Recruiting Brainfood Tribune: 20 Questions with @TimSackett by @HungLee

One of the great things that blogging about recruiting and HR topics over the past decade has given me is a bunch of international friends and contacts. One of those friends is the founder of Recruiting Brainfood, out of the UK, Hung Lee.

You won’t find a nicer dude, doing great work for the recruiting space around the world. If you haven’t heard of the Player’s Tribune, it’s a sports website where instead of journalist writing, it’s the athletes themselves. You hear very personal stories from the athletes in their own voice.

Hung had the idea to do this for our industry (The Recruiting Brainfood Tribune) and he asked me to do this for his site through answer a series of twenty questions. I hope you like it, and make sure you subscribe to Hung Lee’s weekly Recruiting Brainfood newsletter – it’s exceptional!

  1. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?

Ruth Kemp, high school English teacher. She forced us to journal, and this was in the 1980s! So, each day we had to just write for 20 minutes a day. Write about anything, but you had to write even if you just copied text from a book or magazine. The cool part is she would read everything you wrote and respond with comments. So, even though I didn’t want to write, I loved her reactions to what I wrote! For me, it became a game to try and make her laugh or be shocked. She was smart and playful and always played along with my creativity. She taught me that I actually loved to write, I just didn’t know it. I ended up being her teacher’s aide for my junior and senior years. We would talk for hours about anything and everything.

She retired years ago, but when I wrote my book, The Talent Fix, I wanted to send her a copy because she was really the reason that it happened. I found out, through the school, that she was doing some volunteer work at the local airport assistance desk with some other senior citizens. I fly a lot, so I thought eventually I would run into her. One night on a last flight of the night coming into the airport at almost midnight, I finally ran into her on her very last day of volunteering ever. It had been 30 years since we had seen each other (she totally looked the same!). I walked up to the counter, and she asked me if she could help me. I said, “I’m Tim Sackett!” and she replied, “Of course you are!” We hugged and shared stories, and it brings tears to my eyes as I write this that I could see her one last time and let her know what a dramatic impact she had on my life.

  1. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?

I don’t think my wife thinks I’m an adult yet! I tell people I was raised by all women. My Grandmother was the matriarch of our family. She had five daughters, my mother being the oldest. The first grandchild in our family was my sister. I was the second. My parents divorced when I was four, and my grandparents help raise me a lot, being that my Mom was a single parent working a ton launching her business that I currently run. My grandfather passed away when I was twelve. At his funeral, I was sitting between my Mom and my Grandmother. My Grandmother leans over during the service, puts her hand on my knee, and whispers into my ear, “You are the man of the family now.” I’m quite sure I wasn’t an adult at that moment, but it definitely shaped so much of my life moving forward! To this day, I still hold the title as the senior-most “blood” male of our family, and my 90-year-old Grandmother still expects me to be the man of the family.

  1. What do you think is true that most people think is false? What do you think is false, that most people think is true?

I think if you fail a lot, you are more likely to keep failing. Our society tends to believe the opposite. Fail more! Fail faster! It’s all bullshit. I coached baseball, and if I had a…

Read the rest of the twenty questions over at Recruiting Brainfood – it’s all about me and stuff, but I think it’s pretty good. Hung asked some great questions! 

 

Will You Have Your Kids Return to School this Fall?

I’ve talked a lot about return to work, but what about return to school. The reality is, this one decision will have a ton of impact on your workforce. This is playing out across the nation right now and parents are stressed to the max about what’s going to happen.

First, I think both educators and parents believe the best place for kids to learn is in the classroom. No one is really debating this, except maybe those folks who believe in homeschooling.

I heard a quote today that helped me gain some perspective on this issue from the Superintendent from the Ithica, NY school district, he said:

Parents will forgive us for educational malpractice, but they will not forgive us if we don’t take of their children’s health.

