Math Tutoring

Posted on August 10, 2020


I’m not good at math, which is unfortunate because I love economics. Whenever I’ve tried self-education I have benefited greatly from a teacher or a coach or a trainer. So I should hire a math tutor!

Craig Webster was a shareholder for many years and recently sold off all his shares and caused my share price to dip. I hate when that happens and looked him up. It turns out he is a math tutor!

So I reached out and asked him if he would be willing to tutor in exchange for shares. He replied, “I’d love to do this.”

How It Will Work

Craig recommends working though this course:

Fat Chance: Probability from the Ground Up

This seems perfect as Greg Mankiw at Harvard recommends statistics and probability to aspiring econ majors. Plus if I pass the course and pay $49 I get a certificate of completion from Harvard and can update my LinkedIn profile.

The course is 7 weeks long and asks for between 3-5 hours a week to be spent during the course. Craig recommends we meet once a week for an hour to discuss any issues or questions and to provide tutoring (with one extra optional hour should it be needed before taking the final exam).

Craig is an in-demand tutor in New York. He specializes in test prep and charges $250-220/hr depending on the package. As a skilled negotiator I used my fame as a publicly traded person combined with a volume discount to get Craig to agree to a package deal of $1050 for seven hours of tutoring, which comes to $150/hr. At the current Fair Market Price* a share is worth just under $5.00. So while there will be some fluctuations as the share price changes Craig will receive around 210 shares for his efforts, which would make him the 16th largest shareholder.

Craig has agreed to livestream the tutoring sessions each week in order to provide shareholder accountability (and the possibility of joining us in the coursework).

*(payments in shares are based on a “fair market value” calculation based on the last 20 trades weighted with the most recent being worth the most)

A Yes Vote: We will take the Fat Chance course from Harvard University and hire Craig Webster as a tutor to be paid in shares.
A No Vote: We will continue to struggle with self education.

