S1:E24 Adam Durfee – Bridging theory and practical application

July 13, 2021 |  Students
31 min

Adam Durfee has founded and built a program using students to run a marketing agency hired by well-known businesses looking for a fresh perspective. The results? 100% job placement, a self-funded program, and plans for growth in the future.


Tyler Jacobson  0:01

Welcome to LabChats, a podcast from the team at LabStats. I’m Tyler Jacobson, your host for today’s episode. Each week we’ll sit down with technology leaders in higher education to get the latest buzz and insights while we discuss current events, trends, problems and solutions. Now let’s get into it. For LabChats today, we are joined by Adam Durfee with Y Digital Agency. Adam, you want to give yourself a real brief introduction and tell us what the heck is Y Digital Agency?

Adam Durfee  0:33

Certainly, and I appreciate you having me on here Tyler. So I’m Adam Durfee. I’m the managing director and founder of Y Digital Agency. I’m about a 10 year digital marketing, digital advertising professional, who a few years ago, recognized a need for digital marketing and digital advertising as a more individual niche to be brought into the higher ed space. So [I] worked with my alma mater, Brigham Young University, and started up a program here and that program is called Y Digital Agency now part of the reason that we are an agency is because we sort of brainstormed “How do we teach digital marketing and digital advertising?” Which is a pretty, a pretty fast moving fast adjusting field. How do you teach that in a higher ed-type space? Does this work in a classroom with curriculums that take years to update ultimately decided that would be pretty tough. So we wanted to create something where we could work with real clients, and work on real projects at the speed the industry moves at. So we have a system. We bring students in to work with us more like an on campus internship. And we work on real clients [and] real projects for real brands. So we work with Subaru, Marriott, Disney Feature films, the NBA, Mountain Dew, etc. Doing some pretty high level projects, we put the students in the driver’s seats, and help them help them, I guess, practice how to help them learn how all this works, and do some really good career prep for them.

Tyler Jacobson  1:57

Okay, so how, like, you just opened up a whole bunch of questions for me…how do you recruit people that they work with? Is this a credit course? Or is it more of an internship? How does that structure work?

Adam Durfee  2:12

Yeah, so the structure is really, really unique. It’s part of what makes us special. So this is a four credit opportunity with limited enrollment. So we have students who will take basic research classes, basic writing classes, basic media essentials and knowledge classes. They give them some basic skills and their standard classrooms. And then they apply for what works out to be the three credit internship concept. And if they’re accepted, they come into our space, we put them into student teams. So every student team is led by a student account executive, that’s a student who’s been in the program for at least one year already. So they have a lot of experience under their belts in the various service practices. We do SEO, content marketing, digital advertising, paid search, and social etc. And then there’s sort of mid-level management, we call those our assistant account executives our AA’s. They’ve been in the program, at least one semester, sometimes two, as well. And then some new students get distributed amongst these groups of experienced students. So we can kind of create a student mentoring-based concept. But it all is for credit. These poor students work their tails off or for just the same three credits that you might get for taking, I don’t know, bowling classes or something else.

Tyler Jacobson  3:18

So what services are you providing? Because you said that you actually have customers that you serve?

Adam Durfee  3:24


Tyler Jacobson  3:24

And then you gave a couple of examples? What specifically are they doing for them? And how has that worked out?

Adam Durfee  3:32

Yeah, you’re exactly right. So part of the blessing and the curse, I suppose, of being a pilot program, is we had to find our own funding. And so we are a self-funded organization inside of the university, funded by client revenues and, and donor dollars. So when we engage with clients, they do pay our students as you’d pay any marketing agency to do work for you. What makes us a little more unique, I suppose, is that our contracts instead of being long monthly retainers for years in the future, we stick to four month blocks. So one semester at a time you hire our students and work with us. And we’ve done all sorts of really neat, really compelling projects. We did a project with Hard Rock Cafe where our goal was to look at what was said about Hard Rock Cafe online and help them determine Okay, how do we reorganize Hard Rock Cafe restaurants? How do we put the things in there that get people to take Instagram photos or Snapchat or Tik Tok? How do we get people to engage with our brand to put online because that counts as free advertising for us? We’ve worked with other other large companies, Marriott for booking seasons to “Okay, during travel and tourist season, how can we increase the awareness in the booking numbers directly through Marriott instead of through third party partners like Expedia or others?”. The idea is our students get to be this sort of think tank that companies can visit. Another large company and unfortunately under NDA, I can’t tell you too much about that one. But another large company, he came to us he said…large clothing company that most people have worked with and they said “We want to start selling on Snapchat. Is that even possible? Do SnapChat ads work? We don’t have Snapchat experts in house, we do a lot on Instagram and on Facebook and Google.” And so our students got to spend four months thinking of this pretty cool Snapchat campaign that we then got advertising dollars for launched, tracked all those results and turned out a pretty significant ROI for the client. And those are the sorts of things. So it’s really, really compelling, interesting work, where clients realize that the value of an idea can be had by anybody. You don’t have to be a seasoned professional to have a good idea. seasoned professionals are just better at executing. And so that’s where I come in to help teach them that execution side. But our students will sit around, take this problem, brainstorm, think and come up with some really, really interesting projects that ultimately we get paid for. And that money comes back around. It funds back who we are, and keeps us in business and keeps us educating students.

