Anecdotal evidence allows us to mention the Thunderbird, Garvin School Of International Management and Bastiat Free University in the same sentence.
They are obviously very different establishments.
For one thing Thunderbird lost 5.6 million dollars last year. Don't worry about Thunderbird disappearing - they received several nice donations - for only 60 million dollars Sam Garvin, chairman of the Continental Promotion Group, got his name tied to the school.
Bastiat Free University has survived and grown based on few (very) small college donations contributed by those that support our philosophy of learning.
Thunderbird is one of the highest regarded graduate schools for international business - if not the highest.
Bastiat Free University is just beginning - and making lots of mistakes along the way.
This proves nothing - but it does allow me to point out one salient fact about disruptive innovations like Bastiat Free University.
When a new technology emerges, for a while the old technology remains superior. Steam cars were better than internal combustion, for a while. An abacus or a slide rule was faster for complex problems in the hands of a skilled user than early calculators. A rapid firing longbow with arrows was superior to a cumbersome match lock muzzle loader - in many situations.
As the best of industrial age education the Thunderbird, Garvin School Of International Management is far better at what it does than Bastiat Free University is at what we are starting to do.
But there is a huge difference in approach. Bastiat Free University does not have to be great - it is the visionary BFU student who is already great that constitutes the promise of self-directed learning.
Industrial age schools such as Thunderbird have taken highly qualified and already successful individuals and applied economy of scale training techniques so they can stamp out homogeneous graduates with top bureaucratic skills.
The future does not belong to bureaucrats. Eventually self-directed students that use empowering technologies to individualize solutions will be needed to facilitate a self-tailored society. These entrepreneurs will use creativity and coalesced personal knowledge to redefine our lives.
Bastiat Free University exists to provide structural pieces that the Netcohort can use to establish whatever framework they desire. Student-directed learning such as BFU is just that, the student is in charge, taking only what they need, wherever they can find it.
Thunderbird is a great institution - it will be missed when huge impersonal organizations implode - something that may not happen for many decades.
(I would love to ride in a Stanley Steamer automobile -- Jay Leno has two Stanleys, I wonder if he reads this journal). The ending of an era is just as interesting as the beginning of a new era.
Bastiat Free University will exist as long as we are willing to innovate and provide access to visionary learning tools. Our combined impact should continue for many centuries. To the degree we succeed, BFU will not need to be replaced by other, better, disruptive learning technologies.
If at any time within the next few millennia we become the increasingly irrelevant husks that most current schools represent; I anticipate we will be caught up in a fresh wind of innovation and blown away. That would be wonderful.
Until then we will provide students with tools to learn how to make a positive impact on all of our lives. Our students will shape our netcohort future based on reputation and relationships. The degree of influence they exert will be due to their particular genius and efforts, and their partnership with those of us that support them.