Why The Internet Is More Important Than School… And Why It Matters To Marketers

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There have been so many unique moments that have happened to me this week that made me reflect on three major moments in my life. The first, was my decision to leave University after a semester to pursue a career in Communications. The second was how my life has been enriched by the power of the Internet in terms of community, personal development and opportunity. The third is Education.

… and it’s the most important one.

Having just had dinner last night with a group of individuals that are considered the best of the best in what they do – and this includes areas like statistics, business strategy, analytics, finance, engineering and more – I wandered home and thought about my lack Degrees or formal education. You know that whole, “maybe I should have gone for a MBA,” etc… When I got home, I started sifting through my Google Reader feeds and did some online research to prepare for an advisory board meeting that was taking place all day today. I realized that the Internet, for me, was not about connecting and it was not about content. It was about education. What a powerful tool. Way more powerful than a wall of degrees (for me). From things to read, see, hear and experience. It is a living library of thought and passion, and I am so grateful for the rich wealth of knowledge and sharing that takes place at a macro and meta level – at all times.

In the spirit of this moment and through what could only be described a serendipity, I received an email from a childhood friend (thanks Yoni) encouraging me to watch a video called, Dying 47-Year-Old Professor Gives Exuberant ‘Last Lecture’. The video features Randy Pausch – a Computer Science professor from Carnegie Mellon University who helped co-found the Entertainment Technology Center and is an expert in building Virtual Worlds. Randy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is now undergoing treatment. This very special lecture is a bit under two-hours, but I stayed up into the wee hours to watch it.

Not only does it contain powerful messages about life – personal, business and community – but it serves as an excellent reminder that no matter what you do, if you’re passionate, there are no brick walls. Marketers grapple every day with some major issues. After watching Randy’s lecture, it brought me back to why I do this: passion, to have fun, to connect with others… to build a better community.

Randy may live in academic circles, but by posting this video to Google Video, even someone like me (who doesn’t have a University degree) gets the opportunity to be be taught by the very best… people like Randy.

Thanks for the important reminder Randy.


  1. What a great post! By the way, even if it weren’t for the Internet, drop-outs are in good company. Einstein was deemed stupid by his teachers. Bill Gates quit, so did Steve Job. Seth Godin has questioned the usefulness of going to school. And, of course, yours truly quit too. There are lots of other greats through history who were self-taught, but I cant remember all of them right this minute.
    The Internet has certainly made autodidacticism (thats the official term for self-learning) more attractive.

  2. Like Good Will Hunting said:
    You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library.
    I have a maple league education, and can still recognize this. 🙂

  3. Very powerful video…..and post. I only wish some hiring managers shared the same opinion as the previous commenter’s. I get asked the MBA question all the time and point to the book Managers not MBA’s but it still falls on deaf ears most of the time.
    Anyway thanks for posting this Mitch

  4. Speaking of educating yourself, I just came across this UBerkley will be posting its lectures on YouTube.
    There’s also a great site called The Personal MBA (http://personalmba.com/) that has some great resources if you want to earn your own MBA.
    I’m a huge fan of the tvo.org site – there are some excellent lectures available as well as the show ‘Big Ideas’ on Sat. and Sun. at 4.
    Great post! It really makes you see the true value of the Internet and the realms of possibilities it opens up.

  5. Mitch Joel has done a remarkable thing by posting this video.No matter what ever you do ,you do it with passion you can succeed.Excellent speech from a remarkable person.

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