Learn with Lighthouse!

This month, we launched Learn with Lighthouse, an online course with a moderated, private community. 

Over the past eight years, I have helped technology startups, small businesses and large companies build teams that thrive in the innovation economy, and this course was written to include the critical lessons that will have an impact on your career and your business. 

The content in this course relies in part on our own experience helping entrepreneurs, inventors, and creative professionals succeed, and in part on the programs offered by MIT’s Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship and Sloan School of Management, as well as Harvard’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment

Since the Summer of 2017, we have been observing entrepreneurship programs at Harvard and MIT and have collaborated with faculty and alumni to better understand how they help new businesses get started. These universities are great for high-growth, VC-funded entrepreneurship, and they also engage with communities around the world to produce a more vibrant and fair economy. Trish Cotter, the Executive Director of MIT’s Trust Center, says that entrepreneurship is not just about cool tech, but about improving lives

MIT and Harvard are in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which was one of the original 13 colonies in the New World, and where the American Revolution started. Today, Massachusetts keeps its revolutionary spirit alive, and it trades places with California for the most innovative state in the United States, depending on who’s counting. This year Bloomberg ranked California as #1 and Mass. as #2 and WalletHub’s research concluded that Massachusetts was #1. Roughly speaking, in rankings that emphasize the total amount of funding and number of new businesses, California always wins. In rankings that focus more on innovation infrastructure and human capital, Massachusetts is the best state. 

Massachusetts also takes its “Commonwealth” moniker seriously. It is the most educated state, provides universal healthcare to its residents (unlike most of the US, Massachusetts has 98% residents with health insurance, and has a lower income inequality than California.

Putting it all together, this means that Massachusetts is the place where innovation happens, and where the innovation economy is accessible to a larger part of the general population.

We want to bring that to you, anywhere in the world.

Our mission is to help you get on board the innovation economy, so we are designing our course and private community to be affordable and accessible.

At first, “private” and “accessible” might seem like opposites, and that is a difficult balance to manage. We want to make sure that it is easy to gain access, so there is no lengthy application or admissions process to enter. We will not screen the community for the “quality” of a startup idea, for buzzwords that are currently in fashion, or for your personal background and history. Anybody and everybody deserves a chance. 

On the other hand, we do have to moderate the community to make sure that the discussion is productive and that members’ ideas are properly respected. So we have set up three simple rules: 

  1. We are here to help you, and we don’t take any equity. You will never be pressured to give up part of your company. If there is ever a request that you make for which us or another community member would require additional costs, you can expect to be told ahead of time, and the pricing will be published transparently.

  2. You are here to help each other, and are responsible for your own intellectual property. In this community, you can post content or ideas to get feedback from our experts and from other learners. As the community gives you feedback on your work, some people may also use your work as an example to get their own business up and running. If there is anything you would consider a trade secret or that you would wish to protect with a patent, then don’t post it. At the same time, being influenced is fine, but plagiarism isn’t. We will actively remove people who try to take others’ ideas as their own without common courtesy or attribution.

  3. No hazing and no harassment. We are here to talk about work, careers, and business models. We do not discriminate on gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or age, and we expect community members to be respectful on the community forum and in private messages.

Believe it or not, it takes much more effort to moderate the community so that we can all be productive than it does to create the content and videos for the course. And having these basic rules in place allows learners to do their best, share their best, and grow together.

Yet that’s not enough. We take things further to help you move out from our private community and into the larger world. We are partnering with some of the top accelerators and conferences in Seoul and Boston so that you can share the skills you learned and the content you create. With us, you can attend some of the top networking events where investors, universities, government officials, and other entrepreneurs get together to plan for the future. Every step of the way, we will be there to support you in achieving your goals, whether you are looking for a job, looking to start a team, or already have a startup and need help in accessing resources.  

The community is already up and running, and we will be publishing a full lesson with exercises every week. We also have a live stream on Youtube every Wednesday, so be sure to tune in. Also, sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date on the latest news.

Mario Garcia