This is an editorial opinion piece by Peter Conley, a product advocate at Vercel.
Education is free.
It has been for many years now.
In my self-directed pursuit of understand Bitcoin, I force myself to learn more than at any other stage in my life. More than any previous job, more than all my college experience, and more than my comprehensive web development program at Bloomtech.
In essence, I learned more from “Bitcoin College” than from “real university”.
With the Student Loan Debt Relief Plan at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it brings many big questions to the surface:
- Is the $80,000 for material you can get for free on the internet worth the price of the information it gives you?
- Aren’t most college experiences just four-year drunken vacations that don’t teach you the right job skills?
- Why don’t these business professors own a business that teaches students about business?
- Why is Keynesian economics still the norm?
- Is there any better way?
To answer the last question: Yes, I believe so.
Before I set my sights on a specialized college alternative revolving around Bitcoin, let’s unpack the current college product bundle.
Institutions will argue that “you get more than an education!” This may be true, but let’s explore what that “more” really is and how it can be offered a la carte.
College standard product package
Information and Knowledge
Much of the knowledge you get in college comes from professors who haven’t been in the free market for years. The textbooks you read have no incentive to provide honest feedback or edits because universities require students to purchase them regardless of the accuracy of the content.
The cold and confusing truth is that information has been commoditized and packed into zeros and units on unauthorized servers that you can access at will; it’s completely free on the internet.
Furthermore, I can good argument that the knowledge you learn in college, by design and incentive model, cannot compete with information on the internet.
Social life and personal development
A typical college student has terrible sleep hygiene habits, eats processed foods, drinks to get drunk, and lives for the weekend. As a student, you subconsciously absorb nutrition, dating, and lifestyle lessons from “adults” who are four to seven years away from having a full brain.
And they call this a higher educational environment?
The only thing I learned in college was how to suppress my emotions with alcohol. Yes, responsible students exist, but they are not the majority.
A lot of the dormitories were built in the 1960s and could be confused with prison barracks. Plus, you’re paying for all the facilities, amenities, and infrastructure that you never use and don’t care about. All in one big bundle. Either take it or leave it.
Of course, some of the campuses are beautiful, and some of the top schools have good living facilities, but they are in the minority. At worst, they’re stuck where they’re built; no options. You have to spend four winters in Boston to join the MIT alumni network.
The alumni network can be a game changer for your career. The problem is that they follow a Pareto distribution, which means that most of the spoils are at the top, i.e. Ivy Leagues, Stanford, MIT, etc.
The return on investment on paying $200,000 to become an alumnus of Kenyon or Oberlin dwindles each year. At the same time, the value of a proper social media following increases.
I don’t know about you, but I’m 100 times more likely to help and connect with someone I admire on Twitter than someone I have no connection with who happens to be a graduate of my alma mater ( SUNY Geneseo).
Of course I’m in the minority – for now, but humans love to help and work with people who share their interests. The sad truth is that I rarely share a common interest with the 5,000 students I share a university campus with.
How to Create a Better College Bundle – For Bitcoin Trainers
What if we could build a better package? Cheaper, more niche and students learn about the most important asset of this century: bitcoin. Furthermore, the essays and content they create while studying will not be stored behind controlled learning platforms.
Students write to build an online audience – a network more valuable than any alma mater – and to receive valuable feedback to improve their skills.
Here is my vision:
Knowledge and information
All information will be free. If a student wants to read “Bitcoin Standard“I bet if we asked Dr. Saifedean Ammous, he would donate as much as he wanted.
We’re not saying specifically what students have to learn, they follow their natural curiosity – as long as it’s Bitcoin content – but to really learn and integrate it, they have to produce their own content. They have to write about what they’ve learned and share publicly, or podcast about it, or create a YouTube channel. Get feedback from the market and improve your communication skills.
No more writing college essays without ever seeing the light of day.
Social life and personal development
You’ll cook meat, you won’t sleep in a shell, and you’ll be angry because Modern Monetary Theory is still a thing.
Seriously, you can create a culture and structure for your students that focuses on healthy habits instead of damaging your brain and gut.
Of course, some 18-year-olds will choose Penn State over Bitcoin College to sink into oblivion, but there will be a small market for a real environment of personal growth. This will most likely get rid of lazy people and attract people who want to grow and learn.
How do you do this? You create a marketplace for like-minded students to connect and you facilitate a physical environment in which to study.
Network effects also have an effect on learning subjects. Do you think if you were trying to learn French you would be more successful if all your roommates only spoke French? You will only watch programs in French or with French subtitles. At the very least, you will speed up your learning. The same is true for learning about Bitcoin.
In terms of physical space, you don’t need to build anything. You can just rent it out – or it can be an empty space.
Let me draw the picture for you.
Option A – Hire
Find a student housing aggregator like Unilodgers or even dormitories that are overcrowded. You and your other Bitcoin students also become roommates.
Option B – Local learning group
There are probably enough Bitcoiners in the same city and all they need to do is create an “educational group”, like many did during COVID-19.
Pods can be in the basement of one of the students’ houses, or even in a public library. It all comes down to connecting with like-minded, inquisitive students.
How do you create this physical network? With a marketplace for custom college experiences, that’s why I’m building Unbundl.ed. It’s the efficient Airbnb for college alternatives.
This might be the best part. You will gain access to one of the richest alumni networks imaginable.
Additionally, Bitcoiners is the most passionate and forward-thinking network on the planet.
If a young person comes up to me and says they went to my alma mater, I really don’t regret it, but if they tell me 50% of their net worth is in bitcoin, I will run through the wall to help them. .
Make it a reality
Is this possible or is this just a blog post?
It is completely possible.
This community can do it.
It’s time to take back the world from over-schooling and under-education.
This is a post by Peter Conley. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.