From Dish Hill, Stanford University looks like a postcard. Nobody cares about the warning that mountain lions might be around. Some visitors to the hill run; others walk. Young and old intermingle. The sun hugs them all, male and female, black, white, yellow, and all shades in between. This is a sample of the world in search of opportunities.
As much as I like Stanford, I don’t think that its model can be emulated. The future incubators of success will not be the brick-and-mortar universities of the past—even if called Harvard or Yale—but rather the virtual environment of interactions driven by a common goal. This is where talent and venture capital will meet, not in the elegant offices that changed Palo Alto for the worse. Attracting the young and less young, such a virtual incubator will transcend geography and culture(s). In such an environment, professorial authority (and futile permanence) will give way to the role of temporary catalyst. And venture capitalists will discover their own obsolescence as the real capital will no longer be the printed dollar bills, but the intelligence and creativity of those less obsessed with money than with pursuing their own passion while creating something for the common good.
Learning as a way of living—this is the vision I am describing. Discovery as a way of ascertaining our values is the result of such learning.
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