Tyler Jacobson  5:53

I think you will already largely answered the question, but that was one where you’re referencing companies that have their own marketing groups that are probably very well funded and have a depth of experience. So what is it that they’re getting from a college program that they’re missing in house? And you did mention that they didn’t have any experience on certain platforms? Is that where most of it’s coming from? Or is it you know…what’s their incentive to pay you guys to do that work?

Adam Durfee  6:25

Some degree of it is a new platform, new media, that definitely helps. But a big chunk of it is new brains, new ideas. And I don’t know all of your background, or the background of those who listen to this. But we all understand that in a corporate environment, we start to figure out where the red tape is, where the lines are. Okay, all the ideas and the campaigns, the interesting things I want to do, they’re going to bump up against this barrier or that barrier. Our students don’t know those barriers. Our students don’t understand that, “Oh, yeah, Subaru only works with dogs and commercials,” or whatever. We don’t know all of these things. And so in that case, we bring I think, novel, new and maybe out of the corporate line, ideas to the table. And sometimes those get funded. And that’s something you do I mean, I think most people probably are audio here. But if you’re on video, you’re able to see that behind me we’ve got a whole bunch of awards. We won 17 state national advertising awards, and all of them, I don’t think, have got better execution than any of these industry professionals were talking about, right? They’re more talented or more skilled anyway. What you’re seeing these awards for is just truly novel ideas, things that companies haven’t thought of before, that maybe that our way of thinking or the boxes we put ourselves into in a corporate environment, just don’t allow us to think of them. But students come in unhindered. They just think: “Wouldn’t this be cool,”. I mean, our whole classroom is whiteboards, every wall, rolling ones, every window, everything can be written on, because the idea is, every idea deserves to be recorded. It’s sort of an idea that we have here really tightly because we want to know [about those ideas]. One of these things is going to stick. And when that idea hits, we want to lean full into it for four months and put everything we can behind it.

Tyler Jacobson  8:00

I have also seen that in many of the companies that I work with is there’s a general idea of what the company has done in the past that does outline what you’re more likely to do moving forward and releasing yourself from that and having somebody that is not afraid of saying or doing something that overshadows what their predecessors have done, may have great value there. So you had mentioned that it’s a competitive program. What is it that sets a student apart to be part of your program versus those that still have more to accomplish before they’re ready? 

Adam Durfee  8:46

And that’s a good question. And that, candidly, is one of the things I get asked the most inside of our own university. Right? How are we making these selections? We sort of joke about Y Digital’s got 32 students, and we have 32,000 students at BYU. And so you’re truly one in 1000, if you get into our program. And in some ways, that’s probably a little more tongue in cheek than maybe it needs to be. But what makes the students stand apart for me, especially in an education space, is I want a desire to do this long term from a student. So we get, you know, 80, 100, 120 applications or so every semester. And as those pour in, and I look at them, myself and my management team go over them together, we all look the blind actually, which is maybe an important part about this. My management team goes in for me, and they block out all names and all majors and all things from resumes. And so we end up reading resumes and cover letters and score them all blindly. But a lot of what we look for is what’s your desire to be part of this digital marketing and digital advertising industry? Because at the end of the day, the students say, “Oh, I hear that there’s some cool clients and I might be able to get a job.” I can get maybe a little bit nervous about that, because I’ve got limited spots for people. And if the goal here is “Hey, I want to throw something cool on my portfolio. Maybe that’ll help me one day,” less interesting to me than a student who says, “Listen, I may not know very much. But I think SEO is amazing, or I think social listening is incredible, or man, I’d love to get into paid Instagram,” something like that means a lot to me. Because I know if a student comes to me and says that this is their desire, this is the thing they care the most about. They want to work professionally in the space that I know they’re going to come and put in time, I’m going to see him in my classroom every single day working on something. So any lack of skills that’s on me, my job is to teach the students the skills and so you don’t have to have maybe all that many skills when you come work with me, you just have to want to learn it. Because if you’re there long enough, I believe in myself, I believe in my senior students, I believe in our ability to tutor students, mentor students and help them learn the hard skills they need.

