Three College Grads Talking Trash About College

At something called the New American Foundation, three men questioned the value of a college education, including Dr. Eric Schmidt, Jon Steinberg, and Peter Thiel. Besides attending this conference, and getting themselves quoted a lot, this trio also possess a complete and utter lack of the product that universities produce along with a complete lack of perspective. Universities produce, and store knowledge. Like any activity associated with creating, maintaining, and expanding a resource, information costs money. Yet, these three argue for free resource. Indeed, if Schmidt is such a believer of universities of giving away their product, then when will Google release its core product - the page ranking algorithm - to the general public?

Universities compete on knowledge because it allows them to produce a market offering that meets the demand of a market segment. By combining knowledge with other resources, universities can improve or maintain its positional advantage, and, ultimately, achieve superior financial performance. No reason exists for an organization including universities and Google to give away its source of a competitive advantage.

Finally, this argument seems easier to make if the person graduated from an elite institution such as:

  • Eric Schmidt - Princeton University (BS), and the University of California, Berkley (MS, Ph.D.)
  • Jon Steinberg - Princeton University (BS), and Columbia University (MBA)
  • Peter Thiel - Standford University (BA, JD)

If someone who graduated from a low or a middle tier public university would argue that colleges should provide a free education, or question the value of a college education, then perhaps the argument would resonate more.

Instead, this trio sounds like men who got theirs but do not want others to enjoy similar opportunities.