On the latest adventure of Recode Decode, 2U CEO Chip Paucek said the abstraction of demography academy courses online has angry a corner. Starting with USC, Georgetown and UNC Chapel Hill, his aggregation addled deals with name-brand alum schools to get some ambit from the association of “online college” as a huckster’s playground.
“The abundant schools weren’t accomplishing annihilation online, and we actually believed that you could do article abundant if you had institutional will to achieve the acceptance equal, end the allegory of the online student,” Paucek said. “Give them the absolute rights, the absolute degree, the aforementioned quality, the aforementioned faculty, but you bare a abundant academy to buy in.”
Ten years aback starting the company, Paucek still says it’s “early days” for 2U — afterwards all, some of its ally are hundreds of years old — but he believes that the approaching of academy ed has to be online. At the end of the day, however, the classes the aggregation offers will depend on accomplished advisers who may be acclimatized to concrete classrooms to advise them.
“There’s one accurate abettor in the Chapel Hill affairs that we actually kept aggravating to advance to do some of the newer things and he kept array of insisting on absent to do it the way that he’s comfortable,” Paucek said. “So we concluded up filming him and absolution him do his thing. Alike admitting it has beneath accretion and whistles, it’s the second-highest rated course. Why? Because he’s brilliant.”
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Below, we’ve aggregate a agilely edited abounding archetype of Kara’s chat with Chip.
Kara Swisher: Today in the red armchair is Chip Paucek, the CEO of 2U. It ally with colleges and universities to action online programs. He co-founded the aggregation added than 10 years ago. Chip, acceptable to Recode Decode.
Chip Paucek: Oh, acknowledge you. Captivated to be here.
Good. We accept a lot to allocution about. I was aloof cogent you, I was aloof interviewing the arch of the Apple Bank, so you’re advancing off of a thing. But one of the things he was talking about was online stuff. He was absolute absorbed in that and not advance in bridges and tunnels, but added in those affectionate of programs. And one of the things he acclaimed to me was that he got the arch of Dubai to pay for axis all of Sal Khan’s actuality into Arabic, to get it translated into Arabic, and he active like 7,000 bodies at once, and that was not a Apple Bank affairs I would’ve apparent before.
I aloof wanna allocution a little bit about your aggregation and afresh we wanna allocution about area education’s activity and area it should be going.
Well, I started the aggregation over a decade ago. We accomplice with top universities to anatomy actually high-quality online programs.
Right. Area were you afore that?
That’s a abundant story. So, this is the third venture-backed startup for me and the alone that worked. So I produced a PBS television appearance for a actually connected time, my aboriginal one, and it produced a agglomeration of celebrities, which is actually cool.
It was alleged “Standard Deviance.” It was boilerplate school, aerial school, academy courses accomplished by comedians and actors. So like, TJ Miller from “Silicon Valley.”
Yeah. And Kerry Washington from “Scandal,” so a agglomeration of abundant actors, but ultimately, the business wasn’t successful, so it didn’t acknowledgment basic and whatnot, but I abstruse a ton. Afresh I ran Hooked on Phonics, so I was CEO of Hooked on Phonics for …
We all bethink that. Explain what Hooked on Phonics … I apperceive what it is.
Hooked on Phonics is a account affairs for kids. The acclaimed one with the infomercials. “Hooked on Phonics formed for me.”
Yeah. It was like Kars4Kids. You bethink them.
I anticipate I was on QVC like 35 times or some nonsense, affairs Hooked on Phonics. So, yes. I’ve had an absorbing career, all in education.
Where did that go? Area did Hooked on Phonics go?
Hooked on Phonics has been through a agglomeration of altered owners. I candidly don’t apperceive area it is now. I larboard to alpha 2U. It was alleged Tutor at the time. So, my career has been all in education, except for one assignment area I ran a U.S. Senator’s reelection campaign, Barbara Mikulski from actuality in Maryland.
That’s my backstory. I get, interestingly …
Sorry, why did you run Barbara Mikulski’s campaign?
I anticipation you’d ask that.
I haven’t anticipation about her. Man, she is something.
Right out of college, I accelerating from GW, and appropriate out of college, bodies balloon how asperous the job bazaar was in ’92, and I got a job alive for Barbara Mikulski as, basically, her abettor scheduler, which is the funny … it’s like the affliction job on the Hill because basically all you do is say “no” because the scheduler takes the yeses. I got to apperceive her actually alone and aback I started my aboriginal company, she’s like, “Why are you leaving?” and I gave her a business plan. Aing day, I arise in and — one of the acknowledgment canicule of my career — there’s a Senate wax allowance envelope and I accessible it up and there’s a check. And she became my third broker in my aboriginal company.
Wow. Oh, cool.
I’d go to the Hill every division to acquaint her what was activity on in the company. Ultimately, I didn’t achieve her any money.
Oh, poor Barbara.
And afresh at the end, she asked me to arise and be her agent attack manager, so I co-ran her attack in 2004. Yeah, 2004.
Oh, wow. She was a abundant politician.
It was an absurd experience. And afresh I started 2U [after] abrogation Hooked on Phonics.
What was the catalyst for it? To teach, right? To acquisition new agency of teaching? If it was 10 years ago, it was aboriginal days.
It was absolute aboriginal days.
I bethink Miles Gilburne had one, a account one. There was a lot of early, aboriginal versions of this.
We actually believed that the apple was accessible for actually high-quality online education, but bodies anticipation we were affectionate of crazy. Bodies anticipation we were loons, honestly. At the time, no one was accomplishing annihilation online from any of the abundant schools, so I would altercate it was like the aboriginal beachcomber of online ed area it was all for-profit, and I’m abiding we’re gonna allocution about that. But for-profit apprenticeship has a bad rap for a reason. For a connected time, it wasn’t decidedly absolute good.
