Can people change? My thoughts on the altMBA

Can people change? This seems like such a debated age-old question, it might not even be worth asking. But I think it’s important to consider.

Today is the last day of the altMBA September session, and two days ago, we opened applications for our January 2016 session (Seth’s blog post here).

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to write about in this post.

This is ironic, because we have our students publish their work 3x per week, and because I think about altMBA 24/7. So you would think I could easily find something to write about here.

But much of my writing is behind the scenes. Feverishly drawing out assertions, drafting strategies, writing drip emails, creating training guides, posting in Slack.

And more importantly, nothing felt like it could capture the magic of what it was like sprinting with this current class, and the inaugural class before it.

The momentum, the fast pace, the feeling of inspiration. Meeting cohorts of amazing people who pass the “Would I want to be stuck at an airport with this person?” test.

People you want to get to know more. People you’ll be in touch with for a long time to come. Weekly coach calls with all 7 coaches where it felt as if we were all physically in the same room on Fridays at 11am, even though we were in 3 different time zones on 2 continents.

The truth is, I care very much about the altMBA.

I’m sure our students know this, and the coaches know this… but sometimes it’s hard to say out loud.

Because when you say out loud that you care, and that you believe change is possible, you’re a little more on the hook.

When I was deciding what to write here, I wanted to go back to the idea of change. Whether people change. Whether organizations change. Whether cultures change.

My answer is yes.

Change can be slow, it can be unpredictable, it can feel futile. But it is possible.

People change every day.

They change their minds about trivial things. I thought I wanted chicken, but I’m going to order beef.

They change their minds about more important things, like their worldview. I realized that I’m the kind of person who does things like this.

They change what they consider they might do. I told myself I’d never do that, but now I’m open to it.

They change their behavior. I wasn’t a runner, and now I am one.

They change what they notice. I didn’t see it that way, but now I understand what you mean.

Change can be frustrating. Even if the end goal is much-needed, sometimes you think, “Is it worth it? Is it better to just not try?”

The world can break your heart when you try. At what point is it easier to say, “The status quo isn’t so bad. I wouldn’t have made a dent anyway. It would have been a waste of time.”

A waste of time. What does that mean? I believe that you should only do things if you’ll enjoy the journey as much as the destination. If you get to work with smart and kind people along the way. If there’s joy in knowing that you attempted.

But mainly, it’s not a waste of time if you believe that someone needs to be stepping up to make this change. When you decide to stop trying, it’s a sad day. It’s a day when one good person stops fighting the good fight.

If you don’t try, then who will?

The Venn Diagram of people who are (a) smart, (b) capable, and (c) who give a shit is really small. If you fit in this category, maybe you have a responsibility to try.

But it comes back to people. If you can change yourself, one other person, two people, four, eight, sixteen…if you can change a group, you can change a community, you can change an organization, you can change a slice of culture.

It’ll be hard until the day it happens, and then everyone will say, “Well of course it was going to happen.” It will seem inevitable, but only because you helped it to become so.

I just realized that I believe more deeply in change being possible, because I saw it happen…to myself.

I’m a different person from who I was when we were thrashing on the nebulous idea that would eventually become altMBA, when we launched, when we ran the first session, when we were running the second session.

I noticed it, and my peers noticed it. I’ve changed.

I was talking to an altMBA alum recently, and she said, “It’s like realizing that there’s another color that you didn’t know about. And you think, ‘What? This has been here the whole time? And I’m just now seeing this?'” We had one of those “RIGHT? ME TOO” moments where you feel understood and can barely contain yourself, because someone finally gets you.

I think people say that things don’t change, because it lets you off the hook. There are an infinite number of tactics about how to create change, but none of those matter if you don’t believe deep in your core that change is possible.

If you think you can do it better, you might be able to. So decide if you want to be that person. If someone will end up changing people’s minds, it might as well be you.

The world changes when people change. If you’re up for it, so am I. Want to leap together?

PS If it might be the right time for you, we just launched two new sites to share more about the altMBA. Let me know what you think if you check them out, and

How to respond to the dreaded ice breaker: “Let’s go around and introduce ourselves”

There’s a common ice breaker at seminars, events, all-hands meetings, and conference breakout sessions. It’s the dreaded prompt: “Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves.”

What’s supposed to happen…

This is a popular ice breaker because it presumably has a few benefits.

From a practical perspective, you hear everyone’s goals and what their job title is and get a sense of the room.