In hindsight, I don’t think any parent who pays attention to their child’s education felt like public education was good last spring when everything got shut down and kids got sent home. Remote learning, the first time around, failed miserably across the board in a crisis. We’ll see how it goes this fall for those school systems who have already made the decision to delay or outright not return in the fall.

We’ll forgive the educational malpractice of public education because we understand the extraordinary circumstances. We will not forgive schools returning and kids dying. The nation will come unglued. If you think cancel culture is bad, wait until the first kid who gets COVID at school and dies. There will be complete anarchy.

There are two things American’s won’t put up with: Kids dying and Puppies dying. 

We know the chances of a kid dying from COVID are rare, but they are not zero. If schools go back, some kid will die from COVID. Some teachers and administrators will 100% die from COVID, and it seems like the nation, for those who want return to school, are actually fine with that concept. I mean, look, it’s either you die or I have to stay home and teach my kid math, sorry. For those about to cancel me, understand that the last sentence is called sarcasm.

I get it, trying to work from home and educate your children at home is less than ideal. One of our strengths as Americans is our ingenuity, though. Why aren’t we coming together as neighbors and creating our own neighborhood educational/family bubbles? Five families with school-aged kids get together and each family takes all the kids one day a week and create an 1800s one-room schoolhouse where kids of all ages will do their work, get help, and mentorship from each other.

While the rest of the world laughs at us because somehow we believe wearing a mask to saves lives tramples our freedoms, we need to figure this stuff out, and unfortunately, our government and our public education aren’t really going to help us. But, that’s okay. I decided to have my kids, and I can decide how to educate them. Those “freaks” who homeschooled their kids and none of us understood, figured it out. Turns out homeschooled kids are pretty smart. We can figure it out too.

Public education and higher ed have been broken for a while. The pandemic is speeding up their demise. Tech companies are feverishly working to disrupt this space in ways we can’t even comprehend right now, but those won’t be ready by September. Yep, it sucks. All of this sucks in comparison to a year ago. But, the other great American trait we have is optimism, and I’m optimistic our kids, under their parent’s guidance, will be just fine.

Things I’m into because of COVID!

All of a sudden your normal shit isn’t normal anymore, so now we all have this new list of COVID shit we are into! I use to be into intermittent fasting, going to the gym at lunch, basically having no time to do anything around the house.

It’s amazing how much time you have when you cut out most stuff from your life! I’ve hung more pictures for my wife in two weeks than that last two years combined!

There are a bunch of things that I’m now into because of COVID:

Grazing all day. WFH sucks because you have way too much access to food. I work at an office and while I could have food there, I don’t. So, it limits my calorie intake. So, the business plan is to start a post-COVID diet scam called “CoronaBellies”! It’s just people paying me $19.99 per month for exclusive access to videos coaching them to stop eating so damn much!

Walking way too much. Because I can’t go to the gym, and my back hates running, I’m walking! Like walking way more than a normal person should walk. This actually helps with the grazing all-day habit, but I still miss a great sweat at the gym!

Tipping a Lot. I have always been a generous tipper, but not I feel the need to go way over what I would normally do. So many folks impacted by this and it just feels like something we all should be doing if we can.

The quiet. Have you noticed how much quieter it is right now? Sometimes it can be a bit eerie! We had the power go out for a brief time the other day and I just sat there with the window open and it was almost silent. No cars. No planes. I like the quiet!

Cooking and listening to music. I’m cooking way more, which I love, and I like to listen to music when I cook, which I also love. Bam! Doing more of this. But holy heck the leftovers are a bit crazy! I need to buy an additional refrigerator just to store leftovers.

Screwing around on Zoom. I like to change people’s names on Zoom meetings I’m running. The window pops up and it’s “Karen Smith”. Nope, now you’re going to be “Ms. Outta Toilet Paper!” I don’t announce these changes. I just wait for someone to recognize it and I look for the smiles!

Things that COVID has started that I’m not into:

Virtual Happy Hours. Great now I get to look at people even longer a Zoom call but now we’re all drinking and interrupting each other with some alcohol courage! I’m not that desperate, yet, to drink with my friends that I can’t wait to see them in person.

New Social Norms. Look we are going to pass each other on this walk. I’m going over to one side, you’re going over to the other. We can still make eye contact and recognize we are passing ships in the night! Being six feet apart doesn’t mean you can now just totally ignore anyone because they are six feet from you. Get a grip! Eye contact from six feet away will not give you COVID!

The non-stop Negative News. More people got it. More people died from it. Trump is the devil. Congress is the devil. City people are devils. Country people are devils. That one governor he’s a devil. Don’t wear masks! WEAR masks! The beaches are open! The beaches are closed! The beaches are back open! That one star has COVID! OMG! Oh look they made a Tic Tok! Eye contact from six feet away gives you COVID! A tiger got COVID! No, it wasn’t one of Joe’s!

What are you into right now due to COVID? Hit me in the comments.

 

What’s Wrong with Virtual Conferences? #Covid19 #Coronavirus

My Spring is usually filled with travel. This year because of the “Great Outbreak’ (I used this on Twitter before everyone, once you start to see it everywhere, just know, you and I, will know where it truly came from!) I’m not traveling at all, but I’m still doing a few conferences, virtually.

Virtual conferences have been around for a long time. Almost every organization I know has tried them at least once. Most of these were free events and while most have fairly high numbers organizations go back to the “real’ thing. Most of us tend to not like virtual conferences over the in-person conferences. Why?

I have an opinion that most virtual conferences fail to prosper is because we try and take the in-person experience and we just transfer it to online. Here’s everything we did at the in-person show, now it’s online and just via video. The thing is, an in-person presentation is quite different from an online presentation. It’s one reason so many people hate webinars! It’s just some person talking at you through your speakers with a deck in place of their actual face.

The reality is, these two experiences, in-person vs. virtual are truly two extremely different experiences. Just throwing content up online doesn’t make it the same. In fact, it kind of sucks for most attendees!

So, how could we make virtual conferences better? Big question! One no one has really figured out. We just keep throwing the same garbage up thinking it’s the future of conferences. It’s not, in its current format. Here are some things I think we should be doing to make virtual conferences something people will want to attend and pay for:

Live interaction with the community attending. One way to make this something people will remember is to get them more involved. I once did a “live” virtual event, which wasn’t really live. My presentation was recorded and then ran at a specific time and date, but I actually went into the chat while I was presenting and started asking questions and responding, etc. The chat blew up and everyone was interacting.

Live video feed of the presenter, not just the slides. We know people are more likely to watch a live person speak versus just watch a static slide for two minutes while you tell some story or make your point. Virtual conferences need to find out how to put the real person on screen.

Full professional production. You know what we love, all of us? Watching a well-produced TV show. If I’m running a virtual conference I’m not renting out a hotel ballroom and stage, I’m renting out a production studio and I’m going to make sure I’ve got great sound and lighting, etc. If you want someone to pay $1,000 or $2,000 to attend a virtual event, I better be entertained and it better look and sounds amazing. In the middle of the presentations give me live “anchors” talking about what we just saw and what we are about to see. Bring on a guest to talk shop, etc.

This will cost some money. It will cost way less money than an actual in-person conference, but if you want to make money doing virtual events, you need to up the production value a million times more than it is right now. No one is going to pay you big money to jump on a pseudo-Zoom conference call!

Momma always said, “Stupid is as stupid does”

Do you think we, Americans, will be able to self-quarantine?

