into a simple videocamera. It would take you no more than 5-15 minutes each session. Post the lecture on Youtube.com and post the link here on your blog. Conversation and discussion will still happen in the comments. You can start this right away. – You may also have JLM, Andy, Mark Suster, Shana and a few other well respected commenters create video lectures in their expertise domain as a substitute video lecturers as well.Later on, you can hold MBA Monday sessions in your event space and invite entrepreneur groups to partake in the discussion. Again, post video link on your blog.Keep it simple.

  64. Mike Greczyn

    Sounds a bit like MIT OCW.

  65. Tom Royce

    Reading this at a late hour keeps me from reading all the comments so apologies to all of whom that may have offered the same advice. How about a 6 am webinar that you can then repost later in the day as your blog post. It does not need to be a long event, 10-20 minutes. But you can sit in front of a video camera and discuss the issue of the day and interact with the comments. Those that show up at that hour get the added benefit of being able to participate and everyone will get the benefit of your advice. As an added benefit it will allow you to break down the walls and allow you to teach to an audience to fulfill that other need you are expressing.  Just grist for the mill…

  66. Teri Flemal

    Just as teachers provide a blended learning experience for their students, they are energized by a variety of instructional experiences.  You could start with a short series – maybe 3 sessions – to get the feeling for developing a syllabus. You have so much valuable insight and experience to share. Great idea.

