My guest this week was Nat Eliason. Nat is a writer, founder of Growth Machine, and all-around internet thinkboi as he would describe himself. He’s also a massive proponent of self-directed, or non-traditional learning.
His career, while starting from a traditional perspective, took a non-traditional and self-directed turn. We dive into what that looked like for him and tease out some of the key components of that journey like the far transfer of skills, constructing your own curriculum, learning out loud, and proof of work.
What was really interesting for me about this chat was that a lot of people who know Nat and his work typically talk about writing, running an online business, growing his SEO agency Growth Machine, but not many people have been able to pick his brain and get his thinking, which is very extensive, on the topic of education. We got to do that in this conversation, in-depth, and unfiltered.
Starting with Nat’s journey, we zoomed out and looked at education in general. We started to explore some of the changes we would make to education and looked at some of the companies that could be at the forefront of this. If you have any interest in education, you’re going to absolutely love this conversation.
- What did Nat takeaway from his experiences that informed his non-traditional approach to education now? (02:50-06:09)
- Nat talks about his interest in video games and the strategy he used in learning those games. (06:10-08:14)
- What are some of the lessons he drew from gaming that he still applies today? (08:50-12:56)
- Nat talks about the idea of far transfer of skills. (14:23-18:30)
- How did Nat build his semantic tree of knowledge? (19:06-22:44)
- Nat talks about his Roam Course and what he did that people can replicate. (24:40-26:55)
- Does he share all his best ideas with his audience? (26:55-29:42)
- Nat talks more about his Roam Course process and what people can learn from his strategy. (29:43-34:10)
- Why does he think it’s interesting to others watching from the outside about someone building in public? (34:18-36:40)
- His idea on how to connect what people want with what he believes they need. (37:53-41:53)
- His thoughts on the idea that current traditional education is good for training for excellence but not training for genius and how he would design a curriculum for that. (44:37-50:13)
- Nat and Andrew talk about the push and pull elements of training for genius. (50:14-53:55)
- What does he think about hiring people for their proof of work rather than their degree or certifications? (55:40-59:40)
- What are the kind of skills he would look for when hiring someone? (01:00:19-01:03:24)
- How does he codify the type of skills and behavior from people? (01:03:24-01:07:49)
- His take on the privilege gap in obtaining an education. (01:10:49-1:14:56)
- Nat talks about how to help everyone move in a reasonable upper bound based on their starting point. (01:14:56-01:16:37)
- Andrew and Nat on how to help more people get access to education. (01:20:30-01:24:13)
- Nat and Andrew on kids being the driver for a future of digital education. (01:14:17-01:24:54)
Selected Links from the Episode
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