Teach Me How to Startup

Fred Wilson Tells Would-Be Entrepreneurs to Skip School and Learn to Code

fredviausv Fred Wilson Tells Would Be Entrepreneurs to Skip School and Learn to Code

Masters students from Zicklin School of Business could be forgiven for mistaking Fred Wilson for Peter Thiel recently.

After all, Mr. Wilson’s advice had shades of an argument we’re more used to hearing from Peter “The Real Bubble Is in Education” Thiel.

At the B-school, which is part of Baruch, as a senior college at CUNY, Mr. Wilson told students that if they wanted to be entrepreneurs, they didn’t need a formal education to be successful. Considering the students were attending a rather laughably-named class on “E-Business,” we can see where Mr. Wilson was coming from.

PBS.com’s Media Shift blog interpreted Mr. Wilson’s advice as saying that journalism school isn’t enough for media entrepreneurs.

According to the blog, he told the students that a better indicator of entrepreneurial success would be learning to code and then advised them to find classes on at Ruby on Rails, Javascript,  PHP, or database programs like MySql or Mongo at General Assembly—or try their hand at CodeCademy, the fast-growing USV-backed teaching platform.

Certainly sounds more practical than “E-Business Principles and Technologies.

“Be technical, get technical, or find people you can be business partners with who are. Even if you are not going to do these things by yourself, it’s helpful to learn,” he said. “It’s better to learn it to talk to technical people, and to evaluate if somebody technical is good or not.”

Funny, we’d heard something similar about teaching yourself to talk the talk from TechStars New York managing director David Tisch recently, along with a note of regret about not biting the bullet and learning to code altogether.

Disclosure: Both @benpopper and @nitashatiku attended the same journalism school at NYU. On more than one occasion, they have been heard wishing they could spend their student loan payments taking Ruby classes instead.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com

Comments

  1. fredwilson says:

    Your headline is misleading. I never said anyone should skip school.

  2. I dont know about skipping school. You’d best to have started coding while in Middle high school and learned the the needed pieces of coding such as effective algorithms best security practices in addition to making your programs robust and etc to drop out of school to becoming a programmer. Ive been coding with C/C++ since I was 16 and now in second year in college i’m learning WHY I’ve been using classes inheritances pointers stacks queues.

  3. I dont know about skipping school. You’d best to have started coding while in Middle high school and learned the the needed pieces of coding such as effective algorithms best security practices in addition to making your programs robust and etc to drop out of school to becoming a programmer. Ive been coding with C/C++ since I was 16 and now in second year in college i’m learning WHY I’ve been using classes inheritances pointers stacks queues.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Given the financial system we have, its not bad advice these days to consider skipping school because the  alternative is graduating with a mountain of debt. Without a degree, you’re not going to get a job at Goldman Sachs right away, but if you are talented and can code, you can get a job with a startup without question. You can learn more in one year of intense work than the entire college experience. That being said, each individual is different and there’s no one size fits all answer. I just think that because of the financial system we have and the ease of creating startups these days, its not the crazy kind of advice our parents have told us about to skip school. The hardest part of creating a startup isn’t code, but softer skills like negotiating, marketing, creating a viable business model, and having judgement. Luckily, there are all kinds of services for promoting businesses at http://www.buyfacebookfansreviews.com and there’s a higher level of acceptance of creating businesses in America so its easier to get a mentor or find people to help you out with this. If you’re young and have a chance to join a startup and you don’t want a corporate life, you’ve got the chance to go for it. There are few fields where you don’t need a degree to create a great life for your self but programming is definitely one of these fields. Going to school is valuable for intense lessons about algorithms and other stuff, but it really depends on what you want to do. For most types of jobs, getting relevant work experience and business experience is much more valuable. If you dream of getting a corporate cubicle type of job, a degree is likely a necessity just because of the economy: big companies get so many resumes they just automatically throw out people without degrees because there is no way to review them all. I don’t think anybody should make this decision lightly because its a major life decision: but if you’ve got a chance to make money right away at a startup and have talent and a work ethic you should consider that an advantage over the mountain of debt you’ll graduate with that will likely take you until your late 20s at earliest to clear away.