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Meet the Masters – A discussion with Professor Ted Zoller regarding the future of higher education and the costs associated with it in a post-pandemic world ​

Important Informaation:

  • Higher education is going through its entrepreneurial phase that is creating new business models
  • Residential universities will have segmentation – pure residential, residential hybrid and pure distance.
  • Education unbundled from degrees to create T shaped learners – which are people who learn something deeply but also have a wider perspective on things that they can do
  • Bifurcation between teaching, resources and research resources – a curriculum of general education and hyper-specialized importantly actionable education that employers want.  
  • Private, big name colleges will remain expensive but overall education costs will come down due to competition and new education business models.
  • The half-life of education is getting shorter – your children will have to save for educational products out of their income to upgrade their career

Higher Education and skills will become MORE valuable in our society. College savings programs like 529 accounts can be a key way to save for ongoing educational needs of children and grandchildren

Hey everybody.  This is Trevor Chambers from the Olde Raleigh Financial Group.  Once again, we continue on our path.  One more entry into the blog, A Soundtrack to an Advisors Life, and Meet the Masters series.  Today, I am so happy to have Ted Zoller, professor Ted Zoller.  He’s the T.W. Lewis clinical professor of strategy at the Kenan-Flagler Business School.  Ted, how are you today?

TED ZOLLER:   I’m doing great, Trev.  Thanks so much for having me.

CHAMBERS:   I appreciate you coming out.  I know you’re necks a little jammed so I appreciate that.  We’re getting old.

ZOLLER:   We are getting old.

CHAMBERS:   But, wiser.  So, Ted, I have you on the show.  You’re actually my first repeat guest.  About a year ago –

ZOLLER:   I’m honored.  

CHAMBERS:   Thank you. 

ZOLLER:   You must be reaching the bottom of the barrel.  That’s what I’m thinking.

CHAMBERS:   No, no, no, no.  I – but I met you, help me out with this stuff.  So, you know, over here at Olde Raleigh Financial Group, guess you can tell by the name, we do a little financial planning, right.  And one thing that parents and grandparents often talk about is college education.  And the – and college.  And getting the kids in and I’m going through that right now.  And how do we save for it and all this stuff.  No better person could I talk to, I think, about the business model of college and the state of the art and where are we going?  Especially after this past year.  So, Ted, tell me.  Give me some insights.  Let our listeners know what’s going on.

ZOLLER:   Well, you know, it’s amazing what kind of transformations going on now.  I think it’s accelerated because of COVID.  The move to online education and, you know, a lot of us including yourself, Trev, think about, you know, those wonderful years you had at – in your undergraduate days and maybe your graduate school where you, you know, you were on a residential campus.  You went to physical classrooms with physical professors and you had more fun outside of class obviously than you did inside of class.  But things are going to change pretty dramatically.  You know, going back, you know, since we’re just harkening to the old days.  Remember those days, Trevor, of being at Blockbuster and getting a video?

CHAMBERS:   Oh yeah.  Yes.  Fun.  Fun.

ZOLLER:   Do you remember, I bet you had a newspaper route or remember your old man sitting and watching the newspaper.

CHAMBERS:   I actually still have a paper route, Ted.

ZOLLER:   Yeah, I’m sure.  All of us do.

CHAMBERS:   I get up every morning.  Yes, I had one, yes.

ZOLLER:   And remember actually going to the grocery store to get your food as opposed to it being delivered in bags on your front porch.  Well, guess what?  Those kinds of changes are now entering into the higher ed industry in a pretty massive way.  So, what we remember and what we know of higher ed, you know, and Gen X or in the boomer period is going to give way to a whole new model that will influence, you know, how your kids and your grandchildren will actually experience education.  And I think it’s going to be very positive but it’s going to be an extraordinary change of the same magnitude that we’ve seen those three industries go through.  Largely, it’s a function of two things.  One is we have a record number of people needing education and there’s a goal for education to be more highly democratized.  And the second factor is education has gotten too expensive.  And we’ve got to figure out a way to reduce cost.  So, the business model of higher education is going to go through considerable changes.  I just finished a little study for the US Competitiveness council, which is the group that of all the fortune 500 CEO’s.  And we started to see the real implication of what online education is going to do to our higher education institutions and how that industry which is so vibrant in the United States will go through a massive change.  But it has massive implications for people saving for college because, you know, your product is going to go through, I think, a pretty substantial transformation during the next several years.  

