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Why Mark Zuckerberg Is a Bad Role Model For Aspiring Tech Execs

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the step-one-matriculate-at-harvard dept.

Businesses 326

coondoggie writes "Want to run a successful high-tech company? Don't drop out of college. The myth of the brilliant Ivy League student who starts a business in his dorm room, drops out of school, and goes on to run a successful high-tech start-up for many decades to come is essentially just that: a myth. Despite a few high-profile exceptions — such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates — the vast majority of CEOs running successful U.S. high-tech firms have college degrees, and more than half have at least one graduate degree."

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And... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530055)

Because he's a cunt.

Re:And... (0)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530279)

Mod parent +1

Re:And... (5, Informative)

dc29A (636871) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530323)

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don't know why.
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb fucks.

Re:And... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530517)

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard Zuck: Just ask. Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you Zuck: People just submitted it. Zuck: I don't know why. Zuck: They "trust me" Zuck: Dumb fucks.

How to be rich and successful in corporate America: be a selfish, backstabbing cunt with no conscience!

That's what we want! That's what we select for! The compassionate, mature guy well he can just go on welfare, fuck him. We love our sociopaths. Sociopath?! Where?!?!?! Here, Mr. Sociopath, let me give you some money and power, yeahhhh that's the stuff.

Re:And... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530677)

Indeed. It's too late for me, but I'm raising my daughter with this mentality. Focusing more on controlling rich men with sex.

Re:And... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530661)

Anonymous Coward and 2,416,027 others like this.

Re:And... (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530759)

THIS

Forget any minor shit about his education, Zuckerberg is a real-life supervillain, destroying humanity's concept of privacy and commercializing human relationships for his own personal gain.

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530057)

first ps0t

Re:first (2, Funny)

Hoffy97 (718167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530163)

If you're gonna troll to be the first post, at least make sure you ARE the first post...

Confirmed (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530063)

It's not a myth if it happened on multiple occasions...

Re:Confirmed (2)

seven of five (578993) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530091)

Jobs and Wozniak, to name two more...

Re:Confirmed (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530117)

Apart from some small element of skill it is no different from the lottery really.

Re:Confirmed (3, Insightful)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530825)

Education is a microscopic part of it. Being in the right place at the right time, or having the right family is the real multiplier.
Obviously this academic douche bag doesn't understand his own analogy.
"I've met as many successful tech CEOs who have dropped out college as I've met folks who have won the lottery," says Professor Jerry Luftman, managing director of the Global Institute for IT Management, who holds doctorate in Information Systems from Stevens Institute of Technology. "There are always going to be exceptions to any rule. But if you are a betting person, you would increase your odds of becoming a tech executive if you have a college education and a senior executive if you have a management degree."

Re:Confirmed (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530383)

Saying that somebody can drop out of high school and go on to run one of the largest companies in the world is like saying that somebody can not exercise and be able to play on the NBA. Sure, it's possible, but it's absurdly unlikely.

Re:Confirmed (1)

knuthin (2255242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530703)

The dorm element is missing. :P

Re:Confirmed (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530177)

So compare it to the total number of companies in the world

Re:Confirmed (1)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530263)

Myth. Exception, Don't they really mean the same thing?
Maybe you're setting the bar a little high for the summary writers.

Re:Confirmed (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530357)

Myths can still have kernels of truth to them. Like straw men, just because there exist examples doesn't make it any less of a myth, though of course this depends on which definition of 'myth' one is using.

Outlier is the word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530391)

If we want to be pedantic, "outlier" is probably the better word.

Re:Confirmed (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530781)

From the makers of "the exception that proves the rule," here comes "it's not a myth because it happened more than once!"

many decades? (5, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530083)

As in the summary:

run a successful high-tech start-up for many decades

How can you possibly say that Zuckerberg will run a company for many decades, when he isn't even many decades old? He hasn't even been old enough to drive a car for a decade, let alone old enough to run a company for "many decades". Being as facebook is doing less-than-brilliantly in the stock market, it seems at the very least overly optimistic to say that it will be around for "many decades".

