Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Elias Hicks School of Business

The Elias Hicks School of Business

A practical education in modern production

With a revolutionary political and spiritual foundation.

This is a draft of a business plan for what I am starting next.

Even though I am on a 90 day book tour, this is actually very much a part of the ideas and practices that are in my book and tour.

As background, you may want to start with the Occupy Business School video, which I produced, and had professionally edited. It's a short and sweet 10 minute intro to some of my ideas on the radical use of business-ventures. You also get to see me sing a little Simon and Garfunkl, too.


The current speaking tour has helped me to realize something simple, but wonderfully plain. I love to speak, to lead group discussions, to teach. It's something I am good at. My Aquarian nature makes me want to do many things, and sometimes it's a bit of a challenge to focus. Speaking in public is something that unites the diverse talents I have.

So, I have come to the point where I want to allow myself to enjoy public speaking, and take it to the next level. I liked speaking at Occupy Wall Street, and at the groups of 10-20 people on this tour. But it's time to make the message more universal, and the audience bigger. I once saw Tony Robbins (author of "Unlimited Power") speak and I took away some lessons from that experience. I mean, overall it was rather shallow, ego-individualist philosophy, and I walked out. But I did like the theatricality and the showmanship that he used. There was music used to fire up the crowd. It makes me think my friends in the NY theatre world and I could collaborate on making something wonderful out of the skills and presentation discussed in this proposal.

Instead of Tony Robbins' gospel, we need a new message: Enlightenment Economics. Entrepreneurial Empowerment. The Holistic Business School, a new kind of practical education with a revolutionary political and spiritual foundation. It's not just about "personal development" it's about doing that personal development while simultaneously working on social development. This mimics the future of capitalism: a social capitalism that can help to solve the problems of class exploitation, environmental ravagement, and justice.

Zen teaches us to collapse the duality. Even Jesus seems to mention this in the suppressed Gospel of Thomas. We break through to the other side when we collapse the duality between social solidarity and individual entrepreneurship. I have seen both sides: the righteous resistance to the evils of imperialist capitalism: the wars, violence and deception. But there's also something life-giving and innovative about the entrepreneurial energy that creates, raises money, and creates jobs.

You could go so far as to say we are working here in the realm of collapsing the duality between God and human, or at least crossing the line that is too often drawn, in our minds. Intense regular meditation on this tour has lead me (or I have been drawn to) a point where I find that communion with God (with Being, with Source) is still possible. In fact, it's the best place we can be. A higher communion with the truth is the goal, here, total self fulfillment comes in living the life you want, creating the job you want. I can teach this. God willing.

There are a set of assumptions that I will use:

 1. There is capital out there. "Knock and the door shall be opened." There is discretionary capital - money that can be invested - among everyone's social circles. You have to ask for it, though. We all know people with money. Money needs to be put to work. It needs to grow, spread out and risked in different ways.

2. Capital and credit also need to be radically transformed. It needs to be easier to get funding if you are a social entrepreneur. But #2 here is going to have to wait. The path of #1 is more immediately possible, and is immediately teachable. But for more on #2 see my ideas on Public Interest Venture Capital, in my book, or here on Alternet.

What Can I Offer:

  • I can offer classes in progressive, social entrepreneurship. Classes held via online video, live chat, phone, and in-person, to develop radical social ventures across the US and Canada.

  •  Personal Counseling: Part of the package I offer could be a personal phone call, once a week.

  • Online Classses: Once a week for three months, with a group.

  • Business Plan Models: you come out in three months with a business plan and a slide deck.

  • Legal Documents. I could work with a good attorney to help prepare the legal instruments you need to formally start a corporation, non-profit, or a co-operative.

  • Financing, Scholarships, and Potential Partnerships: We are building a network here, as much as a business. My own goal here should be clear to all at the outset. I am out to build a network, but not to perpetuate the same old cronyist capitalist nightmare. We need a Joseph Schumpeter-sized tsunami of creative destruction to sweep away the Goldman Sachs Halliburton Bush Obama superstructure. Instead of that which kills and lies, we need a Truth Party, and a Truth Party Business Network, and a Holistic Business School.

  • So for potential entrepreneurs who can't afford my class, we can offer scholarships, and financing, and even potential partnerships - the way that a venture capital firm will provide resources in exchange for a percentage of equity. We can use deal-making as an instrument of social revolution.

