Principle One: Focus on the Mission
Our mission is to sustain and advance human progress through education.
We do this by cultivating supercollaborators — people with the ability and desire to solve our civilization’s most challenging problems.
We believe our mission is sufficiently challenging and important that we do not have time to discuss or pursue anything else.
Principle Two: Seek Good Explanations
An explanation is good to the extent it helps us make good decisions in pursuit of our mission. The process of discovering good explanations is conjecture and criticism.
Conjecture births new ideas, criticism culls and refines them. All conjectures are open to criticism at Synthesis, no matter how elegant the conjecture or who supports it. After all, we cannot move closer to the truth if we believe we have already arrived.
Criticism is always welcome because we are fallibilists: we believe humans are always at least a little bit in error. The corollary is that we can make progress by identifying and correcting our errors. Since we will always be in error, we can always make more progress.
Nothing is easier than pointing to the flaws in the work of others. But criticisms can give conjectures more life, rather than kill them. We can strive to be creative in our criticism. We can not only identify what is wrong, but offer new conjectures that move us closer to truth.
The best criticism often comes from shipping. Use your judgment to decide when it’s time to pause debate and ship.
Principle Three: Embrace the Chaos
Synthesis is a uniquely bold adventure in education. Our approach is not to incrementally improve the existing system, but to create from first principles. This means we often operate without a map. We must be comfortable with ambiguity.
But remember chaos in not the goal, nor an excuse for shoddy work. The goal is to generate order from chaos. Once a situation has been brought into order, we will look for next frontier where chaos still reigns, and attempt to bring order there as well.
This process of bringing chaos into order will never be complete. We will never run out of chaos. Our families will always want more from us, and we will always seek new ways to deliver for them.
Synthesis of Principles
We want to work with bold fallibilists who are prepared to dedicate a substantial portion of their working life in pursuit of our mission.