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Entrepreneurship vs Education: Thiel Foundation and 20 Under 20
May 26, 2011 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Peter Thiel, co-founded PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, is granting $100,000 fellowships to not go to college, at least for a while. "We decided about 5 or 6 months ago to start up a program to try to identify 20 talented entrepreneurs, and give them a two year stipend to drop out of school, and to pursue their life's passions and see where that would go." The 20 Under 20 became 24 young people, the first group that the Thiel Foundation might save from the higher education bubble.
posted by filthy light thief (66 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'll take $100K to not go to work for a while. Any VCs out there?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:09 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lucky them. What do we do about the millions of people saddled with massive education debt?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:11 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


My left arm just went numb.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:11 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't go to college. Can I take mine retroactively?

So I can go to college.
posted by bondcliff at 1:14 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Lucky them. What do we do about the millions of people saddled with massive education debt?

Always remember to tip for good service.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:15 PM on May 26, 2011 [32 favorites]


OK, there is a big difference between dropping out of college (not the case here) and taking two years off.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:16 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I could stretch a hundred g's out for a while, I bet... Too bad I'm too old for this program.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:16 PM on May 26, 2011


I don't think it's much of a risk at all for these students. I would imagine that if you're one of the few selected for such a fellowship, and then opted to apply for re-entry to Harvard (or wherever had admitted you to begin with) you're an even stronger applicant. The same would go for those who had not yet applied to college.

My guess is that this group wouldn't be the group taking on large amounts of student debt, either, given their achievements. From looking at the profiles, several of these students are on an accelerated track, in that they're either already done or have completed part of their undergrad years by 18. Also, two young women? It really does seem like they could have done better than two.
posted by bizzyb at 1:17 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


What's hilarious is that, from reading their biographies, many of these young people were already either in college, or taking advanced courses at colleges. Which means Thiel isn't saving anyone from anything. It's just a tarted up, plain-jane fellowship, which happens every day at every college everywhere.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:18 PM on May 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


The irony here is that $100,000 would not even pay for two years of tuition (JUST TUITION) at NYU (for example).
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:19 PM on May 26, 2011


In my previous job, which because of the inherent incestuousness of Silicon Valley startups was very aware of Thiel, we got 3 kids to drop out of college to come work for us.

One went back after to school less than a year, has graduated now, has a normal job and a lot of debt.

The other one saved most of his salary for 2 years, enough to sustain himself for 18 months at least, quit to found his own startup with a friend, and now has funding and a promising company.

The third one kept working at it, vested most of his options, got lucky like the rest of us and now has a couple hundred thousand dollars to his name, at age 21.

The interesting thing is that the first two tried to keep a student lifestyle: crappy accommodations, crappy food, lots of beer and partying, lots of slacking and narrowly missed deadlines.

The other two worked way harder than any college student I know.

If the startup had failed, they would be fine, most of us had job offers lined up. Having worked at this startup for a couple years was way better in Silicon Valley than having an undergrad degree from one of the top universities. But it did not fail.

So yeah, good for Thiel and goof for the kids willing to take a risk. You only have to get lucky once, so risk early and risk often.
posted by Dr. Curare at 1:20 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


[snarky comment about why this is a terrible idea]
posted by desjardins at 1:21 PM on May 26, 2011


[another comment about how jealous I am]
posted by desjardins at 1:21 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


This feels a little disingenuous. Talented entrepreneurs have always been dropping out of school to pursue projects that promised a surer payoff (e.g., Bill Gates). Thiel might as well pay NFL draftees not to go to college. For those of us without definite, remunerable talents, post-secondary education is one of the very few ways to become financially independent. If someone taught me mathematical modeling and partial differential equations in high school, I might consider applying for the fellowship.
posted by Nomyte at 1:22 PM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I lolled at the guy who dropped out of the 4th year of his PhD at 19. That's one way of doing it, just pick people who've managed to finish college before 20.

All kidding aside, I really don't get the opprobrium towards this idea that I've been seeing around.

a) It's not like he's just giving people money to fuck around, they all have pretty clear plans for what they're going to do with the money
b) It's a totally valid point that not everyone needs to have the exact same 4 year post secondary education.