I don’t. Let me give you two examples of why not:

  1. It’s this past Saturday. We are getting ready to hunker down at Casa de Sackett. Part of our nesting process is to get some projects done which means a quick trip to the Container Store to get some materials. The Container Store is very close to the Cheesecake Factory. In my mind, “No one is going to be out, let’s just slip into the Cheesecake and get the last supper in before the big shut in!” We arrive at the Cheesecake Factory to find a 30-minute wait to get in. A giant gathering of people inside around the host stand all squished together. Breathing on each other and acting like none of us are really sick.
  2. Pictures have been circulating (like the one below) from this past week in Florida as Spring Breakers are just out doing Spring Break stuff, during a global pandemic. By the way, similar pictures were spreading about 3-4 weeks ago from Italy before they had to shut down the entire country and start making death bed decisions on who gets care and who dies.

There is a line in the musical Hamilton from the second Cabinet Rap Battle where Hamilton says to Jefferson:

“You must be out of your god damn mind!”

Most of us, right now, are out of our god damn minds. The fact is the vast majority of us, around 97% will survive the 19 without much issue at all. So, we think what the hell, extra Spring Break suckers! I’m outta school!

The reality that will soon hit home is when we are attending virtual funerals for our Mom’s and Dads, and Grandparents, and aunts and uncles, the little boy down the street who has asthma but I thought it was a great idea to bring him a stuffed turtle from Clearwater Beach and kill him.

For all those folks who think the flu is worse and we are just overblowing this entire thing, answer me this – if I gave you one hundred Skittles in your hand and said, no, they taste great, only three of them will kill you, would you eat any of them?

Apparently I would, because I thought going to Cheesecake Factory for one last meal was important enough to put myself and my family at risk, and I’m the average American right now…

But god damn are those sweet potato fries are amazing!

See? We’re all Fucked! Keep safe out there my friends, and for the love of Saint Pete stay away from people! And stop buying all of the toilet paper!

What I’ve Learned in a Half Century of Living on this Planet

2-20-2020

Seems like the number people feel like this is some special birthday for me. It’s my 50th. Ugh, that’s hard to type. 50 seems so fucking old! When I was in college, 50 seemed like a lifetime away and now that I’m here, I don’t feel 50.

I actually wasn’t going to write this. I’m in a world where being old is a career death sentence, especially in today’s world! “Wait, you’re a fifty-year-old, white dude!? Yeah, next…” I get it, most middle-aged white dudes are beyond lame. Also, fifty really isn’t middle-aged, unless I plan on living to 100!

…And with my high level of income, there’s no reason I can’t live to be 245, maybe 300! – Ricky Bobby

Mentally, I feel like I’m a young 30-ish. Humor-wise, maybe young 20’s. Physically, maybe 67, which also makes no sense because I work harder now at being physically fit than I have in twenty years! So, this entire birthday makes absolutely no sense to me.

What have I learned in my fifty years on this rock? 

– Don’t love or give expecting to be loved or given something in return. If you love to love, then love. If you love to give, then give. If you expect something in return, you’re going to be let down frequently.

– The best seats are almost always worth it.

– Find someone who makes you better and never let them go. Too often we find people who want to make us the best version of ourselves and we push them away, “why can’t you just accept me for me!” Because “you” suck, but you can be so much better! Let’s try!

– Once you drink four of anything, the quality and cost no longer matter. The person who says it does is most likely someone you don’t want to hang with, just from an annoyance standpoint. Yeah, I’m sure you can really tell the level of gin you’re drinking after the fifth one…

– It doesn’t matter how smart you are. If you bore the crap out of people they won’t hear what you have to say. If you try to impress the smartest person in the room, you’ll usually fail. Try to impress the rest.

– Never underestimate how great new shoes can make you feel.

– People in high-level jobs (CEOs, etc.), making millions of dollars are much more similar to you than you think. They just had better timing and networks.

– When someone tells you they have tried their hardest, most haven’t even given you 50%. That’s really hard for someone to hear, but it’s true. What they are really saying is “I’ve tried the hardest I’m going to for what I’m going to get out of this”. There’s a study that shows most people’s bodies will tell them they are done when they’ve only really used up 15% of their ability to keep going.

– Your value has little to do with your actual value and everything to do with how much someone is willing to pay you.

