Benno nails it again.
He always does.
And it comes with a punch, or rather, a dagger, right to the chest.
But it sucks. It does. I can’t pretend that his words aren’t true, but I also can’t walk away. I can’t turn my back on this moment.
I’m a female educational entrepreneur. That was fun to write.
I guess that is what you call a female educator starting a company. I know of no title for someone like me because I have yet to meet one. Beyond a tutoring business, I have yet to personally see a female educator start their own businesses to solve the problems. We usually sit back and watch the “business people” do this.
However, I think I understand why now…thanks Benno…
But what he doesn’t understand is that I do it for him. I do it for all of them. But, this is hard. I’m not going to lie, HARD AS HELL and the guilt doesn’t help. I’m not asking for sympathy Benno (okay…maybe a little), but really more forgiveness.
So I write this letter to hold myself accountable. To remember my choices to learn from them.
And the truth? I lied.
As I write this, I am here at home and my family is off on an adventure.
Benno let me stay home when push came to shove. All the calls I would need to reschedule are with potential investors. I explained to him that I need wifi. That this is an important time in education. He nodded. He said “okay.” He is the best kid like that.
But I feel anything but okay. A mom who again broke a promise.
I hope one day this moment is a footnote in Benno’s biography. That he reflects on how proud his was of his mother. That she is a true entrepreneur and never gave up and sacrificed.
But who knows how he will view this time.
And its SO frustrating. I guess I am like every entrepreneur, I think I am sitting on the BEST idea. I have a perspective. I can’t help staring at the sheep and wonder how they walk with no thought of how the grassy plain feels on their hooves. Just jumping through the gates (maybe they are even ivy gates) placed in front of them to follow the path to wherever it may go, even if that is to the slaughterhouse. However, these sheep are real humans, we call them students and they pay a lot for this journey.
And it is all falling to pieces.
And I have the math to prove it! I have graph after graph. I’m swimming in them. I can show you. I can PROVE I have a good idea. One you can invest in with just common basic math. Supply and demand curves. Supply up (colleges a plenty), demand down (applications dwindling). I have millions of data points (each one an actual human being). I have the media supporting my cause. Every major outlet from the Times to CNN exposing the reality of education right now pushing students to defer and hold on to their CASH. Even putting the media aside, you have millions of students using their voices saying they will defer this fall as the distant college experience turns out to be not college at all. We are finally saying aloud that college is 90% party and 10% about the class. AND let me be clear there is nothing wrong with that! Think back to your college days, think about the value of those friendships, those heartaches (first broken heart), those frisbee matches on the quad, they have value, but it just can’t be done distantly as it is currently designed. AND let’s not forget the FACT that even when college is in person, the graduates are walking in unprepared for life. Only 14% “succeed” (graduates not riddled in debt, use their degrees, and are not underemployed).
And that is what I do all day because it all doesn’t matter until we secure the funding needed. So my day is here without my family. A day of convincing the VC male world, that Mind the Gap doesn’t just matter because it will help kids, but is an OPPORTUNITY.
I only hope one day I look back at this post and say “yes” this was the right call. This was the right decision. This was worth it.