Peter Thiel Keeping It Real About Education On 60 Minutes

College tuition has quadrupled since the 1980's, so does that mean you shouldn't go? Peter Thiel would say yes. As most of you probably know among founding companies like Paypal and funding companies like Facebook, he has created the Thiel Fellowship which gives young entrepreneurs $100K to dropout of college for at least two years to pursue an idea or start a company.

These students don't go without any education. For one they take a course on hand shaking and how to make eye contact (seriously!?!). Personally there were only a few classes in college I felt that I really 'learned' something that I now use 12 years after my first class began. But for non-prodigies like myself I agree with the overall message of the piece that says generally speaking people need a college education, despite how broken the system currently is.

What's more surprising is how Morley Safer takes such a personal shot at Peter when he says, "And now (Thiel) leads a predictable pampered billionaire's life. Intensely private, demanding, uncomfortable. The Silicon Valley's version of a prima donna." Even if it's true, what does it have to do with the Thiel program?

We've all met people that didn't need college. There is a businessman that I know who started one of the largest pant companies in America. He was a dropout. My brother started a +$20MM revenue company and although he eventually graduated he got the worst grades of anyone I know. There are people who seem destined to outpace and out-need higher education. I am not one, but I respect those who figure that out early in their schooling and find a better path.

There's another great exchange in the video as well which is listed below. Peter talks about not caring what people think about his ideas. What do you think? To attend college or not to attend college?


Safer: Do some of your fellow entrepreneurs sometimes think you're a little bit nuts for the kinds of things your support?

Thiel: It doesn't matter to me whether they think it's crazy or not, what matters to me is whether we're doing something to make the world a better place.

Safer: And you really feel that you are?

Thiel: If you could convince me that I wasn't then I'd stop.