In the ideal world, you discover common interests and build rapport. You learn that Tim likes wind-surfing on weekends, and you do too. You find him during the break and talk about what you have in common.

What actually happens

It’s too early in the morning and there are catered muffins on paper plates.

25 people are in a room. The first person starts speaking. 24 people are not listening.

They’re too busy thinking, “What should I say when it’s my turn?” They are mentally rehearsing, preoccupied. (Also, this exercise will take a minimum of 30 minutes, so they might be getting another muffin.)

Despite the downsides, this ice breaker tends to show up at events. It will likely be around for a while. For that reason alone, it’s useful to have a few guidelines on how to answer when it’s your turn to speak.

Being entertaining is the holy grail

I tend to stick with the prompt’s guardrails if the organizer mentions them:

“Tell us two sentences about yourself,” or “Tell us a quick 30 second introduction about who you are and why you’re here.”

However, I’ve seen some people completely ignore the prompt, and talk about whatever they want.

The interesting part is that the audience not only didn’t object, they were even happy about it.

How could this be?

When you entertain the group, you are given a free pass.

It’s like reading an article online, and realizing at the end that you learned absolutely nothing new. Surprisingly, you’re not upset because the article was entertaining, and therefore added additional value for your time.

A similar principle applies here. The intro was only the surface of what they were delivering. It worked because they were charming, funny, genuine, or offbeat, and you liked listening to them speak. If you can woo the crowd like this, go for it. It will wake everyone up, and the organizer will probably thank you for it.

How nervous does the event organizer look

At a recent event, I was surprised by how many people spoke for longer than the suggested 30 seconds.

Some people gave a short bio, or talked about different projects, or described their passion, or mentioned the common thread throughout their career. The event organizer seemed comfortable with people taking their time though, and the atmosphere was relaxed.

The key is to notice clues that suggest how much leeway you have with timing and the type of content. It’s like driving on the highway: you factor in the speed limit AND how fast the cars around you are driving. For example, if people bring in parts of their personal life in the intro, it’s safe to assume that you can do so too.

Fight the urge to get it over with as fast as possible

Know whether you’re rushing because you want to get it over with, or because you’re genuinely concerned with keeping the pace of the event.

You might be nervous, and  simply want to get it over with. If so, try to fight that urge.

If the audience seems fairly accepting of each person sharing more about their story, take the opportunity to practice. It’s a good opportunity to speak in a semi-public setting. It doesn’t feel quite as high-stakes as being on stage, but it’s more than a small group of friends. It’s a good training ground to feel out what you might want to say.

Half the battle is getting used to finding the words to express what you want to say, and the more you do it, the more easily you’ll be able to put thoughts into words.

The last thing people expect in a conference room setting is for you to be vulnerable…

So if you are even a little vulnerable with your introduction, you create a pattern break. You become instantly memorable.

I was at a small workshop where one of the attendees started by saying, “I came to keep my friend company. I don’t know anything about this event, you (the organizer), or why I’m here.”

The room got awkward. An intro like that could easily go south from there.

To everyone’s surprise, the woman began talking about a project she was working on. She let her guard down completely and shared how she wasn’t sure what to do, and was looking forward to the next few hours of the workshop possibly leading to some ideas.

This immediately and completely humanized her. Especially with her rough start which anchored everyone’s expectations low, her vulnerable few sentences seemed even more poignant. This swung the pendulum from her being potentially crazy, to someone memorable and human and someone people wanted to talk to during the break.

Speak with genuine conviction

Do your eyes light up when you talk about what you do? If not, find a way to channel that kind of enthusiasm.

Why? Because you can get away with a lot if you sound passionate about what you do and how fortunate you are to be able to do it.

If you lift the energy of the room, people will be swept up with the increase in the pace. If the three people before you droned on with monotony, and you come in with zest, the room will perk up and think, Wait, what’s going on? Who is this person?

Everyone expresses enthusiasm differently. Some people are effusive, others have a grounded vibe. Do what works for you.

Lastly, it’s not just about what you want to say. It’s about what people would find relevant to hear. The more you connect it to what people might care about, the more they’ll listen to what you share.

Hey Medium, you’re giving us mixed messages…

Dear Medium,

Today, I finally decided to sign up for a Medium account. Sweet, another user — and well-deserved too. I’ve long admired your platform and how you make everyone sound smarter with your quiet, confident design.

But sadly, I didn’t sign up.

Why? I was too confused about your Twitter terms. It seems like you are too.