Re:many decades? (2, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530343)

Question is, do you want to START a company, or RUN a company. If you want to START a company, you need to have a drive that doesn't mesh well with sitting at the knee of an authority figure and have him dump his views into your brain. RUNNING someone elses company, on the other hand... any retard can do that. When you get right down to it, the best would be to just go play golf and not screw up what was working before you arrived in an effort to leave your mark.

Re:many decades? (5, Informative)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530497)

You really have no idea what it takes to run a company, even a small one. Your day is constantly filled with making decisions. With no game plan other than "don't screw up", you will run into the problem that one decision you made last year screwed up a decision you made this year. There are competitors to think about, cash-flow, investor relations, employee compensation, accounting rules, government regulation, community relations, employee relations, the direction of your industry, understanding what makes your company unique such that it deserves a niche, etc.

Re:many decades? (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530549)

"RUNNING someone elses company, on the other hand... any retard can do that."

You're an idiot.

Re:many decades? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530641)

any retard can do that

well in his defence, any retard can run a company into the ground. Running a company well is hard, putting the CEO title on your door is easy.

Re:many decades? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530953)

After being a consultant for longer than Zuckerberg has been alive: Yes, an retard can run a company.

If that weren't true, the companies they run wouldn't need my help so badly.

Re:many decades? (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530861)

What do you have against retards? Looking at Banking which is such a simple concept, lend money to people who have ability to pay off the loan with money from your depositors. They couldn't even do that right. They even get 20%+ interest rates on credit cards while paying less than 1% on deposits yet they still managed to drive those companies into the ground.

Re:many decades? (2)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530885)

To run your own company like Zuckerberg or Gates, you do not need any credentials, who really cares? You are the boss. But to run company that belongs to somebody else or a public company to answer hordes of greedy shareholders, that is a different story altogether. Then my friend, you need every blessing, connections, academic achievements etc.

cause and effect vs commonality (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530119)

Be careful not to automatically interpret correlation as causation.

In other words, the degree may not be what's making the CEO, but rather that the odds of CEO material also having a degree is high.

CEOs also tend to own more than one car. Doesn't mean you should go buy a second car to improve your odds of becoming a CEO.

Re:cause and effect vs commonality (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530153)

The question is what came first. Most CEOs probably didn't have a garage full of cars until after they were pretty close to having that position anyway. However, they probably got at least a Bachelors at the beginning of their career, so the likelihood of causation is significantly greater.

Re:cause and effect vs commonality (3, Insightful)

ShadyG (197269) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530435)

There probably isn't much cause and effect between degrees and one-in-a-billion success as an entrepreneur. I imagine Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others would do about the same either way. The degree is for finding your footing when life informs you you're one of the other 999,999,999.

Re:cause and effect vs commonality (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530899)

It takes tremendous insight and a bit of luck to know that right now is absolutely the right time to be in this business and that even waiting a couple more years to finish your degree is waiting too long.

Now the thing is, if you guess wrong, you can always go back and finish assuming you haven't completely wiped out any hope you ever had of having any access to money (parents, loans, etc). So I'm sure there are a lot more people who drop out of school to start a business and then end up back at school trying to finish their degrees a few years later than there are people who have a meteoric rise to success.

Re:cause and effect vs commonality (1, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530639)

The the Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg, are the exception, their success comes from being in the right place at the right time, and having the right idea, and taking the risk to try it out. For these guys everything lined up for them. If they failed they would probably be working a middle class job right now, because they didn't have the college degree (assuming they didn't go back to finish school), and no one will really want to hire them, or they will be doing a bunch of mediocre successful businesses.

Higher education teaches some important things...
1. Research skills: You recognize what you don't know but know how to find out.
2. Patients/Balancing life: In college you are no longer micromanaged (by parents and teachers) You need to discipline yourself to get your work done. Those who fail out of college, isn't because of their intelligence, but because they were not disciplined enough to do the work.
3. The Cram/All nigher: If you didn't have at least one all nigher in college then you missed out on an important learning experience. (Having them all the time, is usually bad) You can see how your body functions under stress, and learn to beat that to get things done.
4. Diversity: People of difference, Races, Religions, Countries, Sexual orientations... You actually have to deal with people where before you could have been isolated from them.
5. Adult Relationships: I am not talking about sex, but mature relationships with other adults. Where you are no longer the kid.