  67. sigmaalgebra

    I’ve done a lot of teaching, mostly in college, some in an MBA program.In some circumstances, teaching is easy, fun, and rewarding for the teacher and very beneficial for the students. In some other circumstances, teaching is none of those.Now in the US, for ‘teaching’, the 900 pound gorilla in the room is the current system of K-12, college, graduate school, and the professional schools of law, medicine, agriculture, and business. This system has some bad parts and some good parts. The best parts are high, center crown jewels of civilization and some of the strongest pillars for the best parts of our economy, technology, health care, national security, and more. The worst parts …, well, let’s don’t dwell there.The 900 pound gorilla has some characteristics any big organization would like to have to be long lasting:(1) Self-perpetuating. Basically have to go through that ‘system’ to be accepted as a K-12 teacher or college or above professor in that system.(2) Monopoly on a product with many tens of millions of ‘respectful users’. A diploma or degree is still a meaningful certification difficult to duplicate or equal at least in its respect. Due to certification, etc., to deliver this product basically have to be within the system. Or, as a sommelier once said about a Morey St. Denis, “You won’t find better.”.(3) Devoted customers with deep pockets. If arrange US education as a pyramid with the students flowing up and the teachers flowing down, then the top of the pyramid is the top 2-3 dozen US research universities. In research, they are the unique, world-class dream team that totally blows off the field nearly every other research university in the world. This top of the pyramid is heavily supported by the US Federal government and, there, heavily for research for US national security and US health care.(4) Style, status, and in-group membership benefits.For the students, doing well with education takes a lot of time and effort and usually money, determination, thick skin, etc.For the schools, good teaching is usually not easy if only because need to have some material that is well organized and well presented and ‘worth’ learning.So, for the students and likely for the teachers, an effort at ‘education’ needs a lot of ‘resources’. Then two big, huge issues include:(1) Will the student get some high ‘value’ out of the effort, for career or whatever?(2) Will the student get some respected certification for the effort?No doubt one of the oldest stories in education, likely going back to Aristotle at one end of a log with a student at the other end, is how to make teaching and learning more efficient.We’ve eagerly used clay and sticks, slate and chalk, ink and paper, classrooms and desks, lights and transparencies, various computer programs, and, now, video clips.Here is a fundamental obstacle, a fact of life: Significant learning is not easy.Instead the best results seem to involve:(1) Face time. Having each student in the same room with the teacher usually somehow increases the ‘seriousness’ of the effort.(2) Leadership. The teacher is not merely a subject matter expert but also a ‘leader’, say, someone the student wants to impress. This leader establishes some values about quality, relevance, discipline, etc.(3) Study time. From, say, high school on, usually the student needs considerable time alone in a quiet room working through the material in their own mind. As a person advances, this time can be nearly all the effort, but still some additional outside contact is needed.(4) Demonstration time. At some point, the student has to ‘use’ or ‘demonstrate’ their learning in a way the teacher can evaluate.Here are some points of ‘facts of life’ about education from college on:(1) Research. For the faculty, nearly always the respect goes for research. That research is to be presented in ‘peer-reviewed’ fora with the usual criteria “new, correct, and significant”. It is better, progressively, if the journal is regarded as good and selective, the research is referenced by others and used as a foundation in their work, the research wins prizes or research funding. The standard joke is that being a college professor is about “research, teaching, and service” which means “research and everything else”. A related joke is, “do research, get tenure, and then teach after 40”.In simple terms, in academics, the famous research universities — e.g., Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, NYU, Chicago, Berkeley, Stanford, Cal Tech — are regarded as ‘good’ primarily due to the research record of their professors. These schools are also very selective in their undergraduate admissions and have high prestige.(2) Teaching. A common joke about teaching is that there are two cases, (1) the teacher leaves the room covered with rotten vegetables thrown by the students and (2) leaves the room without such vegetables. More broadly, heavily in the system, teaching is not highly respected or highly rewarded.More generally there is an assumption, not really wrong, that the difficult work was the research and writing up the research results as they are on the shelves of the library. An expert in a topic can outline for students what material to study or avoid, and that is easy for the expert and often crucial for the students. Then with good materials on the library shelves and a good outline from an expert, the learning should be routine, so goes the implicit assumption.(3) Prerequisites. To be hired as a ‘tenure track professor’, the usual first qualification is a relevant Ph.D. degree. Progress along the ‘tenure track’ is usually based on research.So, why should a course for undergraduates for early graduate students be taught by a professor selected mostly for their research?(1) The professor is likely up to date in the field. So, the students can start farther ahead.(2) The professor is an accomplished and likely a bright guy, and the students can get some benefit from seeing how such a person thinks and works.(3) The professor likely understands the field much better because of the research. So, students can get an authoritative, possibly brilliant, overview, excellent selections of the best directions, topics, results, and materials.The best results of such research have a magnificent track record going back to Newton and especially since, say, 1850. The top research universities do not have to, and are not about to, dilute the emphasis on research. Other universities mostly want to be like the top ones. So, net, however much the students would like some really good teaching that would do a lot for their immediate job hunting, from college on the 900 pound gorilla is not much interested.While for much of the 20th century, schools of engineering today would look like professional or even vocational education, now the engineering schools are eager to be doing research in applied math and applied physical sciences.Research in the US business schools is in a mixed situation and often a strange one. Generally the schools have ‘physics envy’ and want their research to discover magnificent results in the foundations of the field. Long there were efforts to try to borrow from the applied math of optimization for production planning, the applied math of stochastic processes for mathematical finance, sociology and social psychology for organizational behavior, standard introductory statistics for ‘business analytics’, etc.In contrast, biology worked for decades on heavily ‘descriptive’ work before they got to DNA. Now, finally, there is some applied math in biology — bio-informatics.Research in business schools has been reluctant to be merely ‘descriptive’ on the way to some applied math of some ‘fundamentals’ of business.While professional education is respected in schools of law, medicine, and agriculture, curiously, perhaps frustratingly for the students, it has been less respected in schools of business. The situation is almost as if the business school faculty teaching practical, vocational, or professional material would get chastised, ostracized, and victimized by the pure mathematicians, theoretical physicists, etc.!Someone with a long background in some subject in business, e.g., being CIO in a Fortune 50 company, running a venture, private equity, merchant banking, or investment banking firm, being a managing partner with many subordinates in a management consulting firm, having been a good ‘creative director’ in an ad agency, having done well in transportation and logistics, having run a leading ad agency, headhunting firm, accounting firm, business law firm, etc. might be able to organize the ‘job basics’ and ‘lessons learned’ and teach a course students would like.Even if so, the tenured faculty may ask, “Where’s the research content?”. Well, there could be: Some researchers in sociology started with ‘participant observation’ and a few steps later formulated and pursued some research questions by, say, gathering some data and constructing and testing some statistical models.I well remember the best courses I had in graduate school and would like some more in, say, mathematical physics which I wanted to pursue in graduate school but, due to time and money limitations, could not. So, if my business is successful, then maybe I’ll get back to mathematical physics! I did get a start: My grad school work was nearly all in math relevant to mathematical physics!So, at least as a preview, I’d like some video lectures on mathematical physics, if only to watch while eating dinner! So, I’ve looked for such video.Then, in my experience circumventing the 900 pound gorilla for fun and benefit, I’ve seen three frustrating points:(1) Dumbed down content.About the best content I’ve been able to get is something watered down to make it easy for ‘the general public’. In grad school, I knew just where to go for the real material but was short on time; on the Internet at best I can find next to nothing!(2) Production values.The on-line video clips seem to suffer from ‘production value disease’ with bad sound, lighting, and picture quality.Just in the quality of the presentation, on-line I’ve seen nothing done as well as the better presentations I saw in grad school.(3) Content quality.Although I’m not much interested in ‘computer science’, I have been surprised by the low quality of computer science material on-line. If what is on-line is a fair representation of what is in the classrooms, then struggling computer science students deserve sympathy!So, on the Internet, the content is dumbed down, the production values are low, and the content quality is low. Not good.For all the problems with the 900 pound gorilla, so far the on-line content, in a word, sucks. The gorilla is winning.It might be that for now mostly the Internet materials would be either (1) supplementary to what done by the 900 pound gorilla or (2) more ‘vocational’ than is common in universities.For (1), being supplementary, I have sympathy for the students. First, really, for something like freshman calculus, students would be well advised to get a good text, a good teacher, and a good teaching assistant and learn how to learn calculus well from those three, especially the text. Students: For calculus, given a good calculus text, it’s essentially all right there in the book, and the country is awash in beautifully written calculus texts. The situation is from similar to at least quite good for nearly all the undergraduate material in math and physics (and why would anyone want to study anything else?)!For (2), vocational material, there should be some business opportunities. E.g., consider computing — usage, system administration, programming, etc. So, for such a topic, have a book, maybe as a PDF, some video lecture foils, some exercises, and some video lectures. If in addition there is a recognized test that can give ‘certification’, then so much the better.Of course, Barnes and Noble pushed aside quite a lot of material on miracle diets, flying saucers, being young, thin, popular, and rich, setting a dinner table like royalty 120 years ago, six pack abs, and romantic novels to have room for some huge collection of computer books. This situation is even more amazing given that the computer books can go out of date in a few months!Now we see that the old way to provide such computer education was via computer books at, say, Barnes and Noble.Microsoft Press publishes many such books.So, for the teaching materials to be developed we’re talking not only books but also foils and video. So, we’re talking more in time, effort, and expense in ‘materials development’. And, also, the materials go out of date quickly.E.g., we’re talking doing better than Microsoft Press has done. So, we can’t expect that success will be easy.Still, there should be an opportunity to have good vocational materials on the Internet.