Your UX encourages users to sign up with Twitter – it’s the only button that’s bright blue and looks clickable – so this flow seems like an integral part of user acquisition. It’s a shame if you lose users because of conflicting messaging about your Twitter policy.

To explain further, here’s the flow when a user lands on


After a user clicks the blue button, they are taken to a page which says, ‘Authorize Medium to use your account?’

This page has the terms and conditions for signing in with Twitter. At this point, most apps explicitly say that they don’t post tweets on behalf of users. It’s surprising that a platform like Medium would.


Apparently not only will you post tweets for me, you’ll also…

Follow new people on Twitter for me?

And update my profile?

At this point, the user bounces. They likely feel disappointed and maybe a little offended that Medium would break app conventions of not posting tweets for users.

But in the event that the user is highly intent on creating an account, he will go back to the main site and poke around.

After clicking on ‘More options,’ the user sees text that says: We will never post to Twitter or Facebook without your permission. For more info, please see our Login FAQ.


Hmm, that’s confusing. I thought you said you will post tweets for me?

After clicking on Login FAQ, the user sees more reassurance that Medium does not post tweets.



So which is it? It doesn’t matter.

At this point, you’ve already lost the most important thing with users: trust.

There’s doubt about whether Medium will post tweets, and more importantly, whether you have your act together. This is not good.

Medium, I know you can do better. I want to try out your platform, and I want to login via Twitter. Hope you’ll fix this.



Using affirmative phrases: “Do this” versus “Don’t do that”

Clarity of language and intent is important. It is to your benefit to be as clear as possible when you speak or write, because clear communication helps you get what you need.

Whether you want to change someone’s behavior via feedback, or you want them to agree to your suggestion, it helps to understand how words shape the person who’s listening.

One way to do this is to speak in the affirmative, rather than the negative.

If you speak in negatives, the person has to take an extra mental step

To understand “Don’t do that”…. you have to think about “that.”

And then reverse it to do the opposite. A better way is to say, “Do this.”

If you can save people a mental step, you’re doing a kind thing. People are overwhelmed, so avoid adding more friction than you have to. This applies in UX design, marketing call-to-actions, or email requests.

It is to your benefit to reduce friction because that helps people give you what you need.

It’s useful when you’re giving feedback

Saying “don’t” tends to sound reprimanding. This makes you look like the bad guy, even if you’re justified in what you’re saying.

This is a practical issue. If the person you’re giving feedback to starts to get defensive, they stop hearing what you’re trying to say. Yes, the person receiving feedback should stay open-minded and remember to listen.

But as the person giving feedback, it’s also your responsibility to think about how you’re sharing the information. This is a much larger topic, but stating things in the affirmative is one thing that can improve both the clarity of what you’re saying (“do this”) and the emotional tone (you sound positive).

For example, a good diving coach would say, “Point your toes.” Other coaches might say, “Don’t do X, Y, Z” which can be confusing when you’re mid-air doing a reverse double-somersault tuck into the water. It’s simpler to remember what to do – not what not to do.

You sound confident, instead of apologetic

“I can only meet between 11-2pm.”

Let’s deconstruct the implications of this phrase.

When you say “I can only…” it sounds like you THINK you should be more available. Or that the person has a right to want you to be more available.

This puts you in an unnecessarily weak position. If you can meet between 11-2pm, own it. If the person pushes back, you can explain further, but there’s no need to start off with doubt.

Same content, different positioning

Here are examples of the same sentiment, phrased in the negative (left column) and affirmative (right column). This is meant to give you an idea of how the same sentiment can be expressed in different ways. I thought of these off the top of my head, and there are plenty of examples out there. Can you feel the difference in the negative versus affirmative expressions?


Takeaway: Try to notice when you speak in the negative. Spend an extra few seconds to see if you can flip it around to say the same thing in the affirmative. It’s something I still think about and actively try to do.

Words shape our thinking, and our thinking shapes the words we choose. Being aware of your own patterns and tendencies can sharpen your ability to communicate your true intent and meaning.

How waiters should respond when a customer says, “what do you recommend?”

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and said, “It’s our first time here. Everything on the menu looks delicious. What do you recommend?”

When a customer asks that question, it’s an opportunity for the waiter to shine, to kick off the next hour together with a positive interaction. The customer is giving you a bid, and you can respond by leaning in. What ensues could lead to a lively exchange and transfer of knowledge about the juicy eats that the restaurant has to offer.

But sometimes, what happens is a frustrating impasse.

