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September 21, 2006

Skepticism about intentions from advisors

I just got off the phone with Richel P from Penn State.  We worked with her on the PA Leadership conference back on Aug 16th.  She was also at the Orlando APCA conference. 

She is talking about bringing us out for an Advisor only program in December. 

I was asking her for feedback on the Orlando program and she was wonderfully honest.  She said lots of people, including herself, were skeptical.  They were skeptical that we were collecting student and advisor e-mails to help them learn.  They are worried we just want to sell them something.  Even if our intentions are honest, they worry that what we are talking about will just increase the students' workload instead of making their lives better / more fun / efficient.

It's exciting to get the challenge so clearly.  To the first point of our intentions - we expected this and know that trust is something we will have to earn.  Time, openness and consistency.  As much as I worry about it, I think making our finances public will help.  We will play with an open hand - nothing to hide. 

On the second point - will it help?  I don't know.  We see a system that could work better. Needs to work better.  We intend to work with others to innovate. As Ken Robinson says "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." (in fact, that whole speech is so damn good I'll put it in the next post.)

So we are prepared to be wrong.  We are prepared to spend a lot of our own money, work very hard and fail.  It's okay.  If we get enough ideas from other people, we won't fail - we'll shift and turn until we find our point of leverage to help creat the change we want.  But if we do fail, it's okay. At least that way we know we tried.

The good news about this whole transparency business - public blogs like this one and publishing all of our results  - means there won't be B.S. if our vision doesn't work, everyone will know.  If we can't make it work, at least this way we will leave a public record of an avenue that doesn't work - thereby contributing to progress with our mangled bodies and bank accounts.  (Just kidding about that last bit : ) if we go down, we're sure to rise again.)

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