Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Web Secret #153: We’re in a Bubble and It’s Not the Internet

We live in unsettling times. We knew that everything on the Internet was developing at warp speed. But the bricks and mortar world, was, well, bricks and mortar. The cyber world and the "real" world were separate.

Now we know that is no longer true. Social media is driving revolutions in Arab nations. It is an engine of change all over the world. Virtual reality is affecting reality.

At my presentations, my audience is looking for certainty. Should they join the social media revolution? Twitter or Facebook? Online therapy? By the way, how is the Internet affecting the younger generations? Are cyber addictions real? They want answers.

There are no true answers - just best educated guesses. I think we are in for a lot of surprises. Some good. Some not so good.

I think that because of the web, we will come to question some of our most fundamental beliefs.

Take "We’re in a Bubble and It’s Not the Internet." This blog post is about Peter Thiel's belief that the value of higher education is bankrupt. Because Peter is one of the co-founders of Paypal, and a multi-millionaire, people tend to listen to him.

As the post explains:
"It used to be a given that a college education was always worth the investment– even if you had to take out student loans to get one. But over the last year, as unemployment hovers around double digits, the cost of universities soars and kids graduate and move back home with their parents, the once-heretical question of whether education is worth the exorbitant price has started to be re-examined..."
Thiel believes that more and more Americans are going to become skeptical about college, as the costs become - already are - unsustainable by all but the wealthiest.

He decided to poke a small but solid hole in the "college is a must" mindset. The idea is simple: Pick the best twenty kids he could find under 20 years of age and pay them $100,000 over two years to leave school and start a company instead. He is currently doing just that.

How's that for exploding a sacred cow?

Only time will tell if this post correctly predicts the future.

Everything Is Illuminated. Eventually. We just have to wait.

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