Posts from Skillshare

MBA Mondays: Sustainability Class Wrapup

I've enjoyed teaching the Skillshare class on Sustainability. I've learned a few things about the hybrid class model and I have shared them with the Skillshare folks. It's tantalizing to think about the power of teaching a class to 2,731 people at one time. But when I compare that to the power of teaching 75 people in person, the hybrid model shows it's weaknesses.

I need the real-time feedback from the students in the class. I need to see if folks are getting what I am saying or if eyes are glazing over. I need to know if I need to take another tack on the material before moving on. And I don't get that with a massively open online approach.

So my next class is going to combine the in person dynamic with the power of a massively online approach. The best thing to come from the hybrid class model is the idea of using google hangouts/youtube to broadcast the class to everyone. I am going to do that from now on.

I also like the idea of teaching a four part class with a blog post each week. I can build on that model too.

I am less happy with the discussions on Skillshare and that they did not tie into the discussions that happened on AVC. I need to figure out how to make all of that work better. It's obvious that a teacher (me) can't give real time feedback to 2,731 students. And I think leveraging the students to give feedback to each other (the disqus model), is right. So it's worth working on this model to perfect it.

I want to thank Michael from Skillshare for prompting me to write about Sustainability this month. As I said in my first blog post on the topic, I think Sustainability is a great model for business owners and leaders to take in thinking about the highest objectives of the company. If I have contributed anything to the way business leaders think about Sustainability, then I have accomplished my goals with this class.

I am going to postpone my final office hours which were scheduled for this evening at 6pm eastern time. Hurricane Sandy looks to be coming through NYC at that time and I don't know what that may cause me and my family to be doing at that time. We live right on the Hudson, at the border of Zone A. So I've got a few things on my mind today that fit right into this Sustainability theme. I will report back on a new date and time for my final office hours.

Stay safe everyone on the east coast today. Let's hope the hype is overblown. And let's prepare as if it isn't.

#MBA Mondays

How to Be in Business Forever: A Class On Sustainability

Last fall I wrote a post on Sustainability and ended it with this thought:

I am tempted to develop a course on this topic. I think we need a lot more of this type of thinking in business. It seems in such short supply these days.

So I am excited to announce that I am going to teach a class on this topic. It will run the entire month of October and it will be integrated into MBA Mondays for the month of October.

I am using our portfolio company Skillshare's brand new Hybrid Class model so that anyone in the world can take this class.

Here is how it works (taken from this page outlining the course):

– This is a project-based class. You’ll work collaboratively with other students to complete your project at your own pace. Along the way, you’ll have project milestones, weekly resources, and office hours to help you with your project. Our project will be to build a "Sustainable Business Model Canvas."

– Every Monday morning, you’ll receive a weekly email with resources, readings and questions to guide you through your project. This will also be my weekly MBA Monday blog post for those who are regular AVC readers.

– Use the Discussions tab in the Skillshare class page to ask questions, share resources, and get feedback on your projects. You can also host or join a Local Workshop in your city to meet with other students in person.

– I will will host weekly livestreamed online Office Hours where I will answer questions, give feedback, and guide you to successfully complete your project.

If you want to take this class, you can sign up here. If you are a regular AVC reader or regular MBA Mondays reader, you are going to at least audit this class because it's going to be taking over the monday posts for the entire month of October. Either way, I am excited to do this. Sustainability is a big issue in business today and I think this is a great opportunity to get the key ideas and issues out there in a way that as many people as want can consume them.

#hacking education#MBA Mondays

MBA Mondays Live: Employee Equity - Archive and Feedback

The first MBA Mondays Live class was last monday night.

I had an incredible time and I can't wait to do it again. There isn't much better in life than standing up in front a bunch of eager learners teaching something you know well.

The archive and photos from the event is permantly hosted on this link.

Here's the video of the entire class.

