College vs. Startup

Some thoughts on college vs. startups, the panels are sliced up from “Students” by Randall Monroe. This is which is a dream that I still have. I find it a marker for being under pressure.

College vs. Startup

Projects Due Today 5PM...I didn't know we had one! College

  • clear assignments
  • clear deadlines
  • clear feedback (grades)
I don't think I have been attending. I must have forgotten I had this class Startup

  • high uncertainty and ambiguity
  • prospects “give assignments” but may not pay (“fail you”) even if you deliver
  • teamwork needed to create value
OK, I am gonna fail. I thought I had finished my requirements already. Will this hold me back? College

  • very few instances where teamwork is rewarded
  • world resets every ten to thirteen weeks (new quarter/semester)
  • only evaluated by a few professors at any given time
I remember graduating. What the hell is going on? Startup

  • world may reset on a pivot but the fewer the better
  • in conversation with many potential customers and partners
  • many prospects will “fail” you without explanation
  • students who focused on pleasing the professor may find themselves adrift in a startup
(Awakens in bed) Life

  • connect with your higher purpose, grades and money are a means not an end
  • if you stop learning after you leave college you won’t succeed as an entrepreneur
  • family and friends whither when neglected, but that can sometimes take too long to comprehend
Fun Fact: Decades From Now You Will Still Be Having This Dream

SKMurphy Take

Comparing college vs. startup yields some important differences but I didn’t address whether dropping out to found a startup is a good idea. My answer is no. The following are outliers in many ways: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell, Evan Williams, Larry Ellison, and Travis Kalanick. They all dropped out of college to found very successful technology firms.

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Image Credit all images are a slice up of panels from “Students” by Randall Munroe (  who retains copyright.

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