New York Times has just published “New Cornell Technology School Will Foster Commerce Amid Education”. I am super excited about Cornell Tech, and not just because Ariel Kaminer chose to quote me on the modest Artsy partnership with the University :)
In 1994 I lived in Switzerland and was contemplating going to either the University of Geneva or the Polytechnic of Lausanne (EPFL). I was convinced by the former, which offered a much more theoretical education in mathematics with world-wide known professors, had strong ties to the CERN and frequent contacts with some of early Internet legends. I felt strongly about not wanting an education of an applied computer programmer, which I thought as inferior. I imagined UniGE producing scientists and the EPFL, the equivalent of car mechanics. So I spent three painful years sucking at math, finally finishing with a year of trivial computer-related courses, and generally coming out of the experience wanting to put it all behind me.
15 years ago your ability to memorize 4 whiteboards worth of proof for each of the 120 theorems of Algebra II was the ultimate benchmark for computer science students. Today’s measure is your Github public activity, your ability to translate theoretical knowledge into working systems, excellent social and networking skills, clear communication and mad skills of learning and adaptation. Any educational program that can produce well-rounded individuals that can enter the workforce without feeling like they have been hit but a bus is on the right track.
With people like Daniel Huttenlocher and Greg Pass New York’s Cornell Tech is going to succeed at this. I am excited because they are doing all the right things, including partnering with smaller startups and seeking out exciting projects for their students, integrating them with the industry early, right here in my favorite city in the world.