Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

I was invited by my new friend, Mel Rosenberg, to give a short presentation today in Afeka College of Engineering. I titled my presentation: “Why entrepreneurs don’t go to college”. Mel thought that since I didn’t go to college, I can shed some light on this issue, and possibly generate some creative out of the box thinking as well. his primary intention with this, so Mel told me, was to drive innovation and entrepreneurship into campus. The purpose of the presentation was to be disruptive – good thing tomato season was over…

When I looked at the slides of my presentation I had a revelation: When entrepreneurs fail, they learn. When students fail in college, they fail or in other words, in academia, failure is not associated with gaining experience. How is this possible I thought? When you read any biography of successful entrepreneurs, they are bound to talk about their failures as a part of the learning process to epiphany, but in traditional education, we are taught that we shouldn’t fail. How can we expect that after 12 years in school and then 4 years in college, students will change their ‘modus operandi’? Will they suddenly get an urge to take chances and fail miserably? become entrepreneurs and walk the fine line of failure? I don’t think so. I’m sure this effects people to the extent that they don’t dare to fail and so they don’t dare to try, making their chances of succeeding slim at best. I know, I’m over generalizing, and this “rule” doesn’t apply to all people with academic background. Still, IMHO, people that go to college don’t feel comfortable with failure.

Let me sum it up with the wise words of Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Here is my presentation if you are interested (photos on the right side are college education system, left side is entrepreneur method):Presentation at Afeka B’lunch