CHAMBERS:   Wow.

ZOLLER:   I’ll stop there, Trev, so, you know. 

CHAMBERS:   No, no.

ZOLLER:   I don’t want to fill up all the air with my noise.

CHAMBERS:   No, no, no, no.  So, what do you think is the most important – most likely change, pragmatic change that we could see?

ZOLLER:   Yeah.  It’s fascinating.  Residential universities are going to go through kind of a little bit of a segmentation.  You know, over the last 30 years Universities have grown, and grown, and grown.  Largely because, you know, the need to educate people has expanded.  You know, as demographics has changed, more people are going to college now than ever before and this all very positive for our society.  But, new ways, new pedagogy, new curricula are being developed online that will deliver the same educational content albeit not on a campus type of framework.  And you’re going to start to see new business models offered where there will be pure residential, there will be residential hybrid, they’ll be pure distance and there will be educational products that will be available that wouldn’t involve you going on to a college campus.  We’re already seeing that in the delivery mechanisms.  It’s a fascinating change that’s occurring.  And, you know, I think it could be a very positive thing but it will be very disruptive to the economic model of higher education which is really born on now a tuition paying students who are resident in a residential college environment.  So, it’s going to be a massive fiscal reality that Universities are going to have to rationalize.  

CHAMBERS:   And you’re almost going to create two different or maybe three different, I mean, the on-campus experience is the on-campus experience.  You know what I mean?

ZOLLER:   It is.

CHAMBERS:   And all –

ZOLLER:   Yes, it’s hard to replace.  You can’t replace it.

CHAMBERS:   Hard to replace and so, you know, is there – do you pay less for the online, I assume?  And how – how dramatically, you know, who knows, I mean, right?  But, and also, you know, if you go and get a job, let’s say a technical job, you know, computer engineering job. You’re starting salary is theoretically pretty high versus an English, which I love the liberal arts, don’t get me wrong, right.  But do you have to pay the same?  I mean, maybe I’m getting a nuance, but is that the same?

ZOLLER:   Well, all that – you’re bringing up a very good point.  You know, what are the outcomes that you could expect from an education and what you’re going to see is education unbundled from degrees.  You know, if you wanted to get an engineering degree, you go to an engineering school.  You’ll send your child to an engineering school.  They’ll become a mechanical engineer or electrical engineer or, you know, maybe a biomedical engineer.  But, in the future, I think, you’ll be able to develop knowledge online through taking courses online that would accumulate to that degree and they’ll be intermediate stops on the way.  For instance, the certifications or small specializations that would be cumulative maybe to the degree or it would complement the degree.  So, I think we’re going to see a greater degree of what I call T shaped learners, which are people who learn something deeply but also have a wider perspective on things that they can do.  So, I’m pretty bullish on the likelihood of education actually delivering on vocational and professional roles because I think education will be much more tailored in the future to those goals.  At the same time young people need to be educated and there is a social cultural aspect of living with one another on a campus that is part of growing up.  And I think it’s a big part of American ethnography.  As a matter of fact, I think that campus experience is built into the American phenomenon.  So, I have a feeling that what will happen is residential colleges will be, you know, in the liberal arts core, the four-year degree will be supplemented by online and there will be a number of opportunities to do hybrid types of offers.  But, in the residential campus will still probably be an ingredient but it won’t be the only way to get educated.  Let’s face it.  Not all kids are ready to go to college when they finish high school.  Some kids are not really cut out to consume, you know, a general education at the age 20.  Some are better positioned to really learn a technical background or a trade and I think that, that kind of education will be much more democratized, much more available to people in the future.  So, higher education as we see it, will still exist but it will be supplemented with whole new and different ways to access educational solutions for your goals.

CHAMBERS:   And much more, potentially much more targeted.

