Someone Will Pay You $100,000 to Drop Out of School and Start a Tech Company

Illustration for article titled Someone Will Pay You $100,000 to Drop Out of School and Start a Tech Company

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? [NY Times]

Image Credit: Shutterstock


Arggh! there goes a...snake a snake!

I completely agree, college is some barrier that, in many cases, does not need to be there. I know many people, myself included, who use maybe 5% or less of the things we actually learned in college. Did I really need to go to college to do my job? Knowledge-wise, no. All the things I needed to know, I learned on the job. But you do need to complete college because that degree means the difference between getting hired or not. I understand the reasoning behind that. They want to ensure that you are a smart person and that you are willing to stick with something to accomplish a goal but I agree with this guy's reasoning.