Re:cause and effect vs commonality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530813)

Those who fail out of college, isn't because of their intelligence, but because they were not disciplined enough to do the work.

Uhm. That is just one of the many possible explanations. Just saying.

seriously? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530123)

Could this post be any more pointless? So in other words, stay in school kids, stop all your creativity and innovation because you have no chance in the world to actually change the world around you. Just get a degree, get some office job, settle down, retire, and die. Don't actually use your brain to expand your life. Go figure. Also, if it was a myth, why do you have clear proof of it happening twice in your post? You say it's a myth, yet you cite examples of it clearly not being a myth. What? Seriously, man.

Which came first, jobs or college degrees? I'm pretty sure humanity would be fine without the existence of colleges. It is will power that needs to be instilled in people, not random bullshit facts about Socrates, Plato, and macroeconomic principles. I'm sorry, but taking a class in 'Social History' does not do anything for my life whatsoever.

Re:seriously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530253)

about Socrates, Plato, and macroeconomic principles

Spoken like someone who really should have attended a liberal arts college. Seriously, I really prefer interviewing/hiring science majors from liberal arts colleges because they seem to have a much better aptitude for dealing with other divisions outside of our engineering dept, and for a smaller company that is a huge win.

Re:seriously? (3, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530277)

Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning...

I read it as the only thing better than being surrounded in class by nymphomaniac college girls is being a multimillionaire tech startup CEO surrounded in class by nymphomaniac college girls.

Re:seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530473)

You and I may have gone to the same school...

But the point about Western style education punishing creativity and rewarding rote memorization is accurate, and large corporations are just as bad. It took 20 years for western business to wrap its mind around how the Japanese took over the auto industry. 20 years from now they'll just be getting around to incorporating Chinese style efficiencies (and I don't mean their labor practices).

I'm Gonna Be a Star! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530137)

The "drop out billionaire" myth is just as likely as the "overnight sensation" myth.
Here's a basic and reliable formula for success - educate yourself, save your money, and don't be stupid. Oh, and position yourself at where money goes to.

Re:I'm Gonna Be a Star! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530313)

Right. So when a tree is in the ground, it has no value. When it is mashed up into paper, it has value. So in the end, money is imaginary valued chopped up trees. And we are trying to tell people to care more about money as opposed to innovation? The world is seriously becoming such a sad place to live in anymore.

Re:I'm Gonna Be a Star! (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530655)

Here's a basic and reliable formula for success - educate yourself, save your money, and don't be stupid. Oh, and position yourself at where money goes to.

Moderate success, working the corporate ladder. Crazy success you only get with major ownership in a an idea that goes sky high. And you have to have the balls to ride that rocket too. I think everybody here has heard of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, but have you heard of Ronald Wayne? He's a co-founder of Apple but sold out very early, if he'd kept all his stock he'd be worth 35 billion dollars today. But as he admits, he couldn't risk it and cashed out.

Myth? (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530141)

Ellison
Gates
Jobs
Zuckerberg

That's most of the tech money that isn't IBM or HP.

Re:Myth? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530431)

Ellison

Gates

Jobs

Zuckerberg

That's most of the tech money that isn't IBM or HP.

You forgot Dell...

Who needs a degree if your the boss?

Re:Myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530439)

Dell

Re:Myth? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530483)

Ellison Gates Jobs Zuckerberg That's most of the tech money that isn't IBM or HP.

Tom Watson Sr., the guy that founded IBM also appears to be a dropout. From the wikipedia "Having given up his first job—teaching—after just one day, Watson took a year's course in accounting and business at the Miller School of Commerce in Elmira. He left the school in 1891, taking a job at $6 a week as bookkeeper for Clarence Risley's Market in Painted Post."