Tyler Jacobson  10:41

It also seems like where you are working with actual customers and actual clients, that it’s now bridging from theoretical to application knowledge, which means that you’re establishing a reputation for Y Digital Agency as an actual agency, which means that you’d want to be pretty selective and pretty careful about who you bring on. Because you’re building your reputation as more than just a class, you’re building a reputation as a service provider. So that is very interesting. Is that something that you’re looking at expanding down the road? Or is 32 kind of your sweet spot?

Adam Durfee  11:21

Oh, man, you’ve hit such a cool spot in my life. To answer your first piece of this: yes, we are a standalone brand. In fact, we’ve got mouse pads, we’ve got mugs, we’ve got shirts, we have the custom face masks for our pandemic, we everything we’re Y Digital is a standalone brand. We’re very proud of it. That brand itself, at least we don’t do…I don’t do a lot of sales anymore. I’ve got more companies who want to work with us than we have the ability to work with. So now it’s kind of fun that a few months in advance, I’ll just get stacks of emails in people saying, “Hey, we have a cool project you want to help us with.” So that’s been neat. We’ve had 100% job placement three years in a row. We have more recruiters than we have students, the student graduates, because you’re right that we have a brand entity. We’ve got a perfect five stars on our Google reviews, right? We’ve done this great job, I’m really proud of it. As far as expansion goes: our goal is to expand. Programs like this don’t need to be limited to exclusively small sets of students. But I said at the caveat: they do have to be adapted. So officially Y Digital actually has 40 students. I know I like to bring the 32 number in because it’s sort of a fun 32 out of 32,000. We have 32 base-level students. We have four interns. Interns are underclassmen, we bring in for one semester. (Sorry I got someone knocking on my door). For one term. So eight weeks, those are our interns. And then we’ve got four students who are paid, and that’s our top level account executives. So it is actually 40 in our program. But what we’ve looked at and discovered as we get into this is we want to expand this. We want to have sort of: picture like your high school sports. We’re gonna have a JV team as well, we want to have a freshman team and have a development squad. We want to have a G-league if we’re the NBA. The idea really is that the sky’s the limit for this program. I like the situation where you can bring in 100, 200, even 300 students into this, but we have to adapt that experience all along the way. A big part of this is a resource, right? You know a lot about resource deployment, resource management in sort of your line of work. And that’s a big piece of it. How many resources do we have available to us? What are our software packages? What’s our teaching capacity? How many professionals can we get to help us? And then build teams out to say, “Hey, listen, if you’re a sophomore in our university, and you’re excited to do this, we’re going to put you on spec projects, you’re going to work and pretend that you work for Dannon yogurt or for Cheerios,” or something like that. And you are going to put together a spec project and then maybe the next year up as a junior, we’re gonna say, “Okay, you’re gonna work with campus and local entities. You’re gonna help work with our BYU athletics program or with a local startup or something else, get your feet wet. And then we’re gonna take our top tier seniors, maybe what’s sort of currently our top 40 kids and say, “You guys are the ones who are going to get to work with the NBA, or HGTV or Coca Cola.” And so that sort of idea for me, is how this thing expands. And honestly, is the dream, right? If you get years down the road, that’s how we develop a system that is all encompassing and lets all people in. But you do have to cater that experience based on the student’s appetite and ability to perform for some of these clients.

Tyler Jacobson  14:22

So you mentioned 100% job placement. Is that with the companies that they were working for, or is it just people kind of saying, “Hey, who’s the talent that you have that is rising to the top?”

