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Should Entrepreneurs Go To College?

Lee Schneider was nice enough to interview me on the latest of episode of TechSmart Podcast to ask – Should Entrepreneurs Go To College?

Listen here (or see the transcript below) - 

Or download the mp3 here

College for Entrepreneurs InterviewShould Entrepreneurs Go To College Interview

 

 

 

 

Does College Help Entrepreneurs?

Is it still helpful for entrepreneurs to go to college?

I don’t think so…

But my father, a self-made entrepreneur who attained 3 Master’s and 2 Bachelor’s degrees before the age of 23, felt A LOT differently.

As I progressed through the school system I felt I was outpacing it, eventually feeling it had a negative effect on me and my future as an entrepreneur.

That idea, previously an extremely controversial one, is brought up increasingly often as our school system begins to implode.

So much so, that even my father has come to the conclusion that it may not be good for entrepreneurs to go to college.

Listen to the podcast above to head Lee and I speak more about the effects of college on a young entrepreneur.

Here is a transcript of our conversation-

Lee Schneider: It’s TechSmart; I’m Lee Schneider. We’re focusing on entrepreneurs in this edition of TechSmart who have a once uncommon but now increasingly common route to success: they left college to pursue their dreams. With me today is Will Mitchell, director of marketing for affluence.org and founder of StartupBros. A 22 year old entrepreneur who dropped out of school to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. Welcome to the podcast.

Will Mitchell: Thanks Lee. Glad to be here.

Lee Schneider: So tell me a little bit about Affluence.org and moving on to StarupBros. How did that play out for yo

Will Mitchell: I got started with Affluence.org through my father actually. My father was the founder of Affluence.org so he kind of took me under his wing there and at the time when I was involved with Affluence, that was my freshman year of college; so it was really discouraging almost to go to classes every day and then come home and work on a really exciting start-up and doing what I love, which is building businesses. So in that company, that’s when I first started to see where my route would go with college and everything. So I stuck with Affluence for a year or two – and Affluence, by the way, is a social network where you have to have a verified net worth of over $1,000,000; so when people apply, we had a team that would basically go out in the public records and try to verify their net worth and that was the application process for that. In 2010, we sold Affluence and we ended up selling it I think for 1.9 million so it was a pretty decent two year, you know, launched it and two years later sold it for 1.9 so definitely, when I started seeing numbers like that, I really started to just lose my nerve almost with college, but from there I became pretty deeply involved with Internet marketing and became an offline marketing consultant, and eventually launched StartupBros. StartupBros is basically just an educational community for entrepreneurs to share what they are learning through their business experiences so, yeah, that’s kind of my route.

Lee Schneider: You talk about college, kind of comparing going to courses and seeing what college was like versus the excitement of doing something you really loved at that point it was Affluence.org. Is there a bigger reason why college wasn’t right for you that you could pass on to others – in other words, is there kind of a paradigm here because lots of people would say yeah I really liked skateboarding so I want to do that instead of college; but obviously, that wouldn’t be a good enough reason to leave college, so, is there a big reason or a big connection that you could make with your experiences in school and then your experiences in the business world?

Will Mitchell: You know, you say “is there a big connection?”. I wish there was a connection. In my perspective, I don’t see a lot of connections between the things that I learned in school and the things that I learned in business and entrepreneurship, but again, I don’t think college is inherently harmful for all people but if you’re an entrepreneur who knows what they want to do with their life and knows that they want to change the world and has that boundless passion, that energy, I don’t see how college is going to help someone with that mindset.

Lee Schneider: So then, it’s possible that there are things that you learn in the real world that college doesn’t touch?

Will Mitchell: Absolutely.

Lee Schneider: So, what might some of those things be?

Will Mitchell: I would say almost everything that I’ve learned and apply on a daily basis and apply to increase my earning potential; increase my ability to build a business or change the world… I think I really can’t put my finger on many things at all that I picked up in school from that, you know, to that end ; but again, you know, school can give you structure. It can give you basically a structure – a set of rules and things like that, and I think it can be good for people that don’t have that structure yet. Again, if you’re an 18 year old entrepreneur and you already have been launching businesses for a couple of years – you see the potential, you see the disconnect between the material that you’re being forced to cover and regurgitate. You’re going to see the disconnect between that and the real world and what you’re actually applying in the real world, so I think it’s just going to get harder and harder for anyone with a real passion to get anything good out of college.