ZOLLER:   Very targeted.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   Very specialized.  You can think about the rosery of the future not just being your core education, you know.  Where you went to school, but specifically what you’ve learned, from whom, for what outcome?  And leering will be an ongoing process.  It’s not going to be limited to age 19 to 24.  It’s going to be a lifelong type of process and I think all the programs are moving in that direction.  That being said, because it is such a valuable and important part of our culture, I do believe a four year degree will still be a thing.  And the residential campus will still be a thing but it won’t be the only alternative people will have. 

CHAMBERS:   Got it.

ZOLLER:   And it may end up being segmented out that the four-year residential experience will be something that will be reserved for the people that are willing to pay the most.  But you had mentioned ironically, you would think online education would be cheaper.  Right now, because of the convenience factor, you’re seeing many educational products online more expensive.  A higher price than what you’re seeing in residential settings so, you know, time still will tell how the market is going to respond to these educational products and these brands.  You know, what you would pay for a certificate from Harvard will be different than what you would pay from your local community college.  So, you know, times are early to know how the pricing will settle and how the business model will kind of take form.

CHAMBERS:   Well, you also could – as far as the physical setting because of the past year’s events, there’s going to be some businesses, excuse me, colleges going out – theoretically going out of business.  At least that’s what I heard.  What’s the scoop on that?  And the reason why I ask that is we were talking about a supply and demand thing.  If we cut – (inaudible) offline, some colleges go offline, that’s going to cut the supply down and that might increase what’s left out there.  You know what I mean?  I don’t – but – what’s the scuttlebutt on that?   Are we losing and the colleges –

ZOLLER:   That’s real.  That’s absolutely real.  You know, if you could answer the question for me, what is the largest University in the United States right now granting degrees?  Any ideas?

CHAMBERS:   Granting degrees?  Universities?

ZOLLER:   Yeah.

CHAMBERS:   I don’t – State University of New York, I have no idea.

ZOLLER:   Yeah, I mean SUNY’s a big one.  Ohio State’s –

CHAMBERS:   California?

ZOLLER:   — a big one.  UT Austin.  The UC system.  Believe it or not, it’s Arizona State University.

CHAMBERS:   Oh, interesting.

ZOLLER:   And it’s because they’ve gone completely online.  They have more online – they have more learners granting degrees than any other institution in the country.

CHAMBERS:   Wow.

ZOLLER:   And they are affordable.  It’s an affordable path way to get an undergraduate degree.  And it’s a – it’s an actual bonafide University.  It’s a terrific degree.  You’re going to see pressure as the schools move more to online education providing equivalent products educationally than what you would see typically at a teaching institution.  Like your regional college or maybe even some of the things that are learned in the community college level.  While that work will be done in the online environment and you’ll see schools that have scholarship and innovation as part of their core probably seeking to invest even further in innovation and research and development to maintain kind of their research progress, is that they’re creating knowledge.  You know, big function of the university is to create knowledge not just educate.  So, you’re going to see kind of a bifurcation between teaching, resources and research resources and you’re going to find the big comprehensive research universities will still have a major teaching mission and will become very prominent and probably bigger, whereas the smaller teaching colleges will go through a fundamental inversion of their economic model that will result in many of them perhaps losing the opportunity to operate.  So, be looking out for this.  I think you’ll see a segmentation based on the quality of education and the positioning of the university and its situation.  No endowment, while there’s a historic growth of endowments over the last 20 years in the United States, no endowment will pay for the needs of a university continuing to operate indefinitely.  The only University in the country that could operate on its endowment without tuition and without its residential operations is Princeton University.  And they’ve amassed enough of an endowment to operate without any future money.  But most universities are not Princeton University. Most universities are being funded – their operations are funded only about 20 percent to 30 percent on their endowment base.

CHAMBERS:   Wow.  Ted, can you – would you have ever believed, I mean, you know this has got to be so interesting for you.  This – because it’s mashing up like education and entrepreneurism all like in one – gotta (sic) be so cool for you to watch.