The customer asks, but the waiter doesn’t want to answer the question. It could be for good reason. Perhaps in the past, you recommended something but a customer didn’t like it, or you truly can’t decide because you enjoy different dishes equally.

Why you should answer

One of the worst things to do, though, is refuse to answer.

I’ve seen this at a wonderful restaurant in Napa, where the waitress INSISTED that everything on the menu was good and “really so different.” I’m sure everything was good, which made it even harder as a customer to decide.

I even narrowed it down to two options. “I really can’t say. Those two are just so different,” she said.

The question behind the question

Sometimes a customer just doesn’t want to choose. We’re looking for deniability from the having to pick from too many options.

If you choose for us, you take away the stress from having to make a decision when we don’t feel informed to make one. I just want to know what you recommend, so I can pick something, and go back to enjoying conversation with friends.

It’s analysis paralysis and decision fatigue – and we want you to step in. If you can help the customer feel good about what he chooses, everyone wins.

With that in mind, here are some frameworks on how to address the question when a customer asks, “So what do you recommend?”

(a) What is popular among customers

“Our most popular dish is A, and B is our signature. Many customers like C. If it’s your first time, I would recommend trying one of those.”

The customer gets to experience the bestseller effect of knowing that whatever they bought has been validated by hundreds or thousands of people before them.

Even if they don’t like the dish, they can’t feel too bad. After all, everyone else ordered it and liked it, so the customer thinks, “I must be the anomaly for disliking it.” This reduces the perceived risk and downside in choosing the dish.

(b) What you personally like

“I personally like A. It’s amazing because of X, Y, Z.”

If you suggest your personal preference, you give yourself a bit of deniability. Your caveat is that this dish might not be for everyone, but if the customer wants to know what you personally like, you’ll share that.

If you give reasons for why you like the dish, it gives the customer more of a chance to see if they agree with the criteria you mentioned. Or if they’re looking for the opposite, which is useful to know so you can make a different recommendation.

(c) Taste preference, or category preference

“If you’re in the mood for something light, I’d go with A. If you want something richer, go for B.”

“If you’re in the mood for meat, I’d go with A for sure. If you want pasta, then B is really unique and has a mix of X and Y flavors.”

The takeaway: if customer asks for a recommendation, try to tell them something. Chances are that they simply don’t want to decide. Make the decision for us, and we can both continue on with an amazing meal.

Farmer’s market vs Safeway

At Safeway, there are pricing signs everywhere that allow you to compare exactly how much something costs.

Milano cookies are 2/$5, or a package that’s $7 is actually 23.5 dollars per ounce if you break it down. There are coupon inserts in the front of the store. There are bright yellow signs saying peaches are $1.99 per pound this week, hanging over the sign that says that they’re normally $2.49.

If you go to a farmer’s market, GOOD LUCK trying to find how much that organic kale costs. There’s typically little mention of price anywhere.

It’s important to note that there’s no value judgment about whether one place is better than the other.

Why? Because (a) both types of shoppers tell themselves a story, and (b) both places cater to people who value different things.

What kind of story would a person tell themselves about choosing the farmer’s market over Safeway? Let’s look at two imaginary people, Aiden and Josh.

Aiden shops at the farmer’s market:

“I care about organic, locally-sourced, sustainably-grown vegetables. It’s more expensive, but I’m willing to pay for it. My health is important and I only have one body, and I’ve found that I feel better when I eat clean. Plus, the flavor of vegetables that are picked at their prime and grown with care — the burst of flavor and nuanced texture is unbelievable. I now subscribe to a vegetable CSA so I get weekly deliveries of local vegetables that are in season. Sometimes I’ll still get a rare fruit or try a new vegetable at the farmer’s market on Sunday. It’s a relaxing way to spend the morning after a run.”

Josh shops at Safeway:

“I care about food and value. I like places like Trader Joe’s, and sometimes get a something special at Whole Foods if I can’t find it anywhere else. I mainly shop at Safeway though, because it’s convenient on my way home from work. I like that they always carry the brands I need at decent prices. I’m not elitist or picky about food. I could easily afford to pay twice as much for frou-frou groceries. But I believe that good food should be accessible to everyone, and shouldn’t have to break the bank.”

Usually the stories that you tell yourself have little to do with the REAL reason why you shop at one place or another, or why you choose one thing over another, ever…

The story you tell yourself reinforces your idea of the kind of person you are, aspire to be, and want to associate with. What story does your user tell herself? Does your product match that story? Does your product help your user become the person she wants to be?

