We tend to get people with entrepreneurial desires, but who are maybe not
quite sure in what way or what industry
that will manifest yet. We don’t want followers or people who are content to follow predefined rules. We want creators.
TOS: What is the main idea that your
company stresses to its participants?
PRAxIS: You own your education.
You own your career. You are your own
company, your own brand. Nothing and
no one—no boss, or business, or college,
or grad school, or professional certification—can do the heavy lifting for you. It’s
up to you to become a valuable, productive creator, and to find ways to demonstrate that to the world. All these things
are tools that may or may not be useful to
you, but there’s no plan or path someone
can hand you that guarantees you’ll have
the kind of life and career you want. You
have to first decide what direction you
want to head, and then create the path
yourself. It’s really hard work, but it’s the
most worthwhile thing you can do.
TOS: How does Praxis work?
PRAxIS: After a pretty intense application process, participants are accepted
into the program; then we begin the
process of finding a business partner to
match them with. Participants typically
interview with several before the program starts until we find the best fit.
We begin each class—(one starts in September, one in February)—with a four-day
opening seminar where participants get to
know each other, conduct workshops, and
hear from successful entrepreneurs. They
then head off across the country to live
and work wherever their business partner
is located. They work 30 hours a week and
go through the Praxis curriculum, which
takes probably 10-20 hours a week. We
have six curriculum modules—philosophy,
history, economics, business, digital skills,
and entrepreneurship & life skills—each
with weekly group discussions and an oral
exam via Skype with a professor and our
Education Director at the end. No memorization. No multiple choice. You either
have a working knowledge or you don’t.
After the modules, which are about
four to five weeks each, we have some
writing, public speaking, interviewing,
and resume workshops and assignments,
as well as a self-guided project. In the
final months we work closely with participants to help them get to their next
step—whether it’s lining up interviews
and helping them prep, offering guidance in business plans and getting meetings with investors, or prepping to go
full time with their business partner. At
the end of the program, we have a closing seminar where participants present
their projects; we have some awards, and
we send them off with a celebration. The
entire program is just ten months. We’ve
done our best to cram maximum value
into a small timeframe.
TOS: How many companies do you currently have as partners? What requirements do businesses have to agree to?
PRAxIS: We have a network of over
It’s kind of a 21st century remake of the old apprenticeship model.
150 business partners currently. It’s a
huge diversity of industry and type of