A twenty-something Silicon Valley entrepreneur has offered some words of wisdom to young, aspiring entrepreneurs: don’t drop out of school to pursue your startup. The startup can wait until after you graduate.
Christian Yang, Stanford graduate and co-founder of Y Combinator ReelSurfer, presents a counterpoint to Peter Thiel’s famous idea, which was to offer entrepreneurial students $100,000 to drop out of college and develop ideas within his 20 Under 20 Fellowship. In his blog post, Yang lists examples of entrepreneur celebs and college dropouts such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, and Jack Dorsey, who thrived as a result of pursuing their own ideas and innovations.
Despite this, Yang warns: “Well, I’m here to say don’t do it – do NOT drop out of school.”
Yang lists a multitude of reasons he believes aspiring entrepreneurs should stay in college, citing numbers first. Of Forbes’ 400 Richest People, 85 percent have a college degree. Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of tech players provides a peek into the current twenty-something generation, showing 92.5 percent of those on the list graduated from college.
Yang then goes on to explain that important skill sets needed at a startup are often taught in college courses. Yang cites his own experience, saying that it wasn’t until he started taking formal courses in design, programming, and architecture that he realized the extent to which he didn’t know. The skills foundation he learned in college at Stanford, he wrote, truly prepared him for the work he did at ReelSurfe. He also makes the point that a college degree can serve as a proxy for qualifications an investor might be looking for.
Yang states that college courses not only provide a foundation for qualifications entrepreneurs need as they expand their business, but that the college experience serves as a life foundation, teaching life skills that entrepreneurs might otherwise miss if they dive into their startup right away.
Check out Yang’s blog post here, and weigh in on Twitter to @Technapex or @ce_doyle, or in the comments section below. Do you agree with Yang and think young, aspiring entrepreneurs should stay in school? Or is a formal college degree an unnecessary road block to getting your company off the ground? Either way, we want to hear from you!