David Perell

A Message to Every Entrepreneur

David Perell
A Message to Every Entrepreneur

I’ve always struggled to motivate myself in school. My mother studied design at UC Davis while my father raced through Dartmouth before securing an MBA from Tuck two years later. The importance of a “good education” was repeatedly hammered into my adolescent brain.

I’ve always maintained contrasting perspectives. I remain restless in class and can’t find the value proposition in writing essays or focusing projects that will only be seen by the teacher in the front of the room. I only work for the grades that I receive at the end of the semester.

My work doesn’t impact the world or my community.

I’ve observed that classes are only as useful as the teachers who lead them, while the lack of autonomy and rigid classroom settings diminish creativity and suppress necessary problem-solving skills.

Students are taught to follow the narrow path of obedience and “gaming the system.”

They’re taught to submit to arbitrary guidelines, to think “inside the box.” Students graduate from college with similar skill sets and a base of information that could have been acquired on the internet… for free.

The American educational system is in need of an extreme overhaul. The rise of Artificial Intelligence and the ubiquity of the internet and smartphones make information and knowledge a commodity. We’re entering an age of unprecedented human progress.

Creativity, innovation and thinking differently have never been more important.

Startup incubators like YCombinator, Betaworks, and Tech Stars should serve as an example for American universities. Instead of providing their founders with trivial knowledge, incubators provide support, wisdom and connections.

It’s time for our universities to implement a similar practice.

We live in a time where everybody can create a personal brand and create one’s own success. You are a business.

Discovery platforms like Twitter, Feedly and Medium allow us to learn from the most educated thought-leaders in every industry.

I’ve learned more from Ben Thompson, Fred Wilson, Mark Manson, Peter Thiel, Marc Andreesen and Benedict Evans this semester than any of my professors.

It’s time to accept that learning is conducted more efficiently on the Internet than in the classroom. Instead of sharing unpersonalized information, professors should simply facilitate the learning process and serve as mentors to their students.

Universities are a wonderful place to meet potential co-founders and to absorb a diverse range of worldviews. The university structure, in its current form is inefficient.

As the end of the semester “crunch time” period approaches, I will have to put down my books and ignore the best minds in the world to focus on classroom assignments that I will never benefit from.

Let’s teach our students to take action, to find their passions and discover how they can impact the world. Universities have become an avenue for extreme debt, procrastination and wasted time for thousands of future entrepreneurs around the world.

Entrepreneurs learn by pursuing ambitious goals, fighting relentlessly and learning from their inevitable mistakes. People who change the world spend their lives pursuing the intangible finish lines that constrast strict university cirriculums.

It’s time for our universities to adapt to our changing world.