ZOLLER:   Higher education is going through its entrepreneurial phase –

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   — and it’s like the church, you know.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   The church doesn’t move but it’s being compelled to move now.  And we’re seeing real leadership.  The first, you know, phase of this work was done by private corporations that were looking to develop online products and then some of them tried to buy universities and they were largely not very successful in doing that.  Now we’re seeing big partnerships being set up.  Major online education resources that are aligning with certain consort of universities and being their delivery platform to help them come up to speed technically, quickly and then offer their educational products online.  Now we’re talking about the business model of higher education but it has huge implications for, you know, savings and when you’re thinking about what tuition will look like in the future, the good news is, I hope that, and this might be, you know, if you’re recording this, you know, faithful last words but I think the cost of education will actually go down because there will be so many different alternatives, you know.  If supply and demand and competition work out the way I think it will, Universities will compete like mad for the students.  And they’ll be so many alternatives available that, you know, they’ll be winners and they’ll be losers.  

CHAMBERS:   I’d like to further go on the record.  Yes, Professor Zoller is being recorded and I will use this against you.  Anyway –

ZOLLER:   So, your clients are paying a million dollars for education — 

CHAMBERS:   Yeah. Yeah.

ZOLLER:   — bring this back up.  Ok.  Good deal.

CHAMBERS:   I would say that, you know, traditional, on-campus experience that so many families want their kids to be part of will actually increase –

ZOLLER:   Yes.

CHAMBERS:   — cost, right?

ZOLLER:   That’s right.

CHAMBERS:   And the Harvard’s and the Stanford’s will really increase in cost in that regards.

ZOLLER:   That’s right.

CHAMBERS:   But overall, yeah, you can have an a la carte, to use a restaurant term, situation where you, you know, you could say to your kid, hey look you can still go to school but here’s the menu of options that are just going to make sense for the budget.

ZOLLER:   Yeah.  You know, I gotta (sic) admit I’ve never been a big fan of, you know, elitism (sic) in higher ed, you know.

CHAMBERS:   Oh, no.  I get it.

ZOLLER:   Yeah, and the Ivy Leagues phenomenon is actually something I really have concerns about because it creates a have and have not and, you know, pretty soon there will be messages that certain degrees are worth more than other degrees.  Look, it’s a content of the education that boils down to the importance of it.  I think the experience is a different question all together and if a parent wants to send their child or a grandparent wants to send a child to a residential experience, you know, go through that experience which is an extraordinarily valuable experience, I think the market will ask you to pay for it.  And my sense is that it will create a bifurcated market between users/learners who acquire learning online over their lifetime versus those who have the privilege of being on campus and mixing it up hand to hand with the educators.  And probably paying a probably a greater percentage of their dollars for that opportunity.  I think though of all my friends who couldn’t go to college because they couldn’t afford it or all the kids that weren’t ready to go to college when they were 19.  I think the future looks really good for those kids because I think they’ll be able to take education as their life unfolds.  As their able to, you know, pay and they’ll also be able to consume education when they’re ready to really learn as opposed to being forced into a square hole when you’re a round peg.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.  I’ve got a nephew that just got AWS certified.  A couple certification levels for a couple hundred bucks and they guys like, you know, he’s going to go out and get a job immediately.  

ZOLLER:   You got it.  And that’s the future.  I think you’re going to see (inaudible).  At the same time, I think there’s a real commitment to liberal arts, you know.  I think that they’re, a lot of us realize that being well-educated and having a well-educated population is really a critical thing and there is something about just the basics of how to learn and thinking about the deeper questions in philosophy and the deeper questions in the way we manage our society.  Governance, law, issues around psychology and then all the health issues that, you know, I have a feeling that, you know, they’ll always be a liberal arts type of affinity.  At the same time, I think that educations going to become much more specialized.  It’s going to really boil down to if the educators are (inaudible) enough to actually design curriculum so that they can give a good general education but then be able to translate that into a hyperspecialized importantly actionable education that employers want.  So, finding that fit between a trained population and what we need to, you know, run our world.  And right now, I would argue that that fit’s not very good, you know.  

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   If I talk to my friends who are running businesses that are operating HVAC operations or plumbers, you know there are six figure plumbers out there right now because the market is so – so – they’re seeking people who can do the trades.  And there’s a lot of dignity in the trades.  We’ve got to realize that these are going to be technical jobs in the future.  They’re not, you know, another class of jobs that are just going to be other kinds of jobs.  So, I have a feeling that the distinction between white and blue collar is going to quickly fall away.  

