A Fresh Start?
Feb 2014 19

It is okay, you can say it, “I hate my job.”

It is okay, you should say it, “I know there is more that I can be doing with this life.”

It is okay. We’ve all been there.

And you know what else is okay? Finding a place to ask the questions that come next and taking some time to explore all the possibilities for the adventure that awaits.

From asking the right questions, to thinking through the possibilities, to getting started on building the life and work that you’re thrilled to be working towards, Exosphere’s Spring Bootcamp might just be what the doctor ordered.

Starting in March and lasting for 12 weeks, this Bootcamp is a chance to take a step towards a much brighter future and much bigger story.  We’ve had a couple of last minute spots open up and, if you identify at all with the questions above, maybe you should take a look at what we’re up to and apply to learn more.

Maybe?

If you have any questions, I’d love to help point you in the right direction. Just email me or leave a comment below.

Entrepreneur Bootcamp
Jul 2013 15

A year ago, I wrote about Exosphere for the first time. We were just getting started recruiting team members, building out the scope of the idea, and finding a location to house our burgeoning entrepreneurial education community.  Since that time, we’ve taken over a palace in downtown Santiago, Chile, added team members from around the world, inked partnerships with other Latin American focused organizations, and co-hosted a conference for developers with Facebook and American Airlines.

As we continue to build a community around the belief that education will be one of the most disrupted industries in the next decade, we are launching our first Entrepreneur Bootcamp beginning this fall.  (APPLY HERE) We will be bringing 30 aspiring entrepreneurs to Santiago (Why Chile?)  for a 3 month intensive program focusing on the skills critical to take an idea from the back of a napkin to a reality. I am incredibly proud of the mentors and workshop leaders that will be flying down to Chile throughout the fall to share their own experiences in design thinking, programming, and income generation.

Because this all inclusive program is intentionally capped at 30 participants, we know it will fill up quickly. If you’ve considered taking the leap into building something and diving into entrepreneurship, there are few places better than Exosphere to take those first steps. To read more about the Bootcamp and why spending three months in Chile this fall might be just the thing for you or someone you know, check out Exosphe.re or drop me a note and I’ll be happy to tell you more about it.

Teaching at NYU
Jul 2012 26

As big brands continue to seek out and partner with small start-ups, everyone gets excited about the possibilities. The fuel that a big brand can provide for proof of concept for the latest new start-up is unmatched. And the innovation that small start-ups can bring by being outside the red tape and bureaucracy of a big brand can be essential to moving at the pace of consumers.

I could rant about this for days.

Which is why I am extremely excited to announce that NYU is going to let me. Starting this fall, I’ll be teaching a course call “Big Brands, Small Start-Ups: Equal Partners?” and digging into the strategies and tactics that I’ve seen work and the ones that haven’t. Drawing from the hand to hand combat that we did at Gowalla to land 67 brand partners in the last 18 months before our acquisition by Facebook, there were definitely some lessons learned. And hopefully, through out this course we’ll be able to draw from some other great hustlers in my network to uncover their game plans as well. To find out more or, if you’re feeling adventurous, enroll yourself, go HERE.

Now the only question is, can I find a pocket square to match my tweed jacket with elbow patches?

 

Changing Education Paradigms
Jul 2012 12

Sir Ken Robinson is thinking about Education in a way that pushes the limits. And that is kind of awesome.

Check out this animated depiction of a talk that he gave about the industrialization of education and what needs to change for the world we’re living in today.

Entrepreneurial Education Community
Jul 2012 12

If I were to go back to college today, knowing what I know now, how would I have wanted my upper level education experience to be different? What would I have majored in? These questions swirled around in my head and then made it to my notepad. And from my notepad, they’ve made it into conversations with others who I felt might consider them relevant or at least worth a hearty debate over a couple beers.

Unfortunately, that is where a lot of those lines of questioning usually finish up: journaled, contemplated, and discussed, but not actionable. But this set of questions had legs. This set of questions was uniquely personal to just about everyone that I talked to. From those that graduated top of their class at an ivy league university to folks that never went to college but had early success in their endeavors, everyone weighed in on what they loved and what they’d do differently if they had it to do over again.

One of the people that I had this conversation with is my long time friend Skinner Layne. Skinner and I met 7 years ago shortly before he took his first company public and became the youngest board member of a publicly traded company in America. He had the foresight to sell high in early 2008 because he “had a hunch the rest of the year for US equities wasn’t going to be that great.” Doing what most folks say they’ll do when they’re young, he moved to Chile and has developed a pretty impressive network there as the “young successful American entrepreneur.”

Skinner and my conversation about education earlier this year was particularly timely given the unrest within the Chilean education system last fall. It wasn’t an Arab Spring but it was definitely in the vein of the 99% vs. the 1%. And while the Chilean government has taken some action to reduce the triggers that caused the uproar in the first place, the sentiment inspiring the students to action is ongoing. And it is not isolated to Chile, but bubbling up around the world. There is a problem that needs to be solved in the way that we prepare ourselves for what comes next after high school and I am proud to say that this rant has lead to an effort to provide a solution.

Exosphere is an entrepreneurial education community that Skinner has started in Chile (Why Chile?) as an alternative for some to attending a traditional university. The core of  Exosphere is founded on are answers that we consistently given the questions of how would you do your higher education experience differently:

Focused Learning: When we know how we will apply what we’ve learned, we not only learn more quickly, but we retain that knowledge much longer.

Intentional Mentorship: Having someone who is not only invested in your education for a semester or two but in your long term success makes a huge difference.

Physical Community: Even with all of the new opportunities to learn for free online from some of the top institutions in the world, nothing can replace the power of learning with other like minded individuals and the relationships that develop.

The Exosphere community will be made up of our Fellows and Candidates. The Fellows that have already signed on and that are being recruited are entrepreneurs, academics, and individuals passionate about creating solutions to problems, not just churning out products. The Exosphere Fellows will be coming from around the world to the campus in Chile to invest in the lives of the Candidates and take a vested role in co-curating their individualized education. The Candidates of Exosphere will be some of the brightest minds that already have an inclination to change the world. The expectation of any Candidate arriving at Exosphere will be to understand the problem that they are most passionate about solving and a resolve to learn anything and everything required to create that solution.

I have been asked to serve as the Founding Trustee for Exosphere and will be working with our donors and partners to tell this story. I will also be building relationships with others who believe, like we do, that the education problems that exist in the world can be solved if we’re willing to ask some tougher questions and think out side the box. Exosphere has already developed some amazing relationships with high schools and trade schools around the world that may serve as feeder schools for Exosphere Candidates. I am truly excited for what Skinner and the team are building and consider it a privilege to be involved.

For more information please check out the Exosphere website: http://exosphe.re

And, because it is a question I am still obsessing over and would love your thoughts: What would you do differently if you went back to college today?