05: Should You Send Your Kids To College?
Dave Gerhardt: All right. We've got a bunch of different, random topics we've been kicking around. So we're going to talk about them all in this one special little episode. First one is conversation, something you wrote, we'll link back to it in the show notes here. Something you're thinking about is, so you've two kids, talking about this with your family. Should your kids go to college? Are you going to send your kids to college? Is that something you've already thought about?
David Cancel: I don't know. I'm going to leave it up to them. So I've thought a lot about this and I'd say my wife feels a little bit differently than I do, but my view is most people go to college today shouldn't go to college. I think we've pushed everyone down this road of everyone's got to go to college. Everyone's got to go to college. And most people that I meet that have gone to college, don't know why they went to college.
Dave Gerhardt: So it's just become this, almost like it's a progression. You have to do it. Right? You went to high school. The question isn't what are you going to do after high school? It's where are you going to college?
David Cancel: Exactly. So if you want to... if my kids want to go to college, hell yes, I'll send them to college. But that's the key word there. If they want to. If they want to do something that requires college or they want to go to college, I'm all for it. But just this idea of everyone just like sheep, go to college, not knowing why they went to college, come out of college,$ 100,000-$200,000 in debt and don't know what they want to do with their life. That's nonsense.
Dave Gerhardt: Say your daughter comes to you and she says," I want to go to college." Are you going to accept that answer as it is? Are you going to push back on her and say," Why?" Because if she says... what if the answer is," Well dad, I'm in high school and 90% of my grade is going to college." Does that matter?
David Cancel: Hell no. That's my answer. See, of course I'm going to push back. So I'm going to go push back and understand why does she think she wants... why does she think that she should go to college? What does she want to get out of it? If she tells me," I want to go because my friends are going." Or," I want to go because I want to party," not a good answer. I'm going to push back.
Dave Gerhardt: There's better ways to spend 200 grand.
David Cancel: Exactly. Go take 200 grand and go travel the world for a few years, or a decade or however long 200 grand lasts you. I think that could be just as valuable as anything else.
Dave Gerhardt: What about the value of living away from home, and being on your own? I've thought about this a lot and some of the value might not be," I have a specific reason," but you're forced to get outside of your comfort zone and be around other people and you can't just rely on mom and dad. You're in a new place, in a new environment and you have to fend for yourself.
David Cancel: I'm all for that. But college, as a reason to do that is bullshit, right? Because it's not the real world. You're not fending for yourself. Right? Your parents are paying for your scholarship. You're not paying for your own way in most cases with college. So it's not reality. And you're in a dorm often, in some campus, in some town, in some college. Has nothing to do with reality. I'm all for pushing yourself and getting out there, but you can do that without going$ 200,000 in debt.
Dave Gerhardt: Is this a newer thought for you? Has this changed? Did you feel the same way 10 years ago? Or is this more because it's easier to find careers and jobs today without having to go to college? I mean, I'm glad that I went. Well, I'm still paying for it, I'm not that glad. But I feel like 98% of what I do in my job today, I didn't learn anything about that in college. Has technology changed the way you think about this?
David Cancel: I think the world has changed. So I've always felt this way, but part of that is I went through a crappy college or not interesting college, I should say. It's not crappy. Right? Jerry Seinfeld went there.
Dave Gerhardt: There you go.
David Cancel: There we go. And Ray Romano, just comedians. But it was not interesting to me and because of that and lots of other reasons, I never finished college. I dropped out of college. So I've always felt this way to some degree. But I think the bigger thing that has happened in my lifetime and is still happening is that the world has changed. That college by itself is not a qualification for most things outside a few professional services, like being a doctor, being a lawyer, various other things. Just this idea of this college bringing you to a white collar world and just having a generic job as a manager or some... I think that's no longer valid. So the world is changing to a place where you need to stand out and you need to not just go through this process where you're not thinking at the end of it, you're going to be in some employment officer's room, hoping that someone picks you to go get a job. Right?
Dave Gerhardt: It's funny, one of the things that we were talking about recently was Chris Sacca had a whole thing about who he invests in and their investment thesis. And one of their criteria was," Has this person had a shitty job?"
David Cancel: Yep. I love that. Right? I love Sacca's," Has this person had a shitty job?" And really expose themselves to the reality of the world and come out of this bubble. And that's maybe related to my feeling of wanting people to get out there, and wanting people to at least experience or understand why they're doing these things. Because they need to understand how this fits in the bigger world versus being in this isolated American path of grow up, go to high school, go to college, not really think about anything. Well after that, start thinking about what you want to do.
Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. And there's also this trend of people starting companies or people doing amazing things that had zero expertise in that area, because you have this lens. It's easy to say," This person is building marketing technology because they've been a marketer their whole life. They've done this for 30 years," but some of the best innovations come when a person that has completely from the outside says," Why don't you guys do it like this?"
