Last year Peter Thiel offered to give a handful of college students $100,000 if they would drop out of school and embrace their inner entrepreneurial spirit. This year, Thiel is taking a different approach to helping college students become entrepreneurs: teaching a course called Computer Science 183: Startup at his alma mater, Stanford University.
Let me get this right: in one breath Thiel encouraged college students to forego a higher education and focus on creating a new tech startup but he’s also teaching individuals about startups at … a college. Not just any college but Stanford University, arguably one of the more difficult schools to gain admittance to.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand Thiel’s point on college and I agree that it isn’t for everyone. There are a lot of very successful businessmen and women who have not finished or even started college. But I’d guess that it is safe to say that there are more sob stories of college attendance cut short than there are rosy multimillion dollar success stories.
To be fair to Thiel, he did state in his speech last year that he didn’t feel it “was a terribly risky thing to do” and that the college students could go back to school after their two-year stipend period ended. Now Thiel has a great destination for these students, Stanford University and his Computer Science 183: Startup course. Unfortunately, the course appears to be full for the fall 2012 semester.