Lee Schneider: Wouldn’t that be an argument, though, for fixing the curriculum? Like, let’s say, I made an unlikely proposal to you: I want you to be a teacher. You could tell other people what you , well you’re probably not going to do that – but, you know, someone might argue if college isn’t relevant, if college isn’t providing the information that these entrepreneurs have leapfrogged to because they’ve already found success, why shouldn’t we fix college? Or do you think that it’s not worth it to fix college and people just do real world experience?

Will Mitchell: Again, I don’t think that there’s no use for education for entrepreneurs, of course,; but when I was in college, I would have to go to some business class and read a book, not even study a book freely,- but go answer a whole bunch of questions about a book that I had read five, six years ago and understood better than the teacher in many cases. If you go to the source material and, you know, one of the things I like to do is to take two directly opposing ideas and go the source of those ideas and then really read yourself independently what those people’s opinions are and how they formed those opinions and then freely and independently come to a conclusion and have your own internal debate in your head between those two opposing ideas, which again, I think it’s possible for college to re- form itself into something like that but until they show some sort of initiative towards it, I’m not really confident in their ability to because it’s just so monopolized at this point and so controlled by a few big companies and things like that.

Lee Schneider: Well it’s also a thought process which has sort of stopped, meaning that things are changing so quickly in the online world and the business world, and the courses that they’re teaching in schools are sort of the same things and the same principles that they were teaching a while ago. Now, it’s true that certainly there are eternal verities and eternal principles that aren’t going to change but so much has changed that I think that people look at that and go “huh? why do I need that?

Will Mitchell: Right

Lee Schneider: Let’s say, if you were going to look at the universe of people out there thinking about this – they are entrepreneurs, or would-be entrepreneurs and they believe themselves to be the next Will Mitchell or the next Zuckerburg, Jobs, Dell or Gates and let’s say they’ve decided “oh, I don’t really need to continue with college; I know what I need to know”. Well, how do you know that? Let’s ask that question a different way. What characteristics does a startup person or entrepreneur really need to make it?

Will Mitchell: It’s an entrepreneur and it’s someone that comes to that conclusion when they’re going into college that’s able to say to themselves confidently and not arrogantly that I am or I could be the next Mark Zuckerberg, I’m reasonably confident that I can make a lot more of myself and my life by not going to college. I think the only thing you need to look at is yourself. You need to seriously analyze yourself and figure out if you’re willing to do what it takes to be an entrepreneur – like a real entrepreneur because now it’s becoming a trendy thing, but you have to understand what being an entrepreneur means – the daily grind that for some reason that class of people called entrepreneurs enjoys and other people don’t like.

Lee Schneider: Right. I think that’s a really good point. One thing you’re saying is self-examination is important; a really clear view of yourself. But you’re also saying that there’s this kind of glam image of the social network style entrepreneur where everything is a lot of parties and getting bigger and bigger offices and what I can see is the reality is: it’s a lot of time spent and a lot of roller coaster stuff emotionally, financially and otherwise – not only from the bootstrapping people but from the people who are backed with a lot of money – you know, it’s kind of a roller coaster.

Will Mitchell: You have to be an entrepreneur as a person. An entrepreneur can’t be your job; your profession. You have to be an entrepreneur and I think many people are starting to see entrepreneur as a sort of profession and I don’t think that’s what it is. I think it’s a lifestyle choice

Lee Schneider: Yeah, right, like kind of a calling or something like that.

Will Mitchell: Yeah, because your whole life is, you know, pretty much from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed ; at least the really good entrepreneurs I know – they’re thinking of ways – how can I possibly fill the time I have; how can I get more out of that time, all the time

Lee Schneider: Yeah, right

Will Mitchell: Because it never ends.

Lee Schneider: Right. Are there a few things that you’ve learned from real-world scenarios that did never come up in college? Are there are few like five or four things that you could tick off that were real world things that you found when you got into this for real?