Adam Durfee  14:35

C, all of the above. So at the end of every semester of work, almost without exception, the companies you’ve worked with will almost always want to hire and usually they’re AE, their student who’s sort of been their team lead and their liaison, those students get gobbled up super quickly. But then we have other companies, digital ad agencies, larger scale companies. Google has set up shop here and takes two of our students every couple weeks, like every year. It’s been this cool thing and what we do is we have a recruiting fair, where we have…we call it our senior showcase, our senior students will come and showcase what they do. And recruiters will fly themselves to campus on their own dollars. And they will come and watch the students network with them, talk with them and have dinner. And by the end of that our students just are getting gobbled up. I mean, last year, we had a virtual of course, kind of a pandemic, but a virtual recruiting fair, I think we had 27 or 28. That’s right, close to the right number of recruiters we had, and we only had like 17 kids graduating from the program at the time. And so it’s just, that’s cool. That’s cool to me, it sings of the need for expansion, but at the same time, that’s incredible to think to myself, “We’ve got people flying in from New York and Boston and Pittsburgh and LA and Seattle because they’ve heard of this ‘Y Digital’ thing. They believe what these students can do, they believe in their reputations, and they want a part of it. And I think that’s incredible.

Tyler Jacobson  15:54

So this all seems fantastic when I hear the story after you’ve gotten it up and running. So how did this happen? How did this originate? Like, when did you have the idea? And what challenges did you face in getting other people to see the vision? Because now it seems obvious that it makes sense. But that probably wasn’t always the case. 

Adam Durfee  16:16

No, the story is sort of fun. And fantastic is probably a good word. And it’s another sense. It’s a fantastic story and I can’t believe it happened. This was born on a Red Robin napkin in Sacramento, California. I was sort of toying with the idea of creating this and thought “This can’t work, this can’t work.” And, so I started laying out a pros and cons list and then sort of started drawing up a structure…I wish I had that napkin, right? Wish I could hang it in a frame in my office now. Eventually, I started drawing out like an org chart and figuring out how this could work. And then finally flew to Utah, met with the director here at the school and said, “Let’s try it. Let’s give it a go.” It’s my first day of work. I showed up and I sat in an empty room, no furniture, no students, no clients, no projects, no anything, just this big, empty room. [I remember] sitting there and at one point, the director came down. He’s like, “Hey, Adam, welcome to your first day. You want to go to lunch?” And I was like, “I’m doing nothing. So it sounds great.” And so we got to lunch. He’s like, how’s your first day? And I said, honestly, I don’t know. Like it’s maybe what a true entrepreneur feels when they’re sitting in their basement staring at a blank wall and say, “Well, somehow this has to become a company. And so pretty soon, I pitched the idea around to a few folks, we got some donors and some companies that believed in the idea. They gave us some money to outfit our space with TVs, whiteboard, software, all the things that you probably need to get started. I put out basically an ad at the university and said, “Hey, I’ve got this crazy idea. It’s never happened before. But if you want to be part of it, like I’d love to have you.” And I had five students show up on a day. And so I worked some old contacts of mine. And we got a project with Major League Baseball, for just a couple of games to do some work for them. And so I had these five students working on this project and thought, “Oh, this is cool.” And then word got around and the following semester, I had, I don’t know, 20 ish kids that want to be part of it. And then I had this idea. And this probably has never been recorded ever before. So this is a fun exclusive, maybe. But I had this idea that I wanted this to be cool. And I decided the only way to be cool if I just told people it was. So the following semester, I decided it was going to be limited enrollment, even though I only have like 20 kids. And I just said, “Hey, this is limited enrollment. There’s not enough space for all of you to be part of this. So like if you want to get in, I need a resume, I need a cover letter, I need it by this day. And by the way, you probably won’t get it in anyway.” I just threw that out into an ad to see how it would work. And I got like 60 applications just like that. So as soon as this thing all of a sudden became exclusive, or cool or whatever, right? Just the…I don’t know, a prayer of faith, [with] a shot in the dark on that. That’s how it started to grow. And then I did a lot of hustle work behind the scenes. I did a lot of flying at the time and went to a lot of big agencies, a lot of big companies. I put together a whole pitch deck, I was a salesman with no commission, and I pitched my students, I pitched our program, I convinced people to invest in us to hire us to do stuff and sort of, I don’t know, just sort of made this dream we had become something real. And it’s finally at the point where I’m able to go home at reasonable hours of the day. I mean, I left last night at 8:30pm. That’s a big win for me. Because this has been sort of a one man top operation as far as the day to day running of it. But we’re at the point now where I think I said that the companies started calling us. Recruiters are even flying themselves here, and we’re building this machine of it [that’s] becoming self-sustaining. Our senior students are smarter than they’ve ever been before. And that helps me so much on the teaching load side because now they’re helping to mentor our younger students. And it’s moving, moving, moving. I mean, we just got notification, in fact just a few days ago, that we’ve been shortlisted for a global marketing award. And so we’re crossing our fingers in July when the winners are announced that will be on that list and we’re really excited because it just seems that every year the students are getting smarter, sharper and harder working or doing something that we’ve never done before.

