Etsy.org. A New Kind of B-School

Turns out Etsy (sans founder Rob Kalin and Matt Stinchcomb, former head of marketing), isn’t just trying to upturn the purpose of business, but education too. Specifically business education, and more specifically than that: entrepreneurial education.

My own vision is for Career and Technical Education to get on-board and introduce artisan-maker career and business pathways into their program curricula. So far, outside a few makerspaces here and there and the recent Dept of Ed makerspace design competition, there isn’t a whole lot happening in that space.

Which is why it’s wonderful when business/industry itself jumps in. Who more to think outside the proverbial business education box than an organization like this.

Here’s to another disruption that hopefully takes hold and GROWS. BIG:

The etsy.org Hudson Valley Program is a 6-month, cohort-based, experiential business education program where a dynamic group of 24 local entrepreneurs and community leaders come together to foster compassion, develop confidence, and deepen the commitment needed to work in ways that allow their lives, their enterprises, and the Hudson Valley to thrive.

The program is designed to be a participatory, emergent, and co-authored experience. Blurring the line between teacher and student, we work together to create the conditions for the wisdom of the cohort to emerge. In the program, personal development practices like daily reflection and compassion cultivation are blended with exploration of the social, economic and natural systems of the Hudson Valley. In addition to trainings and offerings from experienced guides, we will learn from one another with site visits at our places of work across the region in a way that further develops and improves our enterprises. These visits focus on deepening our knowledge of one another and ‘our places’ while also unearthing histories of the Hudson Valley region. In this way, as a cohort, we begin to develop a deeper understanding of what our collective vision of success looks like for the Hudson Valley.

Etsy.org is the non-profit arm of the company that’s essentially a “post-capitalist B school” for entrepreneurs. Hudson Valley is a major artisan-maker business enclave, including foodie ventures (which is a personal favorite of mine).

It’s the brainchild of Matt Stinchcomb, who was Rob Kalin’s roommate when Etsy launched in 2005, and who Kalin tapped for Etsy’s first head of marketing. I bring this up to support a point I keep making on those discussion threads on getting a college education on LinkedIn about worrying less about the type of degree to get and spend more time making friends.

It’s no guarantee of getting hand-picked for a start-up that ends up making you millions of course…but neither is the degree you get.

 

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