April 18, 2015
I could start this article by listing the popular blue chip company founders who dropped out of school to start a business in the 80’s and became multi-billionaire CEOs later in life. I could also go into the nuances of risk taking and trail blazing, or the disturbing lines of thought propounded by Robert Kiyosaki and his friend in Rich Dad, Poor Dad. That could work in conveying my message quite well but I think both approaches are quite well known.
I would like to address this common knowledge another way so maybe the thought will be rekindled in someone’s mind. First and foremost, it important to note that education is very important. We all know that don’t we? But we often take for granted the fact that formal education may not be as relevant to real life as we make it seem in many scenarios. Africa’s body of knowledge in the formal education sector is largely the repetition of discoveries made by unschooled Europeans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. We could argue on this point for hours depending on whether you tilt towards the idealistic or existential end of the philosophy spectrum.
What knowledge is really important for significance in life and true progress? I ask this because, practically speaking, the most well taught professors of this world often end up working for the not so nutty risk takers who take advantage of their scientific discoveries. We find that in some cases, people succeed in life before academics begin studying the reasons for their success and building University Course out of the ensuing body of knowledge. One might argue that all this is just an issue of roles: the melancholic geek develops the thought and the choleric go-getter turns it into a business! Could be true….
This subject is broad but what I would really like to point out is the dilemma of working for someone. You see, the typical entrepreneur does not start out getting all the formal education he can get yet at a certain level of growth, his company starts looking for the most educated people to employ! Formally educated I mean. And if you really think about it, the more educated you get, the more you can rise in the professional ladder in a company started by someone who may not need any more formal education than he already has. Imagine the pain of writing pages and pages of a book for your thesis only for your high school class mate who never went to university to be awarded an honourary doctorate degree for building a business!
A few weeks ago I mused on this reality of life. No matter how educated you get, no matter how many degrees you add on, no matter how many certifications you have, your career is at the mercy of the one who runs the company if that person is not you. I think ownership is the way to go. What do you think?