Why There’s Never Been a Better Time to Build an L&D Company

My Lightbulb Moment

In the winter of 2010, as a 23 year old relatively new grad working at YouTube, I was asked to compile a list of the most popular channels by category for a year-end wrap up. Scouring YouTube’s internal database, I discovered a channel I’d never heard of that was somehow millions of views ahead of educational powerhouses like Harvard, Stanford and Yale: KhanAcademy.

Surprised and curious, I emailed the account owner, and discovering they were based nearby in Mountain View, set up a visit. …


How technology will impact work, and how employers should respond

Executive Summary

  • The impact of AI is misunderstood — AI will primarily automate tasks, not eliminate entire jobs
  • Given this, there will be enormous corporate demand for upskilling, not reskilling
  • Employers are the new educators — they need to help people develop skills for the jobs of the future
  • Employers will struggle to do this with current options — universities are out-of-touch, learning libraries (Udemy, LinkedIn Learning) are not engaging, Learning & Development (L&D) departments are under resourced
  • Strive is building a platform for Upskilling-as-a-Service to help employers prepare employees…


After many years working on educational innovation at Google, YouTube and Minerva, last February I launched Strive Talent to help people from less privileged educational and socioeconomic backgrounds find family-supporting, middle-class careers based on their skills and potential rather than credentials and pedigree. Today I am excited to share that we raised $3.8MM from top investors to accelerate our ability to achieve this goal.

Millions of Great Jobs Go Unfilled

There’s an unfortunate paradox in our country’s labor market. While income inequality is historically high and economic mobility historically low, there are millions of open “middle skill” jobs that companies struggle to fill.

Why? This is…


When I was in high school in the early 2000s, Arianna Huffington spoke at an assembly at my small high school in Oakland. The political climate, like today, was deeply polarized and Democrats were on the march, protesting the war in Iraq in San Francisco and DC, New York and Boston.

Huffington forcefully argued that Democrats should let Republicans be the party of 9/11. Let them be the national security party, the forceful military party, the curtailing civil liberties party. Progressives should own September 12th. …


A syllabus for understanding the past, present and future of higher ed

Eighteen months ago I quit a dream job at Google to join Minerva, an ambitious organization rethinking higher education from scratch (learn more). Leaving a large technology company with education elements to join a small education company with technology elements I needed to deepen my understanding of trends in higher education to make up for any experience or formal education gaps.

Over the past year+, I’ve closely followed industry research and experts to both inspire new ideas and motivate me towards our vision. Two great people joined my team a couple months ago and they both asked which sources/articles were…


A guide to saving seconds and minutes that add up

This past year I’ve onboarded a dozen people to partnerships/ sales/ marketing teams, first at Google and now at Minerva. When the company 101, team vision/ strategy/ tactics, and role definition conversations are done, I crank the intensity and passion to 11 for the final session: productivity tools.

We spend so much time communicating, calendaring, and collaborating that efficient processes not only save time, but they create a culture of mastery and attention to detail. Here are the seven tips I share with every new hire to ensure they’re not wasting time (and $$) unnecessarily.

  1. Don’t waste time scheduling meetings


 The best books, blogs and more from four years studying marketing at Google

“I want you to run a direct marketing campaign reaching five million small businesses across emerging markets — you pick the countries. You’ll have a budget of $XM dollars and the campaign needs to have at least a 5x ROI. I’ve scheduled meetings for you tomorrow with creative, print and postal management, and data agencies.”

This was how my first meeting with my first boss on my first day at Google started four years ago. I was a recent college grad without a single marketing course under my belt and had (somehow) just joined Google as an Associate Product Marketing…

Will Houghteling

Bridging school and work @ Strive, x-Minerva, Google/YouTube, Harvard

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