Trish Costello

Entrepreneurial Thinking Shifts the World


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The Politics of Going to College – NYTimes.com

MIT researchers provide an eye-popping visual representation of the economic power of higher education, especially over the past twenty years.

via The Politics of Going to College – NYTimes.com.

HSD-high school dropout; HSG-high school grad; SMC-some college; CLG-college grad;

GTC-Greater than college

 


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Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion? – Wired Campus

Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion? – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Brilliant discussion, and a quick read, on the massive changes happening now in higher education.

The world’s master thinkers  in every field are now widely available to everyone with a computer and many are teaching in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) to 100’s of thousands of students.   Do we need thousands of mediocre courses/lectures on the same topic around the US or is there a new model for receiving knowledge by the best digitally, and applying it in smaller settings with key teacher/facilitators?     Done right, it will give students a superior learning experience.

Soon we’ll select from the best of many institutions and ‘masters’ putting together our own highly personalized educational curriculum, which will then be certified for quality based on the rigor of that learning experience.   This is a good thing.  The current accreditation system is meaningless in regard to quality and ridiculously expensive.  With this, I believe we’ll see a superior learning experience, delivered in a more efficient and effective way.

Change has come slowly to higher ed–it’s the nature of huge governmental and non-profit entities.  Your memory of college 25 years ago would be similar to today’s reality–except the cost is approximately 20X  what you paid and nothing else in our world is similar, including the demands and career sophistication awaiting the new college grad.  Welcome disruption! Our students and economy deserve it.


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Give entrepreneurs room and they will grow the economy – The Washington Post

The two most important facts for the future of our economy:

40 Million jobs were created over the past three decades by companies in business for five years or less–the equivalent of all net new job creation

40% of Fortune 500 companies started by immigrants or their children.

I’ve brainstormed 100 ways to encourage both–every step we take for the economy should be evaluated based on its ability to generate new enterprises, open systems up to innovation and change, and to encourage new blood (figuratively and actually) into the system.

Give entrepreneurs room and they will grow the economy – The Washington Post.


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The Great Disconnect: Top tech companies focus products on women, but they have no tech women

Giving Women the Access Code – NYTimes.com.

“As recently as 1985, 37 percent of graduates in the field were women; by 2005 it was down to 22 percent, and sinking.”

Many of the fastest growing tech companies today are targeted to an overwhelming female market–think Pinterest, Groupon, Zygna.    The truth is that to have a vibrant economy and long term tech innovation, women’s talents have to be utilized in software development and product creation. Yet there are few women making a career in software development– the great economic ‘muscle’ in the high value work world today and as far out in the future as we can see.   Women are killing it in other areas–making massive strides in all other fields and professions, as their numbers dwindle in the computer sciences according to a recent article in the NYTimes.

In Giving Women the Access Code,  Harvey Mudd President, Maria Klawe, and others, are working to change this by creating computer sciences programs that appeal to women.   College is the time to both understand the breath of what one is able to learn and do, but also understand the external value proposition of their work.  The same transformation needs to happen in the field.  I know many women who have excelled in engineering or computer science education programs, but left these fields after a few years due to dysfunctional environments that had nothing to do with the actual work responsibilities.     

We need to do three things:

1) Revolutionize the teaching of computer sciences and software development, especially with the newer platforms available, to draw in women of all ages, both through university settings such as Harvey Mudd and the other great CS schools and the growing non-university education platforms, such as Codecademy and Udemy.

2) Recreate software/product development environments, from man caves with man rules to women inclusive environments. I know many amazingly bright women engineers/CS who have left the field, as ‘life is too short to live this way.’  Its not that hard to do–just takes some insight, open-mindedness and a willingness to make changes.

3) Investors should insist on women on the team, when entrepreneurs pitch a company with even a 50% women’s market.  Many of today’s companies have predominant women’s markets, yet no women on the team?!  Come on!  This is not rocket science!  Over the last few years I’ve heard dozens of pitches from young tech guys developing products for women-predominant markets that haven’t a clue about the market they’re looking to serve.  This often doesn’t preclude them for blowing through money–lots of money.  They have unlimited research but still don’t ‘get’ it.  Women around the table, women in the scrum meetings makes you stronger and ‘derisks’ your ventures.

Good for Maria Klawe and others like her–it’s just the beginning of what’s to be done….


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New Avenues for Talent

HubSpot, with its characteristic flair for creative positioning, is targeting experienced engineers in large corporate with its “Prison Break” program.  HubSpot will incent engineers with a bonus of $1k for each year of experience in a 1,000+company as they search to round up talent to fuel their growth.  If they only get 3-4 people, says their CTO Shah, it will be worth the effort.

HubSpot is making the right moves. The real constraining factor to growth today is not venture capital or technology–its people. And not the ‘people’ that VC’s often talk about when they’re referring to founder talent, but the professional talent that fules the growth–the engineers, project managers, digital marketers, product mangers, etc., who muscle the start-ups to growth. Even with 9% unemployment, we have a shortage of prepared and up-to-date talent in engineering, marketing and tech manufacturing.

My company, The Professional’s Accelerator, is targeting this challenge.  It provides innovative  development programs, based on the current demands of  growth companies, that enables  motivated professionals to continually optimize career opportunities as they enter and shift careers.

For innovative growth companies, it creates an expanded and enhanced ‘supply chain’ for highly prepared and technologically up-to-date professionals to fuel company growth with less risk, financial and opportunity cost.

