by Antonio Garcia-Martinez
I highly suggest consuming the full piece here (18 min. read time)
This piece is an interview between Antonio Garcia-Martinez and Austen Allred: the CEO and founder of Lambda School, a unique coding school that pioneered the ‘income-sharing agreement’ (ISA) model, whereby students only pay if they’re hired in their field of study.
“That’s one of the really weird things: The hiring process is not just a filter for skills, it’s also a filter for class. And people don’t talk about or acknowledge that. It’s very clear in all these protocols that we have in tech that you and I understand, you have to learn them the hard way.” — Austen Allred
“There are a whole swath of white collar jobs that the interview process literally is like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna play a little verbal tennis with you and see if you can stand your ground and if you can, you get the job.’ That’s probably the average white collar job.” — Austen Allred
“A common critique of the ISA model is: ‘oh, now people aren’t going to study poetry anymore.’ And my response to that is: ‘yeah, we’re not a university, we’re a trade school. The university has 18 million things that it does for you, and we cut off a tiny sliver of that, which is: we’re going to help you get a better job, we’re going to help you improve your state in life. That’s all we do.” — Austen Allred
“I get in trouble sometimes for saying stuff like: Look that university degree, there’s nothing magical about it actually. It can help you get your foot in the door, and in some careers it acts as a license, but it doesn’t automatically make you a better person. It doesn’t bestow you with any gifts. We definitely overbill what it is in the United States.” — Austen Allred
“Interviewing to determine who gets a job is a very suboptimal way to determine who should work for you. It’s one of the best options that we have, but it’s still not good. It’s so hard to tell what it’s actually going to be like to work with someone by sitting across the table from them and asking them a bunch of questions.” — Austen Allred
My two cents: One of my best friends is starting at Lamda School today and I couldn’t be more excited for him. I somewhat dropped out of school for various reasons, but if I had to redo all of it, I think I’d go the Lamda School route. Although to be more specific, I’d do the LS route if the Lamda School/ISA model was integrated into college with all of the other benefits of college (new friends, self-discovery, etc.).
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