David Cancel: I think that's true, but I think that's always been the case. That is all of history. We're in this weird bubble. Maybe it's this education bubble, where for the last... for recent history. To us, it feels like it's been this way forever, but it's really been from the fifties to today. So you're thinking about 60 years in human history where this idea of people coming out of high school and going into this white collar world, and having to go to college to get into that world. That's only existed for that time.
Dave Gerhardt: Right.
David Cancel: Right? For thousands of years, there was never this thing, right? And people were inventors and painters and builders and creators and scholars. But never had to go through this process. We're looking at this last 50 to 60 years and thinking," This is the way it's always been. And this is the way it's always going to be." No, we're just coming in and out of a little bubble that's only lasted for a short amount of time.
Dave Gerhardt: All right. I'm excited to see people tweet at you @ dcancel for thoughts about-
David Cancel: Bring the hate.
Dave Gerhardt: ...going to college. So, do that. Next topic. The difference between rich friends and poor friends, or just the different things that they do. Tell me about what you've noticed.
David Cancel: Yeah. Rich friends, poor friends.
Dave Gerhardt: Other than the fact they have more money.
David Cancel: Yeah. So rich does not mean rich in terms of dollar bills, although that might be cool too if that's what you care about. Rich could be in terms of education, experience, whatever it is that you value, right? Wealth is measured in whatever is relevant to you. Does not have to be money. So I think there's this concept of rich friends, poor friends, and much like the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Right? So I'm going to go out and write this book now. Let's bookmark this, Rich Friends, Poor Friends. And the idea is that you want to surround yourself with and have the world view of rich friends. Those people that you know that are optimists. That are always thinking about what's possible, that are pushing the way that you're thinking, that are opening your worldview. And we've talked about role models in a previous episode, but that can be role models for you, right? Those are rich friends. And then we all have poor friends. And poor friends are those naturally pessimistic, naturally the world's against them. Everyone's against them. Illuminati this, people against them. They can't get a job. Everyone's trying to screw them. Everyone's trying to bring them down. And those people, you don't want to be around. Because those people are going to be people that are going to, instead of being a role model, they're going to narrow your... they're going to bring you down to their level. And so you want to surround yourself with rich friends, not poor friends.
Dave Gerhardt: There's another analogy we'll talk about in a second that I want you to mention here. But one question about rich friends and poor friends. There was another thing that you noticed, which is the things that these people do with their time and their money. I think you've mentioned this to me before, is that rich friends, they do more things with their money, but they're really selfish and really protective of their time.
David Cancel: Yeah. And so I think on some level, rich friends to me are the ones that have an abundant mentality. So they're always thinking about abundance and they're willing to, in terms of money, spend more money invest in their own education. Give away more money to charities, they're trying... because they have this mentality that it's going to come back to them. That the world is abundant. So that is your worldview, as a rich friend, is the world is abundant and I will get more. Poor friends have a scarcity mentality. And so they want to keep everything tight. They don't want to spend any money. They don't want to invest in their own education. Even though they may be walking around with the latest sneakers, the latest car, the latest whatever. If you ask them to invest in their education, invest in giving money to charities, they're going to keep that money because they have a scarcity mindset. And so you want to be around people who are thinking abundance. Abundance is what you need to think about.
Dave Gerhardt: But the other thing, this goes back to the time management thing too, right? The flip side of this is that the reason that some of these people are rich is because they're really ruthless about what they spend their time on.
David Cancel: Yeah, they're super focused. My rich friends are generous with their money. Generous with everything except time. Time is the one thing that you cannot get back. You can get back money. You can lose all your money and make some more money. You can get back those types of things. You can't get back time. And so they're really selfish and protective of their time. And they're really focused on their goals and achieving what they need to do. Poor friends, on the other hand, are really cheap with their money, but have all the time in the world. They want to play Super Mario Brothers, they want to hang out. They want to go to a football game. They want to go do this. They want to go hang. They want to go sit on your couch with you. They got all the time in the world. They've got no time to focus. They're too cheap to actually invest in themselves or to be generous with their money. But they have all the time in the world. Avoid those people.
Dave Gerhardt: I want to go in deeper on this one thing, because I think this is something that comes up a lot of people is. So, something that comes with that is saying no, right? A lot of people ask you to," Hey, can I grab a coffee? Can I pick your brain? Can I spend 10 minutes talking about this?" And I've noticed this from you. This is something that Dharmesh has a great post on. Tim Ferriss has talked about this a lot, which is," The default is no."
