Invest Amplify Educate

“Invest Amplify Educate” was probably the talk that moved me the most during LXJS. I think you should see it even if you don’t have a technical background: it talks about education, its importance and our responsibility to have a meaningful impact on others.

What moved me the most on this talk, was thinking about all the people that had impact on me and how that was crucial for me to be the person I am today.

I remembered the teachers that demanded more from me because they believed in my potential (while I was thinking that they were just bugging me!). I remembered my parents and the values that they tried to instil in me. I recalled my colleagues and friends I’ve made through different schools, cities, countries and how they helped me move forward. And then I started to think of my parents and how people helped them get to where they are, and the big chain of how we, humanity, are somehow all connected. And the great thing is that the technology amplifies this even more, people that we never met are having an impact on us through the tools that we use, books that we read, talks that we watch and even clothes that we buy.

We are somehow part of an elite, if not for the money, but for the information and networks we have access to. Sometimes, we forget how much impact we can have on people and it is great to be reminded of that.

I believe we do have a great responsibility towards improving our communities and helping others succeed. We should give back even if not for us but for the others that were not blessed to have the same opportunities that we had.

I left some notes/snippets from Mike’s talk so I can come back to them later:

Relative to the rest of the world, all of us here today are
privileged, and if you lined up the 253 people in the room that
represented in the world population from most wealthy and fortunate to
the least of these, we would be in the front of that line.

Did you know that the most significant factor that will determine a
persons’ place in this world is the place of their parents? That’s
right, our parents prosperity in this world is the greatest predictor
of our prosperity.

The most predictable way to outrun your destiny is through education.

Education is the most powerful life catalyst in the world. Nearly
every factor of prosperity, of people and communities, positively
correlates to education.

Before the “age of information,” before the web, schools and teachers
were the gatekeepers of knowledge. Lecturers and the university
library had a monopoly on information. For thousands of years, content
and information was a scarcity, but today it is a vast, unwieldy,
accessible, commodity.

The system of education developed for the industrial revolution was
steeped in discipline, uniformity, standardization and memorization.

The 21st century knowledge worker needs to be dynamic, adaptive,
always learning and entrepreneurial.

There is a growing gap between the skills employers require and the
skills of today’s graduates.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
states in a recent report that countries need to provide a “good basic
education in childhood and adolescence that equips people not just for
the jobs of today, but with the ability to learn new skills for the
jobs of tomorrow right through their lifetime.”

Also, why do we frontload education? Why do we spend the first 20
years of our lives in classrooms and the next 40 in the workplace? It
sounds a bit waterfall-ish doesn’t it? We’re going to spend the first
third of our lives preparing for and anticipating what skills we’ll
need 20 to 60 years from now! As if nothing about the world will
change! We should apply agile and iterative development principles to
education! We should embrace a lifelong iterative approach to work and

But Javascript is the language of the web, and the web is the
infrastructure for change and I believe education will be
revolutionized through the web.

What were the pivotal, life changing moments that shaped your life? I
bet you don’t see a school or a building or a computer screen for that
matter. I bet… you see a person. And I bet you had a connection with
that person, a relationship, maybe not very deep, but you had a
connection. And I bet that person was instrumental in making you
believe that you belonged, that you were worthy. Maybe they helped you
unlock your passion, identify your purpose. And most of all, they made
you believe that you could do it.

Like industrial manufacturing engineers who create the machines that
make the machines, we can create tools that enable others to create;
we can create tools for teaching and for learning. We can create new
ways to disseminate information, new methods of collaboration and
group work, new adaptive, personalized learning experiences, and we
can help democratize education. More than any other profession, I
believe we each have the power to change the world

invest in others, not your money but invest your time and energy. We
stand near the front of the line. We are so fortunate to be able to do
what we do for a living and live the way we do. Instead of clawing
your way further forward, turn around, reach back and pull someone up.
Pouring into others is never a bad investment.

The second thing is go, and create, and make, and invent new ways of
connecting people that improves learning and that improves peoples
lives, if only for one person at a time.

You all are fantastically talented, don’t hoard your gifts, pay them
forward. Imagine the impact we can make in education and the lives of
people around the world if we did. – Mike