Thursday, January 20, 2005

apprentice redux

So, the Don is back. This time , there is a twist: "booksmarts" (hereafter BS) are competing against "streetsmarts" (SM). BSs lost the first round by a small margin, probably statistically insignificant. Don blurped out somthing very predictible about how he has respect for education, but maybe streetsmarts are better. So let me enter a few comments. First, these guys are not all that nerdy. Graduating college qualifies you as a BS for this contest. People who dropped out of college to pursue an opportunity are on the average smarter than someone who goes though college. So maybe you will tell me these BSs are super-nerdy. My impression, except for a couple of them, is that they aren't. And this is coming from a qualified nerd with the score of 81 :). So what do I think? I think there is a lot to be said for "streetsmarts", but I think there is a glass ceiling most of them, and only partially because of preception of others. This is because most businesses these days REQUIRE a pretty deep intellectual understanding of things that someone with just streetsmarts will not have. E.g. a lot of competitive differentiation in industries is technological. I also think that it was not always so. I think in the "old days" people with streetsmarts had a much better chance to ride on some success mixed with luck untill they learn their business well. But not these days. Just look at the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, not many SMs there.

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