In the United States, our Universities and colleges are geographically so close to all the cutting edge technology you use every day.
There are so many great colleges and universities in California, home to Silicon Valley that it’s crazy. You can throw a stone (metaphorically) from Silicon Valley and it would hit so many great schools like Stanford or Berkeley.
We have great schools on the east coast as well that are in New York, DC, Philadelphia and other great metropolitan areas that have great startups being formed every day.
Here’s the tragedy – in 2014, most of these schools can’t teach you a lick about how to start an online business. It’s almost like being in the middle of the ocean but having absolutely no water to drink – cognitively dissonant.
My team and I started looking at this problem a few years ago and we figured out that there were a few reasons why this was happening. I’m happy to share them with you.
Professors have the wrong skill set
Most tenured professors are academics. They have worked hard to get tenure and have published more academic papers than you and I can imagine. Once they achieve tenure (lifetime employment) at a school, they typically continue to do research and teach.
While all that is very noble, those are very different skills than those required to understand and build an online business. They simply can’t teach what they’re not equipped to teach.
The bastardization of “Social Media”
The second problem is more insidious. The term “Social Media” has been used so often and loosely that it has very little meaning. Anyone can set up a shingle and say they’re a social media “expert” and there are very few checks and balances.
We checked out a few universities teaching “social media” certifications and programs and quite frankly, it was pitiful.
Teaching social media in isolation is like having a medical school where doctors only learn how to use a stethoscope. That would be knowledge out of context and practically useless.
Social Media is a tool and paradigm that can be exploited as PART of building an online business. Without an exhaustive strategy it’s meaningless.
Tools for online entrepreneurship change rapidly
The amount of tools springing up DAILY to help you start an online business are crazy. As part of our course, we were able to identify about 180 of the best ones but more and more are born every day.
That’s a great thing for the consumer but how the heck would a professor keep up with that? It’s impossible.
Successful online entrepreneurs typically aren’t qualified or motivated to teach
I have done very well financially online and am fortunate to be acquainted with a few online millionaires and entrepreneurs. Every one of them is so focused on making more money and expanding their empires, teaching hasn’t even crossed their minds.
Ironically if they wanted to teach classes, they aren’t traditionally “qualified” with the credentials needed by most states (at least in the US). Then you have to imagine what the academic politics would be to get an online entrepreneur hired into a traditional university – bananas!
This situation is important because the kids who are going through these colleges and universities today instinctively feel they can build businesses online and would love to know where to begin.
For those who are not ever going to be entrepreneurs, it wouldn’t hurt to understand what WordPress does and how websites work before they get to their employers.
I founded LearnAboutTheWeb.com because ironically, today at a time when it is easiest to start an online business, people are still confused and intimidated by the process.
In addition, I wanted to build a product that would help universities begin the process of equipping our kids with cutting edge web skills.
We solved that problem and ended up building a unique set of tools and services to help universities and colleges close the online entrepreneurship knowledge gap they have.
or check out our academic solutions page.
I’d love to hear back from you though. Are you satisfied with the level of education you got about the internet while you were in college? Could you have used more or was it OK?
Use the comments below.