The Declaration of Institutional Independence
It has become necessary to lay the foundation for an additional type of higher education. While modern universities have concentrated on the underlying vision of increasing their prestige, an emerging alternative education is motivated purely by the success of the startups/individuals it supports. Colleges historically boosted their brand by having alumnus go on to become well known leaders, executives, and elite employees. Graduate degrees have been a key qualification for many professions. But these degrees are quickly losing their luster in a global economy where skilled workers often learn during internships and their first years on the job. Add to this the evidential conclusion that degree programs are lacking for those wishing to found companies.
Entrepreneurs have repeatedly shown us they don't require four or more years to get a certificate of entry. It is time we collectively recognize the evidence of their toils. Will, endurance, and unshakable vision are the traits we find in common with successful corporate founders. But if we look deeper, we observe the truth that powerful networks and guides continue to lend a strong hand in the rise of our most legendary startup founders.
Our society shift shall further incentivize skilled entrepreneurial guides (VCs, Experienced Entrepreneurs, Vetted business coaches) along with their associated networks (other start-ups, other investors, legal groups) to empower the new business incubators. Existing new business initiatives (both government funded and university linked) will be judged by the same criteria as independent financial ventures, so as not to promote stagnation. The Independent Institution will exist as an extended network of local ventures modeled off of YCombinator (or Seth Godin's Alternative MBA) but with styles and methods compatible with local fare. A foundation with this direction and collaborative backing is akin to putting on the afterburners for a national (and global) economic stimulus. In point of fact it's already taking place. There are a number of initiatives like YCombinator happening nearly everywhere, not just in cities. Local folks with the will to endure, and a few ideas that they're passionate about, can connect with seed funding and even more valuable support from experienced business juggernauts.
For those interested, the not so quick history:
The Declaration of Educational Independence is a result of a short chain of blog posts and comments. Ultimately commenter Shana instigated my drafting out the first take at a system framework to support startups with a level of funding commensurate with modern costs and guidance/networking in the vein of YCombinator/Seth Godin's Alternative MBA.
- Steven Johnson wrote a masterstroke article for the TIME magazine cover story
- Fred Wilson's Open Platforms and Innovation from AVC.com planted the creative hook for my post from a couple days back (number 3)
- In his post, Fred made some spot on comments about Steven Johnson's TIME magazine cover story. Here's an essential quote: "That's the thing that gets me so excited to get up and get going every day. Technology has reached a point where anyone can get involved with innovation. Patents and degrees matter a lot less. Imagining something and then coding it up is what its all about these days."
- I cobbled some quick thoughts together The Future is Open
- Back at AVC I shared the following comment (here's the thread)