Peter Thiel, an investor in such technology hits as PayPal, Facebook and LinkedIn, launched his first class of fellows---young entrepreneurs looking to change the world. What surprised me most from looking at the list is how the information technology projects looked promising, but didn't inspire much in the way of world-changing items.
As I picked my five best ideas out of the 20 Thiel Foundation fellows I figured I'd do at least one information technology related item. After all, I skew toward IT anyway. But when you stack IT projects up against biotech and alternative energy and things that would really help the world there was no competition. From a financial perspective, Thiel's band of young entrepreneurs had big moneymaking IT ideas. Some of these fellows may launch the next generation of tech IPOs.
But there's more to life than a tech IPO. Tech innovation today entertains, distracts and allows us to connect with folks. Does it fundamentally change your lot in life or just give you more stuff to manage?
Am I on to something about IT being vapid at times or way off base? Here's my post from what I whipped up for Smart Planet.
Peter Thiel, best known as an investor in PayPal, Facebook, LinkedIn and others, outlined his first class of 20 Under 20 fellows, young entrepreneurs aiming to "become the next generation of tech visionaries."
The first class will pursue the scientific and technical projects that get them up in the morning. These fellows will also get $100,000, a two-year tenure and access to a vast network of entrepreneurs and innovators.
These projects span multiple industries. And the most interesting point:
More than four hundred people younger than twenty applied to be Fellows. Applications arrived from nearly two dozen countries, and from nearly two hundred high schools, junior colleges, community colleges, four-year colleges, and graduate schools. Many applicants never went to college, had already stopped out of school, were already working, or had already launched their own company. Many had a long personal history of entrepreneurship. They applied at a time of increasing debate about the cost and value of college and student debt.
Here's a look at my five favorite ventures out of the list of 20: