Entrepreneurs Learn “Not in the Classroom Where Old Ways are Taught, But in the Factories and Labs, Where New Ways Are Wrought”

Gilder’s rhyme about the classroom is cute, and maybe mainly true. In an important paper, Baumol has more prosaically (in the literal sense) expressed a similar view.
But there are counterexamples. Gilder himself, in his Microcosm, notes how what was taught in some classrooms was crucial to progress in information technology.

(p. 296) Entrepreneurs can be pompous and vain where it doesn’t count; but in their own enterprise, the first law is to listen. They must be men meek enough–and shrewd enough–to endure the humbling eclipse of self that comes in the process of profound learning from others.
In all the history of enterprise, most of the protagonists of major new products and companies began their education–and (p. 297) discovered the secrets of their later breakthroughs–not in the classroom, where the old ways are taught, but in the factories and labs, where new ways are wrought.

Source:
Gilder, George. Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise: Updated for the 1990s. updated ed. New York: ICS Press, 1992.

The important Baumol paper mentioned above, is:
Baumol, William J. “Education for Innovation: Entrepreneurial Breakthroughs Versus Corporate Incremental Improvements.” In Innovation Policy and the Economy, edited by Adam B. Jaffe, Josh Lerner and Scott Stern, 33-56. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2005.

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