It's true that these kids would have succeeded regardless of college attendance (or anything, probably).

It is worth considering that if university education is now treated as a sort of weird Confucian civil service exam cum entry to white collar jobs, then it might be better to spend $100,000 starting a business. We could sit here and pretend that university education isn't a glorified white-collar certificate for most people these days but that would be grossly at odds with reality (alas).

For those of us without definite, remunerable talents, post-secondary education is one of the very few ways to become financially independent.

Very few people achieve financial independence before retirement age through salary work. That kind of outsize return typically requires equity in something that blows up big. Nothing wrong with that, the risk-reward for entrepreneurship isn't for everyone, but it is true.
posted by atrazine at 1:28 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dropped out of college to make a terrible, terrible movie. Can I get paid now?
posted by brundlefly at 1:28 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lucky them. What do we do about the millions of people saddled with massive education debt?

Give them the money and take the pizza.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:28 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


have always been dropping out of school to pursue projects that promised a surer payoff...

I think that is a mischaracterization of entrepreneurs. Its never "a sure thing", and most successful entrepreneurs have also tried, failed, and learned from those experiences. I'm willing to bet that pretty much everyone (myself included) has been in 'the right place at the right time', and simply failed in either execution, business sense, or were simply too lazy to go from idea to business.

Yeah, yeah, make fun of my name and whatnot. Wow, clever.
posted by H. Roark at 1:29 PM on May 26, 2011


"Andrew Hsu started doing research in a pathology lab when he was 10. By the time he was 12, he had matriculated at the University of Washington. Soon after, he graduated with honors degrees in neurobiology, biochemistry, and chemistry. He was a 19-year-old 4th-year neuroscience Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University when he left early this year to pursue his start-up, Airy Labs."

Wow. I thought that people like this only existed in disaster movies.
posted by Hicksu at 1:31 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, two women out of 24? Fail.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:33 PM on May 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah, yeah, make fun of my name and whatnot. Wow, clever.

What? I don't understand.

…oh, I understand now.

Wait, now I don't understand again. What was the point again?
posted by Nomyte at 1:34 PM on May 26, 2011


Also, two women out of 24? Fail.

Dammit, we need these quotas filled!!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:36 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]



we got 3 kids to drop out of college to come work for us.


The interesting thing is that the first two


The other two worked way harder

Your Math is no good mate, maybe you should have studied.


Yes, yes, the hard workers - it's a given you work hard btw, in my experience, the only people that come out with this chest beating about how hard they work are invariably from a rich, entitled background.


Anyway, I was going to say entrepreneur is the french word for wanker but i will try not to - I just find this idea that if only we could train more people to become disgustingly rich at the expense of others, then somehow society will be better off.... It's insane.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:36 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Time Traveler steps out of his time machine in the year 2021. He has a meeting with one of the participants in the Peter Thiel Fellowship.

"Thanks for meeting with me," the Time Traveler says. "I have just one question."
"Hit me," says the Thiel graduate.
"Why are there political tensions between the United States and China over the status of Taiwan?"
"What?"
"It's a simple question. Anyone that took some general education college courses would have taken a history class or two. Why are there political tensions between the United States and China over the status of Taiwan?"
"I don't see how this is relevant...?"
"China and the U.S. are economic superpowers. Each is the other's biggest trading partner. Why are there political tensions over the status of Taiwan?"
"I don't get it ... but ... free markets ..."
"This doesn't really have much to do with free markets. It's a historical and political question. What happened that pissed everyone off?"
"Uhh ... uhh ..."
"I mean, wouldn't you want to know this? So you can ... vote?"
"But ... I didn't go to college. I built a business instead."
"And that's great. We're very happy for you. Now I'm asking you a question about history so you're not doomed to repeat it."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:37 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I dropped out of college to make a terrible, terrible movie. Can I get paid now?

Ted Turner?!?!
posted by shakespeherian at 1:37 PM on May 26, 2011


Dr. Curare: In my previous job, which because of the inherent incestuousness of Silicon Valley startups was very aware of Thiel, we got 3 kids to drop out of college to come work for us.

The interesting thing is that the first two tried to keep a student lifestyle [...]

