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The GSV Big 10: Elvis is in the House!
Here's your weekly coverage corner for the top 10 stories, insights, and major plays in learning and upskilling.
Before we get to our headlines…
ANNOUNCEMENT - New podcast! This week we launched Ed on the Edge, where we cover the "who" and the "how" of driving change in the global education landscape.
Episode 1 is with Jon Hage, the Founder & CEO of Charter Schools USA.
Check it out here ⬇️
On to the Big 10:
Our friends Joe Lonsdale and Bari Weiss are among the leaders of the revolution. We need alternatives to the traditional “elite” university experience now more than ever…and 100 students will set foot on Texas’s newest college campus this fall. We think joining this start-up college will produce a compelling risk-adjusted return.
CZ – some people think of Chan Zuckerberg, others think of Changpeng Zhao of the formerly smoking hot Crypto exchange, Binance…but for us, the real CZ is Claire Zau, our resident AI-guru at GSV Ventures. In this piece from Nature magazine, our CZ shares insight on how retrieval-augmented generation (a.k.a. RAG) is being leveraged by our partners at ASU.
Three of our favorite (and smartest) pals, Michael Horn, Diane Tavenner, and Todd Rose come together to debate what’s right and what’s wrong with our education system. One size does not fit all for pathways to achieving the American Dream. As a country, we spend hundreds of billions to “educate” students, but right now we are churning far too many through a system without accountability or meaningful ROI.
Not only should it be an inalienable right for parents to decide what’s the best school for their children, but recent studies have shown that the two states with the best choice options, Arizona and Florida, also have the best public schools. Competition makes public schools rise to the occasion.
Peloton gave millions of people worldwide the experience of SoulCycle in the comfort of their own homes. Bloom’s mission is to do the same with career coaching. Every company wants the benefits of coaching, but traditionally it’s expensive to buy, slow to deliver, and exclusively offered to those in positions of elite leadership. Bloom changes that.
The 1980s were all about D.A.R.E and the War on Drugs…will the 2020s become the War on Phones? Nearly one in four countries has laws or policies banning or restricting student cell phone use in schools. The results? Students are more talkative, collaborative, and actually make eye contact and respond to teachers when they greet them. Sounds like a winning formula to us.
Elvis is in the house! Chinese President Xi’s trip to the city of San Francisco served as a reminder to us that the deaths of both were greatly exaggerated. Moreover, while the Chinese education sector was left for dead in 2021, some companies are emerging from the ashes. As is always the case, the greatest opportunities lie where nobody is looking. China’s cultural premium on education isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the challenge of record-high youth unemployment.
The Online Program Management (OPM) market was created because traditional universities didn't have the know-how or the capital to create online programs. That was fifteen years ago. The low-hanging fruit has been eaten, and Fall is upon us. The next phase will be creating truly value-additive partnerships that focus on driving better student outcomes at a lower cost. Expect consolidation in the sector to continue.
The biggest performance gains from generative AI go to the less highly skilled in their workforce. LLMs are excellent regurgitators of existing, public-domain knowledge. That’s good if you’re running an index fund of ideas, but real alpha comes from human creativity, not Claude or ChatGPT.
Despite the exposé of Varsity Blues, the end of Affirmative Action, and “test optional” policies, fairness remains elusive in college admissions. Far from disrupted, college admissions consulting remains a $3 billion industry. This is bad for meritocracy, democracy, and ultimately, the universities themselves. The bottom line is that rich families can still game the system.
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