I was never the student that actually completed the readings before lecture. It was always way too many pages and there were better things to do with my time like playing soccer in the hallway. I am now that student.
This quarter I am taking Stanford’s CS183. The title of the course is “Startup”, which sounds right up my alley. Here is the course description:
Conception, launch, scaling, and growing of a successful tech company. Bridging the subjects of engineering, science, business, finance, and world history, topics will include: the technology revolution of the 20th century and prior eras; the economics of business; founding a startup; the importance of team vision and passion; long-term strategic planning; building a successful founding team; financing and the VC perspective; secrecy vs. openness; recruiting, managing growth, marketing, regulation and other operational topics. Assignments are designed to explore key concepts at greater depth, using real-world and hypothetical example companies. Inner accounts from the early days of startups including PayPal, Google and Facebook will be used as case studies. The class will be taught by entrepreneurs who have started companies worth over $1B and VCs who have invested in startups including Facebook and Spotify. Students can expect to be proficient in the core skills critical to the founding and growing of a tech company upon completion of this course.
Sure sounds interesting, but there are plenty of interesting courses, none of which I have actually attended since graduating in 2008. So what made this such a compelling opportunity that I wasn’t going to let it slip? The course is taught by Peter Thiel, one of the biggest ballers in the Silicon Valley. The guy drops knowledge like Snoop drops hot items.
Yes, I am finally willing to admit my intellectual man crush on Peter Thiel. And if you are reading this, I think you would probably like him as well. He is a free thinker that isn’t afraid to state his mind in a time that groupthink and conformity reign supreme. But what separates him from other freethinkers is that he is a man of industry rather than a politician or behind the scenes puppet-master (like many other billionaires). He has founded two billion dollar companies (Paypal and Palantir) and been heavily involved in another (Facebook).
Here are some readings to check out to get a feel for what Peter Thiel is all about:
- Peter Thiel: 21st Century Free Radical
- New Yorker Profile
- The Education of a Libertarian by Peter Thiel
- The End of the Future by Peter Thiel
Let me know if you are interested learning some of the nuggets of wisdom that Professor Thiel teaches in class.
Question for you: do you have any intellectual man/woman crushes?
Bonus points from me: dude likes New Zealand
No, I did not add the flowers to that picture. I think it is really how it was shot! Source