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tv   Washington Ideas Forum Day 1 Afternoon Session  CSPAN  January 1, 2015 10:46am-11:05am EST

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>> it makes a very delicate crumb, like cake flour. duckett but i think it adds there's -- >> it dries it out. really, it is all about vegetable fat. you have to look at what kind of fat you're using in a cake -- >> i thought you were a huge defender of butter. >> i am all for it, and i still am. but we use a blend of different fats rather than going with one solitary shortening agent. >> is that a change? >> it is. i used to do butter, eggs sugar, flour. now we do butter, palm oil which is a natural fat. blending that in plus a little bit of canola oil, plus a little
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bit of extra egg yolks for the fat there -- taking the blend -- >> and what about flavors? we are all interested in flavors. tell us about these jars and what we will find when we open them? which i cannot because there is nice sanitary plastic wrap. >> what happened with the feedback session with customers they said we want cream cheese icing. that is what we want the most especially of what you make. the cupcakes are great but they are hard to handle, difficult to carry. if i take one bite, i feel invested. i do not want to eat the whole thing in one shot. i want a little bit of sweet here and there. people wanted portability, something neither than a cupcake. -- something neater than a cupcake. it took a good eight months before we got down to a jar of
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this size, an individual portion of the cake snack. it is working really well. i am engaged i am energized, and i can see a different business model. i like the idea of relaunching the business in a different business model because it has got a lot more details i can sink my teeth into. >> isn't it the idea that if you have something that is the small, you really have not had any calories, right go there is nothing that you can possibly worry about after you have had it? the other thing is that you can go back to it. >> my wife takes one baby spoon full every once in a while every night. >> keep it going. and for you, mass production. you were going from wholesale to a retail model.
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>> to me it was going into the whole thing of using machines, a different approach, and it serves what my interests are a little bit better, and it serves the customers' interests better. no one was saying i want cake in a jar, but based on all the different feedback, this is based on the element that solves problems. >> and you patented cake in a jar? so you will all be able to have -- the good news, we could not have talked about this without providing you the chance to pretend you have no calories. you will go out and learn something about cupcake cleanliness which i really like. entries in cupcakes from a very entrepreneurial warren brown.
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>> thank you for coming. thank you both. >> now, a discussion with the ceo of the online educational company edex. he discusses technology jobs with jim mckelvey. this is almost 20 minutes. [applause] >> i feel like i won the moderators lottery by getting to interview these two gentleman who by themselves are phenomenal and together on this superpower team. i told them washington is big on, once you get past the egos we all want to make our country better and these two gentlemen are doing it. tell us about the st. louis experience. >> i am from st. louis missouri. we do not have enough programmers. a year ago i was invited to a group who wanted to teach a
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programming class. i said if you teach it, it will not work because the students who graduate cannot get hired because employers have these huge biases. they will not take you unless you have a certain pedigree from certain institutions. i said we should do an experiment and try to change the employment landscape. i personally called all the ceo's of 100 companies in town and got them agreed to ash got them to agree there -- and got them to agree to change their hiring practices. i said you will pay this qualified person 15 bucks an hour, pare the next to an existing programmer, and then it is up to you, hire them, fire them, whatever. no guarantee of a job. today 90% of those people have gotten so far full-time jobs out of this program. these are people who are over 40. they are minorities. they are women. they are people, 82% of our
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people do not have technical degrees, and half of them did not go to college. we are placing people into programming jobs -- real jobs, not charity jobs -- solving a need for the companies, getting real jobs for people. when we started this, we were taking people who would come to the door, but we quickly realized there was an education problem, so we looked for a resource where we could point people, that was not going to basically raped them like some of the for-profit educational providers have, and even some of the nonprofits. my wife had been taking cs 50 as a harvard student, and she said, my god, this class has been amazing. she introduced me to an operation, and this was fantastic. we now refer people and it is a great operation. >> so we enter edex. you said education should be like care -- everybody should
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have access to it. to me as a mom of three with young kids, i would have to win the lottery to send my young children to my alma mater. you are taking those elite institutions and saying we will give it away for free. have you had any pushback? >> by and large we are all generally nonprofit. the was not anybody saying we should not be giving away a good thing. something that is a basic human right. no professor would say let's not give our education away to the world. 3 million learners from every country in the world, we have 350 courses from some of the best universities in the world -- georgetown, berkeley, ut austin, china. these are great courses in every field conceivable. everybody believes -- everybody wants to have students take
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these courses. so there has been no pushback. but the real challenge is been execution. how on earth do we keep doing this good thing? so we are a nonprofit. many universities are nonprofit. nobody is looking to make money for an investor, but the key is supporting courses in building up classroom and supporting a team. so there are challenges. how do you build a sustainable model? when you are giving away something for free, how do you give some subsidence -- some substance? philanthropy is helping a lot. universities, harvard has given $60 million for the effort. at the same time, we are working on sustaining the revenue audience. in three to five years, it will be self-sustaining. >> that's amazing. let's go into the st. louis
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experiment. i know you guys have plans to replicate this. i have seen baltimore, denver. could washington be on your next experiment list? >> washington right now is severely resource constrained. me and four people. it was five and one got deported. [laughter] no, this is not funny. good people cannot stay in the u.s. my staff is all under 25 and they are all dedicated to this. but we have no resources to expand. >> washington has a lot of smart people, so we're hearing job opportunities, resource opportunities here on the stage. so we hope washington answers the call. >> so the city has offered us a million dollars to open up an operation down there. we have a million bucks, go down
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to miami, we need the employers to have these people. so we're using the model nationwide and saying any city that can come up with the funds, we will open up a branch there and put people to work in real numbers, put people to work. >> someone of the things, is there anything washington's system -- you mentioned immigration and deportations -- is there anything that policymakers can do to help you guys? >> you know, let us keep some smart people in the u.s. that is our main focus right now. i do not know much about policy, so i don't not know what can be -- i do not know what can be done from a government level. if we could keep some smart people here, that would be a huge help. >> the one most important way the government can help is to keep out of the way. >> keep what?
