Jiva Technology

more on education 2.0

Nations have and always will be in competition. In the past, that competition centred on the ability to build and sustain a dominant military capability, but as we’ve seen in the last few years in Iraq and Afghanistan, that only gets you so far in the modern world. Increasingly, competition between nations is characterised by economic performance and the educational prowess of the population; factors that are of course intricately linked.

Fine tuning economic performance is the subject of endless open debate and ideas, but it always seems to me that education is very much the poor cousin, with the same old tired ideas doing the rounds. If we are going to competitive as a country, we need to find a way to let new ideas see the light of day in our education system. Vinod Khosla, the legendary venture capitalist and backer of many new ideas, put it pretty well in a recent article, “we have also had too much punditry from experts in education instead of just trying hundreds of new ways of doing things”.

If we are going to give our children the chance to succeed in the modern world, we shouldn’t be prissy about where good ideas come from. It’s too important an issue for vested interests to hold sway. The world’s major corporations realised some time back that you can’t maintain competitiveness by doing the same things in the same way, only a little bit better, you have to constantly rethink what you are doing, why you are doing it and how you are doing it. It’s time for us to embrace this spirit in education and find a hundred or even a thousand new ways of doing things.

 

7 deadly sins of a start up

 

1. Not understanding how your market (and customer) ticks. In (minute) detail.

2. Thinking that marketing effort compensates for poor product

3. Thinking that a great product needs no marketing

4. Getting your pricing wrong

5a. Thinking that being cautious will get you somewhere eventually

5b. not understanding that being brave is not the absence of fear, it’s about being scared but doing it anyway

6. Having a great idea and doing nothing about it

7. Not understanding that failure is part of the process

 

In the US, in the UK

You’ve gotta love Britain. The US had Dallas, Dynasty and Baywatch. The UK had Emmerdale Farm, Eastenders and the Archers. The US has Silicon Valley and we have Silicon … Roundabout. What? To be honest, I was extremely cynical about the whole Old Street thing when our beloved politicians started to get on the bandwagon, but I have to put my hand up and say, “I was wrong”. Having spent some time there recently, I can honestly say the whole area is alive, teeming with people doing really interesting stuff. And not just in silicon or software, but in wood (furniture) and fabric and film and pretty much everything else. Its just fabulous to see and if I was 20 (which I think I am, but sadly I’m not) I’d be there.

In a flash.

Where did all the good stuff go?

For all the frenzied excitement about the power of Facebook, Twitter et al to change the way we socialise, start revolutions and produce billionaires, the truth is that most of the recent big tech success stories have been about something more prosaic: selling stuff. Google may help you to find stuff, but that’s not why it’s there. It’s there to make money and it does that by selling us stuff. So does Facebook, it’s how Twitter makes money and even the new darling of the tech world, Pinterest, does the same. It’s a giant, ‘who can come up with a clever way to distract people while we sell them stuff’ competition.

Perhaps it’s time for us to wake up. The tech world sees itself as the fixie riding, liberal voting saviours of the planet, but are we really the biggest pimpers of them all? Am I missing something or is there a serious dearth of, well serious projects out there?

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