Episode-1800- Expert Council Q&A for 6-3-16 — 14 Comments

  1. 1800. Holy crap. I started listening at episode 12 or 14, something like that. Can’t even begin to tell you how this show has positively affected my life. Well done, sir. Please keep it up.

  2. I think investing in online and new forms of education is a good instinct, but I don’t think the investment market for the newest innovators is ‘there’ quite yet.

    John mentioned some of the problems the big names in for-profit education have had. Along with those problems, they have a credibility issue among a lot of people who would be looking for alternative forms of secondary education. That alone would make me very wary of investing in those companies.

    Another problem is accreditation, both of the schools and their graduates. The general education standards right now are degrees, though as Jack has mentioned several times, we’re starting to see the growth of nanodegrees (Udacity is the first place I saw that term). Udacity is essentially ‘accredited’ by its backing from tech giants and the clout of its leadership. Coursera and edX are ‘accredited’ by their connections with prestigious universities. Future growth is going to be dependent on having some sort of standards to ensure rigorous educations are offered, and we’re just not there yet.

    Lastly, this world of alternative education is set for explosive growth.. but right now it’s still in a very nascent stage as far as funding is concerned, and no one is near the ability to seek investment in the public in terms of stock offerings. A quick check of Crunchbase shows these companies have raised the following:

    Coursera $146.1 million
    Udacity $160 million
    Pluralsight $162 million
    etc. etc.

    If you want to see all 1600 of them, search for EdTech on Crunchbase. These are respectable numbers for startups, but they’re not big yet (DeVry is worth over $1 billion even after its recent stock tanking), but a clear path to making money has remained elusive so far (excepting maybe Udacity).. and after the tech bubble, the housing bubble, and today’s traditional education bubble, I don’t think anyone’s racing to take a bunch of these companies public to see what sticks.

    I think the best thing to do is look at a lot of them. Become familiar with what they do. Take some classes, even. Learn about the industry, both the burgeoning alternative sector and the withering traditional sector (Glenn Reynolds’ The Education Apocalypse is awesome). At some point it will be time to jump in and profit from the change, just maybe not yet.

    • Like I said for the smaller investors you look at stuff like this as a gold rush.

      You can stake a claim (create your own platform)

      Sell picks, shovels, serve booze, provide lodging, etc. to the miners. (create tools, apps, convergent platforms, dedicated social networks, etc.)

      It is what all of us that are small independent and successful did during the dot com boom.

      Over the years things changed, I was making a great income selling long distance phone service in the late 90s, we know how that ended right? But I just transitioned to publishing and made a great income with adsense. Then google screwed over all its publishers the second yahoo admitted failure with their lone competitive product. So then I went into consulting and development, I did great but hated it, so I transitioned into podcasting, now I can’t see that now being viable for 20 more years but if I am ever wrong, well, turn turn turn.

      Think about this the median HOUSEHOLD income in the US is 50,500 bucks. Lets drop the 500 to round it off to 50K. To make that you need to simply get 1,000 people to give you 50 dollars a year for what you are doing. In one way or the other. Affiliate commissions, direct sale profits, etc. That is all 1,000 of even just US population 330 million to spend 50 bucks a year with you. Or less then 1/3rd of one days, average wages!

      So if you can’t get 1,000 people to spend the money they make from 1/3rd of a day once a year with you, do something else! Now I am not saying to stop there, but if you can make a HOUSEHOLD median wage that easy, why not do it.

  3. “DIY U” by Kamenetz is interesting too.
    Just to avoid confusion, colleges and universities are POST-secondary education, secondary denoting high school level. I think Agapified is spot-on in identifying accreditation as a major issue for new educational formats.

    • Ah, thanks.. Yep, I meant post-secondary here, though I expect a big market eventually for all levels of education. In fact, in researching this follow-up, I learned that K12 is actually a public company, and has been for quite some time (ticker: LRN). Looks like it hasn’t gone so well.