– A pizza and a six-pack in a hotel lobby with great friends always beats a 5-star restaurant when dining with idiots.

– Most people need a hug. A real, genuine hug. Linger a bit. Tell them you missed them. Tell them everything is going to be alright. Tell them you are there for them. Don’t linger too long, that’s creepy. Hug for real.

– People who tell you they aren’t the “Ritz Carlton” type, most likely haven’t stayed at a Ritz Carlton. Because that sh*t is dope! “It’s so choice…If you have the means…” – Ferris

– A great massage will leave you drooling like you had a stroke. Tip that person well.

– If you see someone who does something awesome, find a way to tell them, privately. A quick call, text, email, written note, pull them aside. That one-on-one interaction is the most valuable thing you can ever give them.

– “Call them again” is the most powerful recruiting strategy of all time. “I already called them and they weren’t interested.” So, call them again! That next call really makes you work. What are you going to say? What are you going to ask for? How will you get some kind of value out of this call? “Call them again!” 99.9% of people won’t make that second call.

–  It’s way better to know what you suck at than what you’re good at.

– No one on the planet works harder than a single mom. No one. Give these women a break. Help them. Admire them. Build environments that help them thrive.

– I’m simultaneously more woke and less woke as I hit the half-century. Part of me is so much more knowledgeable and understanding now as this age by a mile compared to younger me, and also older me just wants to know whey we all can’t just get along.

– Deadpool should have won an Oscar for Best Picture. Don’t @ me, Trolls! You can’t come up with a funnier movie, don’t even try. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is close.

– Don’t take financial advice from someone who’s car cost more than their house. They fail to understand the simple depreciation and appreciation of assets.

– Have an opinion. Hang with folks who don’t share your opinion, and value that fact you don’t share their opinion. It won’t get you promoted, but it will let you sleep at night, and lead to the best conversations you’ll ever have in your life.

– The only thing you’ll ever get everyone to agree on is puppies. 100% of everyone on the planet is in on puppies. Buy all the puppy stock you can.

– Don’t ever feel guilty about not spending ‘enough’ time with those you love, if the time you are spending away from them is for their benefit. But, when you do spend the time, really spend the time.

– Seeing other cultures and spending time around the world with people from other cultures is the best D&I training you’ll ever receive. Just go. The world continues to shrink. People will help you. I’ve made friends all over the world and it’s enriched my life beyond anything I could ever imagine.

– Hater’s gonna hate.

Thanks for letting me indulge myself today. I started blogging because I found it to be therapy. I write what I’m thinking. Sometimes you like it, sometimes you hate it, sometimes you forget about it the moment it’s read. Me too.

Kobe on Leadership and Life!

It seems like the entire world is talking about Kobe. The tragic accident that cost nine people their lives, including Kobe and his daughter.

I’m a Kobe fan.

It’s complicated, being a Kobe fan.

He has been accused of something horrible in his past. Like most rich people in the world, he got it to go away without any of us truly knowing the truth, but suspecting a whole bunch.

Kobe is one of the best basketball players ever. I loved watching him compete. I love watching him yell at teammates and seemingly not care if he was liked or disliked because he wanted to win more than anyone else on the planet. I love watching him with his daughters. Maybe the worst thing in his past, made him even a better father and husband (I don’t know).

Kobe is not like you or I. He was a true genius. He was better than 99.999999% of people who have ever played basketball. Most of us aren’t in the top ten percent of anything we do in life. Genius is extremely rare. Most people can’t understand genius. It’s a bit scary and completely uncomfortable from what we are used to.

As I said, it’s complicated being a Kobe fan.

