Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Here's why YouTube is worth $1.6 billion dollars

One of the most amazing events of 2006 was Google's acquisition of YouTube for $1.6 billion 19 months after launch. Here's the two founders making the announcement themselves.

The last comment is, "The kids have gotten together and we're going to have it our way." Need more be said.

We're only scratching the surface of human potential: 50 marathons in 50 days

This is an article about Dean Karnazes,who ran 50 marathons in 50 days. He does 200 miles just for fun. He'll race in 120-degree heat.

I particularly appreciated his 12 secrets to his success.

I walked five miles yesterday and was beaming with pride at myself. Oh well.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Swamp Fox for the holidays

OK. It's shameless self-promotion, but I hope you enjoy it.

Pepperhill Elementary: A successful experiment in public education

A recent story in the Post and Courier highlights Pepperhill Elementary.
For two periods each day, the North Charleston school ignores students' grades and ages in determining what they should learn and instead organizes classes based on their strengths and weaknesses.
Etheline Mizell, a mother of 10-year-old twin sons at Pepperhill, pointed out what should be obvious, "Everyone is not good at everything."

I don't know anything about Pepperhill other than what is in this article, but it sure sounds encouraging. Do you know anything else about what seems to be a very successful experiment in public education?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

2007 Opportunity #1: How to Have an Overnight Internet Success Story

YouTube was founded and sold to Goggle for $1.6 billion all within 19 months. Yes you can do it too. How to Have an Overnight Internet Success Story

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Those who favor freedom are merely bigots

Jane Clark Lindle, Eugene T. Moore professor of educational leadership at Clemson University, writes in The State that freedom doesn't work, and even if it did it doesn't work in public education.
Few studies of free-market schools show any greater improvement in student achievement than public schools have produced.
Of course its not true. Had she really cared to look, the Manhattan Institute, the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are but three sources of academically rigorous research that freedom produces superior results even in education.

Joseph Schumpeter accurately described what Dr. Lindle is afraid of:
The opening up of new markets and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as US Steel illustrate the process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one ... [The process] must be seen in its role in the perennial gale of creative destruction.
Dr. Lindle rightly perceives that allowing teachers to be innovative and parents to choose what's in the best interest of their children will destroy the status quo of education today on which she and her College of Education depend. Dr. Lindle does not want to engage in a competition of ideas, and ultimately results, because she instinctively knows that Schumpeter's Gale will blow her away.

What really is disappointing, and quite frankly embarrassing, is for a professor to be reduced to arguing that those who favor freedom are merely bigots.
Proponents of free-market schools...care only that their children benefit from schooling, and they don’t care about other people’s children. Other people are people they don’t know, who live in apartments or public housing, not in their neighborhood. The other people are single parents or immigrants working two or three jobs daily to put food on the table. The other people have different skin color, different abilities or disabilities, different languages, different religions and different politics.
By the way, check out Gaston College Prep and Pride High, which destroys Dr. Lindle's arguments about both freedom and bigots: Most students are black. They are poor. And they are scholars. The founders, Tammi Sutton and Caleb Dolan, weren't trained in a traditional college of education and don't spend much time worrying about the way schools are supposed to operate. That's what Dr. Lindle is really worried about.

May the gale blow.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A lesson for every entrepreneur and innovator

Yahoo is getting their clocked cleaned by Google.

The lesson for every entrepreneur and innovator is to figure out what business you are in and what drives your economic engine, then focus, focus, focus.

Geoffrey Moore in Crossing the Chasm nailed it when he observed that lack of focus is not a problem of the head, but of the emotions.
First, let us understand that [lack of focus] is a failure of will, not of understanding. That is, it is not that these leaders need to learn about niche marketing. MBA marketing curricula of the past 25 years have been adamant about the need to segment markets and the advantages gained thereby. No one, therefore, can or does plead ignorance. Instead, the claim is made that, although niche strategy is generally best, we do not have time—or we cannot afford—to implement it now. This is a ruse, of course, the true answer being much simpler: We do not have, nor are we willing to adopt, any discipline that would ever require us to stop pursuing any sale at any time for any reason. We are, in other words, not a market-driven company; we are a sales-driven company.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Three great sound bites from Moore School Annual Economic Outlook Conference

The Moore School of Business held their 26th Annual Economic Outlook Conference in Columbia November 28th. Don Herriott, Head of Roche Global Chemical Manufacturing, had three great sound bites.

Universities are great at turning money into knowledge, and then companies are great at turning knowledge into money.

What we really need to be talking about is not brain drain, but brain gain.

What would I advise us to stop doing? Stop apologizing.

The better educated a SC student's parents, the further behind their peers they are


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Laurens School District Opposes Thornwell Charter School For Children in Crisis

What we need in this state is a more innovative and entrepreneurial public education system that delivers creative educational alternatives for students not well served by the status quo. If there ever was a group of students that met that definition it is "children from broken or torn families" that the Thornwell Charter School is designed to serve.

If you've never toured the Thornwell Children Home in Clinton, you should. It's doing desperately needed work with children in crisis. You would think that because presumably the the Laurens School District cares about providing quality education to all children, they would be bending over backwards to help the Thornwell Charter School be successful.

But no. What's at the core of their objection?
A charter school would cause disruptions for 250 to 300 students spread throughout the district's schools. "If they came out in classes, we could close the class and not pay a teacher. But they wouldn't and that would mean we'd receive less money and still have to pay the same number of teachers."
You know, the way the real world works is that if you've not providing value that attracts customers, you have to downsize. And it is never easy nor painless. That keeps managers at the top of their game to do anything they can to make sure it doesn't happen if it doesn't need to.

Let's move beyond the charade that the objection of the public education establishment to educational alternatives is about meeting the needs of underserved children, and acknowledge that at the end of the day, as is true in everything else, to understand their objections you have to follow the money. The mantra "We don't want public money going to private schools" is a ruse. Charter schools are public schools, and the public education establishment doesn't like them either. They don't really care about children getting the best quality education, nearly as much as they care about the the public education establishment getting the money so they can control education.

It's why we're in the mess where in. To get out, we must clearly and passionately identify that we have "a culture of education which is 'limiting – even ruining – the lives of millions of Americans every year,'" and we will no longer tolerate that in South Carolina.

Ralph Bristol is precisely right about market driven health insurance

If you don't know Ralph Bristol, he's a radio talk show host in Greenville, who I happen to know personally. Unlike a lot of talk show hosts who rant and rave, Ralph approaches issues in a thoughtful way that's very refreshing. Ralph's conservative, and you may not agree with him, but he each day he promotes a dialogue not an argument.

A recent discussion about market driven solutions for health insurance is a great example. I completely agree with Ralph that consumer directed health plans that are 100% portable and independent of employers is the ultimate solution to the health care crisis we face. The solution absolutely is not government provided, universal health care.

The first will promote innovation in health care that will drive cost down and quality up. The second will result in long waits and crummy care.

I also agree with Ralph that getting 100% portability may take an act of Congress. It shouldn’t, but it might. That's a great example of why I'm not a libertarian.