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Per your business school reference… It is important right now to keep pushing the HS age to not burn bridges and keep in touch off and on with contacts.That goes with my ‘many tribes/artificial boundries’ I used responding to @FakeGrimlock:disqus …simply a matter of our odds improve when the geek, scientist and jock start bouncing something off each other in their mid 20s-30s and can place on the table info that will enrich the concept.That is why I have in me back pocket something that will truly disrupt the disappointing results we have now in the earlier grades… we increase the knowledge power at that age will truly spark more beneficial collaboration/collusion among the younger adults.

  68. JLM

    Teaching is gratifying because it requires a mastery of one’s subject and the ability to communicate it to others.I wonder if you are not really drifting toward “training” which is more focused on teaching a talent or skill which the student must then acquire and utilize in a real world setting.One of the most gratifying things I ever did in my life was to teach West Point cadets how to build timber trestle bridges — the engineering, the materials, the tools, the construction, the teamwork — capable of passing two M-60 tanks.  These were stout bridges.Then teaching them the explosive theory and practice to destroy the same bridges.Aiding the mobility of the friendlies or impeding the mobility of the enemy.The real challenge was to have the same number of students at the beginning and end of the course.  Blow up just one West Point cadet and some folks get very testy.I loved doing this type of training in part because I had mastered the theory and practice myself but also because it was gratifying to see their talents take root and see them succeed.I also liked the danger of the explosives.  I loved to make things go bang and disappear.

