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Decision Making

Teaching Online

I have been teaching in one form or another since college. I
helped pay for graduate school by teaching other grad students. For
most of my life, teaching has meant standing up in front of a group
of people and explaining things to them in a large group
setting.

But, like many things, that is quickly changing right now.

I mentioned that we have a new group of analysts at USV. And we
are doing an onboarding program for them where the various partners
at USV take turns teaching them things they will need to know
during their time at USV.

When we planned this onboarding program, we thought those
classes would take place in person. But now they are taking place
online.

This week, I am going to teach a three-hour class on cap tables
and liquidation waterfalls. These are the spreadsheets we use to
track everyone’s ownership in a company and how much money each
shareholder gets in a sale transaction. While much of this is
straightforward, there are edge cases that can be pretty gnarly. I
am looking forward to teaching this class.

As I prepared for it this weekend, I decided to create the bare
bones of a google sheet that will have one tab for the cap table
and another for the liquidation waterfall.

The three analysts will act as the three founders of a company
and we will simulate three rounds of financings and then a sale of
the company.

We will all be in the google sheet together and also in a zoom
room together. I will coach them through the exercise but they will
do all of the work.

And as I was planning all of this out and building the bare
bones google sheet, I thought to myself, “this may be the single
best way to teach this material that I have ever come
across.”

I have taught this material to many people, but never quite like
this.

We are leveraging two technologies that have come of age in the
last ten year; collaborative documents (google sheets) and
videoconferencing (zoom). And we are using project-based learning
in a small group setting which has always been one of (the most?)
powerful teaching/learning model.

The question I am wondering about is once I teach this subject
this way, will I ever want to teach it any other way? I think maybe
not.

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