Career Crashers 47: David Kirby on bringing purpose to education

Corné van Straten
July 2020

Step 1: Get a job at a non-profit for a cause you believe in.
Step 2: Have a good, stable salary.
Step 3: Have a family.
Step 4: Live the good life.
Step 5: Quit it all to start your own venture.

Wait, what?

David’s career path is not what most people would expect it to be, least of all his family full of lawyers, doctors and diplomats with prestigious college degrees, who wanted him to follow in their footsteps.

And David did, at first. But going to a prestigious college turned out to be a big disappointment.

“I had this nagging feeling inside that, if I was being honest with myself, it was all kind of mediocre. When I went there I was like ‘gosh this is it? This is the pinnacle of educational achievement? This is kind of lame.'”

David felt like he was learning way more from the entrepreneurs and business people that he was interacting with in the real world, than from his expensive college classes.

Later, in his job raising money for non profit, he kept feeling that same thing. That these donors on the other side of the table, these entrepreneurs, they were the real superheroes.

And so he decided to take a big risk, give up his stable salary and prestigious career in D.C. in order to pursue entrepreneurship and bring meaning to education.

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Show notes

  • Why did David decide to leave the non-profit organization that he used to work with to pursue a more entrepreneurial route
  • How did David’s path though traditional education (Bates College, Harvard, Oxford) affect the way he approached his career
  • Raising money as an entrepreneur vs raising money for a non-profit
  • The challenges of opening a school in a large urban setting
  • Creating a children’s business fair as a wind to create a community and test for demand for the school
  • What is David’s advice for people who have been on the conventional education path and feel afraid to break off

Connect with David

If you’ve got a story you’d like to share, don’t hesitate! Email Isaac at Isaac [at] Crash [dot] co.

You can stay up-to-date on every Career Crasher episode as it launches here.