18 May 2015

Another College Dropout Success

After a recent Civil War blogger took a cheap shot insult (in his mind anyway - I took it as a compliment) at college dropouts, someone sent me the following quote/link which made me laugh out loud:
After making $5000 while sitting through a monotonous lecture he realized there were some things that his professors couldn’t offer him. This led to his passion for self-reliance and alternative education. (Source.)
Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes which I've stolen as my own. It comes from John Morris, who was (maybe still is?) legendary treasure hunter and adventurer Greg Stemm's partner. The quote was taken from one of the most interesting books I've ever read: Lost Gold of the RepublicThese two men made one of the most amazing and richest (both historically and financially) discoveries and recoveries in American history. Here's the excerpt from the book that contains the reference to the quote:
While the differences between the two partners were obvious to all, including them, they were also developing immense trust in each other. Both shared a common bond: a willingness to travel unconventional paths. John [Morris] had left college after three semesters for lack of interest. As he put it, they didn't have anything to teach him that he wanted to know.
And then there's Morris's partner, Greg Stemm:
He dropped out of college at the age of 20, and “took care of a sailboat for a gentleman in the entertainment business”. This was how he ended up working with Bob Hope, for whom he worked as a personal assistant-cum-location scout. “He was a bright guy and very kind to me. That’s what sidetracked me into advertising and marketing.”
By the mid-Eighties Stemm was still in advertising when, with a group of like-minded businessmen — including the Apple founder Steve Jobs and Michael Dell of Dell Computers — he set up the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a network for fledgeling tycoons. Today YEO has 6,000 members in 70 countries. Stemm, though, still felt the call of the sea and when, in 1986, he met a shipbroker in a *bar in Grand Cayman, an opportunity arose that seemed too good to miss.
*As I discovered in college, I often learned much more valuable information and received a better education by skipping class and hanging out at the local bar - though I'm not comfortable recommending that course for others. ☺  

And as I've noted many times before, obtaining a college degree the conventional way may still be right for a lot of folks. Assuming you, A: Receive a full scholarship B: Have rich parents footing the bill C: Qualify for tons of grants D: Don't mind years and years of paying off astronomical student loans. But for the rest of us, the world of technology has opened up many other ways to learn and to become successful. I would highly recommend at least considering the unconventional path.

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