This guy didn’t get the memo about dropouts having no future
By John Lawrence
High school drop-out David Karp just sold Tumblr to Yahoo for $1.1 billion. His share of the take was a cool $250 million. I guess nobody ever told him that high school drop-outs are doomed to high unemployment and low wages.
Defying every societal stereotype, none of this propaganda from the education-industrial complex deterred him from going ahead and doing what he wanted which was being a software developer.
Karp is 26 years old. Having not wasted a bunch of time in high school and college, (Karp dropped out of high school at age 15) he instead got on with life, which only goes to show that, if you really know what you want to do in life, high school and college are mainly a waste of time. You can become an expert in any field without having a degree or a diploma.
Karp follows a long line of high tech billionaire college dropouts such as Bill Gates (Microsoft), Paul Allen (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Michael Dell (Dell Computer), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Jack Dorsey (Twitter and the Square). It seems to be the rule rather than the exception that in the high tech field as well as in many others those who do the best and achieve the most are the ones who strike out on their own rather than pursuing a piece of paper which supposedly announces to society that they are acceptable for employment. One of the few exceptions is local billionaire Irwin Jacobs, founder of Qualcomm, who actually has a PhD from MIT.
Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, announced that Karp would stay on as CEO of Tumblr. At an age when most college students are emerging from grad school with $100,000 in debt, Karp has already made a fortune and created a life for himself. Karp joins 17 year old high school student Nick D’Aloisio who sold his news aggregator app, Summly, to Yahoo in March for $30 million.
Evidently, Marissa Mayer has an affinity for young guys who develop the next cool thing. For her it’s all about seeking out the “cool.” Wahoo, this girl is on fire! Whether or not D’Aloisio will join Karp as a high school drop-out is not clear. He’s going to start work in Yahoo’s London office. Hey, he got a job without a college degree or even a high school diploma and $30 million to boot!
On the other hand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that for the top ten fastest growing occupations for the years 2010 – 2020, only two will require a college degree. Four don’t even require a high school diploma! Two require an Associate’s Degree.
Student loan debt is over 1 trillion dollars, greater than outstanding aggregate credit card debt. Yet so many people have bought the myth hook, line and sinker that the only way to get ahead in life is to obtain a college degree. Student loan debt will follow them the rest of their lives as it’s the only form of debt that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy.
They will find that even their social security checks can be garnished! Some social security recipients are already finding that out. The Treasury Department has been withholding as much as 15 percent of Social Security benefits from a rapidly growing number of Social Security recipients who have fallen behind on federal student loans.
The first three months of 2013 were the worst on record for student loan defaults. Most of the outstanding student loan debt has been racked up at for profit colleges such as University of Phoenix. CNBC reports:
“Credit-rating firm Equifax said $3.5 billion in government and private student loans went bad in the first three months of 2013, the most since the company began keeping track. The U.S. Department of Education said 6.8 million federal student loan borrowers are now in default, representing $85 billion in debt. And the department’s systems for collecting the bad loans are struggling to keep up.”
Young people need to wake up and smell the coffee and cast off the yoke of propaganda that leads them to believe that a college education is a panacea. You can become an expert in any field without a college or even a high school education by just devoting yourself to studying and learning as much as possible about that field starting at an early age. The educational tools are all available on the internet or in libraries. You don’t need to be spoon fed by a bunch of professors. Any real learning is learning that you do yourself and not just to pass some test.
More than half of all recent graduates are either unemployed or working in jobs that don’t require a college diploma. There is a surfeit of college degrees to the extent that they are being required for the most casual jobs just because employers can afford to be choosy, not that the job has anything remotely to do with the training received in college.
According to Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, “Employers seeing a surplus of college graduates and looking to fill jobs are just tacking on that requirement. De facto, a college degree becomes a job requirement for becoming a bartender.” Or a barista. In a study by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, entitled Academically Adrift, the authors find that at least a third of students gain no measurable skills during their four years in college. Furthermore, for the rest their increase in knowledge is minimal.
So what is the point of a college degree? The heart of the matter is that what going to college is really all about is not gaining an education but gaining a credential. That credential tells a prospective employer that the holder was smart enough to get into college, enough of a conformist to put up with all the bullshit, and compliant enough to sit there for four years. Presumably, he or she would make a docile and compliant employee and a docile and compliant consumer, in other words, a good American living the American Dream.
But for many the American Dream has become the American Nightmare. For many the dream of living independently goes by the wayside and they have to move back into their parents’ house. For many their payments on their student loans take up most of their meager paychecks, and late payments, forbearances and defaults double and triple the amount owed.
But David Karp and Nick D’Aloisio are doing just fine, thank you. They didn’t buy the bullshit about going to college.
bob dorn says
Talk to any serious teacher at a university (up to but not including the rank of full professor, because they don’t really teach undergrads) and you’ll hear them say, again and again, only a few undergraduates in a room of 20 listen to what’s going on in front of them. They text, write their assignments, show up late, leave early… The teachers I know are motivated; the majority of students are not.
I couldn’t agree more with you; the majority of students indebting themselves and their parents don’t belong in universities.
But given the level of indifference to advanced study (in the humanities and social sciences, at any rate), I doubt that majority you’re urging to leave the state universities are going to save mankind once they do.
So? That lack of motivation is going to fail them in the larger world.
John Lawrence says
Bob, true, you have to be really motivated to make it on your own without a degree. But if you are not motivated, even with a degree, you’re not going far.
Matt Joseph says
I wish I read about this years ago. My parents pushed/forced me to go to college 9 years ago. I got my Bachelors in six years, graduated cum laude. I am now 27, I am working 3 part time jobs, still $30,000 in debt, and still living with my parents.