01 Mar 2016
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Re: Tim Draper (MBA 1984); Glenn Noreen (MBA 1982); Barbara Thornton (MBA 1995); Jim Mills (MBA 1986); John Bonnett (MBA 1956); Roger Shamel (MBA 1974); Walt Minnick (MBA 1966); Bill Eacho (MBA 1979)

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December 2015

Deconstructing Draper

Re: Golden State of Mind

I admire Tim Draper (MBA 1984) for his sustained interest in rebooting public education in California. Too few HBS alums are engaged with public education, no doubt because of the complexity, bureaucracy, and slow pace of change that characterizes the sector. But the sad state of traditional public education negatively impacts all of us—even those who can afford private school for their children.

I’m puzzled, though, by his organization’s support of the proposal for “megacounties,” which would include just six mega school districts for the more than 6 million students in the entire state. Each school in California is already subject to four (overlapping and often inefficient) layers of supervision—at the district, county, state, and federal levels. Does Tim really think that making one of those layers humongously large will bring much-needed accountability into the system?
Jim Mills (MBA 1986)

Tim Draper’s investment in the school voucher campaign was not for naught. It caused the legislature to panic and pass a surprisingly progressive charter school law to undermine support for vouchers. As a result, California now has one of the most dynamic K–12 education sectors in the country. The Los Angeles Unified School District has more charter schools than any other chartering agency, and [according to a 2014 report by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes] “the typical student in a Los Angeles charter school gains more learning in a year than his or her district school peer, amounting to about 50 more days of learning in reading and an additional 79 days of learning in math.” Well done, Mr. Draper!
Glenn Noreen (MBA 1982)

Fluffy profile but [Tim Draper] apparently is also doing some significant organizational change initiatives with broad implications for state and local governments. But that information, despite being in the lead, doesn’t come up until the very end, and then is only briefly referenced as one might see if reading the [National] Enquirer. More meat, less fluff, please.
Barbara Thornton (MBA 1995)


Practicing PWYW

Re: The Price Is Right

As part of my financial services, I help retirees identify and implement their optimum Social Security claiming strategy. Pricing this service has been very difficult, generally ending up as a pro bono activity, hoping it will generate good feelings and some referrals.

For the next few cases, I’m definitely going to implement the [pay-what-you-want] pricing plan: “Because we’re going to be partners in this venture with Social Security, I want you to price my services based on how you feel about the outcome.”
John Bonnett (MBA 1956)


Constraining Carbon

Re: Walt Minnick (MBA 1966), and Bill Eacho (MBA 1979)

Great article! With the future of our kids and grandkids at stake, as Walt Minnick says (and I agree), it’s quite surprising that this issue isn’t getting much more attention. I continue to be amazed at how many HBS alumni are misinformed about the reality and seriousness of the problem.
Roger Shamel (MBA 1974)

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