Development of Core Enterprise Module

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Marcin Continuation - Week of 5/9/22

Key points:

  • The act of saving the world must simultaneously provide financial opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise exist, or you’ll end up like Al Gore’s attempts at solving the climate crisis. Very few people disagree that the problem is real, but even fewer are willing to sacrifice to do something about it.
  • Notion of 'passive R&D' - just operating the business or Scanlon Plans or other innovations that happen with everyone. Then the key is: how do we incentivize innovation, if the disciplined 'sit on ass design' is not for everyone.
  • Can't select for lifelong learning? See Growth Mindset - can't we select somewhat in recruiting phase?

Further Design Points:

  • Tuition reflects costs + value gained.
  • Proficiency test of 6 months - clear threshold of performance criteria must be defined. This sounds like: build something to a given proficiency criterion.
  • Different tracks - 1. you are hired at Median + 25% (75% top bracket). 2. You are hired at median ($25)
  • Carpenter is $26 [1] with 75% level at $33. Indeed says top company is $33 [].Electrician average is $26 [2] but top is $55. Plumber same [3] but top is $90. HVAC is $23, top is $60 [4]
  • This one is interesting - union carpenter distribution with $100k at top. [5]

Scanlon Plan:

  • If you don't graduate - you can still work at median salary ($26)- but still have to pass a 'Lesser Graduation Requirement.' Goal here: rise to 'graduate level competency' by continuing. Or you switch to 'design track', which is different. Need clarity on giving everyone a chance. How to think about it.
  • 1000 hours - $35/hr nominal starting at 75%. Must meet minimum performance criteria of team build efficiency - ie, usually 10 different tasks. Need to get specific based on team workflow.
    • How do we incentivize for team? We observe $35 base - based on specific proven ergonomics, coming out of overall time budget. Anyone who does more (foreman counts tasks - and who completes them). Perhaps a scanner of name tag + scan of part (each part has a QR Code label). Every person wears a tag on their hard hat (enforces hard hat rules).
  • 'Enterprise Track' at $50 start with continuing study. Enterprise Track means that in addition to Build, person studies workflow, to be a crew lead. That means you are moving up to crew lead (of 6 crews). Start is $50 leading crews, goes up to $75 upon inventory control, and $100 upon purchasing control. Then the person leads 24 crews.
  • If you get better than this - you win

Steve's Response from Weed of 5/2/22

My answers and thoughts to your specific points below:


  1. 6 months until apprentice gets trained. Program cost - $16k. This is on the ‘low’ side of what I believe you should be charging, but I need to understand what is included in this before being too sure. For example, are you providing lodging, any food, supplies, tech…?
  2. Then they start getting paid, earning $50/hr for 20 hours per week average, the rest is continuing studies. I still think this should be one of the options available to them. I believe that anyone who completes the ‘apprenticeship’ should believe they are capable of taking their newly earned talent/skills home and leverage them to improve their lives, start a new career, start a new business, get a better job. Another option should be employment/continuing education with OSE, however, this should be ‘if they pass a proficiency test’ at the end of the apprenticeship. You don’t want to be obligated to hire people just because they paid you $16k and stuck around for 6 months. Also, have you considered what the continuing education will entail and what the ‘promised’ benefit will be to the student once they’ve completed it?
  3. But what you said yesterday - the profile of the 'tech school person' was 'I need to get paid', not an 'engineer/designer/idealist/generalist' like a person who would go to 'college' or engineering school. Correct, I believe the easiest market for your message and opportunity to resonate with will be individuals looking to acquire a skill set that they can leverage financially. That’s the mindset of people considering trade schools ($55 billion in tuition spent annually on trade school education). They want to learn a skill or trade that will afford them the likelihood to make money and build a career. Their primary motivation is financial. Invest in themselves so they can earn more money and have a better life from that investment. The more you position your experience like a traditional four-year degree program from a university, the less you’ll appeal to the trade school market crowd. I believe it will be a heavy lift to persuade enough people who are applying to traditional universities to reconsider and commit to pursuing a ‘degree’ from OSE. There are so many social and lifestyle considerations that play into this that will be difficult for you to compete with.
  4. Thus, how is the same profile of the 'tech school person' going to fit in the R&D role? Purposefully. Just because someone’s primary motivation is financial, doesn’t mean they aren’t curious or capable of innovation once exposed to something that sparks their curiosity and passion. Providing that spark is your job over the 6-month internship. I was a licensed carpenter before I graduated from UCSD. Two of the senior leaders at this agency never went to, much less graduated, from college. One was a nurse practitioner (trade school grad) and the other was an electrician (trade school grad) before we hired them here. Both are very entrepreneurial and creative and our agency is better with them than we would be without them.
  5. Note the R&D role is the 'efficient integrated design' according to '<a data-saferedirecturl=";!!IHJ3XrWN4X8!PY0-9HKPagsTgV3eL45fLhqr3CYyuZiZOPgUTwPebcUiKfJp4jm_RSyfYsTHsmrJ7GznGwM9FXnNy7jSRl3sAEF4c9ea$&source=gmail&ust=1652046152768000&usg=AOvVaw1QQx9iJr--TmiWVX5foU44" href=";!!IHJ3XrWN4X8!PY0-9HKPagsTgV3eL45fLhqr3CYyuZiZOPgUTwPebcUiKfJp4jm_RSyfYsTHsmrJ7GznGwM9FXnNy7jSRl3sAEF4c9ea$" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);" target="_blank">OSE Specifications</a>' - a list of about 70 design principles (you learn about 7 of these in 'college') - which degenerate to the type of design that we do. Ie, take the Seed Eco-Home, it will follow all these principles - and explains why I can't get anyone to design it because maybe 1% of the design crowd would understand 14 of these, and we're lucky if one in a million followed all 70. I understand. Teaching them what to do, then teaching them why, while creating a comfortable forum for them to question and challenge is the environment where you’ll be able to identify and develop the future 1%ers.
  6. This 'one in a million dilemma' is what I think we are trying to solve for. Agree (meaning that I believe you, not that I’ve experienced this).
  7. I don't think we are really asking 'how do we solve housing' at this time. Correct, we’re trying to prove that we can develop a product, process, and economic model that CAN solve for housing. More specifically, I think we are really asking 'how do we train the people who solve housing' - by providing the extreme skill set necessary to solve any problem including housing. That’s correct, but building on this, we’re also training people to think about problems differently and teaching them processes and approaches to solve those problems (beyond just housing).
  8. This role of R&D is what really matters - and results in transformative enterprise, such as 'solving housing', 'solving energy', 'solving poverty', solving governance, solving corruption, etc. Great! Just don’t forget to include the ‘what’s in it for me’ aspect though. Their needs to be a tangible benefit to motivate people to engage meaningfully here or too few will.
    • R&D gets us the technical knowhow and product ecosystem integration that allows us to solve any issue. From multiple angle: products proper (technologies), related enterprise models, related institutions, etc.