I don't know about H or P, but yes it would be interesting to see the piechart of the value of companies founded by college graduates vs. non-grads.

Edison was also a non-college guy, and he founded quite a few companies that are still around today.

Edison: Another asshole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530609)

I sense a trend...

Re:Myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530891)

Sure, but you're measuring the wrong thing. Measure "dropped out of college" and "dropped out of high school" against "became CEO of the company". Sure 90% of the wealth in Tech might have come from a company founded by a guy who dropped out of higher education. Sorta like picking out the handful of people who survived a 30K ft drop and decide, "I'd like to jump out of a plane without a parachute", so I can get interviewed on T.V. I'd ask about the all the others who fell out of a plane at 30K ft, before I started jumping out of planes.

Re:Myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530559)

Ellison

Gates

Jobs

Zuckerberg

That's most of the tech money that isn't IBM or HP.

It might be interesting to compare the short list above (4 names) to how many people have won the state lottery---another road to big bucks, with significantly less time invested.

Re:Myth? (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530573)

#1 While Zuckerberg has money now, I want to see if that is still true 3 years from now. The stock market is a cruel mistress.
#2 Ellison, Gates and Jobs are probably three of the most brilliant and ruthless people on the planet, who also lucked into a set of extraordinary circumstances (what would Jobs have been without Woz, and what would Gates have been without rich parents?)
#3 Dropping out of school because your business is far more interesting and time consuming than school is entirely different from dropping out of school because "degrees don't correlate with success).
#4 That's three people. Three people who made it without a degree. There are far more variables that impact success than can be properly identified and isolated through the anecdotal stories of three people.
#5 That's not to say that degrees are necessary - they clearly aren't necessary, by the mathematical definition of the word. But they give you a hell of a leg up on the competition.

Anybody who says that degrees are useless is trying to sell you something else, or is trying to make sure that you won't become competition.

So in that sense, yes, it is a myth that successful entrepreneurs don't need degrees.

Re:Myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530877)

Your #1 is interesting. Zuckerberg had a lot of actual money before the IPO, so unless he blows it he will still be quite well off even if the stock price tanks. A far different situation from ESR and Commander Taco, et al.

But also interesting from a causality standpoint. Hilariously, if Facebook does fall apart who are you going to blame? The college dropout with the brilliant idea, who built it into a quite large and successful business? Or the degree holding hangers on who showed up subsequent to that? If the downfall can be tied a lot of MBA types coming along to show Zuckerberg all the traditional tricks for how to monetize everything that would be a problem.

Re:Myth? (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530583)

I think more to the point, those Big 4 weren't successful because they dropped out of college. They are/were hard working, driven individuals with good instincts on how to run a business. They would have been successful regardless of whether they finished college or not. In their cases, the opportunities they made their money on came up before they finished their degrees. In at least Zuckerberg's case, and possibly others, the opportunities arose because they were in college.

If this is your career plan:
1. Drop out of college
2. ???
3. Profit
You're fucked.

If it looks like this:
1. Go to college
2a. Start business based on awesome thing OR 2b. Finish college
3a. Become fabulously wealthy (with or without graduating) OR 3b. Get a job or start a business like everybody else does and live a comfortable, if unremarkable existence.
You might be okay. You can't mix up spurious correlation with causation.

Also Richard Branson, Amadeo Peter Giannini, ... (3, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530793)

OK, BofA is stretching "high tech" a little...

