The most successful college dropouts of this generation article from the Financial Post is very enlightening.
Every generation has its college dropout heroes.
Generation Y (i.e. people under 30) has plenty of stars too, including that guy who started Facebook.
High profile people like Peter Thiel are starting programs to encourage them, offering money and support for those who want to skip higher education and get right down to business. Nonetheless, most dropouts actually end up worse off, earning 80% less than a college grad and significantly more likely to be unemployed.
In the end it takes a special breed of person to make it big without a degree (and some of these “dropouts” never even made it to college.)
Mullenweg dropped out of the University of Houston in 2004. Even then, he was so precocious that he didn’t bother with their computer classes. At 20, he had already developed the beginnings of WordPress and was fielding job offers from tech companies. He dropped out to work for CNET in San Francisco, with a promise that he could continue developing his side project 15 percent of the time.
Ferdowski dropped out of MIT in 2007 after three years at the school. He left to found DropBox, which quickly grew from a tiny startup to a service used by hundreds of millions of people.
He’s currently the company’s Chief Technology Officer, and became a multimillionaire at the age of 27.
When Levie was a sophomore at USC, he was bouncing ideas back and forth with Dylan Smith, a friend at Duke. A marketing class helped Levie come up with the idea that became Box.net, a cloud content management system.
An unsolicited email to Mark Cuban got them $350,000 in funding, and they haven’t looked back since. The company has its eye on an IPO some time this year.
Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in 2004 during his sophomore year to move to Silicon Valley and work on Facebook full time. The site was first launched from his dorm room in February of that year.
The site has grown exponentially since then, and went public in the fall of 2012 in what was the biggest tech IPO of all time at $16-billion dollars.
In 2012, Ferreira decided to drop out of NYU when she received news that Virgin Mogul Richard Branson and Jerry Murdock would be investing in her cloud-based startup, MySocialCloud.com.
Ferreira began working on the business with her brother, Scott, in high school and continued to do so during her first two years in college. When she saw a tweet from Branson asking people to “donate $2,000 to charity,” for a chance to meet the mogul in Miami two days later for “intimate cocktails,” Ferreira and her brother decided to borrow the money from their parents.
They were able to meet Branson and interested him enough that he came on as an investor and later brought on Murdock.