We Don't Need No Education

Tim Knight from Slope of Hope's picture

It is seriously 1999 all over again here in the Silicon Valley. There's the revival of Kozmo (OK, that's in New York, but still.......), the comic run-up of TWTRQ yesterday, and now, right across the street from where I am sitting, there is Draper University.

What's that, you ask? Well, decades ago, a hotel called the Benjamin Franklin was built in downtown San Mateo. It's only a few miles away from San Francisco International Airport, so it quickly became the go-to spot for pilots and stewardesses to spend the night and, who knows, maybe join the zero-mile high club.

The Franklin fell out of favor over the years, and it stood as a monument to old-school architecture, in silent testimony to the days when airline travel was as glamorous as the stewardesses. The hotel has been taken over now, and the moniker on the front is as follows:


Perhaps you can just barely make out two photographs flanking the entrance: on the left is a big poster of Steve Jobs, and on the right, harder to see, is Elon Musk. This is, as you can probably already tell, not so much a school as a church, and the saints which flank its narthex are intended, I suppose, to inspire youngsters into being Just Like Those Guys.


The school was founded by famed venture capitalist Tim Draper (as you might gather from the school's name) and its stated purpose is to accept young men and women, aged 18-24, and have each of them build their own company which, in turn, they get to present to VCs for funding. This is a new spin on the old concept of an incubator, which was all the rage in the late 1990s. IdeaLab was the best known of these, and the curriculum offering is unusual, to say the least:


(Cooking? Lie Detection? Minimum Viable Product?)

I guess if I were 18, I might be really intrigued by something like this. I'll say one thing, though: Steve Jobs and Elon Musk wouldn't have gone to a place like this in a million years, and I seriously think the big new companies of the future will still emerge in the serendipitous way that Facebook, Sun, Apple, Yahoo, and all of the rest of them did...........not from some cookie-cutter establishment in a hotel full of wanna-bes.

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robertocarlos's picture

It's a double negative. You do need an education. Just not the one you don't get in no school.

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Here's the extent of my "meaninful" education:

1.  Learn to solve problems

2. Never go to your boss with a problem [he hired you to solve them....]

3. Read "A Short History of Financial Euphoria"

It served me very well; I was paid very well...

Clowns on Acid's picture

Draper U just competing for the Federal tuition loan $ like everyone lese - from Hahvahd to the local "become a highly paid car mechanic in 1 month" chop shop.

Downtoolong's picture

I can imagine their business model. Charge a high tuition and loan the funds for it to students who are primarily admitted based on their family profile, i.e., unsuspecting parents and relatives who are most likely and willing to step in and pay the loans off when the kids finally discover they can’t do it themselves. I’m not sure what the official loan sharking (er lending industry) term is for it. I call it kin collateral.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

He definitely didn't build that....


Overdrawn's picture

Truth about education:

How the State manipulates families:

Father - The man of the household must be housebroken to ensure that junior will grow up with the right social training and attitudes. The advertising media, etc., are engaged to see to it that father-to-be is pussy-whipped before or by the time he is married. He is taught that he either conforms to the social notch cut out for him or his sex life will be hobbled. He is made to see that women demand security more than logical, principled, or honorable behavior.

Mother - The female element of human society is ruled by emotion first and logic second. In the battle between logic and imagination, imagination always wins, maternal instinct dominates so that the child comes first and the future comes second. A woman with a newborn baby is too starry-eyed to see a wealthy man's cannon fodder or a cheap source of slave labor. A woman must, however, be conditioned to accept the transition to "reality" when it comes, or sooner.

As the transition becomes more difficult to manage, the family unit must be carefully disintegrated, and state-controlled public education and state-operated child-care centers must be become more common and legally enforced so as to begin the detachment of the child from the mother and father at an earlier age. Inoculation of behavioral drugs [Ritalin] can speed the transition for the child (mandatory). Caution: A woman's impulsive anger can override her fear. An irate woman's power must never be underestimated, and her power over a pussy-whipped husband must likewise never be underestimated. It got women the vote in 1920.

Junior - The emotional pressure for self-preservation during the time of war and the self-serving attitude of the common herd that have an option to avoid the battlefield - if junior can be persuaded to go - is all of the pressure finally necessary to propel Johnny off to war. Their quiet blackmailings of him are the threats: "No sacrifice, no friends; no glory, no girlfriends."

Sister - She is given all the good things of life by her father, and taught to expect the same from her future husband regardless of the price.

Cattle - Those who will not use their brains are no better off than those who have no brains, and so this mindless school of jelly-fish, father, mother, son, and daughter, become useful beasts of burden or trainers of the same.



ElvisDog's picture

What you wrote about girls is spot on. I have two kids and have experienced the entire spectrum of school-age kids from kindergarten through high school. The worst overly-involved, indulgent, helicopter parents (whether moms or dads) are almost always the parents of daughters. It's stunning sometimes. From the moms who dress like their daughters and want to be their "best friends" to their dads who shell out $10-15K so their daughers can go on a band trip to Europe and that they can accompany them. 

I would hate to be a young man these days, because the prospective girlfriends around you are pampered, self-possessed, entitled, high-maintenance nightmares.

SAT 800's picture

Looks like a bullshit artist selling bullshit to wannabee bullshit artists. I don't care for it as a sign of the times.

Zer0head's picture

and where did Tim Draper get his start?

in the  garage of dear old dad, Skull & Bones almunus and VC William Henry Draper

founder of http://svh.com and http://draperrichards.com and associated with http://UNDP.org


great pedigree, that boy

shovelhead's picture

A+ for marketing.

Trouble is that the people they want to target are too busy tinkering with ideas in Dad's garage to go that school.

You can't teach curiousity, you can only feed it.

scraping_by's picture

What they can teach is how to present yourself. Vocabulary, grooming, spurious argument, etc.

How to bullshit in $100k.

Skateboarder's picture

SV is full of scams. Given its being a hub of immigration for asians and latinos, there's plenty of scamming to do, especially in taking advantage of indentured students. This is a long article but exposes what happened with a little known 'college' that got established in our hood. It's worth reading.