It’s not a new thing for smart people to feel outside the place in college. And the story of young people dropping out of college to do their own thing isn’t new either. I remember feeling things were too slow at college, and thus dropping out to start my own business, to do what I love to do.
I do not mean to suggest that you to drop out of college. But if you want to, you should not be afraid to follow your heart. Because it’s only natural that when you love what you do, you’re not gonna quit. And you don’t lose till you quit.
Here’s my tribute to the spirit of dropouts. Top 10 amongst many youngsters who didn’t like it at college and choose to drop out and do their own thing (not necessarily business).
Steve Jobs – Apple
He felt like he was wasting all his parents money and his time in the dull classroom that failed to challenge his intellect, and he dropped out of college to travel to India. Later he went on to start Apple Computers with his buddy Steve Wozniak. What happened next is a well-known story for everyone.
Bill Gates – Microsoft
A programming prodigy left unchallenged by the Harvard curriculum, decided to drop out and start his own company with his buddy Paul Allen. He is one man who goes to prove that business isn’t necessarily to be learnt in classrooms. A person with good business sense can learn by doing it. And no one can doubt that Gates learnt business and learnt it very well from his practical experience.
Henry Ford – Ford Motor Company
The legendary Henry Ford never went to college. He never received any formal education and thus did not have any degree as such. He later went on to start The Ford Motor Company in 1903 and by 1908 he had already introduced gigantic successes like the Model T and the Assembly Line, which were literally shaping the society. The success of Ford just goes to tell that even a person born in abject poverty with no formal education can decide and shape the future for hundreds of million of people on the planet.
Larry Page – Google
The famous inventor of the pagerank algorithm and co-founder of Google, Larry Page graduated from University of Michigan but later dropped out from his PhD to start google. And what happened next is well known to everyone. One person with a better way to search on the internet literally changed and reshaped the entire internet itself. Today Google’s services have interwoven deeply into our lifestyles and the improved version of PageRank still remains the core of all of Google’s works.
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook
A kid in college gets an Idea, convinces his rich friend to invest $100,000 into the idea, then he sits and codes non-stop for 42 days (along with his roommates). And that sees the beginning of the of the most popular Social Network on the planet. There was, and there is nothing much different about Mark Zuckerberg. He had an idea just like all of us do, but he truly understood and believed that it would work. So much so that he was able to convince his friend Eduardo Saverin to put a $100,000 into the idea. And then he worked tirelessly to execute and bring his idea to life, where most of us fail either in believing in our idea, or executing our idea to get it up and started.
Walt Disney – Walt Disney
One man who dropped out of college at 16 and started the Walt Disney Animation Studio and thus single-handedly set the standards for the motion pictures industry. He is regarded as the most influential animator ever and you would not believe me if i told you, that most of the methods devised by this innovative animator still set the industry standards for the showbiz in the animation industry, even today. A man with bright ideas and an innovative entrepreneurial bug somewhere inside him.
Richard Branson – Virgin Groups
The poster boy of modern-day entrepreneurship, Sir Richard Branson who is regarded as the most iconic entrepreneur ever, dropped out of college to start a youth magazine ironically called ‘Student’. He later started a record company named ‘Virgin’ to support his magazine. Today Virgin Group empire has Airlines, Drinks and 400 other successful ventures under its belt. One man who teaches us how to see, grab and exploit an opportunity while others are still thinking and lie undecided.
Evan Spiegel – Snapchat
A student who got to fake his graduation ceremony and hold a fake card instead of degree on stage to not feel out of the place. When Evan Spiegel was in College, he started something that he loved. Something that he thought was really ‘Cool’. Spiegel and two of his buddies started ‘Picaboo’ in 2011 in his Dad’s living room. Later the app was relaunched under the name ‘Snapchat’ and what happened next remains well-known to all of us. A platform with no revenue model whatsoever as off now has more than a billion users and is valued at $15 Billion. The story of Snapchat just goes to tell that if you work hard to create something that you would love to use for yourself, there will definitely be others, who will like it.
Larry Ellison – Oracle
Named entrepreneur of the Year 1990 by the Harvard Business School, Larry Ellison is the CEO of the 2nd largest software company on the planet, Oracle Corp. Born to unwed mother and put up for adoption just like his best friend Steve Jobs, Ellison attended South Shore High School, from where he graduated in 1962, after which he enrolled at the University of Illinois but dropped out in sophomore year. Then enrolled into Chicago University, but did not last there as well. Then he turned to a freelance programmer. He noticed that he liked the culture of being a freelancer and the academics did not really suit him. After that he moved to California, where after a few gigs as a freelancer he started Oracle Corp.
Michael Dell – Dell
An average person who dropped out of college to chase his dreams and achieve success, Michael Dell famously said “You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.“’ One of the most disciplined CEOs, Michael Dell also is the computer industry’s longest-tenured CEO. Michael Dell with his simple idea of reaching customised personal computers directly to the consumers, pioneered the direct to consumer model in the computer industry and built a multibillion-dollar computer empire in the process.