  4. Excellent bit on dichtomy, opened my mind up. On criticism I have is that you frightened the kids and the dog here when your blood presure rose, I had to mute the audio a few times then we lost valuable bits of the podcast. The bit on car dinemos electricity was also useful to me.

  5. Hi Jack,
    I really enjoy the “Year that Was the Episode” segments. Alex does a really amazing job. I can’t believe you just published the year 1800. Congratulations. Looking forward to learning about the next two centuries and beyond.

  6. Thanks Alex! I’m able to awe and amaze my friends by off handedly knowing trivia and dates. I think a coffee table book is a great Idea, I would definitely buy it

  7. Thanks Alex. It compliments TSP and is a part of every episode i look forward to. I will be sad when it runs out…..

    Also where can I find all the Greg Yows Revolution Rock and Roll songs? The site isn’t there anymore.

  8. RE: Jeffrey’s email.
    I’m voting for Trump and I’m a republican, just because they do a better job of protecting gun rights than the other side. But I learned many a year ago that the idea the Repubs are for small government and freedom is not true. In 1994 I managed a bar with a good friend of mine. This was in the midst of the debate about banning smoking in public places. My good friend, and a solid Repub, said he thought they should ban smoking in bars after all he shouldn’t be forced to work in a smoke filled environment. I said, you’re not forced at all. Just quit. Go start your own thing that is smoke free, no one is forcing you to do anything. His argument was it’s his right to have a job that protects him from second hand smoke. To which I said, your rights overtake those of the owner of the bar who may want to allow smoking for his business? Why don’t you start your own smoke free business then and compete with him?
    Finally, after going round and round he just kept coming back to being forced to work in a smoke-filled environment. No matter what I said, it didn’t matter.
    This is a great guy, a well educated man, good dad and I admire and respect him immensely. But that’s when I knew, the Rs and Ds are all pretty much the same, both looking to control others.
    It’s easy to fall into that trap though. I’ve always been in favor of ALL drug legalization. Dont’ care what you put in your body. A couple years ago though, there were some kids smoking dope outside a hotel my family and I were staying. My FIRST thought was to call the cops and report them. They werent’ bothering anyone. Weren’t loud, nothing. Just smoking dope and yet , of all people, my first reaction, get the cops. Sad. of course, I didn’t but the fact that was my first thought was frightening.

    Keep it up, Jack we need another 1800.

  9. To Jeffrey,

    The issue of gun control isn’t that the oppressed people are going to use guns to somehow fight the police. That’s lunacy. It’s that people should have the right to defend themselves against criminals. If you remove the ability for people to defend themselves, then they’re forced to rely on the police – giving the police even more power. This also gives the government more power because a scared, helpless populous will happily hand over more and more rights for the “protections” granted by the government. Since we don’t have guns to defend themselves from criminals, we need laws to defend ourselves.

    If you need any evidence of this, just remember back to when some Korean store owners defended their shops during the 1992 LA Riots. They didn’t need to kill anyone, just having the rifles was deterrent enough.

    • Ill also add it is the duty of officers in the military to disobey unconstitutional orders. Meaning there is a such thing as a constitutionally legal coupe in the US.

      There is also the potential for foreign invasion and only the stupid say there is not.

      Lastly the US military is considered a citizen military. All soldiers are subject to military regulation and law but none are exempt from civilian law or obligations. So every sailor, airmen, marine, solider is also a civilian. In other words only military is military but all military is also civilian.

      Add this all up and you see the second was intended that some day we may as private citizens have to band together as militia and fight foreign invasion or our own government. However not our military. That we would as was done at the time of our founding fight alongside our military because our military is us.

      Consider the following the US Government really goes off the rails, 50% of the military declares an unconstitutional state and determines that they are going to oust the government and restore the constitution. 50% remains loyal, 5 million patriots take up arms and join those who wish to restore the constitution. Now tell me the armed citizen can’t help defeat a tyrannical government.