Right. University of Arizona or whatever.
You beggarly University of Phoenix.
And Phoenix was bigger than abounding of them.
Yeah, but there were lots of those.
There were lots of those.
The abundant schools weren’t accomplishing annihilation online, and we actually believed that you could do article abundant if you had institutional will to achieve the acceptance equal, end the allegory of the online student. Accord them the absolute rights, the absolute degree, the aforementioned quality, the aforementioned faculty, but you bare a abundant academy to buy in. And it’s not accessible why they said yes, but we were able to altercate University of Southern California to assurance up with us, and afresh Georgetown, your alma mater, and afresh University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
What was the angle during those days? Harvard and MIT were about early, admitting it wasn’t 10 years ago.
No, really, at this point, USC and Georgetown and Chapel Hill, they all took a huge accident that they didn’t accept any abstracts to abutment the decision. The angle was, this is area the world’s gonna go and we actually believed it could be great.
The university had to be convinced, aboriginal of all, that it was gonna be acutely high-quality, that this wasn’t gonna be some dumbed-down adaptation of what they’ve done because. If you anticipate about it, companies don’t aftermost this long. My youngest university accomplice is 12 years beforehand than Walt Disney. Companies aloof don’t aftermost this long, so be actually accurate about that cast acquaintance and the aerial affection and carrying the apprentice outcome.
We were appealing passionate. We were able to altercate University of Southern California aboriginal to accord it a shot, and afresh bound thereafter, Georgetown, and afresh afterwards that, Chapel Hill.
Explain the antecedent offering.
The antecedent action was, we’re gonna accompany you online, 2U will be abaft the scenes. What’s absorbing is best bodies accept never heard of the aggregation alike admitting we’re four-and-a-half years accessible and one of the better-performing technology stocks, because my job is to assignment abaft the scenes to advance and abutment Georgetown and USC, not 2U.
The angle was we’re gonna do a agglomeration of things that you don’t decidedly do about or do that well. You’re gonna do all instruction. You’re gonna admission the degree. You’re gonna achieve the admissions accommodation in agreement of who gets in. You’ll do all accreditation. You’ll do aggregate that you’d appetite your university to do, so it’s like the absolute thing. And I’ll accommodate the tech platform, all the apprentice support, all the adroitness support, things like analytic placements.
As an example, one of my degrees at Georgetown is a Master of Science in Midwifery. You wouldn’t wanna go to the midwife that delivered the basic baby, right?
No, not at all.
We accept a huge analytic adjustment network. Aback then, that was all article that we had to build. I accord those aboriginal schools a ton of acclaim because we weren’t absolute acceptable at it in 2008 and we had to learn.
So the angle then, one of them … I was aloof at a university the added day and someone, I anticipate it was the arch of the university, was like, “We’re not gonna accept this academy in 30 years.” He was talking about assorted altered things. And you see all these iterations, and we’ll get to that later. But aback you were affairs them on it, acutely they basic added acceptance in the doors, not alfresco the doors or advancing in.
Right. But the key is the appropriate acceptance for them. In added words, what they represent in the community, the affection of student, the affection of adroitness that they’ve congenital their history on. And in the case of Georgetown, it’s 100 years beforehand than Coca-Cola. You’re talking about some of the oldest continuing institutions in our culture.
1876, no, I know.
If you attending beyond my portfolio, like Yale is 75 years beforehand than America. I mean, these schools, appealing credible.
But what was the angle to them for you? That they bare to accept added acceptance or that they were missing acceptance or what?
Expand their mission and ability and drive new acquirement for the school. It’s both … it’s array of a aggregate of mission and dollars. Sustainability is not optional, so it needs to all be acceptable and work, but it was all about affection to start.
So not anybody could get in.
No, and I don’t achieve that call.
They achieve that call.
Right, of who’s gonna get in.
Now, the business for 2U is we angle abaft the scenes, we allotment allegation acquirement over a connected contract. My beeline arrangement is 10 years, they’re non-cancelable. So it’s a non-trivial accommodation to do this on both sides. And the acumen is, I’ll advance about 10 actor of net-negative banknote over the aboriginal four to bristles years of that 10-year life, afore I beat to 2U’s ancillary to profit. The university is about acceptable in about a year, but the money is secondary. Aboriginal and foremost, will it work? And if you attending at online education, unfortunately, a connected history of not alive for people, necessarily, the apprentice aftereffect …
Well there’s altered types, we can allocution about the altered types. But the accepting in allotment is that this would aggrandize their apprentice body. For bodies that couldn’t go there or …
So I assumption I would say, why should you aces up your life, abdicate your job, and move to arise a academy — alum school, these are all alum programs — why should you aces up your life, abdicate your job to arise if you could get aggregate you would get from a academy like USC, but do it in your bounded association at that affection level, with that rigor, with that affiliation, like you’re acceptable a Trojan, a Tar Heel, a Hoya, not aloof a accidental 1 and 0.
So one of the things that we brought to the table that at the time bodies anticipation was actually asinine was alive classes. Our boilerplate chic admeasurement beyond the absolute portfolio is today about 14 students. So you’re talking about super-intimate alive classes with the faculty, instead of aloof actuality actually asynchronous. I abhorrence the appellation asynchronous because bodies about …
Explain that to people.
It agency like, the canned lec … In an asynchronous program, you never …
You watch a lecture.
You watch a lecture, basically.
And afresh you acknowledgment questions based on …
In the 2U programs, you watch a lot of pre-recorded content, but afresh you go to chic already a anniversary with your adroitness and your adolescent students.
Right, and those are all online students?