Richard Branson - Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Galactic, plus all of http://www.virgin.com/company [virgin.com]
David Geffen - Dreamworks
Ted Murphy - izea.com
Tom Anderson - myspace.com
David Karp - Tumblr.com
Y.C. Wang - fpusa.com
Rob Kalin - etsy.com
Theodore Waitt - gateway.com
Shawn Fanning - napster.com
Steve Wozniak - apple.com
Kevin Rose - digg.com
Dustin Moskovitz - Cofounder, Facebook
Jerry Yang - yahoo.com
Amadeo Peter Giannini - Bank of America, perhaps you've heard of it
Craig McCaw - McCaw Cellular
Ashley Qualls - whateverlife.com
Pete Cashmore - mashable.com
Jeffrey Kalmikoff - Threadless.com
Ben Kaufman - kluster.com
Red McComb - Clear Channel
Bram Cohen - BitTorrent
Gurbaksh Chahal - Blue Lithium, Click Again

Degree = CEO ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530149)

You can get as many degrees as you want but it doesn't guarantee that you will even get a job.

http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/06/not-where-they-hoped-theyd-be/100320/

Re:Degree = CEO ? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530219)

Hey Philosophy Major, is my latte ready yet?

Re:Degree = CEO ? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530711)

True... But I know a lot of jobs you can't get without a degree. Where your resume will be tossed out after an automated first pass.

And if you don't have a CS degree... (5, Funny)

bi$hop (878253) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530173)

...just pretend. I'm pretty sure eBay and Yahoo won't even notice.

If you have a great idea... (5, Insightful)

deisama (1745478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530187)

If you have a great idea, you should see it through. You can always go back to college later, and the experience of pursuing it will be far more beneficial to you than any class you could possibly take.

If you don't have a great idea, than dropping out of college is stupid and will gain you very little.

Re:If you have a great idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530301)

Exactly. He didn't exactly "drop out". He was pursuing something which was already successful at the scale he was running it at the time. He also had the ability to go back to college if it didn't work out.

Re:If you have a great idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530905)

Sometimes aspiring techies have an idea. However its not so great though they think it is..

Thank you Captain Obvious! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530193)

Without you, we would have never known that being evil and without a conciousness from the deepest depths of your heart is a bad idea in the long run.*

You saved the day!

___
* Now that I see it... Wasn’t there this articles, about how so many managers are probably psychopaths and sociopaths without anyone noticing because they don't think it's unusual?

Opportunity (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530239)

Being as big as a Gates or a Zuckerberg is more a function of opportunity than pure education or even talent. Not to underestimate their abilities, of course, but I'd say there are plenty of people with the academic capabilities (or better) of both of those two, but they will never be more than well-paid employees.

The important thing is finding and knowing what to do with opportunities, and then learning what you need to in order to take advantage of it. People with more education will have more specialized knowledge, but interestingly, I'd say that they gain more from the currency of simply having the piece of paper and any networking they can do in the graduate programs. In this way, I'd say that it is 100% true that the higher education *system* helps find more opportunities for advancement, starting with the requirement for a graduate degree for a better job, but going even further than that.

Still, the right opportunity and the means to take advantage of it is what is actually required. The rest of it is just positioning. In the end, you don't get rich being a great practitioner of a particular science or engineering field, you get rich either managing your business, or getting it to the point where others can manage it for you. Of course, dropping out is like buying only one lottery ticket instead of multiple tickets. You can still win it all on the one ticket, but chances are much better you win if you invest more.

Re:Opportunity (4, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530535)

Being as big as a Gates or a Zuckerberg is more a function of opportunity than pure education or even talent. Not to underestimate their abilities, of course, but I'd say there are plenty of people with the academic capabilities (or better) of both of those two, but they will never be more than well-paid employees.

Yes, having parents that can easily pay for Harvard or Yale is more important to your future wealth than actually *graduating* from Harvard or Yale.

Re:Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40531047)

Being as big as a Gates or a Zuckerberg is more a function of opportunity than pure education or even talent.

No. The difference between Zuckerberg/Gates/Dell, etc and the rest of humanity is that they MADE their opportunities. They pushed themselves, and everyone else, until they got somewhere. They didn't sit around collecting a paycheck, nor did they go to school and send out hundreds of resumes. They spent most of their time and most of their knowledge on their own goals and priorities, piss on everyone else. They had a drive that is way beyond the average person or even beyond the exceptional person. Most people can't do this -- they don't have the right brain because you have to be slightly off in your moral sense to do it. But don't think they stumbled upon the gift of opportunity: they kicked in the door.