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.  And there’s going to be a lot of people, unfortunately, left behind.  And there always is.

ZOLLER:   Yeah.  If we’re not smart about it then there will be.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   But I do think that we’re going to find solutions for people to really upscale and benefit from greater learning because that’s the great equalizer.  Education will always be the great equalizer.  If, you know, we just have to make it – make sure everyone has availability to it.

CHAMBERS:   Undoubtably.  And I whole heartedly agree with your, having like a humanities based or a broad-based, liberal arts based education is awesome.  And I think that – I think, you know, everybody go be textbook, you know, go into engineering.  Going to science and art.  And that’s all great.  But there’s, I’m telling you, there’s liberal arts.  My dad was in that space.  You know, my dad was a professor, as you know and so I get it.  You know, it’s huge.  And I (inaudible) that seems (inaudible).

ZOLLER:   I’m a business professor and you know, I don’t think on my death bed I’m going to be thinking about, you know, a balance sheet.  I’m pretty confident that I’ll be thinking about the broader issues that are important in a person’s life and, you know, it’s important that people mature and they put things in perspective and they understand how to critically analyze, you know, information so that they qualify that information, so it’s – it’s sound to make decisions on and I think many of the skills you learn in a general education are about just problem solving.  And being able to critically examine information.  At the same time, you know, we all have to have a skill and a trade that we can be productive with.  So, I think that the future looks good in relation to education matching future needs.  But in the meantime, we’re going to go through a really tough transformation as higher ed is dealing with this, you know, new normal of being online.  I’ve gone through it over the last year, literally moving all of my residential course work to online and I gotta (sic) tell you, it’s not as satisfying as a professor and as confidence, not as satisfying as an educator because I talk to my students about it.  But I do think that it’s a new normal.  It’s going – maybe not everything will be online but they’ll always be an ingredient of online in the future of higher education.

CHAMBERS:   So, the – to sum it all up, we – I think we both agree that we would – we may be entering a new business dynamic when it – if you will in college or maybe the beginnings of price changing dynamic.  And that has directly to do with savings.

ZOLLER:   Absolutely.

CHAMBERS:   You know, and so for all the grandparents and parents out there or soon to be parents, you know, take heed.  You still gotta (sic) save up your shekels if you can.  But –

ZOLLER:   I know so many middle-class parents who face that faithful decision when their loved one or child says, you know, I want to go to Swarthmore or I would really love to go to Dartmouth or I would really be enchanted by Yale.  And the good news is many of those top universities have scholarship programs that help equalize it based on the income of the parents but still in all, these prices are outrageous and, you know, we’re now asking parents to put away for private education a half million dollars and that’s – that’s out of whack.  So, I have a feeling that there will be segmentation of, you know, private offerings that will, you know, at probably remain expensive and then a blend of different types of offerings that will include I think the commitment to public education as well as online education that will help make education more affordable to others.  And also help students prepare for their future as, you know, a member of our society.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.  I mean, we tell people right now, for a state school it’s 25 a year, all in 26.  That’s kind of what you have to budget.

ZOLLER:   Yep.

CHAMBERS:   If they’re going to live on campus through the whole thing.

ZOLLER:   And you know they’re – you know you can actually see the ratings.  There are a number of universities that are well north of that and it’s –

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   — I think all higher educational leadership realizes this is an unsustainable trend.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   The cost of education has gone up faster than the cost of inflation and, you know, families can’t afford things and some are being priced out of the market.  Whereas others are completely in elastic, you know.  There are universities that can put any number on the tuition and if they admit someone, they will pay for it.  It’s unbelievable and frankly from my opinion, I don’t think they’re getting their monies worth.  Because you know the brand names aren’t always the best universities for giving discipline.  You have to be much more focused on whose there, teaching what and what are they doing today as opposed to what they did in the turn of the century.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.  And, but, you know, still people want to do it.  You know what I mean?  And then so –

ZOLLER:   Yeah.

CHAMBERS:   — if that’s what you want, you know, I help people to plan for that.  My firm does – that’s what we do.  And if that’s what you want to do, then here’s the reality of it.

