In an interview for This Week in Startups founder and investor Peter Thiel described three kinds of innovation. The first is a truly breakthrough technology unlike anything seen before. Bitcoin is an example. The second is a marginal improvement on an existing technology or process. The mobile phone market has seen most of its innovation in this manner. The final category is a brand new combination of existing technologies and processes. A unique way to coordinate and combine stuff that’s already here to produce an end result that has never existed. That is precisely what Praxis is.
We’ve taken a host of existing technologies, ideas, resources, and processes to create a truly novel combination. We’ve combined the age-old process of on-the-job learning with the immense value of abstract principles and self-improvement. We’ve removed the time and money barriers that prevent people from getting that on-the-job learning until they’ve spent years and many thousands on less valuable stuff. We’ve combined the power of curated, self-paced online content with intense, real-time interpersonal interaction and engagement. We’ve combined the notion of a signal of knowledge, skill, and value with the insight gained in face-to-face conversation. We’ve adapted the old European practice of oral exams in order to assess and validate knowledge. We’ve made value created the predominant signal of potential to create value with self-driven portfolios.
We’ve broken down the barrier between work and education; learning and doing; playing and building. We’ve combined talent identification and recruitment and job placement with liberal arts education and business education and professional development. We’ve combined a network of small businesses and entrepreneurs hungry for talent with a network of young people hungry for experience. We’ve merged the roles of headhunters, jobs boards, educational institutions, career workshops, philosophy seminars, coaching, and put it all in a self-directed package. We’ve added self-exploration with the acquisition of valuable skills and knowledge so you don’t have to “find yourself” and then work or study, or vice versa. You can find yourself while working and studying.
We’ve created an entirely new path from where you are to where you want to be; to the kind of career and life that makes you come alive; to a vibrant mind with big ideas and a work ethic and habits that can execute on them.
It’s all so simple. All the pieces already exist. Apprenticeships have been around. Internships have been around. Online learning has been around. Personal coaching and mentoring have been around. Virtual communities and videoconferencing have been around. Oral exams have been around. Job-shadowing has been around. Skills workshops have been around. Professional development has been around. Communities of self-directed learners have been around. Seminars on entrepreneurship and startup basics have been around. Growing businesses eager for talent have been around. Smart, hard-working young people eager for more than just a dull education-to-career conveyor belt have been around. Praxis is the first to combine these in our own unique, original way.
We’ve built something special. I wouldn’t have dropped everything and poured my heart and soul into anything less than a huge innovation. I’m not an inventor or tech wiz. But anyone with vision and a lot of work can identify a lot of existing stuff and create powerful new combinations.
Join us if you want to be a part of it.