There's been some press in the tech startup space that University isn't the best place to go for someone who wants to become in entrepreneur. Taking this view to the extreme is billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel (PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor) who has launched a program in the US to fund 20 students each year to drop out of university and start companies. Each 'Thiel Fellow' is backed with $100k capital over 2 years and some of the best mentoring an entrepreneur could hope to receive. Thiel believes that the university system is broken and that the best way for budding entrepreneurs to learn is to start being an entrepreneur rather than learning theories about it at uni.
We were a little more conservative with Pat but what we suggested to him was he should study his law degree part time, but treat working full time at Shoes of Prey as his second business related degree. If I compare my rate of learning studying commerce/law with my rate of learning working for other companies and particularly in a startup sized business like Shoes of Prey, the rate of learning is magnitudes higher at a startup. What this doesn't factor in is the social experience I had studying at uni, and the fact I met my co-founders Jodie and Mike as well as many of my lifelong friends.
We want to ensure we're creating similar experiences for Pat, and our social working environment means Pat is meeting and getting to know the other 35 people in our Sydney office. We have entrepreneurs like Matt and Andrew from The General Store and Dan Joyce from MayDate sharing desks in our office so Pat gets to meet them. We also parter with other fashion labels, online retailers and others in the industry so Pat gets opportunities to interact with all these people. And if Pat wants to do his own startup sometime in the future, then perhaps the friends he's made at Shoes of Prey, be they software engineers, customer happiness team members or his fellow marketing team mates might be good people to start a business with, so we're confident we can replicate many of the social aspects of University life for Pat. And we've suggested that we review things with Pat in a year or two and maybe he goes and does a year of University full time, perhaps at an overseas University so he can also get the full, immersive Uni experience.
We're excited to have Pat join us!