If you’re a teacher, you’ve been making extensive deposits into “data banks” for years. You’ve frugally saved student information system data like demographics, attendance, formative and summative assessments, college and career readiness and other crucial indicators. Maybe you’ve meticulously collected and deposited data on your practice. Schools and districts diligently save school-level data such as climate. We’ve even occasionally borrowed some assets such as census data and crime maps.
Every day I drive my daughter to high school. As we get closer to the parking lot, I have to be mindful of all of the teenagers wandering in and out of the road like dazed cattle. I also have to brave a four-way stop sign, where I am often the only adult at the wheel of any of the four cars waiting their turn.
That stop sign is an every man for himself, Lord of the Flies experience on wheels. I drive a Smart Car, and there have been times where I was glad to make it out alive.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet, pitch, get rejected, and accepted by lots of investors. After building two companies that were venture and angel backed in aggregate of millions of dollars and then being a part of another that raised tens of millions in additional capital, I learned a lot about the world of venture capitalists. My latest position as head of B.D. at Alma has me reaching out to even more VC’s, many who I know, and others who I’ve never met before as we, like all companies, evaluate our funding options.
Big data has been the story of the past year. Nearly every industry sector has been hit by the urge to quantify, measure, and analyze, and they are using that information to improve their products and services, which in turn is improving our lives on both the micro and macro scales. (Can you even remember what shopping was like before personalized product recommendations?)
You don’t know what you think you know.
Planned obsolescence is often cited as the way tech companies (Apple) can guarantee sales: after a few years, their devices and software would either break down or otherwise cease proper functioning, requiring users to pay for upgrades to shinier, faster, newer models.
Higher education has fallen into a similar model—though instead of planned, it seems to have happened by default.