I enjoyed this essay, Gad. We met in one of the WOP breakout rooms. It was one of two rooms, after which I marveled at the level of folks taking the course.

I've taken both Perell's WOP course and Forte's Building a Second Brain multiple times. I loved both experiences the first time through. WOP was equally good and impressively improved the second time I took it.

WOP's has kept cohorts purposefully restricted. I think that was a good decision because containing the cohort maintains a certain intimacy.

My second BASB cohort was much, much bigger than my first time through. This is a testament to the strength of the course as well as excellent marketing. Unfortunately, I felt disconnected the second time.

Of course, BASB is a different type and doesn't necessarily lend itself to multiple passes the way that WOP does. BASB is about setting up a system that, once in place, might only need minor tweaks, whereas WOP is about building and unleashing your creative beast.

Still, I can't help but think that the giant BASB cohort (more than three times the size of the first one I took) diffused the original cohort's intensity. The intensity matters.

All this to say that I think creators need to think a lot about ideal cohort sizes. It won't be easy to scale these courses. That's an issue if you're Scott Galloway or Wes Kao trying to create a massive platform. It may not be if you're Forte Labs. I listened to a recent podcast, and they're grappling with the scaling issue. My hunch is that they'll be better off focusing on super high-quality product for which they can demand a high price. Not on tons of courses and bigger cohorts. It will be interesting to see where they land.

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Hey Gad, thanks for the deep thinking on this topic.

I really like how you broke down the value of CBCs.

I agree with you that the most important factor to consider CBCs is the transformation they provide to their students.

The speed of change in the workplace at large makes consistent adaptation as essential as flossing.

And emotional and behavioral support are key ingredients to adapt over and over again.

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I wonder if requiring higher up-front investment on the part of the CBC students (such as writing application essays) along with a level of exclusivity (such as only letting in XXX students for each cohort) would increase the chance that more students are highly engaged. Sometimes friction is a feature, not a bug.

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The rapid evolution in tools for thought & knowledge frameworks are fascinating. Most MOOCs (I know of Coursera and Udacity) are transitioning gradually towards CBCs, and a massive amount of capital is being allocated towards CBCs (like On Deck). A question about your point of scale -- is scale required at the individual course level? With enough niches and knowledge domains out there (coupled with the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day) how many people does a single cohort course (most range from 8-12 weeks I believe) need to reach?

You said it yourself: your CBC experience was richer at 200 rather than 20 -- as a student I can say the direct opposite is true of traditional school courses. As CBCs strengthen their "network effects" (which happens as a result of more and more cohorts), won't the number of "sages" on stage increase (i.e. alumni of courses, etc)? The traditional school analogue would be TAs becoming professors, which (clearly) doesn't happen much. But what if it did? Wouldn't school then be much more "scalable"?

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