Dabbling In Education

Hey everyone, I want write a brief update about a neat project I’ve been working on for the past three months in anticipation for this weekend’s interview. From the outside looking in, I haven’t revealed much information regarding some of the things I’ve been heavily investing my time in lately. Back in late December 2010, I came across Peter Thiel’s new fellowship program 20 Under 20. After reading the initial press release, I immediately contacted two of my closest buddies who have a close following of the startup technology scene, David Merfield and Nick Cammarata. We all agreed that this opportunity staring us in the face was an something we could not put off for any amount of time. With nothing to fear but fear itself, we were certain that we needed to start seriously thinking about an avenue for which to pursue a world-changing venture. David, Nick, and I discussed the most important aspects of our lives thus far that could be significantly improved with the help of new technology. To us, education is an area that we see as a traditional system that has become one of the last major sectors to fend off technological innovations. While all three of us have had different schooling experiences, we are all passionate to disrupt the current education model.

Before the New Year, we submitted our team essay to the Thiel Foundation on the subjects of How we want the change the world collectively and One thing we believe is true that most other people believe is not true. With the understanding that the amount of time a teacher spends with an individual student directly correlates with the student’s competence of course material, we set out to flip the existing education model. The current student-teacher relationship is inefficient, and we believe we can profoundly change education by enabling teachers to mechanize the repetitive aspects of teaching. With the motivation that we can harness the attention of students who are becoming increasingly digital learners, we began to plan out our venture that would encourage teachers to re-evaluate how the convey course material.

In the past month, we’ve made through the initial selection rounds and preliminary phone-interview. In the past couple weeks leading up to final selections made in the upcoming days, we’ve been busy gathering thoughts in opinions from everyone in our personal and professional networks regarding our proposal. One resource that has been very beneficial towards our project is the New York Startup Digest. The NYC tech scene may take hard hits now and then from California techies, but the range of events offered every week is substantial. Thanks to the educational technology meetups in New York, we were able to find a potential partner to integrate with our platform.

When you voraciously pursue an idea for three months through endless refinement it’s imperative that you communicate what you are trying to do very clearly. We’ve found that the best way to share our ideas on our planned venture is to convey our thoughts in a format that forces others to learn things about our team, and also forces others recognize more about themselves. We will giving several talks to the Thiel Foundation, mentors from the Thiel Foundation, and other finalists for the 20 Under 20 program. My final piece of advice as my flight descends upon the Bay Area is to not be afraid to take a chance, just be aware of why you are taking the risk. We will be arriving in San Francisco today, and we will be walking on our dream.

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03 2011