Will Mitchell: There are probably four or five main things but like I said before, almost everything I learned about entrepreneurship and business was learned in entrepreneurship and business and not in college. I would love to say that college made me more sociable but it only makes you more able to fake conversations with random people who, in the long run, only serve to pull your career down, for the most part. What I really learned in college was how to hold my booze. What I learned out of college was literally everything else I know rely on, not just in business but in politics, economics, sociology, psychology. Almost everything I learned was while avoiding school and self-guiding my education. I’ve yet to meet the economics- finance major, that was my major, I’ve yet to meet the econ major who knows anything close to what I know about economics – and I don’t say that in any bragging or arrogant way but it’s a saddening experience to talk with an economics graduate these days because they simply just repeat things out of the books they’re given and call it knowledge. They don’t even understand the point of knowledge or thinking anymore. It’s all just regurgitation of this information and then they feel that they’re smart for that, and it’s sad to see smart people end up like that.

Lee Schneider: Well what gets tested really fast is the, I guess the term is the ability to think on your feet, which really means the book learning is great and for some people I think college is a very helpful form of incubation. They’re hatching something, they’re thinking about something, they’re deciding on directions and all of that I think is really valuable, but if someone has already decided on a direction and probably has the chops and passion to make that happen arguably then you need to experience that, you need to think on your feet, you need to react to things and you need to really know what you know and just taking a test or something like that doesn’t really tell you what you know. It tells you about the ability to take a test.

Will Mitchell: Yeah. I couldn’t agree with you more there, especially because like you said if they don’t have that passion, if they don’t have that clear path already, that calling, I think that’s one of the main functions of college these days is to find your calling and find your purpose, but again if you’re sitting there at the front of it saying well I already know what I’m going to do on the other end and you’re just sitting there trying to think of how to make it worth your while, then it’s probably not going to be a good experience for you.

Lee Schneider: Yeah. What would you recommend to somebody thinking about dropping out and thinking about getting into their tech or doing their startup. What factors should they consider when they look into themselves. What should they see?

Will Mitchell: If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you have to know that it’s a complete lifestyle. It’s not a profession, it’s not a hobby. It’s a complete mindset. You’re going to think differently than 95% of people you meet out there, and that’s just how it is. I think entrepreneurs need to have an undying passion to be the best entrepreneur they can possibly be. They need to have a burning passion and need to change the world. Entrepreneurs are the type of people that are somehow born thinking about their legacy and what people will think when they’re gone. They are out there to prove to the world that their ideas and their action alone can make the world a significantly better place. Anything less than that feeling, I think they’re going to be missing; I think it’s going to be impossible for them to hit the second most important thing for an entrepreneur, which is persistence. So if you don’t have that undying passion and that undying need to change the world – and you won’t stop until you do it – then I don’t think being an entrepreneur is for you

Lee Schneider: It’s also this ability to really see into yourself clearly in the sense of, it’s not like you get up in the morning and say hey I feel like doing this but you can really say I feel like doing this for the rest of my life.

Will Mitchell: Right. They’re very in touch with themselves and their desires and why they desire things and how to set up their lives in the future. They’re very forward thinking and very analytical of themselves.

Lee Schneider: Tell me a little bit about how this tracks into StartupBros and how that’s helping people and what you really want to get out of that – and what you want people to get out of it.

Will Mitchell: Me and Kyle, who is the other founder of StartupBros, this is probably our sixth or seventh business together and we’ve been launching businesses together since our senior year of high school; so we’ve always kind of made businesses that throw – I don’t want to say throw it in the face of college but that’s kind of what this business is StartupBros, it’s kind of us, our statement to the world, saying you don’t need college to be a successful entrepreneur and to try to show people how easy it can be to be a successful entrepreneur because the way people are brought up now in American society is they’re basically conditioned to believe to a certain extent that college is necessary to do anything great, and it’s just not like that at all. I think every person out there has greatness in them. They just have to figure out how to let it come out and how to optimize it.