In 2012, Kobe posted this on Facebook about leadership-

So, let’s breakdown the brilliance of what Kobe is saying about being a great leader:

1. Are you willing to make those around you uncomfortable to make them better?

2. Are you willing to push those around so much they might actually hate you at the time?

3. Success is more important, in the end, than being liked. 

4. Don’t tolerate victims.

5. We all have a leadership style that will get us to our highest level, it’s not all the same. 

I mourn the loss of a great basketball player and parent you died tragically with his daughter in a helicopter crash, as he was taking her to play the game he loved. I can’t imagine the heartache of those they left behind. As a father that has done that thousands of times, my own heart aches.

We are a totality of what we do in the world. That’s hard for me to reconcile. Humans can do the most wonderful, uplifting things we can ever imagine, and the most awful, and be the same person. Like I said, life is complicated and I tend to actually like how Kobe viewed leadership.

 

6 Ways Not to Treat a Speaker at Your Event!

I’m just getting ready to kick off the spring conference season and I’ve already had a handful of reminders of how not to treat someone who you are trusting to come to speak to your audience! It always amazes me how some conference organizers get this completely right and some fail massively!

Here are a few things you shouldn’t do:

1. Limit the conference pass to one day the speaker will be speaking. 

Really, you are asking me to come to speak at your conference, but then you are only going to give me access to your conference the one day you actually have me speaking? I think you’re missing the boat on what I might bring to the other days by having me there, plus you look super cheap and petty.

2. Only paying for one night of lodging. 

So, I’m coming from a snowy climate and you are now asking me to gamble that I’ll actually make it to your event. I can come the day before to ensure I’ll be there, but then you have me speak at 4 pm so I can’t possibly get a fight out, and now I have to pay for a room for an extra night on my own? Again, if you can’t afford two nights lodging for a speaker, you probably can’t afford to put on a conference!

3. Put limits on expenses that are so under market you are now turning me into a spendthrift to attend your event. 

It’s at minimum a $50 Uber ride from the airport to your venue, but you put in the contract a maximum of $35 for transportation from the airport. Or the only restaurant within walking distance is the hotel restaurant where the cheapest meal will be $40, but your limit is $25. Look, I don’t want to kill you on big expenses, but I also don’t want to pack my own lunch to make this work!

4. Give me a gift that is almost impossible to bring onto a plane. 

Okay, this sounds like I’m a pompous ass, right! Tim is complaining about a gift!?! But, if you give me a cutting board the size of Texas to bring home, I totally love the thought, but know that thing is never coming home with me! It’s not that I don’t love you did this, and it’s not generous, it’s that logistically it’s just a pain.

5. Don’t have diet Mt. Dew. 

Okay, this one is a bit personal but I don’t drink coffee and you want me coming in hot with the audience. Fully caffeinated, and shot out of a cannon!  “Would you like a bottle of water?” Nope! I’d like an IV drip of diet Dew!

6. Put them in a room that isn’t commensurate with the size of their audience.

Hey, we are so thankful for you to come to speak at our conference. To show you we put you in a room that holds 1,000 people, but we know only 50 will show up to see your session. Ugh! This is the worst ever for a speaker. To see hundreds of empty seats is defeating. It’s best to make the rooms smaller, have it standing room only, and the size of the room is a third the size. I don’t care about the size of the room, I care about how full the room is!

I’m a speaker and I hold events, and I understand the struggle of running an event and trying to make everyone happy. It’s next to impossible, but sometimes I think many of us aren’t even trying, or we care so much about the profitability of the event we start to treat people poorly.

The best events treat their speakers like a valuable commodity they want to return. How do we leave you with such a positive impression that you want to come back and you’ll tell your friends they should attend? That’s really the key. It doesn’t have to be about spending a bunch more money, but just making sure the speakers aren’t being put out of their way to perform their best at your event!

Do you want to work with Tim Sackett? This video will answer that question!

I’m a big fan of DisruptHR and the format! I’ve been part of the team that has run the first three DisruptHR Detroits and in 2020 we’ll do our first DisruptHR Lansing. Five minutes, 20 slides, each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds. Simple, yet so hard to pull off effectively!

