Posts from hacking education

What Is Going To Happen In 2022

So last year I made a bunch of predictions that with one exception were kind of obvious. I don’t want to do that again, so I am going to list five things that I think will happen this year that most people would not likely agree with.

1/ As the pandemic evolves into an endemic in the first half of 2022, companies will reopen their offices and their employees will largely opt to go back to working together in offices.

I qualified this with “largely” because I don’t think we will go back to everyone in the office again. Companies have become much more comfortable hiring remote employees who don’t live near a company office. Employees have made it clear that they want/need the flexibility to work from home a day or two a week. Some companies have moved to an entirely remote work environment. But I think the dominant form of working will return to “in office, with others” by the end of this year.

2/ Carbon offsets, effectively a voluntary form of self carbon taxation, will take off in 2022 and by the end of the year, we will have a global market in excess of $10bn (up ~10x in 2022).

I think the big unlock will be bridging between the existing carbon offset market and the crypto markets where decentralized finance tools can bring massive innovation and demand to this market very quickly.

3/ K12 systems around the US (and around the world) faced with teacher shortages and desperate to erase several years of learning shortfalls, will increasingly adopt online learning services in the school building in lieu of and in addition to in-class learning.

This may be obvious. I don’t really know. But there are many forms of learning that work in addition and in compliment to teacher-led classes and school leaders will need to be open to using them aggressively to turn around several years of learning losses.

4/ Twitter opens up its APIs and allows anyone to operate Twitter clients that compete with its own.

Now I am going out on a limb. But why not? That would be so amazing if it happened.

5/ As I predicted back in the spring of 2017 [8:30 into this video], only five years too soon, Ethereum’s market cap will surpass Bitcoin’s in 2022. I hope I get at least as much abuse for this prediction as I did for that one.

Ethereum’s merge in 2022, combined with the understanding that productive assets must be worth more than non-productive assets, make this a fairly obvious prediction. But I got it wrong last time, so I surely can get it wrong again.

I hope that 2022 brings us more positive surprises and less negative surprises than the last two years.

Happy 2022 everyone!

#climate crisis#crypto#hacking education#VC & Technology

Computer Science Education Week

The second week of December every year is Computer Science Education Week. It is a week to celebrate efforts to get computer science education into the K12 system around the world, and it is also a week in which schools do events, like The Hour of Code, to encourage students and teachers to get excited about learning computer science.

Most AVC readers know that my passion project for the last decade has been getting computer science education broadly available in the NYC public school system. I have also been involved in efforts to get computer science education adopted around the US and around the world. But my primary focus has been NYC.

This Computer Science Education Week, I celebrated by meeting with a very large employer in NYC and talking about getting that company’s employees deeply engaged with computer science education in the NYC schools and supporting the CS4All Capital Campaign, which I Chair. CS4All is NYC’s ten-year effort to get computer science classes into every school building in NYC by training 5,000 NYC public school teachers to deliver computer science classes. The CS4All Capital Campaign is a $40mm fundraising effort to support CS4All. We are now within spitting distance of the $40mm goal as we are in our seventh year of the campaign and program. If you know any individuals or non-profits or companies that would like to support the capital campaign, reply to this email or hit me up on Twitter and I would love to talk to them.

I also participated in an event at Hunter College last night to discuss their effort to provide computer science certification courses to NYC teachers. This is a program that has run for two years now, led by my friend Mike Zamansky, who I like to call “the godfather of CS education in NYC.” The Hunter computer science certification program is supported by our public charity Gotham Gives and Google. We provide scholarships to high-performing teachers who want to get NYS certified as computer science teachers. If you know individuals, non-profits, or companies that would like to join Gotham Gives and Google supporting this effort, reply to this email or hit me up on Twitter.

My one regret about this computer science education week is that I did not make it into a school building. This is the second year in a row that has been the case and I miss seeing teachers and students working together on projects and problems. My best moments over the years in this work have always been in the schools.