Lee Schneider: You could look at the money capital part of college and that there is a statistic you quoted that you can a million bucks more but of course most people are paying a lot of money to go to college even more and more, so that offsets the so-called million bucks more, and then there are the unseen things like the social capital and connections people make with each other and there’s the people who need to learn how to learn and need to learn how to find a passion and I think college serves people in many ways, but I think that’s one way that it serves people well.

Will Mitchell: Yeah, I absolutely agree. I’m sure after everything I just talked about I’m sure I come off as someone who is just completely opposed to college but I think college does have a lot of good use still, just not, if you’re an entrepreneur, like I’m sure you were at that time and I was at that time and a couple of my friends were at that time, you can see the difference between the mindset of a true entrepreneur at that stage and someone who doesn’t really know what they want in life. So I mean, specifically for entrepreneurs, I think college is probably harmful

Lee Schneider: Why harmful, though? It is useful, but why harmful? I mean, what’s it going to hurt?

Will Mitchell: You know, from my perspective, I see colleges as a shell of what they once were. Colleges used to encourage independent thought, they used to encourage original, disruptive thinking and of course it really depends on your opportunity cost and your aspirations because there are a lot of respectable jobs that need college for arbitrary reasons but nonetheless they need the college degree, but for entrepreneurs it’s just not like that and the opportunity cost for an entrepreneur is always going to harm them. Business is a real world activity that I think needs to be learned through experience and can’t be learned in the classroom and even if it was learned in the classroom, you still wouldn’t be under the pressure you would be if you were taking real entrepreneurial risks. So, I think the way I saw college as an entrepreneur looking into myself like you said when I was 20 and looking at dropping out, I didn’t see that it was going to be worth it for me. I saw it as an excuse to not go out there and take the real risks that I should be taking. So I guess if you’re an entrepreneur, just make sure you’re not making that mistake because if you know for sure you’re going to be an entrepreneur, and you’re going to start launching businesses, why wait 4 years?

Lee Schneider: Well this is very thoughtful. Thanks for joining us on the podcast today.

Will Mitchell: Oh yeah. Thank you, Lee

Lee Schneider: That’s it for the podcast today and thanks for joining us.

You can find more of the TechSmart Podcast on iTunesSoundCloud, and Stitcher Radio.

I would love to hear what you thought of the interview! Just try to spare my “umm’s and ahh’s” – I am working on them!

As always, comment below or email me to hit me with your feedback!

by Will Mitchell

Will Mitchell is a serial entrepreneur and Founder of StartupBros. You can learn more about him at the StartupBros About Page. If you have any questions or comments for him, just send an email or leave a comment!

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45 comments… add one

  1. I’m glad that someone finally thinks the way I do. Colleges nowadays focus too much on a specific skill and mindset, rather than broadening the mind in various ways. As I myself am a college student right now, I know how frustrating that is.
    Gread podcast, made me feel good about myself because it can be quite depressing being the only one who thinks differently

    Reply
    1. I’m glad I helped bring together people that agree on this! That’s exactly right, college is now more about conforming your mindset to theirs. Sorry to hear you are going through the grind :-\

      Glad to hear you liked the podcast Siim, and thanks a lot for commenting with your feedback!

      Talk soon,
      Will

      Reply
  2. You’d want to contact Loral Langemeier about this.

    She’s known as the Millionaire Maker having made of 1,039 millionaire entrepreneurs. Some with college and others with out.

    The cool thing about her is that she has a masters but doesn’t use it to run her several businesses.

    I can get you and interview but drive her listeners to your show as well to increase your traffic.

    Interested? I’ve given my email above.

    BTW, good show!

    Reply
    1. That’s awesome Amber! Thanks so much for reaching out with the opportunity, I appreciate it. I’ll email you now!

      Reply
  3. Saw this yesterday on your twitter feed, and loved the interview. I’m a 21 year old college dropout starting my own business too. Really connected with a lot of what you were saying.

    I think most college classes now specifically encourage people NOT to be starters (entrepreneurs). Also Lee said you many people make connections in college that help them later in life, but I look at my friends in different colleges and see them making friends with the person who owns the bong (not most likely to succeed).

    You didn’t really mention this but one of the things I’m struggling with now is that there is an immense amount of social pressure from my peers and older folks to stop doing what I’m doing and finish college. How do you deal with that pressure?