So you’re not … We don’t put a camera at the aback of the classroom, the concrete classroom, because if you were activity to achieve a cine out of a comedy you wouldn’t put a camera at the aback of the theater, you’d aloof accept a abominable movie. So you achieve a movie, not a play.
So aback you’re bearing for the online environment, you can do a agglomeration of things that wouldn’t aloof be recording the professor. And we do that. But afresh you go to class, and afresh you do your analytic placement. So aback you put that all together, you’re talking about high-quality apprentice outcomes, high-quality graduation rates, lath canyon rates.
In the case of Georgetown, we actually — alike afterwards we actually launched the program, we’d been active it a brace years — aback we actually captured the minds of the adroitness was aback the aboriginal set of graduates, which was a big number, anesthetized their boards at absolute aing to the aforementioned bulk as the campus program. That was area … that’s the elastic that meets the road.
Right, absolute aing but not quite.
The on-campus affairs at the time was aerial 90s, it was like 99 point something. And we were like, bisected a allotment point lower.
So what affectionate of bodies wanna do this? What’s the thing? That you aloof don’t appetite to leave your boondocks or …
Well, the bigger bulk to alum apprenticeship is the befalling cost. So best people, if you’re gonna go to alum school, alike like an MBA, if you’re activity to a campus affairs you’re about abandonment your job and you’re activity to campus for two years. Whatever you’re authoritative during that two years, you’re about either borrowing or accepting from family. So the bodies beyond the absolute portfolio of 2U’s programs — whether it be Accent Anatomy or Concrete Analysis or Abstracts Science, array of application extremes — they’re about active and they breach employed. So you’re able to abide your career, architecture your career or the aing footfall in your career, afterwards sacrificing the accustomed job.
So on balance, it’s about a hardly beforehand student. But I anticipate we’re at the absolute avant-garde bend of this. It’s my acceptance that all of alum apprenticeship is gonna go this way, it’s aloof the bulk hypothesis to the customer is so abundant better. I feel like, not that I’m gonna get out a collective and smoke it actuality …
Oh, we don’t do that.
But I feel like the Elon Musk/Tesla date of activity is the … Like, electric cars, you’re at such the aboriginal date of the market, I actually accept that’s area we are in online education. It’s absolute aboriginal days. So we anticipate all of it will go online over time, alike disciplines that you wouldn’t anon expect.
They could. And we’re gonna get to that in a second. So the bodies that wanna do this, what do they about pay? The allegation cost? No, because there’s altered tuitions.
The allegation is the aforementioned bulk as the campus price.
Oh wow, okay, all right, okay, so it could be air-conditioned high. And are scholarships accessible in the aforementioned manner?
If there are scholarships, best of alum apprenticeship is not … we actually … 2U deploys actually a few scholarships to clue altered groups of students. But overall, alum apprenticeship is either self-pay or loans. So if the campus allegation bulk is a assertive bulk …
$5,000 or whatever, it’s not $10,000. Twenty?
No, best of the programs, like an MBA will bulk you about between, on the low end let’s say $55,000 and on the aerial end $100,000 for the abounding program. And so the online affairs …
Right. That’s two years, right?
That’s two years.
So that depends on the school. But you don’t accept your allowance and board, and you don’t accept … you know, you’re active during that time. So the debt accountability to the apprentice is about lower.
Right, right, right. And afresh accepting in, how do they breach amid it? Does that accessible their apprentice anatomy bulk that they can acquiesce in? Correct?
You’re talking about cogent admeasurement admission for the school. Now, you’re not talking about demography a academy from 200 acceptance on-campus to 10,000.
But the archetypal 2U affairs will accept about amid 300-500 new acceptance per year for the school. If you attending at a affairs like Georgetown, the Nursing affairs at Georgetown was actually baby in that case.
Yeah, it was.
‘Cause best alum education, best of the programs …
I lived with Georgetown nurses.
Oh you did?
Yeah, they were my roommates. They were crazy.
Well, that’s a aces school.
They’re wild. Nurses are crazy. They assignment like hell, but they additionally …
We accept a lot of nursing programs, and we accept three …
Talking to you, Kate Curran. But go ahead, accumulate going. Activity aback to the Nursing, but let’s not altercate partying nurses, but go ahead.
This is awesome. So I would say the alone programs, you ability accept a apprentice anatomy of 50, 100, 200 students. And afresh in the case of our size, you get 300-500 per year, so you would accept a apprentice anatomy amid let’s say 500 and 1,000. So it’s a cogent amplification for the school. It’s a acceptable acquirement antecedent for the school. But it’s gotta work.
Until we accept accurate that we can actualize actually high-quality graduates with acceptable jobs and the apprentice aftereffect side, no one would accept connected to acquirement …
And aback you’re adage they accept to do appropriate classes, why do you accept to choose them? Again, I apperceive you don’t appetite a camera in the back, but what’s the cerebration abaft that? Because that is affectionate of a altered student, right?
Well, alms a actually affectionate acquaintance area you’re gonna be with your faculty. I mean, the adroitness in these programs, you don’t get to Georgetown or Berkeley or Yale or any of our schools and be adroitness there afterwards actuality appealing exceptional.
So accepting that adroitness time … I actually took our MBA program, so I graduated, I’ve gotta be one of the alone bodies that’s done an IPO while actuality in an MBA program, by the way. I didn’t do it to eat my own dog food, I didn’t do it to allocution about it, I didn’t do it for the Hair Club For Men …
Who did you take, at which school?
And it took me four years, so I was like the longest-standing apprentice in the history of Kenan-Flagler Business School. But badinage aside, accepting that experience, I could acquaint you: From the standpoint of the adroitness interaction? Huge allotment of the bulk proposition. But afresh the apprentice interaction, you bethink your adolescent acceptance alike added than you bethink your faculty, from wherever you went to school.
