My hierarchy of crazy

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Chapter the second, wherein Donald, in attempting to show that he isn’t crazy, provides further proof that he is crazy and subsequently urges his readers to join him in an assault on the windmills of education

Hello Partners!

You might be thinking ‘gee, Donald is starting to go off the deep end. I mean, he just suggested that he will build a propaedeutic enchiridion. He might as well have proposed that he will genetically engineer pandas to puke rainbows for our amusement’. Well, guess what. I am going to propose just that. Why? Because I am crazy – crazy like a panda!

I am going to share with you a tool I have developed to help me gain support for my projects around Microsoft. It is super-secret but I feel comfortable telling you. After all, I suspect you want the same things that I do. Have you heard of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Well I call this secret tool ‘Donald Brinkman’s hierarchy of crazy’. Here is how it works. First you need a triangle, any triangle will do, though I find that green ones work best. Now, at the top of your triangle put something utterly crazy like. . . rainbow-puking pandas for instance. Below that put something only moderately less crazy, potentially reachable such as a propaedeutic enchiridion. Now finally at the bottom put what you really want to do. Now this will likely be kind of crazy too (because if it wasn’t, why would it be worth doing?) but when shown relative to the other two ideas it starts to sound reasonable. Below is an actual slide that I showed while delivering a keynote speech at IEEE VS-Games in Genoa, Italy last month:


The guy on the right is Giuseppe Garibaldi, hero of the Italian Risorgimento, the conflict that unified Italy back in the 1800s. The quote is his rallying cry to his fellow Italians. I would like to paraphrase that quote a bit and make you the following offer:

I offer neither funding, nor fellowships, nor swag; I offer only budget cuts, all-nighters, and damning criticism in major journals. Let those of you who actually want to build something, not merely form a committee to talk about building something, follow me.

Indira Gandhi once said ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’ Right now I hope you are laughing at me and I invite you to fight with me, not against me. Something remarkable is about to happen; It will happen not just to education but to many fundamental aspects of how we live our lives. I invite you to help bring this vision to children, teachers, and lifelong learners around the world.

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