    Reply
    1. Hey Josh,

      Thanks a lot for commenting! Yea, it sounds like you probably related to that interview quite a bit :) Glad to hear it.

      I felt the same way when I was in college, that not only entrepreneurs but pretty much anybody who thought outside of their “curriculum” and “systems”. I also agree with you that the people you network with in college tend to bring you down. I think I mentioned in the interview that the people I met just served to teach me how to hold my booze and ultimately wasted my time. Though it is good to be able to handle your booze at certain times as an entrepreneur :)

      I still get people telling me to do that constantly. It’s tougher to brush them off when you have no money coming in, but once you start making more money than them and don’t depend on one person for your paycheck…it gets tough to take them seriously. Maybe a good idea for a blog post though!

      Thanks for commenting Josh,
      Will

      Reply
    2. You should check out this book called Lemming Conspiracy. It’s basically a book that talks about systems and how we conform to them and not follow our true passion and talents in life. When we feel pressure to remain in school, we are listening to our systems, and not our heart. Someone from the system either family or professional, will more than likely prompt you to remain or go to school because they too are part of the system. It’s a group think type of thing.

      Reply
      1. I’ll definitely check that out Eric, thanks for the recommendation. I couldn’t agree with you more. In the above interview, we actually had to stop at a few point and re-shoot as it got too conspiratorial :)

        I’ve read one called “Dumbing Us Down” that was decent, just put yours on my Wishlist!

        Thanks,
        Will

        Reply
        1. I definitely check out “Dumbing Us Down”. I am currently enrolled in a masters in professional counseling program with 12 hrs completed and I honestly couldn’t tell what I have learned. However, the books I have read outside of class has actually helped me much more.

          My mother was a counselor, and quite naturally I am following her system. Consequently, I don’t feel that is the right path for me. I love coming up with concepts for businesses,programs, and events. I am thinking of opening up a concept development company. I get excited when thinking of creative ways to do things. I also love to educate people on relationship dynamics. I don’t see a masters degree helping me if my overall goal is not to work for someone. My motto is “I will work with you, but not for you”

          Reply
          1. I was the same way, and I had that same realization. By my sophomore year of high school, I was bringing in high-level business and economics books and tuning out off all my classes. I just didn’t see the point in anything I’d been taught. I felt that the education system was a massive buffer between me and the source of a great idea. It muddied up the meaning, and the profound effect that a great idea can have was completely lost in the bureaucracy.

            You sound like you know what interests you, so I would start toying with it now (if you’re not already). I’m not sure of your circumstances, but the sooner you start failing at it, the sooner you’ll get to a place where you really enjoy your work.

            It sounds like you already have a basic idea too, a business program or event that teaches people about relationship dynamics. Now you just need to start trying to build it, and get frustrated and pissed and eventually learn how to build a business that works for you. You’ll have to figure out that you need to figure out how to position it and create it for a specific group with a specific problem expecting a specific outcome. But now I’m just ranting :)

            Love the motto by the way :)

            Reply
      2. Just to add – I think the true purpose of compulsory schooling is to make sure those at the top have no competition. It’s turned into a Government indoctrination program, whether or not proponents believe in it or not. The less time you waste in school, the less your mind will be warped by the State. That’s one of the main reasons I think it’s negative for the true entrepreneur, it is only designed to limit your thoughts and perception. When entrepreneurs take something positive out of their schooling, it’s despite the education system, not because of it.

        Reply
  4. Great interview Will,
    I especially like your comment “Colleges used to encourage independent thought, they used to encourage original, disruptive thinking”. I completely agree. I feel my undergrad work taught me how to survive without a support network, put up with massive amounts of b.s. to reach an end goal, and be assertive. All of these things are useful in running my business, but that knowledge does not hold a candle to what I learned after I graduated through books, blogs, and surrounding my self with highly motivated entrepreneurial minded people.
    Now that I am 2/3 through my graduate degree and running a business full time I feel like grad work does teach that independent thought and disruptive thinking that you mentioned in your comment, you just have to be very careful of what program you are going in to and find a way to make studying profitable instead of a gigantic money pit.