So that acquaintance of the online environment, we accept a agglomeration of marriages that accept happened in the programs, so bodies affair in the program. We’re not a dating service, but …
What are you, Tinder? We’re gonna get aback to that.
We are not apprenticeship Tinder. But the actuality is, you do accommodated bodies and you become aing to one addition and you apprentice a lot from one another.
We’re actuality with Chip Paucek, the CEO of 2U. We’re talking about him demography a course, of accepting an MBA. What did you do with that then, did you alpha a company? No, I’m kidding. Why did you booty an MBA course?
Eh. My wife and my lath asked me the aforementioned catechism aback I told them I basic to do this. They both anticipation I was a little insane. I had been a avant-garde arts graduate, so aloof to get into me a little bit, first-generation academy graduate. Got to GW, got a Pell admission to go there.
Higher ed actually afflicted my life, it’s adamantine to overstate. Met my wife at GW, we’re still calm 28 years later. GW couldn’t accept afflicted me more, but I was a avant-garde arts major, and I had never taken a distinct business course. And I get out of academy and I alpha a company, and I aloof actually basic it.
I had apprehend the antithesis area for a connected time but I had never fabricated one. So Chapel Hill had been an aspirational academy for me growing up, so I actually basic to do this.
Did you not get in?
You know, it’s interesting. I alone activated to some schools in Florida, aloof to accord you an idea, I’d been out to Florida three times in my life. I bought my aboriginal winter covering of my activity with the guy who’s now my accustomed counsel, at GW. So I hadn’t apparent abundant of the world, but the one abode I had seen, is I’d taken …
UNC. It’s a abundant school.
Well, no. I’d taken a close-up, one of those Presidential Classroom blazon things, in D.C. So I’d apparent the D.C. schools.
So I activated to GW and Georgetown and American. I didn’t get into your alma mater. I got into GW.
It got harder afterwards the basketball thing.
Well, you know, GW today, it’s awfully intense.
I wouldn’t get into Georgetown today.
I wouldn’t get into GW either, today.
Mine was a advancement school. Georgetown acclimated to be a advancement school.
That’s funny. Area was your …
I didn’t get in everywhere else. No, I didn’t get into Stanford. I didn’t administer to too abounding colleges. My brother was at Stanford.
I accumulate cogent — my son now is in the action — I accumulate cogent him that there’s so abounding abundant schools and I’d be captivated if he went to any of our accomplice schools, they’re all appealing exceptional.
Yeah. I’m gonna try to acquisition a way to buy a gym or article for one of them, for my kid. I’m kidding. Sadly, I did not booty that job at Amazon aback I was offered it 20 years ago. I cannot do that this time.
In any case, let’s get aback to online education. So you’re actuality the aback end of it. Let’s allocution about the mural of area we are appropriate now, because there’s so abounding MOOCs, I can’t alike remember, I aloof alleged them MOOCs aloof now. Multi …
Massive accessible online courses.
Well, it’s a little bit of a “whatever” there.
Yes. Let’s allocution about anniversary of them, and afresh there’s added things, like LinkedIn bought one that was advanced.
Let’s go through anniversary of them. So can you breach them up aloof to area we are in online education?
I would allocution about three waves. The aboriginal beachcomber I mentioned beforehand was the for-profits. Unfortunately, not all of it worked, which by the way, is not acceptable for America.
Why is that? Explain what they did.
Well, the aboriginal schools to go online were not the schools that we all know. They were all for-profit schools that were congenital to try to serve a abundant added accumulation of people. And we allegation added education, not less. We badly allegation added academy attainability. Bodies allegation the access.
That’s not what some Silicon Valley bodies think. But go ahead.
Yeah. I’ll acquaint you, aback I apprehend Peter Thiel allocution about allotment dropouts, you appetite to get me going?
Yeah. Aback I apprehend Peter Thiel allocution about anything, I get going. So let’s not go there with Peter.
But the angle that somehow, best bodies … You allegation the access.
Yes, of advance you do.
It’s crazy. Actuality a three-time CEO, this is the alone one that worked. This one formed to the extreme, but my aboriginal one I ran for a decade and it failed. So aback bodies are active about Silicon Valley talking about crumbling forward, crumbling fast, accord me a break.
Not aloof that. I was with one of them and I fabricated a Shakespeare advertence and they were like, “What?” Like, “Oh my God, you didn’t accomplishment college, did you?”
I accumulate blaming Facebook’s problems on the actuality that Mark Zuckerberg didn’t booty abundant abstract courses. But I now accept it’s true, actually.
Well, aback we are hiring today …
“Jean-Paul Sartre would advice you here!”
We accept 2,500 employees, and aback we hire, appropriate now analytical thinking, reading, writing, authoritative an argument, actuality actuating …
Referencing Shakespeare or whoever. Or Toni Morrison or anybody.
It was interesting, because it’s actually the best important part, is accepting a broadly apprehend and broadly referenced …
Critical. Alike in tech.
Of course. Best of all in tech, because they’re in allegation of everything.
Well, everybody loves to say, “We don’t allegation that now. We aloof allegation you to apperceive the code.”
So there was aboriginal the for-profits, which are aloof bottomward and dirty, aloof the way they are in the absolute world.
No. I anticipate there was a lot of addition occurring in the for-profit space. We wouldn’t be area we are if they hadn’t launched. Unfortunately, too abounding bodies affairs a bent amends degree, and it’s not accessible what somebody’s activity to do with that. So if you get out and you accept a agglomeration of debt and you don’t accept an befalling after, that’s not good.
Right, yeah. It’s like Trump University, for example.
Well, I’m not gonna go there.
Yeah, I apperceive you are.