Tyler Jacobson  20:04

So you’re on the shortlist for a global marketing award. Who are they in competition with? Is it other universities? Is it the actual marketing companies? Who are they competing with?

Adam Durfee  20:16

Great question. So the ones you see here behind me, these are all professional awards. So we’ve beaten actual, like professional agencies for these, which is really, really fun. This one in particular, this global one is done by the global online marketing and academics committee, they’re based out of Belgium. And they basically are looking at all academic programs in the world, how they teach marketing, and then students compete in a global competition. So they get clients, they create stuff, they turn in portfolios, etc. And we got notification that we’re going to be shortlisted for, possibly winning on that. And so that would make us anywhere from the best to at least a top 10 online marketing program on planet Earth. And that’s, that’s pretty cool for this idea that was a Red Robin napkin four years ago.

Tyler Jacobson  21:03

So are there other programs that are kind of picking this up? Or is this something that others are seeing the vision has, has the word spreading outside of like BYU?

Adam Durfee  21:14

I have not probably gone a full 30 day cycle in the past two years without another university reaching out. Asking about “Well, how does this work? How did you get started? How do we make this work ourselves? Would you be willing to come run this? Do you want to come teach us? Can we come visit, etc.?” This is what we’ve done here is catching on in the academic space at a fairly rapid rate. I don’t know for good or for bad, right? The teacher in me says it’s a great thing that students all over the country are getting this really valuable education. The businessman and professional and I don’t like the competition in the space. But you know, it’s a mixed bag. But it is cool to see that we are looked at as the standard in this space, at least in the United States.

Tyler Jacobson  21:56

So when you were getting started, you mentioned, you know, prioritizing the equipment that you need. If you were to be starting one from scratch all over again, what are the first…what are the first resources that you would need in order to be up and functioning quickly?

Adam Durfee  22:14

Yeah, so I don’t know if this is the exact answer that people listening to this will want. But I’ll say that…you have the professional tools you have to have. And you’d say you would need those to get up and running and talk with those in a second. But I actually think because you’re working with students, and aesthetics and atmosphere and vibe, as the kids would say, is such a big deal that I actually think this is going to once again, contrary to what most people are thinking. I actually think you have to have a classroom space, first and foremost, that looks like you take yourself seriously. Our space here has got couches, whiteboards everywhere, we have eight TV screens in the front, a big media wall. I got a big scoreboard off of an old stadium. That’s our project management board [where we list] our clients and our student teams and leads and assignments and all that stuff. It helps because students come into our classroom, they don’t see desks and chairs, and they don’t see a projector screen and the podium and all the things you’d expect to see in a classroom. They come in and the vibe is instantly different. Right? We have a time clock. You come in and you clock in because you’re at work now. And I think that’s really important in a student setting because we have to tell the students, “You’re not a student here, you’re an employee, you’re a young professional.” And if I can’t make that mentality shift, then no amount of software, anything else will change them. But once I’ve got that vibe in the right spot, then we’re moving into “What do we need to do our jobs?” And we focus heavily in the SEO space, the paid search and social space, the content marketing space, in the social listening space. We’ve had very generous software partners that either donate software or give it to us at a great rate. We work with Synthesio, the Brandwatch suite of tools, BuzzSumo, AHRefs, Screaming Frog, right? Obviously, the Adobe Suite, those sorts of things are pretty important to us. As far as what you need to really get started. It’d really be good picking one or two of those services, I think that you want to start with. We obviously offer four or five and six different services to clients at times. But that’s where I am a little more mature now four years into this and have had a greater breadth of student understanding and ability to perform projects in that many industries and spaces.

Tyler Jacobson  24:23

That’s a trend that we actually have seen in several other areas like eSports and things like that. One of the first considerations is “make the students feel comfortable.” And they’re not going to feel comfortable in the same old lecture hall that their parents went to school in. And so having couches and places where they can feel creative and feel at home and relaxed, but also have all of the resources that they need in order to accomplish the task is something that’s gaining a lot more attention and a lot more emphasis which I think is great because when I was in school, I probably would have spent more time in the computer lab, if a computer lab wasn’t just flat desks with computers on it. I probably would have spent more time hanging out and staying near the resources that I needed if they were just more pleasant to be around.