    Reply
    1. Hi Erin,

      Thanks a lot for your feedback, I’m glad you liked it!

      That’s just the point right there, you described it perfectly. It’s not that you don’t learn things in college, because true entrepreneurs will learn something from anything. It’s the time you’re missing out on – time you could be spending experimenting with your hobby business, launching a business, or doing any of the things you mentioned above.

      Yea, I have heard that Grad school is a little like what college used to be back in the day. In college were still like that, maybe I would reconsider. But I won’t hold my breath waiting…

      Thanks again for your feedback!
      Will

      Reply
  5. Great interview, I found it very interesting and your opinions insightful. I think a LOT of college bound kids are still going to go to college just because it is the path laid out for them, but I do think that there needs to be more support/understanding for young people that decide not to go to college to pursue other ventures. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that there is a stigma associated with someone making the decision to not pursue a college education, and I think that weighs in a lot on the decision to go to college.

    Reply
    1. Hi Rand,

      Thanks a lot for commenting with your feedback, and glad/relieved to hear you liked the interview :)

      Yea, there is a cultural stigma about college now. Like any crumbling mega-institution, they would rather oust the unfaithful than consider their advice. I think that is changing, but it will take a good decade or so before the education system as we know it is changed in any shocking way…

      Thanks again for commenting!
      Will

      Reply
  6. No, at least not for me. I went and wasted four years and a lot of money while I was creating a business at the same time. It held me back and I could’ve made a lot more money during that time. Most of what I learned has been through reading and watching videos online, just trying to learn more.

    Reply
    1. The worst case scenario for you, huh Ryan? Well, maybe not WORST, but you know what I mean…

      I was in for 2 years before I dropped, and couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t. It was a tough decision too! Risk = Reward, baby!

      It all came from reading, videos, and general internet surfing for me haha

      Thanks for commenting!
      Will

      Reply
  7. I am an entrepreneur that started my own business http://www.SteeleConcept.com around 6 months ago. Things have been going great so far. I have a AS, BA and MA and definitely feel that college is important for the social aspects. Essentially the experience better teaches strangers how to communicate. Particularly if one has gone to college he/she can better communicate with others who have done so. It’s a nice place for new experiences, confidence building and maturing. The educational aspect of undergrad I wasn’t so impressed with. I have a BA in Psychology and rote rehearsal tests, presentations and papers didn’t do a whole lot for me. Sure, they help some with memorization, public speaking, writing skills and vocabulary… but who is to say 4 years in your own business couldn’t hone those same skillsets and perhaps even better than formal education?

    Graduate school is more specialized and generally much more costly per tuition credit than undergrad (I have a MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology). It’s not really fun and fresh like undergrad. Much more work and less play. I feel like a bachelors degree is something that most people should shoot for but if one has the entrepreneurial itch and wants to forego college, then by all means do so. In this day and age it’s essentially educational inflation which nearly doesn’t always have the ROI we have expected from higher education. For more information see Ellsberg’s The Education of Millionaires, which is a great read.

    The Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the world even experienced a bit of undergrad before dropping out. I feel that this is important. I do have to agree with Will when he says entrepreneurship is a lifestyle. If one has it in them and wants to live that lifestyle then they are ready to begin the journey when they are ready. For some it will be High School, College, the after years, Grad school etc. What can be said is that in this day and age educational cost is at an all time high and we all need to consider the ROI of a college education, particularly if one can educate themselves and is resourceful. Not everyone has insane drive and loves the entrepreneur lifestyle.

    I believe there is starting to be a paradigm shift in the way we think of work. Is risky the new safe? In this modern world there are fewer good paying 9-5′s. Many of these jobs no longer offering pensions, benefits and are having mergers and layoffs galore. We must ask ourselves is it sane to live in that insane world? When we derive so much intrinsic value from our work, how can we be happy if that work is repetitive and soulless? An entrepreneur would rather work for his/her cause for pennies, rather than slaving away at some corporate desk making someone else rich.

    There is less value in higher education than there ever has been and it costs a shitload of money. In a day where there’s free education at our fingertips, college is a redonkulous proposition for someone who already has a vision and is willing to use their resources to capitalize on that. What are you waiting for entrepreneur? Go forth and create that value!