The Lottery (2)

firewrought (36952) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530261)

It seems like there are a lot of jobs--and career paths--that offer a very low chance of fabulous wealth: dropping out of college for a tech startup, writing a novel, becoming a fashion designer, going to Hollywood, starting a trendy restaurant, dealing crack, doing anything artistic (ballet/sculptur/rock band), day trading, pro sports, being an "inventor", etc. For most people, it's a recipe for going broke or just subsisting. For a few, it leads to greatness.

And while humanity needs risk-takers, and it needs people to strive for greatness, I feel we over-glamorize the few (ALL of whom benefited from generous portions of luck in addition to the hard work and personnel genius they may have contributed) instead of emphasizing the steady, dependable careers that offer a good chance of honest work for honest pay (maybe not in this economy though :-().

you dont have to be him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530291)

you dont have to make billions to be successful...

Re:you dont have to be him (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530889)

A great number of people in the U.S. equate success and wealth. It's pretty sad...

What if... (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530293)

What if correlation is not causation, and the number of tech execs with degrees simply reflects the total population of people with the skills to be tech execs, ie, could many of those degreed tech execs have made it without the degrees they spent so much time and money getting?

It's funny, the things that degrees are required for these days. I would hire someone out of high school to be a entry level technician in my lab, and train them myself, if our hiring policies allowed me to do that. In that way, I could get people without a bunch of debt who would be happy with the salary they get here, and thus would stick around long enough to advance.

well passing over people who can do the job but do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530603)

well passing over people who can do the job but do not have a piece of paper can be seen as discrimination even more so in a job where some with learning disabilities can learn on the job but is not cut out for college.

well CS does not really help for upper VP / Execs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530299)

well CS does not really help for upper VP / Execs where a MBA is gold.

But on the other side CS is not IT and you need people with real tech skills that college does a poor job of teaching.

extenuating circumstances (1)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530311)

The scenario mentioned above isn't as much a myth as it is an oversimplification. None of the people who accomplished this were average college students who simply had a good idea. They all had some sort of foundation for success started before they ever entered college.

Disagree (4, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530317)

FTA:

There are always going to be exceptions to any rule. But if you are a betting person, you would increase your odds of becoming a tech executive if you have a college education and a senior executive if you have a management degree.

I respectfully disagree. What do Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniac, Michael Dell, and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? They were smart enough to realize that you have to strike while the iron is hot. All staying in school would have done for these guys is ensure that they missed the boat on their respective opportunities and found themselves in arguably more menial jobs as a result.

This article sounds like it was sponsored by a bunch of universities or something.

Re:Disagree (2)

PieceOfShitAndroid (2538056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530537)

I'd remove Woz from that list. Woz is more of a go to college, work for one company your whole career kind of guy. Jobs had to beg Woz to start Apple.

Re:Disagree (1)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530637)

But they were also lucky enough to have been gifted with exceptional intelligence and raised in situations that allowed them access to computer hardware, software, and similarly gifted peers. They were/are all exceptional people. I think that the point of the article is that the vast majority of us aren't going to be able to accomplish what they did in the same way that they did.

Re:Disagree (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530765)

a couple of them were gifted with exceptional intelligence, the rest were gifted with exceptional arrogance, and above average con artist skills

Re:Disagree (1)

gatfirls (1315141) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530723)

Exactly. If you take this outside of tech you will see it in every industry. "Huh, you can think and invent without someone telling you how to do it?" Of course, there is a point to be made that most won't get a decent 8th grade education until they complete their 2nd year of college.

Re:Disagree (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530787)

Is the article really lumping together statistics of people who start a successful tech company with people who run a successful tech company? A company is only started once, but run by N executives. The executives shouldn't be part of this statistic because aspiring entrepreneurs are not looking to jump right into the role of CEO at an existing company.

Great, an article from network world. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530319)

complete with annoying survey tacked on the article.

the site and article are aimed at essentially people holding masters in "business" - that's phb's, nobody fucking else would bother to read a site with hover-spam and popups.

