My daughter's school has a program of “Wellbeing” to improve the lives of their students. Wellbeing for me is usually defined as a second glass of wine, so I was quite interested in talking to the teachers about how they support the mental and physical health of the students.
I learnt that their program has been widely praised and they are sharing the blueprint for how they created and implemented the program with other local schools!
Shocking! The capitalist pig in me nearly fell over. Why would you share your competitive secrets with your direct local competitors that you’re ranked against by the league tables that are then ranted over by hysterical parents? The London school system is cut-throat.
And then it struck me that that’s why academics are paid so little compared to folks in financial services – teachers and educationalist give all their knowledge away.
If I ran a school and wanted to establish best practices for “wellbeing”... well my idea of two glasses of wine might not go down too well with most parents. I would need help, but all I would have to do is ask another school for their plan – how they went about creating and implementing their wellbeing program.
Can you imagine a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs calling up the equivalent banker at Morgan Stanley and saying – hey could you tell me how to get into the Indian market, what are the mistakes you made and can you share everything you know with us?
The only way the Goldman Sachs guy could find out what the Morgan Stanley guy is up to, is you guessed it – hire the person for lots and lots of money.
Investing know-how is mostly ring fenced within the minds of investment professionals. In other fields the secret sauce is just not as secret.
Industries such as engineering share a lot of knowledge via professional institutions as well as among companies. Many people know how to use the latest programming languages like Python, so even though they are probably smarter than the person walking around Wall Street – they are paid less, as they are only one of many people who can program in Python.
And academics… well academics are bending over backwards to give away free courses online, write books for a few pennies and lecture for free.
Now if anyone finds a book on Amazon written by Goldman Sachs on “How to Dominate & Control the US Cabinet”, do let me know.