It’s a adulterated and they got sued. But anyway. So there are those, but Trump University was actually one of them, was one of the many. So afresh what else? Afresh MOOCs, right?
Yeah. You apperceive what’s interesting, afore the MOOCs, we’re already on the scene, aloof no one’s anytime heard of us.
So there were bodies like me that were allowance the absolute schools go online and action the absolute thing.
Going arise absolute schools …
Yeah. The MOOCs were a moment in time area all of a abrupt everybody got captivated that online was activity to …
These were the schools themselves.
The schools themselves and the accustomed … I was appealing afraid that the New York Times, area you’re at now, was autograph about it every week, because we actually didn’t anticipate that it was gonna fundamentally change everything. It did accession people’s absorption that all of a abrupt …
My bigger affair as a CEO is assumption notions of online apprenticeship are bad. Bodies anticipate it stinks. So accepting all of a abrupt the chat “Harvard” or the chat “Stanford” or “MIT” arise about online apprenticeship is a positive.
Right. And the way they did it is themselves, right? Correct?
No. There were a agglomeration of companies.
Oh, that’s right.
Udacity, Coursera, EdX. Some nonprofit.
I anticipation MIT did it by itself.
MIT did a agglomeration of things by themselves.
Yeah, that one advance they did.
They did. But afresh they partnered with EdX which is partly endemic by MIT. Harvard and MIT own EdX.
That’s right. That’s what I beggarly aback I say they did it themselves.
They did. And afresh there are companies like Coursera or FutureLearn that offered massive accessible online courses as companies, and now those companies in some agency are aggravating to bulk out how to about-face into 2U.
Which is aloof white label, essentially.
It’s added that you’re alms article … It’s not aloof connected learning. You’re actually alms the absolute bulk or a certificate, accepting accomplished …
So these MOOCs are aloof demography courses.
They’re aloof demography courses.
Not the accomplished thing. Aloof demography courses. Or auditing, really, is what it was.
That’s right. With asynchronous interaction, or alternation through forums, or alternation with all of the bodies who were online demography the advance but not claimed interaction.
And afresh there’s continuing acquirements stuff.
There is. There’s a agglomeration of that.
Right. Like Lynda was that, the computer courses, a lot of them …
Linda. You apparently heard of Udemy.
A aggregation that aloof went accessible about a ages ago that’s run by a absolute acceptable acquaintance of abundance alleged Pluralsight.
And they … explain what those do.
Pluralsight is absolute acute abstruse training, you can anticipate of it as Netflix for coders.
Yeah. Udemy is the aforementioned way, right?
So it’s absolute acute abstruse training, they IPO’d four weeks ago. So what’s absorbing about ed tech is that one of the things that’s notable about our IPO, not to about-face to that, is that aboriginal of all, best for-profit apprenticeship hadn’t been successful, and there was actually annihilation like us on the market. And Wall Street brand familiarity.
So our IPO was like, we’re about like the anti-unicorn. In some agency … I aloft $102 actor of adventure basic and my Series D post-money was $280 million. Our IPO was bisected a billion. We didn’t get to big numbers until able-bodied into our accessible journey, so it’s a abundant added acceptable story.
The acumen I go there is, online apprenticeship has had, it’s a boxy road. What I’m appreciative of is, we’re paving a alley …
But these advancements are interesting, because it’s the abstraction that continuing apprenticeship is connected education.
You never stop.
And LinkedIn bought Lynda.
And afresh there’s ones that aloof advice you comedy the banjo or apprentice Spanish.
Yeah. You’re apparently talking about Masterclass, apprentice acting from so and so, apprentice dribbling from Stephen Curry.
Right. And afresh there’s YouTube. Which is aloof a big blend of videos on everything.
There’s a accomplished agglomeration of video on everything. But libraries accept had a ton of books for years and years and years.
That’s a acceptable way of putting it.
And you allegation it curated.
Yeah, no. They’re all on the floor. My kids use them, though, I accept to say, to apprentice how to comedy Fortnite or whatever.
Well, but interestingly, our kids, aforementioned age …
You don’t accept a bulk on Fortnite, don’t acquaint me that.
You don’t accept a bulk in Fortnite, do you?
We don’t accept a bulk in Fortnite. No.
Because my kid would be summa cum laude.
But don’t you anticipate that it’s aloof activity the added way appropriate now? Fortnite?
What do you mean? I don’t know. I’ve been through so abounding of these, I aloof don’t remember. There was vampires at one point.
In my life, my kids …
Angry Birds, addition moment.
Yeah. Fortnite has been big.
Plants and Vampires, bethink that one?
Plants and Zombies.
I like that one, personally.
I don’t care. I aloof abhorrence them all. They’re authoritative me buy addition PS-whatever this week.
I don’t know. I’m not accomplishing it. I’m declining. And aback you acquaint them, “Why don’t you appetite the old one?” Oh no. No.
Anyway, let’s get aback to … So there was all these altered kinds. But they’re not any one thing. What do you anticipate is emerging? The abstraction of a bulk system?
I durably accept that over the aing 20 years, this is the way you will get your degree. Alike in article like the MD. We durably accept that the bulk hypothesis is aloof bigger for the student.
Right. And explain why you anticipate that. You’re authoritative this adventurous anticipation that cipher will go to Harvard.
Well, if you can get aggregate that you would accept gotten in the campus program, including the amalgamation with the school, which is article I feel like gets larboard out a lot …
Sure, “I went to Georgetown.” “I went to …”
Well, added than that. I’m a Tarheel. I didn’t aloof go to the school. An archetype of article we do in these programs is we do these immersions, area acceptance go physically.
Which is a acceptable idea.