Technology and digital business models are moving too rapidly for colleges or training programs to keep up, but companies don’t have to should the full burden.  The Professional’s Accelerator makes Attitude vs Aptitude an unnecessary choice.

Start-ups courting older talent – Boston.com.


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Stop Coddling the Super-Rich – NYTimes.com

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich – NYTimes.com.  Warren Buffett has done the best he can do.  He consistently shouts out  a version of,  ” This isn’t fair.  This system is bad for America. The super-rich don’t deserve this on the backs of the middle class. Stop It …” His latest is “Stop Codding the Super-Rich” in the New York Times.  It’s chock-full of the ways the tax code is used to give ridiculous breaks to the super wealthy and leave the financial heavy lifting to those who are least able to afford it.  In prior articles, Buffett has talked about how his federal tax payment, by percentage, is less than the middle class admin assistants and others who work around him.  It’s really a travesty–and the sad thing is that this burden on the middle class is one of the causes, not a result of, the recession and economic downturn that is impacting the US (see prior post).   A number of other super-wealthy have said similar things, including the Bill Gates Sr, who was roundly criticized. And as Buffett points out, the best US economy and job growth in modern time was in the 90’s, when tax policy was more fairly distributed across wealth lines.

Warren Buffet has nothing to gain when he keeps “beating the drum” for a fair tax policy. Buffett is a brilliant older man who wants to ensure the the country continues to be strong and fair.  And by doing the right thing here, we can start to get our economy back in line and our country back to work.  I’m going to become an advocate for what I’m terming “The Buffett Solution.”  I hope you’ll join me in this, because we can change this ugly mess we’re in but we HAVE TO SPEAK UP.   Please add your comments, thoughts and ideas to Twitter, Facebook and your blogs demanding that Congress embrace the wisdom and suggested policy put forth by Warren Buffet, with The Buffett Solution, or we’ll work to hound them out of leadership.   It’s time for the rest of us to act.

 

 


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Income Inequality is a cause, not a symptom, of our economic problems…

. . .  what’s really disturbing and not nearly well enough understood is that inequality is a cause, not just a symptom, of the current crisis. By legislating an increase in the wealth gap, we are actually compounding our economic woes, because those in the lower 95% of the population, which does 71% of the spending, simply aren’t going to have any cash on hand, nor can they borrow. “High levels of inequality depress longer-term growth by depressing more broad-based consumption. You end up with a lot going on at Walmart and Nordstrom without enough going on in the middle,” notes Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. You also end up with curtailed retail-employment growth, which will ensure that unemployment, at record highs for this stage of a “recovery,” will inch higher.

–Struck in the Middle – TIME Magazine

Let me say first that I’m a committed capitalist–having spent most of my adult life as an entrepreneur, teaching and promoting entrepreneurship, and recruiting and training venture capitalists and angels.   Economic systems are created by and for people to enable them to reach their personal and professional goals.   All the rules, guidelines, norms and infrastructure were created by people like us. (Well, actually not ‘us’ on the broader scale–there weren’t any women or people of color creating these systems unless they wereservants . . .  but I digress.)   And those systems can be modified, changed or undone if they no longer serve the true needs of most people.

While the income share of the nation’s top 1% is hovering around 20%–near what it was in the Gilded Age and up from about 8% in the 1970s–the rest of us haven’t gotten a raise in nearly four decades. The wealth gap between whites and blacks is now a chasm: according to a Pew study, the median wealth of white households is now 20 times that of black households, making the gap nearly twice the size it was in the two decades before the Great Recession. Such inequality isn’t new, but it’s a problem that has been greatly aggravated by the financial crisis, which wiped out the housing wealth of the middle classes even as the richest Americans saw their stock portfolios rebound and their highly paid jobs remain relatively secure.

So let’s be clear with the Gordon Gekko’s of the world (or that lovely Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs). Unbridled, all-consuming greed is not good–not for those on the outside or even those pushing their acquisition of wealth to the statosphere, costs be damned.   People in a democracy will only ignore so much inequity before they push back — are we noticing what’s happening in the UK yet?   I’ve been fortunate to count an income (at times).  in the top decile in the US but I hail from quite modest, small town prairie roots.  I know both the bankers’ blow and the plight of the lower middle class.  And the good of us who have made good–and that includes most entrepreneurs I know–need to stand up and rebuild or create anew an economic system that works for all, before its too late.

What’s interesting is that if we had done more to prevent inequality, we might not have ended up where we are. A recent report from the IMF looked at the causes of the two major U.S. economic crises over the past 100 years–the Great Depression of 1929 and the Great Recession of 2007. There are two remarkable similarities in the eras that preceded these crises: both saw a sharp increase in income inequality and household-debt-to-income ratios. In each case, as the poor and the middle classes were squeezed, they tried to cope by borrowing to maintain their standard of living. The rich, in turn, got richer by lending and looked for more places to invest, bidding up securities that eventually exploded in everyone’s face.

In both eras, financial deregulation and loose monetary policy played roles in creating the bubble. But inequality itself–and the political pressure not to reverse it but to hide it–was a crucial factor in the meltdown. The shrinking middle isn’t a symptom of the downturn. It’s the source of it. How we deal with it may become the most crucial factor in whether we can hope for a lasting recovery.

via Struck in the Middle – TIME.