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>> keep out of the way. we are doing good. we are a nonprofit, educating people around the world. we have three courses from some of the top universities in the world. we have a close -- we have a course on globalization in georgetown. a lot of the laws and rules and policies were made in an age where you read things on a piece of paper, you had to walk to get an education. you could not get free resources. the internet did not exist there it so we have a problem with a lot of major policies and so on, and things are coming at us from different directions and we are learning all kinds of things with departmental agencies in the u.s. we said we did not know that existed. we are doing good giving away things for free. but the challenge is, oftentimes you are doing good. we need to find ways to get past
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a lot of these things. i think leadership from the u.s. government has helped. the state department leaders are helpful to us. the department of education has been helpful to us. the people in the white house have been helpful to us. certain departments of the government have been helping us with the other agencies that do not understand why this is a good thing. so hopefully, they will continue helping us with those that may put impediments in our way. >> speaking of impediments, one of the things about both of your biographies, are you overcoming them? jim, you have a great story that i would love you to share with the audience about being a little smart-ass about your textbook freshman year. >> i started as an undergraduate in st. louis, took a computer science class, which was terrible, and i was spouting off
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about how bad it was and said i could write a better book than this. i remain said, why don't you? so i basically rewrote the textbook for my computer science class when i was a freshman. it was published the next year. by the time i was a sophomore, i got two textbooks published. that led me to a second degree which was an engineering degree. so i got roped into technology because i was a writer. >> one of my favorite things about you is that you actually fail the physics exam, and then 25 years later you were teaching at m.i.t. >> i have the opposite problem again. so you all have heard about the readiness gap. in high school and college, you have the college readiness gap. between college and jobs you have a skills gap. i was at the college readiness gap.
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i had not learned calculus. so professors assume that you know calculus. 300 students in my entering class, two students failed and i was one of them. one of my favorite things in life to look at is technology. it is making something move so fast and other things not move. like the price of education has not gone down, it has just gone up. when is the tipping point going to happen? >> it's really funny that you have a system where professors i go to a university would not be able to send their children to the same university for education if the professor had to pay the tuition. hunting is completely broken about the education system, particularly or something like education. it should be available to everybody, as you said. like the air we breathe.
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one of the things we can do is bring technology to education. i am convinced we can do better in quality. either online or in blended models, we see results that show you can do much better pass rates on campus or online. second is that for the same outcome, i believe we can reduce costs. it is hard to do both in large measure but you can either reduce the cost for the same outcome, or for the same cost improve the outcomes. if you look at the ratio of outcome to cost, efficiency of the system. i really believe technology can be used to improve the efficiency of education. >> anant had a great analogy. we have instant replay in sports. why can't we have that in education? some of my professors, i would love to play that again. >> i'm not sure i can say it
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here but two weeks ago i was at a pats game in massachusetts. we were in the nosebleed region weird i could not see anything. i was not sure why i was there. if you look at your living room, you have instant replay. imagine watching football without instant replay. sports would not be sports. instant replay has changed sports completely, so why can't we have that in education? i go to class and around the fifth minute i lose the professor him and then i do not follow anything he says. imagine if you could give students a rewind button. with online education, we can give them rewind, pause, and even a mute the professor button. [laughter] >> i was picturing a room of 19-year-olds. it is not just people at that age group that we are seeing
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people that need retraining in their 20's and 30's. we just placed a guy that was 58, got him a computer programming job. what you are doing at edx is profound not just because of what it does at the college campuses, but it makes the learning available lifelong. what we're seeing in the trenches with job placement is people need to rescale. especially with programming which changes every year, if you don't have access to good education or good reeducation then you will never keep up. >> one of the things that is interesting about your successes you do not stop with education and you used data and your brilliant mind to say the people are being passed over by the hr departments, as you say. either they look good or sound different or have different habits, or like to work at night. that, to me, is so fascinating. talk about how you figure that out as a problem and how the data help you solve it. >> we realize there was a
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definite disconnect between the demand for programmers on the one side. the companies want these people. these are great jobs. there are a lot of people that wanted to take a job and i could not figure out why the market had not solved the problem. education is broken, so the people who take this path and want to get one of these jobs can get routed into an educational institution that gives them a lousy education. that is not just people -- in the for-profits, but they are pretty terrible. there is no way for the learner to choose correctly, so they get screwed. the other problem is the companies themselves are hesitant to hire new programmers because new programmers can actually do damage. if i hire you and let you lose him a you could write a query and screw up my company. companies are only hiring people with experience, but if you only hire people with experience, you never get new people with


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