This photo of incoming mayor Eric Adams and former Chancellor Richard Carranza was taken by me at PS24 in Sunset Park Brooklyn during CS Education Week in 2018. I wrote about that visit here.

Computer science is the first new subject to be taught in K12 in 50+ years. Getting it broadly available in schools is hard work and requires commitment and persistence and a massive investment of time and money. But it is all worth it. Seeing the kids get excited about coding brings a big smile to my face every time.

#hacking education#NYC

Funding Friday: Pattern Alphabet cards for exploring nature

Longtime AVC reader Alex Wolf has a Kickstarter project that I think is awesome.

She has long been working on a “pattern alphabet” to encode the patterns of nature and life.

This project turns this alphabet into cards that can be used by kids in school and at home to learn.

I backed the project this morning and I hope and expect she will do great with this Kickstarter project.

Email readers can see the video here.

#crowdfunding#hacking education

Volunteer At TEALS NYC

TEALS is a longstanding program supported by Microsoft where software engineers assist in computer science instruction in K12 schools. I have been blogging about and advocating TEALS for over eight years now. TEALS came to NYC in 2013 and has been helping kids learn computer science in NYC schools ever since.

For many of those years, the software engineers would have to travel to the school building to assist in classroom instruction. But that has changed and now TEALS volunteers can teach remotely. I think that is a huge unlock for everyone and I am encouraging software engineers in NYC to consider doing TEALS during the 2021/2022 school year.

You can learn more here.

If you are interested, you can apply here.

#hacking education

Ten Years And Just Getting Started

I remember meeting Zach Sims and his co-founder Ryan Bubinski back in 2011 when they started Codecademy. Zach was still in college and thinking of dropping out to focus on the Company. I just realized this morning that it has been ten years since then. Wow. Time does fly.

Like many great companies their idea was simple, but powerful.

build the easiest way to learn to code

They did that and they have gone on to build a large and profitable business helping anyone learn to code, get a job, and start a career.

But it isn’t as simple as that. In fact, when you look at the ten-year history of the Company that Zach lays out in this great tweetstorm, you see how hard it is to build something lasting, sustainable, and important.

What is more impressive is that when you read this blog post Zach wrote this week you see that he is just getting started. When building long-lasting companies, it helps to have a mission that really matters. This line from Zach’s post brings it home for me:

Times like these remind us that what we’re doing matters: hundreds of thousands of people around the world use Codecademy every single day to learn the skills they need to find jobs, upgrade their careers, and live better lives.

The world is changing quickly before our eyes, the job market is changing with it. Our educational institutions are trying to evolve to meet the needs of students and employers but it is hard to turn a battleship around. So companies like Codecademy are filling in the gaps, helping people learn the things they need to learn, and building some incredible businesses along the way.

To another ten years!

#entrepreneurship#hacking education

Remote Learning

I wrote this in yesterday’s post:

Remote learning is here to stay.

I got a bunch of emails and tweets from parents saying that they want their kids back in school. So do I!!! I think getting kids back in school is the single biggest thing we can do to put the pandemic in the rear view mirror.

I should have been more clear about what I meant by that line.

I meant that when kids are sick, they can stay home and still learn.

I meant that when there is a snow day, kids can stay home and still learn.

I meant that when kids have trouble with their homework, maybe there is a way they can log on and get help.

I meant that summer school could happen anywhere, maybe even at sleepaway camp.

What I meant by “remote learning is here to stay” is that we now understand that learning can move from the classroom to anywhere and back and does not need to be constrained by place and time. That’s a huge thing to learn and I think K12 education (and higher education) will benefit enormously from it.

But I am all for getting kids back into the classroom as soon as possible.

#hacking education

Computer Science Is For Everyone

Many/most of you know that a lot of my philanthropic time and energy is dedicated to making sure that all K12 students, but particularly young women and students of color, have access to a high quality computer science education.

