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I hope you're not implying that the point of the Fellowship is to destroy academia.

I don't think Thiel is naive enough to think that anything you can do with twenty people and two million dollars will "destroy" academia, but he does seem to have an agenda and the desire to prove a point.

The point, however, is silly. Cherrypick the twenty brightest students you can find, give 'em a bunch of money and all the connections that come from having Peter Thiel invested in your success, and I'm sure that a lot of 'em will do well. But that doesn't scale.

the spread of startup accelerators in the style of y combinator suggests that the entrepreneurship-as-education model is growing. not going to scale to everyone, but that's not the point. the point thiel's making is that entrepreneurs fare well without school, perhaps better, because when they're not in school taking instruction, they're in the world building things. if that's true, what's silly about it? if it's true that we're hampering entrepreneurship by keeping a special breed of human being tied up on class during 4 of their prime years, when we could accelerate entrepreneurship by giving them money to start things, then that's actually quite a profound mistake. so if thiel's project succeeds to the point where more such accelerators pop up, siphoning entrepreneurs out of school to achieve success without a degree, then he's made a profound point.

I'm not sure this is exactly a source, but this article by Thiel tends to imply that he thinks the system is pretty broken : http://www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/the-educa.... And then Thiel has talked about the education bubble (links on HN previously, too) : http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2431431.

Thiel is definitely pro "different" from the current system.

I think the idea of promoting more entrepreneurial activities earlier is great, but it seems very anti-university/higher ed in his vision rather than as an alternative path.

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