Adam Durfee  25:18

You’re exactly right, Tyler and it’s sort of as I said: it’s funny because I don’t think that’s the thing most people think of, especially in a practical way. You know, I’m on narrow dollars, how do I get this started. But we have to create that for students, we have to tell them that we believe and invest in what we’re trying to do here. I mean, as far as lab space goes, right? You come into our agency space, and we’ve got a creative corner. So that’s where we’ve got all the machines that we use for graphic design and video production and all of those. We’ve got a media free brainstorm nook, where we’re just…that’s the wall to wall whiteboard one where all we do is write on everything. We have our social listening center called our Carroll Digital Media Studio, that’s up at the front where we have eight TVs that are loaded with all the software. [Sorry 8] computers [with] big screens that are [loaded with all] the software we need to do social listening, and that sort of thing. Then on the sides are banks with additional machines that work for data analytics and analysis. And so rather than just say, “Here’s banks have computers on flat desks” or whatever, like “Sit down and face forward,” we’ve thoughtfully designed this to say, “Okay, what do we do in each area of this room? What are our departments inside an agency? How would they set up their machines? How would they set up their software packages? And how can we make students feel like this is what the real world might actually look like?” Designing spaces to mimic real-world locations is just so much smarter. Our entire social listening center is based off of M Live at Marriott in Bethesda, right? They gave us a donation to help start this and we flew out there, took a look at what they’re doing. We want to mimic that because it’s good enough for Marriott, it’s good enough for us. And I think that sort of concept can really change the way that a lot of educators and administrators look at how to set up modern education spaces.

Tyler Jacobson  26:55

So you mentioned that the overall direction is kind of mimicking a corporation. And in corporations people have different objectives and different roles and responsibilities. So do you assign students a specific role or responsibility or just kind of see what they gravitate towards?

Adam Durfee  27:15

Good question. I love to say that we are professional prep and corporate prep in every way possible. We do have a few differences. One of those is the fact that it’s education. So I pretty much, and I’ll say this word carefully, because it has a negative connotation of 2021. But I pretty much forced our students to try all of our different services. And that’s because I think that part of the beauty of education is to allow students to find what they want to do in a less pressure environment. So we have four core teams on our team. We have a search and optimization team, a content marketing team, a paid search and social team and a social listening team. And our students, if they get in early, will do four semesters in our program. I try to rotate them through each of those four core services as part of that program. My hope being that once they’ve experienced those four, they can come back to me and say, “Wow, I loved this one the most.” And I can help pair them with a recruiter in that space. So there’s a little bit different than a standard corporation where we might be an entry level online media buyer, you might be an SEO specialist or something like that. We do try to give our students a more broad experience, which also helps to prepare them for their second jobs, not just their first jobs, because as you sort of raise the ladder and turn into managers you need to understand how more functions of a company works. And so we want them to have at least some experience in the different functions of this industry.

Tyler Jacobson  28:33

I agree entirely that education is an excellent opportunity to focus on things you’re interested in, but also open the prospects to things that you hadn’t previously considered. So it sounds like you guys have been very successful in doing that. Were there any challenges along the road that you just didn’t foresee?

Adam Durfee  28:56

Yeah, a part of this, for me is probably…a right if your listeners are higher ed people that probably listen to this and laugh at me and then realize my ignorance. But I’m willing to do that. I’ve got a lot of big successes. So I can admit my failures as well. I don’t think I quite understood the gravity of the class curriculum. And its ability to support and cement in a lab environment, right? I came here with this idea that, “Hey, this is going to be our curriculum, we’re going to teach this stuff live.” We have skill shops, we call them [where] we teach you the skills you need every week. And then we have our staff meetings and our work meetings and all the things we do for clients, and that’ll work. But you don’t realize the value of having a curriculum to back it up that when these students start to learn, do Google Analytics and do ads training and do content marketing and SEO technical training in classrooms, they come down smarter. And what we can do in the lab increases just that much more. And so as I sort of look back, I realized that we spent too long trying to teach all of these skills in a lab, whereas it would have been a lot better to partner up with a few additional faculty members and say, “Okay, how can we build these things in the classrooms? Can you send these students who can start at the 201 or 301 level instead of the 101 level, when they actually are faced with a real client project?”

Tyler Jacobson  30:07

Excellent. It sounds like it’s a wonderful program that people are already starting to see the vision globally. So I appreciate you spending the time with us and outlining it. There are things that I wish that things that were similar were available when I was in school. Thank you for joining us. 

Adam Durfee  30:26

Yeah, no problem. I appreciate it. 

Tyler Jacobson  30:29

That’s all for today’s episode of LabChats. Be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified when a new LabChats episode is posted each week. We’ll see you next time.


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