#006 "Brett Goldstein - The Unbundling of Higher Education"


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Today I am talking with Brett Goldstein, a former product manager at both Clearbit and Google who is now writing his newsletter “Social Studies” and part of the On Deck Fellowship Cohort 4. In the episode, we discuss the future unbundling of higher education and the role of online courses, what it is like being part of an accelerator program, and whether Brett is an explorer or a builder.


  1. Social Studies Website
  2. Brett’s Twitter
  3. My Website
  4. My Twitter
  5. My Medium

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Show Notes:

I’ve always been interested in the brain and how people think and I also really loved European History and was part of a philosophy club in high school so the cognitive science major really spoke out to me.

In technology, we over-emphasize technical majors, STEM majors, and saying that is the only thing that matters.

When we’re building technology products, these products are all about people, you users are people, your backend system administrators are people. In order to sell anything, you need to understand what the economic transaction is, what the economic value you are generating is for the individual on the other side. Even if you are not selling anything like Facebook or TikTok, there is a social-economic value, social capital..

The value of education is not increasing to the same degree that the cost of education is.

Universities are not doing a great job teaching students the skills they need to do well in the workforce. As technology and software are taking over the world, students need to learn newer and newer tools and technologies.

There is a false perception that getting a degree and major will set them up for a great career and it doesn’t.

For the first time in history, more students are asking is this worth it than ever. Where does that leave us, it leaves us with a lot of students looking for alternatives.

There is information abundance, you can get information wherever you go on the internet. I think what we are learning in comparison to these MOOCs that we talked about before is exactly what you said. The community matters.

Building the pyramids was not too different from building GPT-3 its just different hardware, different software.

Product hunt is actually great for newsletters. I had been seeing a number of newsletter launch on product hunt and do very well so I figured I would step in line and do the same thing. The way to think about it is that newsletters are products. Products solve users and solve a user needs, this helps you write a better newsletter because you identify your users and their needs.

On Deck at a high level is a modern approach to an MBA. Another way to think about it is a pre-Y Combinator.