There are several problems, of course. One: you’d be mentored by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who’s only one of the most impressive (and likely scariest) web 2.0 people in all the land. Two: of 400 applicants, only 24 were picked.
The 24 ex-students, all under 20 years of age, presented their tech company ideas to Thiel and were selected to join his Thiel Fellows program. Some of the initiatives sound great so far – there’s Faheem Zaman, who’s building a mobile payments system for developing countries (and is only 18 years of age), and John Burnham who is doing what any 18 year old would love to do, working in the field of space – specifically by extracting minerals from comets and asteroids.
Instead of sending out a message that “everybody should drop out of college,” Thiel believes “you have a bubble whenever you have something that’s overvalued and intensely believed… In education, you have this clear price escalation without incredible improvement in the product. At the same time you have this incredible intensity of belief that this is what people have to do. In that way it seems very similar in some ways to the housing bubble and the tech bubble.”
A lot of parents are probably shaking their heads right about now, and hoping their school-age children don’t catch wind of Thiel’s comments, but as you no-doubt know, a lot of the most successful tech entrepreneurs – Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, even Twitter co-founder Evan Williams – dropped out of school early. There does some to be the running theme of opportunity, however – all these people met other people who helped them along into their careers. How rare is it that you actually meet the right person, who’s willing to give you a chance? [NYT]
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