You’re talking about Ev? He has, what, two or three semesters at Nebraska? Here’s a related anecdote.
The last time I worked for Ev was at Odeo, a 15-ish person startup. One day we went around the room and polled everyone about whether they’d graduated college. As I recall (and for the purposes of the story), the only people with degrees were me and the other middle manager.
Jack Dorsey (on that team) didn’t need a degree to get permission to start working on a side project (Twitter). Basically, all a degree got you was the permission to manage the spreadsheets (product backlog and burn down charts).
Everyone interesting was doing it based on some prior track record.
So, on a micro level, I get that we’re talking about Liberal Arts degrees because Stewart Butterfield is trending.
But on a macro level, did we all forget that one of the big “mindset” innovations in tech was to move from certifications toward portfolios?
To hire an engineer you look at what they’ve built previously and look at their actual code. Github is the host of choice for engineering portfolios.
To hire a designer you look at their actual designs. Dribbble (for better or worse) hosts a lot of these portfolios.
You invest in Ev because of Blogger & Twitter. Nobody asks him how many Econ classes he squeezed in at Nebraska.
Maybe this is too harsh, but any time I hear school as a qualification for working at a startup, I immediately write that person off as someone who doesn’t get the put-up-or-shut-up nature of startups.
Put another way, a top-of-class Stanford degree may correlate highly with the ability to be a reliable peon churning out code that is well structured and passes the unit tests, but it doesn’t say anything about the ability to be a heavy hitter who steps up and solves the problems that really need solving.