Thursday, September 27, 2012

I Am Embarrassed

Sometimes it takes a brave little girl to expose a problem that we had recently at VXL.  So thank you young lady for pointing out a mistake I made.

I have a fantastic teacher for Embedded and shifted him away from compensation on a per batch basis to paying him 25% of net profit on each student that gets placed.  I did this because he is truly a great teacher and I wanted him to start making a lot more money.

Like Freakanomics has pointed out, there are unintended consequences that you just do not imagine.  So let me point out what happened as an immediate consequence of my actions.

The teacher immediately started working on getting resumes ready so that he could start the marketing of the current batch, and instead of teaching the students, wanted to start marketing right away so that we can place the students and he wanted the students to learn via the previous class recordings that we have available on our learning portal.

I actually did not know that this was happening.  I was assuming as usual the classes were continuing and the marketing was going on so that by the time the classes were over the student would be placed.  But because there was no direct payment for the classes, the teacher immediately started concentrating on marketing.

So this young lady had flown in from California for the classes and sat down and told me that the classes were not being taught and the teacher was concentrating on placement.  I wrote an email to the teacher with this students concerns and he replied back that since he was not being paid for classes anymore he did not find the motivation to teach anymore and wanted to students to self-study.  I was shocked by this answer.

I am not emotional and deal with issues dispassionately, but this literately stopped me in my tracks and was such a shock of an answer. 

I have a code I live by at VXL, and that is simple.  We are here to teach knowledge and placement of the student is secondary to the actual teaching.  If you can excel at teaching (Hence VXL = We Excel), than the placement is automatic anyway.

I love this teacher because he is so passionate about teaching and so good at what he does; I was surprised by what he had done.  The sudden change that had occurred in this class means that VXL for a short time were just like all those other monkey consulting companies out there who only care about pushing students into jobs, by any means necessary, and do not care about knowledge.  Suddenly here we were, I had become what I despise without even realizing this had happened, all because of my good intentions to pay a teacher more in the long run.

It has been quite a shock for me, the last 2 days after I realized what VXL had become for a short time, and this had happened on my watch and I am terribly disappointed in myself at what I allowed to happen.

So thank you young lady for your bravery and I will keep a more diligent watch on my company and make sure out first mission is to teach, and everything else is good outcome of our great teaching.

I am still in shock and I can barely look at this little girl in the office when I see her.

So we are now back to having full classes for our Embedded class and placement will happen as a byproduct of the great teaching and the teacher is back to getting paid for the classes and a much smaller percentage of the net profits as a bonus to help in marketing.

I always tell people that I have made plenty of mistakes and will likely make more, but I hope to learn from each mistake.