On HN a lot of people seem interested in Doctoral study and seem to praise it as a good thing, but I am wondering, are there many people out there who found their years of a PhD helped them much on their start-up?
I feel my years of PhD study and the degree have not helped much.
The PhD has helped in a few ways:
- I've been doing database-related startups for 20+ years, and my deep understanding of database technology has proven very useful. I could have gained some of this insight by working, but I think this path has led to a broader and stronger foundation.
- On a couple of projects, my actual dissertation subject has been relevant.
- While a PhD was off-putting to employers at my first startup (understandable, since it was also my first actual software job, and they had no evidence that I actually wanted to write software and was capable of doing so); once I got past that, the title was occasionally a useful thing to put out there. (On one occasion, I was asked to write a paper for an industry group with "lots of symbols".)
- Contacts with the academic world of databases that have come in handy over the years.
sorry for the snarky comment, but i'm pretty sure 10000% of HNers will agree that a Ph.D. is definitely an anti-prereq for doing a start-up; in fact, it's probably the worst use of your time if your goal is to found a start-up (UNLESS you want to develop your Ph.D. thesis into a start-up, which is hard, since what is popular in research and what makes $$$ are largely uncorrelated).
that's like spending 3 years earning a law degree and then complaining that it didn't help you with your goal of becoming an Olympic swimmer
HN doesn't seem like the appropriate place for PhD info.
But I agree with the grandparent that getting a PhD is somewhat opposed to doing a startup (although you need many of the same skills for both).
I could come up with a list, but I'd hate to turn this into a duelling-list thread. Still, start poking into the backgrounds of successful folks and I think you'll be surprised how many have a long-neglected "Dr" in front of their names.