Well, we anticipation it was actually a bad abstraction in the beginning. And Chapel Hill was like, “Nope, we’re gonna do it.” And we were like, “You can’t do that, you’re demography abroad the one affair that we’re selling, which is that you don’t accept to go.”
We were actually wrong.
Just for a abbreviate time.
And they were so accustomed that they had to admission the cardinal that they would acquiesce acceptance to booty for credit.
Like for a weekend.
So you appearance up and there are 500 acceptance biconcave in their Carolina blue, activity to the Administrator Dome to accept that aggregate experience.
Or actuality on campus with the Old Well.
And afresh there was addition one, there was addition university in San Francisco, and I’m blanking because I’ve accounting about it before, area they’re a abate university. University’s created from nothing.
That’s addition acquaintance of mine, Ben Nelson, the entrepreneur.
Yeah. That’s a altered way. That’s activity there.
No. Well, allotment of it. It’s blended. And you can altercate aggregate I do is blended, because you’re putting somebody in to do their clinical.
But there’s a brace Minerva-like programs.
There are. There has not been — academy replacement, which is what you’re talking about now.
You can’t actually name one that’s actually worked.
Yes. Because it’s a bulk from Minerva, right?
It’s hard. It’s a connected putt. Now, to accord them credit, what I adulation about …
No, they’re absolute acceptable professors, it’s absolute interesting.
But what’s absorbing there is that they’re aggravating to go afterwards a big idea.
And I feel like ed tech’s been bedeviled by too abounding bodies accomplishing baby things.
You allegation some big, adventurous ideas.
All right. So the abstraction is that you get your degree. So what happens to colleges? Because one of the issues I apperceive with colleges, it’s added adamantine to get into colleges, and yet a lot … It’s alone a baby accumulation of them it’s added adamantine to get in. And afresh there’s a all-inclusive bulk of universities and colleges that accept a adamantine time alluring students.
Yeah. So I alone accept that those, the closing part, is over-reported, and if you attending at the top 500 schools, about speaking, bags of appeal for the apprentice level.
You and I are sitting actuality adage we couldn’t get into Georgetown or GW today. Schools that weren’t aspirational aback I was growing up are now actually aspirational. There’s so abundant common appeal for those schools.
Now, if you’re a small, unbranded clandestine avant-garde arts academy about in the country that no one’s anytime heard of, you can’t be charging the affectionate of prices you are and accept that be sustainable.
One of the things we feel like we’re bringing to the table is, sustainability as allotment of the ecosystem’s important. My company’s accomplishing well, the university’s accomplishing well. Why? Apprentice wins, university wins, I win. It’s appealing simple. So if the apprentice doesn’t win, cipher wins. But I additionally accept to achieve abiding that the university has a strong, acceptable operation going.
So from a bulk standpoint, we actually do anticipate that connected appellation we can accept a actually cogent appulse both on the all-embracing apprentice bulk and on the absolute bulk of tuition.
So why at all accept the acquisition places of universities? Do you feel like it’s gonna aloof not accept them? There’s gonna be a Harvard, right?
Yeah no, actually, I accept the campus programs will abide to abide for a actually connected time.
One of the things that’s catchy about it is, the apple can’t aces up their activity and go to Stanford. That’s not best people’s experience. Best people, best of apprentice to be clear, is not the actuality activity to Georgetown or the actuality activity to Stanford. So over time, how do we serve that population?
And serve them with article that’s …
But you alone do alum programs.
Yeah. We’ve got some cooking.
Although there is the acquaintance allotment of it that bodies want.
There is. But we do accept that there’s a way to achieve that in the aforementioned way that we’ve done some of the alum programs.
So accomplishing alum is alone because those are bodies in the alive … and they appetite to do, they would do say a Wharton controlling program, or things like that.
Yeah. The Wharton controlling affairs is one way to anticipate about it. Our Berkeley abstracts science affairs or our Harvard business analytics program, those are all actually good. But there’s additionally a huge curtailment of accent pathologists in the world. Aback my youngest …
So you could alpha targeting those.
We do today. So we do accent pathology, we do concrete therapy, we do anatomic therapy, we do amusing work. We do accessible health. Those are all actually attractive.
We’re gonna allocution about the tech about that, chief what jobs should be done. Because you could about go, “You don’t appetite to do that degree, you don’t appetite to go over here. Here’s area jobs are.”
We try to focus alone on those, as a aggregation we accept choices as to area we can put our capital. So we try to put our basic in places area …
The jobs. So you’ll accept acceptable outcomes.
Talk about the technology of area we’re activity with this. Appropriate now it’s on computers, right? Bodies attending at it on computers, or … ?
It’s about actually adaptable at this point.
Mobile. Oh, they aloof go on their phones?
Yeah. Well, their phones, their iPads.
So, mobile’s huge, because we accept a adaptable workforce, so …
Right. They’re sitting in the park, demography …
Now, we did a actually absorbing accord with — you ability accept apparent article about it — with WeWork area every apprentice in every 2U-backed affairs can go to any WeWork on the planet at no cost. Array of advance befalling …
It’s a abode to go and do their acquaint and actuality like that, and sitting there.
So the tech, you know, it is mostly adaptable at this point, now you of advance can do it on your laptop.
Is it added on iPads or phones?
Quite a bit of both. Phone’s accepting appealing big.
Yeah, I assumption you’re right. With this new behemothic iPhone advancing …
The alive classes aren’t as acceptable on the buzz — you know, those little tiny bodies — but on the iPad, it’s great.
iPad, it’s great. Or they can do it on a computer?
They can do it on computer.
Where is that going? Area are we with VR for you, for example?
It’s tough. The cardinal of VR startups in apprenticeship that are asleep now… Apprenticeship is not the abode area you can ability the accumulation customer that you allegation to popularize it.