ZOLLER:   That’s –

CHAMBERS:   I can literally map it out for you if you want, so.

ZOLLER:   I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t be banking your children’s trust fund right now because higher ed is going to go down, in Ted Zoller’s estimation.

CHAMBERS:   Right.

ZOLLER:   I think that if you want to send your kid to an elite school and scholarship aid is not available, you’re going to have to probably prepare for the same kind of cost we’re dealing with right now –

CHAMBERS:   Yep.

ZOLLER:   — for the foreseeable future.  And some of the trends I’m talking about are going to unfold over the next five to ten years and will present market opportunities for the people who would be buying and consuming higher ed.  So, there are many ways to, you know, position education for your child in the future and if you are committed to sending your kid to your alma mater or to some prestigious school, definitely save up.  It’s going to take every bit of your savings to help get through that process.  It’s part of life, you know.  I guess you spend the first five years of your marriage figuring out how you’re going to take care of your first baby then your second baby then your third baby.  Then you move to their teenage years where the prices of their toys go way, way up.  And then you have college tuition and then you have their weddings and then you have their, you know, all the things when they’re raising their children.  So, it never really ends.  I think the bottom line is the sound principles you’re seeing in your practice Trevor, are about the saving and targeting your money to the things you most care about.  And, you know, higher education in the short term probably is not going to, you know, be of high value.  In the long term, I think things look better.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   But again, I think lifelong right?

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   So, you have to think about saving for educational products throughout the duration of your career so many of the people who are in active earning positions will have to reserve a portion of their salaries and their income to take care of their educational needs to upscale.  Because boy the cycle, I gotta (sic) tell you, education – a half-life of education is never been shorter.  There’s more information and more new innovation occurring on a faster pace that’s almost impossible to keep up.  So, I do think that you’re going to return to the classroom pretty regularly to learn where things are going.

CHAMBERS:   I – I couldn’t agree more on that.  Absolutely your point.  But I think it’s kind of an interesting framing of the half-life and it’s true.  And well, I think, Ted, I think that’s just wonderful.  That is great information for us to talk about and really in depth.  I mean, I knew that you were going to knock that out of the park.  I knew –

ZOLLER:   Well, thanks.  Thanks, Trevor.  

CHAMBERS:   You’re my man to call.

ZOLLER:   At least I gave folks something to think about –

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   — and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds and as an educator, I really do believe that higher education is the key to a person’s future.  And you have to find the educational solution that’s right for your kid.  And, you know, there’s no one size fits all, you know.  Find the right model for your child as they develop and they’ll have a happy life.  That’s the bottom line.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.  And, hey listen, a college education, it’s definitely a huge value over your lifetime.  Every, I mean, not everyone knows that but I’m sure that Ted would agree with that.  I mean it is invaluable.  

ZOLLER:   Absolutely.  It is invaluable experience.  It’s something we cherish I think a great deal.  And I ‘m glad to know that there are people that are, you know, supporting with their philanthropy, universities because they think it’s money well spent.

CHAMBERS:   Yep.

ZOLLER:   Because you’re basically supporting your future.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.  Now, Ted –

ZOLLER:   Well, I hope this was helpful and –

CHAMBERS:   It was perfect and I couldn’t ask for anything more.  Can I just ask you one, now that I have you, I just want to ask one other non-related question?  Maybe it’s related, I don’t know.  Ted, you see a lot of cool startups and cool companies.

ZOLLER:   Oh my god.  It’s unbelievable.

CHAMBERS:   Tell me about one that’s, just one, no you can tell me two if you want, that’s just like, oh my god, this thing is — there’s gotta (sic) be some, because that’s your kind of calling card by the way.  If you want to know what’s going on on the margin and that’s probably going to be something, you know what I mean, like —

ZOLLER:   I don’t know if I can –

CHAMBERS:   Ted, give me a couple more minutes out of you, I’d appreciate it.

