Austen Allred (Co-Founder of Lambda School) & James Currier on The New American Dream (NFX podcast) Podcast Summary

Austen Allred (Co-Founder of Lambda School) & James Currier (NFX) on The New American Dream | Free Podcast Summary

Austen Allred (Co-Founder of Lambda School) & James Currier on The New American Dream (NFX podcast)

In a conversation with James Currier, Austen Allred, Co-Founder and CEO of Lambda School, shares his perspective on the current state of the US educational system and the need for alternatives.

Drawing from his personal experience of dropping out of college, Allred discusses the new American dream and how Lambda School is helping to shape it.

Lambda School’s Approach

Lambda School provides the ‘American dream as a service’ by giving people the skills and confidence they need to carve their own path.

The school does not look at financial means, credit history, work history, or grades when accepting students.

Instead, it focuses on teaching skills and providing a network of alumni and companies to help students get their foot in the door.

Self-Determination as the American Dream

The true definition of the American dream is self-determination.

Lambda School provides this by teaching students how to learn and solve challenges on their own.

The school also helps students build a network and get their foot in the door at companies, providing a path for self-determination.

My definition is self-determination. You can call that freedom if you would like but one’s ability to carve one own path and do what you would prefer to do. For most of our students frankly that is constrained by money. – Austen Allred

The Importance of Network Effects

The network effect in the educational experience is crucial.

Lambda School creates a sense of achievement and exclusivity among its students, fostering a strong sense of community and belonging, referred to as ‘tribal network effects’.

Alignment of Goals

Lambda School’s approach to education is unique in that the school’s incentives are entirely aligned with the students’.

If the students don’t get hired, the school’s staff and instructors lose their jobs.

This alignment of goals is not common in traditional educational institutions.

I think the average person grossly underestimates the importance of incentives and I think America is kind of drunk on the idea of a university being the only possible path to higher education and to jobs and job training and skills achievement. – Austen Allred

Focus on Job Placement

The reputation and alignment of Lambda School are built on the quality of its graduates.

The school works closely with companies when building the curriculum, ensuring that the students are well-prepared for the job market.

This focus on job placement is a key differentiator for Lambda School.

Universities as Selection Filters

Universities often serve as a selection filter rather than a source of knowledge.

The focus is often on getting into a prestigious university, rather than on the quality of education received once admitted.

This focus on selection criteria over course content is a significant issue in the current educational system.

The German Education Model

The German education system is highlighted as a model that makes sense.

In Germany, students decide their career paths earlier and have multiple optional paths to choose from.

This approach allows them to start their lives earlier and with less debt compared to American students.

Challenges of Breaking Out of Traditional Education

Cultural norms, laws, regulations, and government-backed financing operations have entrenched the current system, making it inflexible and resistant to change.

Despite the success of Lambda School, breaking out of the traditional education system presents significant challenges.

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