Skin in the game – Day 22

30-Day Writing Challenge

“Scars signal skin in the game.” – Nassim Taleb (Skin in the game) 

Without putting proper skin in the game we humans take for granted our present situations and future opportunities. 

I’m studying for a cybersecurity certification that will cost $350 to take, which at first really pissed me off… But once I started studying I realized that this fee is a perfect forcing function to learn the content as effectively and efficiently as possible. When you’re putting something (money in this case) on the line, there’s a much higher probability that you’ll take it seriously.

The amount charged is relative to the person’s bank account, some people will be devastated by this fee, while others will see it as a small inconvenience. Either way, this charge will focus on the mine for the majority of people. 

After thinking about putting “skin in the game” and the forcing function that ignites the mind, I’m less soar about paying the fee… This thought process led me to think about higher education and how this type of forcing function could be leveraged by universities. 

Imagine a four-year degree that was paid incrementally for every class, where the student had to cough up cash each time they signed up for a course, instead of the upfront lump sum payment via loans that are used today. I know my fellow skeptics see the immediate flaw in this scenario… Most universities are in the higher education industry for the money, less for educating the students, so this incremental payment would cause more students to question the value of universities, as well as slow the amount of money going into the university. 

Ignoring the skeptical view, let’s imagine we’re able to convince all the universities to buy into this model. Every student would run into this feeling of “skin in the game”. They would leverage every minute inside and outside the classroom, sucking all the value they can from this experience due to the recurring loss of money for each class. 

It sounds crazy I know, but forcing functions is a real thing and by everyone putting a little more skin in the game society would be better off for it.