(This is a snapshot of my old weblog. New posts and selected republished essays can be found at raganwald.com.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
  Tune in, turn on, drop in

Over on slashdot there's a fairly predictible thread discussing Steve Jobs' alleged advice to students: drop out of college.

There're the usual arguments about why a college education is more than the coursework (it had better be: many CS undergraduate programs would be right at home in a Java Vocational College). There're the usual arguments about how intelligent, drivien indivduals would succeed without a degree. And of course more than a few people shrilly deride Steve for giving dangerous advice.

What I found interesting about the quote is that Steve doesn't seem to be saying college is useless and that you should quit college and get a job. Have a read over at Wired:
He said his real education started when he "dropped in" on whatever classes interested him -- including calligraphy.

Jobs said he lived off 5-cent soda recycling deposits and free food offered by Hare Krishnas while taking classes.

He told the graduates that few friends could see the value of learning calligraphy at the time but that painstaking attention to detail -- including mastering different "fonts" -- was what set Macintosh apart from its competitors.

I take this as meaning that the key is to drop in on stuff that ignites your imagination, regardless of the cost. I take this as espousing internships, networking, volunteering, hacking, fiddling, puttering, fiddling, hobbying, auditing, experimenting, and yes, writing code in your garage.

p.s. Here's an unrelated email I've been circulating:


Some friends of mine are looking for a talented individual with deep Enterprise Java knowledge. Their environment is excellent: laid back atmosphere, plenty of agility, and long-standing relationships with blue chip clients like Apple and ING Direct.

I can share references from employees and contractors who just love working with this company. Of course, they're looking for the same: an individual with a knapsack bulging with enthusiastic references from people who have just loved working with her/him.

Their office is a stylish loft just steps from Roy Thompson Hall and their kitchen is stocked with caffeine and sugar. Get in touch with me directly if you'd like to explore an excellent opportunity.

Warm regards as always...

p.s. Naturally, almost everyone I know who has the chops to impress me has a great situation going really well. But almost everyone I know who is "smart" and "gets things done" seems to know two or three other people who are smart and get things done... and maybe this email might be perfect for them. Could you please pass this on? Introducing two friends is a great way to get two people to owe you a favour in one easy step :-)



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Reg Braithwaite

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