  9. So I'm stuck with how the House Building Redneck will fill this role - you appear to be convinced that this is not the same person as the 'engineer/designer/idealist/generalist' who is interested in the larger 'world saving project' I decided to distill my own bourbon during the COVID lockdown as a fun, silly project with my son, Luke. It was massively more challenging than I expected it to be. Our first batch took forever and was a failure. The second batch took even longer but was a success. Uneducated rednecks in the middle of nowhere with less access to the right equipment and ingredients than Luke and I have access to have been making, evolving, and selling quality bootleg bourbon for over 100 years. This is entrepreneurial, technical, and has an art element. I encourage you to focus on how to tap into this potential in the House Building Redneck’s that opt into your apprenticeship. The act of saving the world must simultaneously provide financial opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise exist, or you’ll end up like Al Gore’s attempts at solving the climate crisis. Very few people disagree that the problem is real, but even fewer are willing to sacrifice to do something about it.
  10. If a program for the 'engineer/designer/idealist/generalist' is a program that we do after the first year, etc - then what is the first cohort of 24 doing after they are trained in 6 months? Putting  what you taught them into practice, either with you through continuing education/employment or back home as an employee or new business owner.
  11. I could see one solution: they build houses full time (and make more money) - but where is the R&D function coming from? Finding ways to do so faster, cheaper, or better. Evolving the homes to meet market demand or to better compete in the market. Not saying I know how to develop the ecosystem to support this (I don’t) just saying this is a design and value problem not a people/student problem.
  12. Possible solution to the R&D function: we simply use the $1-2M net revenue to hire the designers. As long as they are also capable of teaching/mentoring, sure! This should be to get the program going not the way you always do it. In success, I still believe these people can be developed from your apprenticeship cohort.
  13. However, the last point is incongruent with point 6 - we can't hire anyone who is qualified. You don’t need 100 people, you only need to find a couple to get this going.
  14. If we do hire, we have to re-educate the person from the bullshit education they already received. They know too much and are not open to new ideas. Okay, possibly, what about pulling them from graduate schools before they’re ‘corrupted’ by knowing too much.
  15. Thus we choose the 'create your own talent' inherent to the overall concept - so that people can follow OSE Spec and be mission-aligned (actually Mission Command from the military is quite close to how we operate) – Okay, makes sense if considered with my comments above
  16. So to address point 13 - if we can't hire - we can hire only in a limited way (such as highly qualified subject matter expert (SME) curriculum developers) I think we need a lot more info and experience making before making a blanket ‘we can’t hire’ assumption though.
  17. So who does the long and gory due diligence of R&D? For the Seed Eco Home? Combination of your apprentices, continuing education cohort, and any one-off challenges you run for specific needs. For broader OSE-centric solutions to other world problems? That’s TBD for me.
  18. One solution is _some_ of our apprentices do choose the 'continuing education' route and continue to learn the deeper design skills - and how to think and how to be enterprising. YES! As long as the continuing path decision is married to a selfish/financial benefit, this will work.
  19. So - we build an army of builders, and from the resulting cash flow - we build more of a  'engineer/designer/idealist/generalist' University curriculum at later phases, not expecting most of the initial cohort to be on a 'continuing education' track? Again, I don’t believe these folks are as mutual exclusive as this question implies. I believe you can inspire, empower, and activate some of the ‘army’ to lean into the ‘engineer/designer/idealist/generalist’ opportunity. Also, “YES” that the university curriculum phase would be after successfully establishing the apprenticeship module.
  20. That could work, but it doesn't prevent the generic case of resentment and fascism that starts to build up when people stop learning. Agreed. This needs to be thought through.
  21. So I think we should consider the fascist tendencies resulting from stopping one's learning. The intent of our program was to keep people learning - on all fronts - a direct antidote to fascism, bluntly speaking. Yes, but it must be their choice and desire to do so. You can’t screen for those who want to be lifelong learners, nor can you dictate that.
  22. I just want to be careful about 'structural creation of autocratic thinking' that can result from jobs which are less than fully empowering to people. If your training/education activates and empowers entrepreneurial thinking and confidence, then won’t that address this concern? Isn’t that the ultimate in empowerment?
  23. For this reason - I thought we could 'enforce continuing learning' by the structure of our program. Of course we would have to make our program completely inspiring - it would not be a pain. We would subvert peoples' resistance to learning by making sure that the art of possibility always inspires Worth discussing but ‘enforce continuing learning’ makes me recoil unless there’s absolute purpose resulting in a tangible benefit to the student in doing so. However, if that all does exist, then why would you have to enforce it at all? Wouldn’t they opt in if that purposefulness is present and obvious?
    • To sum up - I would like to gain clarity on how we can assure continuous learning due to its implications on liberty and prosperity.