Past Discussion

JeffersonNunn (27.0 shares, voted no)
What are the chances of Craig teaching Mike some Quants so that we can totally take over the stock market?
Mike Merrill 🎖🌮🃏🌴
I think the chances of that are low, but the potential payoff is pretty high. :)
Douglas Dollars 💯 (784.0 shares, voted yes)
I recommend adding Stanford* at some point to round out a bi-coastal elite education *continuing studies -
JeffersonNunn (27.0 shares, voted no)
If Mikey graduates from Stanford...I'll hire a skywriter to write over Stanford that K. Mikey Merrill is the best.
Mike Merrill 🎖🌮🃏🌴
Let's not get carried away. This is just a certificate for now.
davehayden ☕️💯 (271.0 shares, voted no)
Nope, not unless there's a lock-in period. But do take the course and I'm happy to help with any questions you have.
Becki907 (21.0 shares, voted yes)
Extra bonus if we accidentally learn something from watching the livestream! Heck yeah, go for it!
beau 💯☕️☎️🃏 (227.0 shares, voted no)
lots of positives here but a little worried re: what happens if he immediately liquidates (which to be fair is the reason you looked him up in the first place!) :)
virtualferguson ☕️🌴🃏 (4.0 shares, voted no)
I share Beau's concerns. It's a lot of shares.
Mr. Subterfuge (34.0 shares, voted no)
I, too, am voting "no" due to the amount of shares being dished out for these lessons. I'm sure there was a reason he sold the shares off in the first place, so who's to say he won't do it again? Maybe he won't do it immediately, but in a few months time he can devastate any positive price gains we see.
ritchey ☕️💼 (81.0 shares, voted yes)
Since Craig (or "Crig" as we prefer to call him) is a friend I will vouch for his genuine interest in this project. Probably he sold the shares because he recently had a baby. This is a great way to reel him back in. (Post authored by Andrew)
aaronpk ☕️🥨💯 (522.0 shares, voted no)
I understand the risk of a large sell-off again, but maybe there's an opportunity to grant the shares on a vesting schedule, especially since the course runs over the span of 7 weeks. So maybe 1/7th of the shares per week over the length of the course or something?
Gustavo (4.0 shares, voted no)
Besides the risk of imminent liquidation, I think he is overpriced. Have you looked further in the market and compared his quote/skills with other tutors?
Gustavo (4.0 shares, voted no)
That's what I expect from someone in charge of a business: impersonality and diligence
Mr. Subterfuge (34.0 shares, voted no)
I would change my vote from "no" to "yes" if there was a clause that stated that he cannot sell the shares for 2 years after the course ends. This would have to be enforced from your end on his account.
rugger 💯 (375.0 shares, voted yes)
Hello Mike. As someone with a BS in math, a charter in finance, and who works in Excel all day, I have to say that math and economics is a wonderful language and way of thinking on its own. It also requires many many hours of grinding through to get a real understanding. Put it another way: It's like expecting to be conversational in Mandarin or Hindi in a few weeks without full immersion. Until your work or wellbeing requires learning something so foreign, it's difficult to image it sticking. So, from one perspective, I think watching Paul Krugman's masterclass on economics might be more interesting for you. On, From another, I always think exposure to a new topic and learning is valuable. What I wouldn't do is add a Harvard notation to LinkedIn if you haven't attended a full-time program. Do enjoy the math. Maybe it will spark something in you.
virtualferguson ☕️🌴🃏 (4.0 shares, voted no)
Also, my wife had a math tutor a couple years ago who charged around $70/hr. I'm sure Craig is an excellent tutor, but is he maybe overqualified for this particular skill set? (I am also bad at math and no nothing about probability, to the answer could easily be "no, probability is super difficult").
virtualferguson ☕️🌴🃏 (4.0 shares, voted no)
Sorry to post twice in a row and answer my own question, but I just looked it up and Harvard rates the difficulty for this course as "Introductory."
Josh Berezin ☕️💯 (674.0 shares, voted no)
Mike, wouldn't it make sense for you to pursue this topic on your own for a while before spending $1,000+ in shares on a tutor? Have you explored Khan Academy or Skillshare? Maybe you should work on this until you get stuck and then ask for help from a paid tutor. Or a friend — it's clear that a number of your shareholders have experience with statistics and probability. I could see voting yes if you had already proven that you were committed to learning this material, and that a high-paid tutor would accelerate or maximize your learning, but I don't see that yet.
jer ☕️🌮 (20.0 shares, voted no)
I'm with Josh.
awmahan 💼☕️ (48.0 shares, voted no)
Josh's argument swayed me to a nay
spladow (3.0 shares, voted yes)
While I think the idea of a lock up period or vesting schedule are good ones I am still voting in favor of the proposal without those provisions. While Mike could take the course by himself first and see how it goes, I trust that he knows how he learns best and he sees value in having a dedicated tutor. I also appreciate the streaming aspect of the proposal and I just signed up to audit the class. This seems like an opportunity for building more of the community side of community through capitalism, and I'm interested to see how it works.
beau 💯☕️☎️🃏 (227.0 shares, voted no)
going to vote nay now until the lockup period/vesting schedule is addressed; either one would sway me to a yay
Pat Castaldo 💯☕️ (118.0 shares, voted no)
I think the tutoring part is weird; I'm all for self-education, but you're not tutoring towards an actual goal... like you're not trying to pass a test or get a degree or anything, so it feels... wasteful?
wandersean (70.0 shares, voted no)
I've gotta say that this just sounds like a bad deal on tutoring to me. (No offense to Craig, but with rates like that I've gotta imagine his target market is wealthy families.) I could get behind paid tutoring if you were to find someone more reasonable, especially considering that there is not test for certification or anything at the end of this. I think you can find grad students advertising tutoring services around most any university campus, and when I was doing this four years ago I charged $35-40 an hour. I guess a relevant question: Mike, if you were paying $1050 in USD for seven hours of help, would you still want to do this?
jesserifkin ☕️ (21.0 shares, voted no)
Although I'm voting no overall, I'd like to play Devil's Adovcate, because I thought of an argument in favor that nobody's made yet. Shareholders in the comments are mostly criticizing Craig's payment rate for being too high, at about 30 shares an hour. But for me and the others who gave speeches at Mike's shareholders conference in May, the rate was higher... WAY higher. Mike paid us 20 shares each for our maximum 7-minute talk, for an equivalent of 171 shares an hour. Still voting no on the whole, for reasons other commenters have already stated. But viewed from that lense, Craig's rate is arguably a steal.
Mont Chris Hubbard (27.0 shares, voted no)
Jesse, I don’t know about you, but I spent a lot more than seven minutes putting my talk together.
Mike Merrill 🎖🌮🃏🌴
(Yeah, the honorarium for speakers was designed to be about $100 and was definitely not paying for the total labor requested. As my shareholders have restricted me from speaking for free it infers we should compensate speakers who present to the shareholders.)