When I started this work a decade or more ago, I would regularly run into well-meaning people in the education system who would say something like “oh, that’s not for my students” and it would piss me off and I would try to explain that anyone can learn to tell a machine what to do. Often, it fell on deaf ears.

So when my friend Hadi sent me this video that his organization, Code.org, made, it warmed my heart. The whole thing is great, but at 1:42 in, a woman named Amaya completely nails it when she says “Computer science is for everyone, literally everyone. Some people think you have to be a genius to get it, and that is so far from the truth.” Right on, Amaya.

Check out the video. It’s great.

#hacking education

The Work-Life Balance Revolution

Yesterday, I had a gap in the middle of the day. So the Gotham Gal and I took an hour-long walk with our dog Ollie. It cleared my head and when I got back to work, I was full of energy and clarity.

I’ve been working exclusively from home since the end of November 2019 when we left NYC to go to LA. It has been a stretch of incredible productivity for me.

I am not arguing against going back to the office. As I’ve said in many posts recently, I can’t wait to go back to the office. But I am sure that many of us have had the same experience that I have had working from home during the pandemic. It has its advantages.

And in that realization exists the possibility that we are on the cusp on a revolution in how many of us can find work life balance going forward.

My friend Tom wrote this post last week suggesting that a husband and wife can now work a total of 50 hours a week between them and have two full-time jobs and raise a family. This part sums up the idea pretty well:

Why do I think 25 hours/ week is the equivalent of a 50-hour week (counting commuting)?

Given a nine-to five schedule with an hour for lunch, the 40 hour work week was only 35 to begin with.

As an ex-CEO, I think that at least ten hours of each workweek go to socialization, surfing the internet, checking with the spouse or checking up on the children, chatting on smartphones etc. (Mary thinks only five).

Meetings and travel to meetings waste a huge amount of time and money. One reason that Zooming appears not to have reduced productivity is that many of the meetings weren’t productive to begin with.

Office space and often parking are expenses to the employer but they are not income to the worker. If office space and all its attendant costs can be drastically reduced, employers can afford to pay more dollars in salary for the same productivity.

Commuting expense including perhaps even the second car, daycare, clothing and dry-cleaning bills, and paid before and after school activities whose purpose is to supervise school age kids are all expenses which go away when parents can work from home. Even if the WFH employee has less gross taxable income, he or she will have more cash at the end of each month.

https://blog.tomevslin.com/2021/01/newnormal-the-50-hour-family-work-week.html

Even if Tom is off by a bit with his math, he makes a terrific point. Companies can ask for less of a family’s time, pay them more, and get the same amount of work done using the techniques we have perfected during the pandemic.

I realize that not all jobs lend themselves to this approach. But maybe more than you think. Take doctors. We used to have to go see doctors in their offices. Now with digital health services like those offered by our portfolio companies Brave and Nurx, the doctors are seeing the patients from their homes (or wherever they are).

Teaching is another occupation that presents a lot of opportunity to rethink time and location. Many teachers have been learning how to help their students master new things from their kitchen counters over the last year.

I want to say it again. I am not suggesting that we won’t be going to offices anymore. I am not saying doctors won’t have offices anymore. I am not saying teachers won’t be in classrooms anymore.

What I am saying is that we can and should be asking how much of our work time needs to be in person, face to face, and how much can be virtual. And I am certain that we will be asking that. In our year-end reviews at USV, we heard again and again from our team that they wanted to ask those questions. They should. Commuting and business travel are not the necessities they were last century.

And, naturally, this coming work-life balance revolution presents tremendous opportunities for new products, services, and companies. We have been seeing many of them crop up over the last year and have invested in a few of them.

From bad comes good. This pandemic and all of the things that have come with it has been awful. But I believe it will unleash all sorts of new behaviors and businesses that will be for the better. If you squint, you can see them coming.

#climate crisis#economics#employment#enterprise#entrepreneurship#Family#hacking education#health care#management#VC & Technology