Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America
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Andrew Yang, the founder of Venture for America, offers a unique solution to our country’s economic and social problems—our smart people should be building things. Smart People Should Build Things offers a stark picture of the current culture and a revolutionary model that will redirect a generation of ambitious young people to the critical job of innovating and building new businesses.
As the Founder and CEO of Venture for America, Andrew Yang places top college graduates in start-ups for two years in emerging U.S. cities to generate job growth and train the next generation of entrepreneurs. He knows firsthand how our current view of education is broken. Many college graduates aspire to finance, consulting, law school, grad school, or medical school out of a vague desire for additional status and progress rather than from a genuine passion or fit.
In Smart People Should Build Things, this self-described “recovering lawyer” and entrepreneur weaves together a compelling narrative of success stories (including his own), offering observations about the flow of talent in the United States and explanations of why current trends are leading to economic distress and cultural decline. He also presents recommendations for both policy makers and job seekers to make entrepreneurship more realistic and achievable.
out of large financial organizations. You can see the same pattern in the startup world. After PayPal was acquired by eBay in 2002, its founders and employees went on to found or cofound LinkedIn (Reid Hoffman), YouTube (Steve Chen, Jawed Karim, and Chad Hurley), Yelp (Russel Simmons and Jeremy Stoppelman), Tesla Motors (Elon Musk), SpaceX (Musk again), Yammer (David Sacks), 500 Startups (Dave McClure), and many other companies. PayPal’s CEO, Peter Thiel, famously made a $500,000 investment in
instructors out for dinner and see what was on their minds. One of our most memorable auditions was from Ron Purewal from San Francisco. Ron graduated first in his class from Stanford with a chemistry degree and scored a perfect 800 on the GMAT the weekend after he heard about us from another instructor. Ron casually asked us to name a famous document (we chose the Declaration of Independence), and he then proceeded to reproduce it from memory, writing the text upside down on a piece of paper
needed product expertise, so she became a product manager at Zynga, the online social gaming company, in San Francisco. In my eyes, Sam’s quest was emblematic of many of our students’ experiences. Still, business was good. From 2006 to 2009, Manhattan GMAT’s revenues rose from about $3 million to well over $10 million. It was an excellent four years. Our employee count rose from six to thirty full-timers, with more than a hundred instructors and part-time staff. We expanded across the country to
Venture for America works with a company called Kickboard that provides a software application to help teachers track student performance. Kickboard was founded by Jen Medbery, who studied computer science at Columbia University and taught middle-schoolers through Teach for America. Jen created the product that she wished she’d had as a teacher. Now she’s building a company; Kickboard has dozens of school districts as clients and has grown to more than twelve employees. ShapeUp is a health care
at University of North Carolina. (Project 100) CINCINNATI Dan Bloom: Wrestling champion and history major from Wesleyan, working on a sandwich shop. (Blackbook HR) Max Eisenberg: Washington University in St. Louis urban studies and entrepreneurship grad who had bought and run a business in college. (Ilesfay) James Fayal: Finance major from the University of Maryland who had interned at Morgan Stanley (CincyTech, NextFab Studio) Rickey Ishida: Cornell biomedical engineer who rebuilt his own