Monday, August 17, 2015
Will educators be the next class of super rich?
James Martin believed that educators would become a new class of the super rich. He was a very successful technology author and consultant. In the late 1980s and early 1990s I had the good fortune to interview him several times and I read many of his more then 100 books.
He had good reason for believing his theory about super rich educators: he was a living example! At the time I spoke with him he had homes (that I was aware of) in Bermuda, London, Stowe, Vermont and a couple of floors in the John Handcock Tower in Chicago. He was consulting for my employer at the time for $25,000/day back then. And they were happy to pay it.
He was a prolific author, consultant and conducted extensive week-long one-man technology technology seminars all around the world. But he told me he considered himself an educator.
So, how does an educator find himself among the ranks of the super-rich? Obviously he was hard working, prolific and had extraordinary endurance (week-long one-man seminars? It impresses me but if you're a teacher you may think, big deal, I do that every week!)
But what made him such a rare talent was his ability to learn in depth a broad range of new information technology, then explain it both in technical detail and in executive overview depending upon his audience. And he was adept at describing compelling scenarios about where the technology was likely to take us in future years.
Corporations then and now spend a lot of money on information technology because, when properly applied, it can have an enormous impact on their business. Information technology changes rapidly so there is a lot of uncertainty over whether these large investments are the right ones to make. It was worth it to them to pay the leader in the field to give them the confidence that they were about to spend their money wisely.
Are you an educator feeling that your chosen profession limits you to great psychic benefits of helping children develop but that you are limited to a lifetime of modest financial compensation? It's not true! Educating the right students on the right topics can be very lucrative indeed!
Here's how: select an important field that isn't yet too crowded. Become an expert...writing books can be a big help. Writing can force you to thoroughly learn a subject. Build a sterling reputation: make yours the most highly regarded books in the field (how exactly to do that is left as an exercise for the reader). Build on your reputation by giving great seminars where people get to hear from the person himself or herself behind those great books. The seminars also help put a price tag on your time: e.g., $4,000/attendee for a week, 50 attendees = $200,000/week or $40,000/day. Not a bad consulting rate. That's the rate you give when the big wigs want you to come in for personal consultation.
And that's how an educator like you becomes the newest member of the super rich.
What about the other way around? I was fascinated all week long in his seminar but I was very interested in the info and I enjoyed his knowledge and enthusiasm. But how would James Martin have done in a K12 classroom? Maybe not so great. His one instructional mode in seminars was a firehose of Powerpoint slides. No checks for understanding, no application of what's been learned. I fear his students would not do so well on their standardized tests. Could he keep order in a middle school class? If his topic was the latest in game technology, the class might be swept up by his knowledge and enthusiasm. But for a topic with less intrinsic to the students? There could be some problems.
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super rich educators