I'd like to get feedback on the class so I can improve it. So I've created a google form with a few questions on it. If you attended or watched the class and have five minutes to give me feedback please click here and fill out the form. I appreciate it.

I have watched the first fifteen minutes of the class and I've got some work to do on my delivery, speed (I was rushing), and crispness. And there are two math mistakes on the whiteboard. That really bugs me. The final dilution number for the founders in the dilution table should be 58.5% not 64.5%. And the number of shares to issue the CFO should be 75k shares not 46k shares. This first class feels a lot like the beta that it was.

My plan is to teach this same material live again, probably a couple more times. If I don't sell out, that will tell me that everyone who didn't get into the first class watched the livestream or the archive and that I should move on to a new topic. But I'm not sure that is the case so I will test that out. I don't plan to livestream this class again since we already have a video version it.

As I develop additional classes, I will livestream and archive the final class on the topic when I've got the material and pacing nailed down. That was a big takeaway from this experience.

All in all, this went extremely well. The basic setup of an in person class with a livestream and an archive is a format that works. I plan to use it to teach as much of the MBA Mondays material as I can in the coming years. That's exciting to me.

#MBA Mondays

Announcing MBA Mondays Live

I promised to do this a while back but I've been slow in making it happen. MBA Mondays Live is finally happening.

The first class will be on Monday April 16th in the USV Event Space from 6pm to 7pm. The topic will be Employee Equity.

This will be a lecture class. I will be using the whiteboard to lay out the basics of employee equity; how to issue it, how to structure it, and how to figure out how much to give.

There are no prerequisites but I would very much like this class to be limited to founders, co-founders, and/or the finance team in their organization. The class is limited to 75 people because that's the max size of the USV event space. There is a $25 charge to attend this class. Proceeds are being given to The Academy For Software Engineering.

We will livestream this class and archive it. There will be no charge to watch this class live or via the archive. I don't yet have the details of the livestream and archive but I will post the details before the date of the class.

I plan to teach MBA Mondays Live every few months, always on a Monday, always in the USV event space, and always on a topic that I have already blogged about on MBA Mondays.

Tickets to the April 16th class are being sold on Skillshare. You can get them here.

#MBA Mondays

MBA Mondays Live and Skillshare

If there was ever any confusion about why I blog, maybe this story will be illuminating.

Six weeks ago, I wrote a blog post called Teaching. It was about a dream I had about teaching in front of a live classroom and it went on to talk about the value of in person teaching and learning.

Later that day an entrepreneur in NYC we know pretty well forwarded that post to my partner Albert with the news that he was about to sign a term sheet with another VC firm and that he was drawn to our firm's vision of teaching as outlined in the blog post.

That led to a frantic weekend of phone calls, a monday meeting, and a decision to invest alongside the other VC firm.

That entrepreneur is Michael Karnjanaprakorn, the company is Skillshare, the other VC firm is our good friends at Spark Capital, and today Skillshare is announcing that our two firms have teamed up to finance this vision:

transform every community into a campus, every address into a classroom, and every neighbor into a teacher and student

That's a compelling vision and Michael and his partner Malcolm have built an equally compelling product through which anyone with a class to teach can offer it to willing students. 

If you go back to my Teaching post, you'll recall that I ended it musing about where to take MBA Mondays next:

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.

I've answered my own question. Sometime this fall, MBA Mondays classes will be offered via Skillshare. I will teach them in the USV event space on Monday evenings at 6pm. Classes will be one hour. They will be streamed live and recorded for posterity. The live stream and the video will be free. The classes will have an attendance fee which will be given to charity, most likely Donors Choose.

I'm still working out the schedule, how many classes a year, whether I go back and start teaching from the first post, or whether I teach the post of the day. I'm working out how to select the students for each class (first come, first serve?, something else?). I'd love to hear your thoughts on this and also on Skillshare. Here's my partner Albert's post on the USV blog about our investment in Skillshare.

#hacking education#VC & Technology