After a decade in and around higher
education, and Levi spending a decade in
and around businesses and entrepreneurs,
we came to see two growing trends: first,
students were unhappy with college, and
they were graduating with debt, a degree,
and a really tough job market. Second,
business owners and CEO’s were saying
things like, “I’m always hiring; I just can’t
find enough good people.” Everyone had
degrees, but no one seemed to have valuable skills and experiences to really launch
into a career. This, we thought, was a market opportunity.
The explosion of online educational resources just added fuel to the fire. When
it comes to the more valuable parts of college– deep, critical thinking in a variety of
disciplines– you can now access the best
thinkers and teachers from around the
world almost any time, for free. There’s
so much great content out there that a
huge value is just curating it, and finding
a way to guide people through their own
learning path and provide some kind of
validation for the knowledge gained.
I had this epiphany that we could get
professors and experts to put together
the best content in every discipline, and
offer guidance, interactivity, mentorship,
and oral exams to certify knowledge.
We could combine this with amazing
work opportunities at small and mid-sized businesses—places that can’t afford
to have interns just making coffee—and
add in a rigorous set of hard-skills training and self-guided projects. It seemed so
obvious, but so exciting. It’s kind of a 21st
century remake of the old apprenticeship
model, with all the digital resources we
have at our fingertips today.
I went to Levi with the idea and he said
without hesitation, “We need to do this.”
I’d brought ideas to him before, and he’d
always throw questions and objections at
me. I knew there was something special
with this one. We just started doing everything we could to move the idea forward on a shoestring, calling in a lot of
favors and putting in a lot of sweat equity.
It was one year exactly from the time I got
the initial idea to the opening seminar for
our first class. It’s still hard to believe we
were able to pull it off so quickly, but the
demand and excitement were there, and
that really propelled us.
TOS: What types of people make the
best candidates for the Praxis program?
PRAxIS: I call it the sleep in your car
test. We want the kind of people who are
willing to sleep in their car to achieve what
they want. Yes, you need to be a strong
writer and oral communicator. Yes, you
need to have some confidence and mox-
ie. Yes, you need to be smart, and ideally
have some specific skill-sets of value to a
business. But above all, you need that re-
lentless drive and work ethic that so few
young people have.
That’s one of the reasons homeschoolers
make such excellent applicants. They tend
to be really self-motivated and hard working. We can help people learn skills and refine their rough edges, but we can’t make
an unmotivated person into a hard worker.
Minutes Per Day Words Read Per Year
Books Texts Books Texts
98 65.0 67. 3 4,358,000 4,733,000
90 21. 2 33. 4 1,823,000 2,357,000
80 14. 2 24. 6 1, 146,000 1,697,000
70 9. 6 16. 9 622,000 1,168,000
60 6. 5 13. 1 432,000 722,000
50 4. 6 9. 2 282,000 601,000
40 3. 2 6. 2 200,000 421,000
30 1. 8 4. 3 106,000 251,000
20 0.7 2. 4 21,000 134,000
10 0.1 1.0 8,000 51,000
2 0 0 0 8,000
VOCABULARY IS DIRECTLY LINKED TO SUCCESS
in school, business, and life.
Study by the Johnson O'Conner Research Laboratory
Source: R.C. Anderson, 1992
Picture Words - The New Breakthrough Method to
Increasing Vocabulary and English Language Skills
• SAT & ACT
• K- 12 & College
• GRE & AP
• ADD & Dyslexia
• 10+ Games
PRUDENCE PRUDE PRUDENCE definition (n.) caution; discretion Prudence at a crime scene is important for preserving the vidence. synonyms austerity, concern, sagacity antonyms disregard, recklessness
(adj.) expressed without words
The students were tacit in their decision to learn the new
student’s sign language when they simply followed his hand
Picture Words--In a Flash!
"The importance of vocabulary to school success, in general, and reading comprehension,
in particular, is widely documented." -Becker, 1977; Anderson & Nagy, 1991, 1977
Students were unhappy with college, and they were graduating with debt,
a degree, and a really tough job market.