(2019-09-04) A Cynics Guide To Killing It At Stanford
Boot-Camp Syllabus: What Every Prospective Evan Spiegel Should Know
No. 1: For ambitious entrepreneurs, Stanford isn’t just a college; it’s the mother of all tech incubators.
Once, companies like Hewlett-Packard, Sun, Cisco, and Google brought the school’s academic research to market and therefore relied to varying degrees on the institutional support of Stanford
To Stanford’s credit, some of the fiercest critics of the university’s most venal tendencies have come from within
The most important support system today is the network of people — and cash — who now populate and surround the institution, hunting for investments.
in the 20 years since Brin and Page left Stanford, the engineer-entrepreneur mind-set has shifted.
This may seem like a recent development
But it’s the realization of a long-term project begun in the 1950s by then-provost Frederick Terman.
Google was founded by two Stanford graduate students, Instagram by two Stanford alumni, Snapchat by a Stanford dropout. WhatsApp, Netflix, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Hewlett-Packard were all founded by onetime Stanford students; the earliest investors in Facebook and Amazon were Stanford graduates
Stanford, nestled south of Facebook and west of Google, is more than a kind of finishing school to the burgeoning independent commonwealth of tech. It’s already to the 21st century what Harvard, or maybe the University of Chicago, was to the 20th
No. 2: For start-ups, there’s money everywhere.
No. 3: Which makes for a pretty intense, strange campus
No. 4: So, first, drink this tea.
No. 5: Wear this shirt.
No. 6: Pick your major wisely.
If your founder god is … Joe Lonsdale and Stephen Cohen (Palantir), Brian Acton (WhatsApp), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner (Cisco), or David Shaw (D.E. Shaw) ➽ Go for computer science.
If you’re emulating … Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Marissa Mayer (Google, Yahoo), or Mike Krieger (Instagram) ➽ Symbolic systems is for you. (Yes, that’s a real major, mixing big-picture theory and programming practice)
No. 7: Then meet (and brownnose) the faculty.
No. 8: Maybe they’ll even let you TA.
No. 9: These classes are practically job fairs
No. 10: Learn this money map.
No. 11: And if you can’t find them, find their “lookouts.”
Venture-capital firms like Sequoia and Founders Fund employ Stanford students to find other students who might be making the next Instagram in their dorm room
No. 12: Try to land one of these coveted internships.
“I was specifically advised to never work for Amazon. I was told it will make your life hell, they treat everyone really poorly, it’s a toxic culture.”
No. 13: And don’t sleep on non-tech extracurriculars.
No. 14: Or forget all this and just drop out.
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