Kickstarter, T-Shirts, and Montessori


Ever heard of Kickstarter, the crowdfunding website?  Many new businesses began with a Kickstarter campaign.  For example, before the iWatch, there was the Pebble watch, which raised more than $20 million online. Kickstarter is a platform for nascent businesses to share their ideas, where likeminded investors choose and then promise funds to support various ventures.  Kickstarter was co-founded by Charles Adler.

Ever heard of Threadless, the crowdsourcing website?  At Threadless, online customers advance ideas for t-shirts and other products, and then the folks at Threadless gather those ideas into actual products.  Sound innovative?  "Threadless completely blurs that line of who is a producer and who is a consumer," says Karim Lakhani, a professor at the Harvard Business School. "The customers end up playing a critical role across all its operations: idea generation, marketing, sales forecasting. All that has been distributed."  Threadless was co-founded by Jake Nickell.

What do Nickell and Adler have in common?  They both send their children to Chiaravalle Montessori School, in Evanston.  From an article in ChicagoInno comes this explanation.  "'Although [Nickell] is a public school graduate himself, he said he spent a lot of his time growing up teaching himself things outside of school based on his interests, something that his daughter, now 8 and entering second grade, does every day.  '"People who end up choosing to be entrepreneurs have a lot of curiosity and do things in their own way," he said.  "As a student of Montessori you're in control of your own education, but there are still guard rails around it all. Teachers are sure you're doing the work around the room, but you're doing it at your own pace...My daughter makes her lesson plan for the day.  It's not like this only exists to breed entrepreneurs, but I want her to do what she wants to do, and I think this program will empower her to do that," he added.

And Adler?  "...(W)hat Adler finds compelling about Montessori is that it helps kids figure out a framework for thinking that goes beyond just getting a job, but being prepared for an inevitably unpredictable future. 'The world is going to change," he said. 'I look at my daughter and the world is going to be vastly different between now and whatever level of school she gets out of, and I want to make sure she is intellectually prepared for that and excited for that...It's finding a job, profession, line of work, and lifestyle that keeps you going and keeps your life fulfilling.'"

Keep in mind, Chiaravalle Montessori costs $17,000, while at Montessori Private Academy annual tuition for preschool is $10,000 less, or just under $7,000.  Given the longterm success of their children, MPA parents often see the tuition as a comparative bargain.

So do we.

Read the full ChicagoInno article.


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