Eight years of (un)learning at 4.0.

And twenty years ahead of us.

Matt Candler
5 min readDec 21, 2018

4.0 Family,

8 years ago I wrote a business plan oozing with certainty about what New Orleans and other communities needed from me and other experts concerning the future of school. It was a shining example of what Dr. Lisa Delpit once described as reform done to Other People’s Children.

4.0 has changed in many ways since 2010.

We’ve tried to stop doing reform and innovation to communities and start doing innovation with other human beings, defining expertise as a function of proximity not privilege, and thinking less about scaling institutions in favor of building scale through relationships between human beings. We’ve made progress towards this more with approach, but that’s not our goal. What’s emerging today is a vision of 4.0 co-owned by the humans within it — a self-determining, self-actualizing, self-sustaining community of people bringing the future of learning to life where they live. While our view of that future is pixelated, I’m very excited about pursuing it and making it real with you.

I’ve changed in many ways since 2010, too.

When we came up with the name 4.0, it was supposed to be a clever play on words/numbers about change and iteration. But I had no idea what it was really going to mean for me.

I often talk about 4.0 investing in the 20-year version of each member of this community, not just the idea or venture that’s top of mind right now. That’s true for me, too. Here’s a look at who I’m becoming — the 20-year version of me:

Thank you.

These eight years have been the most rewarding and challenging of my entire career. I close my eyes, and a river of memories rush by — learning moments and conversations where someone took enough care to show me something about me; about us; about learning; about humanity. Countless moments about hospitality; yes, and; co-ownership; transparency; equity. Things that I could never, ever have (un)learned on my own.

For the last 18 months, I’ve had the privilege of preparing for the hand off of one of the many roles in our community to another member of it, someone with whom I’ve shared hundreds of those “Well, I just got more human!” moments.

Our goal has been a thoughtful, deliberate CEO transition — one that’s well-planned and integrated into a much larger strategic vision of where 4.0’s headed. This has been a tremendous group effort by the 4.0 staff, board, and alumni who’ve helped us discern what the future of this community might look like.

And now it’s time to take the biggest, most exciting step in this process….

On January 1, 2019, Hassan Hassan will be CEO and the newest board member of 4.0!

Who he is today, who he wants to become, what he’s deeply passionate about, how he’s moved through the last six years from curious bystander to fellow to alum to fellow and alum again to staffer…we believe Hassan is the right next 4.0 CEO.

You absolutely must take the time to hear Hassan’s thoughts and dreams for 4.0. If you read anything else today, make sure it is this.

I’ll stay on staff until June 30 and serve as board chair after that.

Research says good transition includes a measured period of transition, with founders playing a specific role for a fixed period of time. So I’ll stay on to help Hassan with fundraising for our next few years of operations and new funds that could sustain the work of thousands more fellows over the longer-term.

Some of you might want to ask what I’m up to next. I don’t know yet, at least when it comes to job stuff. I’ll gear up for some courageous sucking in whatever my next chapter might have for me, but anything beyond the next six months is usually pretty pixelated for me, and for now, I’m really excited to walk alongside Hassan as we engage funders in honest dialog about where we’re headed next.

Here’s one thing I do know. I am going to continue to do my personal work. I have much work ahead towards becoming a human of greater compassion, empathy and awareness. I have much work ahead to understand and dismantle the bias and racism and sexism wired deep within my own fragile identity, in my whitewashed heritage and in the structures and systems all around us. I can’t do that work on my own; I must do it in community, and I am so grateful this has become and will remain one of those places for me.

Hassan will be the third alum to join the board this year alongside Caroline Hill and Aaron Walker!

As I mentioned earlier, Hassan moving into CEO is part of a larger story that includes ceding/sharing power to/with alumni. If you don’t know Caroline and 228 Accelerator, or Aaron and Camelback Ventures, I encourage you to follow what they do and how they lead. They’ve each been profoundly important voices of candor, clarity and encouragement for me, and they’re remarkable leaders who will bring a new perspective as alumni and fellow investors to the board.

Please read….

Hassan’s thoughts on the transition. This is a stunning piece of writing and a delightful glimpse into the person who’s leading our community forward.

Hassan, thank you for who you are, how you live, and what you’ve taught me and so many others. I’m honored to walk the road with you.


A take on where we’re headed next, brought to you by the entire 4.0 team.

Here’s to an amazing new chapter in our story. I will never, ever be able to repay each of you, all of you, for what I’ve learned, for who I’ve started becoming in your midst. But I can say thank you.

Thank you.

Matt Candler, Member, 4.0