The other two worked way harder than any college student I know.

Well, guess we can scratch Dr. Curare off the fellowship candidates list...
posted by hincandenza at 1:39 PM on May 26, 2011


Cool Papa Bell Something something Chiang Kai Shek? (and I went to Unversity, twice!)

Given that not everybody will go to college anyways for lots of other reasons, and many of them grow up to be voters... Well, what's your point?
posted by selenized at 1:42 PM on May 26, 2011


Goddammit- not only did sgt.serenity beat me to the punch, but MeFi screwed up the blockquote tags somehow.

I hate my life...
posted by hincandenza at 1:43 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dropped out of college to work at a startup, that was bought by a publicly traded company trying to cash in on the first dot com boom, so I got to watch my stock go up by sometimes tens of thousands a day. By 2001 everyone was let go and shortly thereafter it was delisted. It was fun as hell, I wouldn't go back and do it differently.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:43 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nomyte: "Thiel might as well pay NFL draftees not to go to college. "

For the sake of the colleges, I certainly wouldn't be opposed to this.
posted by schmod at 1:45 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


On quick reflection, I agree with those who point out that 1) these are some really smart kids (taking college courses in THIRD GRADE? Crikey), so 2) their future financial burdens aren't likely to be that high vs what they will be making, and 3) this clearly isn't an option for the majority of students.

With that, I think the interesting thing here is that Thiel actually backed his talk about how the typical track of Higher Education isn't necessary for everyone by funding kids with big ideas. If nothing else, they'll provide 24 test cases of typical education tracks vs. trying out their big ideas. It'll make for some interesting follow-up stories in 2+ years.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:45 PM on May 26, 2011


Yeah, yeah, make fun of my name and whatnot. Wow, clever.

You're awfully surly for a guy who should be laughing.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:45 PM on May 26, 2011


Cool Papa Bell: "Thanks for meeting with me," the Time Traveler says. "I have just one question."
"Hit me," says the Thiel graduate.
"Why are there political tensions between the United States and China over the status of Taiwan?"

"Wait a moment" [pulls out smart phone, checks Wikipedia]....

Information isn't only available through colleges, and not all who go to college turn information into an education.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:47 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Given that not everybody will go to college anyways for lots of other reasons, and many of them grow up to be voters... Well, what's your point?

The root idea behind a liberal arts education, and a general education curriculum, is to create a well-rounded individual, which makes for a better society overall.

For example, while studying a hard science is wonderful, if you only studied the hard sciences, you'd be ignorant of a subject like history, and be likely to make bad, uninformed choices in other areas of your life.

You could have a Ph.D in physics but can't tell me why it's a bad idea to get involved in a land war in Asia. That's just terrible.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:47 PM on May 26, 2011


octobersurprise: You're awfully surly for a guy who should be laughing.

I think I missed the part in the Fountainhead where Howard was jovial and laughed at the foibles of life.

posted by filthy light thief at 1:48 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Goddammit- not only did sgt.serenity beat me to the punch, but MeFi screwed up the blockquote tags somehow.

I hate my life...



no worries - it's amazing the six of us pointed out that error.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:48 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Information isn't only available through colleges, and not all who go to college turn information into an education.

Yes, they do.

Fox News, for example. That's a source of information.

So, how's this point working out for you? ;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:48 PM on May 26, 2011


Please won't someone think of the privileged?
posted by Space Kitty at 1:49 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very few people achieve financial independence before retirement age through salary work. That kind of outsize return typically requires equity in something that blows up big

I think when most people say "financially independent" they really mean not having to live with their parents and being able to stop working at some point without having to eat cat food. The fact that education is both extremely expensive and completely necessary for most middle class jobs is the core problem, and talk about startups and entrepreneurship is not going to change that. Going from "Get a loan to get a degree, and maybe you can get a job that you can pay your rent and student loans with" to "Start your own company and maybe you will become a millionaire" is not really heading in the right direction. There needs to be a sane, sustainable way for most people to make a decent living, not another risky way for some people to become super-rich.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:49 PM on May 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Information isn't only available through colleges, and not all who go to college turn information into an education.