(here's the print link, all in one page http://www.networkworld.com/cgi-bin/mailto/x.cgi?pagetosend=/news/2012/070212-tech-ceo-college-260546.html&pagename=/news/2012/070212-tech-ceo-college-260546.html&pageurl=http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/070212-tech-ceo-college-260546.html&site=printpage&nsdr=n [networkworld.com] )

basically, if you want a job running a big company _for someone else_ then you need a degree most of the time. but hell, they chose to include even a guy who's running a company because he inherited the position. sure zuck might not get an interview for ceo position at another company - but most companies would set him up for an interview to buy the fucking company - but if he didn't own facebook he would be just a regular schmo.

interesting list would be one of tech companies ran to the ground by ceo's with perfectly good credentials on paper, even McBride had degrees you know - on the very thing he fucked up!

besides, what the fuck defines "an aspiring tech executive"? I can understand what defines an aspiring engineer, but not technology executive - is it like aspiring to be a venture capitalist, only playing with someone elses money already given to him to play with, with projects already given to him?

I Disagree (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530359)

First off business men absolutely should copy Mark's complete disregard for the law, friends, and common decency when chasing profits.

"RUNNING successful U.S. high-tech firms"
And that is the important part. Running, did these "tech giants" create these companies or were they simply the safe choice that was made when picking someone to run them?

Definitely a bad role model (2)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530365)

But not because he dropped out of college, but for doing things like buying Instagram for $1B without consulting his board.

For every rule there are exceptions (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530371)

There are outliers any any population. These are the folks who are at the right place and the right time. Some are astute and take advantage of the situation while others fall into it.

This happens with everything from insects to people to companies and it has since time began. So, the Jobs, Zuckerburgs and Gates of the world can be shown to be successful without a college education but there was also a few others:

John D. Rockefeller [wikipedia.org]
Andrew Carnegie [wikipedia.org]
Samuel ZeMurray [unitedfruit.org]
George Westinghouse [wikipedia.org]
Thomas Edison [wikipedia.org]

Most of these people were from the school of hard knocks and were ruthless individuals when it came to their enterprises. I think history bears that out that the ruthless individuals who are willing to sacrifice anything to get what they want usually succeed. Either that or the villagers get their pitch forks and torches and kill the SOB.

Re:For every rule there are exceptions (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530623)

...villagers get their pitch forks and torches and kill the SOB.

Run Z-bone[1], run!

[1] I had a FB account once, so I'm close enough to Zuckerberg to call him Z-bone.

the real reason he's a bad model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530375)

The real reason he's a bad role model is because he started Facebook.

Seriously, that is NOT what we need more of.

Interesting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530399)

And here I thought it was just because Zuckerberg was a socially-inept slob. I know a few of those with business degrees.

well we have to much college for all and less is n (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530417)

well we have to much college for all and less is need in the class room and less filler classes.

Maybe a AA / AS should be the base line to shoot for with more a trades focus in place. a BA / BS is way to much for most jobs and stuff like IT need a trades type learning system.

I disagree (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530461)

Stealing IP and lawyering up to defend it is a pretty reliable plan.

What about the myth of the non-drop out? (2)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530467)

Summary mentions the myth of the ivy league drop out...

Dare I ask? What about the myth of the grad student who has a stellar career in the midst of the biggest college/university fee hike --and possibly the shittiest economy-- in history?

Anyone care to tell them that their lifetime salary bump for having their degree will not necessarily pay for the debt they took on early in life, since the career prospects for many of them will be flipping burgers or waiting at restaurants anyway? (Don't laugh, most of you have been served at least once by a lawyer or PhD. It occasionally pays better [cbslocal.com] .

troll article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530479)

troll article?

Re:troll article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530989)

you must be new here

CEO is an employee (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530493)

The CEO is generally an employee of the company. Do you really expect a board (most of whom also have degrees and are often CEOs of other companies) to hire someone without a degree to lead their company? Of course not.