David Cancel: Yeah. The default, I think we'll link up all those things in the show notes. And Derek Sivers also has a fantastic post, actually the best post ever. Better than all those do. All respect, do, which is called Hell Yeah or No. That's the name of his post, and Derek's post, what he says is that he got to a place where he was just the same thing. Everyone wants 15 minutes. So just take 15 minutes, just take five minutes. Let's just do a Skype call. Let's just meet. Let's just do coffee. Let's just do this. And he finally got to... he had all this abundance and opportunity, but what he figured out was it wasn't making him happier. It wasn't making him more productive. And he came up with this framework, which was, unless I say," Hell yes," to something I'm going to say no. So no," Yes. That would be cool. Yes. Maybe. Hell yes. Hell yes. I want to do this." Or I default to no. I wrote a blog post about this recently. It's something that I'm still struggling with. We all struggle with this, but you want to go, you want to help people, right? You want to... people have helped me. People have helped you. You want to go out and help people. But there aren't enough hours in the day. I have a company. I have a family. I have friends. I need to focus on myself. I need to spend more time reading.
Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. I think the most underrated thing about that is, is on paper a 20 minute, 30 minute coffee meeting. It seems easy. Right? You have that. But what I'm starting to realize, it's the time that it takes to switch gears, right?
David Cancel: Yes.
Dave Gerhardt: So if you're in the middle of working and then you leave to go for a coffee meeting, that's almost an hour and a half of ramp up time, ramp down. It's not just a 30 minute meeting.
David Cancel: It's not. It's not just a 30 minute meeting. So you've got to ramp up, ramp down. And for the most times, people just want to talk. They don't really have an agenda. So you ask," Oh, what are we going to meet about?"" Oh, I just want to talk about this." And in most cases, those people are really just talking to themselves out loud and I don't even have to be there. So I have no value of being there. And I'm no guru that I'm going to have some magical wisdom that I'm going to give them.
Dave Gerhardt: But it was a specific ask that might make that a little bit easier.
David Cancel: It might make it a little easier, but these days I'm defaulting to no. I'm not meeting with anybody. Unless it helps Drift, it's part of what we're doing at Drift. Or it helps my family. No, I have no time.
Dave Gerhardt: Okay. Last topic on this little three for of random things today. You just mentioned this to me and it's a good one. It relates to what we were talking about here with surrounding yourselves with the right people. Crabs in the bucket. That's all I can say. You've got to take this one.
David Cancel: It's called crabs in the pot.
Dave Gerhardt: Crabs in the pot, there you go.
David Cancel: It's an old story. And I love this story. So if you've ever cooked crabs, the way you usually cook crabs is you get a big giant pot. You fill it with a little water and you pour in a bunch of crabs. Those crabs are still alive when you put them in the pot. If you sit back and look at what the crabs are doing, you'll notice that every once in a while, you'll have a crab that's trying to climb out of the pot. And he's almost at the top. He's almost at the rim. He's going to about get over the rim. He's about to get out of the pot. But before he gets out of the pot, another crab comes and pulls him back down. Back down into their pot. And this happens over and over and over. So there's this concept of crabs in the pot. And you want to avoid those people in your life who are those crabs that are going to pull you back down. That's why you want to surround yourself with those rich friends. You want to surround yourself with people who are going places, because by default, humans are going to try to bring you back down to their level, right? Whether it's jealousy, whether it's their own feelings that they're dealing with. They're going to bring you back on their own level. And you might get some haters when you're trying to climb out of a pot that says," Dave, who do you think you are now? Dave, what do you think you're too good? You're too good? You're better than the rest of us? Why are you trying to do that? You changed Dave, what's wrong with you? You used to be cool. Now all you want to do is work." Right?
Dave Gerhardt: Yeah.
David Cancel: Those are the crabs in your life that are going to pull you back down and you've got to jump out of that pot before they pull you down.
Dave Gerhardt: This goes back to what we were just talking about, which is, it's sucks to do, but it's going to make you better. Say no. Say no to those meetings. Say no to hanging out with those people. You can actually get further by subtracting some of the things in your life, right? People, clutter, things, whatever.
David Cancel: Yeah. I think that's the big meta lesson for me, which I'm still learning. It's taken me this long time to figure out, which is reduce, reduce, reduce, reduce, in all things. To get that focus. Whether it's people that are bringing you down, whether it's reduce in terms of complexity of the problem you're trying to solve. Always reduce, reduce, reduce, to get that focus.
Dave Gerhardt: This can even be your to- do list. Instead of people, you have a list of 10 things, right? Nine of them are jawing at you, trying to get your attention. But it's really that one thing that you can do that's going to have the biggest impact.
David Cancel: That's another episode we always talk about internally, which is called The One Thing.
Dave Gerhardt: The One Thing.
David Cancel: Big Rocks.
Dave Gerhardt: Yeah.
David Cancel: We'll get back to that.
Dave Gerhardt: Cool. All right. Send us in questions on Twitter, @ seekingwisdomio or @ dcancel. Email him, DCancel @ dcancel. com. Whatever you want to ask, we'll shout you out on the show. We'll do a whole episode dedicated to listener questions. That's it for this episode of Seeking Wisdom.
David Cancel: Five- star reviews only.
Dave Gerhardt: That's it. We'll talk to you soon.