Thursday, March 15, 2012

Money vs. Culture

New York Times
I am a Greg Smith, late of Goldman Sachs, fan.  Bloomberg gave their counter argument today 
"Apparently, when Greg Smith arrived at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) almost 12 years ago, the legendary investment firm was something like the Make-A-Wish Foundation -- existing only to bring light and peace and happiness to the world."
Sure, everyone needs to make money.  But I think there were two important points Smith was trying to get across:


1. To make money you must have happy customers who keep coming back.  This is a cultural choice that companies make.  I wrote a blog a while back when IBM turned 100.  The killer quote was:
"I believe that if an organization is to meet the challenges of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself, except its beliefs." - Thomas Watson, Jr.
His point to the Goldman Board was that the culture needed to be redirected back to the basics that had made them successful for 143 years.

2.  He personally was not comfortable with the culture.  Good for him in choosing to leave.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Massive Open Online Courses

Really interesting article on a new wave of teaching/learning - Massive Open Online Courses.

"160,000 students in 190 countries enrolled in an Artificial Intelligence ... An additional 200 registered for the course on campus."
 Three things jump to mind.

1. This works only when students are motivated.  So it might not work for the average high school student.  On the other hand it rewards those with the motivation to learn something new.

2.  This flattens the world.  No longer does someone need to live in a good school district or go to the best college.  Anyone with an Internet connection can take advantage of the best educational opportunities.

3.  Economics - for both the student and the teacher/institution.  For students this is obviously a way to get access to great material without paying $50k per year from Stanford.  For educational institutions there are several business models that can generate more revenue from a course.  And there will be a new wave of competition to get to brand and tap this new market for colleges and others.

I really do love the thought of having more people across the world having more opportunities.  I'm feeling the glass is more than half full today!