    Reply
    1. Loving Steel Concept Steve!

      ROI is definitely the issue – it is still there for people going into Medical or Legal fields, but it is quickly faded (if not gone) for Entrepreneurs.

      Completely agree with you when you say that when an entrepreneur is ready, he is ready. Much better said than my version :)

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
    2. Risky as the new Safe! Yes, sir! I think that is becoming a fundamental shift in the way we think about life and business. There is no such thing as a safe job – they might take it away. What’s safe is being able to adapt. To be adaptable you need a wide range of experiences, not a job that was comfy until it wasn’t.

      Reply
  8. Thank you Will.

    I again agree with you regarding the Medical fields. Unfortunately I have heard some horror stories about student debt from law school with newly minted lawyers unable to get in solid firms. Then again I know some successful younger lawyers as well.

    Medical, STEM and sometimes Law is my 2 cents.

    Reply
    1. Agreed. Student debt is incredibly dangerous these days. You’ll notice I don’t mention student debt at all though, because I think the real cost for a true entrepreneur is the opportunity cost. Student debt is just icing on the cake :-P

      Reply
  9. Hi Will,
    I enjoyed the interview, and hope you do more in the future. I relate to a lot of things you mentioned. The interesting thing is that my two younger brothers are in college studying Physics and comp sci. We recently just formed a startup called OnBartending.com. We’re partnered with my friend in NYC that created a successful startup and recently exited. Also, two weeks ago I met my sister’s new boyfriend that majored in Entrepreneurism. That was mind blowing b/c I didn’t even know they had that as a major. My sister was said the same thing, lol.

    I think the business, finance and economics courses don’t help an entrepreneur. I have a degree in chemistry/physics, and I’ve met many with econ and finance degrees. And like you said, they just rehash book material. Because, I’m a proprietary trader and have investment banking training, I knew more about economics and finance than those that majored in it. They hated me.

    My experience with my sister’s boyfriend, who majored in top ranked program for entrepreneurism, was interesting. I was talking to my sister about a website that I’m building and then he starts talking about SEO. I ask how does he know about SEO, and he tells me he majored in Entrepreneurism in college. I then begin an intense conversation with him. We spoke about lean startup methodology to best SEO practices. Nothing about programming, b/c he doesn’t even know HTML. But, I sensed in our conversation he just had conceptual understanding of many things but wouldn’t actually know how to execute. So finally in the end I asked him, “Have you ever optimized a CMS?” He says “No”.

    All I can say is that I know more than him in 6 months than he learned during his entire 4 yrs. And, I don’t know anything. The stuff that I learned over the past 6 mos is b/c I had to learn it, and had to sift through all the information out there, and spend all my waking hours studying it and applying it.

    I do feel that some college is good. I think that a major in physics and philosophy is the best major for an entrepreneur. It’s b/c physics and philosophy teaches one how to THINK! How to problem solve. Also, studying the humanities makes a person well rounded. Studying Shakespeare, Les Miserables in a classroom environment makes it more exciting b/c you get instant feedback from a professor.

    Entrepreneurism is definitely a calling. It was great hearing your talk about this, and how the thinking is so different. I think it’s probably one of the most difficult things starting out. I grew up in a family that had no clue about it. All my aunts & uncles preached getting a job and weren’t aware of anything else. I had to fight the status quo for a long time b/c I grew up in the midwest and the startup community wasn’t as prevalent. Back in 2006 while in Dallas, TX everyone gets a job or becomes a real estate agent/mortgage broker, lol. I just had to say, “F-it, listen to my gut telling me there is another way, and another path.”

    Reply
    1. Hi Eric,

      Thanks a ton for the well thought out feedback, and glad you could relate to the article!

      Just checked out OnBartending, cool stuff! Sounds like you’re well on your way and partnered with some great people.

