College Consolidation, Planting Trees, and Being Genius

Inspiration from time spent in San Francisco

Introduction

One of my favorite tactics to improve the consistency of my writing is to take notes when inspiration strikes. Often times I’ll be having a conversation or interacting in the world when I have my best ideas. Thus, taking a few seconds to type notes on my phone allows me to revisit my ideas later on so I can crystalize them through writing.

I spent the last few days in San Francisco and had a few things that I wrote down that I wanted to articulate.


Most Universities Won’t Exist in the Future

Imagine being a college student and paying full tuition during the pandemic without having access to any of the facilities. The fact that college was able to be conducted completely online should represent a new paradigm in college degrees. Students will be able to attend Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford from all over the world at a fraction of the cost.

As the top universities are armed with better online tools to manage their classes and increase enrollment, everyone will look to join the top schools especially when they can make it more affordable.

In addition to top colleges soon to win more of the market share by going online, more traditional colleges are pushing their students deeply into debt.

College curriculums often lack real world relevance. New schools like coding boot camps that focus on skills directly relevant for jobs will continue to take off. While coding is the start, I believe trade specific schools will allow people more affordable and easier ways to pivot careers.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a massive consolidation in the college industry over the next 15-20 years. These prices aren’t sustainable for the outcomes they provide.

New trade schools will provide job opportunities while online classes will expand markets for the top universities. Many low-tier and mid-tier colleges will become less appealing.


Planting Seeds You’ll Never See Grow

One of my favorite experiences in SF was driving through Presidio Park.

It’s impossible not to notice the beautiful and immense amount of trees as you journey through the park.

I learned from my brother that in the late 1800s the Army began the task of transforming Presidio from mostly dunes into a rich forest reserve similar to Central Park.

The army planted 100,000+ trees over a 14 year period. No other military installation in the nation has ever undertaken landscape planning on such a grand scale.

As I saw how the trees shaped the entire park experience, I remembered an important quote about thinking long-term as a society.

“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” — Greek Proverb

I find this quote so moving. Contributing to projects that you won’t get to see complete in your lifetime but that you know will benefit future generations.

What a remarkable task to plant those trees…


Genius and Crazy

It is often quoted in our society that there is a thin line between genius and crazy.

But what does it really mean? Are geniuses actually crazy people or are crazy people actually geniuses? How do we distinguish the two?

What we determined over lunch was that crazy becomes genius when met with societal validation.


Closing

Thank you for reading a few concepts I’ve been thinking about. If you enjoyed this and learned something new, please consider sharing it with a friend.

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