What your signage says about you

At the Grand Central Terminal in New York City, if you venture downstairs to the food court, you’ll find a women’s bathroom.


There’s a sign in the doorway that says:


NO smoking

NO bathing or laundering

NO littering

NO drinking alcoholic beverages

Violators subject to fine, removal from premises or issuance of a criminal court summons

If there’s a sign, it means people try this, which means it’s normal

The bathroom is a little disheveled. But having a printed sign that tells people not to bathe in the sink says something about what people have tried to do. When a user sees the sign, they’re going to assume that:

(a) Others have tried to do it, and this is a place where that’s common and at least kind of normal.

(b) Because it’s common, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world if I tried to do it, too.

People like us in places like this

There’s a study that shows that people actually litter more at the beach when you tell them not to litter, if you explain that everyone else does it.

People behave based on what their peer groups do. It’s the concept of “people like us do things like this.” I like to call it PLU (people like us) for short (credit goes to my boss for inventing the phrase).

I’ll riff on that and add that people take cues from places like this (PLT).

What’s considered normal and acceptable in the Grand Central bathroom. Apparently, attempting to bathe in the sink.

“What kind of place is this?”

With one simple sign, you signal a whole lot of things about the customers that visit, and how literal you have to be to tell people not to do certain things.

Which begs the question: what do your signs say about you?

Are you actually discouraging bad behavior?

The sign probably exists because the Grand Central building administration want to be able to cite the clearly-posted sign when someone inevitably tries something shady.

But does the sign actually get through to the person who would want to bathe in the sink in the first place? Or does it make everyone else feel strange? If putting up a sign solves the problem at the expense of everyone else feeling weird, perhaps that’s worth it.

The worst case though, would be if people who would bathe in sinks decide to do it anyway because they don’t care about signs. In the meantime, you alienate everyone else with the sign too.

Encouraging the right kind of behavior

One smart reader, Charles Starrett, asked, “What could be the story behind this rule, and what needs/opportunities might it point to?”

It’s frustrating and sad that homeless people often must bathe in public bathrooms because they have no other options. With the lack of other infrastructure, it puts public places like Grand Central in a bind because they have to find ways to maintain the facilities and create a positive experience for everyone.

The availability of resources for the homelessness is clearly an issue that warrants a broader solution, so that signs like this don’t need to be put up in the first place. I’m not attempting to tackle that behemoth of a topic here, nor discuss whether it’s morally good or bad. I’m simply deconstructing how effective signage is for the use case of Grand Central trying to shape user behavior.

How do you encourage the right kind of behavior? Is there something other than signage that would be more effective?

Accidental role models

When people ask you who your role models are, you probably have set answers.

You might say President Kennedy, Steve Jobs, or Gandhi. But chances are, you’re not actively being influenced by them. They’re too far away and too abstract.

There are likely people much closer to you in real life whom you emulate. These accidental role models are people who shape what you think is “normal,” whether you realize their influence or not. Whether you’ve consciously chosen them as role models, they still ANCHOR your expectations.

For example:

Your parents’ way of talking to one another, and to you, influence what you expect from your future partner.

Your friends’ behavior when it comes to treating one another shape what you think good friends do and say.

Your current boss (and all your former bosses) have set the standard for how you act when you have direct reports.

All of these impact how we define what a good manager is, what a leader looks like, what counts as being devoted, what good friends do, what being “normal” looks like.

Usually, accidental role models are people in close proximity to you, physically or psychologically.

But it turns out that people or things that happen to be close to you, aren’t necessarily the best model for your situation. It just so happens that they were there in the past or currently, and you are absorbing their perspective as “what things should be like.”

Who are people who you might accidentally be using as a role model? Are these people the ones you want to emulate?

There are other ways beyond what’s in front of you. And you can model someone for the way they handle one thing, but not another. Make sure you realize who you’re modeling. Better yet, consciously choose who you’re modeling and for what.

Takeaway: Accidental role models are usually people in close proximity to you, physically or psychologically. They’re parents, friends, former bosses, etc. They shape what you think is ‘normal’ and what you subconsciously aspire to be.

An incredible 31 day sprint

The inaugural session of altMBA wrapped up last week. I’m still in awe of how quickly the weeks flew by, how many projects our students shipped, and how tightly-knit the community quickly became.

We had a rhythm: on Mondays the prompts would be released, Tu/Thu/Sunday had group meetings on video, the in-between days were for writing comments for your peers and reflecting on feedback…. We were running in the same direction and the momentum was infectious.

