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Be part of a community of people who share your intellectual rigor and have the capacity to do something about the issues we discuss. This is a safe space to have the tricky conversations.
My core group comes from all over the business world:
Investment professionals at PE firms and investment banks including JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital
Professional services (Bain, BCG, McKinsey, KPMG, PWC)
Family Offices and Sovereign Wealth Funds
Media (Bloomberg, Forbes, Fortune, Vogue)
Students from the world’s top graduate schools (Harvard, MIT, Stanford)
Students from the world’s top undergraduate schools (Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Texas A&M (whoop!))
Health Industries: Pharmaceutical, Insurance, Benefits, Medical
Government: Military and Diplomacy
Operators broadly across Industries: Real Estate, Construction, Mining…
They have the following things in common:
Impact-oriented — see something, say something, do something
Ambitious — willing to do the hard work
Community-oriented — genuinely helpful to one another
Curious — want to learn more, have opinions, want to build better
Influential — are or have access to decision makers
We’re just getting started, but I hope they use The Discourse Course to be more deeply conversant and to work through their own thoughts on the issues driving their public and private personae.
The Discourse Course slows down the conversation so you don’t need to cut corners. Nerd out with me for a month on a single topic. We won’t explore absolutely every nook and cranny, but we’ll do a broad survey of the topic the first two weeks of the month and then go deep in the direction that the debate will take for the final two weeks. We work in four week cycles starting the first Sunday of the month.
I send three missives each week. Each month we cover one main concept from Wealth Aggregation to Free College and Information to Intelligence. We’ll read through famous and not-so-famous but worthy OpEds and longer reads. I’ll even include some technical tools for you to get your head wrapped around the issue. Chasing the money? You need to know how to dig through Accounting statements - what to look for and where to look. Chasing the policy? Hear from the legal eagles on how to uncover legal precedent. The last week of the Month is Debate Week.
My aim is to create a place that thoughtful adults can come for dynamic, respectful community with actual engagement on issues worth discussing without fear of reprisals from HR. Student/community members/professors any one can discourse and debate here. It’s not scored by popular vote . This is no rap battle in the Bronx. The monthly winner is determined by clarity of critical evaluation. Set your mettle to the test with the intellectual fire power of your peers. Elevate your skills.
Here’s the biggest deal - at least I think so for right now - there are no “answers” here. My goal is not to show you the “right” way or the “correct” answer to a sticky geopolitical issue. My goal is to help you uncover the truth within you. Not (necessarily) what feels good. Not what simply makes sense or is easy or is supported by those immediately around you. You might re-evaluate your positions.
This is also not about getting to agreement. We need to respect each other. That has very little to do with agreement.
I’m creating The Discourse Course for the best members, not all the readers. I don’t aim to please everyone. I am writing for a few real faces. Yours. You beautiful beast.
Most of all, I look forward to meeting you. My goal is to connect us with live events in London and New York City later this year and more regular events starting in 2021. It comes down to you. Where are you and how do you want to engage?
More on the What:
I will send three emails each week during the four week cycle starting the first week of the month.
First week is dedicated to introducing the topic of the month - from basic overview to data analysis methods and Big Reads (aka the reading list).
Second week is dedicated to what others have said about the topic.
Third week is focused on additional research that has come to light because you dear member have shared something I had not already seen or made a better case for something I had previously dismissed.
Fourth week is the debate week. You’ll hear about the live debaters and the official debate resolution. Once we’re up to full steam the debate will be live streamed. My hope is to have it live streaming by May 2020.
My goal is to help you improve upon the skills and tools you already have. We’re all in this together. My purpose to build a better world by building the people within that world. Hey boo, that’s you!
All of my work will be free, for now. Later this year, I’ll ask you to join the community as a paying member. At that time, the Sunday morning emails will remain free to all of the subscribers. But the Tuesday and Friday engagements will be available to members only. If you’d like to learn more about membership, please sign up as free for now, and I’ll provide details when that time comes. If you’d like to support the work now, please consider joining as a Founding Lifetime Member. It helps get this off the ground faster.
For CORPORATE folks:
Need an excellent form of professional development that will improve the long term bottom line? Invest in developing stronger critical thinking skills among your next generation of leaders. Discourse Course is an educational tool that - in contrast to other dry and technical resources - is actually interesting and fun to engage. Real people, real experience, accelerated development. To join as a Corporate member with group rates, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Deck for 2020
Is Private Equity a net benefit?
