NewCo Shift
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NewCo Shift

Education Is Broken. Here’s How Silicon Valley Plans To Fix It.

Our Education System Was Built For The Industrial Era. AltSchool’s Platform Rethinks Learning From the Classroom Up.

For the second installment of the Shift Dialogs, I speak with Max Ventilla, founder and CEO of AltSchool. I’ve known Ventilla since his days as a founder of Aardvark, a unique search platform acquired by Google in 2010. Since that acquisition, Ventilla rose to head of personalization for Google, where he learned the power of individual services at scale.

But as a new parent in the hyper-competitive Bay area, Ventilla and his wife found themselves dismayed by the choices society offered their young children. Private schools offered smaller class sizes and lots of privilege, but the model was pretty much the same as public schools, which are increasingly starved of funding and legally obligated to pursue byzantine and outdated approaches to learning.

AltSchool Dogpatch 2

As an entrepreneur with deep experience in personalization, Ventilla imagined a new approach. Encouraged by friends and colleagues, he started AltSchool, a private, for-profit school platform that seeks nothing less than a total rethink of how schools operate. In our wide-ranging discussion, Ventilla touches on what’s wrong with the education system, the massive shift already underway in our society from industrial to information-age constructs, and what might happen when we can “pull mental energy from the ground,” much as we pulled physical energy, in the form of fossil fuels, during the industrial age. It’s a must-watch!

For more Shift Dialogs, head here. And if you liked this conversation, please consider recommending it below. Thanks!

Want the full interview? Head to Max Ventilla of AltSchool: The Full Shift Dialogs Transcript



Covering the biggest shift in business and society since the industrial revolution

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John Battelle

John Battelle

A Founder of The Recount, NewCo, Federated Media, sovrn Holdings, Web 2 Summit, Wired, Industry Standard; writer on Media, Technology, Culture, Business