Friday, September 16, 2011

Leaving college behind

While listening to Steven Levy talk about his new book, "In the Plex" about Google, it struck me how many of the Net's innovators -- Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg -- dropped out of some level of college. I'm sure this question has been explored elsewhere, but I wonder what the fact that the true innovators of our era leave college says about higher education. It seems that now college is merely a place where bright people meet each other and go off to their personal laboratories to create. This goes to a theme that is affecting newspapers as well as education, that the means and substance of what we do has changed so significantly, that we don't actually communicate much of value anymore. We are in the midst of such a paradigm shift that no institution has yet caught up to a point that it can reliably educate on the basis of the current state.