9 people who dropped out of college and made it big.

9 people who dropped out of college and made it big.

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1. Michael Dell
1984. Room 2713. Dobie Center Residential Building. University of Texas. A 19 year old Michael dell had just begun his pre-medical school, and spent his time building and selling upgrade kits for computers, through local newspapers.  There came a time when he started making $80,000 a month. That is when he applied to the State of Texas as the vendor and registered his company as PC’s Limited, after he realized that selling PCs directly instead indirect retail channel sale as more advantageous. He then dropped out of college, rename him company to Dell Computer Corporation and set up his shop at North Austin, which he described as. ‘”consisting of three guys with screwdrivers sitting at six-foot tables”


2. Bram Cohen
The creator of the widely used open source sharing application, Bittorent, was a college dropout from SUNY Buffalo. Bram claims to have started learning the basic programming language when he was 5 on his parents’ Timex Sinclair computer. He also qualified for the United States for America Mathematical Olympiad. in highschool, and proceeded to work at several dot com companies in the 90s after dropping out from college.

Most noteworthy of these companies was MojoNation, a file-sharing system that allowed a user to download an encrypted file from multiple source simultaneously. The idea of Bittorent came to him right during his time at MojoNation which he quit in 2001 to give wings to his idea, hich he then presented at CodeCon Conference with his room-mate Len Sassaman.

3. Ben Kaufman
While in his senior year of highschool, Ben created a series of charging accessories that included phone cases for iPods, iPads, iPhones and other Mac and Samsung products, which acted as chargers for the devices. The product was called Mophie, which was awarded Best of the Show in MacWorld 2006. Ben was attending Champlain College in Vermont at the time, where he listed his activities as ‘not attending classes’. He soon dropped out to work on Mophie full time which was acquired in 2007 by mStation.

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This of course did not stop Kaufman, as he went ahead to create Quirky, a product sharing platforms for inventors to share their ideas and get critiques. if accepted the idea is converted into reality by the Quirky Team.

4. David Karp
The infamous David Carp dropped out of school at 15, and was homeschooled thereafter, till he moved to tokyo to fine tune his computer programming and robot building skills at 17. Soon after he decided that he wanted to be part of something that was his own, and went onto to create Tumblr at 21, from his mother’s apartment.

Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 Billion, where David was recognized as the ‘Top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35’. Right now Tumblr boasts of hosting more than 200 Million blogs, 91 Billion posts and a team of 275 employees who work closely with Yahoo, to manage all of it.

5. Evan Spiegel
The 23 year old founder of Snapchat was a product design student at the infamous Stanford University and also did an unpaid internship at RedBull in his high school shortly before going to college. Snapchat was supposed to be a class project, for which Speigel dropped out of college in 2012, to focus more on making it big, which he did. What started off as 200 members, Snapchat soon reached a user count of 350 Million and got a $3 Billion acquisition offer from Zuckerberg last year, which Spiegel politely refused.

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6. Tom Hanks
Our beloved Forrest gump was a student of Theater at Chabot College, California and then at the California State University, but the painfully shy teenager that yelled funny captions during filmstrips, soon realized where his heart lay. “Acting classes looked like the best place for a guy who liked to make a lot of noise and be rather flamboyant …I spent a lot of time going to plays. I wouldn’t take dates with me. I’d just drive to a theater, buy myself a ticket, sit in the seat and read the program, and then get into the play completely. I spent a lot of time like that, seeing Brecht, Tennessee Williams, Ibsen, and all that,” Hanks told the New York magazine in 1965.

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During this time, he came in touch with Vincent Dowling, who was the head of The Great Lakes theatre Festival in Ohio, and offered Hanks an internship opportunity at the festival, which he gladly accepted. The internship lasted 3 long years, which opened new doors of production, set design, lightning, prompting, set management and other aspects of film for Hanks, and caused him to drop out of his studies to pursue acting full-time.

7. Jim Carrey
Yep, The Riddler quit school at 15, to support his family through economic hardships.
“My father was a musician who got a “regular job” to support his children. When he lost his job that’s when everything fell apart. We went from “lower middle class” to “poor”. We were living out of a van. I quit school at age 15 to begin working to help support my family as a janitor. I’d have a baseball bat on my janitor cart because I was so angry I just wanted to beat the heck out of something,” He told James Lipton in an interview.

His path to stardom wasn’t all that easy either. His first stand up comedy act bombed on stage, and he almost gave up hopes on ever making it big as an entertainer. It was ony after his family became more financially stable and he came back with a polished act did he finally go from open mic shows to paid appearances and eventually Hollywood.


8. John Lennon
The Beatles Star failed all his O-Level exams and was accepted into Liverpool College of Arts only when aunt and headmaster pulled some strings, where he dressed too informal for college, disrupted classes, ridiculed teachers and was slowly let go from his painting class, graphic design course and then the college altogether.

He picked his first guitar at 16, a gift from his mother, when his aunt told him that he would never make a living out of it. Well, he certainly went on to prove that wrong, didn’t he?


9. Lady Gaga
Often the victim of Fashion Police for her sense of style, Stefani Germanotta, at 17 was one of the 20 students to get an early admission into Collaborative Arts Project – 21, a musical theatre training conservatory at NYU, where she spent her time honing her skills in songwriting, and also wrote analytical papers on religion, art, politics and social issues. She dropped out when she was 9, to make a career in music, backed by her father who agreed to help her financially through one year on the condition that she’d come back and join college if she was unsuccessful in making anything out of her.
“I left my entire family, got the cheapest apartment I could find, and ate shit until somebody would listen,” she recalls.


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