There are now well over a hundred DisruptHR cities and hundreds of events worldwide taking place each year. My friend, Jennifer McClure, is the co-Founder of DisruptHR and it might the single best thing that’s happened to HR this decade! Truly. To get HR leaders and pros out of the office and stretch our minds, have a little fun, push the envelope of what HR could become. Give me something better than that in the last ten years!

You can start your own DisruptHR (input city name here) for $500! It’s easy, just contact Jennifer through the DisruptHR website. It’s fun. It really engages the HR community in your city. It’s fairly easy to get a few sponsors to throw some bucks at you to help with the cost. And even bad DisruptHR talks are some of the best DisruptHR talks!

I was fortunate enough to be chosen to speak at DisruptHR Grand Rapids this past fall and I went with a topic that started on my blog as a series – Rap Lyrics that have shaped my leadership style over time. On my blog, I think I counted down twenty-five in the series a number of years ago. I even once did a presentation for the local SHRM chapter in Jackson, MI on the concept and watched 40 mostly white HR ladies look at me in horror! 😉 Actually, they asked me to do it! Which shows how disruptive they are!

In the comments hit me with your best Rap Lyric that shaped your leadership style!

Let’s face it. If you hate the video, you probably don’t want to work with me, and I probably wouldn’t have much fun working with you! But, if you like the video – we can probably be fast friends! Let’s talk!

How Would a College Education be Different if you Were an Investor?!

There’s a concept that is starting to gain some steam in college tuition funding called “Income Share Agreements”. The basis of these agreements is pretty much “I” (the investor) pays “you” (the student) to go to college and get an education. Once you graduate and get a job, I take some of your annual salary for an agreed-upon time.

From the Washington Post:

In an ISA, a student borrows nothing but rather has his or her education supported by an investor, in return for a contract to pay a specified percentage of income for a fixed number of years after graduation. Rates and time vary with the discipline of the degree achieved and the amount of tuition assistance the student obtained.

An ISA is dramatically more student-friendly than a loan. All the risk shifts from the student to the investing entity; if a career starts slowly, or not at all, the student’s obligation drops or goes to zero. Think of an ISA as equity instead of debt, or as working one’s way through college — after college.

I like this alternative to student loans because it puts much of the risk on the investor and away from the student. Also, if higher education institutions get involved with these kinds of investment funds, it truly puts accountability back on their organization to ensure they are producing graduates who are desired and prepared.

Purdue University has been doing a ton of testing with these types of agreements:

Although the very nature of ISAs protects the participant, early adopters such as Purdue have built in safeguards. A user-friendly computer simulator provides quick, transparent comparisons with various public and private loan options. No investee pays anything for the first six months after graduation or until annual income exceeds $20,000. For those graduates who get off to fast career starts, a ceiling of 250 percent of the dollars that purchased their education limits total repayment.

All of this gets you to think about what might be possible if we walked away from traditional student loan programs altogether!

What if…

  • The amount of your investment into a student returned more than you could make on the stock market?
  • Students had to present themselves, as high schoolers, to investment groups to get funding for university?
  • Investors and investing groups were only willing to fund students in careers where they could get a good return on investment? Say goodbye to history majors!
  • College students had to meet with their investors and explain why they got a “C” and missed class because they were drunk!?
  • Organizations and HR Departments started investing in potential future talent in a very real way!?

I love disruption to traditional things we have come to believe just can’t be changed. This isn’t perfect and there are a lot of questions, but it’s worth testing and trying. What we know is traditional student loan programs are not working at all! Something has to change.

I’m GenX and a Capitalist, so I love the accountability of both the investor having to make sound, prudent investment decisions around who they feel is most likely to give them a great return on investment, and the student’s accountability of understanding there’s a cost/benefit to your career choices and what it will cost to pay back those choices.

What do you think? Would you allow one of your kids to get into one of these arrangements, or would you have been willing to do this in college? I think I would have had very few people want to invest in me, but those who did would have been paid back in spades!