It makes absolute sense, doesn’t it?
It makes adroitness for things like …
Well, our physician abettor program, which was the first-ever online physician abettor program, it was with Yale. So we congenital a body unit, so I could acquaint you all kinds of things about cadavers, we had to accord with cadavers.
My brother’s a doctor, he acclimated to accelerate me pictures of it. He shouldn’t accept done that, but he did.
Well, the body unit, you would wanna see.
No. I did, I saw too many.
But so the important affair is creating that unit. That’s article that over time we do accept new technology will achieve it bigger and bigger and better.
Right. That’s in adjustment to see it and feel like you’re there?
Yeah, but today, the absoluteness is, accepting abundant apprenticeship and accepting abundant faculty, and activity physically and accomplishing it is a big allotment of what we do. So we aloof anesthetized 43,000 analytic placements, aloof to accord you an abstraction of the scale.
Okay. This is anywhere? You could put them in any hospital a area they are.
We’ve done it in, now, 37,000 altered clinics. So actually everywhere.
Where they go to do their altered thing, whether a midwife or accent therapist?
Now you apperceive what’s air-conditioned about that?
What’s air-conditioned about that is, anticipate about the appulse on the bounded association aback they graduate.
Right, that they will accept a job. They’ve formed there and actuality like that.
That’s the key.
I appetite to get aback to VR and haptics and things like that. There’s acutely all that activity on. How far abroad is that?
I anticipate for education, today, it’s not a applicable use case. Now, a aggregation like 2U, as we get added successful, will be able to advance afore others will. But I would say, it’s not like VR today has been berserk acknowledged for anybody, and you’re not gonna see a badly acknowledged apprenticeship use case to alpha it.
That’s right, exactly, it’ll be porn. I aloof took a VR roller coaster ride. It was in a roller coaster and you wore VR, so you were physically benumbed a roller coaster.
Right, it was affective up and down.
That was cool.
That is cool.
I admired it.
Was that at Recode? I didn’t see that.
No, it was in Hong Kong, I was in Hong Kong with my son, and I was affected to go to a affair park. But it was interesting, it was interesting. I’m added absorbed in VR than added bodies are. I aloof played a game, those things that are in malls now. They’re actually fun.
Yep. You beggarly like you sit in the thing?
I’m the alone actuality who brand VR, really. And I acclimated to abhorrence it, now I adulation it.
Yeah. I anticipate it’s a appealing connected putt for apprenticeship appropriate now.
Another connected putt, all right, you’re authoritative golf references everywhere we go.
I’m not alike a golfer.
Don’t baboon at me. Okay, so what technologies, it’s aloof mobile, mobile, right?
Mobile, mobile, mobile. Live, and a distinct 2U advance has added video agreeable than a division of “Game of Thrones.” So, you’re talking about a lot of stuff.
But not as abounding dismemberments.
Not as abounding dismemberments. Although in the physician abettor program, there’s actually a few dismemberments.
I interviewed the little guy that wrote everything. J.J., whatever. The guy who wrote “Game of Thrones,” the absolute author. He has like 10 belletrist in his name, whatever, him.
I apprehend the aboriginal one, afresh I punted.
He was fascinating, he looks like aloof the nicest little man you’d anytime wanna meet. My aboriginal catechism was like, “What is activity on in your ailing arch that you achieve up all of this?”
That’s some crazy stuff. Oh, it’s crazy.
You apperceive what I mean? This guy looks like your grandfather, and aback …
It’s crazy, and we’ll eventually see the end of it in addition seven years.
Allegedly. So you don’t see any technologies actuality article that would alter …
No, definitively, over time, like VR, AR, you will accept an impact, decidedly in the concrete disciplines. But actually appropriate now, I’ll accord you an absorbing assignment from alike with our accustomed technology, there’s one accurate abettor in the Chapel Hill affairs that we actually kept aggravating to advance to do some of the newer things and he kept array of insisting on absent to do it the way that he’s comfortable. So we end up filming him and absolution him do his thing. Alike admitting it has beneath accretion and whistles, it’s the second-highest rated course. Why? Because he’s brilliant.
What did you try to achieve him do?
We do a lot of tech-enabled video. So you’re in avant-garde of a lightboard, so they’re cartoon on it and they’re illustrating a lot of things. That was an accounting course, in the accounting course, that’s air-conditioned useful, because you’re affective actuality amid T accounts. And he actually basic to do it array of …
The ancient way.
The affair about the ancient way, you’re still aperture the ancient way to a ton of bodies that could never acquaintance it. So that’s badly powerful. But you know, he’s aloof an absurd academician and it actually formed well, so it’s absolute highly-rated.
All right, aftermost brace of questions. Area are these acceptance from?
Mostly the U.S.?
Mostly the U.S. So the absorbing thing, aback I acquaint you why should you aces up your life, abdicate your job and move to arise … A assignment abstruse of 2U from our aboriginal days. We spent a lot of basic accomplishing all-embracing business for our schools. The bulk prop for an all-embracing apprentice is not actually as aligned. Why? Because you affectionate of appetite to arise here. If you can allow it, you can get in and you can allege abundant English, you about appetite to arise actuality for some time period.
Now, we bought a aggregation aftermost year in Cape Town, South Africa, so we now accept 500 advisers in Cape Town, South Africa, that offered article like 2U, but instead of for a degree, it’s for a abbreviate course. And at Code, Eric Rosenbach accomplished one of the courses at Harvard on cybersecurity. It fabricated me decidedly appreciative aback you got onstage and said, “That was one of the coolest presentations we’ve seen.”
It was, yeah.
So the abbreviate course, you’re talking about abilities accomplishment for actually a common audience. Array of angle out from the crowd, get a certificate.
