This is not the kind of thing I would expect to write about on a blog that focuses on education and innovation that makes the public ed system better, but I think it’s worth a mention. Peter Thiel, President of Clarium Capital, is going to offer 20 students US$100,000 each to drop out of school and focus on innovation and disruption. Grant applications will be received this year and the grant / fellowships will start in 2011.

As a person who thinks a lot about what schools help our students to and what schools help our students not do, this seems like a brilliant idea. Perhaps it is the passive-aggressive form of education reform. You inspire enough kids to pursue a life of invention by leaving school, and it may force people to change their ideas on what is taught in classes. It’s like that joke I heard about JAWS played in reverse. It’s about a lonely shark that pukes up so many people, that by the end of the movie they open up a beach.

Here’s a video of Peter Thiel talking about the idea and more at TechCrunch disrupt. He is talking to Sarah Lacy and he doesn’t reveal this whopper till the end, so you can fast forward if you like:


  1. I LOVE IT! If someone would have offered that to me in college, I would have done it in a heart beat. College as a boring experience for me and too much of it I couldn’t connect it to how I would use it in the real world. My way of coping was to pound through it in 3 yrs while running a company I had started…an opportunity like Peter Theil would have been amazing.

    • right? The next extension of this is to make entrepreneurial schools for people who feel compelled to start businesses, and don’t want to mess with curriculum, unless they take classes that seem interesting to them. How would this float down to the K12 level? Or, could it?


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