Can a Corporate Board govern a modern company effectively?
If Humans are often the bottleneck, what Systems do we put in place to help our teams do their best work?
Is more Education a net benefit for society?
What is the impact of a Sovereign Wealth Fund on its Government?
Is Foreign Capital international or simply not local?
Free College? Are you for it? Are you sure?
And if you’d like to understand more of the why I’m launching Discourse Course now, please keep reading. But really, I get kinda wordy here so feel free to just subscribe and get back to your day….
Knowledge and wisdom are harder to grasp in the face of insurmountable information. Information is not knowledge. Worse still, what counts as information to google’s algo is a far cry from the quiet expertise that lingers 98 pages down that no one gets to. Most subject matter experts are not so great at creating search engine optimized wins and even with skills in SEO, the chances of staying on top of your field and SEO to win the google war are undermined when google prioritizes paid clicks. If you are not an advertiser, your pages get buried quickly. Most expertise is not profitable. Know many Celebrity Biochemists? Hmm? No? Not popping up all over your Insta?
Most experts toil in their labs. They aren’t building youtube channels.
So finding real experts is a chore.
But this means that you - the non-expert looking for guidance - get what google pedantically decides to serve you. Some would say a lot of noise, too little signal, particularly when noise is cloaked as prophecy.
Over the past 8 years I have moved away from voluminous tutoring to a very curated client list. I still take the friends of friends and assorted random finds who want expert tutoring, but I actively push away people who are not interested in being more. There’s nothing wrong with wanting what you’ve been socialized to want, but I expect you to get past that in my private practice. You want the Connecticut house with white picket fence - okay, but have you actually explored that? The ramifications? If you have, I’m on board.
If you have not, I’m not the one you want to work with. I’ll make you deep dive evaluate. Everything. That’s how I handle my private practice. As one student put it, “It is … a lot.” My time is dedicated to amplifying the greatness in my students. It is a privilege and a thrill. But I must reject far more than I can accept. My private practice is intentionally not scalable. The Discourse Course is.
My dream is that this amplifies your impact in the world you currently can influence and builds your ability to influence beyond your current circle.
I don’t expect to change the world with the Discourse Course directly.
I expect you to. :)
And I’m here to support you as you test, try, struggle, flop, and ultimately get back up ready to battle a new day.
You are here to do your own exploration, and, importantly, to be a part of a community for thoughtful discussion and civil disagreement. This is not a current news newsletter. This is deep exploration of one concept each month. This is conversation slowed down, deliberately. The grace to press pause to think before reacting, and when you are ready, stand up to put your views forward in the monthly debate. We’re listening to you. We want to hear your voice.
Each month is divided in to Four Week cycles. At the moment I’m planning to take July off. But, we’ll see how this goes. When I provide opinion pieces, the bias should be easily discerned and balanced with other pieces provided. Again, I’m not try to get you to see things my way but to develop your way. When I provide fact sheets and methods for understanding the research (usually a data analysis skill upgrade), I will do so without concern for whether the facts and methods prove inconvenient to any idea, person, party, or politician. I expect us to disagree, and expect you to share data, fact briefs, and statistical methods that expand the scope of our conversation.
I put my faith in our outcomes in you. Membership isn’t just a fancy word for paid subscriber. I want to see you in person at a live event. I want you to find ways to connect with each other locally.
Right now, it is just me. And yes, I still have a full time teaching practice which includes 1-1 advising and textbook writing. But these things are aligned (roughly) so I’m optimistic I can keep my head on. Since this is a much broader audience than my private practice, you will not be hearing about the GMAT/SAT/LSAT. I promise. You may occasionally hear about my textbook releases. But that’s Celebratory not Sales. The Math series was the reach goal for 2019 - didn’t happen. But I did haul the extra materials through 16 countries over 7 months … Just ask the luggage handlers who dealt with my bags. Who gets charged for overweight bag fees - I do! I do!
So this may seem a bit cobbled together at the beginning. Please excuse my bicycle on the media highway. We’ll build this together - maybe it’s a car and maybe it’s a rocket ship. It won’t be huge. It definitely won’t be for everyone.
I grew up in Texas and speaking from some experience, the tornado appears still from a distance. Never mistake its power.
Glad to have you on board,