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PayPal Co-Founder Paying Kids Not To Go To College

Peter Thiel, the co-founder of online payment service PayPal and the first major investor of  social networking giant Facebook, is offering a $100,000 scholarship to teenagers and 20-year-olds to help them achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.  There’s just one catch: the recipients are being paid to not go to college.

According to an Associated Press article, Thiel believes that the best young minds can contribute more to society by skipping college and bringing their ideas straight to the real world. He himself hand-picked the winners base on the potential of their proposed projects to change the world.

To me, it sounds like a really expensive gamble.

Thiel is using the example of Facebook founder and Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerburg to back up his claim. Thiel had so much faith in Zuckerman’s idea that he invested $500,000 in the company, a stake that is now worth billions.

But when you think about it realistically,  people like Zuckerman and Thiel are the exception rather than the rule.  I’m pretty sure that for every person with a successful big idea, there’s plenty more whose big idea just didn’t work out.

I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. I think Thiel having faith in these kids and wanting to help them out is all well and good. That’s how he chooses to spend his money, that’s fine by me. And if this “scholarship” really does provide what these kids need to turn their big idea into a successful venture, that’s great. I just think he might be overestimating how many of these big ideas will really work out.

Anyway, it’s just a thought.

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