Potential Customers should know that

You Come Out in Three Months With:

1. Your business plan.
2. Your "slide deck" which is a graphic summary of the business plan.
3. Your corporation, created with sound legal documents.
4. A set of goals to define, start and grow your enterprise.
5. A set of living principles to define, and continue to practice, and refine your dedication to the project.
6. Momentum and confidence to raise money.
7. The choice to be in our growing network. As we grow, our funding options to entrepreneurs will also grow.
I have a list of things I need to research further at this point. But the most important for this typed version is that I need to research other new models: Mondragon, and Grameen Bank are two models that come to mind. I have read the book on Grameen, Price of a Dream. I have ideas about reaching out to sober people in AA, and use the social network of AA as a form of collateral. In a USA that has suffered four years of Great Recession, I realize that many of us have no collateral. But Grameen Bank shows how to lend to the poor without using collateral. Instead, they use community, regular meetings, and fellowship. Social bonds are an asset that are more powerful than assets and collateral.

 I also made this short list of some of the skills to be taught. It's also a few more notes on the topics and the philosophical underpinnings of this project:


Our market for this project is:

Young people in their 20's
People in their 30's
College students
Recent College grads
People disgusted with their first jobs
People looking to change careers
The unemployed
Skills to be Taught:

1. Fund-raising
2. Communication
3. Leadership
4. Crash Course: in the wisdom of the world's great religions. And why they are important to the future of your venture.
5. Crash Course: in politics and current events (the current crisis of capitalism) and why knowing this material is essential to the future of your venture, and your LIFE.


  1. Great ideas here, Sander!

    You might want to check out the existing alternative universities and see if any of them are doing anything interesting with business school. If you were to get, say, an MBA from one of the alternative universities, that might get you in the door at another one that didn't have a business program. You could design the program for them.

    Of course you can just go into the business school business for yourself without worrying about the degrees and credentials. But that might be a dicier path. It would amount to being a consultant. I'm sure you'd be an excellent one!

    My dad built a very successful business without any business school experience. Then he went back to school to get his Ph.D. so he could teach business, even though he already knew the practical stuff. The system is set up to make people jump through hoops of degrees and credentials.

    1. Thank you Kevin, my brother. I reflected upon this for a day or so. I think you are right, but I also think I am not your Dad. You know, I did in fact take the GMAT, got a good score, and then got a rejection from Columbia Business School. That's all right, partly because during my enthusiastic attendance of the introductory presentations, I saw how married CBS was to the Goldman Sachs culture of cronyism. A professor there actually mocked the recent Matt Taibi article on Goldman's central role in all the most recent bubbles. I thought that I wanted to get a legit MBA, to certify my experience, like your father did. It's become more and more apparent that I need to try something different.

      My experiences are valuable. What I want to try to do with this project is to validate them myself, without outside certification. Simply by teaching them, myself, and training people in the basics of business-creation, WITHOUT an expensive MBA, I think we could create a wildly nonconformist new culture of innovative and life-giving enterprise. You see, I am not trying to get a job in an established university, and I am not trying to train people to have a certified official MBA. I do know that I can train people to change their thinking about money, and the role of business and production in the peace & truth revolution. An MBA is expensive, it saddles the student with debt, and the student becomes forced to work for a mega-corporation or mega-financial institution, just to service that debt. But a school that dared to step outside the system, and yet teach the same skills, would create a whole new generation of venture creators: ones who could afford to pay it forward. We need to create situations by where people have the power and ability to be more generous.

      ALSO, I got some feedback from Bill Bergman, who used to be with the Federal Reserve in Chicago. Amazing guy, he left there after 9/11, because he saw certain evidence of some kind of 9/11 foreknowledge: it was there in the spike in US currency fleeing the US economy before 9/11.

      The Fed fired him to silence him, but he's not silent. He's speaking with me in Chicago on Aug. 2.

      I got his permission to reprint this email:

      On Wed, Jul 4, 2012 at 12:21 PM, William Bergman wrote:

      Looks like more innovative/entrepreneurial ideas keep popping out of you....

      I've been teaching a money and banking course at Benedictine University, and its been a blast. ...

      "Enlightenment" -- with one "true" perspective, or opening eyes to alternative perspectives, and allowing free choice?


      I understand the question - and I get this a lot. I can come off as some kind of absolutist in my passion for "Truth." It runs counter to an age that has grown accustomed with a less demanding zeitgeist. But I don't think I am closed to "free choice" or the use of the market.

      The way I envision this business plan - is that my school will be for "social entrepreneurs" only, but the admission criteria for what constitutes a "social entrepreneur" can be actually quite broad. It's really any business that wants to change the world, and improve society.

      What do I really mean by "Enlightenment Economics?" It's a good question, a hard one. But I think I can take a stab at further defining it.

      We love: both the truth, and a free market of ideas. We believe in Natural Law and that reality proves whether or not a theory is true. God is truth. God is in each of our hearts. We are all branches from the vine. (Yes, have been reading the Farewell Discourses in John, and the Urantia Book.)

      So Enlightenment Economics is: disruptive, luminous, rigorous, honest, sober, penetrating, empowering and democratic. Maverick and angelic.

      I am going to raise money and incorporate.