No kidding. I dropped out of college after three semesters and I'd have no trouble giving you a longer answer to that question than the hypothetical time traveller would probably care to hear.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:51 PM on May 26, 2011


My college has given me more than $100,000 over three years to *go* to school- through a need-based scholarship. The comprehensive fee for next year is almost $55,000, which is still below the actual cost of my education. I'm still graduating with loans, but they're all federal and amount to about how much going to a lower-tier state university would have cost me in tuition alone.

In return? They start inculcating a "habit of donation" before I even get my diploma. And when I can, I probably will give, so they can keep giving other kids the chance I got.
posted by MadamM at 1:53 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Thanks for meeting with me," the Time Traveler says. "I have just one question."
"Hit me," says the Thiel graduate.
"Why are there political tensions between the United States and China over the status of Taiwan?"
"They hate the Dalai Lama?"
"It's a simple question. Anyone that took some general education college courses would have taken a history class or two. Why are there political tensions between the United States and China over the status of Taiwan?"
"I don't know. Why?"
"China and the U.S. are economic superpowers. Each is the other's biggest trading partner. Why are there political tensions over the status of Taiwan?"
"Right, ok, just tell me."
"This doesn't really have much to do with free markets. It's a historical and political question. What happened that pissed everyone off?"
"You could just tell me."
"I mean, wouldn't you want to know this? So you can ... vote?"
"I keep fucking asking you!"
"And that's great. We're very happy for you. Now I'm asking you a question about history so you're not doomed to repeat it."
"I looked it up on wikipedia and it says they were the Republic of China before some civil war. Are you happy now?"
"Wikipedia is cheating. Now, tell me what impact the Treaty of Westphalia had on internet forums in the early 21st century."
posted by stavrogin at 1:54 PM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


There needs to be a sane, sustainable way for most people to make a decent living, not another risky way for some people to become super-rich.

Absolutely, Herr Thiel doesn't seem to have located the causes of the recent global financial meltdown.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:55 PM on May 26, 2011


I'm waiting for next week when a recent lottery winner hands out $100K fellowships to play Powerball.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:56 PM on May 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


I agree that a college education can make you more well-rounded, and I loved the diversity of classes I could take (and was required to for my Gen. Ed. coverage), but I remember many students doing as little as they could to get through. Horse to water and all that.

I like the theory that college teaches you how to learn, not necessarily pave the path for your future. But these kids don't need that. The post sucks. Lo siento.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:58 PM on May 26, 2011


Lets see...
Boards.......................... $ 8.03+, mostly shanty boards.
Refuse shingles for roof sides... 4.00
Laths............................ 1.25
Two second-hand windows
with glass.................... 2.43
One thousand old brick........... 4.00
Two casks of lime................ 2.40 That was high.
Hair............................. 0.31 More than I needed.
Mantle-tree iron................. 0.15
Nails............................ 3.90
Hinges and screws................ 0.14
Latch............................ 0.10
Chalk............................ 0.01
Transportation................... 1.40 I carried a good part
———- on my back.
In all...................... $28.12+


Looks like Harvard tuition repayment would really blow that budget out of the water...
posted by pwnguin at 2:07 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Always, always, always be wary when someone who went to college (twice!) tells you that you don't have to.
posted by Apropos of Something at 2:11 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just yesterday, I participated in the interview process for a new developer for our team, at work. While I'm waiting for my turn, I'm reading his resume and notice that under education it reads "4+ years of study toward toward degree" but doesn't actually say if he ever graduated. He's got 13 years worth of jobs after that, so I decide it's not as relevant as if his skills match our position, but I did notice.

The candidate I'm interviewing today got a B.A. in french and did grad work in "cognitive anthropology", but again has years of relevant experience in the correct field for what we're hiring, so it's really going to come down to how she answers my technical questions, not what she studied or where, 10+ years ago.
posted by nomisxid at 2:12 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


but I remember many students doing as little as they could to get through. Horse to water and all that.
The thing is, some of those students just hate school, but some of them are really lazy, and some of them are really immature and unmotivated in general. And the lazy, immature, and unmotivated kids aren't going to make good entrepreneurs, either. I see a fair number of students who I think should really take some time off, grow up a little bit, and then come back to college if they want. But I wouldn't trust those kids with $100,00 to start a company. And Peter Thiel isn't trusting that kind of kid with $100,000 to start companies, either, because he's picking kids who got PhDs in microbiology at the age of 8.

