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Reaching “peak bullshit”

You might have a boss that makes you want to ignore your alarm clock and stay at home all day long. You might have a great boss and amazing colleagues but feel completely unmotivated by the tasks you perform each day. I speak to a lot of members who describe what they’re feeling as a numbness – a feeling that they’re lying to themselves – yet they have no idea of how to make things right, in a financially viable manner.

“It’s just bullshit,” I often hear members say, when they describe the way that they’re feeling about their jobs. And these members aren’t alone. I think the desire for authentically fulfilling careers is part of a broader cultural trend, as writer Jon Lovett describes:

“I believe we may have reached “peak bullshit.” And that increasingly, those who push back against the noise and nonsense; those who refuse to accept the untruths of politics and commerce and entertainment and government will be rewarded. That we are at the beginning of something important.

We see it across our culture, with not only popularity but hunger for the intellectual honesty of Jon Stewart or the raw sincerity of performers like Louis CK and Lena Dunham. You can even add the rise of dark, brooding, “authentic” super heroes in our blockbuster movies. We see it in locally-sourced, organic food on campuses like this, at places like the Shakedown, a rejection of the processed as inauthentic. We see it in politics.

I believe Barack Obama represents this movement, that the rise of his candidacy was in part a consequence of the desire for greater authenticity in our public life. But you don’t have to be a Democrat to believe me. You see it across the political spectrum, from Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts to Chris Christie in New Jersey to Rand Paul in Kentucky.”

What he expresses explains why we belong to Escape the City. To me, Esc stands for a refusal to buy into bullshit and instead encourages smart, driven people to forge their own meaningful path. Again, in his words:

“All you have to do is avoid BSing yourself — in whatever you choose to do. To avoid the path of the sad gay judge filled with regret. To go forward with confidence and an eagerness to learn. And to be honest with yourselves, and others — to reject a culture of insincerity by virtue of the example you set in your own lives. And I say this only as someone hoping to do the same, along with you for the ride.”

It was with this viewpoint that we designed the Startup MBA. The course is not just about how to build an effective startup. It’s about learning to take control of your own financial future and to push back on the bullshit surrounding you.

Interested in learning more? Check out the Startup MBA here. 

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Then again, it’s not about what I have to say about the course, as I’m obviously biased. I asked some of our past students for opinions to share, and wanted to directly copy and paste Tim’s (pictured above) take on the Startup MBA below, along with my commentary in italics. (Tim also speaks in our Startup MBA video.)

“I’ll admit I was sceptical when I first signed up to do the SMBA. My concerns were that it seemed very broad and unfocussed, was I better doing a programming course, a bookkeeping course or even a sales course. I explored these types of courses but found just reading the course content sent me to sleep!

(Yes – you can read the learning outcomes of the course on the information page. And it is very much designed not to put you to sleep…)

“I made the right decision as what I learnt wasn’t necessarily how to run a business but how to think when developing a new product / offering and testing it before it goes to market to avoid making irreversible costly errors. And most of all I met other like minded individuals with loads of great advice, ideas, stories and support. I’m still in touch with a lot of my fellow course mates and often tapping them up for advice and a sounding board for ideas.”

(WHY are they all still in touch? Because SMBA students tend to be down-to-earth, friendly, awesome people.)

“Since having completed the course I have begun applying what I learnt in my own start up and also in my families small northern manufacturing business. So far the results have been positive and there are plenty of plans for the future.”

(You can connect with Tim directly if you’d like to learn more about what he’s gained from the course.)

“The teaching style of the course was informal and participation at all times is actively encouraged, I didn’t switch off once. I would recommend this course for anybody looking for inspiration, feeling lost, wanting to learn new ways of getting tasks done and generally wanting to learn how effective start ups work in the modern world.”

(And yes, I agree with what Tim said…)

Interested in learning more? Check out the Startup MBA here. 

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