Sony tapped Kenichiro Yoshida for its next chief executive on Friday.
Akio Kon—Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Alan Murray and David Meyer
February 2, 2018

Good morning.

I spent some time yesterday with Chip Paucek, co-founder and CEO of education-tech company 2U, which is rapidly growing its business and now has a market cap approaching $4 billion. Paucek is a reminder that not all good tech companies start on the West Coast. While the Silicon Valley crowd was busy building free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), Paucek spent the last decade in the Washington, D.C. area quietly building a platform that worked with top universities to offer online degrees at full tuition. Today, MOOCs have crashed, while Paucek has a solid business with 32,000 students enrolled since inception, and is growing at 30% a year. Last week, he announced an innovative partnership with WeWork that you can read about here.

While the degrees aren’t cheap—the average cost is $75,000—they do have two huge advantages over traditional schooling: you don’t have to leave home, and you don’t have to quit your job. Those two advantages will become increasingly important as technological disruption accelerates, and as lifelong learning becomes an imperative for workers. While 2U focuses on full degrees, it recently acquired a South African company called GetSmarter that offers shorter courses for working professionals.

“We are where Tesla is for electric cars,” Paucek told me. “The market for education is going to go this way.” Not only do students like the freedom 2U offers, but “employers love it because their people can stay employed” while they go to school.

By the way, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was part of the Trump entourage to Davos last week, and told people there that his department plans to tackle the training challenge this summer. It’s never too late.

News below.

Alan Murray


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