  69. MikeSchinkel

    Hi Fred,What about hosting an instructional video chat weekly here on AVC.com?  A new WordPress plugin development client of ours (http://www.tokbox.com/) has the functionality to add it directly to your site.  Not trying to push their service, but since learning about them I’ve been interested in how it might be able to be use. Maybe for your teaching needs?-Mike

  70. Hrishi Mittal

    Sal Khan has a slightly different take on in-person teaching. He says the reason his Youtube videos have been such a hit is that students can study them at their own pace. If they don’t understand something, they can go over it again and again until they get it. But if the teacher were physically present, they would feel a bit intimidated and too self-conscious. That’s also one reason why Khan doesn’t himself appear on the video and only uses a blackboard.The value of in-person classes is for exercises, problem-solving and Q&A. So, it’s inverting the traditional schooling model: students take lessons at home at their own pace and do “homework” in the class with support from the teacher.Perhaps you could adopt something similar for your MBA Mondays?I taught a few Hindi lessons on Youtube ( http://youtube.com/hrishimi… ) and Sal advised me to use his blackboard style instead. I haven’t got around to doing it, but I hope to soon.


      Bingo Hrishi – this is the first comment with the insight I have gathered about the challenge technology hasn’t solved yet: increasing the “student’s” confidence. 

  71. Paul Edelman

    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times}p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times; min-height: 14.0px}fred, teaching (well)  in person is magical indeed. beautiful post. i think that if someone or some company or a non-profit truly discovers a way to virtually scale master teaching so that it is more effective than what we do now in schools, it would truly be revolutionary, if not only because of how incredibly difficult it will be. but is it even desirable?just for argument’s sake, let’s say one platform to rule them all was built. do we really want every kid in the country to be taught by the same great math teachers? and then every kid in the country to learn from the same great english teacher? and that one amazing history teacher? how boring we would all be! all taught by the same few teachers. our world is just too diverse for such monolithic-ness. there is no one great way to teach something. there are in fact hundreds or even thousands of great ways to teach something, and hundreds of thousands of great teachers to bring life to those ways… and then the relationships. the time it takes, the commitment. the responsibility! relationships are not scalable. and they never will be, i don’t think.i think edu-technologists should focus on building amazing supplemental offerings rather than trying to be the primary education experience, at least for k-12. i’m the guy who wrote the ‘hack it or stack it’ piece this past week in VentureBeat. i appreciated your comment on it :)paul


      Paul – Yes!!! And I just read your article in Venture Beat.  What you are doing is awesome – Networking teachers to take advantage of the untapped knowledge, experiences, resources, etc.  The marketing challenge in education is motivating kids to engage “in-person”The strategy is to increase confidence as I mention here: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201… – The technology is the “feedback loop”  which Fred mentions in response to my comment below: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201…K–

  72. Guest

    Learning is 90 % practice (empiric) and 10 % theory (rational). Yesterday 2 interns of mine suggested me to teach at their school because I use to provoke them all the time and tell them jokes just like you. lol Then I said to them NO I don’t want to teach because I believe knowledge is for the most part rooted in the past. People have to make their own experience to understand it. I would reverse engineering and send out people into the real world with some exercises and let them teach me what they have learned and I simply give them feedback and guidelines. Frame a topic and let the people learn and teach you about it.Alexander the great was told by Aristotle that their was no greater civilization than the Greeks. Alexander found out Aristotle was wrong when he tried to conquer India.I think excellent failure is the best way to learn. Helping people to fail is the best way to teach them.

  73. Anne Libby

    I’ve been reading a lot about Coursekit, a group of Wharton undergrads creating a platform for interactive live and online university courses.  Beyond the ivory tower, the online crafting world is teeming with people, mostly women, kluge-ing together short online courses.  They use free tools that can be restricted to private groups:  private blogs, Vimeo, Flickr, and Yahoo Groups.    (LA public school art teacher Mary Ann Moss has mastered this form.)A platform that put this all together would work well with Etsy, and beyond.

