Tag Archives: design university

if i had a billion dollars

At a recent glitzy conference, a venture capitalist asked me what company i’d create if he funded me. I thought the question odd but it got me thinking. Lately, i’ve met a lot of genuinely rich people and a friend of mine pointed out that the only thing you can do with that kind of money is buy a private jet. Gross. So it made me think… what would i create? I know it wouldn’t be a tech company…

As a kid, did you ever dream of designing a country? Or a city? Or an island? Well, i did. As i got older, i got more practical. I want to design my own university.

I’m fascinated by university structures. How architecture affects the ways in which people interact and learn, the ways in which collegiate social networks affect long term development of ideas, the ways in which disciplinarity divides, the incentives for teaching and research, the problems with competition for scarce funds, the relationship between formal and informal learning for students, etc.

The problem is that i’m not interested in fixing a broken university – i want to start over. (Yes, i realize the problems with this desire…) But, i want to give people a reason to want to learn, give professors a reason to want to teach/research. I want to create a brand from scratch, truly design a system from the bottom up. Wouldn’t that be fun?