ZOLLER:   I’m not sure I can tell you the blockbuster but I will tell you I’m pretty excited about a project I just heard about this morning.  Four young undergraduates, they’re all sophomores at Carolina.  They’ve come up with a very simple technology to stick ultraviolet light in a water bottle and disinfect the water bottle.  And if you know, if you use a water bottle multiple times and especially if you consume it in all sorts of, you know, treats in there by way of bacteria.  And, you know, there are a bazillion reusable water bottles out there and I don’t know of any solution to sterilize them, so these young sophomores have come up with a solution to basically stick ultraviolet light in.  

(BREAK IN AUDIO 0:33:41.8 – 0:33:48.7)

ZOLLER:   On the longer term, what is fascinating is 20 years ago, I had a professor in my classroom who was interested in figuring out genetic therapy and he came up with a virus vector that would allow a gene therapy to be brought into drugs to change some humanities worst diseases.  

CHAMBERS:   Wow.

ZOLLER:   And do a gene editing and that company is called Ask Bio and Jude Samulski —

CHAMBERS:   Oh, yeah, yeah.  I just saw something about them the other day.  Very – yeah, okay cool.

ZOLLER:   That company started in my class 20 years ago and they just sold to Bayer for four billion dollars.

CHAMBERS:   Are you serious?

ZOLLER:   And that’s the tip of the iceberg for, you know, what could be a solution for all of us as were approaching our old age, we’ll have gene therapy.  You know, maybe someday I’ll die with hair as opposed to being bald like that.

CHAMBERS:   Ted, you better stop over those people right now and start working on that. Get – get something for me why you’re over there too.  I don’t know.

ZOLLER:   It’s exciting.  It’s an exciting time to be alive.  That’s for sure

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.  Well, so the plastic bottle things, that’s really, really cool and I appreciate the note to Ask Bio.  That’s — yeah, and right out of here.  I mean, Ask Bio, I mean, it’s just so many –

ZOLLER:   You know what it tells you is 20 years ago there was innovation and there’s innovation today and entrepreneurship is kinda (sic) the vehicle where these ideas take route.  And so, you know, I’m very bullish about the future.  We just have to solve some of our biggest problems and we go a lot.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah, and those companies either get acquired or become public companies that then become part of people’s portfolios.  So, this is –

ZOLLER:   That’s exactly right.

CHAMBERS:   — critical.

ZOLLER:   It’s wealth creation engine and –

CHAMBERS:   Yep.

ZOLLER:   — just very exciting to see the American innovation still traveling along and making, you know, new stories that we’ll be talking about for the next 20 years.

CHAMBERS:   Love it.  Perfect way to end.  Ted Zoller.

ZOLLER:   Great.

CHAMBERS:   Listen, brother, I hope you feel a little better.  You just, I mean, the half-life rubbed that thing down.  Put a little bit of ice on it.

ZOLLER:   We tried man, and it just made it worse.

CHAMBERS:   It was terrible.

ZOLLER:   I know.  It just will grab you and then put you on the ground.

CHAMBERS:   Yeah.

ZOLLER:   It’s amazing.

CHAMBERS:   Well, listen –

ZOLLER:   But I appreciate you working with me

Background Information:

Dr. Ted Zoller – Full Bio
An award-winning teacher, Dr. Zoller has helped develop entrepreneurs and the firms the ventures they initiated in his classes. His research focuses on developing high-performance entrepreneurial and investor networks and ecosystems and strategies that enhance the founding and growth performance of entrepreneurial firms. He is a liaison for the Business School to UNC’s [email protected] initiative and the Research Triangle entrepreneurial community. Dr. Zoller served as director of the Entrepreneurship Center at UNC Kenan-Flagler for 15 years and innovated the Learn-Launch-Lead pedagogical model which includes novel programs such as the Startup-UNC venture development program, Launch Chapel Hill Accelerator, Adams Apprenticeship and the BLUE Live-Learn Entrepreneurship Community. He received the School’s Roy W. Holsten Exceptional Service Award.

Trevor Chambers – Full Bio
Trevor joined Olde Raleigh Financial Services in January of 2015 and his primary role is new business development and marketing.  Prior to joining the firm, Trevor spent 12 years working at his family’s restaurant, Raleigh’s Bella Monica Cucina & Vino. “Exceptional service, no matter the industry, is paramount and we attract clients who value and take comfort in being taken care of.”