Adam Rubin came to our class with a big smile and a lot exuberance. He apologized for being a little late telling us that “he had just finished blowing up a school in St. Albans.” Eyes momentarily left the magnetic gaze of laptops, “Did he just say he blew up a school?”
And while he was speaking metaphorically our school systems are so antiquated (designed to produce citizens of the Industrial Age rather than those living and working in a Networked Society) that if we could afford to, it would be easier to blow them up and start over again. Adam’s company 2Revoluitons would like to do away with our traditional model of education in America. Rather than focusing on schools he proposes that we focus on how we learn as we travel through our “Human Capital Continuum” which focuses on the learning that we do form birth to age 26.
Can we restructure the way America learns? Adam and his team at 2Rev think so. They are hoping to connect all the educators from pre school to college and get the planning together to restructure the way we learn. And like Rich Nadworny he also has a pool of talent that he draws from. “The Talent Cloud” (his trademarked term) is an interdisciplinary group of freelancers that 2Rev calls upon to “do what you love for good.” Both what he does and how he does it are proof that more and more we are living in a networked society. But I’m not so certain America is ready for this kind of employment. Having owned my own business in the past I can tell you that being a free agent isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. You have to buy your own health insurance. You must pay all your taxes (which means you better get an accountant). There is no unemployment, there is no net of any kind. What if someone gets sick or has a baby and can’t juggle there various employment clouds?
While I think it is smart for men like Rich and Adam to run their businesses this way, it is a privileged structure. It assumes that the rest of the country will catch up and organize this way. That people will make enough to support themselves and that we will all have access to insurance and safety nets. Certainly our country is a long way off from universal health care, socio-ecoomic equality, we’re probably not even going to see the Social Security we’ve all been paying into. Is it fair as a business owner to run a company that is actually an assembly of freelancers which the company bares no responsibility for? I can’t help but feel like we need to “blow up workers rights” and make adjustments for a networked society so employees have rights no matter what capacity they are employed. Otherwise we will all be working without a net and will be vulnerable to the “Job-Creators”
Our country is in shambles and our rights are vicariously perched on the precipice of a brave new world. We have to figure out what education and employment are going to look like the near future. Hopefully the innovation that 2Revs puts towards changing the educational landscape will also transform what it means to work. If Adam’s enthusiasm for change is any indication than I will look forward to living and working in The Cloud. But as we transform our American landscape we need to be mindful that there needs to be a net of some kind. Each one of us can at any moment fall prey to vulnerable circumstances. Whether this will be woven into the market place or maintained by the government is anyone’s guess at the moment.