Scholarship vs. Project Development

I am now at the end of my one month experimental scholarship with LBRY. 

Overall I’d call it a big success – many great things have happened. However, I’d like to use this post to focus on the big flaw with the scholarship model – and why in my opinion, “project development” is a much better way to frame this kind of thing.

Why Scholarship Fails

The idea of being paid a stipend to study topics relevant to LBRY is cool in theory. After all, for the right kind of person (self-motivated, highly interested in learning), being “paid to learn” is a dream come true.

The recipient of the scholarship receives the financial resources to buy books, subscribe to courses, and even just pay some rent for a month. In the world of freelance, getting paid ahead of time to learn is a great deal.

The problem is that it’s a very vague deal. What should one learn? How much is a month of scholarship worth, exactly? Is it possible to chart out a specific and clear course of action for a month of study without a dedicated teacher or customized syllabus? Furthermore, what are the expectations beyond that first month?

LBRY’s trust and willingness to invest in my education is hugely appreciated. The only problem is that the framing of “scholarship” is ill-suited for a one-month timeframe of independent learning.

For example — I could read endless books, study programming languages 8 hours a day, and generally make myself busy, without actually contributing to LBRY.

On the other hand, I could say three words to the right person — “check out LBRY” — and possibly create more value than an entire month of study.

If LBRY’s goal is to be ruthlessly results-oriented and to avoid busywork and other forms of wasted time, I think that the scholarship model is not the way to go forward. Instead, I propose that future investments in this style should be framed as “Project Development.”

Why Project Development Succeeds

LBRY is the infrastructure for a new form of entrepreneurship. It takes power away from centralized forces and moves it into the hands of the creators and curators.

There’s no way to study entrepreneurship formally. Business school is dumb as hell and I challenge anybody to prove otherwise. (BTW – I studied music business at Berklee College of Music, one of the “best music schools in the world,” and I can confirm firsthand that it is a huge waste of time.)

What LBRY needs is its first generation of genuinely effective entrepreneurs who can accomplish specific and measurable goals. It’s the opposite of “study as much as you can” — it’s “study as little as you can while doing the most impact possible.” We can study forever, but it’s only the transition from studying to action that counts.

At this point, I know that I can drive thousands of people to engage with and use the LBRY blockchain. If I get a bit lucky with the first project, it could happen in less than 6 weeks. And if my current project proposal were rejected, there are a dozen more ideas waiting in the wings.

What I can’t do for even one more day is to “study” based on some expectation of scholarship. From this moment on, with the scholarship month over, I will only focus on project development and execution.

My Goal Going Forward

My goal, if the universe decides to allow it, is to become LBRY’s top driver of engagement and usage.

I aim to start by gathering several thousand emails for a LBRY-related project in the coming two months. It’ll require some new funding to enable me to focus my time and energy in this area — but a relatively modest amount by industry standards. And if that doesn’t turn out to be possible through the LBRY fund/team directly, I’ll keep my eyes open for other opportunities to find funding and get started.

Above all else, I would like to thank the LBRY team for all the support and trust you have put in me. I have no expectations for the future — what has happened so far already puts me in your debt forever. THANK YOU!

P.S. My first project proposal is already in the fund inbox — I’ll share it on the blog as well in the near future for anybody who is curious.

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