Because the altMBA is an online program, I originally had doubts about how deeply we could create bonds and foster connection between people.

It took only two days for me to change my mind: I am now fully convinced that the internet world is as real as anything else.

With high-def video conferencing 3x per week, Slack chat rooms for direct messages and group chats, and a variety of real-time ways to connect, we were able to get people from 13+ countries around the world to feel like colleagues and friends, because we really did become colleagues and friends.

We had high expectations about altMBA from the beginning. I was doubly impressed during the program because with each project, I’d scan through the student work on our Featured Projects page and think, wow this is good. And the next project deadline would come along, students would publish, and though I didn’t think it was possible, everyone kept raising the bar.

Our students created 13 projects in a month, and given the complexity and ambiguity of each prompt, the work could have easily taken weeks to complete. But they rallied to get quality work out of the door in 2 days. This required doing creative work at a fast timeline, with constraints, within groups or individually, filming videos, creating slides, writing articles, deconstructing ideas, asserting arguments, etc. What an incredible body of work and trail to leave behind.

All of this was on top of the people component: working with new people each week, learning when to push or relent, getting to know working styles that may be really different from your own.

Since we were doing this for the first time, there was a lot of co-creation with our inaugural class. I’m so thankful for everyone’s involvement, feedback, and mainly, for caring so much.

It takes emotional labor to want to make something better and to take initiative to make it happen. Our inaugural class did exactly that, and proved that this wasn’t about being a cog in an industrialized educational system.

One student created a survey to capture the skill sets of all the students, so there could be a knowledge exchange within the community or for side projects.

A small but mighty group contributed regularly to our #techtips channel in Slack, helping to answer questions from other students and offering pro tips about the technology we were using (WordPress, Zoom, Slack, Disqus).

Many students started interest groups surrounding certain topics — writing or film-making, for example — and hosted webinars or listservs that benefited everyone.

We had students on the corporate side (Fidelity, Google, Kate Spade, PwC), non-profit sector (charity:water, Planned Parenthood,, as well as entrepreneurs, small business owners, artists, filmmakers, teachers, a military captain, and more. The fact that we drew such strong, driven, collaborative leaders to leap with us despite knowing little about the details of what altMBA would be like, is a true testament to the trust that Seth has built over the last few decades. It’s also a nod to recognizing that there are ruckusmakers out there who are in a hurry to make a difference, comfortable with ambiguity (a rare trait), and simply unstoppable.

There were times during the planning phase when I wasn’t sure if this would work. I’d get caught up in the nitty-gritty and become overly literal. Of course, I had faith in Seth, and he’d say, “Trust the process.” It’s something we said to students, and students said to one another, during the program. And sometimes I had to remind myself of it too.

Trusting the process feels natural when you respect and admire the people involved in the process, and I’m thankful that this was the case.

What I’ve learned boils down to is this: when you are surrounded by people who are going places, the forward momentum is magical.

The sense of possibility, the contagious energy, the palpable inspiration. It’s hard to find, and so precious. If and when you find kindred spirits who spark something in you, go forth with gusto together to create work that matters.

I know we had magic during that 31 days in altMBA and beyond, from what I’ve seen with alumni meeting up in person and continuing to interact. It’s been a great experience getting to know our ruckusmaker students, working daily with five amazing coaches behind-the-scenes, and learning from a boss who teaches me something new every day.

Here’s to the next section of altMBA. If you’re interested, check out Seth’s blog post, or you can find program details and apply.

Hope to see you on the flip side — we’re just getting started.

altMBA: It’s not a MOOC

The web has transformed the way we work, play, live, and communicate. And I believe it will transform the way we learn, too.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Seth Godin and Willie Jackson to help bring a new business school-type experience to life.

Yesterday we launched altMBA, an intense 31 day sprint, with 100 curated students per session, online, by application only.

The goal is to help leaders create change more effectively, to amplify impact, to fight through the discomfort that often comes with true learning.

Traditional online education and MOOCs tend to feel optional. Optional homework, optional projects, optional deadlines. And because you don’t have to do any of the work, many times we opt out because no one is watching.

altMBA is the opposite: everything about it is about making big promises and keeping them. We’re about group work, hands-on projects, and producing a body of work that you’d be proud of by the end of the course.

And most importantly, doing it with a community of ruckusmakers who are here to challenge ourselves, and one another, to grow.

I hope you’ll check it out and consider joining us.