  74. Carl Rahn Griffith

    For all the stresses and low wage/extreme hours, my wife loves it – the interaction with the kids/young adults (she teaches 16-19 year olds) is what keeps her going. As an outsider I see an excessive amount of administration/paperwork which must surely compromise the teacher’s ability to focus on the creative – but, for now, that is how the system seems to operate…It most certainly IS a vocation.My wife typically does an 80hr week for a pretty low wage, with huge demands placed on her – and with just a few weeks holiday a year (during which she usually works, anyway, for most of the period ‘off’) – there is none of this perceived “Oh, but as a teacher you get 12 weeks holiday a year” scenario in reality over here in her college – it’s a great shame we don’t invest more in this area – like the health system. Sure, don’t just throw money at the sector and its problems but similarly don’t always look at cutting costs. We need smart investment. See it as an Opportunity not a Function.

  75. bennypage

    Great post Fred. Teaching indeed is very rewarding. Plenty of opportunities out there in innovating new teaching platforms. On another note, I always wondered how you find the time to write so many quality blog posts. I guess waking up at 5am does the trick:) What time do you go to bed? 

  76. Albert R

    It would be cool to try Google+’s hangout in a remote classroom setting. You could have discussions that didn’t get out of hand because someone always has focus.

  77. David Touve

    If you are interested in a free curriculum, built by a community of teacher-types with startup/investing experience, please check out strtp.com as that is what I am trying to organize.

  78. Todd_Andelin

    Wikipedia could be so much better.There should be embedded videos all over the place on wikipedia.It should be easier to use.Each topic/entry/page should be its own social network starting and finishing point.Knowledge graphs..I should be able to show you or anyone my complete wiki history or “pathway” so you can follow what I have been studying and vice-versa.We should be having live discussions overlayed on the wiki pages….. 

  79. seb

    1. Get an inhouse lunch with some startup entrepreneurs each monday for 90 mins.2. Let them ask you questions about their startup/best way forward.3. Videotape it and make a blog post of it.Best of two worlds.

  80. Cheap android tablet

    I used to be teacher for about 2 year. I liked teaching and  I still do now. Although I’m not a teacher now. But after some time, I really want to find a job at school.

  81. Aruni S. Gunasegaram

    I loved teaching.  I taught 4 classes in entrepreneurship to undergrads at the UT Austin business school.  I still keep in touch with some of those students.  I have other family members who taught at the medical school level. Teaching entrepreneurship is so different than say teaching Accounting (my undergrad major).  It’s the only class that touches on all the aspects of business (large or small) at once.

  82. Adrian Sanders

    the best teachers are those that don’t believe they have any universal truth to give. instead the facilitate exploration, curiosity and provide the tools to facilitate the expansion of these things.

  83. Mia Kline

    I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, LiveCent.com

  84. BuyGiftsItems

    The profitable areas) while not overly punishing them for failure (by not requiring they spend their retirement savings on the business).  a deal a day

  85. Adam Smith

    Hi Fred, First, I want to thank you for the time you spend giving back to the tech community.  I have learned so much from your posts over the last year or so that I don’t think I would have had access to if it wasn’t here.    I’m following you on G+ now and it would be awesome for you to host a MBA mondays on a Hangout session.

  86. Garrett Smith

    Fred – you should check out BigBlueButton (http://bigbluebutton.org/ov…. it’s an open source project designed to recreate the classroom environment using (13) different open source technologies. It includes scalable multi-party voice/video chat and has many of the underpinnings you’re looking for.

    1. Mike O'Horo

      Garrett:  The link doesn’t work with the /overview.  Works fine when the URL ends with .org.

  87. Denim Smith

    The interesting thing to me about this post is its relationship to your ‘hanging up the cleats’ post — as I think it was called. In the comments of that post I wrote that I can’t imagine a time where Fred Wilson hangs up his ‘cleats’ – for your commitment to mentoring, teaching, informing, inspiring, etc. can’t be hung up. The most interesting part of the above post, to me, is realizing your passion for teaching explicitly – vs. implicitly from all you do and contribute to your communities. What I find most interesting, however, is that for some entrepreneurs, you’re involvement in their company goes beyond capital. Or in other words, Fred Wilson will pay you tuition (investment capital) to teach & mentor you. And that’s a win-win for everyone it seems.

  88. Guest

    How will [read can] this would be  platform/curriculum   be different from @quora

  89. Patrick Altman

    Fred – when did you teach at Penn?  I was a Wharton undergrad from 1996-2000.

    1. fredwilson

      85-87 while i was getting an MBA there