DLD: The Dropouts

“We invest in college dropouts with insane ideas and no way to monetize them.”

So said Ben Horowitz, legendary Silicon Valley investor in his talk here at DLD. And he was only half joking.

His point was that the majority of successful technology entrepreneurs of the past decade or so – everyone from Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg – dropped out of college.

So in an odd way, dropping out of college has become the sine qua non in a prospective tech entrepreneur's CV.

On his profile description here the only educational qualification listed for Zach Sims, the founder of Codeacademy (an online platform teaching computer coding language) is: “Zach dropped out of Columbia University”. I met another young guy who was currently in the process of dropping out of Oxford University (“they make it so difficult. I had to convince my doctor I had depression.”)

It's all rather disheartening for those of us who were conventional enough to stay on and finish our degrees. Let alone two of them.

Ah well. I suppose there's always journalism.

Update 17:45: just bumped into the very impressive founder of mobile security company Lookout, John Hering. He says that despite essentially finishing his degree, he too “technically” dropped out of college.