I spent three days last week in Scottsdale at the Arizona State University + Global Silicon Valley Education Innovation Summit. Technology company leaders focused on education, K-12 and postsecondary made up the largest share of the 2000 participants. The collective focus of these companies will dramatically reshape public education in the years ahead. This was the fifth ASU+GSV Summit.
The keynoters for the conference were tremendous: Former Secretary Margaret Spellings, Governor Jeb Bush, Lou Holtz, Magic Johnson, and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker were some of the top names. My favorite keynoter was Netflix founder, Reed Hastings. Hastings spoke bedrock truth when he said the problem for companies working with public schools is that school districts are “parochial, Byzantine, and difficult to sell to” because they lack consistent leadership. Hastings noted that corporations, non-profits, churches, and so forth have self-perpetuating boards and smooth transitions of leadership. Not so for public schools where superintendents and board members change with the politics. BINGO! JACKPOT! WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! You nailed it, Reed Hastings.
I took a nice snap of Reed Hastings, but the picture accompanying this blog is from another highlight at ASU+GSV. There was an Anna’s Hummingbird nesting with a baby just outside the east door to the ballroom area. It was a life bird for me and I was happy to get such a good view of it.