Learning by doing

Many folks write about the threats to traditional education from things like online education. I would like to see this type of thing play a major role in defining its next wave (HT: Carpe Diem).

Here’s more on ‘this type of thing’ from the linked article:

This is not some kind of dorm, but a “hacker hostel.” It’s one of several in the Bay Area that offer short- or long-term stays for aspiring tech entrepreneurs on the bottom rung of the Silicon Valley ladder, those who haven’t yet achieved Facebook-level riches. These establishments put a twist on the long tradition of communal housing for tech types by turning it into a commercial enterprise.

The San Francisco hostel is part of a minichain of three bunk-bed-stuffed residences under the same management, all places where young programmers, designers and scientists can work, eat and sleep.

These are not so different from crowded apartments that cater to immigrants. But many tenants are here not so much for the cheap rent — $40 a night — as for the camaraderie and idea-swapping. And potential tenants are screened to make sure they will contribute to the mix. Justin Carden, a 29-year-old software engineer who is staying in another hostel, in Menlo Park, while working on a biotech start-up, talks about the place as if it were Stanford.

“The intellectual stimulation you get from being here is unparalleled,” Mr. Carden said. “If you’re wanting to do something to change the world and make it a fundamentally better place, you need to be around the right people.”

I’d also like to see businesses get in on these sorts of things. I often joke that established companies desperately looking for their next big thing hope to skip over the experimentation, discovery, pilot and organic growth phases of the business and get to the mature phase, usually in a few months. That plan usually fails.

Sponsoring some hacker hostels, and things like it, just might help businesses create an experimentation and discovery breeding ground. And it would cost a fraction of one of their idea-to-national-product failures.

Things like it would be similar types of breeding grounds for non-tech startups.

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One thought on “Learning by doing

  1. Pingback: What I learned in business school | Our Dinner Table

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