Yeah, six to eight weeks, and an archetype of a advance would be the Harvard cybersecurity course, or Oxford blockchain or MIT Internet of Things. Like abilities accomplishment courses for the array of accumulated employee, or the connected learner. That is a accurate common audience.
I did one of those. I actually took a alternation up to Philadelphia, aback I formed at the Washington Post, an accounting course. It helped me t a lot of abhorrent internet companies.
Well, if you appetite to booty our blockchain course, I’ll get it for you.
Not today. But maybe. Not today. I don’t like school, I never did.
I affectionate of like it.
I got the heebie jeebies aback I was over at Georgetown, because I was aloof like, “Oh, God, here.”
I mean, I like it enough. If you anticipate about it, it’s affectionate of basics that I actually did the MBA, and I got a lot out of it, I’ll acquaint you. Alike admitting we were accessible through best of it.
I would booty a balladry course, that’s what I would take.
So we’ve talked a lot about artistic writing, and haven’t done it because we anguish that alike admitting there’s appeal for it, we’re afraid that somebody …
That it won’t place. Well, they won’t get a job anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
They won’t get a job accomplishing that. So we’re worried, alike admitting there’s a lot of bodies that actually appetite it.
So is it mostly actuality that aloof is job focused?
Yeah, added job focused than not.
What’s the best abnormal advance you have?
The physician abettor affairs is appealing groundbreaking. You wouldn’t anticipate of Accent Anatomy or the Doctorate of Concrete Therapy. That one’s appealing absorbing for an online program. Our Abstracts Science affairs at Berkeley was actually the aboriginal of its kind, no one had anytime done Abstracts Science. And that accurate dean, she’s incredible, she basically formed me to do it. We didn’t appetite to do it at first. This was way afore abstracts was hot. She insisted we do it and we eventually listened to her. Now, that’s air-conditioned accessible that that was a huge win.
So to accomplishment up, I appetite to allocution about the broader aspect, finishing up. Aback you anticipate about online education, what do you anticipate the appulse will have? Is it that added bodies are educated, or that bodies will go to colleges?
You may not accept apparent this, but article alluring aloof happened, area Purdue University acquired …
That’s in Ohio? This is in Ohio, right? Where’s Purdue?
Purdue acquired Kaplan University, the for-profit, and angry it into Purdue Global. It’s array of a notable moment, because you accept a above accompaniment flagship all-embracing what would accept been, and still is somewhat, controversial. Ten years ago, Kaplan was appealing controversial, but Kaplan is aggravating to brainwash a abundant broader …
It acclimated to be endemic by the Washington Post, Kaplan was.
They did mostly SAT, right?
Well Kaplan, way back, was analysis prep, and afresh over time got into acceptable a for-profit university. So what I anticipate is fascinating, accepting a accompaniment flagship acquirement a above for-profit and action that affectionate of programming added broadly, tells you area the apple is going.
And does that appulse your business? Eventually, you anticipate about a lot of internet things, afore it was done by a lot of bodies and anybody aloof had it in-house.
I would say, in general, we accept that that’s added acceptable for our business than bad. It puts a lot of wind at our aback as online ed gets added accepted. Already again, online education, bodies don’t anticipate is any good. Over time, as it becomes added accessible to people, it’ll achieve our job business for our university ally easier. There will be some competition, but the bazaar is so big. I feel like area 2U is appropriate now is area Amazon was in the date aback they were abacus the tabs.
Oh, by the way, Amazon’s accepting into this business. I’m kidding. No, they will, what are you talking about?
Amazon will get into every business. But from the standpoint of our all-embracing …
They would get into this business, wouldn’t they?
Sure, of course. Well, they already do centralized accumulated training. That’ll be area they start.
Right. Apple’s affectionate of in it, not really, it’s aloof university courses.
I anticipate bodies appetite to accept their acceptance and their bulk from Berkeley.
No, I get that, but you can see Apple, I mean, Apple’s had a history in this amplitude but haven’t angled bottomward on it. They had Apple University.
Right, they’d accept to bulk out how to accept all of the analytic accoutrement and all of the added components.
Do you see those big ones accepting in there, or affairs their way in?
We do anticipate it’s absorbing that tech is alive up to ed tech. No question. So the Lynda acquirement by LinkedIn, which acutely is now allotment of Microsoft, notable.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. All right, Chip, aftermost question. What’s the aing advance you’re taking? What are you accepting a bulk in? Nursing?
So I anticipate my aggregation and my wife and my ancestors would annihilate me if I took a doctorate, but that would acutely be the aing footfall for me.
Well, I did the MBA, so now I’ve got an avant-garde degree.
Okay. Do you allegation to be alleged Doctor, do I accept to alarm you Dr. Chip?
You can alarm me Dr. Chip.
That’s good. No, I will not.
I will not do it. I will not do it. Anyway, this was abundant talking to you. It’s a actually absorbing altercation on area it’s going, because you’re right, it has afflicted so substantively in agreement from the beginning.
But it’s actually important.
Yeah, bodies don’t do it and anticipate of it the way they should. I’m aloof cerebration of my kids activity to academy and I’m cerebration in a acceptable way. I’m cerebration my kid’s not activity to academy now, he’s aloof gonna do an online college.
They will, no, no, no, they will. But it’s interesting, as our aggregation becomes added notable, so Valerie Jarrett aing our board. Aback she did, she said, “You haven’t heard of this company, but you anon will.” I mean, we feel like we’re starting to resonate.
We’re starting to resonate, you know?
And I assumption I would altercate that it’s aboriginal days, but it’s a huge opportunity. Because we aloof allegation added admission to this affectionate of stuff, not less.
Great. Acknowledge you so much. It’s abundant talking to you.
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