General Assembly Co-Founder: 'Your Education Is Always in Beta'
BY Jana Kasperkevic
No matter what happens, you should never stop learning, says Matthew Brimer and a panel of entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs should think of their education as always being in beta with room for growth and improvement, said Matthew Brimer, co-founder of General Assembly, a start-up academy.
"We have this idea that education is this kind of an adjective that you can apply to yourself after you go through four-plus years experience in your late teens and early twenties," he said in a panel held Tuesday at Internet Week. "So you come out with a college degree and you are educated."
But this doesn't mean we're always prepared. The knowledge needed at different stages of an entrepreneur's life and career evolves over time.
"Rather than thinking of education as this thing that happens in a four year period of your life and then you are over, you are done, we like to think of education as something that should be tracked to both your life and your career, as well as your progress through it, so that it is suited to what you need and when, but is also attached to the world as it exists today," Brimer explained.
Some entrepreneurs learn from watching their peers, chimed in Bridgette Beam, moderator of the panel and Google's global entrepreneurship manager. In her experience, she's learned a lot just by talking with colleagues.
"It starts with asking for help," added Matt French, director of business development for Startup Weekend. "Most entrepreneurs don't know the answer to every question, and surrounding yourself with smart people can help answer them."
Brimer agrees. "Hire people who are better than you at specific things," he urged. "Ideally, as your company grows, you should be the least talented, the least capable and the dumbest person in the room. And if you are not, if you are the most talented, the most capable, and the smartest person in your company, then you are hiring all terrible people."
This might not make entrepreneurs feel like kings of their castles, but it will help them to build more sustainable companies and boost the value of their products.
JANA KASPERKEVIC is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York, where she earned a bachelors degree in Journalism and Political Science. She covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurship for Inc. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, InvestmentNews, Business Insider, and Houston Chronicle, among others. She lives in Brooklyn. @kasperka