I do think that some of my unmotivated students just hate school, and they might actually be really good entrepreneurs. And he actually doesn't seem to have picked many of those kids, because he really seems to focus on tech and science-y things and therefore on high-achieving students.
posted by craichead at 2:14 PM on May 26, 2011


hincandenza:

Maybe he meant that the middle one was in both groups? As in he partied AND worked hard.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:17 PM on May 26, 2011


So, this guy picked 20 people who were most likely already on scholarship at an elite school, poised to succeed and out-earn most of us at a pace fast enough to quickly pay off any college debt they might have incurred, and gave them $100,000 to start the business that they already had planned out and were likely to receive massive amounts of funding for on graduation. Might I suggest he also give the Queen of England a tiara? What's that? She already has one?
posted by Foam Pants at 2:23 PM on May 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


Ok, but he's not claiming that his fellowships will change anything because of the direct effects of rewarding the fellows. He claims that their success will let other, non-elite kids know about the possibility of career paths that don't involve college..

This seems spectacularly misguided to me, though, because kids who can't get into Harvard aren't going to look at those kids from Harvard and Stanford and think "hey, I could do that, too." They're going to think "that works great if you're brilliant and someone gives you $100,000, but I'm just averagely smart and haven't been blessed by the money fairy, so I'm still going to shoot for pharmacy school."
posted by craichead at 2:49 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am reminded of the remark made about George W. Bush: "born on third base, thinking he hit a triple".

This is like intentionally walking the guy at the plate to tell the guy on third he just hit a home run.
posted by briank at 2:56 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was told that, despite having the best code samples, being the best interviewee, and having a glut of personal projects, I probably wouldn't get the job because I didn't have a Bachelors degree.

Chances are good that (a) you are better off not working a job in a place where an otherwise compelling candidate is disqualified because of what is likely checkbox thinking and (b) you will find another job.

Don't get me wrong. I've been disappointed myself to be turned down in the past when I hadn't yet earned a BS, and I also believe a Bachelor's degree is one indication that a candidate may be a valuable employee, but in my opinion, only fools or people invested in a certain sort of structured hoop-jump-driven environment use it as a litmus test for employment.
posted by weston at 3:26 PM on May 26, 2011


I'm amazed at the amount of people in this thread who assume that raw intellectual talent will necessarily translate into financial reward.
posted by banished at 3:27 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thiel doesn't think women's suffrage is doing us any favours:

"Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women—two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians—have rendered the notion of 'capitalist democracy' into an oxymoron"

-- Slate, 2010
posted by John Shaft at 3:36 PM on May 26, 2011


I'm amazed at the amount of people in this thread who assume that raw intellectual talent will necessarily translate into financial reward.

It's not just the intellecutual talent, these kids also have enough ambition to have come up with a plausible business idea and enough dedication to have outcompeted whoever else was applying for the fellowship. In fact, I'd say the latter two things are much more important to these kids' future success.
posted by Copronymus at 3:41 PM on May 26, 2011


This is kinda funny. My little brother wanted to do this and now I realize he didn't have a chance.

Peter Thiel is a venture capitalist. He is seeking an out-sized return investing in ambitious, focused and ridiculously talented young people. That he claims to address the education bubble, however, is devious marketing genius. I am not going to knock the hustle, but Theil is selling the young "ubermenschen" on all the right names -- Harvard, Stanford, Yale etc -- reinforcing the belief in education and the education bubble that Thiel claims to pop.

Thiel is selling sand in Saudi Arabia. And people are buying. He gets free exposure for his portfolio companies, the entrepreneurs that run them and further branding as the best early stage tech VC in Silicon Valley.

We are brand conscious. Brands drive of value. Facebook.