      I’d agree with you that the courses don’t help entrepreneurs, and can completely relate to you on that. You can learn more about economics or finance with self-guided internet education than you ever could from a university. In fact, I don’t even know if you can learn about REAL economics in school – you just learn Keynesianism these days, which just so happens to be the reason the education system is so out of control (and much of the world). Of course, try to ask an Econ grad about these things and you’ll be scowled off as the inferior you are :-P

      That’s how it is man, and it makes sense. What’s a better way to learn to swim? Take a course with many written tests and lectures for a couple years and ease into it after that, or just take a few precautions and jump right in. I would rather jump right in. I learned SO much more about Economics and Politics and Psychology and pretty much EVERYTHING from just talking to people about it and having friendly debate. That is what classes should be doing, but they never will under Government control :(

      I’d agree with you that physics and philosophy is probably a pretty good combo. I think the best things for entrepreneurs now are Agricultural and Mining degrees, but we will see over the next few decades!

      I agree about all of what you’re saying really, but I do think that all of that could (and should) be acquired through natural curiosity. The amount of random, useless knowledge I have from random internet browsing, traveling, and the like is absolutely astounding (I get made fun of for it actually). I don’t think this would have been possible if I went down the “book smart” route.

      But again, college makes sense for some people and not for others. As you know I agree, it is a calling. It is tough if your family doesn’t understand, because some undoubtedly start to hinder your success. They tend to discourage any risk taking and just want the most comfortable, safest route they can think of. The same reason they send their kids off to college.

      Your gut can be a powerful force, always be listening for it!

      Thanks again for listening and for the great feedback/conversation!
      Will

      Reply
      1. I just wanted to say that I admire your realism and free spirit! I want to be a tech entrepreneur like you when I finish high school.

        Reply
  10. Just joined up with you guys. Came across the site and really like it, some real to the point info and guidlines here, makes you realise its all about just taking action and starting now!

    Reply
    1. Glad to have you on board Shane, thanks for taking the leap :)

      Reply
  11. It’s truly very difficult in this busy life to listen news on TV, so
    I just use internet for that reason, and obtain
    the most up-to-date news.

    Reply
    1. Couldn’t agree with you more – but you do have to be careful of internet news/information as well.

      Reply
  12. Really great content on your website. I’ve just downloaded your ebook and really inspired. many thanks

    Reply
    1. Hope you like the eBook Lynne as much as the site Lynne – thanks for the kind words!

      Reply
  13. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also
    with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?

    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog
    like this one nowadays.

    Reply
    1. We bought this theme and I’ve done some customization, but I’m no designer! Thanks for noticing though :)

      Reply
  14. Great stuff. It should called be “The State of the Modern Economy”!

    Most of us were not born with an entrepreneurial spirit — even though not too long ago we were all entrepreneurs.

    People often think starting a company is risky — I think it’s risky to keep working the same job expecting it to be there forever. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is learn how to create value and EARN. Once you know how to earn money as an individual (and you’ve had enough practice to be confident about it), you’re playing a whole new ball game. One where you’re in control!

    Reply
    1. Absolutely, we’re never more natural entrepreneurs than when we are kids! It’s amazing how many people never understand the basic fundamentals of economics and business. And that’s why very few people ever take control of their lives. Good to see you won’t be one of them Casandra :)

      Reply
  15. very good interview! loving the personal touch :)

    Reply
    1. Thanks for listening – I try my best to keep it personal :)

      Reply
  16. Extremely informative podcast man. Very in depth, appreciate the time you put into it.

    Reply
    1. Glad you liked it TJ!

      Reply
  17. Part time jobe

    Reply
    1. Right on…

      Reply
  18. Insightful. I wonder if I can get a refund on the hundreds of thousands of dollars of tuition I paid for? This article makes some compelling points!

    Reply
    1. Glad you liked the article – not sure if they are doing refunds yet :-D

      Reply
  19. It’s great to know that there are others who feel the same way. I’m not alone!
    I wish I could drop out of college. It’s definitely frustrating not being able to and not having the support of your family. As an aspiring entrepreneur, college is definitely a set back. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is only way out. Even though I’m practically consumed with school work, the idea is to create not just a blog, but a blog that can actually be monetized. It won’t be an easy task, but it’s definitely worth it. This article was not only encouraging, but inspiring. Thanks being a voice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

    Reply
  20. You forgot the 100 “um”s in your transcript.

    Reply

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