Don't go to college

Higher-education is rapidly becoming a waste of time.

gk on March 13, 2012 in Misc About a 2 minute read.

If I had one major regret as it pertains to my professional life, it would absolutely be that I didn't create my own business sooner. Tay and I have constantly bemoaned the fact that we didn't create the web business we vaguely tossed about it grad school when the Mosaic browser came out and we were putting up websites for folks. And certainly, I did not quit DivX soon enough and just get started.

The most valuable resource of all is time. It simply cannot be overstated. And when you are starting out, the most intractable resource of all is time -- you can accelerate product development, and sometimes you can accelerate free customer adoption a bit, but you really can't do much to accelerate paid adoption and overall business maturation. Businesses mature like children, and it can be just as dangerous to try to fast-track your business as it would be to throw a six year old behind the steering wheel of a car.

Anyways, I value my college experience, but I viewed it as simply that -- an experience, not vocational school. I went to college eyes-wide-open knowing that what I learned there would likely be of little practical application to any future profession (not really, since at first I thought I wanted to be a professor, and subsequently I've learned that a philosophy degree actually does have enormous practical value).

But here's the trend..... A college degree is getting more and more expensive. And it is being driven up by dynamics which are not tied to its market value (i.e. college degrees are not going up in price

because they are more and more valuable in the marketplace, in fact in many areas they are less valuable. When I was at MP3, I often avoided hiring college grads because they were too set in their ways (often the wrong ways), they were too expensive, and they thought they knew more than they did). Anyone interested in evaluating the value of a college degree in objective terms absolutely must read this brilliant analysis of the value of college by Michael Robertson. So, you have the cost of a college degree rising dramatically and at the same time you have the cost of starting a business decreasing almost more dramatically.

The market value of starting your own business even if you fail is huge. Very soon, these lines will cross. There will be a brand war between the value of the brands 'entrepreneur' and 'college grad'. Over time, the entrepreneurs will win. It is very likely that for my children, I will recommend to them that they take their college savings and start businesses rather than go to college.

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