It’s getting to be graduation time for a lot of my college friends, so recently I’ve been reflecting on some of the things I’ve experienced that put me where I am today.
I was a 19 y/o student-athlete at Indiana University (Kelley Business School) – I dropped out after my freshman year to focus full time on the startup I was working on (GoDonor.org). The ah-ha moment was when I was offered a $40k grant by the chilean government to bring my startup there to help spark their entrepreneurship community. That option allowed me to put everything in perspective and led me to turn that offer down, self-fund the company I was working on and move back home with my parents in LA.
My current startup, SellSimple, has raised $250k+ in funding, and is progressing very nicely. We’ve launched to some great feedback, had over 150k downloads, and are seeing daily organic growth.
For me, dropping out was a no brainer and something I had planned on doing since high school – but even then it was still hard to pull the trigger. Actually, I don’t think I ever actually dropped out. I just never registered for any more classes – they still send me automated emails every week.
At a certain point I realized I was learning more from exploring reddit, stumbleupon, quora, HN, and internet marketing forums than I was in business school.
As far as dropping out and becoming successful goes, I’d say it depends on how dedicated and focused you are. Hypothetically, if you have nothing to do all day, would you naturally end up going out with friends, or would you end up sitting at your desk by yourself learning everything you can for 15 hours a day.
Just because you drop out of school doesn’t mean the learning stops — when you drop out is when the real work begins.
My philosophy is that all the information that exists is already out there, you just need to be motivated enough, and ask the right questions in order to find it. If you can do that, you can get an education by just using google.
The function of a school is to choose the things that are important for you to know, and provide instructors to easily help you learn this information. What its turned into is after 4 years you get a badge that says you’re kinda smart. If you’re not learning, get out and go teach yourself.
The social part of college is awesome though – make sure you fully experience that before you go.
More discussion on this post can be found on reddit, here: http://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/comments/1dl0w5/did_anyone_drop_out_of_college_to_start_a_business/c9rj41d