So yes, CEOs will generally have degrees. The only time there is an exception is when the person founded the company, and built it themselves. And apparently in tech, there are only 3 of those left at the moment (gates, zuckerberg, ellison).

College drop outs account for 20% of the 657 self-made billionaires in the world:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/02/billionaire-clusters-harvard-skull-and-bones-goldman-business-billionaires-wealth.html [forbes.com]

Of course, college dropouts (or those who never started) account for a much larger portion than 20% of the population.. so if anything, college dropouts are LESS likely to make it that far.

Re:CEO is an employee (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530551)

So I have to correct myself after checking the article. The 3 tech CEOs without degrees are zuckerberg, ellison, and dell.

Gates is no longer the CEO of microsoft, so he does not count. Likewise, Jobs does not count either.

Re:CEO is an employee (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530937)

I actually it would do a great justice to corporate governance and the whole world if we reformed corporate boards completely. I am *not* sure that other CEOs are needed or wanted on boards. At the moment corporate boards are nothing more than one tangle of conflicted interests. We need groups of shareholders that will actually hold CEOs accountable and won't force wages up just because they sit on each other's boards. The whole system as it is right now is a disgrace.

Yeah, stay in college (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530531)

Accumulate loans. Accumulate debt. Graduate into a crappy economy created by the same people you will be paying off for the next 20 years.

greedy bastard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530821)

He is a greedy sociopathic bastard.

EDITORS: Title is too verbose (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530855)

You should have cut it off at "Why Mark Zuckerberg Is a Bad".

Brevity, Friend.

here is your success map (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40530901)

be jewish, have connected parents, go to some ivy league bullshit old boys college, steal other peoples ideas

facebook was not zuckerbergs idea, he did not become successful because he struck while the iron was "hot"

its all about image.
you fools all continue to fail to understand the simplest shit.

its exactly why america has completely fallen apart...

Shorter version. (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530955)

He's a lottery winner. There was nothing special about facebook. He happened to be at the right place at the right time to have his otherwise unremarkable network become popular, and he didn't turn it to complete shit as fast as myspace did.

Like other jobs... (4, Interesting)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40530981)

Remember the woman who played the young John Connor's step/foster mother in T2? Yeah, I don't know her name either, and that's my point. She's one of those actors/actresses whose face you remember, but whose name you don't. But as a result of having small parts in so many movies, she's pulling in somewhere at the low seven figures from royalties. She's not Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham-Carter or any other famous professional from the acting world, but she embodies a more likely form of success to anyone who would choose acting as a career. But alas, the center of the bell curve is never all that interesting...and nobody wants to be at the lower side of what falls off the slope. So everyone focuses on the exceptional and strange (in a good way) examples.

CEOs, tech, what? (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40531023)

The key here is not who is the present CEO of tech companies but who was the (potentially mythical) founder. The title CEO implies that the company is public or at least has a bunch of shareholders; these CEOs are often MBAs. Often the founders have sold, retired, or the MBA types have pushed the founder out by this point. So the stat that I want to see is what percentage of successful tech companies are(or were) run by someone with a degree?

Plus think of all the companies that were bought out by a big company and technically no longer exist; who started those? I don't necessarily say that the article was wrong just that by narrowing it down to the title CEO that you have probably cut off the "Mythical" story that we have come to love. CEO would be the post script to that story. Lots of those "Mythical" people would probably have held the title: President, or Co-founder.

Completely Disagree (2, Interesting)

RumorControl (82735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40531027)

What is not mentioned here is that the methods by which those great tech startups got big.

" behind every great fortune is a great crime"

Apple
Microsoft
Facebook
Oracle
are all great heists

And thus it's good to study those crimes if you wish to become rich. The MBA is really good training for finding your mark to exploit and understanding risks..but anyone can steal.

Myth Confirmed (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40531067)

Dropped out: Gates and Allen. Jobs and Wozniak. Ellison. Zuckerberg.

On the other hand, if you don't want to drop out, you could go to Stanford, as Hewlett & Packard (HP), Bosack and Lerner (Cisco), and Brin and Page (Google) did.

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