Otherwise, Chinese would run the world. To a greater extent than we already do.
posted by Silo004 at 4:03 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


This makes me puking sick. Supporting those who drop out of college? Shit, what about the thousands of kids who never get the option to drop in? What about the thousands that never get to finish high school? And just ignore anybody who's only of average intelligence. They are lesser people and deserve lesser support. Fuck that shit, man. What a bunch of elitist, oligarchical, self-serving bullshit. I hope he goes bankrupt.
posted by smoke at 6:58 PM on May 26, 2011


"Andrew Hsu started doing research in a pathology lab when he was 10. By the time he was 12, he had matriculated at the University of Washington. Soon after, he graduated with honors degrees in neurobiology, biochemistry, and chemistry. He was a 19-year-old 4th-year neuroscience Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University when he left early this year to pursue his start-up, Airy Labs."

Wow. I thought that people like this only existed in disaster movies.
posted by Hicksu at 4:31 PM on May 26 [2 favorites +] [!]


Heh, they are out there. Young + Brilliant Blessed + Cursed (Behind a Boston Globe paywall) looked at several such students, including an 8 year old who had completed all of the 400 level Math courses at a prestigious university.
posted by mlis at 7:38 PM on May 26, 2011


If nothing else, they'll provide 24 test cases of typical education tracks vs. trying out their big ideas.

They really need a control group, then: people who finish college and then get given $100,000 to do whatever they want with.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:18 PM on May 26, 2011


I, too would have been better off if I had dropped out of college (less debt for, more years of making higher salary.) I do not, however, assume that this generalizes to the entire population.
posted by !Jim at 10:05 PM on May 26, 2011


Heh, they are out there.

There was a kid who went to my high school that took 15 AP tests and got 5s on all of them, as well as a near-perfect SAT. Entered Harvard as a sophomore, concentration: Latin.

First day of class, he tells us, the professor walks in, opens a book of Latin poetry and just starts reading. Reading and reading and reading all this Latin. Finally after like a minute of reading, he looks up and asks, "So, can anyone translate that for me?" Some of the students laugh to themselves. Ha, ha. Funny guy. Then this kid stands up in the back of the class. And just starts translating. Translating and translating and he translates the whole damned thing from memory.

That's the kind of smart people that are out there. It's humbling.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:50 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


You forgot the punchline: the professor turns to him and says "Quis es vos effectus hic, vos idiot? Vos teneo is totus iam!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:18 AM on May 27, 2011


posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:37 PM on May 26 [4 favorites +] You hit your favorite limit for the day. [!]

God damit!
---
Always, always, always be wary when someone who went to college (twice!) tells you that you don't have to.
posted by Apropos of Something at 2:11 PM on May 26 [1 favorite +] [!]


It's even better as he also teaches at Stanford Law.
posted by MikeKD at 2:43 PM on May 27, 2011


I learned something very important at college. You can work hard, be curious and creative, get great grades, and ace every interview, and none of it matters without the wealth and family connections of the ruling class. 17-year-old me would have cried myself to sleep with embarrassment that the candidate next to me built some robot thing or did real infectious disease research, and why did I ever think I could compete with them? But college... that's where I learned to question how a teenager would manage to build a $10,000 prototype or get an engineering firm to advise their robotics team or fly to Africa to help women learn sustainable agriculture or land a spot in a research lab instead of one of the hundreds of unemployed grad students. Hint: Horatio Alger stories would be the exception, not the rule.

If you work hard and you're curious and creative and get great grades and ace every interview AND your parents are wealthy, well, of course they can pay for that internship and that enrichment experience! And if you're smart AND rich, it's just so easy to make the case that you're the most qualified. Heck-- you can even work hard at a part time job to pay for your big idea yourself, it's not like mom and dad wouldn't be a nice cushy safety net if you failed. I bet they know someone at the lab or the firm or the office who could use a smart kid like you. It's called networking... Those middle class kids just don't network hard enough. If they wanted it badly, surely they could send in an app and fight with eachother over the 10% of opportunities left over after the rich take what they deserve.

So, no, this program is not inspiring. It's a disgusting circle-jerk of the wealthy passing money around to the already privileged and patting themselves on the back for it. Take your $100,000 to the inner city and figure out a way to break the cycle of poverty for a family. Build an entrepreneur charter school if you want. *Change* the course of someone's life, Thiel, don't look for more shooting stars to latch onto.
posted by Gable Oak at 8:44 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


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