This blog originally was posted here: Business & Entrepreneurial Success in the 2010s: How Should Education Be Defined, with much appreciation and thankfulness to the folks at Innovate New Albany.


Many an article and blog post, set adrift amongst the ocean of information that we all swim in every day of our lives, have previously raised crucial questions, such as these:

  • Why aren’t there more entrepreneurs?
  • Why do entrepreneurs and businesses in general struggle ofttimes to find the best candidates for open positions?
  • Why do so many businesses fail in the first one, three, and five years of their existence?

My answers to the above questions require the Socratic Method: answering a question(s) with another question(s).

Are education and school the same thing, or are they quite (possibly / likely) different?

Regardless of your answer to the above, let’s take a brief tour through the pathways and attempt to define what education should be in the 2010s, and how you, as a business owner, entrepreneur, and/or start up, can grow and learn more to the betterment of yourself, your company, your community, and your nation at large.


What was one of the most oft-asked questions as you were in your teenage years? And, with a twist, what is one of the most common questions at a business networking event? If you said either, or both, of these, you win: ‘What do you want to do?’ ‘What do you do?

These are the product, the end result, of an approach to education that is very common if you’ve ever been in a traditional public school/college/university classroom, working in a corporation as an employee, or in the public service sector (government, nonprofit, and/or politics). It also explains why there aren’t more entrepreneurs, why those who are already in business experience challenges to find candidates, and even why many businesses fail far too soon. We have neglected to focus on the crucial question, ‘Why?’, and the creativity, innovation, vision, and curiosity seeds are not watered, thereby leaving the green fields of entrepreneurship lacking in both quantity, as well as quality.

Think of it this way, too: Are the above traits not all imperative to entrepreneurial success, whether you’re a startup venture with a big dream? An established company seeking new markets? A solopreneur who wants to hire new interns/agents/employees so you can work “on” and not “in” your business? Please see the attached .pdf for more.

Defining Education in the 2010s

As we approach a new year, we will again be tasked to plan, take action (do), check (progress), and adjust (make tactical changes) in our entrepreneurial ventures/startups, existing businesses, and with our B2B clients. Allow me to define education so it can morph and be readily adaptable to your unique markets, challenges, obstacles, and vision for the future.

Education in our ever-changing modern world should:

  • Encourage us ‘how’ to think, and not ‘what’ to think
  • Be Holistic, connecting various disciplines together
  • Highlight innovative models and creative approaches
  • Teach soft skills that build social capital and how to create leaders
  • Focus on informing us how to make a difference: leveraging our business skills to create and build; not to live to work.

You may be applauding as you read the above; or, on the other hand, you may be perplexed, having never considered any of these before reading this post. Regardless of your response, reason your way through the root cause why you may have had such feedback. Think of a fish in water: Does the fish really know any other environment? It’s quite likely that the pathway(s) you took leading up to the present day honed in on the ‘what’ heavily, leaving the ‘why’, and perhaps even the ‘how’ question(s) with very little oxygen. Here and here alone you will find the rocks upon which many an entrepreneur/business owner have crashed, been moored, or lost time and money on his/her journey.

In sum, does the ‘what’ over ‘why’ question connect you with your distant past? Perhaps instead, it triggers a memory of an experience you had in a classroom or conversation more recently? Or, even of educational option(s) which you may wish to pay for in 2016?

My hope is that the answer(s) to one, two, or all of these questions is ‘yes’. If not, I implore you to dive in deeper to the educational ‘pool’, and ask yourself once again, ‘Are education and school the same thing, or are they different?