20-Year-Old Expert

Today I listed in on a conversation between two guys named Chris and Tom about a topic I’m interested in. The more I heard, the more amazed I was at how deep Chris’s knowledge is. Toward the end of the chat, I learned that Chris is a 20-year-old recent college dropout. He wasn’t satisfied with what he was learning in school. He felt his professors weren’t up-to-date on the latest trends and thinking. His education wasn’t equipping him to navigate what he was seeing in the real world every day. So, he dropped out and started educating himself by reading books and consuming online content from thought leaders. And he used his newly acquired knowledge to get a job in the field he wants to be in. Most likely he’s on his way to a lucrative career.

That may sound extreme, but stories like Chris’s will quickly become commonplace. More students will choose to bypass a traditional four-year education for a more customized path. They will go deeper into the topics that interest them much faster and begin to apply their new skills in the real world much faster than previous generations.

I suspect this dynamic will have a big impact on the workforce, as well as other parts of life. I’m not exactly sure how yet, but I’m curious to watch this play out.